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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 1401 13th February 2012

Demented anti-Syrian lie campaign is not just to intimidate the rising mass resistance of the Arab world and wider Middle East. It aims to stampede the whole world towards the next phase of vicious destruction and war which is capitalism's only way out of its greatest crisis failure. Its out-of-time greed and profit system has returned to Slump and Depression to be imposed on all the world as the finance and political chaos spreads. Iran is the next on the list as the catastrophic meltdown collapse of monopoly capitalism drives it all the way to total all out World War. But despite the gigantic spontaneous revolts and heroism of Cairo and Tunis, the missing ingredient everywhere is the conscious revolutionary understanding of Leninism, almost stifled by the last century of revisionist retreats into social-pacifism and anti-communist fake-"leftism". A gigantic debate to re-assess the errors of the first great socialist experiments and rebuild Leninism is now crucial

The play-acting "apoplexy" of Hilary Clinton and William Hague over United Nations vetoes on Syrian sanctions – absurdly pretending to be "shocked by the callousness of Moscow and Beijing" even as they themselves trample ordinary workers lives into Slump and Depression at home, – has nothing to do with "stopping the violence" and "ending the attacks on civilians" in Homs or anywhere else.

Firstly the "horrifying" accounts of supposed atrocities and "mass murder" are the most outrageous one-sided lying campaign of lurid exaggeration and outright fabrications by the Western intelligence agencies and media, twisting an incident in a now brutal civil war to blame it entirely on Damascus when it is the inevitable outcome of the violent attacks that the West itself has provoked in the country.

Secondly the "anger over atrocities" is nothing but the most cynical crocodile tear deceit from a Western world domination that has overseen and imposed dozens of stinking fascist stooge and gangster torture regimes since the Second World War to maintain its world exploitation, involving tens of millions of deaths and massive terrorisation (four million killed and many more maimed in Vietnam alone, and almost as many in Korea, by horrific bombardment but many millions by starvation, disease, and the grinding despair of poverty and virtual slavery on plantations and in sweatshops).

The lying Washington "heartfelt" concern and "disgust at the betrayal of ordinary people" larded with the usual charade of supporting "freedom and democracy" would be the foulest hypocrisy even just after the nearly two decades of NATO Nazi torture, blitzing, and wide-scale destruction against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Serbia, and most recently Libya, all reduced to pulverised rubble, warlordism and corrupt squabbling by barbaric blitzkrieg supposedly for "democracy".

Endless "collateral damage" of civilians by cold-blooded robotic "Terminator"-style drone "Hellfire" killings in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen etc, which "take out" daily in flesh-shredding explosions not just anyone with a simple Kalashnikov who presumes to resist Western occupation and world oppression, but families and bystanders by the dozen, goes unremarked.

Coups and counter-revolution continue in Latin America, the Honduras reactionary violence and death squad regime and the even more disgusting "paramilitary" fascist violence of Colombia never meriting a word of mention in the press or United Nations despite a post-war record of monstrous atrocities and massacres, most guided by the barbaric training in torture, violent intimidation and sabotage given to thousands of military and police by the Pentagon and CIA at the Fort Benning facility in the States, the former notorious School of the Americas.

Tens of thousands have been slaughtered in the repression by its graduates in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, in the "disappearances" of Argentina and Brazil, and most notably of all, under the Pinochet fascist torture regime in Chile.

And all that without mentioning the non-stop Zionist persecution of the 8-million strong Palestinian people in ever-expanding land occupations and theft by ethnic cleansing and persecution, backed up by the routine weekly and daily shellings, fighter plane terrorising, starvation siege blockading and mass imprisonment, internment and torture (of young teenagers as well as adults), as well as intermittent larger-scale all-out "collective punishment" onslaughts like that in Gaza in 2008, using the foulest illegal weapons from bone-burning white phosphorus, and vicious "flêche" canister bombs to deadly high explosive anti-personnel weapons.

Palestine is truly state terrorising of a whole nation on a genocidal scale (a word used in its proper sense for this, unlike the tired repetition by the Western propaganda machine of "genocide" against each and every set-up target scapegoat for bullying demonisation, from Mugabe to Bashir, from China to Korea, over the smallest, and usually unproven, incident).

Racist apartheid suppression and slaughter in rebellious besieged prison-camp Gaza especially, but against all Palestinians, has gone on for decades of the most appalling human misery, deprivation and suffering, imposed and maintained by the utterly artificial Zionist occupation arrogance which survives only because of lavish Washington (and Obama supported) subsidies and annual arms supplies worth billions of dollars, paid to maintain this vile fascist jackboot on the throats of the Arab world and wider Middle East (including war-damaged Syria, still dispossessed of its Golan Heights after 30 years).

Thirdly, the UN sanctions motions and international "pressure" have got nothing to do with "saving lives and bringing freedom" anyway.

They have everything to do with intimidating and further suppressing the great mass revolutionary upheavals in the Middle East (Egypt, Tunisia and the Gulf states – but not its the NATO inspired and coordinated counter-revolution in Libya), which have erupted because of capitalism's world crisis, and with reimposing Western colonialist diktat on any country which offers too much resistance to Washington.

Fourthly and above all it is for keeping the pot boiling on world wide warmongering and militarisation, after decades of "never again" supposedly permanent prosperity and "democratic" peace, because capitalism desperately needs war again as a diversion and scapegoat from its catastrophic crisis collapse.

War has long been monopoly capitalism's central (and only) strategy to get out of its regularly returning and ever more cataclysmic economic Slump failures by diverting attention and scapegoating everyone else as the "cause" of the shattering disintegration for which its profit making system alone is responsible.

This goes far beyond simply suppressing existing anti-imperialist states, and even sabotaging the Arab Spring with deliberate mayhem.

Overall war is the what the West wants, World War Three.

It has been pushing this diversion to distract attention from its deepening crisis for two decades (Iraq blockade, Sudan, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq war etc) and particularly since the post-9/11 shock attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon which, though inconsequential relative to the historically unprecedented size and power of the United States, shook the ruling class to the core.

But there is an ever greater stepped-up urgency since the interlocked "free market" hit a brick wall in 2008 and went into credit freefall ever since, kept breathing only by the insane printing of not millions, not billions, but multiple trillions of worthless dollars, pounds, roubles, lire and francs etc etc (with another massively inflationary burst of "quantitative easing" just released by the Bank of England proving its ineffectualness).

As Leninism alone has constantly warned for thirty years, capitalism is stuck in a disastrous spiral into the greatest catastrophe in history (which such extra QE credit will only accelerate).

The euphemistically described "credit crunch" was confirmation and vindication of this scientific method which alone correctly predicted and continues to describe the reality of the world against all bourgeois philosophy.

Despite the endless wriggling and writhing of liberals, reformists and fake-"lefts", desperately looking for a completely nonexistent "better kind", "more strongly regulated" or "properly controlled", "fairer" or more "people orientated" capitalism that would get them off the hook of revolutionary conclusions, the world is deep into the greatest crisis of all history as even the Governor of the Bank of England repeatedly spells out.

It is bringing the greatest disintegration and destruction ever, on the scale of the two world wars already experienced in the twentieth century but magnified a hundred times over because of the far greater dominance and penetration of capitalism into every corner of the world, its absurdly credit-extended "boom" which has put off the resolution of its intractable contradictions far longer than ever before, and the staggering power and quantity of the weaponry now available.

Only destruction on a scale far beyond that of the Second World War, which took 70 million lives and devastated resources, industry, infrastructure and the societies of entire countries (including the giant German and Japanese powers, only revived later for anti-communist purposes), could possibly restore capitalism to a path of "growth", by clearing away the massive "surplus" of production capacity and investment capital which is clogging the world economy.

The plunge into world bankruptcy and Depression, and the savagery of currency and credit wars, have multiplied hundredsfold meanwhile, anti-imperialist sentiment across the world which has been steadily growing against the degrading, humiliating and repressive exploitation imposed on the vast majority of humankind by the overwhelming power of big investment money and the tyrannical force which backs it up, directly and by threat, through invasions and coups and terror, imposed by Western military might and by the dozens of torturing, massacring, fascist stooges and gangster governments put in to power and kept there in the interests of imperialist monopoly capitalist rule and profit

The great masses know and understand ever deeper the enormous potential of the constantly greater world resources, technology and inventiveness to haul them out of the enforced ignorance, poverty, degraded unsanitary living conditions, frequent starvation and miserable antagonisms of the daily struggle to survive, that they are forced to endure in the interests of providing the bulk of the value they create through their work, to the capitalists, feeding their grotesque power and indolent, wasteful pointless luxury lives.

And they increasingly cannot stand or tolerate the contradictions and monstrous unfairness any more.

Revolt has been building everywhere for decades, exploding in the multiple desperate struggles from insurgencies to suicide bombing, often confused, often self-contradictory, often set back in despair and grief, and hampered by backward illusions in religion, and limited local nationalism but always slowly climbing higher and higher towards a time when they will erupt unstoppably against the capitalist world and overturn its vicious arrogance and stultifying stupidity for good, to build something completely different serving the interests of all, and allowing the great majority the chance to develop their talents and individuality for the first time in history, releasing the gigantic, now mostly wasted, undeveloped or misdirected, genius of the 7 billion majority on the planet.

That is a planned socialist world, with internationally coordinated, commonly-owned production, serving all with plenty of the necessities of a civilised and cultured existence, freed of consumerism and in balance with nature able to sort out all the deadly contradictions of capitalist waste, pollution, environmental damage and intellectual philistine backwardness fostered by fatuous consumerism.

It will require the imposition of the rule of the majority to get there, via the revolutionary ending of capitalist power and the imposition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

With the onset of the historic crash in capitalism this struggle has already climbed to new levels, expressed in the stunning, huge, spontaneous upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia which not only demonstrate a staggering heroism and willingness to take on the most vicious torturing stooge regimes for imperialism but reach a qualitatively different sustained mass revolt from the insurgencies, "terrorism" and desperate suicide tactics of the previous period.

Compounding the rapidly accumulating problems facing a desperate ruling class even further, are waves of strikes, street demonstrations, riots and occupations which will only increase throughout even the most "advanced" and wealthy countries as "austerity" (meaning deprivation, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, benighted old-age, desperation and despair) are forced down onto the ordinary people, whole lifetimes of labour, scrimping and saving thrown on the dustheap by the confidence trick fraudulence, incompetence and greed of capitalism.

The persisting Cairo demonstrations, uproar in Nigeria, and renewed upheaval in Athens are all early warnings for the ruling class of what will become universal as its complete inability to "solve" the crisis and "restore" growth becomes more and more obvious to even the most trusting believers in capitalism "always finding a way out of its difficulties".

The Greek working class is already in almost non-stop turmoil as this smaller, weaker capitalist economy is made one of the early victims of the Euro collapse turmoil (which itself is simply a symptom and expression of the underlying capitalist antagonisms and bankruptcy, forced into the dirt by the bullying impositions of the larger financially stronger powers and particularly domineering Germany).

But Slump impositions on Europe will not stop there. Other vulnerable economies like Spain, Portugal, Ireland and even the largescale economy of Italy are all on the edge, virtually all pretences of "democracy" already torn up by the ruling class as it desperately tries to impose the crisis on the working class through "austerity" and slashed wages and conditions, (heading all the way down to Third World levels as Athens is already demonstrating).

Turmoil is already ripping through the equally vulnerable capitalist restorationist economies of Eastern Europe, where the petty bourgeois stooge governments for counter-revolutionary privatisation and Western bank plundering after the alleged "collapse of communism" have virtually collapsed themselves in recent weeks, bringing governments to implosion point in particularly Romania and Hungary, both almost bankrupt and savaged by the credit crunch austerity demands of the monopoly capitalist "markets" and international bank rapacity.

The increasingly vocal demonstrations there may not yet be any kind of coherent demand for a return to the socialism and workers states of the past but their hostility to the corruption, inequality and pocket lining of the post-Berlin Wall capitalist carpet-baggers is an interesting development.

Some demands for a return to communism are certainly in the mix but a return to revolutionary Leninist understanding – the crucial need – has not shown any obvious appearance yet, and the legacy of deadening Stalinist revisionism may well still hamper any immediate enthusiasm.

But Leninist analysis has speculated from the first moments of "the end of communism" in 1989 that the capitalist crisis must eventually unlock again the great social and historic changes that transformed life for the better under communism, most of all as the shallow glitzy consumerism of the West has proved itself a hollow sham.

It is a question of realising that the liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the interest of opening up the USSR to the supposed "wisdom of the market" was possibly the most the pointless and stupid decision of all time – the Gorbachevite revisionist stupidity that will go down in history as the most inappropriate and mistimed idiocy in human experience.

That will take huge re-assessment of the errors and difficulties of the revisionist leadership of this stunning historic Soviet step forwards for mankind which has irrevocably changed human history for ever despite the temporary reverses of oligarch counter-revolution.

Everywhere they look the capitalist ruling class sees enormous problems and potential revolutionary explosiveness.

And the only answer is war.

But nearly a decade and half of now non-stop warmongering and NATO-Nazi blitzing has not only failed completely to pacify the world and keep it under the imperialist thumb for continued exploitation but has stirred worldwide hatred and rebelliousness to completely new levels and on a massively increased scale, as even the more rational bourgeois observers predicted would be the outcome from the beginning,

Every B52 bomb destroying yet another village and every revelation of yet more prison camp torture, every new Wikileak revelation of further atrocities like helicopter gunship killings of photographers and children, the "kill squad" who murdered civilians for fun, keeping count by collecting thumbs (and have just got off scot-free), acts as a highly efficient recruiting sergeant for thousands more insurgents.

So too will the just revealed British establishment cover-up of airforce killings of beaten up prisoners being transported in Iraq, and new information like this for example from filmmaker Nick Broomfield :

It was more than six years ago, but the massacre that took place at Haditha, western Iraq, in November 2005, still resonates in the Middle East. The now notorious war crime, which left 24 Iraqis dead, became one of the defining atrocities of the war, and the taste remains all the more bitter for survivors – some of whom are children who lost parents in the attack – with the knowledge that not a single US marine has been brought to justice.

The soldier who led his unit into the houses of innocent civilians and shot to kill, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, has been giving evidence in court in the US this week. The trial takes place against a backdrop of failed prosecutions, bartered immunities and botched investigations. Yet the need for a conviction and the acceptance of wrongdoing at the hands of American troops remains of the utmost importance if the US is ever to lay claim to the idea it has a determination to uphold the rule of law.

Following an IED explosion inside the city that killed Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas and injured two other marines of 3/1 Kilo Company, the rest of the unit went on a rampage under the leadership of Wuterich. A taxi driver and his passengers were ordered out of the car and shot dead, nearby houses were subsequently raided, sprayed indiscriminately with bullets and hand grenades. Among the dead were a large number women and children. What followed was an attempted cover-up, with press releases describing the civilian casualties as a result of the initial bombing . It wasn't until probing by Iraqi human rights investigators and US journalists that the truth began to emerge. This was Bush's My Lai, or, as Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha later put it: "cold blooded murder".

My film, Battle for Haditha, which recreated the incident in all its brutality, split critics along political lines and drew cries of "unpatriotic" at a screening in front of marines in Los Angeles. Eight of those charged had their charges dropped and one was acquitted, leaving just Wuterich to stand.

But if there was any doubt that the killings that day could be classed as anything other than war crimes, a number of incriminating documents have come to light in the past few weeks that place guilt beyond doubt. Some 400 pages from the military interrogation of the offending troops, which should have been destroyed as the Americans left Iraq last year, were uncovered by a New York Times reporter at a junkyard in Baghdad. One statement from a marine says Wuterich told his men to "shoot first and ask questions later", another witness recalls seeing Wuterich and other marines telling occupants of the taxi to kneel down before spraying them with bullets, . One statement from soldier Steven Tatum, who has already been granted immunity, shows he changed his recollection of the day to admit he knew he was firing upon children at the time. Also recovered are the failed polygraph results of Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, who responded "no" on both counts when asked if he shot men at close range and kneeling down, and who later confessed he was told by Wuterich to lie about what happened that day.

Of course we should be wary of only blaming the foot soldiers. We should question the rules of engagement they were operating under and understand that many of those involved that day had previously served in Fallujah, where indiscriminate killing was carried out without reproach.

When researching the film I interviewed a number of troops from Kilo Company, none of whom are implicated in the crime but who arrived at the scene shortly after. Their mentality is difficult to put into words. Anyone who has seen Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now might have a flavour of it. It's a thought process that justifies wanton, crazed killing, that demands a high five when a fellow soldier announces they've killed an innocent child. A completely different value system, and one that's distinct from any I've seen before. This video of marines shown urinating over corpses in Afghanistan which come to light this week and has drawn widespread rebuke has a sick similarity to Dela Cruz's admission that: "I pissed on one of the dead Iraqi male occupants of the white car [during the massacre] … I remember that I pissed inside the head of the dead Iraqi, the one with half of his head blown off."

Capitalist propaganda lies want to cover this by their Goebbels allegations.

The latest demented propaganda on Syria, picked on for on for its failure to kow-tow completely to Western interests, and its record of aid to the anti-Zionist resistance, shows the imperialists are now so desperate to keep an endless war atmosphere going full blast, that they scarcely bother to hide the completely made-up nature of their non-stop demonisations anymore.

New demands from the Arab League (Washington's ventriloquist's dummy) for "arming the rebels" are bolstered by the hyped-up garbage about a "horrifying attack" in Homs with allegedly "200 innocent and harmless civilians dead" all "reported" in front-page banner headlines with absolutely no evidence at all.

The bourgeois media, press and TV, as usual shamefacedly "backed-up" a stream of lurid alleged atrocity stories with such weasel phrases as "according to activists" and "unable to be verified at this time" meaning without any justification at all.

Over just a weekend this lurid story became "300 dead" in headline banners based on absolutely no backing or evidence.

On the back of this, repeated as if it were established fact, the politicians and media pundits have pontificated and discussed what "should be done".

And then in a classic trick, on the Monday, in the downpage stories, admissions emerged like this:

Mortars fired from an elevated area around a mile and a half away accounted for almost all of Friday nights casualties. The numbers of dead are disputed. A hospital in Homs and two Syrian opposition groups say 250-300 may have died. A third group, the Local Co-ordination Council said the toll may be 50-60. Either way, with many civilians caught up in the onslaught, including women and children, it was an offensive that marked a grim low point...

A hospital in a rebel-held area of Homs was also reported to have been hit with at least one mortar round , causing extensive damage to part of a ward.

The Syrian government has denied bombarding Homs and says "terrorist gangs" are responsible for the deaths. Syrian officials say some of the bodies had been kidnapped by opposition elements who had killed them in an attempt to persuade Syria's allies, Russia and China, to move against them in the UN security council.

To this was added the demented allegations that "18 babies were killed in incubators", another unproven wildness which echoed the "Iraqi soldiers tipped babies out of incubators onto the floor" horrors of Saddam's Kuwait invasion in 1990 - horrors that not only never happened but were confessed to as a total fabrication by a daughter of the ruling Kuwaiti family in the period afterwards.

But it would be a shame to waste a good demonisation.

Buried even deeper into one "liberal" Guardian report was this yet more telling admission:

Propaganda is certainly playing a role. Initial claims of hundreds of dead in the shelling of the Khaldiyeh area of Homs were revised downwards by one opposition group on Sunday as a Syrian minister lambasted "fabricated" information in a "hysterical media war conducted by the armed terrorist gangs and their mouthpieces."

Of course this is immediately belittled with the "as if" sneering quote-marks, but the Syrian points are perfectly sound. And propaganda BIG LIES form the West are not just "playing a role" but are a central weapon of the ruling class in its desperate battle to ride out the crisis and stay on top.

Even "more realistic" grudging figures are still based solely on the word of "the main opposition groups", in other words on the allegations of the completely nazi-minded petty bourgeois on-the-make elements desperate to worm their way into positions of influence under opened-up western exploitation (as they see the future, if Assad goes), just as in Libya were the carpet bagging squabbling among the fascist racist "rebels" is reaching a demented and smelly fever pitch of degeneracy, a long way from the alleged "new democracy free from tyranny" bullshit.

These Syrians are the very groups frantically pleading for NATO blitzkreig intervention, hardly the world's most objective sources, and hardly left-wing anti-dictatorship "rebels and freedom fighters" as presented by the most reactionary of capitalist politicians, and all eagerly swallowed and regurgitated by the ranks of fake-"lefts".

A few more disquieted bourgeois journalists have also pointed to the deluge of disinformation and bias, albeit half-heartedly enough, and burdened with petty bourgeois illusions in "elections and democracy":

Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.

Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar's royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.

The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria's borders.

...Biased media coverage also continues to distort the Arab League's observer mission in Syria. When the league endorsed a no-fly zone in Libya last spring, there was high praise in the west for its action. Its decision to mediate in Syria was less welcome to western governments, and to high-profile Syrian opposition groups, who increasingly support a military rather than a political solution. So the league's move was promptly called into doubt by western leaders, and most western media echoed the line. Attacks were launched on the credentials of the mission's Sudanese chairman. Criticisms of the mission's performance by one of its 165 members were headlined. Demands were made that the mission pull out in favour of UN intervention.

The critics presumably feared that the Arab observers would report that armed violence is no longer confined to the regime's forces, and the image of peaceful protests brutally suppressed by army and police is false. Homs and a few other Syrian cities are becoming like Beirut in the 1980s or Sarajevo in the 1990s, with battles between militias raging across sectarian and ethnic fault lines.

As for foreign military intervention, it has already started. It is not following the Libyan pattern since Russia and China are furious at the west's deception in the security council last year. They will not accept a new United Nations resolution that allows any use of force. The model is an older one, going back to the era of the cold war, before "humanitarian intervention" and the "responsibility to protect" were developed and often misused. Remember Ronald Reagan's support for the Contras, whom he armed and trained to try to topple Nicaragua's Sandinistas from bases in Honduras? For Honduras read Turkey, the safe haven where the so-called Free Syrian Army has set up.

Here too western media silence is dramatic. No reporters have followed up on a significant recent article by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer who now writes for the American Conservative – a magazine that criticises the American military-industrial complex from a non-neocon position on the lines of Ron Paul, who came second in last week's New Hampshire Republican primary. Giraldi states that Turkey, a Nato member, has become Washington's proxy and that unmarked Nato warplanes have been arriving at Iskenderum, near the Syrian border, delivering Libyan volunteers and weapons seized from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenal. "French and British special forces trainers are on the ground," he writes, "assisting the Syrian rebels, while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers …"

As the danger of full-scale war increases, Arab League foreign ministers are preparing to meet in Cairo this weekend to discuss the future of their Syrian mission. No doubt there will be western media reports highlighting remarks by those ministers who feel the mission has "lost credibility", "been duped by the regime" or "failed to stop the violence". Counter-arguments will be played down or suppressed.

All this disgusting Western hypocrisy is aimed at petty bourgeois nervousness and particularly the disastrous legacy of revisionism and much fake-"left"ism which has constantly capitulated to such repellent fascist-type charades, notably cravenly going along with Western "condemnation" of terrorism since 9/11.

In this case the Goebbels paintbrush has drawn the bourgeois nationalist Syrians as some completely lunatic and demonic despotism for over a year, with the wildest rumour mongering and "dissident" allegations constantly reported as fact, in order to stampede civil war.

Once this was got going (with outside arms and finance via NATO-member Turkey and the reactionary feudal Gulf Sheikhdoms; with the Western artificially-created "Free Syrian Army", which from the beginning has been a tool for deliberate violent attacks, and with sinister shooting early on by mysterious plain clothes snipers) it has it has inevitably caused state resistance.

This in turn has been further inflamed by the international media storm.

This has included some of the most twisted logic possible. To overcome awkward facts like video footage released early on by Damascus of hidden plain clothes snipers who started the killings and provoked more demonstrations, the West has even punted out farcical "conspiracy" convolution that it was "all done by Syria itself".

Far more likely than this patent nonsense (why would the Syrian government want to give the UN/NATO an excuse to invade, as they had just done in Libya???) is that Zionist intelligence was behind it, a fascist disrupter that sits just across the border, has effectively been at war with Syria for three decades, (including carrying out bombing runs on a nuclear plant it was building) and is notoriously more ruthless and aggressive than the rest of imperialism put together (currently running a vicious assassination programme in Iran against civilian scientists for example.)

But the Western politicians and press have not even asked this obvious question, let alone investigated it.

But the real cause of the diplomatic outburst is Western rage at the temporary thwarting in the UN of its plans to stampede "public opinion" and the "world community" yet again, to destroy yet another demonised "rogue" regime either by internal disruption or military intervention, or combined as in Libya, and to lay the ground for escalated warmongering against the even more hated Iranians by knocking out one of its allies both geographically and politically.

Revisionism-addled China and Putin's Bonapartist balancing act in oligarch-capitalist Russia, have finally, dimly, spotted that the preposterous Western nonsense about "democracy", the "rule of law" and the "condemnation and suppression of terror and violence" is simply feeding the aggressive momentum of Western war making, and that it is aimed as much at them as it is the notional victims like Syria and Iran.

This is a long way from grasping and understanding, let alone doing anything about, the crisis-driven plunge of the capitalist system into all-out warmongering. And it is a long way from denouncing as a total Goebbels lies, the foul and unverified allegations of cynical and deliberate "atrocities" pumped out for months on end by which both the Libyan and now Syrian counter-revolutions have been precipitated.

Still in general, Moscow and Beijing continue to accept the Goebbels nonsense pumped out by Washington that "rogue regimes" and "terrorist" are the real problem in the world and not that the contradiction ridden capitalist system itself, is the only source and cause of war, upheaval and tyranny.

It would be a mistake to count on any such leadership.

Revisionism's legacy is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Putin's assertions that no-one is going to push the new mafia-created Russian restoration around is anyway ludicrous bravado built on the delusion that there is room in the world for yet another major capitalist power, just at the point where the entire imperialist order is collapsing in the greatest market turmoil in history, when there is no longer enough Third World exploitation plunder for the existing powers to all have a share let alone make room for another in the increasingly bitter inter-imperialist trade and currency war conflicts, and when the sole prop for the Russian capitalist economy, oil sales, is anyway threatened with overnight failure at any moment as Slump price deflation hits again (as it did in 2008-9 almost bankrupting Moscow).

And it reaches it most disgusting expression in the apeing of Western "firmness" in brutally suppressing and destroying the national liberation aspirations in Chechnya etc, bringing them back under control for more exploitation by the mafia gangster oligarchs who continue plundering the resources and labour of the giant (and in 1989 still viably operating) USSR economy, built over 70 years by Soviet working class sacrifice and effort.

Putin's past declarations that the West should be thanking him for "helping to end communism" should be the first warning especially as daily it becomes clearer this comment was about as sensible as a turkey asking the farmer to "thank him for getting fatter".

His delusions in Western "freedom and democracy", and the "free market" (of mafia oligarchs in fact with all their billions in Western bank accounts) while simultaneously obliged to impose centralised "firmness" by crudely manipulating the whole process, leaves Russia wide open to all the disruptive petty bourgeois "public demonstrations for democracy" which have been encouraged by the Western intelligence agencies in the hope of sparking more artificial "colour revolutions" to install a more compliant pro-Western bourgeois government, opening the economy up for full scale Western corporate plunder.

The smug self-importance of Beijing revisionist bureaucratism pompously imagining that it now sits as an equal "at the big table" in world affairs is little better, even though China remains a workers state (and therefore still to be unconditionally defended).

Airy declarations that "of course Iran must be stopped from getting a nuclear weapon" (told to Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight recently) or that the Syrian "problem" should be solved but just "in a different way" without force, are all part of the addle-brained delusion founded in Stalinist post-war mis-analysis (and earlier) that the world can steadily develop along a peace-path and imperialism's "tendency" to war can be contained by "peace struggle".

All that has to happen then, it follows in this soft-brained view, is that "destabilising threats" be held back by the "grown-up" countries (as the opportunist bureaucrats are desperate to be seen, constantly seeking capitalist "approval" and recognition).

Apart from the monstrous arrogance of dictating to Iran how it chooses to build its defences (which it denies anyway even though it sits in a Middle East dominated by the berserker Zionists and their never-mentioned or criticised 200 nuclear warheads, and an aggressive fascist will second to none, which is more ready than anyone to use them) this is the most idiot complacency, a million miles from any Marxist understanding of the world and its relentless unstoppable slide into catastrophic failure, instability and war.

It relies on the insane nonsense that there are "good and bad" - "fascist and democratic" imperialists - the disarming nonsense that as long as the world watches out for ranks of men striding around in leather boots with silly moustaches and overtly nasty attitudes, there is no fascism "yet" and the war turmoil and destructiveness of the past can be headed off.

Try asking the entire Middle East how it has been treated for the last sixty years by the "democratic" and allegedly "non-fascist" White House with endless coups (CIA overthrow of Mossadeq in Iran 1953 to install the Shah and Savak nazi-police repression, Saddam Hussein overthrow of the communist leaning anti-monarchists in Iraq, the artificially stimulated Eritrean "self-determination struggle" to overthrow the Mengistu communists in Ethiopia); the maintenance of grotesque out-of-time feudal backwardness and repression in the whole Arab peninsula, Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf;, installation and financing of brutal gangster torture dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia; ten years bloody trench war carnage forced on Iran by a Washington prodded Saddam; decades of phalangist-fascist destruction supported in Lebanon (a byword for horrific civil war and including the Shabra and Shatila cold-blooded Palestine camp massacres in the early 1980s) and more.

Without overestimating the refusal of Russia and China to go along with the corralled and bullied United Nations votes (and particularly since China cravenly went along with the first sanctions against Libya and raised no objections to the sly "no-fly zone" against Libya which led, as everyone knew was certain, to the massive NATO blitzkrieg) it still reflects the growing difficulties for the "free world" in stampeding the "international community" behind its cynical aggression and Goebbels propaganda.

But until the world again starts to rebuild serious struggle for Leninist scientific understanding, its is likely that this warmongering will continue to get its way.

Only revolutionary ending of capitalism can stop war, not pacifist delusions of "organising the working class to prevent them being able to make war."

If such large scale resistance were achievable then why would it not be just as easy to organise the working class to simply take power anyway?

Such delusions of "persuading" the working class by moral prinicple is nothing to do with Marxism either.

The ruling class controls and dominates all ideology and propaganda which it will manipulate to dragoon the entire world down the path into war

It is the material reality of ever more gruesome and desperate Slump and the horrific actualities of war and mass slaughter alone which have ever tipped the great masses into action (after three years and millions dead in 1917 for example), at which point they will take up and require the clearest revolutionary understanding.

Social-pacifism will only head them off from the need for all out revolutionary action - just as illusions in "democracy" have seen the imperialists constantly head off the demands of the Egyptian masses, and mobilise the counter-revolutionary war interventions in Libya, Syria and perhaps Iran too.

The other side of this completely unMarxist coin, is the uncritical "defencism" of some of the fake-"lefts" like the Proletarian/Lalkar calling for "Victory" for the Syrian government (as they have for Libya's Gaddafi, and astoundingly, even for the thuggish Saddam Hussein – a position so preposterous it requires the unlikely description from them of Saddam as a "hero"!)

Syria's bourgeois nationalist regime has necessarily reflected the underlying (and growing) Arab Street hatred of Zionism and its US imperialist master/henchman for decades and has given significant aid to movements such as Hizbullah which in turn have given Zionism a bloody nose in support of Palestine.

But this is a long way from any kind of revolutionary Marxist leadership, and potentially hostile to it.

Only the Leninist understanding of calling for a defeat for imperialism's war without building any confidence or illusions in bourgeois nationalism makes sense.

The open struggle for Leninist science is ever more urgent.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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



Sinn Féin account of the latest admissions by the Westminster of how shaken it was by the Irish republican national-liberation struggle, despite the callousness of its alleged "firmness". The Hunger Strikes and political campaigning with it achieved one of the first steps in the "snail's pace" withdrawal from Ireland, now unstoppably heading to reunification

ADULTERATING their drinking water, forcibly intravenously feeding them and banning all visitors, quashing the results of the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-election and disqualifying Bobby Sands as MP, berating the Reuters news agency for refusing to describe the IRA as 'terrorists' — these are just some of the revelations in British state papers just released under the '30-year rule' about the reactions of Margaret Thatcher and her government to the 1981 Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

Long down the list of British priorities was resolving the issues behind the prison conflict: that is the imposition of harsh prison conditions aimed at criminalising the prisoners and thus the struggle for Irish freedom. That the prisoners were politically motivated was never in doubt. After the Hunger Strike, the prisoners eventually won every single demand they made, and more; and, of course, they were recognised as key political participants when the British agreed to their early release under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Today, dozens of ex-pows and Hunger Strikers are among Sinn Fein's elected representatives.

Some of the British state papers from 30 years ago have still been withheld, leaving us with an incomplete picture of key decisions being taken, especially around the time of the death of Joe McDonnell on 8 July 1981, on his 61st day of hunger strike. Also, any analysis must come with a health warning. Although not specifically with the state files and posterity in mind. Sir Robert Armstrong, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet Secretary, refers to British officials bowdlerising (removing damaging text from) correspondence between London and Dublin in 1981 in case Dublin leaked the contents.

Nonetheless, it is possible to focus a little closer on what was taking place behind the doors of 10 Downing Street, what the Dublin Government was saying privately, and what actually happened.

Certainly, concern must now be expressed about the quality and accuracy of the verbal messages being sent through the so-called 'back channel' (Brendan Duddy, the Derry businessman and mediator). If the transcripts made by a British representative (codename The Mountain Climber') truly reflect the comments he made on the telephone, then his relationship with the British would appear to be closer than had been thought. Indeed, this 'back channel' was abandoned by Sinn Fein in 1993 when Secretary of State Patrick Mayhew falsely claimed that a message had come through from Martin McGuinness stating that 'the war is over and we need your help'.

On 4 July 1981, the protesting prisoners in the H-Blocks issued a conciliatory statement saying-that the British Government could settle the hunger strike without any departure from 'principle' by extending prison reforms to the entire prison population.

The Sinn Féin sub-committee advising the prisoners was led to believe by Duddy that the British had contacted him. whereas the papers now reveal that he contacted the British and told them that republicans wanted to contact London.

Danny Morrison was given clearance to meet with the Hunger Strikers on 5 July and told them that the British had been in contact. Hopes were raised that there could be a deal. However, Morrison was later ordered out of the jail by Deputy Governor John Pepper, indicating that there was tension between the Northern Ireland Office and the Foreign Office (whom Mountain Climber, an MI6 agent, worked for), and this was later confirmed by Mountain Climber.

The British agreed to supply their offer to Sinn Féin so that it could be checked for any problems or omissions prior to it being released. The papers show that the British procrastinated for almost 24 hours and that when they eventually sent an offer, at 11:30pm on 6 July, they gave Sinn Fein just nine-and-a-half hours to accept it. When Sinn Fein replied that the statement did not address the issues of work and remission, the British withdrew the offer and cut the link. Although there is evidence suggesting that at a meeting just after midnight on 8 July between Thatcher and her Secretary of State, Humphrey Atkins, it was agreed to send a rewritten offer, no such offer was sent and Joe McDonnell died several hours later.

Parallel with these secret talks, the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace (icip) was also engaged in talks with the Prisons Minister, Michael Alison, and thought it was making progress. Six times it was led to believe that a Government representative would go into the Hunger Strikers and explain to them what was on offer if they ended the strike. But no one appeared. A prison official did appear hours after Joe McDonnell died and declared that there was no change in the Government's position.

At a press conference, the ICJP condemned the British Government and nio for failing to honour its undertakings and for "clawing back' concessions. Garret FitzGerald's government accepted the icip's account. According to the papers, his representatives "thought that the British reaction to the icip attempts to help was too slow. They were disposed to believe the icip accounts and these suggested that there had been an insufficient sense of urgency.'

With the passage of time and the emergence of more information it is clear that the British saw the Hunger Strike as an opportunity "to humiliate the Provisionals' and defeat the struggle. Prisons Minister Michael Alison, on the day after the death of Joe McDonnell, compared talking to Hunger Strikers as like talking to hijackers: 'You continued talking while you figured out a way to defeat them, while allowing them to save face."

Back in 1981, unionist thinking was prevalent throughout the NIO and among British ministers. A minute of a Cabinet meeting on 18 July notes: 'She (Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher] was more concerned to do the right thing by NI than to try to satisfy international critics. Mr Atkins observed that, from a purely NI point of view, he would rather do nothing . . . After further discussion, the PM decided that the dangers in taking an initiative would be so great in NI that she was not prepared to risk them.'

More Hunger Strikers died.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


Cuba standing by the Haitian people

PORT-AU-PRINCE.—The small community of Meye, a few kilometers from the highly populated city of Mirebalais, would not be of note in Haitian history, were it not for the fact that it was in this impoverished locality of a few hundred inhabitants where, on October 15, 2010, the first cases of the serious cholera epidemic were reported, [a disease unseen in Haiti] for more than a century.

Meye is also located very close to a Nepalese military base (Nepal being an Asian country where cholera is endemic), part of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (minustah). After a study of the area, the French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux attributed the Haitian outbreak to this U.N. peacekeeping unit, as a result of it disposing human fecal material into the turbulent waters of the Artibonite River, used by the local population in all aspects of their daily lives. It was determined that the bacteria present in Haiti was the 01 Vibrio cholerae 01, El Tor biotype, the Ogawa serotype.

On October 21, former President René Preval confirmed the existence of the epidemic in his country, devastated by a powerful earthquake on January 12, 2010.

The cholera outbreak was particularly virulent in Centre department and in the Artibonite area, and subsequently spread rapidly throughout the country. Confronting the epidemic involved the Cuban Medical Brigade, already in Haiti, whose members treated 46% of the total cases reported at the peak of the epidemic.

Daniel Acosta González, a specialist general surgeon from Santiago de Cuba province, a member of the Cuban Brigade and one of the first doctors to treat cholera patients in the Mirebalais community reference hospital, recalled for Granma those initial difficult days of uncertainty.

"That October 15, patients in a very bad condition began to arrive at the hospital, dehydrated, with acute diarrhea and vomiting, and one of them, a woman, died within a few minutes," Acosta stated.

He related that entire infected families came to the hospital and, after instructions from the leadership of the Cuban Medical Mission in Haiti, isolation measures were adopted. "At the emergency admissions level we prepared the minimum conditions for 24-hour attention to the 100-plus cases that we were receiving every day."

The Cuban Medical Brigade, made up Cubans, Latin Americans, Haitians and doctors from other countries graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (elam) in Havana, has developed an intense educational-preventative program on the basis of proactive monitoring the evolution of the epidemic at every step of the way.

Today, the panorama is a distinct one, and one example of that is Centre department, where the largest number of patients were treated by the Cuban Medical Brigade (21,000 cases), given that, in the months of highest contagion the island's doctors and nurses saw 4,137 patients in November, 6,283 in December, and 3,663 in January. By this past August and September, these figures had fallen to less than 12.

Currently, the most complex situation is in Sud department, where heavy rainfall has been constant since September, creating a breeding ground for the spreading of the disease. The Cuban Brigade has reinforced its work there, particularly the use of the monitoring groups to cut the chain of contagion; it is maintaining an offensive on the epidemic by increasing the Haitian population's level of health education to avert contagion through the adoption of hygienic habits; and is going into communities to diagnose patients at an early stage in order to avoid deaths. In other words, it is on the alert in the face of a dangerous enemy, at a time when the majority of nongovernmental agencies and other countries have with from Haiti.

•To date, the Cuban Medical Brigade has treated 76,163 patients, 30.1% of them under the age of 15. A total of 44 cholera treatment units and 23 cholera treatment centers were set up. Currently, 33 units and two centers are still active. The accumulated mortality rate is 0.36%.

The 50 proactive monitoring groups have visited 3.2 million people, 5,513 of whom were discovered to have cholera.

At the most acute point of the epidemic in Haiti, the Cuban Medical Brigade included 1,349 collaborators, 510 of them members of the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Situations of Disaster and Serious Epidemics, including elam graduates from 22 Latin American and African countries, in addition to the United States. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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


The Compton Report -a whitewash for torture

TORTURE of detainees by NATO forces has been widespread during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Forty years ago, torture by the government of a supposedly liberal 'Western democracy' required a hasty cover-up. The government in question was 'Her Majesty's Government' in London and the torture victims were Irish citizens detained without trial in the Six Counties.

Internment without trial was imposed across the Six Counties on 9th August 1971. The internees were taken initially to various barracks and camps before being detained in Crumlin Road Prison and on the Maidstone prison ship in Belfast Harbour. However, a number were singled out for special attention and these were the men who became known as the guinea-pigs'. They were experimented on with techniques of torture, including 'sensory deprivation'. This mainly took place in Palace Barracks, Hollywood. County Down.

Many of the internees were beaten and ill-treated in a variety of ways during and immediately after the internment swoop by the British Army in the early hours of 9th August. But for 14 men in particular this was the beginning of a prolonged nightmare. They were picked to be experimented on with the principal techniques of 'sensory deprivation'. These were:-

1. Hooding of prisoners prior to interrogation. Black hoods were placed over their heads and shoulders.

2. Use of 'white noise' produced by a machine, a constant, repetitive, intensely irritating sound.

3. Forced immobilisation in a position of stress - feet wide apart, leaning against a wall with only finger-tips touching the wall.

4. Little or no food or drink.

5. Being forced to wear loose overalls several times too big.

6. Deprivation of sleep for days on end.

The treatment continued for hours and days, turning the men to mental and physical wrecks.

Internee, Joe Clarke, then aged 19, described what happened:

'There then followed a series of collapses -I could not say how many times I collapsed.

Initially my hands and legs were beaten whenever this happened and the insides of my feet were kicked until my ankles were swollen to almost twice their normal size . .. The noise was insistent, driving mental resistance to its utmost. I thought I was going mad."

Paddy Joe McClean, a teacher from County Tyrone, described his ordeal:

"I stood there, arms against the wall, feet wide apart. My arms, legs, back and head began to ache. I perspired freely, the noise and heat were terrible. My brain seemed ready to burst . . . Are they coming to kill me? I wished to God they would, to end it. My circulation had stopped. I flexed my arms to start the blood moving. They struck me several times on the hands, ribs, kidneys and my knee-caps were kicked. My hood-covered head was banged against the wall."

The British Army tried to conceal what was being done but word soon got out that men were being tortured. Press reports and protests from relatives and political organisations forced the British Government to act to limit the political fall-out.

On 31st August 1971 British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling appointed Sir Edmund Compton to chair a committee of inquiry. The committee had no power to compel witnesses to attend or to have documents produced. It sat in secret. Detainees were at first allowed no legal representation; when they were, their lawyer was not allowed to see. hear or question British Army and ruc witnesses who were themselves legally represented. As a result, all but one of the 342 men interned on 9th August boycotted the 'inquiry'.

The Compton Report was a classic whitewash, designed to cover up the real actions and intentions of the British Army.

Compton admitted that there had been ill-treatment of detainees but denied there was brutality or torture. In the most notorious passage of his report, Compton essentially argued that it was only torture if the torturer enjoyed it:

"We consider that brutality is an inhuman or savage form of cruelty, and that cruelty implies a disposition to inflict suffering, coupled with indifference to, or pleasure in, the victim's pain. We do not think that happened here."

Compton essentially argued that it was only torture if the torturer enjoyed it.

But by the time Compton was published, the brutality inflicted on internees was widely known and the report was greeted with disdain and ridicule. In September 1976, the European Commission on Human Rights found that, in its treatment of the detainees, the British Government breached the European Convention on Human Rights 'in the form not only of inhuman and degrading treatment, but also of torture'.

The Compton Report, discredited even before it appeared, was published on 16th November 1971, 40 years ago this month.

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