The Death of Saddam

As I write, news outlets are reporting that Saddam’s execution may occur within 48 hours - before the Eid al-Adha 4 day commemoration, coinciding with the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. According to Aljazeera.net English, a "senior US security official said the former Iraqi president could go to the gallows as early as Saturday".

Reports are also leaking out that some US authorities are pushing for his execution in the next 24 hours in order to deflect public attention away from another news story from Iraq - the 3000 US combat death, likely to occur this weekend. The Current US death toll is : 2,991 - 9 of these pending DoD confirmation. No doubt Washington is taking a leaf for Tony Blair’s tactics – Saturday a good day to bury bad news.

No doubt we will have to suffer another bout of nausea when Bush pontificates, in the next couple of days, about the hanging of Saddam and using words such as “victory” and “justice”. If Bush could cite any moral superiority he has over Saddam then his words might carry weight, but the simple truth is that this will be be one opportunistic and blood-drenched killer revelling in the misfortune of another and, far worse, for political expediency.

The very fact that the death penalty was passed on Saddam two days before the US mid-term elections, at a time when Bush’s popularity in opinion polls was recoding a serious fall, can hardly be ignored. Saddam had been in custody for two-and-a-half years before any charge was levelled against him and the Iraqi Higher Criminal Court miraculously came into existence the same week he was captured. When the time came Saddam was no longer a tool of US foreign policy but an instrument of Republican Party domestic policy.

The fist thing to observe is that Saddam’s trial was not an Iraqi legal procedure; it was a White House coordinated process from start to finish. It was funded by a $138 million grant from Congress and orchestrated by a large team of staff know as the Regime Crimes Unit and operating from the US Embassy in Baghdad.

It was Washington and London who selected the trial judges, who were then sent to London to be trained on how to handle the case and who were then taken to Italy to rehearse the trial.
Several judges stepped down, one having been rounded on by the Iraqi government because he was considered to lenient. Three defence lawyers were kidnapped and murdered and a similar fate befell one witness for Saddam.

Many have asked why Saddam could not have been tried in a similar manner to Slobodan Milosevic whose case was heard at The Hague. Quite simply Washington would have pooh-poohed such a suggestion, just as it has refused to recognise the International Criminal Court or judgements laid down by the International Court of Justice. Indeed the US has little regard for any international legislation or treaty, including the Geneva Convention. All are seen as meddlesome in the pursuit of its global corporate interests.

Historical amnesiacs would do well to remember that Saddam came to power via CIA assistance and was financed and chemically-armed by the west for many years in his war against Iran. Successive American and British governments turned a blind eye to his atrocities, including his mustard gassing of Iranians and the poison gas massacre of 5,000 Kurds at Halabja in 1988, only showing concern when he invaded Kuwait without the nod from Washington and worried the pro-American oil sheiks of Saudi Arabia in the process.

From 1991 up until the US-led invasion of 2003, an estimated 1 million Iraqis died as a result of UN Sanctions. When, Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of State was questioned on American TV about the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of economic sanctions, she commented that it was “a price worth paying.” Since the 2003 invasion, some 655,000 Iraqis have been killed. Throughout Saddam’s 24-year reign he never killed this many humans. Meanwhile, the US-led intervention in Iraq in 15 years has resulted in the deaths of almost 1.75 million. And this is in the name of justice!

Undoubtedly Saddam’s execution will bring a violent response from the Sunni led resistance, but not because Saddam was a leader who they cherished but because the insurgency has developed to that desperate stage whereby any perceived national icon will be used to further their cause
There is of course nothing the opposing Shiite warring factions in Iraq have to celebrate about the death of Saddam. Their lot has not been improved one iota since the US-led invasion and even if they live in a relatively stable Iraq they will exist as wage slaves, their lives subordinated to dictates of profit-merchants and the whims of religiously-aligned warlords, their future always over-shadowed by the dangerous game of geo-politics, their nation’s blood worth far less to the powerful than their country’s oil.

A study carried out by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies only weeks ago found that 89.9% of respondents felt Iraq was far worse now than when Saddam ruled. Every shred of evidence to date suggests they are right. In the weeks ahead, I have every reason to believe that figure will rise.


Sexual Resources for the US Military Machine

Fact: instances of men raping women and sexual abuse are three times higher in the US military than in civilian life. When Suzanne Swift, a 20 year old MP serving in Iraq, was raped and sexually harassed, she suffered a mental breakdown and went AWOL, refusing to be reposted there. She is now in prison.

This is a YouTube video of her mother speaking at the Veteran’s for peace National Convention on 12th August.

Revolutionary Act covers this story because of its insight into the mentality of the male-dominated US war machine which sees its female personnel, as one speaker comments, as “a sexual resource for men”. Another speaker tells of how “military training dehumanises half the population.”

Five more chunks of the worth watching video footage of the Convention, with personal acounts of rape and sexual abuse, can be found at:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQSZZStxpk0&mode=related&search=


Penal Profits

Since 1997, the Labour government has passed over 120,000 pages of legislation. ‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crme," has become a favourite Blairite battlecry.

The vast bulk of this legislation comes via the Home Office, which has fashioned a total of 59 bills since 1997. Not content with the fact that 10 years in office has led Labour to introduce over 3,000 new offences, The recent Queen’s speech informed us that the Home Office believes there is not enough legislation. Five more bills were announced.

Where the hell is all of this leading?

The answer comes from this morning’s Guardian. At the moment British prisons are full like never before – the highest in Europe in fact – 80,000 this week and rising! Some 8,000 new prison places are needed we are told. Will the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, cough up the requisite sum needed to incarcerate these scallywags? Not on your nelly! He obstinately refuses.

To the rescue comes the Home Office with a brilliant idea. ‘Let’s offer the public shares in prisons’, they say. ‘Get the public to invest in a company that can build jails and then rent them out!’

As the Guardian reports:

‘One incentive for small investors is that the government's punitive penal policy has seen prison numbers rise relentlessly over the past 10 years and would appear to guarantee a steady stream of rental income with no apparent shortage of prison "tenants".’Who says crime doesn’t pay?


Bleeding Afghanistan

It was interesting to hear Tony Blair telling British forces in Afghanistan that they were fighting for the future security of the 21st century. If the results of that US/UK led invasion of that country five years ago are anything to go by then the 21st Century looks set to be a miserable time to live through.

Five years after the invasion of Afghanistan the country is in ruins, the infrastructure in tatters, the Taliban, who Blair and Bush once informed us had been ousted, now as strong as ever and inflicting heavy casualties on UN forces. The cultivation of poppies, which Bush once told us had been halted, is now as strong as it has been in 20 years. Antonio Maria Costa ( the UN anti-drug chief) said recently that this year's opium harvest will be a record 6,100 tons (enough to make 610 tons of heroin) or 92% of the total world supply and 30% more than the amount consumed across the world in one year. Way to go Bush and Blair!! Drug barons across the planet salute you!!

The burqa, once believed gone forever with the arrival of Western forces and the installation of a puppet regime, is being worn through sheer fear everywhere. So, congratulations Mrs Bush and Blair – another glorious foreign policy cock-up of gigantic proportions.

And let’s set the following fresh statistics against the 5 year Western occupation of Afghanistan:

Life expectancy in Afghanistan is 44.5 years – the lowest in the world.

At 161 deaths per 1,000, infant mortality is the highest in the world.

One in five children perish before the age of 5.

Every day 50 women die in childbirth.

45% of those seeking work are unemployed.
50 % of the working population earn a miserly $200 a year. Those involved in the heroin trade – the country’s number one industry – fare a little better and receive an average $300 a year.

Only 25% of Afghans have access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

25% of the population depends on food aid.

500,000 are either homeless, living in appalling conditions or do-it-yourself dwellings..
There is one doctor for every 6,000 people.

Fewer than 6% of Afghans have access to electricity available, and at irregular intervals.

Over 100 are killed or wounded each month by mines.
It is reported that children are being kidnapped and sold into slavery or killed for their organs.
Tens of thousands of woman have turned to prostitution in order to survive.

Neither has U.S public relations helped matters. As in Abu Ghraib in Iraq, so too have there been numerous accounts of the torture of detainees in Afghanistan. Moreover, US troops have openly ridiculed the dominant religion there. In late October, US troops were captured on film burning the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in the village of Gonbaz - forbidden under Islamic law.

The corpses burnt, U.S. psychological operations specialists, in an attempt to lure Taliban followers, used loudspeakers to goad local villagers: "Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be...You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Talibs, but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."

Just the way to go on when you’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the people. Operation Eduring Freedom turns into Operation Who Fancies Their Chances?

In Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (Seven Stories, 2006) by Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls., The authors argue that the continuing plunge into brutality is directly related to US policies over the past 5 years. The US would not allow the UN to stabilise the country outside of Kabul and allowed the Northtern Alliance and other war mongers to take control and to continue their violent suppression of the population. This, along with a hated US policy for the country, has turned people to support the Taliban.

The authors write:

“As warlords have carved out chunks of Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, the lawlessness that gave rise to the strict Islamic movement in the mid-1990’s has begun to spread, once again, across this country. The United States-led military campaign… has returned to power nearly all of the same warlords who had misruled the country in the days before the Taliban.

“…One thing is certain: having warlord armies as the only non-U.S. forces in the bulk of Afghanistan ensures little international accountability for U.S. troop operations in the countryside. ISAF [the United Nations established International Security Assistance Force] expansion would have interfered with the U.S. hunt for al-Qa’eda and bin Laden. According to Al Ahram Weekly columnist Fahmi Howeidi, the ‘primary function of [ISAF] is to divert attention away from the military operations being conducted by U.S. forces in the Afghan countryside. In fact, as much as the hands of the international force are tied in Kabul, the Americans have a free hand elsewhere.’ The absence of peacekeeping troops, deliberately maintained by the Bush administration, ensured that the United States, rather than an international body, had control over most of Afghanistan.

“The official U.S. policy on Afghanistan’s security, according to Rumsfeld, was ‘helping [Afghans] develop a national army so that they can look out for themselves over time.’ Since developing a national army and police force in a country flush with weapons and decimated by war is a time- and money-consuming effort, Rumsfeld privately ‘wondered why they couldn’t just let the Afghan warlords create an army.’ In some areas of the country, this is indeed what has happened. While the national army is still in its infancy, local and regional warlords, many of whose private militias are well funded by drug revenues, easily filled the military vacuum left by the Taliban, but this didn’t

It now seems that the US is reaping the bitter harvest of its foreign policy which used Islamic fundamentalism as a puppet in its perennial game of globo-political profit-making. For years it courted some of the most dangerous, conservative and fanatical followers of Islam and is now paying the price. The globalisation process, which the US has pursued obsessively, has only served to make political Islam more reactionary in defence of its own culture and strategic interests.

The Islamic zealots the US are prepared to annihilate, in Afghanistan were once afforded most favoured status during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Under the Carter administration and beginning in 1980, they were trained in their thousands (sources quote 20,000) at the CIA’s Camp Peary and at the ex-army base at Harvey Point in Carolina; by the Green Berets at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and indeed by the SAS in Scotland. They would go on to be trained at Fort A.P. Hill, just off the Washington-Richmond interstate highway, and at Camp Picket in Virginia by Green Berets and US Navy SEALS. This was not simply ‘basic’ training. They were trained in over 60 deadly skills, including the use of sophisticated fuses, timers and explosives, remote control devices for land mines, incendiary devices and the use of automatic weapons with armour piercing shells. Thus the US went about supporting a ten-year long jihad in the hope Soviet state capitalism would not encroach upon its central Asian markets and that the military cost of the operation would cripple the Soviet economy.

Blair’s comments on securing the 21st Century beg the question “on whose behalf?” Would Western forces rewaly be there if the smel of oil was not in the air? The oil reserves of Central Asia ( $12 trillion worth by some estimates) are large enough to attract any oil-crazed president and his lackeys and as Afghanistan is geographically located between the Caspian basin and the markets of China and the Indian sub-continent, we can well see the country’s strategic importance to foreign policy planners wishing to dictate the way in which the region’s oil and gas reserves are utilised to the benefit of the US dollar.

To be sure, Afghanistan is not the first war of the 21st Century as Bush claimed back in 2001, but just one battle in a larger war that began in 1945 with the US determined to control the world’s resources, and there is more than ample evidence to prove this. More importantly, though, the entire Afghanistan/Iraq episode serves to show the insanity of the system we live in, and the desperate need to wrest control of our planet away from the madmen before it is indeed too late. In the 20th century, some 220 million lost their lives in wars, in conflicts over trade routes, areas of influence, foreign markets, mineral wealth and the strategic points from which the same can be defended or in other words, in the name of profit.

As socialists, as observers of international affairs and commentators on the way they impinge upon the lives of our fellow workers, we are well attuned to the machinations of the elites of powerful countries as they seek to promote the interests of their corporate backers. Though it is no easy task for the uninitiated, we urge our fellow workers to be as vigilant as ever. To believe the arguments of the likes of Bush and Blair is to disarm yourself intellectually - for it is at times like the present, when the media is dancing to the tunes of governments, when the trumpets of jingoism, patriotism and reaction are sounding, that we need to be fighting the war of ideas with a little more gusto.

The solution to the ongoing insanity, we insist, remains the same. There is one world and we exist as one people in need of each other and with the same basic needs. There is far more that unites us than can ever divide us along cultural, nationalistic or religious lines. Together we can create a civilisation worth living in, but before that happens we need the conscious cooperation of ordinary people across the world, united in one common cause – to create a world in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation, a world without borders or frontiers, social classes or leaders and a world in which production is at last freed from the artificial constraints of profit and used for the good of humanity – socialism.



Tony Blair - Iraq is a disaster

Only those suffering from selective amnesia will not recall the nauseating lengths to which Tony Blair went in promoting the case for the invasion of Iraq, how he used 10-year-old information gleaned from the internet, and some student’ dissertation, to argue that Saddam Hussein was quite capable of lobbing a missile at Britain within 45 minutes.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, well over a million people took part in a mass protest in London - people fully aware at the time that the events of 9/11 had no link to Saddam Hussein (something George Bush promoted and later denied) and that he posed no military threat to the West. Likewise, the many who marched to Hyde Park that day were right in believing that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction—a fact that was proved within months—and that any war in Iraq would fully destabilise the country (ex-president George Bush Snr. in fact cautioned Dubya that invasion would lead to destabilisation). And you would have been in a minority had you not realised the link between the intended war and the fact that beneath the sands of Iraq lay huge oil resources.

Three years after the invasion, with 650,000 Iraqis dead, the country’s infrastructure in total tatters, the country racked by a civil-war that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands more Iraqis, global terrorism far more of a reality than before the invasion, Blair has admitted that the whole damned episode is a ginormous cock-up.

Interviewed by David Frost on Al-Jazeera on Friday night, Blair sent a shock-wave through Westminster when, responding to Frost’s querying whether the Western invasion of the country had "so far been pretty much of a disaster", Mr Blair said, firmly: "It has."

However, rather than locating the problem in the invasion, the toppling of Saddam, the setting up of a stooge pro-Western government, Blair continued: "You see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy - al Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

And who trained Al-Qaeda? British and US special forces, Mr Blair. And what has always been the will of the majority in Iraq, Mr Blair? That the Western occupying armies get the hell out of Iraq.

Notwithstanding the carnage engulfing Baghdad and British-controlled Basra, Blair maintained that British troops were not ready to cut and run.

"We are not walking away from Iraq," he said. "We will stay for as long as the government needs us to stay.” Or rather British and American forces will stay until the country’s oil wealth is secured for Western interests.

"And the reason for that is that what is happening in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, as elsewhere in parts of the Middle East, is a struggle between the decent majority of people, who want to live in peace together, and those who have an extreme and perverted and warped view of Islam, who want to create war.”

One wonders whether Blair gets his political weltanschauung from the same sources as his war-mongering counterpart across the pond. Nowhere do the politics of oil enter the equation – the real reason for the invasion.

Jut one day after the Frost interview and Blair was back-pedalling – for sure his telephone hotline buzzing all night with concerned messages from the jingoistic fraternity in Washington and the oil cartel at home – and his spokesman adamant that his apparent concession was a "straightforward slip of the tongue" – perhaps the kind is slip Mr Bush is so famous for! Blair’s spokesman continued: "He doesn't think that a democratically-elected government in Iraq is a disaster; he doesn't think that getting rid of Saddam was a disaster, but he does acknowledge there are difficulties, and he doesn't try to downplay those."

We wonder just what “difficulties” Mr Blair is thinking of. That in securing the ‘world’s richest prize’ people have to be killed and democratic elections – as in Iraq – have to be subverted. What, the elections were democratic, Mr Blair? Then why did all candidates first have to be cleared by the White House?

How can an election be construed as legitimate when it is carried out under foreign military occupation and when the country is apparently ruled by, and the election will be officially run by, a stooge government installed and kept in power by the army of occupation? Where the democracy in holding an election that is to be orchestrated from the US Embassy and which will be under the ultimate control of US forces? Where the democracy and freedom of expression when a raging civil war prevents large sections of the population casting a vote and when the election is so tailored as to bring into being a new assembly responsible for drafting a Washington–vetted constitution and selecting a government that will be allowed to exist only so long as it functions under the conditions of military occupation?

Toppling Saddam was not a disaster? The very reason Saddam was not toppled in the wake of the first Gulf War - when the US prompted northern Kurds and the southern Marsh Arabs to rebel against Baghdad, offering they would come to their aid, and then sat back as Saddam annihilated them – was exactly because it was recognised an unstable Iraq was not in US interests, that it was safer to keep Saddam in power. Saddam might have been an utter bastard, but as far as Washington was concerned in 1991 he was holding the country together. This is not to say that we, as socialists, believe Saddam should have been left in power, but it is instructive to point to glaring changes in US policy.

As socialists we do maintain that it is dangerous to listen to leaders of any party and from any country, regardless of their flower cant, and insist that anything they say is taken with a pinch of salt and that workers should organise against them and in their ilk and in our own interests. The concept of leadership has emerged with class society and will end when we abolish class society, when we abolish the profit system and all that goes with it. The master class have been allowed to lead because of their control over the means of living and by virtue of their control of the education system and their monopoly of the media and other information processes.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The greatest weapons we posses are our class unity, our intelligence, our ability to question every corrupt word that is uttered by politicians, and to imagine a world fashioned in our own interests. Leaders perceive all of this to be a threat and so will do anything to keep us in a state of oblivion, dejection and dependency – not least of these methods is to further lie to us at every opportunity. Our apathy is the victory they celebrate each day. Our unwillingness question everything they say, to unite as a globally exploited majority and to confront them on the battlefield of ideas is the subject of their champagne toasts.

When it comes to commenting on Iraq, on would have thought that Blair would have learnt his lesson and kept his ill-informed mouth shut. For over 3 years he has lied incessantly about Iraq. It is staggering that anyone in Britain still finds anything he says believable. Just to remind visitors to this blog of some of his untruths we’re listing a sample few of his Iraq-related porkies. If you think anything Blair says is trustworthy, consider the following:

1) "The assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt … that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons" (Tony Blair’s foreword to the dossier on Iraq, 24 September 2002)

Fact: After over three months of inspections, the UN weapons inspectors reported on 6 March that "No proscribed activities, or the result of such activities from the period of 1998-2002 have, so far, been detected through inspections”.

2) "There is no doubt about the chemical programme, the biological programme, indeed the nuclear weapons programme. All that is well documented by the United Nations." (Tony Blair, 30 May 2003)

Fact: The UN had found no evidence of any on-going programmes since the mid-1990s. Dr Hans Blix said on 23 May that "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were not."

3) "The reason why the inspectors couldn't do their job in the end was that Saddam wouldn't co-operate." (Tony Blair, interview on 4 April 2003)
Fact: Hans Blix told the Security Council on 7 March 2003 that "the numerous initiatives, which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as 'active', or even 'proactive'".

4) "the UN has tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to disarm peacefully." (Tony Blair, interview in the Independent on Sunday, 2 March 2003)

Fact: In 1999, the Security Council set up a panel to assess the UN's achievements in the peaceful disarmament of Iraq. It concluded that: "Although important elements still have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated."

5) "We have already found two trailers, both of which we believe were used for the production of biological weapons" (Tony Blair, press conference in Poland on 30 May 2003)

Fact: Government experts believed that the trailers were used for the production of hydrogen for artillery guidance balloons - a system, incidentally, sold by the UK to Iraq in the 1980s.

6) “There is some intelligence evidence about linkages between members of al-Qaeda and people in Iraq." (Tony Blair to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, 21 January 2003)

Fact: In early February, a classified British intelligence report, written by defence intelligence staff in mid-January and presented to Tony Blair just prior to his 21 January presentation at the Liaison Committee, stated that there were no current links between the two, and that Bin Laden's "aims are in ideological conflict with present day Iraq".

7) "As the Foreign Secretary has pointed out, resolution 1441 gives the legal basis for this [war]" (Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 12 March 2003)

Fact: Resolution 1441 was secured on the British assurance that it did not authorise military action, even if the UK or US believed it was being violated by Iraq. Britain's UN ambassador Jeremy Greenstock informed the Security Council on 8 November 2002 that "There is no 'automaticity' in this Resolution. If there is a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter will return to the Council for discussion".

8) "On Monday night, France said it would veto a second Resolution whatever the circumstances." (Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003)

Fact: President Chirac said that France would vote against any resolution that authorised force whilst inspections were still working. Chirac said that he "considers this evening that there are no grounds for waging war in order to ... disarm Iraq.
9) "The oil revenues, which people falsely claim that we want to seize, should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN." (Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003)

Fact: Britain co-sponsored a resolution to the Security Council, which was passed in May as Resolution 1483, that gave the US and UK control over Iraq's oil revenues.

10) "Our aim has not been regime change; our aim has been the elimination of weapons of mass destruction" (Tony Blair, press conference, 25 March 2003 )

Fact: UN weapons inspectors were reporting Iraq's "proactive" cooperation, and were offering that Iraq could be confirmed as fully disarmed within three months if that assistance continued. If Mr Blair's aim was the elimination of prohibited weapons, why terminate the inspection process just when it was most effective?

Today, meanwhile, Gordon Brown is in Iraq and no doubt the trip will be used as a damage limitation exercise in the wake of Blair’s unwitting confession. Brown’s remit? To visit and placate British troops who may have thought this was Blair saying they were going home, and announce at least £100 million in new aid for reconstruction. For what it’s worth, the figure is peanuts. On July 18th of this year US government's top auditor told Congress that the new Iraqi government would require at least $50 billion in aid just to rebuild the country's oil facilities and electrical grids to pre-invasion levels. Brown’s £100 million would not cover the damage that is done to Iraq as a direct result of the ongoing civil war each week.
This piece is also posted here.

Climatic Change

Sent to the Shields Gazette

The threat of global warming is clearly a global problem that can only be dealt with by co-ordinated action at world level. But this is not going to happen under capitalism. As a system involving competition between profit-seeking corporations backed up by their protecting states, it is inherently incapable of world-wide cooperation. There never has been such cooperation. Just the opposite, in fact. The inevitable clashing interests between different states, each seeking to pursue the interests of its profit-seeking corporations, breeds war rather than cooperation. Look what happened last century. Look at the invasion of Iraq this century.
So it’s not going to happen. There is not going to be any coordinated world action to deal with global warming as long as capitalism is allowed to continue. Something will be done but it is bound to be too little, too late.

It’s certainly going to be too little. These days, when private corporations have governments under their thumb much more than in the recent past, what is being proposed is not even state intervention to force carbon-polluting corporations to limit their emissions in the overall capitalist interest. It’s to try to use the mechanisms of the market to solve the problem: fiddling about with the tax system to make investment in anti-pollution measures more profitable; establishing an artificial world market and price for carbon. Anybody can see that this is not going to work.
Governments are also proposing that individuals play their part, as if individuals rather than the system were to blame. They want us to drive smaller cars, even cycle to work, turn off the lights when we leave a room, not leave our TV on standby, not fly to our holiday destination. That’s all very well but unless they want us to reduce our standard of living that will just mean we would have money to spend on something else. As the capitalist class are always wanting us to reduce our standard of living since this means more for them as profits - and provoke strikes and impose austerity to try to do so - , socialists are naturally suspicious of the motives behind the government propaganda here.

In any event since the great bulk of carbon emissions come from energy generated for industry, offices and commercial transport, as well as from deforestation, even if we did all the things they want - and we’re not saying we shouldn’t, that’s an individual life-style choice - it wouldn’t make much difference. Changing life-styles is no more a solution to global warming than letting the invisible hand of the market have a go.

Having said this, individuals do have some responsibility in the matter. Capitalism - the cause of the problem - only continues in the end because people put up with it. Most people don’t see any alternative to working for wages, producing for profit, using money, the world divided into states, the existence of armies. These attitudes both reflect and sustain capitalism. And every time people get a chance to vote, a majority back politicians committed to maintaining the capitalist system as the way of organising the production and distribution of wealth. So capitalism continues. As do its problems, including the threat of global over-warming. Maybe as this gets nearer people will be driven to consider an alternative.

Global warming can only be tackled by global action. And effective global action will only be possible within the framework of a united world. A united world is only possible on the basis of the Earth’s natural and industrial resources being the common heritage of all humanity.


Let the BNP have their communion

Today’s Guardian reports on a speech made to church leaders by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, in which he states that BNP policies demand a forceful response from established churches and that BNP supporters be excluded from holy communion.

The Methodist Chuch has joined the fray, creating a website called Countering Political Extremism, seemingly a response to the BNP front organization Christian Council of Britain .
Said Mr Phillips: “I feel rage that my church might expect me to be in communion with such as Nick Griffin. This is where Christ puts us to the test.”

Revolutionary Act, ever striving to tell it like it is, ever ready to challenge the god myth promoters, wonders why Mr Phillips singles out those with racist policies. Surely any ‘true’ Christian – are there any? I’ve personally only ever met one – would be prepared to forgive the bone-headed transgressors of the BNP. The more fundamentalist god-botherers would take a stern biblical line and refuse communion to anyone who cocked a snook at the teachings of the “good book”.

Every religion has its doctrinal code of right and wrong. In Christianity this manifests as the Ten Commandments. If adherence to these Christian imperatives was the benchmark by which believers received or were refused communion then not only would churches be abiotic places but the entire capitalist class and their executive in government would be forbidden forever from partaking of the host.

Politicians are fond of starting wars on behalf of their capitalist cronies, either over trade routes, foreign markets, areas of influence etc. Bang goes the 6th Commandment: Thou shall not kill.
Politicians, as the tabloids are so wont to report, are the most polygamous bunch of reprobates in existence. Bang goes the 7th Commandment: Though shall not commit adultery.

Assisting with the robbery of the working class aside, on behalf of their capitalist cronies, politicians also commence wars with a view to securing the interests of their respective capitalist class – i.e. stealing Middle Eastern oil, not to mention small countries and islands ( Diego Garcia springs instantly to mind). In other words they are complicit in thievery. Bang goes the 8th Commandment: Thou shall not steal.Politicians are notoriously unforthcoming with the truth.
They lie and utter distortions at every opportunity for political gain. Bang goes the 9th Commandment - the one about telling porkies.

And breaching the 8th, above, goes hand-in-glove with the 10th Commandment - the one about coveting your neighbour’s goods.

So, straight off the cuff, there are five major biblical Commandments transgressed by politicians and sticky-fingered capitalists every day of the week. Indeed their entire raison d’etre lies in breaching the same at every opportunity. The crimes they enact each day could fill many volumes, yet Mr Phillips sees no wrong in their ways. They are welcome to share the body and blood of Christ.

It is instructive that Mr Phillips does not cite any objection to sharing communion with the likes of Blair and Bush and every other blood-drenched reprobate currently strutting their arrogance across the world stage, leaving in their wake mayhem, misery and disaster. His venom is reserved for a handful of degenerate pitiables in the BNP, who openly promote the politics of race. Since when has the Labour or Conservative parties or, in the US the Democrats and Repukes, been whistle-clean of the charge of racism?

Considering religion has been used as a tool for hoodwinking the masses for millennia, to mask the worst exigencies of the reign of the powerful for hundreds of years, to lend them a veil of respectability to help conceal the filth of corruption that oozes from each of their collective pores, I can think of no better place for a rotten politician than in a church munching on the host.Let the BNP share the mystery of transubstantiation!


Police Brutality - UCLA Student gets tazered

An Iranian-American UCLA student was shot by UCLA'S UCPD November 14th 2006, because he could not show his Student ID. He was shot 5 times with a taser gun. Trigger-happy cops threatened to shoot students who got too close. The Student yelled out that he had a medical condition, but to no avail - zap!

"This is a long-standing library policy to ensure the safety of students during the late-night hours," said UCLA Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein.
She said police tried to escort Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, out of the library after he refused to provide ID and would not leave. Tabatabainejad, who was arrested for resisting and obstructing a police officer, was later released on his own recognizance."
Lessons to ber learned?

1) Carry your student ID card.
2) Join the World Socialist Movement


The Pet Goat

I've waited a while to post this video (note - link now dead, video removed from original location).

Just after 9 am on 11 September 2001, the second airplane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Centre. President Bush was in Florida, at the Emma T. Booker Elementary School, listening to children read. Prior to entering the classroom he had been informed that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Chief of Staff Andrew Card comes over and whisperes in Bush's ear, "A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack."

What does the Commander in Chief do? Absolutely nothing. He sat there in full knowledge that two planes, within miutes of each other, had hit the twin toweres - the symbol of US capitalism - that his country was under attack - but found it more important to read a kid's book, The Pet Goat. He sat for well over 5 minutes, doing nothing while 3,000 people were dying and the attacks were still in progress.

That expression on Bush's face says a lot.

And as an aside - where the hell did they get this teacher? What an appalling method of teaching. If that's how they teach kids in US schools then no wonder Dubya is so damned dumb.


Book Review

THE CORPORATION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational.
By Nick Robins, Pluto Press, 2006,
224 pages ISBN: 0745325238 Paperback. £15.99
I often gauge how much I have enjoyed a book by the amount of highlighting and marginal notes I make in pencil. This book, like many on my shelves, will horrify those who prize pristine, unmarked first editions.

On the 31st December 1600 a precursor of the modern translational corporation came into existence. Its pioneering techniques in the field of trade and commerce, and downright murder and corruption, preceded by centuries the noxious business practices that we associate with today’s all-powerful corporations, many of whom have a higher turn over than small countries.
This book presents as a meticulous account of perhaps the most powerful corporation that ever lived, tracing how it came into existence, how it operated, its inner structure, the role of its own armies in its rise to supremacy, its part in the Bengal Famine when 10 million died as a result of the Company’s market manipulation, its militaristic role in the Opium Wars, its part in the Indian Mutiny and the Boston Tea Party and how, for the last twenty years of its existence, it ruled India as an agent of the British Empire. When it comes to downright exploitation, corruption, slaughter and sheer negligence and indifference to the suffering of others, perhaps no company that ever existed comes near the East India Company in its ruthless pursuit of profit, whilst refashioning the world commercial order in the interests of privilege and power for hundreds of years to come.

In its time the company had many critics, most notably Edmund Burke, “the real champion of India’s identity”, Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Burke fought long and hard to impeach the Company’s Governor General Warren Hastings for the devastation wrought on India in its endless search for profit.

Commencing his opening speech at Westminster Hall in February 1788, Burke said:

“I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights and liberties, he has subverted, whose properties he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate…I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured and oppressed, in both sexes, in very age, rank, situation and conditions of life.” (p. 135)

Despite Burke’s opening four day tirade against Hastings - one of the longest opening speeches in history - during which women were carried out fainting, at which the Speaker was “rendered speechless” and at which spectators were willing to pay £50 for a seat, despite an ensuing trial that lasted from February 1778 to April 1795, Hastings was acquitted.

Considering the Company’s operations for the New York Daily Tribune in the summer of 1853, Marx noted five characteristics:

“…a permanent financial deficit, a regular over-supply of wars, and no supply at all of public works, an abominable system of taxation, and a no less abominable system, of justice and law..” (p.159)

Satirising the Company’s administrative system, he commented how there existed “no government by which so much is written and so little done.”(p.159).

Marx furthermore viewed the company as a tool of British capitalism plc in India, observing how “the aristocracy wanted to conquer it, the moneyocracy wanted to plunder it and the millocracy to undersell it” (ibid).

Commenting on the Second Opium War, in Marx’s view attributable to the Company’s operations in the East and its insistence that it had the right to swamp China with drugs in the name of profit, regardless of the addiction-induced misery its trade created or how the Chinese authorities felt, he wrote:

“While openly preaching free trade in poison, it secretly defends the monopoly of its manufacture. Whenever we look closely into the nature of British free trade, monopoly is pretty generally found to, lie at the bottom of its’freedom’”.

In eight carefully researched chapters, Robins traces the Company’s operations from its inception as a trader in spices to its role in running the Indian sub-continent on behalf of the British crown, withholding, one imagines, very little regardless how gruesome, and there indeed are some stomach-churning passages.

In the final chapter, his analysis masterly done, Robins, contemplating the state of corporate play today, reflects how the Company’s legacy reveals the importance of taking on the mega-corporations who presently rampage across the planet unhindered, and this, for socialists, is the book’s one failing.

Robins’ remedy for curbing corporate power is simple:

“First of all, its market power and political influence must be limited…Next, stringent rules are needed to ensure that management and investors do not use the corporation as a tool for their short-term interests…And, finally, clear and forcible systems of justice have to be in place to hold the corporation to account for damage to society and the environment.” (p.181)

Thus, a brilliant attack on unchecked power in the pursuit of profit is marred by the simple request that the capitalist class behaves and shows a little more respect when carrying out its obscene business, and that the executive arm of capitalism – government – hurries to the rescue of society and the natural environment. Smiley-faced capitalism is, for Robins, the only remedy. Warren Hastings laughs in his grave.

All said, if you’re into the study of corporate power gone mad, read this


Bush orders the militarisation of space

In signing the recent executive order creating a new National Space Policy, President Bush has announced that the US will reject future arms-control agreements that might limit US military manoeuvrability in space. The document further announces that the US “will preserve its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in space ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests."

“Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power,” the policy declares and that to “increase knowledge, discovery, economic prosperity, and to enhance the national security, the United States must have robust, effective, and efficient space capabilities.”

One wonders why the US fears other countries may have “hostile” intentions in the use of their space capabilities. Clearly the answer has to be because this is exactly what the US is itself intent on using space for. What else was Clinton’s Star Wars programme all about?

The White House, however, insists that the new policy does not refer to the development or deployment of weapons in space. Indeed, in those sections of the policy made widely available recently, there is no explicit reference to the militarization of space. However, while the policy document insists that the main concern of the US is to “strengthen the nation’s space leadership”, to facilitate “US operations in and through space to defend our interests there”, it boldly asserts that national security is critically dependent upon space capabilities.

Moreover, it calls upon Donald Rumsfeld, the hawkish Defence Secretary and John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, to “develop and deploy space capabilities that sustain US advantage and support defence and intelligence transformations.” In this regards the policy document adheres to the militaristic and offensive tone that runs through every national defence document the White House has produced since Dubya’s inauguration.

Clearly the US dislikes anything perceived as an attempt to muscle in on its standing as the foremost power in space and the world’s leading military power; the two titles now looking likely to merge. Hence, US concerns about the EU’s Galileo project. At the outset, the US feared the project would allow the transfer of state of the art technology to countries it perceives as antagonistic to its interests. What really spooked Washington was the realisation that China was investing £150 million in Galileo.

Michael Kriepon of the Stimson Centre told the Washington post: “The Clinton administration opened the doors to developing space weapons, but that administration never did anything about it. The Bush policy now goes further.” (The Independent, 19th October).

One wonders just how other countries will now respond to US ambitions for the militarization of space for, make no mistake, this is exactly what Washington’s masters of war have in mind – this is full spectrum dominance in the making. Back in 1999, when Republican hawks celebrated a Senate vote not to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and announced their intention to scupper the 1972 ABM Treaty which outlawed Star Wars missiles systems capable of intercepting incoming missiles, Russian Defence Minister Nikolai Mikolov, acknowledging Russia could not match US technology, declared Russia would simply deploy more warheads capable of overwhelming the US nuclear umbrella system.

Theresa Hitchens of the Washington based Centre for Defence Information said: “You would think that we would have learnt our lessons about the danger of military pre-emptive action and unilateralism in Iraq, yet we are repeating the same policy towards space.” (The Independent, 19th October).

Experts argue that the new space decree has put the US on perilous path in so far as it extends Bush Doctrine policy to brand new military arena, whilst at the same time discarding endeavours to limit US military ambitions.

National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones, in an attempt to discourage the military significance of the new policy, said: “Technology advances have increased the importance of and use of space…Now, we depend on space capabilities for things like ATMs, personal navigation, package tracking, radio services, and cell phone use.” (Asia Times, 20th October)

What really concerns international observers and the US ‘s budding competitors, and which should concern all of us, is that the US absolutely refuses to negotiate any space arms-control agreement. Washington is promoting the line that because there is currently no space-arms race then there is no need for any such accord – which is utter hypocrisy when one considers the number of actual international agreements in existence, aimed at maintaining the peace, preventing weapons proliferation and the like , that the US refuses to ratify or even acknowledge.

Meanwhile, though, the US Air Force has produced the Counterspace Operations Doctrine, calling for “a more active military posture in space,” and arguing that defence of US satellites and spacecraft necessitates the use of “deception, dirpution, degradation and destruction.” Nothing like a bit alliteration to hammer your message home.

Make no mistake; the militarization of space is now well underway. The very fact that the US is playing down the military dimension of its new space policy is evidence it wants a real head start and to thus be in a position to better oppose any country with similar ambitions.As socialists have announced several times in recent years, if we are to prevent the 21st Century becoming a more violent re-run of the 20th, that witnessed two world wars, the first use of nuclear weapons and many hundreds of smaller conflicts – all in the name of profit – it is essential we, the victims, the cannon fodder, the class that has the biggest price to pay to satisfy the whims of the mighty, begin to organise now; not tomorrow when space is militarised, nor in years to come when the sirens are screaming and lasers are zapping the planet from US defence satellites orbiting the earth . We as a class have suffered too much and have too much to lose to leave decisions regarding the future of our planet in the hands of group of arrogant, conceited and profit crazed individuals. Let’s really organise to take their power away now, before it is too late.


Sudan: one country, two stories

Some 200,000 people have died during the present conflict in Darfur, in which militias loyal to the government are charged with committing genocide against the region’s black African population. An estimated 2 million have been made homeless. Starvation, fear and insecurity are an everyday reality for millions of Sudanese.

This is, of course, not the complete picture, as the New York Times reports. An economic boom is taking place in Sudan – despite western imposed sanctions. In Khartoum, 600 miles away from the epicentre of the humanitarian crisis, posh supermarkets are opening, skyscrapers are reachingupwards, the well-to-do are driving around in brand-spanking-new BMWs and relaxing at home on an evening in front of their plasma screen TVs and munching on Dubya’s favourite snack – Pringles. There is even a Coca Cola plant churning out 100,000 bottles of the tongue-tingling stuff per day - a plant set up by Sudanese investors.

Oil is rapidly turning the country into the fastest growing economy on the planet. While the US and Europe have prevented their countries from investing in Sudan, China, India and Middle Eastern oil states are ignoring Sudan’s appalling human rights record and realising there are profits to be had – investment is pouring in.

Sadly the wealth does not trickle as far as Darfur. Seventy per cent of the oil-gleaned wealth is spent on defence. President Lt-Gen Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a military coup back in 1989, realises he cannot depend on sourcing weapons contracts outside of Sudan, so has armaments produced and stockpiled at home, less supplies are cut off.

The NYT reports:
“Despite all the new materialism, Sudan still marches to a martial tune. Army officers enjoy special status, foreign visitors must register with the police and schoolchildren are required to wear camouflage uniforms to class. But the boom is changing much about society, from the careers people pursue, to the music they listen to, even what they eat.

“The traditional meal of ful, a bean stew eaten for breakfast and lunch, is giving way to kebabs, yogurt, hamburgers and hot dogs.”
Many believed the US would lift sanctions last year when the government made peace with rebels in the south, but not so. By then the conflict in Darfur was raging and the US became only more pissed off.

The US may well cite Sudan’s human rights record as a reason for not lifting the sanctions, but this is utter hypocrisy – the US has sucked up to the worst human rights offenders around the globe for decades. What really seems to be narking the US is that an oil rich country looked elsewhere for investment and to economic competitors such as China and India.

At the moment US/UN concerns do not bother Khartoum– hence the recent expulsion by the Sudanese government of the UN envoy Jan Pronk and the refusal to allow 22,000 UN peace keepers into the Darfur region (they say it would simply be an attempt to restore colonial rule).
A pressing fear in the business community is that the US might just manage to persuade others to fall in line and also impose sanctions; which just about says it all. To hell that an area of Sudan is war ravaged; to hell that millions are homeless, living lives of utter deprivation; forget that 200,000 have been murdered because of their skin tone, there’s a whiff of profit in the air.While the Sudanese master class lives it up in fine old style and the US profit merchants fear rising economic powers will get one up on them, via their contracts with Khartoum, it is our fellow workers – the real wealth producers in society - that are left to suffer.



In a lengthy piece on AlterNet, Joshua Holland explains how, as Iraq falls apart, four big oil companies are homing in on the country’s natural resources.

If ever an article revealed the stench of corruption emanating from the Iraq saga, this is it. At a time when major world players are staking their claim to the world’s oil resources, most notably China - an emerging contender for the US no. 1 position - it is clear the oil drenched cabal that decides US foreign policy knew exactly what they were doing in dreaming up pretexts to invade Iraq.

Iraq's oil reserves have to be the biggest prize since the end of WWII. The US Department of Energy has stated: "Iraq contains 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources. Iraq's true potential may be far greater than this, however, as the country is relatively unexplored due to years of war and sanctions."

Moreover, Iraq’s oil is cheap and easy to extract, thus it yields greater profits. James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, observes how oil companies "can produce a barrel of Iraqi oil for less than $1.50 and possibly as little as $1, including all exploration, oilfield development and production costs." Contrast that with other areas where oil is considered cheap to produce at $5 per barrel or the North Sea, where production costs are $12-16 per barrel.Iraq has more undeveloped oilfields than anywhere on the planet.
The "Holy Grail" of the oil fields lies beneath the sand of the immense western desert. There is perhaps enough oil there to propel the country to the global oil reserves number one position. As Holland comments: “the country's enormous reserves could break the back of OPEC, a wet dream in Western capitals for three decades.”
The oil fraternity are unanimous on one thing - namely. who will walk off with the profits from the plunder of Iraq's oil: US firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron, the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell -- that dominate the world oil market.

What I find utterly sickening, reading Holland's report, is that at a time when half a million Iraqi childen were dying (nay, murdered) as a direct result of the US-UN imposed sanctions on Iraq, by one means or another, the US received 37% of Iraqi oil. Perhaps this is exactly what Madeleine Albright (the then US Sec. of State) was thinking of when, questioned about the deaths of so many infant Iraqis, replied it was "a price worth paying."
Read on here...


Too late" to stop global catastrophe?

“At every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing over nature – but that we, with flesh and blood and brain, belong to nature and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly. We are gradually learning to get a clear view of the indirect, more remote social effects of our productive activity, and so are afforded the opportunity to control and regulate these effects well. This regulation, however, requires a complete revolution in our existing mode of production…in our whole contemporary social order”

You could be forgiven for thinking the above quotation came from a modern day ecologist or environmentalist, commenting on impending global ecological catastrophe and drawing upon the myriad reports currently in existence, written by scientists that portend cataclysmic changes to our life styles if we don’t stop abusing our natural environment immediately. The quote is in fact 131 years old and is taken from Dialectics of Nature, written by Frederic Engels (1875).

So let’s get one thing straight from the outset. Socialists have been warning about the effects of capitalism’s penny-pinching production methods for well over a hundred years, and how they impact on the wider environment, and it is often with despair that we reiterate the Engels message from the latter 19th century, more so now that state of the art technology exists that provides hard evidence as to the dire effects of capitalist production.

So it is not with any great sigh of relief, or shock and disbelief, that socialist’s would have read the lead story in today’s Independent, which covered the findings of Sir Nicholas Stern’s long awaited report on climatic change and indeed the government’s reaction to it. It does make for grim reading, suggesting that time is running out to really address the environment question – previous opportunities having been pathetically squandered at the Hague and Kyoto Summits – and that the possibility of preventing a global disaster is "already almost out of reach".

The Independent informs us: “With world temperatures on course to rise by two to three degrees in 50 years, rainfall could be catastrophically reduced in some of the world's poorest countries, while others grapple with floods from melting glaciers. The result could be the largest migration of refugees in history.”

Amongst the reports shocking revelations, writes Andy McSmith, is “that changes in weather patterns could drive down the output of the world's economies by an amount equivalent to up to £6 trillion a year by 2050, almost the entire output of the EU.”The 700 page report, commissioned by the Treasury and carried out by the former World Bank chief economist (Nicholas Stern) argues environmental problems will be "difficult or impossible to reverse" unless something is done now. It says: "Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century."

All is not lost, believe Chancellor Gordon Brown and Environment Secretary David Miliband. They point to the “positive message” arising from the report; this being that the world has the means to avoid the awaiting cataclysm. Money can be thrown at the problem – the earth shattering sum of 1 per cent of Global GDP (£0.3 trillion dollars); a figure, incidentally, which is dwarfed by global military spending.

Labour’s elite would have it that Sir Nick is something of a drama queen, but there again the government is first and foremost the executive of the capitalist class, with powerful interests to defend, so is not wont to panic their pals in big business with hints at environmental legislation that might eat into their profits. Milliband sounded quite optimistic being interviewed by The Independent. He said: "The second half of his message is that the technology does exist, the financing, public and private, does exist, and the international mechanisms also exist to get to grips with this problem - so I don't think it's a catastrophe that he puts forward. It's a challenging message.”

And what are offered are capitalist remedies, and to make it all the more attractive there are profits to be had – well, the master class have to have some damned incentive before they act. As The Independent reported:

“Combating climate change could become one of the world's biggest growth industries, generating around £250bn of business globally by 2050.” Providing, that is, that we still have a planet worth saving in 50 years time.

Governments appear oblivious to the fact that oil production will shortly peak, that half the earth’s available oil is estimated to by used within 10 years , and within another 20 years countries like China and India will have huge demands that will outstrip supply. Consider the global conflicts this will create.

Far worse than a shortage of oil is a shortage of water. We already know that 500 million live in regions prone to chronic drought. Scientists have forewarned us that within 20 years that figure is expected to increase fivefold to between 2.5bn and 3.5bn people. Already over 5 million people die annually - including 2 million children - from diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. Again, what desolation does this portend for the human race?

In the oceans, almost 50% of fish stocks are fully exploited, 20% are over-exploited, and only 2% are recovering. On land, soil erosion and degradation mean that half a billion people live in countries whose arable land can no longer support their own populations. The natural habitats of many animal species are being lost on an alarming scale, which with the decline of bird species, plants, forests - on which, ultimately, the human race depends – signals a crisis for biodiversity.
And the best capitalist politicians can think up is to tempt the master class with the whiff of profits to come if they agree to mend their ways. The very people who have disregarded the effects of their production methods on the natural environment for hundreds of years are now being asked to show it some mercy! Global environmental catastrophe can be halted by throwing money at the problem!

Right across the planet the economic system that governments defend plunders and squanders the Earth’s non-renewable mineral and energy resources and with one object in mind – profit. All over the world it pollutes the seas, the air we breathe, the forests, rivers and lakes, upsetting natural balances, eco-systems and defying the laws of ecology. Clearly, this destruction and waste cannot continue indefinitely. It should not and must not and no amount of money is going to redress the delicate balance.

Socialists have long argued that it is quite possible to meet the material needs of every person on this planet without destroying the natural systems on which we depend and on which we are party. So what stands in the way? Why isn’t this done? The simpler answer, which we must not get tired of reiterating, is that under the present economic system, production is not geared to meeting human needs but rather to accumulating profits for a few. Consequently, what we produce and the methods and the materials we employ are not decided rationally and democratically, but are dictated by market forces.

Production today is in the hands of business enterprises of one sort or another, all competing to sell their products at a profit. All of them – and it does not matter whether they are privately owned or state-owned – aim to maximise their profits. This is not the result of the greed of the owners or managers, as some Greens claim, but an economic necessity, imposed by the forces of the market. If a business does not make a profit it goes out of business. “Make a profit or die” is the law of the capitalist jungle.

Under the demands of the market, businesses only take into account their own narrow financial interests, ignoring wider social and ecological considerations. The whole of production, from the process employed to the choice of what to produce, is distorted by this drive to make and accumulate profits. The result is an economic system governed by anarchic market forces which compel decision-makers, however selected and whatever their personal views or sentiments, to plunder, pollute and waste.

So it’s no wonder that nature’s balances are upset today, and that we face problems like global warming, acid rain and the widening hole in the ozone layer, to name just a few. It’s no wonder that the Earth’s easily accessible resources are plundered without a thought for the future; that the power stations and factories release all sorts of dangerous and noxious substances into the air and water; that chemical fertiliser and pesticides that get into the food chain are used in agriculture; that animals are injected with hormones, fed unnatural diets; that human waste is not recycled back to the land; that non-biodegradable plastics and textiles are produced; that lead is put into petrol; that goods are made so as not to last, etc. The list of anti-ecological practises imposed by market forces is endless.

The conclusion is clear: If our needs are to be met while at the same time respecting the laws of nature, the present market-driven profit system must go and be replaced with a system capable of producing the essentials humans need, but in an ecologically friendly way.

Most Greens believe that things could be put right with a change of government policy, which is exactly what Labour now proposes. What is needed, they say, is a government that will pass laws and impose taxes – on air travel, motoring and high emission vehicles - to protect the environment. But experience shows that no government, however well meaning or determined, can protect the environment. Governments exist to run the political side of the profit system. They do not have a free hand to do what is sensible or desirable. They can only act within the narrow limits imposed by the market system. This is why the reformist policy advocated by the Green Party, Friends of the Earth etc. is not working. At most it could only succeed in slowing down the speed of decay, not in making the profit system work in an environmentally friendly way. Those who want a clean and safe environment are up against a well entrenched economic and social system, based on class privilege and property and governed by the overriding law of profits first. What Greens should work towards is not a change of government, but a change of society.

If we are to meet our needs in an ecologically acceptable way, we humans must first be in a position to control production or, to put it another way, to consciously regulate our interaction with the rest of nature – and the only basis on which this can be done is the common ownership of productive resources.

Once the Earth’s natural and industrial resources have become the common heritage of all humanity, then production can be geared to meeting needs in an ecologically acceptable way, instead of making profits without consideration for the environment. These include types of farming that preserve and enhance the natural fertility of the soil, the systematic recycling of materials obtained from non-renewable energy sources while developing alternative sources that continually renew themselves (i.e. solar energy and wind power); industrial processes that avoid releasing poisonous chemicals or radioactivity into the biosphere; the manufacture of solid good made to last, not planned to break down after a period of time.

We are talking about a system of society based on common ownership and democratic control of productive resources. That is the only basis on which we can meet our needs whilst respecting the laws of nature. And it’s the only basis on which we can begin to successfully reverse the degradation of the environment caused by the profit system. The only effective strategy for achieving a free and democratic society, in harmony with nature it to build up a movement which has the achievement of such a society as its sole aim.

Thisa posting can also be found here



I'm surprised it has taken me so long to find this revealing site, not that I'm unfamiliar with the Bush family-Nazi connection. Just as strong these days, incidentally, is the Bush family-Bin Laden connection. No doubt, before too long, some researcher will reveal the Bush family-Genghis Khan connection.

The photo above is of Prescott Bush, Dubya's grandpappy, sitting chatting comfortably with Nazi officials.

The text accompanying the photo says:

"According to classified documents from Dutch intelligence and US government archives, President George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush made considerable profits off Auschwitz slave labor. In fact, President Bush himself is an heir to these profits from the holocaust which were placed in a blind trust in 1980 by his father, former president George Herbert Walker Bush. On the 20th of October, the government commenced action against the company under the trading with the enemy act. After the seizures in late 1942 of five U.S. enterprises he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen failed to divest himself of more than a dozen "enemy national" relationships that continued until as late as 1951, newly-discovered U.S. government documents reveal. In 1952, Prescott Bush was elected to the U.S. Senate, with no press accounts about his well-concealed Nazi past."

Of Dubya's great grandpappy, the site says:

"George Walker set up the takeover of the Hamburg-America Line, a cover for I.G. Farben's Nazi espionage unit in the United States. In Germany, I.G. Farben was most famous for putting the gas in gas chambers; it was the producer of Zyklon B and other gasses used on victims of the Holocaust. The Bush family was not unaware of the nature of their investment partners. They hired Allen Dulles, the future head of the CIA, to hide the funds they were making from Nazi investments and the funds they were sending to Nazi Germany, rather than divest. It was only in 1942, when the government seized Union Banking Company assets under the Trading With The Enemy Act, that George Walker and Prescott Bush stopped pumping money into Hitler's regime."

As Kitty Kelly might have said, looking into the Bush family history is like navigating the New York sewer system in a glass mini submarine.


Lies, lies and more lies

Remember the bullshit spouted by Blair and Bush in the run up to the invasion of Iraq? The spoof dossiers and documents, the photos and false testimony from exiles? Remember Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, in which he outlined the case for military action against Saddam? Yeah, that’s right, the lies about WMDs, Iraq’s mobile labs, the Niger connection, the aluminium tubes, Iraqs link to Al Qaeda.

U.N. inspectors have now complained to Washington and a Congressional committee about a report on Iran's nuclear programme. The inspectors have labelled parts of the report "outrageous and dishonest”.

When there are profits to be had - in this case from oil – truth is not only the first casualty in war, truth is in fact stamped into the ground long before the first salvo is fired and trodden further into the dirt when the last shell casing hits the ground.

As the US makes the case for sanctions against Iran, as a prelude to widening Middle East war, expect the bullshit machine to go into overdrive.


The Labour Party Leadership Battle

Countless column inches and seemingly endless hours of news reports have been given over to the leadership crisis the Labour Party is currently engulfed in. Speaking up for Prime Minister Tony Blair, Home Secretary Charles Clark said Blair would stand down when he was good and ready to do so and he accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of “absolutely stupid” behaviour in challenging Blair, commenting that Brown needed first to prove his fitness to lead.

Fitness to lead? Now there’s a thing. It assumes leaders have some special qualification acquired over years of study and self-sacrifice when the only real qualification is the ability to hoodwink others into thinking you possess knowledge and qualities they do not. Unlike other professions – doctors, surgeons, architects, physicists – whose skills come via many years of hard slog – politicians require none whatsoever. The only requisite credentials needed when standing for election are that you are over 21 years of age, not insane and with no recent prison record.

Despite this, many workers think we cannot function without leaders. This is a fallacy and one perpetuated by the master class to help them maintain their rule over our lives. Indeed, so prevalent is this philosophy, that from the cradle to the grave we are taught to mistrust our own intelligence and to feel somewhat inadequate, to look up to our ‘betters and superiors’ (schools, church, politicians, parents etc) for their expert guidance and to accept without question the plans they draw up for our future.

Moreover, the whole concept of leadership and the need to choose the candidate most fitted for the post of leader is keenly promoted by aspiring leaders. In truth, history confirms them to be pitiable exemplars of honesty, integrity and compassion, forever paying lip service to truth and justice and other grand notions equated with leadership.

Blair has proved to be just as deceitful, dishonest and corrupt as every British prime minister that preceded him, ready always to defend power and privilege over the real needs of the people who elected him. From the moment he won a fourteen minute standing ovation from a CBI Conference just prior to the 1997 Labour victory, through the myriad scandals his Party has been caught up in, and right through to his perfidious reasoning to invade and occupy an immiserated but oil rich country, he has constantly lied to the electorate, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and bullied anyone bold enough to stand up to him.

Nothing Brown has said or done inclines us to consider he will act any differently. As Prime Minister he will lead the executive of the capitalist class – what else are governments but the national administrative arm of capital? - and as leader he had better be seen to be “batting for Britain”, defending the interests of big business at home and abroad. This is the real remit of the leader in capitalist society.

It is assumed by many that leaders run the world. Well, I rather think it is we, the workers, who run the world. Politicians might make government policy, which becomes law, but it is we who build and work the hospitals and schools. It is we who build the bridges, roads and railways, ports and airports; all the products that humans need to survive. It is we who produce everything from a pin to an oil-rig and provide humanity with all the services it requires – we the working class! We don’t depend on leaders for these skills or for their guidance. They have no monopoly on our knowledge and intelligence or on the inventions we dream up to enhance the quality of life. If all the worlds’ leaders died tomorrow, few would really miss them and society would function just as before.

The concept of leadership has emerged with class society and will end when we abolish class society, when we abolish the capitalist mode of production and all that goes with it. The master class have been allowed to lead because of their control over the means of living and by virtue of their control of the education system and their monopoly of the media and other and information processes.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The greatest weapons we posses are our class unity, our intelligence, and our ability to question the status quo and to imagine a world fashioned in our own interests. Leaders perceive all of this to be a threat and so will do anything to keep us in a state of oblivion, dejection and dependency. Our apathy is the victory they celebrate each day. Our unwillingness to unite as a globally exploited majority and to confront them on the battlefield of ideas is the subject of their champagne toasts.

Remember this as the battle for leadership of the Labour Party hots up.


OFFICIAL! George Bush: Iraq had sod all to do with 9/11

President Bush in the midst of explaining how the attacks of 9/11 inspired his “freedom agenda” and the attacks on Iraq until a reporter, Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. “Nothing,” Bush defiantly answered. Watch the video.

Full transcript:

BUSH: The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
QUESTION: What did Iraq have to do with it?
BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?
QUESTION: The attack on the World Trade Center.
BUSH: Nothing. Except it’s part of — and nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — Iraq — the lesson of September 11th is take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.



From what I’m reading lately I can only assume there is some covert state plot to prepare the public mind for an all out Middle East war. It’s as if people are being psyched up to be distrustful of anyone of Middle Eastern origin.

Not a day goes by when I’m not reading, in the press, stories about suspected Arab terrorists being arrested or about the growing fear of terrorists. I well remember, shortly after 7/7 last year, sitting on Platform 4 of Newcastle’s Central Station waiting for a train to London. A Moslem family walked up the platform just yards in front of me – husband and wife and two sons, and dragging those cases with the elongated handles and awkward little wheels. You could literally feel the suspicious looks they were getting - the unease on passengers’ faces was quite visible. Undoubtedly the same has happened a million times around Britain in the past year.

Yesterday, this growing anti-Arab phenomenon took a new twist. Two Arab gentlemen were kicked off a flight from Malaga to Manchester airport, quite literally because their faces did not fit. Seemingly, fellow passengers feared they were terrorists. Apparently they were heard communicating in Arabic and were observed to be repeatedly checking their watches. So cabin crew called the Spanish police and had the poor sods carted away for interrogation. Thankfully, they were later released.

The Independent reported: “Similar incidents in which people of Asian or Middle Eastern appearances have been targeted by fellow passengers have been reported on pilots' and cabin crews' websites, including one in which two British women with young children on a flight from Spain apparently complained about a bearded Muslim man - even though he was security checked twice before boarding the plane.”

The Sunday Times yesterday reported: “Elite teams of security officers are to be trained to monitor passenger behaviour at airports in a new attempt to combat terrorism. The ‘behaviour detection squads’ will patrol terminals to monitor the gestures, conversations and facial expressions of passengers. One of their aims will be to spot those who may be concealing fear or anxiety…. The Spot teams, who are in uniform and work in pairs at US airports, use a list of more than 30 unusual behaviours against which to check passengers.”

Well, that’s me fucked. My bracket attracts the attention of cops like a steaming turd attracts flies. And I’m a bastard for looking at me watch. And when I'm anxious or pissed off I go through about 187 facial expressons.

So cops will be watching for people who look anxious? In a friggin’ airport where 5000 hungry and thirsty passengers have had flights delayed for hours, holding the hands of their children who are tired and fretty and crying to go to the toilet. And many of these will have deep tans, it being holiday time and looking non-white.

Training the officers in spotting the downright guilty is Paul Ekman, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of California.

Said The Independent: “In particular, officers are trained to recognise concealed emotion, such as fear or anxiety. These so-called ‘micro-facial expressions’ appear on a person’s face for 1/25th of a second. ‘They are so fast, that unless you’ve been trained you don’t see them,’” said Ekman.

So now they can train dip-shits in uniform to recognise 1/25th of a second of anxiety? There are more than 30 ‘unusual behaviours’ to look out for? Thirty? They want to stick one of these ‘behaviour detection squads’ outside of the House of Commons. There’s some right shifty looking bastards entering that building. Maybe even on the London Underground during the morning rush hour, when everyone looks stressed and anxious and irritable; where everyone avoids eye contact and regularly look at their watches and where many people carry bags.

Expect a wave of paranoia in the coming weeks. There’s a big war coming and the public must be psyched up for one.



The video clearly shows the Border Police unit firing on the demonstrators from close range. There is no evidence that the soldiers were in danger. Typically, the military spokesperson has claimed that “activists threw stones” and Haaretz’s article reiterated the same false information. The video also clearly shows the commander of the unit saying, “This is Lebanon!” as he orders his force to fire on retreating demonstrators, and “I will not allow a demonstration during wartime!”

The commander, Majdei, made this decision despite a military court decision in August 2005 that people in Bil’in have the right to protest on their land on the village-side of the apartheid wall. Every week since the wall was finished in March 2006, the Israeli military has also denied them the right to protest on their farmland on the other side of the wall. The wall separates villagers from 60% of their farmland, half of which has already been annexed and developed by Jewish settlements.



Was Israel’s attack on Hezbullah part of preparations for a coming US attack on Iran?

As I write, it with no great belief that the coming month will be one of peace in the Middle East. I personally anticipate a serious and threatening crisis will commence the instant the Iranian government - at the moment under a UN deadline to stop uranium enrichment (actually Iran's legitimate rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) by August 31st - tells the UN what it can do with that resolution.

Sanctions will no doubt be immediately announced, but to what effect and with what response from Iran remains to be seen. Iran has already intimated it would spark a global oil price crisis in response to UN sanctions, and it is unclear whether China and Russia – each with vested oil interests in Iran, will go along with any sanctions. The worse case and perhaps more likely scenario is that the US will express feigned frustration at Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate and use the rejected resolution as a chequered flag to attack Iran militarily.

Make no mistake about it. Syria and Iran – part of the “axis of evil” have been in the US’ cross hairs for some time - the evidence for this is well documented – and lined up for a military bombardment, the likes of which will make the war in Iraq look like a street fight.

It is against this backdrop that we can begin to set the present Middle East crisis in context, particularly the recent Israeli attack upon Lebanon. This latest act of Israeli aggression had nothing to do with capturing back two kidnapped Israeli soldiers on 14th July and everything to do, it would seem, with oil and the securing of other resources and preparing for a wider conflict against Syria and Iran.

There are numerous reports that the war in Lebanon had been planned in advance by Israel. Reporting from Tel Aviv for the San Francisco Chronicle on 21st July, Matthew Kalman wrote: "More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."

Speaking to CNN, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersch said: “July was a pretext for a major offensive that had been in the works for a long time. Israel's attack was going to be a model for the attack they really want to do. They really want to go after Iran.” (The Guardian, August 14th, 2006).

In bombarding Lebanon and the Gaza strip - Gaza is still being bombed - there can be no other objective than to neutralise two opponents of Israel and indeed the US, and softening the backlash from Hezbullah and Hamas when Iran is eventually bombed.

Hezbullah’s fire power and missile capabilities needed to be tested in advance of any attack on Syria and Iran. For one thing, Israel is unsure of the number of rockets in the hands of Hezbulah (some say 20,000) or indeed their range. Now they know. The Israeli bombardment of key roads and bridges and passage to Syria can serve no other function than to cut of the weapons supply route to Hezbullah. By striking pre-emptively Israel seems to have planned to destroy as many Hezbullah weapons as possible in advance of any Hezbullah rocket attack on Israel resulting from a US-allied bombardment of Iran.

Now, widely unreported in the western popular media and brought to a wider audience by Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economics professor, on the Global Research website, was the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline linking the Caspian sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, and one day before Hezbullah’s kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers that ostensibly started the recent ware in Lebanon. The BTC pipeline is anticipated to carry a million dollars of oil a day to Western markets.

In attendance at this inauguration ceremony were BP’s CEO Lord Browne and senior officials from the UK and USA, along with Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, accompanied by a delegation of top Israeli oil officials.

The British Petroleum dominated pipeline skirts the Russian Federation, cutting through new pro-US states Georgia and Azerbaijan, countries allied with NATO and with a standing military pact with Israel. Israel already gets 20% of its oil from Azeri oil fields and this new pipeline is set to increase Israeli imports from the Caspian basin. Israel is now tipped to be a key player in the East Mediterranean oil transport protection racket.

Israel’s military programme is increasingly looking to be tailored to the region’s strategic oil pipelines and by the Western oil companies commanding the pipeline passages. The war against Lebanon can perhaps be best seen as Israel’s first overt move for territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.

Officially, the BTC pipeline will be channelling oil to Western markets. What is not admitted, however, is that some of this oil will be redirected towards Israel via a proposed underwater pipeline from Ceyhan in Turkey to the Israeli port of Ashkelon, and from there via a pipeline system to the Red Sea.

The plan seems to serve not only Israeli oil consumption needs, but plays a part in the US’ wider game of global-politics. Oil channelled from Ashkelon to the Red Sea will then be re-exported from the Red Sea port of Eilat to Asian markets. This will help undermine the inter-Asian energy market eventually weakening the position of Russia in Central Asia and cutting off China from Central Asia’s oil reserves.

In April of this year Ankara and Tel Aviv publicised their intention to create four pipelines which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory. As the Jerusalem Post reported on 11th May:

"Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East.”

The scheme further envisages a pipeline to carry water to Israel from upstream Anatolian rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Not only is this plan catered for in the recently announced military pact between Israel and Ankara, its implementation will be devastating for Syria and Iraq. The execution of this joint Israeli-Turkish venture requires that land and sea routes between the Ceyhan border, through Syria and Lebanon, and to the Lebanese-Israeli border, be militarised. Michel Chossudovsky asks in his article The war on Lebanon and the battle for oil:“Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon? Open up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory extending from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/)

Israel is keen to play a more dominant role in the Middle East and seeks to achieve a degree of economic autonomy by becoming a key player in oil politics. Of course to punch above its weight it needs outside help, hence alliances with the US and more recently with Turkey and NATO.
Chossudovsky’s well cited piece Triple Alliance: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon details the alliances and agreements which apparently underpin the war with Hezbullah:

“We are not dealing with a limited conflict between the Israeli Armed Forces and Hezbullah as conveyed by the Western media. The Lebanese War Theatre is part of a broader US military agenda, which encompasses a region extending from the Eastern Mediterranean into the heartland of Central Asia. The war on Lebanon must be viewed as ‘a stage’ in this broader ‘military road map’.” (ibid.)

Significant for Chossudovsky is the Turkey-Israel alliance which involves military and intelligence sharing on Iraq, Iran and Syria, as well as joint military exercises and trainingFurthermore, in early July, just one week before Israeli forces commenced the bombing of Lebanon, Turkey and the US jointly signed a "Shared Vision" contract, validating a new Turkey-US alliance. In attendance for the signing was US Secretary of State Condi Rice and Abdullah Gul, the Turkish Foreign Minister.

This "Shared Vision" contract depicts the Turkish-US alliance as being "characterized by strong bond of friendship, alliance, mutual trust and unity of vision. We share the same set of values and ideals in our regional and global objectives: the promotion of peace, democracy, freedom and prosperity."

More importantly, the document commits Turkey to lend its full support to the “war on terrorism” and to approve US foreign policy with regards the defence of Israel.

Off the coast of Israel, preliminary drilling and seismographic results suggest that the Eastern Mediterranean is also rich in gas reserves. One recent report states that:"… Palestinian and Israeli waters in the Mediterranean appear to contain at least 100bn cu metres of gas reserves, divided about 60:40 in the Palestinians ' favour. Almost all of this gas is expected to go to the Israeli market which, by 2015, will probably be consuming at least 12bn cu metres/yr. A small portion (about 0.5bn cu metres/yr) might also be reserved for a new power plant in the Gaza Strip."(See http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reportinfo.asp?report_id=19835&t=e&cat_id=)

Seeking greater independence and an enhanced role in the Middle East, the smell of profits all around, Israeli aggression now becomes more understandable.

Pepe Escobar, writing for Asia Times, stresses Israel’s water needs as partly behind the recent war in Lebanon. :

“There's also the all-important matter of the waters of the Litani River in southern Lebanon. Israel might as well prepare the terrain now for the eventual annexation of the Litani. ”Beyond Lebanon, Israel is mostly interested also in Syria. The motive: the all-important pipeline route from Kirkuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan, to Haifa. Enter Israel as a major player in Pipelineistan.

”So Israel wants to grab water (and territory) from Palestine, water (and territory) from Lebanon and oil from Iraq. This all has to do with the inevitable - the 21st-century energy wars.” (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HG26Ak02.html)

Tel Aviv recently announced it was in for a “long war” – clearly not with Hezbullah. It has been stockpiling weapons for several years and was re-supplied throughout the war with Hezbullah by the US. On top of its arsenal of 200 nuclear warheads it has in excess of 500 bunker-busting bombs, only a few, by all accounts, used recently in Lebanon. Clearly Israel is preparing for a widening and intense conflict.

With its military alliances, its stockpiling of WMD, its hankering after control of vital resources, its regional hegemonic ambitions, and ultra-strong links to belligerent US Neocons who have already intimated they can hit Iranian targets with 30 minutes notice and that they reserve their right to use nuclear weapons, are we being unrealistic in prophesising Israel’s desire to get involved in a more serious conflict.

Just how do we interpret Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s promise that he will officially proclaim Israel's "new" and in theory "final" borders before 2010, as anything other than a veiled hint at region-wide conflict?

Speaking of the Israeli-Hezbullah conflict, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “We need to make clear to Syria and Iran that there is a choice: come into the international community and play by the same rules as the rest of us, or be confronted.” Can this hypocritical statement be interpreted as anything other than a serious threat of violence to those Middle Eastern countries that would stand in the way of profit hungry masters of war and their ambitions for global domination of the planet’s vital resources?

Seymour Hersch repeatedly asserts that President Bush ordered all out war against Iran shortly after his re-election in 2004. Pat Buchanan's American Conservative amongst other sources, sides with Hersh in arguing that vice-president Dick Cheney has drawn up a war plan for Iran inclusive of the possible use of nuclear weapons.

US Defence Secretary Don Rumsfeld has placed US forces on alert and Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force acknowledges: "We're now at the point where we are essentially on alert. We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes in half a day or less."
Dan Plesch (The Guardian, 8th August) suggests President Bush has at his disposal:

“200 strategic bombers (B52-B1-B2-F117A) and US Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles. One B2 bomber dropped 80,500lb bombs on separate targets in 22 seconds in a test flight. Using just half the available force, 10,000 targets could be attacked almost simultaneously. This strike power alone is sufficient to destroy all major Iranian political, military, economic and transport capabilities.”

We live at a dangerous stage of human history, in which the greatest crime a country can commit is to have more than its fair share of resources in a world in which the leading superpower is seeking full spectrum dominance. Iran’s real and unforgivable crime – leaving aside its refusal to halt its legitimate uranium enrichment programme - is to have enviable oil and gas reserves, to control access to the Persian Gulf - a vital oil and gas transhipment route to Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world - and to have contemplated oil deals with a series rival for US supremacy, China. With China expected to have oil demands similar to US levels within 20 years, already consuming vast resources of coal, iron and steel, not to mention almost 70% of the world’s cement supplies on one dam project - the panic button has clearly been pressed.
As a Socialist I’m naturally fearful as I watch events unfold; fearful for my class, my fellows throughout the world and for whom I hold no ill feelings. As always, Socialists refuse to take sides in conflict, seeing all war as rooted in the desire to make profit, and viewing workers, wherever they are, united as one class with the same basic needs and common interest, diametrically opposed to the interests of those who would urge them to kill each other.

Before the slaughter once again commences, myself and fellow Socialists once more take the opportunity to declare our heartfelt solidarity with the workers of all nations, and their true common cause. We appeal to workers to organise consciously and politically and to use the power at their disposal to head off the threatening bloodshed, and secure the space we need in order to build a world of peace and stability. As ever, we appeal to the workers of al lands to join with us in campaigning for a system of society where there are no leaders, no classes, no states or governments, no borders, no force or coercion; a world where the earth’s natural and industrial resources are commonly owned and democratically controlled and where production is freed from the artificial constraints of profit and used for the benefit of all; a world of free access to the necessaries of life. A world without waste, or want, or war.