The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 2nd November 2007




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Lead 

IRAQ: US GENERAL WOUNDED

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

IRAQI PARTISANS
launched waves of attacks on the forces of US imperialism and its lackeys this week.  An American general was wounded in a bomb attack in Baghdad, US convoys were ambushed and airports attacked across occupied Iraq.

Brigadier-General Jeffrey Dorko was injured when a bomb blew up near his convoy, operated by the British mercenary security company  Erinys International, on Monday. General Dorko, the commander of the Gulf Region Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, suffered shrapnel wounds but his condition was described as “non-life threatening”.

He was evacuated to a US military hospital in Germany where he was said to be in a “stable” condition. The general is the highest ranking American officer to be injured in action since the Anglo-American invasion in 2003.

An American military supply-run was hit along the motorway that runs from Baghdad to Jordan on Tuesday. American lorries were set on fire when four bombs, detonated over a 15-minute period ripped through the convoy as it drove past Ramadi some 110 km west of Baghdad. US warplanes were called in to provide assistance to the convoy after it had suffered severe losses as a result of the attack. Three American troops were killed when their patrol was bombed in south-eastern Baghdad later that day.

blasted

In northern Iraq resistance fighters rocketed the US military base near al Baghdada, some 200 km north-west of the capital. Eye-witnesses said more than 10 Katyusha rockets blasted into the US base setting off explosions inside the camp. Medevac helicopters could be seen flying away from the base to Baghdad, in an apparent evacuation of the more severely wounded Americans.

Guerrillas shelled a puppet regime TV station in Mosul on Monday and partisans blasted the US base at Kirkuk airport with most ferocious mortar barrage in three months on Tuesday. About twenty 82mm mortar rounds slammed into the airport, inflicting damage on the facilities and wounding three puppet regime troops.

One US soldier was killed and four more wounded when 17 mortar rounds slammed into the US consulate in al-Hillah in central Iraq last week. Seventeen mortar shells landed in the US consulate and puppet police camp adjacent to the building, killing about five people and wounding 15 more. 

 Further south the British base at Basra International Airport, 25 km  north-west of the city, came under Katyusha rocket attack early on Monday morning.

While the fighting rages the puppet regime totters on amid growing anger on the street at the complete collapse of public services under the occupation. Electricity is only available for a few hours a day at the best of times. Now it’s getting worse. Several power plants are idle due to shortages of fuel and power cuts are getting even longer.

sabotage

Iraq has massive oil reserves but persistent sabotage of the oil industry has forced the puppet regime to import most of its fuel needs. Iraq suffered no fuel shortages before the US invasion and the amount of electricity produced now is far less than that in Saddam Hussein’s day.

Hit by the resistance and riddled with corruption, the puppet regime is now trying to dismiss fears that the largest dam in Iraq is at risk of an imminent collapse that could drown Mosul, a city of 1.7 million people. But American officials have told Iraqi authorities to make Mosul Dam a national priority, as a catastrophic failure would result in a “significant loss of life”.

The puppet regime says it is reducing the risk and insists there is no cause for alarm. But a US watchdog group said reconstruction of the dam had been plagued by mismanagement and potential fraud. In a report published on Tuesday, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said US-funded “short-term solutions” had yet to significantly solve the dam’s problems.

SIGIR found multiple failures in several of the 21 contracts awarded to repair the dam. These included faulty construction and delivery of wrong parts, as well as projects which were not completed despite full payments having been made. In September 2006, the US Army Corps of Engineers determined that the dam, 74 km upstream of Mosul on the river Tigris, presented an unacceptable risk. An engineering report revealed that a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris all the way to Baghdad.

The report goes on to say that “assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul Dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20 metres deep at the city of Mosul, which would result in a significant loss of life and property.” If that were to happen, some have predicted that as many as 500,000 people could be killed.

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Editorials

Thieves fall out

THE BBC last weekend screened a two-part documentary, No Plan, No Peace, in which senior ministers and officials attacked the imperialist coalition leaders for their lack of a plan for governing Iraq after the invasion. Some British officials, including former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon claimed they were unhappy with United States’ plans for “vigorous de-baathification”.  America’s proconsul Paul Bremer responded that if some British officers or officials had doubts “they did not give any hint of it in our meetings”.

 Some are now complaining that the invasion of Iraq went wrong because of the lack of a plan – implying that if they had had a plan everything would have been fine. They now claim to have been shocked to see scenes of looting in the aftermath of the invasion – as if the petty crimes were shocking, while the mass bombing and theft of a whole country was nothing.

 The real reason that everything has gone wrong for them is that the people of Iraq have been resisting heroically and thwarting the one plan the imperialists did have – to wreck the country, steal the oil and leave the people to survive as best they could, or not.

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Getting the sums wrong

HOME SECRETARY Jacqui Smith last week had to apologise that the Government had got its figures wrong on the number of immigrants who have come into Britain to work by around 300,000. Since then others have claimed that even that figure is a gross underestimate. The Government does not seem to know or care very much. The vast majority have come here perfectly legally from Europe – including the some of the new European Union countries of Eastern Europe. They are working hard and making a fortune for their employers. The ruling class is delighted with this and projections say the population will rise to around 70 million within a decade.

 This is not a problem so long public services and the infrastructure expand to provide housing, water, sewerage education, health and transport services. These immigrants produce more than enough wealth to fund these services, but where is that wealth going? It’s going into the pockets of their bosses. The workers are getting wages and paying taxes but that is small beer compared to what the bosses are pocketing.

 But during the past decade Gordon Brown, first as Chancellor and now as Prime Minister, has been increasing personal taxes and cutting corporation taxes. This is why bosses from around the world are tempted to Britain to create jobs – a high proportion of which are going to the immigrants. It leaves both the immigrants and indigenous workers suffering from strains on the infrastructure – and being saddled with paying the taxes to restore and expand public services. Even then the PFI sharks will take a big cut of any major expansion of public facilities. We’re all being fleeced, made to pay for the privilege and then fleeced again in a different way – while the bosses pocket fabulous sums.

 And of course it suits the bosses if indigenous workers and migrant workers can be set to blame each other for the resultant problems. Fascist and racist parties will be fostering these divisions but so will mainstream tabloid newspapers. It must be our role to counter their poisonous propaganda and make it clear who are the enemies of all the workers – and to call for a proper tax system that makes those who are making a fortune from employing migrant workers to contribute to the basic public services that will be needed to maintain them and the indigenous workers.


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