Year 2000 No. 88, May 24, 2000

British Government’s Criminal Involvement in Sierra Leone

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

British Government’s Criminal Involvement in Sierra Leone

British and US Warplanes Continue to Bomb Iraq

Disabled People March For Freedoms

Reclaim Life! Action on Human Genetics

For a Reunified and Independent Korea

Florence Says No to the NATO Summit!

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British Government’s Criminal Involvement in Sierra Leone

According to the statement made by the Defence Secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, on May 23, one of the British government’s main long term aims in Sierra Leone is to make sure that the government of Sierra Leone is in control of the diamond producing areas of the country.

In order to realise this aim, the British government is taking measures to make sure that the government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, which was originally brought to power with British military assistance, has the necessary means to remain in power. To this end the Defence Secretary announced that a British-dominated International Military Assistance Training Team will soon arrive in Sierra Leone, to build what he referred to as "a new effective and democratically accountable Armed Forces and Military of Defence". At the same time it was also announced that the British government will be supplying this new army with "stocks of light weapons and ammunition" and that these will be "under the supervision of British officers". Geoffrey Hoon concluded by stating "what we are now setting in place are the arrangements for our continuing support to the Government of Sierra Leone."

But he might have added that these are precisely the arrangements for Britain to continue to interfere in the affairs of Sierra Leone and indeed provide the pretext to intervene more widely throughout the region. Through these "arrangements" the British government will continue to intervene in Sierra Leone’s internal affairs and bolster its armed forces as a means to facilitate continued interference in the economic and political life of a country that became Britain’s first colony in Africa nearly two centuries ago. Hoon’s statement also makes it clear that the government’s main concern in Sierra Leone is the control of that country’s great mineral wealth. Sierra Leone is one of the world’s leading diamond producers and in the past British monopolies such as De Beers and BP have both sought a stake in this profitable field.

Britain’s intervention in Sierra Leone is continually presented as one of "humanitarian concern" undertaken for the worthiest of motives. But not only is there no mandate for such interference in the affairs of a sovereign country. The fact is that Britain has been and is involved up to the hilt in creating these tragic situations which it then utilises as pretexts to intervene from some high moral pedestal. Its foreign policy is one of "enlightened self-interest", and the pursuit of "universal values", under which it pursues its geo-political interests and the interests of the monopolies. For this there is and can be no justification.

What is becoming clearer is that British intervention is undertaken for the most sordid of motives and far from being brought to an end, as the government claims, is daily being made more permanent. The government is fully engaged in a new "Scramble for Africa" and is putting into place arrangements that will allow it to continue to interfere in its former colonies and throughout Africa in the interest of the monopolies. This criminal interference must be condemned.

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British and US Warplanes Continue to Bomb Iraq

British and US warplanes are continuing their criminal and inhuman bombing of Iraq on practically a daily basis.

On Monday, May 22, they attacked Iraqi sites in the north and south. The US, as is customary, claimed that these were military sites and that their aircraft had come under Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fire in the no-fly zones.

The "no-fly zones" are completely unauthorised in any international forum or by international law, and Iraq justly does not recognise these zones.

Recently Iraq has asked the Arab League to exert pressure on Britain and the US to stop this aggression. The Foreign Minister of Iraq has pointed out that between May 8-14 for example, British and US planes carried out 12 armed sorties from bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In addition, some 40 British and US planes are based at Incirlik in Turkey to patrol the northern "no-fly zone".

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Disabled People March For Freedoms

The Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) is organising its 12th National Action from Thursday, May 25, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The action will culminate with a march on Saturday, May 27, starting at the Monument, Newcastle at 12 noon. The organisers say that they will be aiming their action at government and local authorities and putting forward several demands.

In a leaflet issued by DAN they point out that disabled people will no longer accept living in institutions and that no more should people accept grandfathers and grandmothers being asked to sell their homes that they have worked for to be put into institutions. They call on the people of the North East to march for all their freedoms, those that are disabled and those yet to become disabled. The leaflet puts forward a demand for affordable accessible housing and services run by disabled people which give everyone the choice to live in their own home. DAN points out: "We want everyone to receive the assistance they need when they need it, how they need it." The leaflet opposes the charges by local authorities for services to disabled people and demands an end to all the barbarian practices of the ruling circles towards disabled people.

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Reclaim Life!

Action on Human Genetics

International Centre for Life

Saturday, May 27, 10.00 am

A protest has been organised to coincide with the opening of the Life visitors attraction at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle. The rationale behind the action is that this Disneyesque visitors attraction has been created to represent the interests of the biotech global monopolies and is aimed at spreading disinformation to demobilise people to the dangers that these monopolies are creating in the field of genetics.

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For a Reunified and Independent Korea

The May 2000 Bulletin of CILRECO, "For a reunified and independent Korea", has been published. CILRECO is the International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea. We reproduce below the lead article: The Holding of A Historic Summit between the North and the South in Pyongyang Next June Raises Hope throughout the Korean Nation

Following the invitation of the DPRK's leader Kim Jong Il, the President of South Korea, Kim Dae Jung, will be visiting Pyongyang from June 12 to 14 for a meeting described by both parties concerned as historic.

The goal of this summit, according to a joint communiqué, is to encourage national reconciliation, unity, co-operation and exchange, peace and reunification. The entire Korean nation is extremely hopeful about this historic meeting, as are many governments who think that it might help putting an end to "the state of confrontation in Korea, that stems from the cold-war".

CILRECO is very happy about this summit and hopes that it will be a decisive turning point in the relations between the North and the South, making way for the peaceful and independent reunification of Korea, which the Korean people have been longing for.

CILRECO wishes that these hopes be fulfilled, and that the two parties concentrate during this meeting on the reunification of the country and peace in the peninsula, matters which are of vital importance to the Korean nation.

That is why CILRECO regrets the launching of yet another defamatory media campaign against the DPRK, which started immediately after the announcement of the summit, and is packed with false information on the 1950-1953 war and events and facts related to the relations between the North and the South and socialist Korea's reunification policy, all in order to substantiate the thesis according to which the DPRK is to blame if the talks fail.

The real question is not to forecast whether the North or the South would benefit from this meeting, where there would be no winners or losers, but to do everything possible to have the one and only winner: the Korean nation.

The goals of this campaign are obvious, insofar as it serves the interests of those who are hostile to the sovereign reunification of Korea, because it would call in question their strategy of hegemony in the region.

On the eve of this summit, more than ever before, all progressive and peace-loving forces must be vigilant and active, and demand a positive outcome in the interest of the Korean nation, international security and peace in the region.

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Florence Says No to the NATO Summit!

WDIE has received the following information on the NATO summit.

On May 24 and 25, NATO will hold a summit meeting in Florence, a city declared to be an "Operator for Peace", with a gold medal for its Resistance against the Nazi/Fascists in World War II.

In this highest-level meeting, the NATO Alliance intends to further define its strategies with regards to various areas of the world (the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa), the reorganisation in a more explicitly offensive way of its military apparatus, and its expansion to the East.

The NATO military alliance which, as in the past, continues to be an instrument of aggression against national sovereignty and of interference in the internal political affairs of member states, as well as a constant threat to peace, is today in a process of transformation of its role and its military apparatus to adapt itself to the growing requirements of capitalist dominion in its contemporary form: "the free market."

It is in this sense that the Treaty of Washington of April 1999, also signed by the Italian government, must be understood, in which NATO formally arrogates to itself the right to intervene everywhere and anywhere in support of the new world order, as demonstrated in the war against Yugoslavia.

War is thus established and increasingly reconfirmed as a concrete possibility, practicable and in fact practised, as a major and decisive instrument for the imposition of the "free market."

For this reason there is an evident connection between the struggles against wars of aggression, against the presence of NATO's military bases, against militarism, and against the embargoes, with the struggles in the North and South of the world which are rising up against the sanctuaries of capitalism (WTO, IMF, World Bank), against temporary labour and "flexibility", against exploitation and poverty, for social and citizenship rights, for the right to a decent life and future, for the liberation of peoples.

The forces organising this mobilisation express their opposition to the holding of the NATO summit in Florence and call on the entire population to boycott and mobilise against this unacceptable provocation.



concluding with a DEMONSTRATION
meeting point: PIAZZA SAN MARCO

5:30 p.m.

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