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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1287 February 20th 2006

Horrific Pentagon “endless war” plans richly confirm the Marxist perspective of a desperate capitalism in crisis plunging into fascist warmongering on a world scale. Ruthless logic of crisis says it can only end in all-out World War Three, the only way imperialism has ever found to “solve” its over-production crisis. Half hearted defences of democratic gains and pacifist nostrums will not stop the fascistisation of society by the closet Mosleyites of New Labour or the drive to war. Only revolution can stop the plunge—built around renewed Leninist understanding and science.

The Pentagon’s publicly announced plans for a “long war” lasting decades against the supposed “world terror” threat and escalation of the deliberately hyped “clash of civilisations”, is one of the most powerful confirmations yet that the imperialist system is heading full pace for Third World War.

Far from shamefacedly simply pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan in the teeth of the exposed lies, inhumanity, torture and mess created by the humiliating defeats which have beset both occupations, the neo-con agenda is setting out to up the ante – to a new level of sustained worldwide blitzing, disciplining and intervention.

Along with “human” and basic legal rights now being torn to shreds, the parliamentary democracy game getting ever thinner and more cynically operated with secret state policing, endless surveillance, and blanket anti-working-class censorship edicts being rapidly intensified (such as the all-purpose, meaningless and therefore infinitely flexible, “glorification of terrorism” ban to outlaw all scientific historical analysis), the evidence is now screamingly clear to all but the dimmest that this capitalist system is rapidly sliding into overtly fascistic mode.

This is the true face of capitalism, revealed by desperation in crisis when it can no longer afford to play with the old “democratic” niceties (the slickest and most satisfactory way it has ever devised for its bourgeois dictatorship to rule – hidden behind the fraudulent “choices” of elections and “free speech”).

The ruling class faces deepening crisis, It can no longer afford to maintain the limited gains granted the working class to sustain 150 years of reformist illusions, even in the richest of countries.

And the brutally dominated and savagely exploited Third World is growing increasingly rebellious, unstable and difficult to control in the old way through stooges, puppet governments and compliant comprador states.

War and class war is the only agenda, already begun in Iraq and Afghanistan and threatening daily to be escalated against new “rogue” state victims like Iran, Syria, and others. Streams of lurid allegations and lies about “black-hearted intents” pour from the CIA and intelligence agencies to blame “evil others” for the collapse of the west’s own system.

As the EPSR has long argued against petty bourgeois scepticism, reformist smugness and anti-communist philosophical hostility (the full spectrum of the fake-”left” 57 Trot and revisionist varieties), the imperialist system has no other solution to the desperate crisis of overproduction that regularly and routinely lays it low on an ever larger and more devastating scale of economic collapse and disaster (see economics page).

The entire “war on terror”, and the “shock and awe” blitzkrieg agenda is part of this wider planning for universal warmongering to give the most powerful empire on the planet (with its British sidekick) a way out, it hopes, from intractable difficulties.

(The only other answer being the ending for good of private ownership of factories and farms, industries and transport, banks and so on, and the anarchic chaos of the profit making exploitation, to build rational planned socialism serving need not profit - which is to say revolutionary communism).

And it will be war on a bigger scale than any other in history, (including the eight year long Second World War) because of the massive depth and unprecedented universality of the oncoming catastrophic implosion of the entire international capitalist trading system - almost certainly triggered by the collapse of the now insanely high mountains of worthless paper dollars which is all that underpins the entire edifice after decades of relentless inflationary credit creation.

The contradictions accumulated in the world capitalist system are on a unprecedented scale after more than 60 years of more or less sustained economic boom (at the expense of numerous major but partial crisis eruptions here and there in the world – just – contained).

And they are desperately close to the surface.

So just a decade and a half after the trumpeted “victory of democracy” and the end of the maniac (and completely deluded) Cold War bogeyman threats of “communism threatening to kill all of us in our beds”, therefore supposedly now allowing “peace and prosperity” to develop for centuries and harmony to break out allover the planet, an astonishing perspective instead is presented for the future by neocon US military establishment, of worldwide spying, kidnapping, blitzings, assassinations, lightning strikes and continuous war, as the bourgeois press reports:

“Long duration, complex operations involving the US military, other government agencies and international partners will be waged simultaneously in multiple countries round the world, relying on a combination of direct (visible) and indirect (clandestine) approaches,” the report says. “Above all they will require persistent surveillance and vastly better intelligence to locate enemy capabilities and personnel.

They will also require global mobility, rapid strike, sustained unconventional warfare, foreign internal defence, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities. Maintaining a long-term, low-visibility presence in many areas of the world where US forces do not traditionally operate will be required.”

US commanders envisage a war unlimited in time and space against global Islamist extremism. “The struggle ... may well be fought in dozens of other countries simultaneously and for many years to come,” the report says. The emphasis switches from large-scale, conventional military operations, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, towards a rapid deployment of highly mobile, often covert, counter-terrorist forces.

Among specific measures proposed are: an increase in special operations forces by 15%; an extra 3,700 personnel in psychological operations and civil affairs units - an increase of 33%; nearly double the number of unmanned aerial drones; the conversion of submarine-launched Trident nuclear missiles for use in conventional strikes; new close-to-shore, high-speed naval capabilities; special teams trained to detect and render safe nuclear weapons quickly anywhere in the world; and a new long-range bomber force.

The message from General Peter Pace, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, was apocalyptic.

“We are at a critical time in the history of this great country and find ourselves challenged in ways we did not expect. We face a ruthless enemy intent on destroying our way of life and an uncertain future.”

This insane and terrifying scheme for a real life “Star Wars” Empire tyranny permanently waged against the billions of ordinary people on the planet for decades to come takes the already ludicrous nonsense of the completely artificial “war on terrorism” to new heights of deliberately sustained mass paranoia against an entirely manufactured and demonised non-existent “world enemy” of “global Islamic extremism”.

There has been no such “international threat” other than in the deliberately created propaganda nightmare-lies whipped up by the secret bourgeois intelligence and information networks (which does not rule out, increasingly, the quite justified and explosive understanding by those of the world’s masses who are culturally tied to Islamism, that they are being deliberately scapegoated and demonised by imperialism, even if they do not yet completely understand yet the reasons they are being provoked.)

But this Hitlerite-Goebbels scapegoating insanity of course instantly points at this reaction it has caused as further “evidence” now to help stampede, through the laughable “democratic process”, yet more extensions to the direct dictatorial rule of capital and its demented warmongering:

“The report urges Congress to grant the Pentagon and its agencies expanded permanent legal authority of the kind used in Iraq, which may give US commanders greatly extended powers.”

A “legalised” military coup in other words to allow the imposition of brute martial law on the whole of world society – arbitrarily and arrogantly outside (as well as inside) the USA and its “allies”, – for the total foreseeable future, beyond the lifetime of many, and all in order for the smug, fat, privilege-filled soft life of the American ruling class’s sweet century-long complacent exploitation of the entire planet to continue at the expenses of the sweat, ignorance and starvation of the Third World billions.

Not so different in substance, to the “democratic” rule and order imposed in the entire post-war decades of American imperialist domination of large parts of the planet by the swamping power of its huge dollar capital exports and an endless series of non-stop wars, CIA organised disruptions, subversion, insurgency, coups, takeovers, putches, bribed and manipulated “elections”, stooge regimes, blitzings, imprisonment and large-scale death squad terrorism (against all who dare resist or fight back).

But what is different now is that all pretence of reason, and progress, and democratic nicety and independence is now being stripped away as the capitalist monopoly empire feels itself completely under siege – by its own inbuilt contradictions and oncoming slump disaster on the one hand – and by the rising worldwide hatred and Third World resistance to its tyrannical exploitation on the other.

And most of all it is faced with a fight to the death at some point with the rest of capitalist production on the planet.

US imperialism is increasingly unable to sustain easily and slickly its position at the top of the heap, with the most powerful, world dominating monopoly grip on all finance, investment, culture and politics ever seen in history.

No longer does it have the upper hand with capital. The endless black-hole gravitational pull of the degenerate easy comfort USA on the world’s resources and labour has made it the world’s greatest dependency, the bizarre and contradictory spectacle of the world most dominant power now also its most indebted and beholden to the rest of the planet.

So raw bullying power must be used instead.

And this Pentagon warmongering scenario cannot not be limited to “just” the promise of an extended half a century of bullying and world policing with barbaric “shock and awe” suppression of “rogue states” and “axes of evil” (disastrously failing anyway).

The huge problems of the accumulating capitalist crisis pressures can only be solved ultimately by a fullscale fight to the end with the all the major competitors of the capitalist system, all being driven to a frenzy of desperation to secure ever larger share of a world market that cannot cope with the ever expanding floods of output demanding a profitable sale.

A titanic potential disaster and slump collapse is due with the already brutally vicious underlying trade and currency wars of the last two decades erupting into all out conflict.

There is only room for one top dog to survive, with the rest of the “surplus” capital and surplus capitalists wiped out in the process.

The USA’s strategy is to get in first as the warmongering bully, using brute force to stay on top, using its role as world anti-working class policeman to corale and contain its rivals (just as it did throughout the Cold War) and if necessary “take out” any challenges. George Bush’s explicit threat to deal with any major power that starts to create weaponry that can match the USA, is repeated:

“The US will work to ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system. It will also seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate the terms of regional or global security.

“It will attempt to dissuade any military competitor from developing disruptive capabilities that could enable regional hegemony or hostile action against the US and friendly countries.”

“Don’t even think about it” the great imperialist rivals like Germany, Japan, France and a host of newer powers like Brazil, are being told.

And to rub the point home the Pentagon plans arrogantly call for massive increases in military spending to over $500bn a year, contradictorily adding to the already giant and ever growing deficits of the American economy which are a major expression of the crisis problems.

The US ruling class strategy for economic survival for years now has been the endless inflationary pollution of the dollar which it had ensured, to its own advantage, was the world trading currency in the immediate aftermath of its World War Two victories.

Goods and services are paid for with paper dollars that will prove virtually worthless if they are ever redeemed.

But the Pentagon plan underlines that the US has no intention of ever letting anyone recover the full value they have traded with the US.

The world can go whistle for its money, we have the value in our hands and we are using it to keep you in your place is the message.

But this endless bullying cannot defy the economic laws of capitalist accumulation. The massive contradictions of the growing deficit mountain are already causing greater and greater tensions as the bourgeois press notes now and then:

Imagine you are an investor who has bought financial assets in a country that’s running a trade deficit of 5.8% of its national output. Imagine, also, that the size of that deficit grew by 17.5% last year.

What do you do? Well, if the country is Mexico or Thailand you head for the exit as fast as you can scamper, triggering an economic collapse in the process. That’s precisely what happened in the financial crises of the 1990s: the hot money poured in, current accounts ballooned and the hot money flowed out again. The country we are talking about is not Mexico or Thailand but the United States, which yesterday announced a record trade deficit of $726bn (£415bn) for 2005.

America has the sort of privileged status not available to any other country, partly because the dollar is a reserve currency and partly because it is not in the interests of America’s creditors to pull the plug. Central banks in Asia, particularly those in China and Japan, have amassed US treasury bonds worth hundreds of billions of dollars to keep their currencies low and exports to the world’s biggest market booming. For policymakers in Tokyo, Beijing or Seoul, pulling the plug on the US makes no sense since the inevitable plunge in the dollar would reduce the value of their assets and choke off growth. That’s not to say, however, that the current state of affairs can last for ever. Clearly, trade deficits of 6% of GDP are unsustainable. Clearly, the dollar has to fall. Simple game theory suggests that there is a real advantage in being the first central bank to move.

Revisionist delusions almost certainly mean that Beijing will still be counting on “peaceful growth” and “not rocking the boat” to an excessive extent – no bad strategy while imperialism has the upper military hand perhaps and major strides can yet be made as the account below indicates, especially while making highly sensible provisions for defending the Chinese state.

But not one to set an overall perspective by, any more than Stalin’s deluded expectations of Soviet growth overtaking the west, post Second World War, were anything but ultimately disastrous for Soviet strategy and all revisionist dominated communist leaderships world wide, by setting a general perspective of “peaceful overtaking” imperialism. The core abandonment of revolutionary understanding of the eventual end of capitalism thus implied has poisoned an entire generation (hence the turn to other militancy such as ostensible Muslimism) including that which eventually and incredibly liquidated the Soviet planned economy and its proletarian dictatorship defences (Gorbachev):

By 2050 China will have eradicated poverty, established itself as a world power in science and lifted the average lifespan of its billion-plus citizens to 80 years, according to two blueprints for the future published yesterday.

The social projections are contained in the China Modernisation Report 2006, drawn up by the country’s leading research institute, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. If the country can maintain its current 9% rate of economic growth, it predicts the average income in China will rise to $1,300 (£750) a month, about 10 times the current level.

In the past 25 years of expansion China has lifted an estimated 300 million people out of poverty, but there are still more than 80 million living below the government’s poverty line of less than 668 yuan (£48) a year. By 2050, the institute predicts that nobody will have to subsist on such a meagre income and everyone will have access to social services.

It says the middle class will also enjoy an affluent lifestyle that only a small minority can currently afford. Half the population - which will grow to about 1.5bn - will own their own car and be able to afford overseas travel.

The forecast is predicated on the transition of China from a predominantly agricultural society to a suburban, knowledge-based economy. This will entail moving 500 million rural dwellers into industrial cities, then 600 million city dwellers into hi-tech suburban homes. By 2050, 80% of urbanisation will be completed, the report says.

In a separate report, the state council (China’s cabinet) announced plans to boost investment in clean energy and nuclear power along with 14 other areas of scientific research. By 2020, it said, the country should be spending 2.5% of its gross domestic budget on research and development, double the current level.

By that time China would be one of the most advanced nations in the world in biotechnology and space exploration, fostering a “large number of world-class scientists and research teams”, and making major breakthroughs in energy exploration, energy-saving technology and clean-energy technology.

In the military field, it called for increased spending and forecast “the development of modern weapons and informationisation of the army to provide assurance for the safeguarding of national security”.

..In 2003 Chinese universities saw 817,000 science and engineering students graduate - about eight times the US tally.

US congressmen are warning that China’s economy will overtake America’s by 2050.

The Pentagon also singled out China as the only country with the capability to emerge as a military rival.

Powerful signs of Chinese confidence and all things being equal, even a likely development.

But all things are not equal. There is zero possibility that the world is going to continue in more or less the same balance for the next 50 years while the Chinese workers state is allowed to continue putting on weight untouched.

China’s huge economic use of capitalism means that it cannot avoid, to an unknown extent, being partly drawn in at least to the onrushing catastrophe of world trade and economic disintegration, due well before such decades-long perspectives have been fulfilled.

And there is also the guarantee of endless and relentless subversion and ideological undermining, covert operations and military pressure to be expected as the Pentagon plans make clear, calling for the training of linguistic skills, “with an emphasis on Arabic, Chinese and Farsi.”

And the desperate state of the capitalist world credit system is already so fragile that it could begin unravelling from a mass of trigger points, just as the world credit system imploded in the early 1930s from the defaulting of the tiny Credit Anstalt in Austria, revealing the hollowness underneath.

Currently fingers are all pointing at the new Euro-trading bourse which Iran is opening imminently, allowing the trading of oil in Euros as well as the traditional monopoly dollars, and which will have incalculable effects on the entire international finance system.

Its advent adds another layer to the reasons why imperialism is demonising Iran, with its monstrous CIA campaign to castigate it for the development of nuclear power and technology, which it is perfectly entitled to do under, even under the arrogant assumptions of the nuclear non-proliferation treaties (which give all the “rights” to have such weapons to those who happen to have got there first in their development).

But the increasing confidence of the Iranian regime in rejecting imperialist bullying and its growing assertiveness over questions such as the legitimacy of the monstrous Zionist state oppression of Palestine - none at all - is a powerful signal of the watershed transformations under way on the planet and especially as a result of the desperate failures of imperialism to cow the Middle East in particular and the world anti-imperialist sentiment in general.

And its impact is widening, drawing in support even from Pakistan despite its military coup western stooge leadership.

The world has changed, not least because capitalist production and technology has drawn the entire planet into its orbit. And now, most of all, the once ignorant or naive masses neither can or want to tolerate the appalling humiliation, oppression and desperation of their endlessly slave-driven half-lives.

There is a huge threat to capitalism. But it does not come from some bizarre “class of civilisations” insanity being used blame and scapegoat the world by the neo-con Empire. It is from the masses themselves, the world proletariat, created by capitalism and made into modern sophisticated humans no longer able to live within it.

Capitalism creates its own gravediggers as Marx said.

They may express their feelings in the strangest and sometimes most backward religious of forms as now with the continuing upheavals and riots over the Danish Mohammed cartoons, spreading further and further through the world, but it is a fundamental class anger and hostility, giving notice that the billions of the planet who are daily stripped of the value and wealth they produce by the rapacity and greed of imperialist capital, can no longer tolerate their condition.

“Free speech” does not come into it: this is a not “religious fanaticism” however superficially it seems so at first, and however much assorted mullahs, ayatollahs and immans may try to use it or ride it. It is part of a much broader sweep of rising universal hatred and intolerance of the old order which is translating into struggles from the Philippine island jungles to the Maoist mountains of Nepal, the concrete hellholes of the Palestinian Gaza strip to the fetid villages of Nigeria’s oil polluted river deltas, the thin aired valleys of Andean Bolivia, the humid heat of the Colombian forests and the coastal plains of Venezuela.

There is a billions strong ferment which will yet take a thousand sometimes highly confused and incoherent forms, anarchic and variously “religious”, secular, coca chewing or puritanical, national, sometimes socialist, on the way to working out its understanding and eventually Leninism.

And it has been given a huge shot in the arm by the disastrous failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan blitzkriegs. Imperialism has run into defeat; and defeat is the key factor that ultimately changes everything, the only way this now outmoded and out-of-time profit and exploitation system will be seen off the stage of history.

The warmongering begun in earnest already with the 1999 NATO onslaught on Serbia may have been a halfway success in getting warmongering back on the agenda, but despite barbaric and indiscriminate slaughter of tens of thousands (mainly civilian) in the next two countries, they have become a mess and a disaster of world significant proportions.

Both blitzings were intended to accelerate the warmongering momentum, providing a worldwide demonstration of the “shock and awe” intimidatory power of the huge American military machine.

It hardly mattered which countries were picked - the point was to make a general point of smiting intimidation aimed at all “upstart” thoughts of anti-imperialist resistance by the Third World masses anywhere, – and to demonstrate and “awe” the rest of the planet’s potential bourgeois challengers to American imperialist interest (notably France and Germany in Europe at the start of the Iraq war.)

But the imperialists have been set back on their heels by the incredible and developing resistance – still growing after nearly three years of occupation, attempted stooge manipulation and bullying blitzings, torture, assassinations, raids, skirmishes and “punishment” raids.

Even the most peaceable Iraqis have been educated and united in their hostility as the latest bourgeois press revelations make clear:

the people of Basra have consistently been bemused by reports that they and their city enjoy a state of calm and stability under the command of the British forces, in contrast to the north of Iraq and the so-called Sunni triangle. As someone born and bred in Basra, I hope that the recent images of British troops beating young Basra boys to within an inch of their lives will allow such claims to be laid to rest and show a fraction of the reality that has made life throughout Iraq a living hell.

When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke a couple of years ago, I recall a commentator on the BBC World Service smugly saying that the Americans were heavy-handed and undisciplined when it came to dealing with civilians, while the British were far more restrained, touring Basra in their berets as peacekeepers rather than occupiers. My estimation of the BBC World Service dipped when the other side of the picture was not presented.

The truth is that ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime, abuses and atrocities committed against Iraqi civilians have been a regular, at times daily, occurrence throughout the country, including in Basra. These have been committed by American, British and Iraqi official forces. Hearing the British prime minister describe this latest incident as an isolated case fills me and fellow Iraqis with anger.

It adds insult to very serious injury when we are told that this humiliation, torture and violence is the work of a few “bad apples”. From previous experience, the most we can look forward to is a whitewash inquiry and possibly a young, low-ranking soldier being made a scapegoat.

As a strong believer in the need for Iraqis to use the political process to bring about change, it is not difficult to see how innocent youngsters are radicalised and why they turn to widely available arms. Those who were beaten mercilessly while being mocked by the film-maker for their pain and humiliation will never listen to me or my colleagues when we try to win them over to peaceful ways of venting their anger and frustration. Their families, loved ones, friends and even those who see the horrific images on TV will be ever more convinced that such degradation can only be met with fire and force.

The allegation that insurgents have flooded into Iraq from neighbouring Syria and Iran may hold some truth, but the flooding I fear is the daily recruitment of insurgents by the brutal, inhumane and tyrannical treatment that young Iraqis experience every day at the hands of occupation forces, as well as the Iraqi government forces they support.

Although I and numerous members of my family suffered personally, physically and otherwise at the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime, and dreamed for many years of the day he would be gone, I always opposed the invasion and occupation of our country. Subsequent events have made me even more convinced of the fallacy and immorality of the military campaign that Britain and the US have pursued in Iraq. The biggest indictment of the war and occupation is surely that more and more Iraqis are speaking publicly of how life was far better when Saddam was in power - an achievement most Iraqis never imagined possible.

Tony Blair’s suggestion that British forces are in Iraq to educate Iraqis in democracy has only added salt to our bleeding wounds. This rhetoric harks back to imperial times when Britain was a colonial power and treated my forefathers, as well as many other peoples in the world, as backward savages. It hurts me that despite Mr Blair’s first-class education, he seems to have learned so little. Until recently, Britain was admired and respected by Iraqis. The few who had the chance to visit or study in the UK were looked upon with envy. The past three years have seen to it that that respect has been obliterated.

Iraqis have suffered immensely over recent years, first from the west’s support for a despotic dictatorship, then from 13 years of sanctions that ravaged the country, and finally from a war and occupation that reduced a once-affluent country and its highly-educated people to rubble and dust.

...I share with the majority of Iraqis the belief that the only way forward is the immediate departure of American and British troops from our country. ... Matters cannot get any worse, and they only became this bad because of the decision by American and British leaders to wage war against a people who were already suffering...

Dr Jasem al-Aqrab is head of organisation for the Iraqi Islamic party in Basra

.. the occupation and divide-and-rule tactics have spawned death squads, torture, kidnappings, chemical attacks, polluted water, depleted uranium, bombardment of civilians, probably more than 100,000 people dead and a relentless deterioration in Iraqis’ daily lives.

Much of this goes unreported in the British and American media, stripped of context or consigned to the small print. The headlines are reserved for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terrorism, Saddam Hussein’s farcical trial and the perennial “exit strategy”. We are fed the occupiers’ spin, while words of scepticism are deemed jarring. ...

A few days ago, a large-scale opinion poll conducted by Maryland University showed that 87% of Iraqis (including 64% of Kurds) endorsed a demand for a timetabled withdrawal of the occupiers. The findings were mostly ignored by the British media.

Admittedly, reports on the ground are difficult and dangerous. But while western media are not averse to revealing deceptions around the WMD scare and pre-war lies, occupier-generated news still takes pride of place, and anti-occupation Iraqi voices of all sects - particularly Shia clergy such as Ayatollahs Hassani, Baghdadi and Khalisi - are ignored.

A few months before US soldiers boasted of using white phosphorus, the BBC’s Paul Wood defended his reporting from Falluja in the November 2004 siege, telling Medialens: “I repeat the point made by my editors, over weeks of total access to the military operation, at all levels: we did not see banned weapons being used ... or even discussed. We cannot therefore report their use.” Doctors and refugees fleeing US bombardment talked of “chemical attacks” and people “melting to death”. But for the BBC, eyewitness testimony from Iraqis is way down the pecking order of objectivity.

It would clearly be wrong to portray victims’ claims as uncontested facts, but there is a duty to publish and investigate them. Had, for example, Iraqi families’ claims been highlighted shortly after the occupation began, the world would not have waited over a year to learn of torture at US-run jails. It was not until US soldiers gleefully circulated sickening pictures of tortured Iraqis that the media paid attention.

Many Iraqis have persistently accused US-led forces of “controlling” an assortment of death squads or private militias and “turning a blind eye” to many terrorist attacks. Almost every week, handcuffed and blindfolded men are found lying next to one another, each killed by a single bullet to the head. Who is methodically torturing and killing these people? Who has so far assassinated more than 200 academics and scientists? Iraqis not linked to the Green Zone regime are convinced that US forces and US-backed mercenaries are involved.

Support for some Iraqi claims, however, comes from unexpected sources: two US generals have admitted the presence of targeted killing squads, and last February the Wall Street Journal let slip the presence of six US-trained secret militias. In the same month, Lt General William Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence, told the New York Times: “I think we’re doing what the Phoenix programme was designed to do, without all the secrecy.” US death squads assassinated about 40,000 people in Vietnam before Congress halted “Operation Phoenix”.

A retired general, Wayne Downing, the former head of special operations forces, affirmed that US-led killing squads started operating immediately after the March 2003 invasion. He told a bemused NBC interviewer: “Katie, it’s a nasty situation in Iraq right now, and this may help it get better.”

But the occupiers’ “Sunni v Shia” mantra dictates the agenda and clouds the issues. The daily news intake is moulded by senior occupation forces’ PR officers and embassy officials camped in the Green Zone - once Saddam’s fortress, now a vast monstrosity housing the occupation authorities and their competing and corrupt Iraqi proteges of all sects.

The lie of WMD embroiled Britain in an immoral, illegal war. Disinformation about the war is the pretext for keeping troops and bases in Iraq. Cosmetic sovereignty and partial withdrawal will not convince Iraqis witnessing the completion of permanent US bases, and US advisers controlling “sovereign” ministries and planning back-door oil privatisation.

Only complete withdrawal will satisfy most Iraqis. And if genuine liberty and independence are not forthcoming, the spiral of violence will intensify from Afghanistan to Palestine.

· Sami Ramadani was a political exile from Saddam’s regime and is a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University

And the mess continues equally to educate the masses in Afghanistan too.

Five years after the Taliban were deposed by a US-led military alliance, Afghanistan remains entrenched in poverty. Intense frustration with the government, particularly among refugees who returned amid promises of change, is growing. The Observer has learnt that such is the demand among ordinary Afghans to leave that this weekend the Interior Ministry has run out of the basic materials to make passports.

According to human rights watchdogs, the huge increase in economic migrants exposes the shortcomings of Western-led reconstruction, estimated to have cost $8bn (£4.5bn) so far, failures which are disturbingly apparent in the overflowing slums of the capital, Kabul. Hundreds of thousands may have returned from Pakistan and Iran, swelling the city’s population to more than two million, but with local unemployment running at 70 per cent there is simply no future for them.

A United Nations report concluded last year that Afghanistan remains one of the world’s least developed countries, ranking 173rd out of 178 countries surveyed. For every 1,000 babies born in Afghanistan, 142 die before their first birthday. An Afghan woman dies in pregnancy every half-hour. Overall life expectancy is estimated at just under 42 years. Three-quarters of adults are illiterate and few girls go to school. But no problem haunts the country more than its displaced peoples - the UN estimates four million Afghans are refugees in Pakistan and Iran, and another two million are uprooted in their own country. The total, a fifth of the population, represents the largest refugee crisis in the world.

‘Refugees who returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban have become fed up with promises and not seeing much improvement practically,’ said Wadir Safi, a law professor at Kabul University. ‘Millions returned hoping some brave new world awaited them, but found no work, no housing and no hope. The billions of dollars’ worth of aid apparently given to date has made little difference to the lives of ordinary Afghans. Now the men have no option but to leave again, in order to support their families, who must remain behind. They may not be fleeing persecution this time, but they are escaping unimaginable poverty and can no longer sit by as their families starve.’

Last week, following a crisis conference in London, international donors, led by the US and the UK, pledged more than £5.9bn to Afghanistan in a wide-ranging reconstruction programme known as the Afghan Compact. President Hamid Karzai claimed much progress had been made and the money would ensure it continues. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: ‘The transformation of Afghanistan was remarkable, but incomplete.’ In Kabul people are asking: ‘What transformation?’

In the bombed remains of Kabul’s Ministry of Energy, Nasir Salam, aged eight, skips through the mud, his jacket flapping in the wind, exposing his skinny ribs. He is running towards a vast mound of rubbish where children are playing with kites, one of Afghanistan’s most popular pastimes, although the kites are composites of plastic bags and greasy lengths of string. The youngsters are badly malnourished, their hair and flesh a mass of sores, their chests wheezing. On the road that runs parallel to the slum, their mothers congregate, dressed in filthy burqas and chadris, eyes visible through latticed slits as they bang on car windows begging for money. Others like them had earlier caught a bus to beg in central Kabul, hoping that passing aid workers will spare a dollar. Idle men are everywhere, standing in small groups amid creeks of raw sewage.

Nasir and his parents are among hundreds of families who have taken up residence in this abandoned compound - most were refugees, encouraged to return home from Iran or Pakistan, after the fall of the Taliban but now destitute. The buildings where some are squatting have collapsed ceilings, but they offer some respite from the cold. Few charities come here. The only visitors in the past month have been officials from a government ministry who came to inspect the site and said they would evict the squatters and reclaim the land for the state.

Nasir’s father, Allahnazzar, 47, says he would leave, if he could. ‘What is there for us here? There are hundreds of thousands like us, perhaps millions. There is no work. We are squatting in the corner of a bombed building for shelter, there is no clean water and children die from disease here every month. Many friends who were with me in Pakistan after the Taliban took power have gone back to find work as labourers. Abroad they can work and send money back to their families to help them survive.

Such a desperate and callous reality under the fascist lies and bullshit about “bringing democracy” and “rebuilding lives” still astonishingly blandly pumped out by smug New Labour spin merchants unctuously sliding their greasy spin across the airwaves of radio and TV – with the tricky collusion of the middle class journalists whose “probing” questions never go beyond strictly limited boundaries – is feeding back into the worldwide resistance of the masses.

But while these disgusting closet-Mosleyites and the bourgeois “law professors” and “commentators” continue to “justify” the networks of secret and not so secret prison and detention camps now run by imperialism around the whole planet and the torture, inhumanity, and brutality imposed on those arbitrarily and without legal rights, picked up anywhere from the streets - including the heart of the USA or Britain, – this resistance will just keep on growing.

And the truth is that the messy, destructive civil and class war upheavals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, Nepal, and elsewhere and the assertiveness of “rogue” states like Iran, are just the early stages of the worldwide resistance finding whatever weapons it can in the absence of clear and coherent scientific leadership and guidance.

The absence will not last, as the EPSR 1254 pointed out:

Of course much of the militant Third World is an Islamic culture, and there will long continue some elements who fight imperialism claiming “Allah, o akbar” and other cultural rallying cries against the West.

But all this is utterly trivial or meaningless in the end.

It is an historic, global, anti-imperialist struggle which is now unfolding, — purely incidentally and by chance with some Islamic background and connections.

There is no “religious onslaught” going anywhere, — least of all the “capture of the world”. Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Hamas in Palestine, the Moslem Brotherhood, odd groups here and there, can be labelled all they like as the “core of the Resistance” but it is NONSENSE.

It is their anti-imperialism, inspiring billions who are NOT Islamic and have no interest in it, which is really worrying the West.

Painting it as “terrorism” and banning or imprisoning anyone who tries to understand it, speak about it and analyse it – other than cravenly to “condemn it” as the fake-”left” have done non-stop since 9/11 – will stop nothing, simply underlining the weakness of the imperialist system and its fears of the truth, and adding by its very repression to the pressures which are creating such upheavals in the first place.

The most extraordinary voices are being raised, normally such quiet parts of the establishment:

Slice by tiny slice, we are waking up in a society where our traditional freedoms are draining away. Surveillance and the Big Brother state are new realities.

We have already agreed that terrorist suspects can be held without charge or trial for 14 days... We will vote again today on Blair’s suggestion of 90 days’ detention, an interminable period for a person to be imprisoned without knowing the charges they face. The reason the Commons previously compromised with 28 days is because the Tories sound an uncertain trumpet on liberties. They fight with Labour for the support of authoritarian parts of our society. Those who care primarily for an ordered society are never too fussy who is hurt in the process, until their freedoms are at risk.

Yet these compromises have become corrosive. All the safeguards that have for centuries helped to secure the rule of law have been attacked as impediments to the fight against terrorism and crime. It is time to restate some ancient truths. We have always believed that it is better that the guilty should go free than that the innocent should be punished. Furthermore, anyone accused of a crime has the right to be judged by their fellow citizens on a jury. And no one should be detained for more than a very short period without being charged.

Even in wartime, we were much more careful of civil liberties. In 1940, when invasion threatened, we introduced Regulation 18B, allowing the government to detain anyone whom it believed to be a danger to the national interest. But those detained could appeal to the courts, and they were released in 1943 when the immediate danger of invasion was over.

We are now called upon to defend the civil liberties of small and unpopular minorities: those accused of terrorist crimes, those seeking asylum, those seeking to avoid deportation. But remember that all of us are minorities at one time or another. All of us could be wrongly accused. All of us could express views or do things the government does not like. We all of us sometimes do unpopular things.

...That is why we must not just oppose the illiberal measures that this government is bringing forward, notably this week the ID cards bill and the terrorism bill. We must also roll back Mr Blair’s previous incursions, such as section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, used to harass demonstrators such as Walter Wolfgang at Labour’s conference, or the restrictions on protest near parliament under which Maya Evans was convicted for reading a list of the war dead in Iraq.

Some Labour and Tory MPs now regret the protection that the Human Rights Act 1998 provides. But everyone needs such protection. With so few checks and balances on the government - elected with just a third of the votes...Our freedoms are at stake.

Chris Huhne MP is a candidate for the Liberal Democrat leadership

But even this formalised and tepid bourgeois liberalism is now too dangerous for the behind-the-scenes ruling class; it can hardly be a coincidence that three “scandals” should strike the LibDems in a row using information that has been available for years, suddenly released.

But the growing hostility of the masses even in the imperialist corrupted UK is such that all this has backfired too and the LibDems still astonishingly turned over a ten thousand vote majority of the New Labourites in Scotland, last strongholds of conventional working class support.

Illusion in parliament in the UK is now dead.

It cannot be much longer before the understanding of the working class begins to turn back to an understanding of communism. Another kicking has just been administered to the “corpse” but as this perceptive bourgeois press piece declares, it won’t lie down:

Last month, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes”, linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries”. Now Göran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign - including school textbook revisions, official memorial days and museums - only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Yesterday, declaring himself delighted at the first international condemnation of this “evil ideology”, Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

...The ground has been well laid by a determined rewriting of history since the collapse of the Soviet Union that has sought to portray 20th century communist leaders as monsters equal to or surpassing Hitler in their depravity - and communism and fascism as the two greatest evils of history’s bloodiest era. The latest contribution was last year’s bestselling biography of Mao by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, keenly endorsed by George Bush and dismissed by China specialists as “bad history” and “misleading”.

Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything become more extreme as time has gone on. A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling report by Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration. Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained that “different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many” and “a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive”. Perhaps the real problem for Lindblad and his rightwing allies in eastern Europe is that communism is not dead enough - and they will only be content when they have driven a stake through its heart and buried it at the crossroads at midnight.

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives - in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine. Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those “killed by communist regimes” (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler. The real records of repression now available from the Soviet archives are horrific enough (799,455 people were recorded as executed between 1921 and 1953 and the labour camp population reached 2.5 million at its peak) without engaging in an ideologically-fuelled inflation game.

But in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist restoration.

.. For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment, captured even by critical films and books of the post-Stalin era such as Wajda’s Man of Marble and Rybakov’s Children of the Arbat. Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far bloodier record of European colonialism - which only finally came to an end in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the globe in Stalin’s time. And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism. The terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German colonial regime in south-west Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel directly to the Nazi party.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labour and mass murder in the early 20th century; tens of millions perished in avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial history. Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonialists, but not a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe - nor over the impact of European intervention in the third world since decolonisation. Presumably, European lives count for more.

No major 20th-century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the current enthusiasm in official western circles for dancing on the grave of communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China. But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the new global capitalist order - and that any attempt to find one is bound to lead to suffering and bloodshed. With the new imperialism now being resisted in both the Muslim world and Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within the existing economic system, the pressure for political and social alternatives will increase.

Even some of the supposed “repression” was legitimate enough; desperate near civil war against vicious counter-revolution prevailed in the 1930s. But there were crimes aplenty too, the result of retreat from revolutionary understanding and party struggle by Stalinism.

While the “left” blocks the way by refusing to discuss and polemicise on Stalinist errors and Troskyite anti-proletarian over-reaction a new revolutionary socialist perspective is blocked too. And –

Killing this perspective has been the real aim of the neo-con counter-revolution.

As it once united the whole of the anti-imperialist world, so it must now return to unite the planet to a vision of a planned socialist world.

But the key to this, next time, must be the Marxist-Leninist understanding that no progress of any kind can be made without the REVOLUTIONARY DEFEAT and total destruction of the imperialist monopoly bourgeoisie which has ruled the world for the last 800 years and is now embarking on yet another World War and destruction just keep in power.

All compromise or “reform” plans for imperialist warmongering must go (Stalinism, Trotskyism, Trade-unionism, Stop the war coalitionism, etc, etc). The world will have no choice anyway. Imperialist warmongering will carry on until STOPPED.

And Leninism is the heart of the fight. Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
US big lies on “terrorism” exposed by protection for anti-Cuban cia thug in Florida

International terrorist Posada Carriles still protected by USA

• WASHINGTON (PL)—The United States is persisting in protecting international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and, after refusing his deportation to Venezuela, is to send him to a third country, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated.

The case under review by the Department of Homeland Security will be given a way out, as expected by specialists who doubted that the White House would act strictly in line with international law.

Posada Carriles, aged 77, is a known former CIA agent who was detained in Miami, Florida on May 17 last year, having entered the United States illegally.

According to Barbara Gonzalez, spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency is moving in the direction of sending Posada Carriles, to a third country.

This week El Nuevo HeraId daily noted that a Washington source commented that the criminal would not be released immediately. The conditions for his release are not favorable, noted the anonymous source.

ICE officials have until March 28 to make a final decision on the custody of the Cuban-born criminal.

Influential U.S. political figures and the media are calling on the White House to refuse political asylum for the detainee on account of his terrorist history and the consequences for Washington of giving refuge to a criminal.

Some 20 Congress members have asked President George W. Bush to refuse the asylum-application and allow Posada’s deportation to Venezuela, a country that has demanded his extradition as part of an agreement with the United States.

The legislators reminded the president that in his own speech of August 26, 2003, he stated that any country sheltering a terrorist, supporting a terrorist or feeding a terrorist is as guilty as the terrorist.

Some sources are suggesting that the criminal may be deported to a Central American nation, possibly El Salvador. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

Victims in Venezuela have proof of their torture and of murders

• CARACAS.—Torture victims and relatives of people assassinated by Luis Posada Carriles in Venezuela, when the terrorist was functioning in this country as a captain of the political police (DISIP), have in their possession documents from police records showing that individual’s responsibility in a long series of crimes.

In revealing to Granma International the existence of these documents, which strongly incriminate Posada, economist Jesus Marrero, who leads a group of Venezuelan terror victims, announced that they are considering taking their case directly to the U.S. courts.

The group would present this evidence of Posada’s participation in acts of torture, a crime that is non-prescriptive under U.S. law, with the purpose of filing a lawsuit against the terrorist.

“These documents of the DISIP intelligence authorities and military intelligence authorities contain sufficient legal arguments to hand them over to U.S. judicial authorities in the United States, who should take them into account when considering the release of a criminal of this ilk,” Marrero affirmed.

The 58-year-old Venezuelan was tortured by Posada in July of 1973, in the basement of the Venezuelan political police offices in the Caracas neighborhood of Los Chaguaramos, where Posada had created his own Abu Ghraib, and in a house in Macaracuay.

“The documents are revealing because there he appears as Comisario Basilio, with name and surname, the name on his ID when he was heading the brigade that arrested many revolutionaries, many of whom were assassinated,” Marrero emphasizes. He cites the case of the disappearance of Noel Rodriguez. “There, it is revealed that Posada’s brigade, his team at DISIP, was responsible for that disappearance and for the death of Jesus Maria Castillo. These documents confirm their direct responsibility in torturing and murdering many people.”

Marrero explains that his group possesses “the testimony of all those who were tortured, of all of the people who suffered torture and the relatives of those directly murdered by Luis Posada Car-files.”

“These two elements are more than sufficient for the legal, judicial proceedings in the United States, where there is a law against torture, to be able to put a person on trial for crimes against humanity,” he stated.

They made her miscarry

The group of Posada’s victims systematically looked for witnesses in locations where people were executed after being arrested under the orders of the same man who masterminded the sabotage of a Cuban passenger plane with 73 people on board.

“That was how we were able to document the case of La Victoria in 1972, where a child, Edmundo Hernandez, was arrested along with three comrades, from a house. The witnesses say that they were taken alive and later murdered. These are eyewitnesses; in this case, the aunts of the victims. Little Edmundo’s father was detained and killed by direct order of Posada.”

In addition, he notes, there is the murder of Brenda Esquivei, who was pregnant at the time. They beat her, and made her miscarry; they killed the child in her womb. For days during her capture, she had a uterine infection.

Marrero explains that Posada’s collaborators during that time included Henry Lopez Cisco, a CIA agent, now very closely associated with the Cuban-American mafia. During the failed coup against President Hugo Chavez, this individual participated in the attack on the Cuban embassy in Caracas, along with terrorists Ricardo Koesling and Salvador Romani.

“Lopez Cisco, who now belongs to the security agency of the opposition government in the state of Zulia, used to work with Joaquin Chaffardet, his buddy, in operations involving the illegal buying and selling of apartments and land.”

At the height of absurdity, Chaffardet who, with Posada, shared high-level responsibilities in Venezuela’s organs of repression, was the person that the terrorist’s defense lawyer used in El Paso, Texas, to prevent his extradition to Venezuela under the false argument that Posada could be tortured.

Marrero also cites another notorious torturer named “Harpan Vango,” who actively participated in the brutal operations of repression directed by Posada Carriles. Many of his subordinates at DISIP turned up later in El Salvador, where they joined in CIA-led operations during the so-called low-intensity war there.

“We even have documents that show how Posada and his people are implicated in drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations,” Marrero notes, remarking on the high quality of investigative work carried out.

Posada based himself in Venezuela under the orientation of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency during the late 1960s, and beginning in 1967, was part of the intelligence authorities of that country’s secret police, where he also functioned as a go-between with the CIA. In early 1974, when he left DISIP, he created a detective agency, along with Chaffardet, called Investigaciones Comerciales e In-dustriales (Business and Industrial Investigations).

This agency served as a facade for the organization of several terrorist operations carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean, and for preparations for the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean foreign minister, and his assistant, Ronnie Moffit.

Also for the mid-flight explosion of a Cubana Aviation passenger plane, killing 73 people on October 6, 1976, off the coast of Barbados.

“We want these documents and this testimony to serve to apply the full force of the law and for these terrorists to pay in prison as others have paid,” Marrero said, adding, “This same type of terrorist is the responsible for the death of our attorney general, Danilo Anderson; there is a direct connection between yesterday’s terrorists and today’s.

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