The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 5th March 2004
No matter what your age Capitalism is the enemy!
Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition
Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker is
informed and credited.
Iraq war - ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL
by Daphne Liddle
JUST WHEN Blair
thought his Iraq nightmares had subsided, they rose up again, stronger than
ever. New revelations emerged that Government claims over the legality of
going to war were definitely dodgy and Clare Short admitted that British
spooks had bugged the United Nations.
The storm started just a week ago when the trial of Catherine Gun for
breaching the Official Secrets Act was dropped. Just before the war began,
a year ago, Ms Gun, an employee at the Government’s electronic listening
centre at GCHQ in Cheltenham, told the Observer that American intelligence
was asking GCHQ to spy on the United Nations.
Ms Gun’s defence against the accusation of divulging Government secrets
was that she was acting in an attempt to prevent an illegal war. The legality
of the war was central to her case so her lawyers demanded to see the legal
advice that was given to the Government by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith.
At that point the Government dropped Ms Gun’s prosecution, drawing public
attention to its reluctance to divulge this information and leaving the public
to assume it must be seriously dodgy.
The next morning, former Cabinet Minister Clare Short was interviewed
by John Humphries on Radio Four’s Today programme.
He asked her about the legal information the Government had been given.
Ms Short replied: “It came very, very late, he came to the Cabinet the day
Robin Cook resigned and sat in Robin’s seat; two sides of A4, no discussion
“We know already that the Foreign Office legal advisers had disagreed
and one of them had said there was no authority for war.
“The Liberals have been pressing for the brief on the basis of which
he said there was authority for war, there’s a question of whether the exaggeration
of the threat and the immediacy of the threat from any possible biological
or chemical weapons in Iraq was part of the brief for the Attorney General
so that he could give the legal authority.
“So my own suspicion is that the attorney has stopped the prosecution
because part of her [Gun’s] defence would be to question legality and put
his advice in the public domain – and there was something fishy about the
way in which he said the war was legal.”
Later in the interview Clare Short admitted the Government had indeed
been bugging UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and she had seen the transcripts
of bugged conversations. She also admitted that Britain and the United States
had been bugging various UN delegations in the run-up to the war.
At the time Anglo-American imperialism was exerting enormous
pressure on countries like Mexico to vote for a UN resolution that would
legalise the attack on Iraq.
Those countries held firm. There was no resolution but Britain and
the US were determined to go ahead anyway.
They claimed earlier UN resolutions, 678 and 687, passed just after
the first Gulf War, forbidding Iraq to develop any more weapons of mass destruction
(WMDs), had been breached and therefore the invasion was justified.
Since the war, the US and Britain have been unable to produce any evidence
of Iraqi WMDs – so they cannot prove Iraq broke any sanctions and their whole
legal basis for the war is destroyed.
It is also interesting that after the first Gulf war, Prime Minister
John Major and George W Bush’s father considered that the crucial UN resolutions
justified them throwing Iraq out of Kuwait but did not justify them invading
The war would still have been an abominable imperialist aggression even with
UN support – as did the first Gulf War, the attacks on Yugoslavia, Somalia
and many other US aggressions.
But failure to get UN backing made a crucial difference. It revealed
a divided global ruling class. Those in favour of peace found themselves
backed by major pillars of the press, like the Daily Mirror and the Independent.
The peace demonstrations were the biggest ever in British history. Controversy
over the war refuses to die down.
This has encouraged Iraqi resistance to the occupation and may well
have discouraged Blair and Bush from forging ahead with attacks on Iran,
Syria and People’s Korea.
Now a group of progressive lawyers has called on the International
Criminal Court to look into the acts of the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary
and Attorney General to see whether they have broken international law and
should be charged as war criminals.
Their case will be helped by an admission by Richard Perle, a senior
adviser to the US defence secretary, that the US has indeed broken international
law in invading Iraq. He claimed it was necessary because France was reluctant
to support the war.
Now the parliamentary ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has demanded to see Blair’s
controversial legal advice. She has the power to insist on seeing it and
to decide how much of it should be made public.
Meanwhile the Tories have quit the Butler inquiry, taking with them
its very last shred of credibility.
Haiti: A very American coup
FINANCE reactionary gangs. Encourage business interests to
mobilise against the Government. Incite them to launch a campaign of civil
unrest and armed rebellion. And then seize the president and bundle him off
on a plane into exile in Africa. It worked like clockwork and US imperialism
is back in the saddle in the Caribbean republic of Haiti. American marines
are in the capital, preparing to turn themselves into a “peace-keeping” force,
that together with the French, will doubtless supervise the election of a
new government that will do the bidding of big business without question.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was Haiti’s first popularly elected leader.
He made his mark as a radical priest during the Duvalier dictatorship, with
sermons calling for reform and social justice that earned him the hatred
of the Duvalier regime. He played a prominent part in the movement against
the Duvalier family and the military regimes that followed them, surviving
at least nine attempts on his life, to win the 1990 elections on a platform
of “participation, transparency and justice”. Ousted by corrupt army
leaders and forced into exile in 1991, Aristide triumphantly returned in
1994 and was restored to office and re-elected president in November 2000
with more than 90 per cent of the vote.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. American imperialism
has plundered what resources the country possesses for years with the support
of a tiny Haitian elite that live in luxury while the people starve.
Aristide was no great reformer but he could do little in the face of American
hostility that has effectively blocked some $500 million of international
aid to Haiti for over a decade. He bent over backwards to meet the demands
of the imperialists’ International Monetary Fund but he refused to agree
to the indiscriminate privatisation of state resources or cut wages, education
and health services. That sealed his fate.
American imperialism, backed by the French who seek to increase their influence
in what was once their chief colony in the West Indies, thinks it has one
a cheap victory.
Overthrown by a motley gang of druglords, corrupt businessmen and former
Duvalierist officers who would have got nowhere without the hidden, or not
so hidden, hand of the CIA, the United States now hopes that Haiti will return
to “normality” and once again be a safe place for unbridled exploitation
Haiti’s poor peasants and sweatshop workers swept Aristide to power hoping
for social justice have been taught a bitter lesson by the imperialists and
exploiters. But it is the Haitian masses who will ultimately will decide
the future of their country whatever the imperialists think.
Blair must go
Blair has been ducking and diving all week over the Iraq war scandal. Over
300 days have passed since the invasion of Iraq and still no evidence has
been presented that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed banned weapons
systems. The Prime Minister refuses to reveal the advice of the Attorney-General
on the legality of the war bleating that it’s some sort of state secret.
The Tories have pulled out of the Butler Inquiry into intelligence on Iraq’s
alleged weapons of mass destruction on the grounds that its terms of reference
were “unacceptably restrictive” and former Cabinet Minister Clare Short is
trying to restore her radical credentials by putting the knife into Blair
over the war to considerable effect.
The Blair leadership is thoroughly discredited throughout the country. Who
can believe a word the Prime Minister says on Iraq or indeed any other matter
these days? Everyone can see that Blair is an albatross around the neck of
the Labour Party – apart from his cronies and those directly dependent on
the Prime Minister for their jobs. The future of the Labour Party and its
continued electability revolves around the invasion of Iraq and its continued
occupation. It won’t go away until Blair goes for starters. Mass support
for the next anti-war demonstration in London on 20 March will give renewed
courage to the Labour rebels who ultimately must move to rid the Labour Party
and the country of Tony Blair and his worthless clique.
If you find these articles from the New Worker Online
interesting and useful them why not subscribe to our print
edition with lots more news, features, and
To the New Communist Party Page