The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 14th May 2004

Iraqi child and family abused by imperialist bombs

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by Daphne Liddle

PRIME MNISTER Tony Blair is beginning to see the light. Last week he told close associates that if he thought he had become an electoral liability to the Labour Party, he would resign in favour of Gordon Brown.

 This followed the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by the Mail on Sunday which led to the banner headline: “Dump Blair or lose!” The YouGov poll indicated that Labour would be unlikely to win a third term now with Blair still as prime minister but would win by 77 seats if Brown led Labour.

 A couple of weeks ago Blair would not have admitted the possibility that he could be anything but an election winner. To make such an admission is to acknowledge weakness and give his political enemies a stick to beat him with.

 Gordon Brown would be no improvement at all. One left-wing MP said: “There’s not a cigarette paper between them.”

  Undoubtedly Blair’s desperation is the result of the revelations of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by both the British and American forces. Blair has admitted the revelations have been “very damaging”.
cast doubt

Defence Secretary Hoon has tried to cast doubt on the pictures of abuse by British troops that appeared in the Daily Mirror.   

 But neither Hoon nor Blair have been able to shrug off the accusations in the official Red Cross reports. They admitted in parliament that they had not read, until last week, a critical report made by the Red Cross three months ago.

 Hoon admitted that it would have been better if he had read the reports earlier but implied it was not his fault that military officials had decided not to pass the reports on to him. He said he was sure the reports were being properly handled in Iraq.

 But in both the civil service and the military, senior officials do not casually withhold vital reports. They act according to what they have been told are the minister’s priorities. If they did not forward the reports, it would have been because they had good reason to believe that Blair and Hoon would not have been particularly interested and would have regarded the accusations as low priority to be dealt with at a lower level.

The United Nations human rights commission has also complained to the American government over the abuse of prisoners.

 Bush pretends he’s innocent, that he is shocked and horrified by what his troops have been doing to prisoners in Iraq.

 This hand wringing is ridiculous from a politician who has made a campaigning point at home for widespread use of the death penalty and the harshest conditions within American jails. In these jails abuse and humiliation of prisoners is commonplace.

 Lane McCotter, the former head of the Utah Department of Corrections, resigned in 1997 after a scandal in which a prisoner diagnosed with schizophrenia died after being strapped into a restraining chair for 16 hours. He then went into the business of private prisons and ended up in Iraq to direct the re-opening of the notorious Abu Ghraib concentration camp.

 He described it as “the only place we agreed as a team was truly closest to an American prison”.
only obeying

The American soldiers accused of torture and abuse claim that they were “only obeying orders” and softening up prisoners to be interrogated by the intelligence services.

 Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick, a guard at Abu Ghraib, says military intelligence used dogs to intimidate prisoners, leading to “positive results and information”.

 He added: “We have had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. They usually end up breaking within hours.” He said he had questioned some of the things he was ordered to do and was told: “this is how military intelligence wants it done.”

 What has really surprised Bush and Blair is that the scandal of this abuse has got out.

In the past, reports from the Red Cross, from Amnesty International, from individual whistleblowers and from the UN got passed from desk to desk and lost in the bureaucracy.

 Iraq is different because this time some mass-circulation newspapers are ready to publish and whistleblowers are finding willing ears to listen – just as there were powerful media voices to oppose the war in the first place.

 This is yet again more evidence of the divided global ruling class.

 Some powerful capitalists realise that the Dr Strangelove-type plans of Rumsfeld, Cheyney and Bush’s other mentors for American total domination of the planet are destabilising the entire world  – and they don’t like it.

These capitalists against Bush are coming together to stop him and in doing so are temporarily on the same side as the world’s working class, in the same way that many powerful capitalist forces combined with the Soviet Union to stop Hitler.
For now our campaigning demands must be for all British troops to be withdrawn and for Blair to go or be sacked.


Justice for the Palestinians!

MAY 15 is a tragic anniversary for the Palestinian Arabs. On that day in 1948, the British colonial mandate ended and the State of Israel was proclaimed, legitimising the Zionist terror that led to the expulsion of over a million Palestinians from their homes in the war that followed.
The first Arab-Israeli war ended in 1949 with an armistice that recognised the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes. Though the United Nations  agreed that the refugees should be allowed to return to their homes, they and their descendants are still denied their legitimate rights by the Zionist entity and Anglo-American imperialism, which stands behind it.

 Over 50 years later the Middle East remains in continuous crisis and ongoing conflict. Despite six major wars, US-led imperialism and its Zionist pawns continue to deny the Palestinians their inalienable right to establish their own state in Palestine as envisaged in the UN partition plan. Despite endless bloodshed Washington and Tel Aviv continue to refuse to recognise the Palestinians’ right to return. The spiral of violence that began in Palestine in 1948 now encompasses the entire world and even the United States has not been immune to the terror it has engendered.

 The United Nations that established the State of Israel in the first place has repeatedly called for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all, the Zionist entity must comply with past UN resolutions and withdraw from all the occupied territories seized in 1967. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a sovereign state of their own on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be given the right to return or be paid appropriate compensation  if they so wish. All states in the region, including Israel, should have internationally agreed and recognised frontiers guaranteed by the Great Powers.

 But the United Nation – the world forum that the imperialists pay lip-service to when it suits them to talk about human rights – is routinely ignored when it comes to the Palestinians in particular and the Arabs in general. Is it any wonder that Arab anger at the West is reaching boiling point?

Freedom for Iraq!

Anglo-American imperialism’s crimes in the Middle East have been exposed for all to see. Images of the brutality of  the concentration camps of Iraq have flown around the world.

Millions in Britain have been sickened at the atrocities done in our name.

 Now the guns blaze in Iraq with a ferocity that has taken Bush and Blair by surprise.

 Now the chief war criminals, Bush and Blair, pretend they didn’t know what their troops were doing in their name.

But crocodile tears and hypocritical apologies are not enough. The Iraqi people are fighting for their freedom like the generations of Arabs and the peoples of Africa and Asia who broke the chains of colonial slavery after the Second World War.

The invasion of Iraq was a criminal act of aggression from day one. The occupation of Iraq has been one continuous war crime. It can only end with the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Anglo-American troops and their lackeys from every inch of Iraqi soil. 

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