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Year 2001 No. 140, August 13, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

No to British and US Aggression against Iraq!
Workers' Opposition Must Be Developed Also against Foreign Intervention and Aggression of Anglo-American Imperialism!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

No to British and US Aggression against Iraq!

Iraqi Atomic Agency Chairman Calls for Banning of Use of Depleted Uranium

BOC to Make 1,500 Workers Redundant

PFI Hospital To Be Built in Tony Blair’s Constituency

DPRK Foreign Ministry Explains Principled Stand on US-DPRK Dialogue

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No to British and US Aggression against Iraq!
Workers’ Opposition Must Be Developed Also against Foreign Intervention and Aggression of Anglo-American Imperialism!

Dozens of British and US warplanes carried out raids on three sites in southern Iraq on Friday. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that about 50 warplanes, 20 of which were strike aircraft, were involved in the raid, which rained down bombs and missiles on an Iraqi air defence control centre, an anti-aircraft missile site and a long-range radar station. Iraq said that the attack had killed one Iraqi and injured 11. The targets had been civilian facilities in Wassit and Thi Qar provinces, 180 and 300 km (110 and 190 miles) south-east of Baghdad respectively, according to Iraqi sources.

The British government never ceases to put out disinformation about its illegal, genocidal and undeclared war against Iraq. According to the Ministry of Defence, this air strike represented "defensive action" against Iraqi installations which had been "directing attacks against humanitarian air patrols" in the southern "no-fly zone", a zone which Britain and the US have unilaterally declared. The MoD does not even trouble to try to explain what "humanitarian" aims these air patrols are supposed to have. The MoD also said that only "precision guided weapons were used" to "reduce to a minimum the risk of collateral damage", when irrefutable evidence has continued to mount, from Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere about how few of the "precision guided weapons" have met their declared military targets. A scandal occurred quite recently when official figures revealed the low percentage accuracy of air force "precision" strikes. Another example which can be cited about Anglo-American claims is the use of Patriot Missiles during the Gulf War when, contrary to President Bush’s claims about their success, it turned out that Pentagon talk of "interception" of Iraq Scud missiles meant only that Patriots had crossed the flight path of Scuds, not destroyed them. Furthermore, turning truth on its head, the MoD says of the continued British and US strikes that if Saddam Hussein "ceased attacking coalition aircraft, such defensive action would not be needed". The truthful way to put this is to say that if British and US aircraft ceased their patrols and their strikes over Iraqi territory, which have no legality in international law nor are backed by the UN, then Iraq defensive action would not be necessary.

Following reports on July 24 that Iraqi defences narrowly missed shooting down a US warplane "patrolling" the southern so-called "no-fly zone" in Iraqi airspace, the US and Britain had been threatening increased military aggression against Iraq. To try to justify their continuing aggression, the US had been floating stories in the media about "increased Iraqi provocations". News sources had been reporting that another large-scale US and British attack against Iraq was imminent. On August 2, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said Iraq had rebuilt the defences Britain and the US targeted around the Iraqi capital of Baghdad during a February 16 attack. That attack, involving more than 60 British and US planes, resulted in the deaths of at least two civilians and the wounding of at least twenty others, many of them children. The US Secretary of Defence said, "One tends to want to do things that will have somewhat more lasting effects." The same day, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said, "We reserve the right to strike targets at a time and a place in a manner of our choosing."

All of the talk about the imperialists’ "right" to military aggression against Iraq is to cover up that it is the British and US "no-fly zones" which are a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and illegal in international law, not even having the backing of a United Nations resolution. It is Iraq which has every right to defend its territory against aggression.

On August 6, the day marking the 11th anniversary of the imposition of the genocidal US-backed UN sanctions against the Iraqi people and the 56th anniversary of the US atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, British and US warplanes again struck at Iraq. President Saddam Hussein said that the US was using the Iraqi anti-aircraft defences as a pretext to attack. He warned the US against continuing to fly warplanes over Iraq, saying Baghdad had the right to upgrade its air defence systems. Nevertheless, on August 8, Britain and the US again flew over northern Iraq, and Iraq said its air defences may have hit one of the warplanes, though a spokesman at Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, from which the British and US planes fly, said that although the aircraft were fired on all returned safely.

This British and US disinformation is part and parcel of the US imperialists’ "new world order", ushered in with the US-led invasion of Iraq in 1991. With the invasion, the US, Britain and other big powers signalled their outright renunciation of the principles of independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and peaceful co-existence between nations. Instead, they seek to make the use of force the norm to settle conflicts between nations. Since that time, backed by their military and the medieval dictum of "might makes right", US imperialism has continued its quest to be the sole "superpower" with the rest of the world subject to its dictate and the British government has continued to act as its lackey.

The latest British and US stepped up aggression, initiated as it was on the occasion of the August 6 anniversaries, shows that no crime is too great if it achieves the aims of Anglo-American imperialism. And no lie is too big if it is called into service to paint the intervention and aggression as having "humanitarian" motives.

The British working class and people must step up their opposition to all attempts to justify imperialist aggression, and must defend the principle of independence and national sovereignty. The Anglo-American aggression and the genocidal sanctions against the people of Iraq must be ended now. A key element of building the Workers’ Opposition to the retrogressive "Third Way" programme of Tony Blair and New Labour is to oppose all the foreign intervention and aggression which the British government carries out with such allegedly high moral purpose, and for the workers’ movement in Britain to take a stand and refuse to be identified with this programme so soaked in chauvinism. The British working class and people must work to ensure that the alternative to the retrogressive "Third Way" programme takes root, working for a society in which the recognition of the rights of all is the precondition for the recognition of the rights of all peoples to sovereignty and independence, and opposing hegemony throughout the globe.

Article Index



Iraqi Atomic Agency Chairman Calls for Banning of Use of Depleted Uranium

Dr Fadil Musallam al-Janabi, chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Agency, has said that the devastating effects Britain and the United States have caused as a result of their use of depleted uranium shells during their aggression against Iraq constitute a crime against humanity.

Addressing the 13th ordinary session of the general conference of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency in Tunis on August 4, Dr Al-Janabi said that the British and US use of these shells has had direct and indirect effects on humans and on the environment. He indicated that Israel committed the same crime with the same hostile propensity and criminal strategy against the Arab peoples when it used the same weapons against the Palestinian people.

He called for Arab action to prevent the continuation of these crimes against the Arab peoples, their land, plants and environment and to expose Israel’s armaments programme hostile to the Arab peoples in international organisations and public meetings.

Dr Al-Janabi urged the Arab countries to work hard and call for the conclusion of an international agreement banning the use of depleted uranium against peoples and the creation of a nuclear free zone in accordance with Article 14 of UN Security Council Resolution 678.

He also called for forcing Israel to submit its nuclear installations to international inspection within the framework of an agreement involving total guarantees and to destroy its nuclear arsenal.

The chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Agency explained that the 11-year old unjust blockade against Iraq has caused mass extermination and a crime of murder against children, women and the elderly among the Iraqi people. This crime is taking place before the eyes of the international community and under the umbrella of the Security Council, he said.

Dr Al-Janabi called on the Arab countries to denounce this unjust blockade, which he said represents the biggest crime in modern history, and to break it without fear of international pressure. He also called on them to adopt a stand demanding a halt to the British and US planes’ daily aggression on areas in north and south Iraq and their bombardment of civilian positions without legal justification.

The chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Agency noted that the Arab Atomic Energy Agency has contributed to consolidating joint Arab action and has employed efforts and resources in the field of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The Arab Atomic Energy Agency has completed several seminars and studies and Arab co-operation projects and prepared human cadres for scientific and technical progress in this field.

Article Index



BOC to Make 1,500 Workers Redundant

Industrial gases and logistics multinational BOC Group PLC announced plans on August 8 to cut 1,500 jobs from a global workforce of 43,000 to protect profit levels threatened by a likely recession. The company cites falling demand from semiconductor manufactures and problems at its special products unit.

Based in Surrey, BOC employs 8,000 in Britain. Around 220 jobs are forecast to go from the Crawley and Shoreham sites. The company intends to save £55m a year as a result of this £70m restructuring programme, which will be completed in 2003. Reports suggest 40% of the proposed cuts will be from industrial and special products, the remainder split between BOC Edwards, the division making ultra-high purity gases for the semiconductor industry, and Process Gas Solutions, which delivers oxygen, nitrogen and argon for the steel industry.

Jim Mowatt, chief gas industry negotiator for the Transport and General Workers Union, said it was ironic that productivity gains by the workforce in Britain should now lead to job losses and greater uncertainty.

"We will be meeting with the company and making very strong representations that any job cuts in the UK should be achieved through voluntary means. I am determined that after all their efforts no one should have to walk the plank and lose their dignity," he said.

The example of BOC is a clear example that workers who contribute to the success of business globally are no more highly regarded by the capitalist and have no more secure future than any other workers. It is the logic of making the maximum capitalist profit globally that drives the multinationals.

BOC is concerned with a falling rate of profit in the conditions of the impending recession. This does not mean that its absolute profits are falling. It increased pre-tax profits by 3% in the latest quarter. They rose to £118.9 million on a turnover of £1 billion which also rose by 3%. The monopoly’s pre-tax profits for the first nine months of its financial year were up 11% at £363.2 million.

Article Index



PFI Hospital To Be Built in Tony Blair’s Constituency

It is reported that a new hospital is to be built in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency under the PFI arrangements to replace the old community hospital.

The negotiations with the private sector have taken ten months to complete. Sedgefield Community Hospital will have 42 beds, 35 day centre places and a range of out patient clinics and diagnostic services. Mental health services will also be provided. The contract was won by Normanby Healthcare (Projects) Ltd. The initial estimate is £8 million for the cost of building the hospital and the South Durham Health Care Trust will pay £1 million a year for the building and services provided in the contract over a 30-year contract. The Newcastle Law firm Eversheds that negotiated the deal is reported to have received between £100,000 and £150,000. Such deals are regarded as difficult but extremely "lucrative" according to the same report.

Article Index



DPRK Foreign Ministry Explains Principled Stand on US-DPRK Dialogue

Contacts between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States were put on hold when President Bush took office in January, and President George W Bush adopted a hard line towards the DPRK, using the pretext of accusing it of being a "dangerous state". Washington then said in June that it was willing to resume talks on a range of issues, including Pyongyang's missile programme and the concentration of troops and weapons on the military demarcation line with south Korea. Last month, while visiting South Korea, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the US and the DPRK could "meet at a time and place of the DPRK's choice and we have no preconditions".

However, the "resumption of dialogue" between the DPRK and the US is failing to proceed and the United States has recently been spreading the rumour that this is due to the DPRK. The truth is that the US has been seeking to hold dialogue on the premise of "verification" and "inspection" of the DPRK’s "nuclear and missile" issue and "reduction of conventional armed forces".

US Secretary of State Powell said recently that the US national missile defence programme will target states which try to build or have access to weapons of mass destruction and nuclear missiles, citing the DPRK and other countries. This "threat from North Korea" is widely recognised as an effort to divert the criticism of the international community from the Bush administration's adventurous moves to establish its "National Missile Defence System". When the US recently conducted an interceptor missile test, it openly threatened that its "missile defence network" would be aimed at the DPRK. This itself underlines that it is US imperialism which is the "rogue state", and that it is making every effort to realise its ambitions for world hegemony at the expense of countries such as the DPRK which pursue an independent path, while attempting to collude with other big powers in these aims.

The DPRK, for its part, has maintained the principled position that if the US wants the DPRK-US negotiations, they should be held on an equal footing on the basis of the principle of independence and impartiality, and that it will not comply with the premises that the US is seeking to impose.

The DPRK authorities have pointed out that the new US administration has an ulterior intention to use the DPRK-US dialogue as a lever to bring pressure to bear on the DPRK. They have emphasised that their invariable position is to approach good will with good will but will respond to a hard line with a super hard line. If the Bush administration has a real intention to hold dialogue with us, they say, it should drop its hostile policy toward us and accept our fair and aboveboard proposal for dialogue. The missile programme of the DPRK, they emphasise, is of a purely peaceful nature and threatens nobody. To develop this programme is a sovereign right of the DPRK.

In the context of these developments, on August 8 a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry answered questions put by the Korean Central News Agency as follows:

"US Secretary of State Powell, touring various Asian countries some time ago, said to the effect that the US is waiting for an official response to its proposal for dialogue.

"In the June 18 statement of the spokesman for the foreign ministry and at several New York contacts that took place in the subsequent period, the DPRK clarified its principled stand toward the resumption of the DPRK-US dialogue to the US side and has already made an official response to the US proposal for dialogue.

"We cannot tolerate the slanderous remarks made by the Bush administration against the DPRK's supreme headquarters at the time of its emergence.

"We can never accept the agenda items for the talks unilaterally raised by the US out of its intention to disarm the DPRK and stifle it, and will not respond to the proposal for talks with the US before it withdraws the items.

"The resumption of DPRK-US dialogue will be possible when the present US administration drops its anachronistic mode of thinking that belonged to the Cold War era and its stand is, at least, identical to the stand taken by the Clinton administration in its last period.

"We make it clear once again that the DPRK-US dialogue has not yet been resumed entirely because the US side has not cleared the DPRK, the dialogue partner, of its worries."

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