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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 1306 19th January 2007

Deranged Bush troop “surge” into Iraq quagmire against most ruling class advice only makes sense with a Leninist perspective which grasps the world warmongering drive being forced irresistibly onto imperialism. The same catastrophic crisis driving more Baghdad blitzings is pushing the US war drive into Somalia and stepping up the Nazi provocations against Iran, increasingly looking like the next victim. But the biggest conflicts are to come – between the giant imperialist rivals. Pacifist illusions can stop none of this but world mass resistance must grow with every further tyranny – and the fight for Leninism

The demented warship speech by Tony Blair last week on reviving UK “imperial” responsibility and wielding “hard power” (meaning indiscriminate military blitzing) to “defend our way of life” “freedom and democracy” and “the rule of law” was a more than usually foul mixture of colonial warmongering double-think and deranged arrogance.

Its stinking hypocrisy and lies comes just as the festering mess of civilian killing, social chaos, sectarianism, confused hatred and occupation torture imposed on Iraq is taken to a new level of depravity by the disgusting judicial lynch-law execution of Saddam Hussein, so extreme that it has managed to turn an anti-communist monster into a populist martyr, now underlined by the subsequent “accidental” beheading of his half-brother.

“Our way of life” means the lying Hitlerite war provocations whipped up by the raids and arrests of Iranian diplomats in Iraq, new warship threats off the Iranian Gulf coast and the sinister intimidatory plans to use nuclear weaponry against the country via the rabid Jewish-Zionist occupation in Palestine, all on the basis that Tehran has the temerity to develop nuclear power (just as every European country is currently doing).

“Our way of life” means insane allegations that Iran constitutes “an evil threat to the whole world” as groundlessly made as the WMD Goebbels lies against Iraq used to justify the destruction of more than 650 000 civilian lives. It is the recently “accidentally” admitted Zionist illegal possession of nuclear weapons which is the major threat which the West initiated and which it says nothing about despite 30 years of United Nations posturing resolutions.

“Our way of life” means the open arming, and political support of the petty bourgeois class-collaborating wing of the Palestinians, funding the traitor Mahmoud Abbas (so much the hero of the museum Stalinists in Proletarian), now turned totally counter-revolutionary and knifing in the stomach the legally elected Hamas Palestinian government. This anti-democratic violence is to try and finish it off by adding internal street fighting confusion to the 12 months of Zionist blitzing, siege, torture, and starvation siege imposed on the tormented civilians with western backing and approval ever since Hamas anti-Zionist militancy was properly and opening elected last February.

Freedom and democracy means the deliberately encouraged warlordism now re-established in Somalia by the illegal military invasion which the US prodded the stooge reactionary Ethiopian government to carry out, to slaughter the Islamic court regime which for the first time in 20 years had brought some kind of local stability after 25 years of permanent gangsterism hell. And it means more of the indiscriminate gung-ho mechanised slaughter that the unsanctioned direct US troop intervention has made, as immediately revealed in the bourgeois press:

US officials insisted the 10 people who were killed in the raid in southern Somalia were Islamist allies of al-Qa’ida. But a local MP, Abdelgadir Haji, claimed there had been far larger scale civilian casualties inflicted by the Americans and their Ethiopian allies.

Mr Haji said: “The number of the dead we have confirmed until now is 150 dead. But, every day, new reports are coming in and that number is expected to rise.

“America strikes from the air. Ethiopian tanks are coming in over land and the Kenyan border is closed. The people have no escape. Hundreds of cattle were killed and no aid is being allowed over the border. It is a hellish situation.”...

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged all sides in the conflict to spare civilians. It voiced concern at the growing number of victims and said 850 wounded had been admitted to medical facilities in Somalia in recent weeks. An ICRC spokesman said: “Obviously this concerns the US as they are involved in air strikes there. Our message is also to the Somali transitional authority, to the Ethiopian forces and Islamist fighters on the ground.”


The herdsmen had gathered with their animals around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes. But lit up by the flames, they became latest victims of America’s war on terror.

It was their tragedy to be misidentified in a secret operation by special forces attempting to kill three top al-Qa’ida leaders in southern Somalia.

Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets wanted for their alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The wanted men are Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani, who were all supposedly sheltered by the Union of Islamic Courts during its short reign in Mogadishu.

The operation, which opened a new front in Washington’s anti-terror campaign, seems to have backfired spectacularly in the five days since it was launched. In addition to the scores of Somali civilians killed, the simmering civil war in the failed state has been rekindled.

Yesterday concern was mounting at the high number of civilian casualties, despite a claim by the US ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, that no civilians had been killed or injured and that only one attack had taken place. The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, reported that an estimated 100 people were wounded in Monday’s air strikes on the small fishing village of Ras Kamboni launched from the US military base in Djibouti after a mobile phone intercept.

The operation was only confirmed by the Pentagon a day after it was launched and it continued despite international protests and warnings that it risked being counter-productive.

Yesterday the Americans had boots on the ground for the first time since a 1993 mission backfired and led to a humiliating withdrawal from Somalia. According to The Washington Post, a small number of US military personnel are in southern Somalia trying to determine exactly who was killed in the raids by an AC-130 gunship.

Oxfam - which had received reports from its Somali partner organisations about the herdsmen’s deaths - and Amnesty International have asked whether the air strikes violated international law.

“Under international law, there is a duty to distinguish between military and civilian targets,” said Paul Smith-Lomas, Oxfam’s regional director. “We are deeply concerned that this principle is not being adhered to, and that innocent people in Somalia are paying the price.”

There is also concern that the attacks by American and Ethiopian gunships have fanned the country’s civil war. Somalia’s main warlords yesterday appeared to agree to disarm their militias and form a new national army. But as the warlords met with the Somali President, Abdullahi Yusuf, gun battles raged outside the presidential villa underlining the scale of the security problems.

Somalia has witnessed a fresh surge in violence this week as warlords have fought to regain old ground and Islamists have attacked government forces and their allies. The Ethiopian military, acting in support of the US-backed transitional government in Somalia, had only recently routed the Islamists from the capital.

“Our way of life” is the warmongering horror of two international World War conflagrations (and the European inter-imperialist war of 1870 before them) and the ever growing threat of far worse warmongering to come as the greatest ever crisis of the capitalist system finally reaches breaking point and the enormous mountains of unpayable credit collapse in slump disaster.

So apart from total disgust at his slimy posturing as spiv frontman for the ruling class, one of the best responses that the working class could make to this shallow, spin-Blair would be “dream on” This almost senile and totally incapable parasitic British ruling class is a laughing stock.

Britain’s imperialist might, imposed by two centuries of piratical rampaging and colonising genocide (African slave trade, Aborigines, Native Americans, Maories, millions of Indians, Chinese etc) and exploitation plunder, was already rotting through at turn of the 19th century, rescued only by mortgaging its world domination to rising US capitalist power, from the First World War onwards.

It survives now only by playing a humiliating, joke, “Mini-Me” role to the reactionary neocons running Washington. And they are almost as decayed (and certainly as decadent).

However nasty it gets – and it is stinking of fascist-tending dictatorship already – Britain’s bourgeois order is not going to significantly change the fortunes of world imperialism. The entire system is running into its biggest ever crisis, which will make the 1914-18 and even 1939-45 war disintegrations look like tea parties.

Even the mightiest power on the planet, the phenomenally powerfully armed, rich and destructive US imperialism, is already reeling from the growing hatred of the world’s oppressed billions.

But beneath the asylum-Napoleon pomposity Blair assumes when trying to hold his own with his “betters” in the military and reactionary bourgeois Establishment, was at least more of a perspective than the entire 57 variety crew of fake-”left” reformists, revisionists and Trots ever manage to produce.

The struggle emerging across the planet which western CIA and MI5 Goebbels propaganda paints as the “war on terrorism” is akin to “the early stages of revolutionary communism”, he said, threatening the entire structure of the Western order.

He is right, unlike the fake-”left” and their endless condemnations of these struggles.

These are the early spontaneous signs of what can only mature into the most titanic struggle of all time against the ossified and now historically useless capitalist exploitation system, as conscious revolutionary leaderships are built.

A spectre really is haunting, not just Europe, but the entire capitalist planetary order.

And it is Marx’s “spectre of communism” however dimly and obscurely it can be seen at times through the smoke of confused religious militancy, Muslimism, and macho anti-imperialism which is currently holding the leadership and the decades of addle-brained misleadership by Labourism, Stalinism, and Trotskyism which lingers on.

It will be a painful growth. But it will be pushed along all the faster, the more imperialism lashes out in all directions to try and impose its “shock and awe” will on an ever more unravelling domination of the planet.

The foulest Goebbels spin in Blair’s speech of course is the continuing LIE that there is some apparently deadly “terrorist” force in the world which is intent on destroying the “fair and reasonable” capitalist way, for nefarious and “evil” purposes, all coordinated and controlled by sinister Dr.No-like masterminds sitting in hollowed out mountains.

This utter garbage only ever existed in the Hollywood fantasies created by capitalism itself, (originally aimed at demonising the powerful and successful – and utterly peaceful – Soviet Union and other successful workers states) and maintained now to keep populations in permanent fear and uncertain subservience.

Of course there is some terrorism, one response of the most brutally and genocidally treated masses on the planet to battle against their slow strangulation as in Palestine e.g. or against the feudal (not even capitalist) imperialist-stooging backwardness of Saudi Arabia which initially triggered the Al-Qaeda movement. As issue 1208 put it:

As the EPSR alone has been able to explain from the start, this “terrorism” is nothing but the world socialist revolution in its early, clumsy, own-goal-scoring, teething stages, — expressing, via inevitable, initial, spontaneous, anarcho-individualism, the serious class-war HATRED around the Third World without which there would never be the world socialist revolution.

But by condemning the obviously inadequate petty-bourgeois nationalism which inspires most of the present wave of “terrorism”, the fake-’left’ have only shown their own true class-collaborating colours.

When the ENTIRE ‘left’ swamp, from Lalkar to the Alliance, endorsed the cowardly idiocy which condemned Sept 11 as “an indefensible act of criminal terror” (Sparts), what it was cringing from was the stark reality that any serious international anti-imperialist revolution was undoubtedly going to entail HUGE destruction and bloodshed, utterly trashing most things sacred to the “Western, democratic, way of life”.

No one has to, or even could, “demand” such upheaval, “organise it” or even support it. It will inevitably happen.

The cause of all this – and the much more widespread fighting militancy that is emerging generally across the planet in the maturing movements like Lebanon’s Hizbullah, successfully fighting Israeli fascist civilian blitzings for example – is the endless imperialist oppression, and its monstrous exploitation which still leaves hundreds of millions of people on the planet condemned to near starvation, one billion with no decent water supply, two billions without proper sanitation (and disease that results) and uncountable masses with no education, no halfway decent housing, and no prospects ever of having even the basic niceties which they can see others with in the rich western countries. These are billions with no hope.

And they have been kept in their place by the endless wars, coups, manipulations, assassinations, death squad terror, massacres, and repression imposed by capitalism and the more than 400 brutal interventions it has made around the world since 1945 including several all-out blitzing wars like Korea and Vietnam destroying entire countries.

Saddam Hussein was typical of the stooge fascist anti-communism coordinated, funded and organised by western intelligence across the world, as some of the bourgeois press managed to partially spell out:

We’ve shut him up. The moment Saddam’s hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington’s secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA’s help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union’s influence in Iraq. Saddam’s mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq’s military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America’s request.

“Mr Fisk... at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon,” he said. “There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!”

I was with Saddam’s forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. ...Iran’s official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. “We started counting - we walked miles and miles in this fucking desert, just counting,” he said. “We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again ... The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination - the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies ... the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That’s why they spat blood.”

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. ... The lengthy negotiations which led to America’s complicity in this atrocity remain secret - Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan’s point-men at this period - although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, “United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War”, stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, and Escherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: “The United States provided the Government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including ... chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment.”

...We still don’t know - and with Saddam’s execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam’s foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft’s arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: “I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly... A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult.”

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because “it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales”.

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam’s excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

‘The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East’ by Robert Fisk is now available in paperback


Saddam’s trial and appeal had the outward show of a regular judicial procedure, but there were enough flagrant irregularities — with defence evidence routinely excluded by the judge, and the results of his appeal pre-announced by an Iraqi government official — to have reminded the defendant of the way he used to run things.

Other ironies include the expectation that Saddam’s execution will spark a further escalation of sectarian warfare. He always presented himself as a champion of nationalism, both Iraqi and Arab. It was this identity that commended him to his former sponsors in Washington, London and Paris.

That was a time when repressive Arab rulers could earn the blessings and support of Western powers so long as they kept their subjects in order, maintained at least some distance from the Soviet Union and, in Saddam’s case, obligingly confronted the ascendant regime of revolutionary Iran.

..By the time he was 10, he was warding off the threat of expulsion by threatening to kill his headmaster.

...he gravitated to the world of underground revolutionary politics, specifically the small, conspiratorial Baath party. Initially, the party employed him as a hitman, his first recorded victim being a local Communist party official.

His first major assignment was part of the back-up team for the assassination of Abdel-Karim Qasim, the leftist general who took power after the bloody 1958 revolution toppled the monarchy and ended British influence in Iraq. The attempt, in 1959, ended in failure when Saddam opened fire too early...

Saddam’s Egyptian exile was his only real experience of life in the world outside Iraq. It ended in 1963 when his Baath colleagues overthrew the tottering Qasim regime. After the coup, they launched a round-up and massacre of opponents such as the powerful Iraqi Communist Party, a move that was anticipated and applauded by coup sponsors at the CIA. “We rode to power on a CIA train,” the party’s secretary-general, Ali Saleh Sa’adi, admitted later.

The chief of the CIA’s Middle East division at the time, Jim Critchfield, later reminisced that it had been “a great victory”. Saddam was too junior in the party hierarchy to play much role in this Baath Government, which was booted out in another coup the same year.

Thereafter, however, he adroitly profited from the feuds and splits that beset the party, rising rapidly through the ranks thanks in part to his control of its internal security apparatus, an ideal vantage point for someone with his talent for ruthless intrigue. When the Baathists again seized power in 1968, Saddam became deputy to his cousin Hassan al-Bakr, who became President.

...Still quick with a gun, Saddam now showed considerable managerial talents. He supervised the takeover of control of the oil industry from a particularly rapacious foreign consortium. Craftily recruiting the Soviet Union (despite a career spent slaughtering Communists) as an arms supplier and superpower ally, he simultaneously offered alluring inducements to the French to break ranks with the rest of the consortium, including a guarantee of oil supplies if the French suffered a boycott from their outraged partners.

The scheme came to fruition in time for Saddam to profit from the 1973 Opec price rises. Fear, as generated by well-advertised atrocities, would remain the central component of Saddam’s political system, but with a torrent of oil billions to dispense, the Baath were able to create a newly prosperous and loyal middle-class. The mass of the population was equally grateful for dramatically improved health and education.

...the 1970s were a golden age, and when Saddam seized absolute power in 1979, murdering hundreds of real or imagined enemies, there was little sign of popular dissent.

The key to ensuring control and obedience from the burgeoning business class, as well as the party, officer corps and secret police forces, was a network of tribal hierarchies and alliances, all of which ultimately led back to Saddam’s own Albu Nassir clan. “The village conquered the city,” recalls one exile. “Saddam’s people operated according to tribal values.” It was this network, though without Saddam’s controlling central apparatus, that would provide connections, expertise and finance for the Sunni revolt against the US occupation that followed the 2003 invasion.

Saddam tried to seize Iran’s richest oil province in 1980. Worried also about Iranian Shia revolutionary appeal to Iraq’s Shia population, he thought that the chaos in Iran guaranteed a quick victory, not least because he had clearance from Washington for the adventure.

Throughout the eight years of slaughter, Saddam kept the support of other Arab states, who largely financed the war once he had drained his coffers...

Yet his loyalty to the Arab nation and Islam was strictly self-serving. In the 1980s he tacitly co-operated with the Israelis to prop up the Lebanese Christians in their civil war with Syrian-backed Muslim opponents. Nor did his pursuit of a nuclear weapon necessarily bode well for his Arabic neighbours.

Well before his scientists could give him the Bomb, of course, he invaded Kuwait. He did so under the illusion that Arab countries would rally to his support and that the US would offer him concessions in return for a withdrawal.

...Although he did crush the insurrection that followed the defeat, Saddam never recovered from the Kuwaiti disaster. The Americans left him in power when they could have displaced him, but only because at that time they preferred that Iraq be ruled by an enfeebled and isolated leader rather than be fragmented, with Iran profiting from the break-up. With the rise of the neoconservatives to power after 9/11, that policy changed and he was doomed.

In 2003 the invaders found a country in decay, the vaunted health and educational systems largely destroyed, thanks to the economic embargo of the 1990s. The one part of the system he created that still endured was fear. When that disappeared, he was lost.

One group that still feared Saddam after his downfall were his American conquerors. They believed that the insurgency was dependent on Saddam’s overall leadership. The failure of his capture to mitigate their woes was only one of many disillusionments that has dogged the ill-starred Iraqi adventure.

Andrew Cockburn’s latest book, Rumsfeld, His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, will be published by Verso in March

But the growing insurgency and anti-imperialist rejectionism spreading in not just the Middle East but well into Africa, the Himalayas, Indonesia and south-east Asia as well as throughout South and Central America is far more than a response to routine oppression – it is a response to total catastrophe as the entire eight centuries of the capitalist epoch is hitting the buffers and plunging into the greatest crisis disaster of history.

The increasingly threatened and panicky ruling class is making the only response it can to this intractable problem, the escalation of warmongering and world Nazi terrorising to try and bully and blitz its way out of catastrophe. It is the only answer the profit-hungry “logic” of capitalism has ever found to the disastrous convolutions of production for profit rather than need, which as Marx showed, must always end in an implosion of slump and collapse (see economic quotes).

But humanity has already gone through two world horrors as a result, killing and scarring hundreds of millions – and billions of minds across the world can sense, even if not articulate scientifically yet, that far worse lies in store driving the already matured hostility and hatred of their endless oppression to the surface and struggle.

Imperialism is hitting the buffers. But even as it turns to monstrous deliberate warmongering on a “shock and awe” scale greater than ever, its historical uselessness is undermining its own ruling class and its grip on things.

The stinking mess in Iraq and Afghanistan is now backfiring and massively feeding the hostility which produced the pinprick terrorism of Al-Qaeda (which was never a “world threat” to giant US military might however dramatic events like 9/11 were).

But the disastrous quagmire which the US imperialist onslaught has been bogged down in for more than three years by insurgency in Iraq will not stop the warmongering, despite the splits and turmoil which the these historical defeats have driven out in the American Empire ruling class.

Just the opposite. To the astonishment of the world intelligentsia, Bush’s seemingly deranged and perverse response to the growing public dismay is to escalate the war in Iraq. And simultaneously the neocon agenda is to expand the warmongering further afield, with the new attacks in Somalia and the massive provocations against Iran, increasing targeted and demonised as the next victim.

It makes sense only within a world historical perspective of the entire capitalist system in crisis – which none of the liberals can grasp or explain.

And neither does the entire fake-” left” which footles around permanently with partial, episodic and regional “explanations” about the “war for oil” or the “renewed greed and aggressiveness” of imperialism but never gives the working class the remotest idea of the overall perspective in which all this is happening.

Only Leninism is even beginning to grasp the understanding that an entire historical order of class rule is at stake and driving the ruling class willy-nilly as it faces the collapse of the capitalist profit system to be able to produce and sell its output at sufficient profit.

The point of “shock and awe” is to intimidate all the challenges to American monopoly world trading dominance, including the huge rivalries between the major and upcoming rival capitalist powers. There is not room for them all on the planet and ever less so as the saturation of the entire planet in surplus capital makes taking a profit ever more difficult.

Bush has several times made explicit that America “will not tolerate” any challenges to its dominance or even the appearance of trading and military power which might threaten it.

But as the EPSR has always insisted it is the huge unevenness and accumulated imbalances in the imperialist order which are driven to explosion point by the trade war collapses to try and sort things out by devastating military power. This anarchic inter-imperialist rivalry is a basic driving force as various straws in the wind are once again demonstrating.

The huge economic might of Germany, now once again the world’s leading exporter after being driven down into unemployment stagnation in the 1990s, is beginning to flex its muscles quietly for example:

Germany’s trade surplus unexpectedly grew to a record in October, underpinning optimism about the pace of recovery in Europe’s largest economy.

The surplus was 17.2bn euros (£12bn; $23bn) in October, driven by exports destined for outside the EU, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Analysts said that the strength of demand could carry through to 2007.

Mathias Rubisch, an analyst at Commerzbank, called the trade surplus figures “really astounding”.

Alexander Koch of Unicredit said October’s strong figures meant that Germany was again the “export world champion for merchandise goods in 2006”, topping the US for a fourth year in a row.

Reactionary Chancellor Angela Merkel’s moves to “restore the European constitution” reflect the background organisation of a major imperialist quietly preparing without overtly alarming the dangerous might of American imperialism.

Changes in Japan, also beginning to move economically after being forced into stagnation for 15 years by American currency war pressure, are even more explicit. Its quiet murmurings about the need to acquire nuclear weapons are moving fast as this almost unnoticed development makes clearer:

Japan’s military today emerged from decades in the political shadows when it was given full ministerial status as part of Tokyo’s recent moves towards a more aggressive international presence.

The move will give the ministry direct access to a budget - which until now has come through the cabinet office - and make it easier for Japanese troops to take part in overseas peacekeeping missions.

It is the latest in a series of reforms Mr Abe hopes will end decades of Japanese timidity on the diplomatic stage, following his troops’ relatively trouble-free humanitarian mission in Iraq and amid growing concern over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Abe is due to meet Tony Blair in London later today at the start of a European tour designed to shore up support for Tokyo’s hard line against North Korea and to forge closer ties with Nato.

“I would like to show them Japan’s will to actively contribute to the world,” Mr Abe told reporters in Tokyo, adding that he would explain to European leaders the “direction I am leading Japan and what kind of beautiful nation I am trying to build”.

He is also expected to seek European support for Japan’s attempts to settle the cold war abductions of its citizens by North Korean spies and Tokyo’s stalled push for a permanent seat on the UN security council, a move opposed by China.

The defence ministry’s new status was marked by a parade in Tokyo attended by foreign military officials and members of Japan’s self-defence forces in full regalia.

Fumio Kyuma, who became Japan’s first defence minister since the war, sought to reassure those who still harbour doubts about giving the military greater prestige more than 60 years after the war.

The new ministry, he said, needed to “transform itself both in name and as a policy-making body so that it can meet the expectations and earn the trust of the people”.

Mr Abe said: “I’m truly proud today on this occasion as the prime minister to have inaugurated a defence ministry, an organization with the responsibility for defence that is a nation’s inalienable sovereign right.

“This is a big first step towards building a new nation after emerging from the postwar regime.”

China, however, said the change was proof that Japan wanted to abandon the pacifism it embraced after the war. “On the surface it is only a slight change in words,” the official Xinhua news agency said.

“The difference in essence is fundamental. The moves provide sufficient reason for people to worry if Japan is able to stick to the pacifist path and to truly reflect on history.”

Last month Mr Abe’s government pushed through controversial changes to the postwar education law to require children to be taught patriotism as part of the national curriculum.

He has also vowed to revise Japan’s postwar constitution to enable troops to play a bigger role overseas, including coming to the aid of an ally under attack.

China’s extraordinary growth, using capitalist economic methods under planned workers state control both adds to the problems and muddies the waters, as it soaks up huge amounts of the American dollar debt which temporarily has held off the huge slump pressures under the capitalist surface.

Despite its often appalling revisionist perspectives it may well be able to avoid the worst impact of the disastrous collapses and conflict to come.

Illusions that Japan could ever “stick to a pacifist path”, if anything more than diplomatic speak, will not help the world understand what is coming. Conflict is inevitable and built into the nature of monopoly capitalism.

As the EPSR alone has maintained in the face of continuous fake-”left” ridicule or simply blank incomprehension, (or deliberate failure to understand built on petty bourgeois anti-communist hostility) inter-imperialist rivalry exacerbated by the collapse in profits, remains the immediate driving force of history.

Small wonder that besieged American imperialism cannot get off the warmongering reef it has been driven onto.

Pauses and further hiatus may well be on the cards as further defeats and blows rock the imperialist aggression back on its heels.

But it can never stop until capitalism itself is stopped.

The “surge” that will ultimately have the biggest impact on history is the surge in anti-imperialist resistance struggle and sacrifice that will be produced by every further stepping up of Nazi blitzkrieging on the world’s masses.

The huge movements in south America – now more and more overtly declaring for socialism and communism as Chávez has done at his latest inauguration - have already shown how the momentum is growing across the planet stimulated by the setbacks imperialism has suffered.

It is already clear in Somalia that the interventions will further create exactly the problems of “terrorism” (meaning violent resistance to imperialism) that they are supposed to be eliminating. It can only infect the rest of Africa which has long suffered the monstrous exploitation of imperialism.

The insurgency in the Middle East, for all its painful sectarian confusion and infighting will be further driven towards anti-imperialist coherency by the imperialist brutalities.

The great challenge now is to build and develop the conscious revolutionary understanding of the crisis and the struggle to finally overturn the stinking fascist mess that is the essence of all imperialism. The world struggle needs to step beyond the limits and anarchic difficulties of the existing leaderships, and the huge dangers of continuing “democratic” illusions which leave the South American tide wide open to western manipulation and counter-revolution for example.

It demands the revival of Leninism and its understanding of the revolutionary perspective and the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat to guard the gains made. Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

‘Clear picture’ of British/loyalist collaboration – British engaged in ‘butchering’ civilians

Widespread collusion between British state forces and unionist paramilitary death squads was behind many, if not all, of a string of gun and bomb attacks on both sides of the border that resulted in the deaths of 18 people during the mid-1970s. That was the conclusive finding of an Oireachtas committee report published on Wednesday, 29 November.

A subcommittee of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice said people working directly for the British state were “engaged in the creation of violence and the butchering of innocent victims”.

The subcommittee’s inquiry which examined the findings of an earlier investigation by Mr Justice Henry Barron into nine attacks, including the bomb attacks on Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk, County Louth and the Three Star Inn in Castleblaney, County Monaghan as well as the Miami Showband massacre, said it believed that unless the full truth about British-loyalist collusion is established, and unless those involved admit to or are fixed with responsibility, there cannot be closure for the families of the victims.

In its report, the subcommittee said there were acts of “international terrorism” that were colluded in by British forces. “The British government cannot legitimately refuse to cooperate with investigations and attempts to get to the truth,” it said.

The committee also found that the British cabinet was aware of the level to which its armed forces had been infiltrated by unionist paramilitaries and said there was an inadequate response to this.

The subcommittee said it further believed that unless the full truth about collusion is established there is always the risk of what occurred in the 1970s would occur again. “We are of the view that these matters cannot be swept under the carpet,” it said.

However, much to the disappointment of survivors and relatives of those killed the subcommittee fell short of calling for a full public inquiry into the atrocities. The report’s authors said that collusion was “widespread” and “endemic”, but rather than a public inquiry, they called for a Dáil debate as a catalyst for further action and for the British authorities to look at the findings.

No more excuses

Commenting on the Report Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Cáolain said Taoiseach Bertie Ahern should accept no more excuses from the British government and should press for full disclosure about the role of collusion in its war in Ireland. He called again for the Taoiseach to demand a special summit meeting with Tony Blair devoted solely to the issue of collusion.

“Today’s report is yet another nail in the coffin of British government credibility on the issue of collusion. It reinforces the case that the Mid-Ulster UVF, which was responsible for the fatal bombings at Dublin, Monaghan, Dundalk, Castleblaney and other attacks, acted in collusion with British crown forces. The Report again highlights the fact that the Mitchell farm at Glenhane, County Armagh, was the UVF base for attacks, that members of the RUC and UDR were members of the gang and that British crown forces at higher level were well aware of what was going on there”, he saw

“In addition the Committee has again criticized the British authorities for their failure to co-operate with the Barron investigations and with the Committee’s own work.

“The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern should accept no more excuses from the British Government and should press for full disclosure from that Government and all its agencies about me role of collusion in its war in Ireland. Successive reports and investigations, including today’s, have shown how unionist paramilitaries were used by British armed forces, including the British Army, the ruc and mi5, as surrogates in their war. Civilians in Ireland were deliberately targeted in order to terrorise the entire nationalist population.

“This report again underlines the need for a special summit meeting between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister devoted solely to the issue of collusion”, said Ó Cáolain.

Dublin did not do enough

Significantly the report noted the failure of the authorities in the 26 Counties to properly attempt to identify and bring to justice to the perpetrators. The

Irish government complained to the British government in August 1975 that four members of the ruc in the Portadown area were also members of the UVF. The subcommittee said it could not understand why the documentation in relation to this stops dead in its tracks on 3 September, 1975, given the gravity of the issue.

The committee acknowledged the enormous suffering endured by both the victims and their families.

In relation to the Miami Showband murders, it noted that three serving members of the UDR, now theRIR, were convicted and two other serving members of the udr accidentally blew themselves up at the scene of the attack. They noted the conviction of three ruc officers in connection with the attack on the Rock Bar in County Armagh in June 1976.

Fine Gael followed British agenda

Speaking following the release of the report last week, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said that former Fine Gael Ministers have serious questions to answer about their inaction during the British intelligence backed loyalist bombing campaign of the early 70s.

Speaking on Thursday, 30 November, the Kerry North TD said: “Over a period of 30 years British forces including mi5 colluded with loyalist death squads in the murder of hundreds of Irish citizens. Yesterday’s Oireachtas report was deeply shocking detailing as it did widespread collusion in the deaths of dozens of people in this state in the 1970s. There are serious questions to be answered by both the British and Irish governments including those Fine Gael ministers who headed the government in this state in the mid 1970s.

“While Enda Kenny is correct in stating that hard questions must be asked of the British authorities, following his belated acknowledgement of their involvement in the murder of Irish citizens, his own party has many questions to answer. Former Ministers and the Taoiseach from the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of the 70s during, which the most serious and murderous of the activities referred to took place need to explain their inaction and the indecision. Indeed, Deputy Kenny was himself a member of that government, and may be able throw some light on the murky machinations of his part at the time.

“At that time Fine Gael denied the existence of, and failed to investigate, substantial evidence of British involvement in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. This included their failure to follow up on an admission from the British government, detailed in a memo released during the summer, that they had evidence the perpetrators of the bombings had recently been interned. The Fine Gael/Labour government led by Liam Cosgrave made no effort to extradite the suspects indicated or to even question them about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The information was kept secret and the families of those killed were never informed.

“All of the British inspired incidents were designed to influence the political agenda in this state and Fine Gael above all others were most willing to follow that agenda. The only way that this injustice can be tackled is for the Irish government

British cabinet knew killer identities

Within weeks of the infamous Miami Showband massacre on 30 July 1975, the identities of those who carried it out was known to those in the highest levels in the British government, according to the report.

The Miami showband played its final gig in the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, County Down. In the early hours, the group left the town to head south in a minibus where they were flagged down by a group of armed men near the border. Believing it to be an official British checkpoint, they stopped. The band’s members were told to get out with their hands up. A few seconds later, there was an explosion, killing two of the armed men. This was followed immediately by gunfire that killed three of the group - Fran O’Toole, Anthony Geraghty and Brian McCoy. Stephen Travers was badly injured and Des McAlea managed to escape by fleeing across a field in the darkness.

Two serving members of the Ulster Defence Regiment were charged with murder, convicted and sentenced to 35 years, while a third was arrested later and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr Justice Henry Barron noted that a former RUC officer, John Weir, alleged the bomb used in the attack had come from a farmhouse at Glenanne which was frequented by British army intelligence.

The Miami case, and others investigated by him, said Judge Barron, “paints a clear picture of collaboration between members of the security forces and loyalist extremists. The inquiry would be shutting its eyes to reality if it accepted that such collaboration was limited to the cases in which collusion has been proven.”

By September 1975, the identities of the death squad was known, judging by minutes of a meeting involving then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Britain’s Direct Ruler in the Six Counties, Merlyn Rees, the future British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Airey Neave, the Conservative Party spokesman on the Six Counties, who four years later was killed by the INLA.

The Oireachtas joint committee report concluded that “it was unfortunate that certain elements in the police were very close to the Ulster Volunteer Force and prepared to hand information to, for example, Mr Paisley. It [ the minutes of the meeting] states the army’s judgement was that the UDR was heavily infiltrated by extremist Protestants who could not be relied upon to be ‘loyal’ in a crisis.

British must cooperate - Ahern

In the wake of the damning collusion report, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said it was now “absolutely essential” that the British government co-operated fully with investigations into the allegations.

Seeking co-operation from the British authorities, the Taoiseach said the finding that they co-operated with unionist paramilitary death squads was “deeply troubling”.

Saying that he had been “in touch” with the British government on the issue , Ahern said: “It is absolutely essential that the British government examine the findings of all of these reports, as well as the forthcoming MacEntee report (into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974) and that it fully co-operates with all investigations into the serious issues mat have arisen.”

Copies of the latest report, and three previous ones, were sent immediately to British direct ruler in the North Peter Hain.

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó ’Snodaigh welcomed the fact that the Taoiseach was to raise the issue with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair during their talks in London on Monday.

The Dublin South-Central TD said: “Last week’s Oireachtas report into the role of the British State in the murder of citizens, through their policy of controlling and directing the activities of unionist paramilitary gangs, was the latest in a long succession of irrefutable evidence, which has recently emerged about the extent of the British state involvement in the murder of citizens across the island of Ireland.

“I welcome the fact mat me Taoiseach is finally to raise these issues with the British Prime Minister during their talks in London today. Bertie Ahern needs to make it very clear to the Tony Blair mat the policy of concealment and cover-up, which has marked their approach so far to this issue, has to end. It is no longer an option for the British government to ignore inquires like that established by Justice Barron.

“The families of those killed by the British state through collusion have long demanded an independent, international inquiry into these matters as the only way in which the truth can be revealed. Sinn Féin absolutely supports these families in their campaign.

It is now vital that the Taoiseach adds his voice to this call and ensures that the British government will be required to co-operate with such an inquiry in the future.”


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