The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 9th December 2005
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IS STILL DEFIANT
by our Arab Affairs correspondent
WHILE IRAQI resistance guns
blaze across the land of the two rivers the trial of captured Iraqi
president Saddam Hussein continued with the former Iraqi leader
dismissing one witness as in need of “psychiatric treatment” and
telling the chief judge to “go to hell” before withdrawing in protest
at the conditions of his detention and the status of the court.
Earlier, two senior members of Saddam’s defence team, former US
Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ex-Qatari Justice Minister Najib
al-Nueimi questioned of the legitimacy of the tribunal and safety of
“Reconciliation is essential,” Clark declared. “This trial can divide
or heal. Unless it is seen as absolutely fair, it will divide rather
than reconcile Iraq.”
Saddam Hussein and senior members of his government could face the
death penalty if convicted of charges of torture and murder that
allegedly took place after an abortive assassination attempt on the
Iraqi president in 1982.
The defiant Baathist leader told the chief judge that he understood the
pressures on him. “I am not afraid of execution,” Saddam said. “I
realise there is pressure on you. But I’m not doing it for myself. I’m
doing it for Iraq. I am not defending myself. But I am defending you”.
The kangaroo court sits in the comparative safety of the US “green
zone” military compound in the heart of the Iraqi capital. Outside the
zone is another matter. Resistance rockets hit buildings inside the
“green zone” on Sunday and partisans mortared the puppet Interior
Ministry in central Baghdad on Tuesday. Two female suicide bombers
destroyed the police academy, killing and wounding scores of puppet
cadets, the same day.
Outside Baghdad the resistance is keeping up the fight in all the major
towns and cities of central and western Iraq. A puppet regime colonel
and his driver were shot dead on the road from Baghdad to Baquba. In
the western town of Hit US troops have imposed a curfew and rounded up
500 civilians in an effort to drive the partisans out.
The American occupiers threatened “harsh punishments” such as
cutting off the water supply, electricity and all forms of
communication if local people failed to stop resistance attacks. In
Fallujah, the city stormed by the Americans last year, the resistance
has returned with a vengeance. Ten US Marines were killed and another
11 wounded in a bomb attack on the outskirts of the city last week.
Meanwhile General Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, the leader of the Baathist
underground, has dismissed reports of his death that appeared in the
resistance media two weeks ago.
In a message released this week al Duri said: “The US administration is
trying to deflect public attention from the failure of the American
project and its defeat at the hands of the soldiers of justness, the
heroes of the Iraqi national resistance,” adding that said he would
soon release an audiotape to prove he was still alive. It was “not
possible until now because of known circumstances”, he said. Al Duri
was Saddam Hussein’s deputy and the Americans have put a $10 million
price on his head.
Israeli mercenaries are operating in the northern Iraq training the
security services of the feudal Kurdish chiefs who control the region
under imperialist protection. According to the Israeli daily, Yediot
Aharonot, a secret training camp was set up 18 months ago in northern
Iraq as part of a multi-million dollar project with the Kurdish
regional puppet government. The mercenaries, hired by private Israeli
security companies, enter northern Iraq via Turkey and specialise in
weapons training and counter-terrorism.
What’s left of the “coalition of the willing” is getting ready to jump
ship by Christmas. Bulgaria, Poland and Ukraine have signalled that
they going to pull out after the elections for a new puppet government
take place next week. Hungary and Moldova withdrew earlier in the year.
Sending token forces to Iraq to curry favour with Anglo-American
imperialism was massively unpopular at home from the very beginning.
Now, the leaders of these countries are eager to build closer links
with France and Germany, the dominant forces in the European Union who
opposed the Anglo-American invasion in the first place.
Rice in Wonderland
US SECRETARY of State
Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Europe has already got bogged down over
allegations that the CIA holds alleged terrorists in secret
concentration camps in eastern Europe and regularly flies some of them
out to other countries for questioning under torture.
Human rights activists have highlighted the cases of suspects
blindfolded, shackled and sedated for their journey. Some believe at
least 76 torture flights have used British airports for stop-overs.
Others reckon that over 200 of these “ghost flights” have used British
facilities including RAF bases and regional airports.
A number of torture victims have later proved to be innocent like
Khaled al Masri, a German citizen, kidnapped by the CIA in Macedonia
and flown to Afghanistan because his name resembled that of an
associate of one of the 11th September hijackers.
Al Masri was held for five months in Afghanistan and he claims he was
subjected to torture by local and possibly American interrogators. When
it was evident that he had nothing to do with terror gangs he was
dumped in Albania and then flown to Lebanon to rejoin his family. Masri
is not the only one. At least three other victims, kidnapped by the CIA
and taken to the American concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay,
have been eventually released without charge.
The new German government has raised the Masri case and the general
issue of rendition with the American foreign minister and the human
rights group Liberty has called on Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to seek
assurances that the United States is not using British airports to
transport CIA captives to secret torture centres in other countries.
US imperialism uses a number of antiseptic terms to mask its most
hideous crimes. “Collateral damage” is a euphemism for indiscriminate
civilian casualties. “Executive action” and “neutralisation” mean
political assassination. “Extraordinary rendition” means the
transportation of suspects to countries in which torture is routinely
used in interrogation. It is essentially torture by proxy and it is
deemed necessary because torture is forbidden under US and
Condoleezza Rice admits that some rendition flights have taken place in
Europe but claims the United States neither condones nor carries out
torture. Significantly she has still to confirm or deny the existence
of secret prisons in Eastern Europe or German claims that over 400
rendition flights have taken place on German soil.
Blair & Co assume the moral high-ground in their sermon-like
addresses to the public they so very rarely meet. They like to talk
about “human rights” when it suits them. Socialist countries like
People’s China, Cuba and Democratic Korea are regularly singled out for
alleged human rights abuses by bourgeois mouthpieces who now are as
predictably coy about challenging the Americans over the rendition
scandal as they were over Guantánamo Bay and the sexual abuse
and torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
They must be put on the spot now. Britain is party to the Convention
Against Torture which imposes an absolute prohibition on torture,
without exceptions. The ban on torture applies not just to the act
itself but also prohibits sending people to countries where there are
substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being
The police must investigate allegations that local British airports
have been used by US torture transport planes and the Foreign Secretary
must give an unequivocal pledge that Britain will honour its
international commitments and not allow the use of its territory for
the landing or refuelling of any CIA rendition flights.
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