Thursday, August 31, 2006

No to Sanctions on Iran

After a series of defeats in the Middle East, the US is trying to push it's programme of sanctions on Iran through the United Nations. Russia and China however are expected to oppose any move to impose sanctions.

This will not deter the US who have said they are yet again prepared to work outside of the UN. John Bolton reaffirmed Washington’s determination to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran.

"The question of what to do about Iran is certainly not confined to the Security Council," he said, reiterating comments he made in a recent interview.

"You can envision sanctions being imposed outside of the Security Council as the United States has unilaterally imposed sanctions on Iraq pursuing to its own statutes ... Other governments can do the same," he added.

Separately, Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, claimed that Iran is a "central banker of terror."

Analysts say the latest developments indicate not only the U.S.’s determination to penalize Iran, but also the current weakness of Washington’s position because of its role in a series of conflicts in the Middle East, most recently its support for the Israel’s deadly offensive in Lebanon, The Los Angeles Times reported.

It is important that sanctions on Iran are opposed. Developments there are being portrayed by the media and the US/UK goverments to create a climate of fear and their constant demonisation of Iran which is needed to garner public support for any such move, be it military or unilateral sanctions.

As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is perfectly entitled to develop nuclear power. The US and UK, both signatories to the treaty, are both in breach of it. Iran is not. Britain is currently developing Trident at a cost of billions and is in breach of the NPT. Iran has opened itself to more stringent inspections than any other country, above and beyond the requirements of the NPT.

The proposed sanctions are part of the 'War on Terror' that is being waged throughout the Middle East. Although the US/UK try and frame Iran as a threat to stability in the region, it is they who have perpetrated the most crimes as a look at recent history clearly shows.

It was the US who encouraged, supported and funded Iraq, supplying weapons to attack Iran in 1980 after the Revolution toppled the US backed Shah (who incidentally the US tried to woo with the idea of atomic energy). The very same weapons and gas were supplied for Saddam to use on the people of Iraq while Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush et al said nothing to condemn the killing.

The devastating effects of the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where the civilian death toll has reached over 100,000 are another example of US intervention causing instability in the Middle East. In a war that has shifted from Al-Qaeida to WMD's, to regime change one by one the lies of the imperialists have fallen apart as Haliburton, EXXON etc reap the benefits from Iraqi oil.

We have seen the effects of UN sanctions before when they were imposed on Iraq in 1990. The sanctions led to the deaths of 1.5 million people, mainly children dying of malnourishment. When interviewed in 1996, Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations was presented with a figure of half a million children under five having died from the sanctions. Not challenging this figure, she infamously replied "we think the price is worth it," UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Baghdad Dennis Halliday resigned calling the sanctions an act of genocide.

For an interview with Dennis Halliday in 2000 :

More recently we have seen the US fast tracking precison missiles and illegal cluster bombs to Israel in its attack on Lebanon. These weapons destroyed Lebanese infrastructure targetting houses, hospitals, roads and bridges, killed 4 UN observers and stopped medical supplies reaching the injured, even destroying ambulances. The US and Israel suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the resistance, ultimately stopping any possibility of furthering the miltary assault to Iran and Syria. Amnesty International has condemned the Israeli bombing as war crimes in a recent report :

It is clear who is the threat to stability in the Middle East. The imperialist powers are trying to impose their own agenda and any resistance to this should be supported. Any regime change needs to be effected by ordinary, working class people, not the warmongers in Washington and London.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie

Rather like when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, satire is dead. In a BBC History Magazine article, Maggie has somewhat surprisngly topped a list to judge the best Prime Minister of the 20th century.

5 Margaret Thatcher (1979-1980)

5 Clement Attlee (1945-1951)

4 Edward Heath (1970-1974)

4 Winston Churchill (1940-1945; 1951-1955)

4 Harold Macmillan (1957-1963)

4 Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-1908)

3 The Marquess of Salisbury (1885-1886; 1886-1892; 1895-1902)

3 Herbert Henry Asquith (1908-1916)

3 David Lloyd George (1916-1922)

3Stanley Baldwin (1923-1924; 1924-1929; 1935-1937)

3 Harold Wilson (1964-1970; 1974-1976)

3 Tony Blair (1997-)

2 James Callaghan (1976-1979)

2 Arthur Balfour (1902-1905)

1 Andrew Bonar Law (1922-1923)

1 Ramsay MacDonald (1924; 1929-1931; 1931-1935)

1 Alec Douglas-Home (1963-1964)

1 John Major (1990-1997)

0 Anthony Eden (1955-1957)

0 Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940)

Francis Beckett, who compiled the list, claimed that the standard for judging the prime ministers was by their effectiveness at bringing in their policies. Tony Blair, who lies in mid-table has surely been more effective in bringning in Thatcher's policies than she ever was.

One of her 'best moments' was the Miners Strike according to Beckett. Best moments would clearly then include trying to starve people back to work, destroying entire communities and using police violence in turning the state on the working class.

Also one of her policies was the Poll Tax which ended with mass civil disobedience of non-payment, huge demonstrations, a riot and opposition which finally drove her from office. Another fine example of how effective Maggie was in 'bringning in her policies'!

Hurricaine Katrina anniversary : Racism and Profiteering

It is one year since Hurricaine Katrina wreaked devastation on New Orleans. The storm claimed over 1,600 lives, with the corpses still being found. Over 200,000 people have yet to return to New Orleans, accounting for roughly half the original population. Many of those are poor and many are black and raises alarming questions about the handling of the situation at all levels.

We remeber the racist reporting by the media at the time of the storm. How they framed white people as 'survivors' and black people as 'looters'. How the rich were airlifted to safety from hotels and bussed out of New Orleans, leaving the poor stranded for days on roof tops waiting to be rescued.

We remember George Bush saying ' Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job', referring to Michael Brown, a Bush appointed crony and the director of the federal disaster agency FEMA. He had no experience in this field and within days was sacked to due incompetence.

It is possible that much of the destruction and many of the deaths could have been avoided had FEMA and the US Government heeded expert advice rather than threaten the career of the Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricaine Center, Dr. Ivor van Heerden.

According to van Heerden, there was no real evacuation plan made for New Orleans, although Innovative Energy Management (IEM) had drafted a plan involving people fleeing by car. 127,000 people in New Orleans had no car as van Heerden alerted FEMA. Rather thn responding, they threatened him. The consequences : 1,500 of them drowned. It doesn't take a genius to work out that these were working class, elderly and mainly black.

The levee had also been built 18 inches too short which would have meant that they would have been overtopped by one and a half hours instead of four. The levee's would have held and the city saved. FEMA knew that the levee's had been breached at 11 o'clock on Monday. By midnight, The White House knew. But no-one else did.

New Orleans has for a long time been a city divided by class and race and efforts seem to be afoot to exclude the working class from returning to the city. The planners for the next 30 years of the city seem to cater for the rich and middle classes as the proposals would not have included the traditionally black neighbourhoods.

We can see exactly who has been profiteering in New Orleans following Katrina and who has been handed multi million dollar contracts in this from CorpWatch :

The rebuilding and reconstruction has been a shambles to say the least. People are still waiting for federal rebuilding housing assisstance without yet receiving a cent. Rent has rocketed by 39% pricing the working class out of the market.Water and electricity supply remains poor and the black an working class population are suffering disproportionately.

The United Nations has blasted the poor US response to Katrina. The UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva accepted a report from Special Reporter Arjun Sengupta, who visited New Orleans in fall of 2005 and concluded: "The Committee ... remains concerned about information that poor people, and in particular African-Americans, were disadvantaged by the rescue and evacuation plans implemented when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States of America, and continue to be disadvantaged under the reconstruction plans."

Asian tsunami relief workers who visited New Orleans over the summer were shocked at the lack of recovery. Somsook Boonyabancha, director of the Community Organisations Development Institute in Thailand, told Reuters she was shocked at the lack of progress in New Orleans. "I'm surprised to see why the reconstruction work is so slow, because this is supposed to be one of the most rich and efficient countries in the world. It is starting at such a slow speed, incredibly slow speed."

It is clear where priorities lie for the Bush administration. As the Katrina relief and reconstruction falters, money is being pumped into war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Americans have been able to fast track precison missiles to Israel in it's attempt to crush Hizbollah, crucial in the plan to attack Syria and Iran. But this is where America failed and Hizbollah triumphed. As the US and Israel lost the war despite destroying parts of Southern Lebanon and murdering over 1,000 civilians, Hezbollah began the reconstruction programme. They have cleared rubble, helped reconstruct roads and are giving financial aid to those whose homes have been destroyed.

As people remember the tragic events of Hurricaine Katrina, let us not forget where the responsibility lies.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Galloway on Israel

Israel and US defeated

Hassan Nasrallah's statement regarding the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers has been widely misinterpreted as an admission of wrongdoing and defeat for Hizbollah in the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon. His statement on Lebanon's New TV channel

'We did not think, even one percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me that if I had known on July 11th....that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.'

This does not indicate any form of defeat for Hizbollah, it merely concludes that Hizbollah had no knowledge that Israel ha pre-planned the attack on Lebanon. Politically this seems like a sensible move by Hizbollah.

The Israeli attack on Lebanon clearly ended in a massive defeat for Israel and the US dealing a huge blow to imperialism. It shows how resistance movements can defeat the warmongers despite their superior military technology in what was a war between ' David and Goliath'

During the attacks, Hizbollah and the resistance held popularity among Sunni, Shia, Christian and Druze in Lebanon. Israel failed in its stated aims of the war; the release of the Israeli soldiers and the destruction of Hizbollah.

Prior to the ceasefire, Israel attempted one last move by airlifting soldiers to the Litani river area. Leaflets were dropped warning civillians not to return to their homes. The majority chose to ignore this and flooded back to the south of Lebanon. The Israeli's were driven out by the returning Lebanese and many were escorted across the border by Hezbollah fighters.

Blair and Bush continue to pursue illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with a cost of thousands of innocent lives. At the same time we are seeing hospitals closing, schools privatised, civil liberties attacked, no money for our pensions and a media frenzy giving rise to Islamaphobia. We must build September 23rd into the biggest Stop the War event in years and put the final nail into Tony Blair's political coffin.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Welcome to my blog for the working class, revolutionary socialists, trade union left, anti-war, those opposed to Bush, Blair, New Labour, the right and for all opponents of the ruling classes.

This blog will endeavour to report on issues that concern the working class and highlight the devasting effects of the capitalist system, including the illegal wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon.

Vive Le Revolution!