|Year 2001 No. 141-2, August 14-15, 2001||ARCHIVE||HOME||SEARCH||SUBSCRIBE|
Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :
Daily On Line Newspaper of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
170, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LA. Phone 020 7627 0599
Web Site: http://www.rcpbml.org.uk
Subscription Rates (Cheques made payable to Workers' Publication Centre):
Workers' Weekly Printed Edition:
70p per issue, £2.70 for 4 issues, £17 for 26 issues, £32 for 52 issues (including postage)
Workers' Daily Internet Edition sent by e-mail daily (Text e-mail):
1 issue free, 6 months £5, Yearly £10
The government of Zimbabwe has recently issued several statements strongly condemning continued interference by Britain, the US and other countries in its internal affairs. It has also announced that it will demand an apology and compensation from Britain for decades of colonial rule at the World Conference Against Racism to be held in South Africa later this month.
The statements were made as Zimbabwe attempts to deal with the colonial legacy left by British rule and redistribute the countrys land, 70% of which is still controlled by 4,500 large landowners. The attempts by the government and people of Zimbabwe to overcome the legacy of colonial rule, redistribute land to the landless and chart their own path of development have been continually opposed by Britain, the US and the EU. This is the case even though both Britain and the US have an obligation, under the terms of the 1980 Lancaster House Agreement, to help fund land re-distribution in Zimbabwe.
Last year the British government, in the manner of the 19th century colonialists, warned the government of Zimbabwe to stop the seizure of land and "respect the rule of law", while at the same time it demanded that Zimbabwe hold "free and fair elections", openly intriguing with, financing and encouraging those who opposed the government of Robert Mugabe. The government of Zimbabwe has now issued a statement that it "strongly protests and objects to the British governments gross interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe". Amongst other things, the government of Zimbabwe claims that it has evidence that the so-called Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) provided more than £26,000 to help maintain the main opposition grouping in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change. The WFD was established in 1992 by the Conservative government as a means to openly interfere in the political affairs of countries in central and eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Africa. Although the WDF claims to be independent, all the main parliamentary parties have seats on its governing body, while it receives some £4 million of direct funding from the Foreign Office in order to "provide assistance in building and strengthening pluralist democratic institutions overseas".
The British government has also continued to play a leading role in attempts by the EU to impose so-called smart sanctions on Zimbabwe. The EU, along with the IMF, has already suspended various "aid" packages to Zimbabwe, but in June it threatened to take further measures within two months if Zimbabwe failed to accede to demands to end land seizures, "restore the rule of law" and hold "free and fair" presidential elections, monitored by the EU next year.
For its part the US government has also strongly criticised the government of Zimbabwe for what it referred to as "serious human rights abuses" connected with the seizure of land and has warned President Mugabe of "serious consequences" if next years presidential election is not "free and fair". At the same time representatives of the US government claimed that if the election was approved by the US, this "could set the stage for international assistance aimed at Zimbabwes economic recovery, including resolution of the long-stranding land issue". The US government is also making plans to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe and interfere in its internal affairs. Last week the US Senate approved the Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill, which directs President Bush to increase funding for "democracy programmes" in Zimbabwe, assist in bringing about "democratic change" and introduce targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe including seizing foreign assets of government ministers.
The government of Zimbabwe immediately condemned the Bill and stated that the US government could only make laws for its own country and not for Zimbabwe. President Mugabe condemned the double standards and hypocrisy of the governments of Britain and the US, which he said spoke of "democratic values" that were aimed at preserving the imperialist control of Zimbabwes natural resources. In a speech commemorating Zimbabwes National Heroes Day, he reminded his audience that Zimbabweans had fought for sovereignty and control over their own resources that was still being threatened by the big powers and he vowed to continue with land reform despite the threat of sanctions.
The governments of Britain the US and the other big powers are continuing to act in the manner of the 19th century colonialists, issuing threats in order impose their "civilised" values on Zimbabwe and make its government "respect the rule of law". All such threats, intimidation and interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe must end and the British government should meet it obligations to the people of Zimbabwe in full.
In this issue of WDIE, we are providing material for the reader relating to the present situation with regard to the suspension of the institutions of the Northern Ireland Assembly by the British government and the positions of Sinn Féin and the IRA.
These materials comprise: the text of the proposals presented to the pro-Agreement parties by the British and Irish governments on August 1, and the formal response of Sinn Féin to these proposals; an account of the response of Sinn Féin to the British governments decision of August 10 to suspend the institutions; and the IRA statements of August 8 and August 14.
We are also reproducing an item taken from the statement of RCPB(ML) in January 2000 on the occasion of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, under the title "Let the Truth Be Told", which gives the Partys position on the significance of the developments in the north of Ireland.
These materials underline that the British government can never be the arbiter of progress in the north of Ireland, and that British workers and democratic people must oppose and reject all the machinations of the British government in this respect. The cause of the British working class and people in opening the door to progress and building a new society is one with that of the broad masses of the people of Ireland, north and south.
NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE (Belfast) and DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Dublin)
1 August 2001
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
1. Following the intensive discussions at Weston Park three weeks ago, the two Governments have now agreed the elements of a package which, we believe, will help deliver the full and early implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
2. The package covers all four outstanding issues policing, normalisation, the stability of the institutions and decommissioning. The two Governments believe that it represents a fair, balanced and justified package of proposals.
3. We are today putting to all the parties who were at Weston Park our proposals on those four areas, including a draft statement which the parties would issue, in the event that the overall package was acceptable.
4. As we said at Weston Park, while each of the issues policing, decommissioning, normalisation and the stability of the institutions is best addressed in its own terms rather than being seen as a pre-condition for progress on any other, the Agreement can only succeed if all parts of it are implemented together. In this context, these proposals set out the steps we would take as part of a package to secure the full implementation of the Agreement.
5. We now invite the parties to respond to these proposals by 6 August.
JOHN REID (Northern Ireland Secretary, British Government) BRIAN COWEN (Foreign Affairs Minister, Irish Government)
PROPOSALS BY THE TWO GOVERNMENTS
1. The British and Irish Governments have been working with the parties to achieve the full implementation of the Agreement reached on Good Friday 1998, which was endorsed in referendums by the people of the island of Ireland, North and South.
2. Much progress has been made. Constitutional changes to reflect fully the principles of consent and self-determination, including the amendment of Articles 2 and 3 in the Irish Constitution and of British constitutional legislation, have been brought into effect.
3. Devolved institutions in Northern Ireland have brought power and accountability closer to its people, and have demonstrated that the parties can work together effectively in the common interest. New North/South and British-Irish institutions have been created, and have begun to work for the benefit of all the people of these islands.
4. New safeguards for human rights have been introduced, North and South. Progress has been made in Northern Ireland on the equality agenda, on the normalisation of security and in pursuit of major reviews of policing and the criminal justice system. The Agreement's provisions on the accelerated release of prisoners have been largely implemented.
5. Difficulties remain, and we have striven to overcome them with the parties. As we undertook to do on 14 July at the end of our discussions at Weston Park, the British and Irish Governments now set out the steps we would take to secure the full implementation of the Agreement, recognising its complete implementation in many areas will not be easy or quick but will require a continuing and collective process of implementation.
6. As we said at Weston Park:
"The outstanding issues relate to policing, the stability of the institutions, security normalisation and decommissioning. While each of these issues is best addressed in its own terms, rather than being seen as a precondition for progress on any other, the Agreement can only succeed if all parts of it are implemented together."
Proposals on Decommissioning
7. In respect of the issue of putting arms beyond use, the two Governments repeat their view that this is an indispensable part of implementing the Good Friday Agreement. All parties to the Agreement recognise that; and that, under the Agreement, this issue must be resolved in a manner acceptable to and verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning in accordance with its basic mandate in law.
Proposals on Policing
8. Both Governments remain committed to a new beginning in policing on the basis set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The British Government reaffirms its determination to bring about such a new beginning by implementing the Patten Report.
9. The British Government will publish a revised Implementation Plan. This will set out in greater detail the plans for implementing, among other matters, Patten's recommendations on the Full Time Reserve, the Part Time Reserve, the closure of Gough holding centre and the future structure of Special Branch. It will also set out the intention to avoid the use of Plastic Baton Rounds, except where there is a serious risk of loss of life or serious injury, while Patten's recommendation for a major research programme on alternatives is completed.
10. The Oversight Commissioner is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the changes recommended in the Patten Report. These are momentous and wide-ranging: it is important to be confident that they are delivering the new beginning intended in the Good Friday Agreement. So, in addition, the British Government will ask the Oversight Commissioner to review the new arrangements in the light of experience. The review will start in March 2002. It will be conducted on the basis of experience during the first year of the Board's operation and report by October 2002. Legislation will be introduced as soon as practicable thereafter to amend or clarify some provisions to reflect more fully the Patten recommendations. These amendments will be set out in detail in the revised Implementation Plan.
11. On this basis, the British Government will invite the parties to nominate political members to the new Policing Board and complete the process for selection of independent members, so that the Board will be established by the end of September.
12. The British Government is also establishing the Police Fund, which will assist families of officers killed by terrorist action, and the RUC GC Foundation, which will mark the sacrifices and honour the achievements of the RUC.
13. The British Government will shortly publish a full Implementation Plan for the Criminal Justice Review, together with draft legislation, with a view to passing the necessary Bill in the current session of Parliament.
Proposals on normalisation
14. As indicated in the two Governments' statement of 5 May 2000, the British Government will progressively take all the necessary steps to secure as early a return as possible to normal security arrangements in Northern Ireland. These steps depend on the continuing implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the Chief Constable's assessment of the threat at the time. Provided the threat is reduced, the British Government will carry out a progressive rolling programme reducing levels of troops and installations in Northern Ireland. Ultimately the normal state would mean the vacation, return or demolition of the great majority of army bases, the demolition and vacation of all surveillance towers, no further army presence in police stations and the use of Army helicopters for training purposes only.
15. In the event of a significant reduction in the level of threat as a result of this package being implemented, the Chief Constable will announce the following normalisation measures, to be taken as soon as logistically possible:
· demolition of the super-sangar at Newtownhamilton Police Station adjacent to the helicopter landing site;
· demolition of Magherafelt Army base;
· demolition of the observation tower on Sturgan Mountain;
· demolition of one of the observation towers on Camlough Mountain.
16. The Irish Government confirm that the Garda Siochána will work in the closest co-operation with the new police service and will join with them in taking all necessary measures to counter any remaining terrorist threat and to enable the normalisation of security arrangements.
17. In order to help create greater consensus on the parades issue and a less contentious environment in which the new police service will operate, the British Government will review the operation of the Parades Commission and the legislation under which it was established. The Government believes the Parades Commission has had four successful years of operation against a difficult background. But this review, which will take place in consultation with the parties and others with an interest including the Irish Government, will consider whether there are any changes which could promote further public confidence on all sides, respect for the rights of all and the peaceful resolution of disputes on parades. Any legislative changes would take effect after summer 2002.
18. Both Governments want the new policing arrangements now being established to focus on the future. But they also accept that certain cases from the past remain a source of grave public concern, particularly those giving rise to serious allegations of collusion by the security forces in each of our jurisdictions. Both Governments will therefore appoint a judge of international standing from outside both jurisdictions to undertake a thorough investigation of allegations of collusion in the cases, of the murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, Pat Finucane, Lord Justice and Lady Gibson, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright.
19. The investigation of each individual case will begin no later than April 2002 unless this is clearly prejudicial to a forthcoming prosecution at that time. Detailed terms of reference will be published but the appointed judge will be asked to review all the papers, interview anyone who can help, establish the facts and report with recommendations for any further action. Arrangements will be made to hear the views of the victims' families and keep them informed of progress. If the appointed judge considers that in any case this has not provided a sufficient basis on which to establish the facts, he or she can report to this effect with recommendations as to what further action should be taken. In the event that a Public Inquiry is recommended in any case, the relevant Government will implement that recommendation.
20. Both Governments also recognise that there is an issue to be addressed, with the completion of the early release scheme, about supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10 April 1998. Such people would, if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued.
21. Both Governments reaffirm that the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is a collective responsibility and can only be achieved in co-operation with the parties in Northern Ireland. They will invite those parties committed to securing the full implementation of the Agreement to join both Governments in an Implementation Group.
22. This Group will meet regularly to review implementation of the commitments made. The Group could meet in a variety of formats but there will be a meeting at least every six months involving the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and representatives of the various parties.
DRAFT ALL-PARTY STATEMENT ON THE INSTITUTIONS
In the context of all these steps that are now being taken to implement the Agreement in all its aspects, the parties reaffirm their commitment to the full and stable operation of the institutions, which are the democratic core of the Agreement.
They recall that they pledged that they would, in good faith, work to ensure the success of each and every one of the arrangements to be established under the Agreement. They recall also that the balanced constitutional changes brought about by the Agreement were implemented on the basis that they accepted in the Agreement that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements an Assembly in Northern Ireland, a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland were interlocking and interdependent. Accordingly, each party, reaffirming the Pledge of Office in all its respects, undertakes to play its full part in these institutions and to enable the other parties to play their rightful parts also.
They look forward to renewed programmes of work and meetings in both the NSMC and BIC, in accordance with the Agreement, with Ministers participating fully in all meetings relevant to their responsibilities. In particular, early dates for outstanding meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council in plenary format and in sectoral format on education and health and food safety will be agreed within one month. The parties confirm that, to enable planning and preparation to proceed, meetings and Ministerial attendance will, as far as possible and consistently with the duties and role of the First and Deputy First Minister, as outlined in the Agreement, to co-ordinate the response of the Northern Ireland administration to external relationships, be agreed six months in advance. In accordance with the Agreement, at sectoral meetings the Executive's representation will include the appropriate Minister able to take decisions in the Council on the relevant sector. Where the holder of a relevant post will not participate normally in the Council, the First and Deputy First Minister will be able to make alternative arrangements.
Should difficulties arise with the above arrangements, they will be dealt with in accordance with the review provisions of the Agreement.
******* ******* ******* ******* ******* ******* *******
"Sinn Féin is totally committed to full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects and in the terms agreed.
"The Governments explicitly recognise that the Good Friday Agreement has not been implemented this far. That is a good development. We welcome that.
"At our Ard Chomhairle meeting last Friday Sinn Féin acknowledged that notwithstanding our reservations on a number of key areas, the proposals from the two governments provide a basis for further progress if the governments have the political will to proceed.
"We spelt out plainly where deficiencies continue to exist between the Agreement and the governments position. These include policing, demilitarisation, the justice system and the political institutions.
"Sinn Féin fully supports the section of the Good Friday Agreement on the issue of decommissioning. Indeed our position on the issue of arms is much more advanced. We therefore welcome the report from the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). This report marks a huge historical breakthrough in its determination that the IRAs representatives proposal initiates a process that will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use.
"The two governments, the UUP and other parties, should grasp the new opportunity that this unprecedented statement from the IICD creates. We should all now move speedily towards the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
"Once again the IRA has demonstrated its commitment to the search for a lasting peace. The other parties need to match that commitment and should respond positively and constructively.
"The IICD and the armed groups should be allowed to get on with the job of resolving the issue of arms.
POLICING AND JUSTICE
"Sinn Féin is fully committed to achieving a civic police service, which is accountable, representative of the community it polices and free from partisan political control.
"In the short term the matter for Sinn Féin to decide upon is whether to nominate to the Policing Board.
"Sinn Féin will not nominate representatives to sit on the policing board at this time. Neither will we call upon people to join or support this force. We will only be in a position to decide positively on these issues when the British government has closed the gap between their proposals and the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement.
"On Saturday, 4 August, a party delegation met with the British Secretary of State, John Reid. Although some progress has been made the gap between the British governments policing plan and their declared objective of implementing the Patten recommendations and the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement remain significant.
"The British government has committed itself to publishing a revised implementation plan on policing. They have not done this. This needs to happen. This is the peoples agreement. They need to see what is being proposed on policing. They need to see that legislative amendments which the British government intends to make to its Police Act.
"Three years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement we have yet to see the British governments implementation plan and draft legislation for the reform of the criminal justice system. This is germane to the creation of an acceptable policing service.
"The British government has committed itself to publishing these in the future. The sooner, obviously, the better so that the electorate and their representatives can see what is being proposed.
"There has been considerable controversy over the killing of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill and there has been a campaign by their families for a full independent judicial inquiry into each case.
"Sinn Féin has refused to make these high profile cases a matter for bargaining or bartering in negotiations on policing. Our position on this issue mirrors that of the families there should be a full, independent, judicial inquiry into each case and it should be initiated immediately. These families, and all others in that position, have the right to the truth.
"While the British governments position on demilitarisation falls short of what we believe is required, the British government should move ahead anyway to do what it has said it will do.
"As stated, the governments' proposals provide a basis for further progress if the governments have the will to proceed.
"We will therefore call on the UUP to fill the position of First Minister and to end their unlawful veto on the institutions. We call upon the pro-agreement parties to work together to resolve these current difficulties. In particular, we call upon both governments to defend and implement the Good Friday Agreement."
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams responded to the decision of Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid to suspend the institutions of the Northern Ireland Assembly on August 10 by saying that it is a complete breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
Gerry Adams said that the decision to suspend the institutions is clearly the result of a deal between the British government and the Ulster Unionist Party. The unionists have either withdrawn or delayed their threatened withdrawal of ministers in return for a suspension of the institutions. It is in complete breach of the Good Friday Agreement, he said.
Gerry Adams asserted that is the second time in 18 months that the British government has given in to the unionist veto. They should be aware, he said, of the impact this has on nationalist and republican confidence in the stability of institutions. Suspension runs totally contrary to the two governments package of the previous week.
The Sinn Féin President expressed the view that the present situation has come about because 10 months ago David Trimble set out a clear strategy aimed at creating a crisis, blaming the SDLP and Sinn Féin, and aimed at achieving the suspension of the institutions. The unionists goal, he said, is the renegotiation of the Agreement. In the time ahead the unionists will be seeking the dilution of the Agreement. Gerry Adams said that John Reids decision is an encouragement to the DUP and UUP that such dilution and renegotiation is acceptable, and that the British government has rewarded David Trimble for his intransigence and opposition to real change.
Gerry Adams went on to explain that for Sinn Féin the Good Friday Agreement is the only blueprint for the future. Sinn Féin will not tolerate the rights and entitlements of the people of Ireland being subject to the unionist veto. These are rights and entitlements, not bargaining chips to be doled out at the behest of David Trimble or the British government, he stated.
The Sinn Féin President called John Reids decision a body blow to the Agreement. The nationalist and republican community will not only be angered by the suspension, but will be concerned that their rights and entitlements as outlined under the terms of the Agreement are once again being undermined by unionist and British government bad faith, Gerry Adams concluded.
When the IRA leadership on August 14 issued its statement announcing that it is withdrawing its August 8 proposal on decommissioning, Gerry Adams said that no one could be surprised by this latest development.
"I believe the IRA proposal was a very genuine one but more important than that it was endorsed by the IICD," the Sinn Féin President said. He said that for the unionists to reject the IICD determination, and for the British government to do what it did, is hardly the stuff of peace making, and he continued, "I appreciate the universal welcome that the IICD determination received, most notably from the Taoiseach, but also across the spectrum of progressive opinion. It is clear that this issue will only be resolved in the context of political progress. The British government should know that by now."
These sentiments were echoed by Sinn Féin negotiator Mitchel McLaughlin. He contrasted the willingness of the British government to unilaterally suspend the institutions to its refusal to use its powers to ensure Sinn Féin ministers could attend the All Ireland Ministerial Council.
Mitchel McLaughlin endorsed the view that the clear intention of the unionists, as spelt out by David Trimble last October, has been to create a crisis, blame republicans, achieve suspension and renegotiate the Agreement. He emphasised that the present crisis is the result of the British governments failure to implement the Good Friday Agreement. This failure has created the space from which the unionists are attempting to subvert the Agreement, he said.
Mitchel McLaughlin declared, "The onus is now clearly on the British government to live up to its responsibilities. For our part Sinn Féin remains wedded to the Good Friday Agreement and will continue to work with and on both governments to ensure its full implementation."
This is the text of the statement by the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann of August 14, 2001:
On Wednesday August 8 we confirmed that the IRA leadership has agreed a scheme with the IICD to put arms completely and verifiably beyond use.
Our initiative was a result of lengthy discussions with the IICD over a protracted period.
This was an unprecedented development which involved a very difficult decision by us and problems for our organisation.
While mindful of these concerns our decision was aimed at enhancing the peace process.
We recognise the very broad welcome which the IICD statement received.
However, the outright rejection of the IICD statement by the UUP leadership, compounded by the setting of preconditions, is totally unacceptable.
The subsequent actions of the British Government, including their failure to fulfil their commitments is also totally unacceptable.
The conditions therefore do not exist for progressing our proposition. We are withdrawing our proposal.
The IRA leadership will continue to monitor developments.
Peacekeeping is a collective effort.
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,
The statement of August 8 by the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann ran as follows:
On 8 March 2001 the IRA leadership re-established contact with the IICD.
Since then the IRA representative has met with the IICD eight times. As a result of these discussions we can confirm that the IRA leadership has agreed a scheme with the IICD which will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use.
We note the ongoing attempts in some quarters to prevent progress. They should not be permitted to succeed.
Our representative will continue to meet with the IICD.
The IRA leadership will continue to monitor political developments.
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,
The people of the north of Ireland, particularly the republican movement, are to be congratulated at this historic juncture, for achieving an important step in building the Irish nation anew with the setting up of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly. It has been achieved in the face of the disruptive and divisive machinations of successive British governments to derail it through all kinds of means. The government has been forced to acknowledge the right to self-determination of the Irish people as a whole, admitting that "Northern Ireland" is a disputed territory, and to give practical ground in the face of the determination of the republican movement, as well as progressive and democratic opinion, that the domination of Ireland by the English bourgeoisie can never be accepted. The conflict in the north of Ireland was born of the British governments involvement. The slaughter by British paratroops of the 14 young demonstrators on a peaceful march in Derry against internment without trial has come to lodge itself in the peoples consciousness as to how brutal, inhuman and unjust has been that involvement.
Now that the society in the north of Ireland is moving out of that conflict, the struggle for a united Ireland is taking another form, but one no less intense and dangerous. The aim of the big powers, of Britain, the US, the European Union, is to replace physical violence by what could be termed economic violence. That is, they wish to dominate and economically rape Ireland and the Irish people as a whole, to impose their conception of "the nation" as opposed to that of the Irish working class and people. The experience of the workers of Britain and other capitalist countries around the world is showing that the bourgeoisies conception is to put all the nations assets at the disposal of the financial oligarchy, to be utilised for the making of maximum profit on the altar of being competitive in the global marketplace. In other words, it is to destroy the national economy and the fabric of society.
Whilst the progress towards Irish reunification is putting pressure on the English bourgeoisie, it is necessary to recognise that the government is also attempting to utilise developments to both militarise the economy at home and facilitate intervention abroad, particularly in Europe, as well as sowing all kinds of illusions that they are a force for progress. The north of Ireland is one example where the government attempts to take credit where no credit is due to them. The anniversary of Bloody Sunday is a stark reminder of the nature of the English bourgeoisie. The government has always claimed to be a "humanitarian" force, a force for "toleration", in the north of Ireland, just as it today claims that its intentions globally are for "humanitarian" reasons, that it takes the moral high-ground. But the way governments since 1972 have fought every inch of the way to prevent the truth of Bloody Sunday coming to light betrays their guilty conscience, and exposes their "humanitarianism" as a cover for cut-throat self-interest on the world stage.
The workers of England, of Scotland and of Wales must renew their struggles, alongside their class sisters and brothers in Ireland, to sweep aside the barriers to the progress of society, which the government is still working might and main to keep in place. As in Ireland, so in England, Scotland and Wales the governments record is a failure to solve the problems of society and prevent the peoples establishing modern sovereign states. Let the working class and peoples of these nations unite to end the class rule of the English bourgeoisie.
Consignia, the national post operator, announced on Monday, August 13, that it is to cut around 350 jobs in its call centres. According to the company, it will take steps to limit the number of compulsory redundancies.
Consignia is planning to convert its 70 call centres, which currently employ around 4,500 workers, into 11 "super centres". This is allegedly to simplify the enquiry process for customers.
A spokesman for Consignia said, "There will be a shortfall in headcount by several hundred, probably around 350." The spokesman said that around 250 would be full-time jobs and around 100 temporary positions. He claimed that Consignia would try to find staff jobs at other call centres or elsewhere in the firm, as well as seeking voluntary redundancies, before making any compulsory job losses.
Consignia is the recently renamed Post Office. In line with its brief to compete as a business in the global market, Consignia is looking to "rationalise" its operations to cope with competition in the mail delivery market, as well as from emails and mobile phone messaging. The spokesman for the company said that the process, which is costing Consignia around £30 million, was "not about reducing costs, but about improving services".
The eleven "super centres" will be based in Bangor, Barnsley, Belfast, Bristol, Doxford (near Sunderland), Colchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth and Stoke.
For the second time in a less than a week, British and US warplanes bombed southern Iraq on August 14. According to the Pentagon, the target was a radar site in southern Iraq which was chosen to attempt to disable increasingly effective air defences used against the air patrols over Iraqi air-space.
The strike was much smaller than an attack by dozens of British and American planes against three sites on Friday and a strike by 24 allied planes against five targets in February, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. Air Force F-16s bombed the site with precision-guided munitions and returned to their base, Whitman said.
"This radar has been an element of the Iraqi air defence system that has been directly contributing to effectiveness of their integrated air defence system," he said.
In Iraq, the air defence spokesman quoted by the Iraqi News Agency confirmed the raid. He said the British and US planes flew out of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with the support of the governments of those countries.
These strikes are being carried out on virtually a daily basis with no legality whatsoever. They constitute an undeclared war of aggression by US imperialism and the British government against Iraq and are a crime against the Iraqi people. The world order that they represent and symbolise must be brought to an end.
Britain colluded in one of the worst massacres of the century, a commentary by Isabel Hilton in the Guardian of Wednesday, August 1, points out.
The author writes that as Megawati Sukarnoputri struggles to hang on to control of Indonesia in the latest round of political upheaval, news has been published of how the British government covered up one of the worst massacres of the 20th century. The slaughter in 1965 of up to a million communist sympathisers was carried out by General Suharto, who ousted Megawati's father, President Sukarno, to become Indonesia's military dictator. Isabel Hilton writes that the British and American governments did not just cover up the massacre: they had a direct hand in bringing it about.
In the era of decolonisation and the cold war, ex-colonial powers were intent on preserving their economic interests in former colonies while setting up nominally independent governments, she says, but the natives, inconveniently, did not always see their interests as consonant with those of their former colonial masters. Patrice Lumumba in the former Belgian Congo, Sukarno in Indonesia both argued for economic as well as political self-determination.
Lumumba was assassinated with the connivance of Belgium, the US and the United Nations. In Indonesia, the British and American governments succeeded not only in engineering the result they wanted (the replacement of Sukarno with General Suharto), but in selling a false version of events that persists to this day.
Isabel Hilton writes, "Roland Challis, a former BBC south Asia correspondent, has described how British diplomats planted misleading stories in British newspapers at the time. But there is also evidence that the British and US responsibility for the fall of Sukarno goes back to the event that triggered it an alleged left-wing coup attempt in 1965. The British were keen to get rid of Sukarno because he was pursuing a policy of confrontation with Malaysia. The US was convinced that Sukarno would drift towards communism a far bigger potential headache for US interests than Vietnam.
"Sukarno was hugely popular and an assassination would have unpredictable consequences: at worst, it might benefit the Indonesian Communist party, the PKI. The army was divided on the merits of a move against him. There was one man, though, who was willing to help the commander of the strategic reserve, General Suharto. The challenge was to engineer Sukarno's downfall and, simultaneously, the elimination of the PKI."
The author goes on to recount how, in October 1965, a group of what are still described as "progressive army officers" kidnapped and brutally murdered six army generals, apparently in preparation for a coup. The motives of the group remain a matter of dispute. At the time, they were alleged to be in sympathy with the PKI. They have subsequently been described as pro-Sukarno nationalists in revolt against their rightwing superiors. But a study carried out at Cornell University in 1966 discovered that what most of the officers had in common was not any association with the PKI, but a connection with General Suharto.
Lt Col Untung, the alleged leader, was a successful military officer who was a known anti-communist. Some of his colleagues had been trained in the US where it is unlikely that any communist sympathies would have escaped notice. Suharto subsequently dismantled the unit and the group's alleged links with the PKI became the pretext for the massacre of up to one million people. After a series of closed show trials and staged confessions, the leaders were said to have been executed, but there is no independent evidence that the executions took place.
Isabel Hilton writes that it has been known for more than 10 years that the CIA supplied lists of names for Suharto's assassination squads. What is less widely known, she says, is that the supposed pro-communist coup that triggered the crisis was almost certainly also the work of the CIA. Sukarno was finally removed from power in 1967. Suharto, meanwhile, was offered economic aid and the British lifted their embargo on sales of military aircraft. Suharto's massacres were whitewashed in a campaign of disinformation in which the British government willingly participated. The operation to "save" Indonesia, according to enthusiastic reports in, amongst others, the Atlantic Monthly, was a resounding success. "Suharto," Atlantic Monthly assured its readers, "is regarded by Indonesians who know him well as incorruptible ... In attacking the communists, he was not acting as a western puppet; he was doing simply what he believed to be best for Indonesia."
Best for Indonesia, in Suharto's view, was the granting of lucrative concessions to western mining and oil companies. It was the beginning of a post-independence economic order that continues today. After 32 years, Suharto was finally overthrown. By then, even the US government had to admit that he was one of the most corrupt dictators of the 20th century.
RCPB(ML) Home Page
Workers' Daily Internet Edition Index Page