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From Baader/Meinhoff to Iraq and Beyond

Les Skeates,Outside the Gates

August 20, 2005

"I am going out now
On this day of volcanoes
Towards the multitude. Towards life."

Pablo Neruda.




In the early Seventies at the fag end of hippiedom Jim, an old friend and I were travelling, working our way through Europe. We came up short in West Germany and spent four months on remand in gaol for possession of some rather nice Moroccan Khatama Treble Zero. 6oz to be precise. They kept us that long while they tried to construct a case of drug smuggling. They failed because we weren't, but that is a different story and the reason I bring it up now is because of whom some of our fellow prisoners were.

We spent the first two weeks of the four months, all expenses paid, in West Germany's highest security gaol - Stuttgart- Stammheim. I was told on my second day that on the top floor in hyper-security, were the Baader/Meinhoff Gang, aka The Red Army Faction (RAF). One of Europe's most notorious urban terrorist gangs.

I had read the stories, seen the aftermath of their actions on the TV news and had toyed with the idea that they were the way forward. Could make the times change. The RAF clones; Italy's Red Brigades, America's Symbionese Liberation Army, the Japanese Red Army and Britain's deformed clone the Angry Brigade were creating havoc, tearing apart the fabric of their societies. Or so it seemed to the journalists sensationalised by the spectaculars.

The news reports and the gangs propaganda didn't correspond to reality as I knew it. People still went to work, carried on with their daily lives. The only ones directly affected were those unluckily at the scene of a spectacular and their families and friends, or those who were targeted and kidnapped or assassinated. The rest, the mass of people were one step removed and just saw it on the TV news, disgusted at the carnage. Alienated. It wouldn't stop them going out to work the next day.

The RAF and their ilk sloganised against the state in the romanticised language of anarcho-syndicalism but they still committed murder. It was a language that chimed harmonious with the neo-fascist excuses for the massacre at Piazza Fontana in Milan 1969*. Despite this they became a sort of attractive alternative for some in the middle-classes of the baby-booming generation. Especially those alienated from their country's history and who could see the drab monochrome, the stultifying nature of 'real existing socialism' in the East and didn't want. Who had seen the daily murder, the genocide committed in Vietnam by the West, and didn't want. A bi-polar world with neither pole humane used as lame excuse for inhumane acts in the name of humanity.

Secular fundamentalists, useless and fucking nuts. The only things they succeeded in doing were to scare away the very people they said they did it for from involvement in political activity; the shit from their fan tarring all progressives; criminalised legitimate dissent and demonstration in the eyes of those they professed to represent; and in the secret necessity of their organisation, they took life and death decisions that excluded the people they claimed they led from any involvement in those decisions. Mass intimidation replacing mass involvement. Anti-democratic. Elitist. Reactionary.

The RAF and their actions strengthened the secret apparatus of the State, introduced new laws undermining the assumption of innocence and the rights of lawyers. And Turkish Gastarbeiters are still kicked to death on German streets.

I would only think like this later. My romanticism nearly got the better of me at the time. I wanted to enjoy the authenticity of the 'danger' tag that could be gleaned from such close proximity with notoriety. As if being on remand for possession wasn't an authentic enough 'danger' tag.

From my cell in Stammheim I could see over the perimeter wall and watched a brand new court house being constructed for the Baader/Meinhoff trial. I think they could see it too. The only way into the dock of the court was via a tunnel from the prison. The dock itself was totally enclosed in blast-proof glass. Separated from the judge and courtroom. So successful had the exaggeration of the threat from the RAF been, that the establishment were able to build a state of the art court house capable of exhibiting prisoners as a contaminated sub-human species in a cage. On display as freak show.

The IRA were a different sort of terrorist altogether, but the Provo's bombing campaign produced the same political results.

A potted history of the Troubles, which I am sure will upset someone or the other. During the Sixties, amongst the catholic community and progressive forces, a powerful movement for civil rights and liberties started to take the political stage in Northern Ireland. It's demands for one person one vote, equal employment rights, decent housing and an end to gerrymandered elections carried a world wide resonance.

By 1968 (remember '68? Paris and Prague?) the campaign had started gaining wide appeal. The response of the Establishment was brutal. The leading Protestant politicians in Stormont and the big employers were scared of the consequences of a successful non-sectarian campaign. They had been suppressing wages for everybody for 40 years by enforcing a large pool of unemployed amongst the catholic community, so called in their boot-boys, the RUC and 'B' Specials, to keep it that way and re-enforce the poverty.

The thugs were vicious in breaking up peaceful demonstrations and in leading loyalist protestant mobs on invasions of catholic areas, creating terror. A Labour Government sent in the troops to 'protect' the catholic community. The tea and biscuits didn't last long as the Catholics quickly came to see themselves being policed by the army while the protestant mobs still roamed, marauded.

The IRA at this time were a moribund organisation, its aged members drinking out on stories 20-30 years old, but with the brutal response of the Establishment to peaceful demands for change, their membership started to grow. With the growth came an ideological struggle between the 'Stickies' and the 'Provos'. The 'Stickies' were a broad Marxist grouping within the IRA who wanted to develop the mass participation in civil disobedience across the religious divide. The Provos, exploiting the anger of a new, younger, and politically naive membership argued for taking a military fight to the British, were narrowly Catholic and secretly funded by the Irish Government.

The whole strategy of the Irish and British Establishments was to maintain a religious divide amongst the population in Northern Ireland at no matter what cost, fearing rightly that a secular and class based campaign had a possibility of achieving democratic and progressive change and which could start to affect the rest of their subjects in ways they didn't want. Both could deal with the repercussions from an indiscriminate terror bombing campaign. As most states have proved capable of doing.

The Stickies lost the shooting war with the Provos. The catholic population were left politically isolated with the Provos as 'protector'. Progressives, catholic and protestant were marginalised in fear for their lives from the Provos, loyalist and unionist gangs, and the British Establishment. The Establishment unleashed death squads in Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, brought in internment (indefinite imprisonment without trial), and introduced new laws that degraded everybody's civil liberties. Irish innocents were gaoled for bombings in Birmingham, London, Guildford. The Birmingham 6, Guildford 4, Maquire 7, Judith Ward all served long prison sentences when concocted evidence was presented to the courts.

The Establishment got away with all this because the British population were alienated by the Provisional IRA's use of terror. The demands for civil rights, one person one vote and decent housing were submerged under a torrent of blood. Mass non-sectarian participation demanding change had been nullified. Exactly what the Establishment wanted. Only in the last few days, after over 30 years have the Provisional IRA come to recognise the futility of terror as a political tactic and ordered an end to the military campaign. And where have we got to? Northern Ireland is still governed from London and the people are even more divided on sectarian lines. One political party each where before they had a wider plurality. One party whose history is compromised by terror and another whose leader has an infinity of hate-filled words for 'No!'.

On 28 Sept 2000, two months after the collapse of the Camp David negotiations, contrived by Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Barak, Ariel Sharon, backed by 1,000 Israeli police, turned up at the Haram al-Sharif complex containing the al-Aqsa Mosque and declared that it would remain under perpetual Israeli control. The third most holy site of the Muslim world and a city the Palestinians considered their capital was ostensibly declared 'for Jews only'. A consciously cynical act that pre-empted a political, organised Palestine response to the collapse of the Camp David negotiations which was geared more towards; more negotiation; international solidarity; mass participation in strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and civil disobedience in general. The PA knew they could not commit to indiscriminate bombing in Israel. They would lose against Israeli military might.

Sharon - the war criminal, the Butcher of Sabra and Shatila - was intent on destabilising the Barak government and forcing new elections by inflaming religious sentiment, provoke Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular so as to elicit a spontaneous violent response. He succeeded. Instigating the Second Intifada with religious leadership to the fore defending a religion not a people (20% of Palestinians are Christian). And he was elected Israeli Prime Minister in Feb 2001 by a landslide.

Israeli troops invaded the West Bank and Gaza. Laid siege to the Palestinian towns of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin etc, and set about destroying the secular Palestinian Authority, it's schools, police, medical clinics and Palestinian history and culture in general. The inevitable outcome, as Sharon wanted, was to strengthen the Islamic based organisations of the Palestinian people like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the newly formed al-Aqsa Martyrs. Faced with attacks by F-16 fighter aircraft, Cobra helicopter gun-ships and tanks, and armed only with light weapons (AK 47's), some inaccurate home made missiles, dynamite and people, they responded with an unprecedented upsurge in suicide bombings. Sharon demanded that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority rein in Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs whilst he was destroying the infrastructure of the only body capable of doing it - the secular Palestinian Authority itself.

The cynicism of Sharon seems to have no bounds. He has, along with his allies the Israeli Labour Party and with the active or passive support of a majority of the Israeli population, used the upsurge in suicide bombings - which he deliberately engineered - to further drive the Palestinian people into abject poverty and despair. Now building the obscenity of a ghetto wall around the West Bank to steal water and land and permanently imprison the aspirations of the Palestinian nation. Gaza faces an imminent future as a free fire zone with every point of entry or exit for goods like medicines, water and food controlled by the Israeli army. Internment of 1.5 million people from the world.

I am thinking that Sharon has learnt well, and brutally refined, the strategy and tactics applied by the British Establishment in Northern Ireland.

I am also thinking that his appearance at the al-Aqsa Mosque was the first concrete steps in the implementation of the American neo-cons manifesto - the Project for a New American Century.

I am not going to go into any detail about PNAC suffice to say that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, space opened up for the imperialists within American capitalism to exploit and further an agenda that had been held at bay by the bi-polar world settlement following WW11.

The neo-cons themselves had recognised that the geopolitical implications of their plans for full spectrum domination and the control of South West Asia's strategically critical hydrocarbon energy reserves, would require a Pearl Harbor type event if the American people and a substantial proportion of world opinion were to support their delusions. Fortuitously one came along.

On Sept 11th 2001, 19 men of whom 15 were Saudi Arabian members of the Wahhabi Islamic sect, hijack four planes and fly 3 of them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. One crashes into a field. A terror spectacular, a 'propaganda of the deed' that has no peer. As the energy released by the Boxing Day earthquake made the earth wobble and ring, echo like a bell, so this atrocity will reverberate through the world's societies for generations. The deaths from the tsunami may have been of biblical proportions but the coming storm released by such contempt for humanity will dwarf those numbers.

The Wahhabi sect, alternatively called Salafi, is the official state religion, the religion of the kings of Saudi Arabia. An austere, medieval interpretation of Islam where beauty is buried in the literality of the Koran's parables and everything else, pictoral or sculptured art, depictions of the sensuality of the human body, our ability to wonder and question, are outlawed. Deemed decadent. As is the situation for the women of the sect. From these Neanderthals sprang Osama bin Laden.

Some of the stupendous, obscene wealth earned from doing nothing except sit on oil, has been used to establish free madrassahs - Islamic religious orphanages and schools - for the poor throughout the Muslim world, that instill by rote the more apocalyptic verses of the Koran. The pupils, only boys, are taught to read and write with the Koran as sole teaching aid. They are feed though and kept from the starvation that trade agreements and governments imposed by the West create.

Some of the money - hundreds of millions of dollars, loose change to the Saudi's - was used to fund the Mujahideen groups fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980's. America added even more funds, logistical support and training via the CIA and Special Forces. One of the leaders receiving this supported was Osama bin Laden. The American/Saudi strategy was successful in that it forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan - weakened and in terminal decline. In 1992 the Mujahideen finally took Kabul, defeating a secular government, and started warring with each other, destroying the capital in the process. Civil war, chaos and continuing poverty was the outcome for the Afghan people. And opium production grew.

The American/Saudi strategy also created a large unemployed pool of well trained, blooded and motivated Islamic fighters recruited from around the world and ideologically attuned to Wahhabism. Whom the Americans, and British, put to use as mercenaries during the wars dismembering Yugoslavia.

Following the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait, Osama bin Laden issued many communiques demanding that the Infidel - America and its allies - remove their troops from the holy lands of Saudi Arabia, the removal of the decadent Saudi royal family, and that Israel vacate Palestinian lands. Over the next ten years these communiques were followed up with bombings in Kenya and Aden, culminating in the iconoclastic destruction of the Twin Towers and the murder of nearly 3,000.

80 years of British, French or American capitalism interfering in the affairs of the people of South West Asia has laid fertile ground for the ideas of Osama to be sown, and his medieval and reactionary interpretation of Islam to bloom. For the sake of oil and its control as a cheap energy resource, democratic governments have been toppled; assassinations ordered; dictators and despots supported; sectarian strife and civil war engineered; corruption encouraged; poverty enforced. When history is referenced the obscenity of the attack on the Twin Towers can be viewed as a classic case of 'blowback'. Despite these years of war, mouthpieces for bin Laden are still making the same demands backed up with the threat of more terror, but now they include Iraq.

The close relationship between the Bush and bin Laden families has been extensively documented. Any one who wishes to know the role of the Bush family in the major wars of the last century can get it here. The Bush's bathe in blood, or so it would seem were it not that they are human and war their business plan.

The Bush family and the neo-cons they have surrounded themselves with, base their mass popular electoral support amongst the Christian right. The born-again, who have no concept of the mercy, tolerance, respect and humility contained in Christ's words because their preachers never preach it. Theirs is the Bible of Revelations, the Apocalypse and the Rapture. Medieval cretinry that puts these creationists, denyers of science and sex, on a par with their Whahhabi brethren. How they loathe their reflected selves.

In the immediate aftermath of the Twin Towers catastrophe, while the emotional convulsions were still wracking the world's polity, the neo-cons fully actioned their manifesto - the Project for a New American Century. They had their crusade.

In a frenetic period of diplomatic activity America extended its range of military bases around the world, especially around the Caspian basin. The old Soviet republics of Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbeckistan, Kirgizistan and more welcomed the Americans and the foreign currency they 'earned' almost as much as the political distance it created with Moscow. Though the American propaganda emphasised the need for these bases to combat terrorism - specifically Afganistan 'based' terrorism - the real reason was securing control of the vast reserves of hydrocarbons waiting to be exploited in the Caspian basin at the expense of both Russia and China.

A Psy-ops campaign for perpetual war had started and it was on an epic scale. America's mainstream media didn't need to be coerced into cheer-leading, unlike in Britain where the BBC was finally cowed with the enforced resignations of its Chairman and Director General after exposing as 'sexed-up' (read manipulated) a dossier being used by the government to justify war. The BBC now cheer-leads with the best of them.

Lies, more lies and even more lies, were piled upon a skewed foundation of lies.

Afghanistan was the first target to feel the wrath of the Anglo-American 'war on terrorism' cheered on as righteous vengeance by their shills in the corporate media. How the Christian right prayed for children to be incinerated, mutilated, abused is beyond this atheist.

In 1996 the civil war was won by the Taliban with young men recruited straight out of the madrassahs and under the leadership of a blooded Mujahideen. Trained by, and with logistical support from the Pakistani secret service and, inevitably the CIA. Ideologically armed with the medievalism of Wahhabism they united the country by terrorising the people. Wonder and beauty were banned. The Buddhas of Bamiyan dynamited. The pages of the Koran held all that was known and all that would or should be known. Their one welcome success was the destruction of the Afghan opium industry. In the eyes of the neo-cons, their biggest political mistake was to break-off negotiations with Unocal for the construction of an oil pipeline through their country, linking the Caspian basin oil fields to Pakistan and the Arabian Sea.

Osama bin Laden was a guest of the country and despite Mullah Omar offering to surrender him, Afghanistan was still attacked. After Mullah Omar escaped on a chopper Hells Angel style, the newly American appointed Afghan Interim Government's Justice Minister - the good guy - made clear that some things will not change. Thieves will still have limbs amputated. Adulterers will still be stoned to death, but only with small stones so they have a chance to escape. Male adulterers will be buried to the waist, women to the neck. One bunch of Barbarians replaced by another. Today the warlords are dominant once again, the Taliban is making a comeback and opium production is at all time record levels. So that's alright then.

Following the paramount crime, the illegal invasion of Iraq by an Anglo-American alliance, a dirty war of occupation is in full bloody flow. A secular government was removed and everything that had sustained Iraqi society was systematically destroyed or looted. Except Islam.

Power generation, water supplies and sewage disposal deliberately targeted. Hospitals trashed and denied medicines, schools occupied by troops. The place where civilisation was born and writing invented has had its - our - archeological treasures, our knowledge of our intellectual birth and growth, our history carried off as loot or trashed beneath the tracks of tanks. This is a disaster to our collective memory greater than the burning of the Library of Alexandria.

Death squads have been targeting leading secular intellectuals; academics, scientists, doctors, teachers, journalists. Those that can, flee this murderous program of de-intellectualisation. Kidnapping for ransom is a growth industry. Tens of thousands of Iraqis young and old - of military age - have been rounded up and subject to indefinite internment. Cities like Falluja have been flattened, napalmed, thousands killed and hundreds of thousands terrified, made refugees in their own land. Snipers target ambulances, old men, women and the children who dare to play on their own streets.

A massive global Gulag has been constructed that stretches from Guantanamo, Bhagram and Diego Garcia to Abu Ghraib where torture is administered by the C.I. fucking A.

Mercenaries, the second largest foreign armed presence in Iraq after the American Forces, recruited by British and American companies, are strutting their Swarzenegger comic-book macho fantasies.

Terrorising by the gang rape of Iraqi women has become commonplace, as has the internet posting of 'trophy' images from this base degradation. Granma, a Cuban paper, has courageously re-posted some of these images on their web edition, after rightly censoring them, to let the world see the barbarism that imperial fantasy has unleashed.

But more insidious than all of this has been the use of Depleted Uranium munitions. Extremely toxic and with a half-life of 4.5 billion years, DU has contaminated vast areas of Iraq. Cancers and birth defects are spreading like an epidemic through the Iraqi population. We don't have figures from Iraq, just anecdotal evidence, but we do of Americans affected. 580,400 Americans served in Gulf War 1 and since then 11,000 veterans have died and 325,000 registered disabled. Of a group of 251 soldiers from Mississippi, who all had normal babies before service in Iraq, 67% of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects. These babies were missing legs, arms, organs or eyes and had immune system and blood diseases. In some Gulf War veterans families the only normal children are those who were born before service in Iraq. A nuclear war is being conducted against the people of Iraq, America and Britain. Ultimately the world.

These are crimes against humanity for which there will be an accounting.

The Iraqi resistance, that which was organised before the invasion, is inflicting heavier and heavier casualties on the Anglo-American forces and collaborators of the puppet regime. Disrupting their ability to rule and steal Iraq's hydrocarbon resources by using classic guerilla tactics. They have studied Che and Giap and were prepared for a long war. They have tied down American and British forces who are seriously over-reached. Morale is shot. The troops want home and away from the consequences of the lies they have been told.

Other groups, claiming allegiance to Al Qa'ida are using suicide bombing to inflict heavy casualties on Iraqi civilians at Shiite Mosques and at markets in a callous attempt to exacerbate sectarian and religious divisions. They are kidnapping foreigners for public beheading via the internet. These sort of tactics only benefit the occupying forces and their strategy for a Balkanisation of Iraq and the wider South West Asia along religious and ethnic lines. The Koran has been deliberately, consciously and publicly desecrated to inflame religious passions. It has been pissed on. As we all are by the continued dominance of the Anglo- American alliance on the world stage.

Sistani, the leading Shiite cleric in Iraq, visited London very soon after the invasion. It was said for hospital treatment for a heart condition. The area that British troops have responsibility for and which are predominantly Shiite has been relatively quite compared to the American sector. Except for the targeting and assassination of Sunni's who live around Basra. Doctors are reporting as many as 700 dead men a month turning up at the hospitals and morgues having been tortured and shot in the back of the head. There are reports of these men having been abducted off the streets by balaclava disguised and heavily armed men in Police vehicles.

In the murky world of the dirty war that is Iraq, the suicide bombings and the death squads that target civilians could readily be the product of Black Operations run by the occupying forces themselves. I do not think the appointment of Negroponte as the American Ambassador to Baghdad for a few months is unrelated.

There was no exit plan. This is Palestine writ large for a global audience. Promoting religious based opposition vis-a-vis secular, non-sectarian political/military campaigns has been well learnt by the neo-cons from the British example in Northern Ireland and Sharon's brutal refinement of it in the West Bank and Gaza.

Dubya and Osama are two self-professed pious men with 'laddish' pasts, whose conversion to apocalyptic ideologies are con-joined at the hip and the head. For us or against us .v. believer or non-believer. They both hold in utter contempt the complexity and diversity that is our human condition. Not even a nuance can differentiate their idea of us. Our views, dreams, our basic needs, our work are of no interest, no consequence to them. They talk about us, not with us - disposable commodities don't have voices. Man and Woman. Muslim, Atheist, Christian, Jew or Sikh. Black or White, Indian, Asian or African, but Worker most of all - we are naught but the dirt beneath their feet. They are text book, clinical examples of narcssism personified. The born again who, re-birthed become God. The God Thanatos. They expect, nay demand our homage to His cult of death. Well, they are not fucking getting it!

Having taken the first steps towards a perpetual 'war on terrorism', neither Bush nor Blair can turn back. The genie at their shoulders driving the war is the confluence of two interrelated crises. Global Warming and Peak Oil. It's about nature.

Not satisfied with polluting the environment the corporations funding Bush's elections have caused the Earth to heat up. Everywhere we look the signs are there. Drought and desertification across the Iberian peninsular (it is as if the Sahara has leapt the Med); Famine; Hurricanes in the Caribbean in record numbers and ferocity; heat waves that kill thousands in Europe; Drought across America; Monsoons that dump a yard of water in one hour on Mumbai killing hundreds; glaciers are in retreat; the ice-shelves in Antarctica are breaking up and calving vast icebergs; the tundra is thawing releasing shed loads of methane; El Nino's pattern has become erratic and extreme weather more common.

But that is not all, scarier still is that each winter for the past 20 years, the refreezing of the Arctic ice pack has retreated threatening the world's thermohaline circulation. It's on the wobble. Global warming is now and climate change is happening.

Hydrocarbon energy - oil and natural gas - has been the driving force behind the four-fold increase in our global population over the last 120 years. 1.5 billion to 6.5 billion. An exponential growth that cannot be sustained as these finite resources deplete.

Oil extraction has peaked, as Hubbert predicted in the Fifties, and we are heading toward the downslope where extraction gets harder, more expensive and more and more oilfields start drying up. We have entered the age of oil depletion where supply will not meet surging demand and capitalist competition become imperialist war.

From natural gas we get ammonia and hence fertiliser for our crops. From oil pesticides and medicines and the fuel to get the food to market and drugs to hospitals. Every piece of plastic we use in cars, computers, furniture, buildings has at its base oil. Transport uses only half of the oil extracted yet the burning of petrol and diesel have been one of the bigger producers of the carbon dioxide which is responsible for global warming. Nature's blowback.

For a more detailed look at the evidence behind the last four paragraphs click here and here.

The elephant in the bathroom is nuclear bombs and Bush has made it clear that he is prepared to use them pre-emptively as an intergrated element in the neo-cons war plans for full spectrum domination.

Surviving as a species will be difficult enough as it is with the confluence of Global Warming and Peak Oil, but bringing nuclear weapons into play will usher in an Extinction Level Event. Am I being alarmist?

To get to the point were the American or British people accept the use of nuclear weapons requires us to be degraded morally. To have our morality annihilated. The campaign has been going on for years. Poets like Pound or Eliot or authors like Tom Clancy; 'Reality' TV shows like Big Brother or Jerry Springer that abuse participants and audience alike; Hollywood blockbuster films like 'Deep Impact' - where the world is saved from 'terror' by nuclear weapons (for fuck's sake!); or any Schwarzenegger film, have been drip-feeding hate for a demonised 'other'.

"Shock-Jock" radio hosts scream down any deviation from their agenda of hate, and pro-war shills in the mainstream TV and print medias have twisted language to support torture. The photographs and videos this despicable media broadcast from their embeds in Iraq, are reminders of the work of the celebrity fascist Reisenthal, mere propaganda. Select people are made super-human - a race apart and better than - by bringing to their practice the exceptionalism of a narssistic aesthetic where everybody else are made 'other'. Hollywood and advertising have had it off pat for years. This aesthetic is replicated today in the American and British corporate media's depiction of the 'heroic' soldier civilising and democratising the barbaric Arab. A cynical exploitation of fascist iconography in the service of an illegal war and occupation, and which is designed to hide from a home audience the brutal realities of the gore, the bits of brain and the shards of Iraqi children's skulls that litter the streets of Baghdad, Falluja, Ramada.

The pictures from Abu Ghraib? The exception that proves the rule. Read Chomsky.

Human life has never had such a low value as that expressed by these bottom feeders who take their lead, eat the shit, from the disciples of Thanatos.

One of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq that the corporate media has downplayed was the decision of Saddam to start trading oil in euros. Creating the petro-euro. After the invasion, when Iraqi oil came back on the market it was once again traded in dollars not euros. America's economy only survives because of the infamous petro-dollar which makes the dollar the pre-eminent world currency. Once oil starts to be traded in euros the dollar will be weakened and its pre-eminence lost, threatening to bankrupt the American economy as dollar holdings are sold off and the $700 billion in outstanding loans called in by creditor nations and competitors like China.

(The European Union had launched the Euro onto the world's currency markets a few months before Serbia was bombed by America and NATO. The bombing was not unconnected, though the major reason for bombing Serbia was to blood the recent NATO enlargement that brought in former Warsaw Pact members. No better way to unify a new military alliance and create heightened insecurity in a very weak Russia.)

The target in the sights of the neo-cons is now Iran. A replay of the build-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq is underway with the emphasis again on WMD and terrorism. I am worried that America will attack, at the latest when Tehran opens their proposed Bourse - Oil Exchange - and trade in Euros. Which they plan to do in March next year.

The Americans are so militarily over-reached, with low morale of troops in theatre or on rotation; recruitment down and desertion up; with a growing vocal and active domestic opposition against further involvement; the lose of the northern front with the forced closing of their base in Uzbekistan, that a land operation seems not to be an option. An aerial assault on Iran is a possibility, but conventional weapons would still leave Iran with the capability of invading Iraq and/or Afghanistan and engaging American troops there. Somehow I do not think even Bush in this scenario would be so crass as to say, "bring 'em on". Iran would also be capable of closing the Persian Gulf to shipping at the Strait of Hormuz.

Would Bush, on His divine mission and the coterie of neo-con Australopithecus retreads be so base as to use nuclear weapons? I feel they are preparing us for it, that we have to a certain extent been inured to the immorality of using nuclear weapons. It is not as if people are demanding their use. It is just that after any nuclear attack it would be thought as having been inevitable anyway. An acceptance after the fact and for which the psychological groundwork is being laid.

But would they launch a nuclear strike against Iran? It sure as hell would upset Russia, China and India who have signed agreements with Iran on Nuclear Power (the Russians), Oil and Gas production (the Chinese), Oil pipe line (the Indians). China's economy is sucking in oil at unprecedented rates and any loss in supply would seriously dislocate their drive for growth and the knock-on effects could have immense internal social and political repercussions. It would certainly dovetail with the wish in the Project for a New American Century to stymie any competition that could threaten America's global or regional hegemony. Russia and China have scheduled a joint military exercise for the first time ever this month.

But would Bush launch a nuclear strike against Iran? If the neo-cons have taken a decision that the consequences of the confluence of Global Warming and Peak Oil is of such proportions that they would make more money in the short term destroying everything than from trying to fix it - Then probably. If their imbecilic pandering to the fantasies of those actively working for the Rapture is not pandering, that they are that delusional about their exceptionalism, then they could choose the suicide option. Bush as suicide bomber. Now that is a thought.

The war in Iraq has to be stopped. An attack on Iran must not be allowed to happen.

On 7th July bombers struck London. After the initial shock Blair had the audacity to say it had nothing to do with Iraq. Accepted wisdom amongst the population dared to be vocal in its opposition and Blair looked weaker, his pious pose being seen for what it is. A pose. Two weeks later a failed attack similar to the first. A day later an innocent Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes was executed with eight bullets to the back of his head and neck. His crime, looking slightly swarthy like an Arab through the Orientalised eyes of the police. There was an upsurge in racist and Islamophobic assaults immediately following each bombing but now, a month on from the first bombings the common wisdom of the British people has seemed to have held. Blair is responsible and his dissembling has distanced himself even further from the growing majority.

Copying America again, Britain is trying to stifle the inevitability of a growing vocal and active opposition to war by bring in more draconian laws. Again exploiting terrorist atrocities to usher in more rules stripping our civil liberties. The vicious circle continues. Or so the Establishment would like.

Blair is not going to withdraw from Iraq unless forced. Britain has become so penetrated by America economically, culturally and ideologically, that all our governmental institutions and departments are compromised. (This is not to say that there are no people working in them opposed to our domination by American policy, because there is). Our independent nuclear capability is a lie. Bush controls our nuclear assets and they are integral to the neo-con's battle plans. It is not a lie to say we are close to being the 51st state and that Blair has acted traitorously against the interests and safety of the British people by agreeing with Bush as early as April 2002 to invade Iraq.

The Anglo-American alliance has to be broken and some of our international respect regained. It is a tall order but one I believe achievable and that may give us a slim chance of coming through the depletion of oil and climate change.

Two million people came onto the streets of London in March 2003 due to the efforts of the Stop the War Coalition along with CND and the Muslim Association of Britain. It may not have stopped the war starting, but the resonance it still carries has ensured that a popular backlash against the countries ethnic minorities, was not as bad as it could have been. Especially if the language of the BNP and some politicians in attempting to whip up hate had been followed. The demonstration also helped broaden and cement the disbelief for any pronouncements on the war from Blair.

Anti-war sentiment is already central to peoples thinking and daily conversations. It now needs to be central to their actions. This passive opposition to the war can to be translated into political activity that forces Britain out of Iraq. But how? Certainly not by bombing!

We have to aim for mass, non-violent participation in civil disobedience and direct action that confronts the war criminals claiming to lead us, making it impossible for Blair to govern while the war is being conducted; to aim to release the creative energies, the intellect and passion of the ordinary, decent people opposed to a war that shames us; to bring our troops home and out of harms way.

We still have mass organisations of the people. Organisations like the Trades Unions still function despite the ravages inflicted by Thatcher and her trans-gendered clone - Blair. I don't want to try to teach my Grandmother to suck eggs but some of the traditional activities of the left in the TU's still have relevance. Every union branch has members opposed to the war and the branch needs their input arguing for action. From the organisation of petitions, resolutions and stoppages to educational events, pickets, leafletting and ensuring that the branch banners are everywhere there is anti-war activity. No matter how small and unromantic, contributions like these have a habit of picking up momentum, pulling people into collective activity and who discover, unsurprisingly, the power of their own agency. What is already being done is brilliant but more needs to be done, more people involved.

Dock workers, rail workers and truck drivers have a major role to play in disrupting the war machine and who may not have a wage to work for if Bush and Blair's war is not stopped.

Regional and national organisation of the TU's have to be won to releasing some of their resources for organising and funding disruptive activities. Like point 7 from the recommendations of the World Tribunal on Iraq.

".........people throughout the world launch nonviolent actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, The Carlyle Group, CACI Inc., Titan Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have sued Iraq and received 'reparation awards': Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest."

Some leading trades unionists will resist disrupting a Labour Government still believing that Blair will listen to reasoned argument and that his political judgment is acceptable. They will have to be disabused of this cognitive dissonance, the twisting of reality to fit their preconceived ideas. For some it will be hard if not impossible to recognise that Blair's political leadership has led Britain to committing the paramount crime, to accept their own culpability in murder. Admitting that they chose the wrong side of history is a brave thing to do.

On the day Bush and Blair invaded Iraq, schools across London emptied as the conscientious young made their way to Parliament Square - the seat of British government. They came in such numbers that they closed the square, defying the physical intimidations of the Police. This Labour Government has since banned demonstrations within half a mile of Parliament - they are scared even of our children.

Students have a long and progressive tradition of disobedience and dissent that has not died, as some wished with the imposition of fees and the removal of grants. University and school students understand that if this war is not stopped they will no longer have studies, or work to test their new skills, nor be able to earn a living from what they have learnt. We need their active involvement in disruption once again. This time along with their teachers and lecturers.

Across civil society community groups from the pensioners to youth clubs, parent/teacher associations and even book reading groups also have members opposed to the war. These arenas can be won to actively supporting actions like picketing the local military recruitment centres, councils and corporations making profits from war.

On any actions always refuse to follow anybody calling for violence - they are likely agent provocateurs.

Being a secular humanist I have no religion, but that has not stopped me giving respect and working with those who have a religious faith, especially when they engage in trying to stop the war in Iraq and the drive to attack Iran. Not like those who are working for the Rapture or the Caliphate or a Greater Israel. These are people that cannot be argued with - they will not exchange views let alone listen to a plurality of ideas. Reality is as alien to them as the compassion in their religions. Their god is after all Thanatos

Immediately following the bombings in London the Churches, Mosques and Synagogues called for calm. Quite rightly. But now with the peoples common wisdom having held and with the government's attempt to trash the Human Rights Act, its time for the Clergy, for the Imams and the Rabbies to help their congregations visibly show and act on their opposition to the war.

I consider Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a friend. We have spoken and exchanged correspondence a few times and I have found him generous, open and compassionate, and believe that his approach to his faith is inclusive. The picture of him on the left, taken when he was the Bishop of Monmouth, I know he appreciates. It is time Rowan, to add your voice in support of active opposition to this war, help shepherd you flock out of Iraq.

The institutions of government, be they local, metropolitan or national are not monolithic and without space for their employees, up to the 'mandarins', to dissent. A Whitehall mandarin leaked the Downing Street Memo; the recent Home Office pronouncements on deportations and the Human Rights Act has senior Judges fuming; The Army is not happy with the implications for the International Criminal Court of what they are doing in Iraq; the Police differ around the country in their approach to apprehending terror suspects; these differences in the higher echelons of the state need exploiting and widening. Those with conscience at these levels of the state have a duty to the British people to do more and start disrupting the government's ability to wage war.

The police forces are not immune to the feelings of the wider society. They all have family and friends who are opposed to the war and are influenced by them. So do not worry about the police arresting and charging you with the lesser crimes of 'disturbing the peace' (I kid you not) or 'obstructing the highway'. They will do this even if your are not breaking any laws, but most of them will agree with you about the war. Don't resist. If two million people can march through London, then two million can clog up and disrupt the courts and prisons in opposing the paramount crime of instigating invasion and war.

On the 24th September, Stop the War Coalition has called a national demonstration in London. Be there. A mass public demonstration against war and for peace has the potential to move the our opposition forward.

There is no guarantee that we will be successful in stopping the war or if we are, that we can get through climate change and peak oil. If we don't try we will not succeed in either.


"Pessimism of the intellect. Optimism of the will".

Antonio Gramsci.



* p85, 'Terrorism Today in Italy and Western Europe', Editor Bruno Di Biase, Circolo P.C.I. "G. Di Vittorio", Sydney. 1978


:: Article nr. 14900 sent on 21-aug-2005 18:01 ECT

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Link: outsidethegates.blogspot.com/2005/08/from-baadermeinhoff-to-iraq-and-beyond.html



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