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Year 2001 No. 102, June 14, 2001 ARCHIVE

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Tony Blair Supports Bush over NMD

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Tony Blair Supports Bush over NMD

West Midlands News In Brief
Bakery Fined over Workers’ Deaths
Worker Covered in Acid

News In Brief
Britain’s Illiteracy
Britain’s Low Health Spending
Patricia Hewitt addresses AEEU

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Tony Blair Supports Bush over NMD

At the meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on June 13, US President George W Bush spoke about his plans for National Missile Defence.

The pretext for this "Son of Star Wars" project is that the US is under threat of attack from "rogue states", a pretext which only the naïve could be said to swallow. Bush told the aggressive NATO alliance leaders that they must "prepare for new threats". After commending NATO for its work in "defeating communism" in the Balkans, he said that the US administration was now asking its allies for a change in thinking on where new threats come from.

Giving an astounding and sinister twist to the meaning of the end of the "Cold War", he said that such relics as the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty had to be abandoned. In this context, he said that the US would also collaborate with Russia as well as NATO in developing NMD, a claim which Russian officials have dismissed saying that the NMD project posed a threat to global security and other options should be considered. In this vein, Bush had commented before leaving for Europe that "Russia is not an enemy of the US," and that "our relations are based not on antagonism and old prejudices of the times of the Cold War". At the same time, the US President insisted on continuing with NMD, and the plans to enlarge NATO to the East up to Russia’s borders are being pursued.

US imperialism is having to invent new threats after the end of the "Cold War" to attempt to justify its military and missile projects, as well as its hegemonic global stand. At the same time, it is using the threat of "rogue states" as a pretext, and is targeting the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China as threats to its global mission.

It is trying to get the European Union and its NATO allies to support it in its project, and while being wary of the growth of the EU as a rival superpower, is happy for the EU to intervene in the Balkans where NATO decides not to get involved as long as this intervention is kept within the parameters of the US interests.

However, particularly France and Germany are opposed to this overall strategy to bring Europe under the aegis of US imperialism and its Star Wars project. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told the NATO summit that important questions about the technical feasibility of the plan remains, while French President Jacques Chirac said that ABM treaty, while outlaws national missile defence, was a "pillar" of global security.

Tony Blair, on the other hand, said that Bush "was extremely articulate in the way he sets forward American concerns, which we share, about unstable states with the nuclear capability". The Prime Minister said that the British government has "always made it clear that we should be prepared to sit down and work out what is the best way of dealing with the so-called rogue nuclear states which threaten the stability of us all," adding that the most important thing "is that Europe and America should always stick together". Of course, the British government has been US imperialism’s one sure ally in its bombing of Iraq and other adventures, such as in the Balkans. It is evident that this has not changed since the Bush administration came to power. These adventures have made it clear who it is that is threatening and carrying out aggression.

Article Index



West Midlands News In Brief

Bakery Fined over Workers’ Deaths

Harvestime bakeries pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to four counts of failing to provide a safe work system. The company is expected to face fines after breaching laws leading to the deaths of two workers in a bread oven.

The firm and three directors were charged with the breaching of laws, which led to the deaths in May 1998 as the workers were transported into the heart of the oven for repair purposes before the oven had cooled. The men experienced temperatures of no less than 100ºC.

Worker Covered in Acid

The Health and Safety Executive is to investigate a firm in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, where a worker was covered in corrosive acid.

The accident at work occurred in an area of notorious poor working conditions.

The worker was rushed to Selly Oak Hospital with burns to his face and upper body after he was splashed with concentrated hydrofluoric acid. The incident happened as the man prepared fluid for cleaning platinum. Two other workers suffered burns to their hands.

Article Index



News In Brief

Britain’s Illiteracy

Although statistics in a report of June 13 of the OECD show that more people are obtaining university degrees in Britain than in any other developing country, the most telling finding is that there is a large and widening gulf between the best and worst educated adults. The OECD’s annual overview of education shows also that Britain is second only to the US at the top of the adult illiteracy table.

Britain’s Low Health Spending

A June 13 Eurostat report has revealed that Britain spends less on healthcare than most of the leading EU countries. According to the report, only Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal spend less.

Patricia Hewitt addresses AEEU

The new Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, addressed the AEEU at their annual conference in Blackpool on June 13. She announced a major review of government funding for business. She also referred to the importance of trade unions as a force for stability in today’s uncertain world. Welcoming this, TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "There is an important agenda for people at work in Labour’s second term and I look forward to working with Patricia Hewitt in improving the quality of working life in a global economy."

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