Archive | December 11th, 2013

Report: Nazi police volunteer ‘changes story’ about border killing

NOVANEWS
(MaanImages/file)
The Naziborder police volunteer who shot and killed a Palestinian worker on Nov. 30 has retracted his original claim that the Palestinian tried to stab him with a sharp object, Israeli media reported Saturday.

According to Haaretz, the unnamed border police volunteer “changed his story, saying there was no sharp object, but he had nevertheless been attacked.”

A border police spokesman told Ma’an Sunday that police had opened an investigation into the incident, but refused to name the Israeli volunteer or provide further details.

Nazi police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was unfamiliar with reports that the volunteer had changed his story.

The 24-year-old Palestinian – later identified as Antar Shalabi Mahmoud al-Aqraa – was shot dead in northern Nazi during an official search “in the night … for illegal Palestinian workers,” Rosenfeld told Ma’an on the day of the shooting.

Rosenfeld claimed that a Palestinian worker “attempted to stab” the border police volunteer, who responded by shooting and killing the worker.

Forty undocumented workers were detained during the search, he added.

Head of the Palestinian worker’s federation Shahir Saad said on the day of the incident that Israel “treats workers in a terroristic, barbarian way.”

Al-Aqraa “was executed this morning,” Saad said.

Thousands gathered for a funeral procession in al-Aqraa’s home village of Qabalan in the northern West Bank on Monday.

His family denied that al-Aqraa – who was to be married in mid-December – had tried to stab the soldier.

“Why would a young man scheduled to be wedded in two weeks, and carrying invitations, attempt to attack an Israeli soldier?” al-Aqraa’s father said. “These are pure lies and fabrications.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Report: Nazi police volunteer ‘changes story’ about border killing

I$raHell is an Apartheid State

NOVANEWS

Unfair.jpg

Why is Israel the only country allowed to be racist?

Jews are being used by the Illuminati Jewish bankers

to colonize the world. Israel is their future Headquarters. 

Is there anywhere else in the world that prohibits “mixed-race marriages”? 

by Saul 

TEL AVIV — Despite Zionists’ denials, Israel is an apartheid state. The term apartheid means “the state of being apart” and was a system of legislated racial separatism in South Africa. There are striking parallels between Zionist Israel and apartheid South Africa,

Let’s look at Israel’s blatantly racist laws. 

Jewish Right of Return

With very few exceptions, only Jews can immigrate. Outside of Russian immigration, immigrants to Israel must prove that their mother was or is Jewish. Christians cannot immigrate to Israel. Muslims most certainly cannot immigrate to Israel. 

Why have such a racist law on the books when 20% of the population are Muslim Arabs? Simple. Zionists claim that Jews deserve a homeland.

Jewish Marriage Law

Jews cannot marry anyone other than Jews. Muslims in Israel cannot marry anyone other than Muslims. Even secular Jews cannot marry Christians or Muslims in Israel. This is the law. To marry outside one’s faith, couples need to leave Israel to countries like Cyprus where they can marry and return as a married couple. Even Apartheid South Africa abolished the Prohibition of Mixed Marriage act in 1985, prior to which time whites could not marry blacks and vice versa. In Israel this racism is still going on today! Not just similar to Apartheid, WORSE than Apartheid.

 

In Judaism, to be Jewish, one’s mother must be Jewish. 

One of my friends had problems getting married in Israel recently.  He is a provable Jew with a Jewish mother and father.  His bride to be was a Russian immigrant with only a Jewish father.  The Zionist secular government bends the rules for Russian Jews so they qualify under the Jewish right of return.  Alas, to the religious court, which has a monopoly on marriage and divorce law in the country, she was NOT deemed a Jew.  Thus, they could not get married within Israel.

It all ties to the racist Zionism that demands Jews and ONLY Jews have a right to this land. Zionists know that if Israel allowed non-Jews to immigrate and if she allowed Jews to marry non-Jews, the country would be unable to maintain her racist laws because her mixed citizenry would not tolerate it. It’s a massive catch 22. To preserve the racial majority within colonized lands, Israel cannot avoid being an apartheid state. And it is doomed to fail, just as Apartheid failed.

Zionists Want Never-Ending Conflict

Zionist propagandists love to point to facts such as, “For every offer of peace Israel has made, the Palestinians have said no.” This is laughable, because every offer of peace Israel has ever made includes Israel’s de facto racist apartheid laws. Only Jewish right of “return” (though the Jews “returning’ to Israel haven’t had family in this region prior to the 20th century for millennia), but no Palestinian right of return (though the Palestinian refugees who fled Israel in 1948 had lived here for a millennia before the 20th century.) If Jews are indeed Khazars, then they have no right of return at all.

Expansionist Israel – Race-based West bank Land Grab 

We are all aware of the problems caused by Israeli settlements on Arab lands.  Zionists claim ALL the land from King David’s time belongs to Jews and only Jews.

Even after the war in ’48, Jordan occupied the West Bank, not Israel. The settlements in Judea / Samaria are factually on Arab land from the time Israel was recognized in ’48. Israel is basically stealing these lands and claiming them as “Jewish” property.  Jewish property and the indigenous Arabs are not allowed there.

NEGEV AND GALILEE 

And while this is obviously an obstacle to peace with those Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens, even within Israel proper the Zionist government discriminates against and steals the land from her Arab Palestinian  or Bedouin citizenry. 

451.jpg

(For the 80,000 Bedouin residents in unrecognized villages, life in Israel means seeing their homes demolished by the hundreds, on the grounds they were built illegally. It means having their fields plowed under, and not being connected to water, electricity or sewerage infrastructure.)

There is no excuse for it. It is blatant racism no different from Apartheid South African whites stealing land from South African blacks and moving them elsewhere. 

The so-called Prawer-Begin bill is seeking now to resettle 40,000 Bedouin Israelis in the Negev, and seize 60,000 acres of their land. Israeli citizens since the 1950’s, they are being displaced to make room for Jewish-only communities. 

Israel is also evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. 

This is no different than what the Apartheid South African government did to her black citizenry to make room for white communities.

The Zionist Israeli government is intentionally provoking a fight, a third intifada, if for no better reason than warfare is profitable.

The sad truth is, Zionist propaganda relies on a hostile internal and external Arab “enemy” to justify her racism and militarism. It’s criminal, and it is at its core, pure racism.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on I$raHell is an Apartheid State

THANKS FOR NOTHING MANDELA

NOVANEWS
THANKS FOR NOTHING MANDELA</p>
<p>An open letter from a young black south african girl to the late Mandela.<br />
Dear Former/Dead President Nelson Mandela,</p>
<p>I was only about 5 years old when were released from prison. I come from a poor background as a black child and I was raised by my grandmother. In 1994 South Africa had its first democratic elections; I remember people around me including my grandma were excited to vote for you and the ANC government. Sadly my grandma passed away before she could vote in beginning of April in 1994.</p>
<p>I understand that you had meetings between 1985-1990 with P. W. Botha to have a negotiated settlement. Revered late ANC President, Oliver Reginald Tambo, referring to your meetings with the colonial-apartheid regime in the crucial 1980s, said “Prisoners can’t negotiate their freedom”.</p>
<p>I have read that according to aged ANC veterans, Tambo seemed disturbed about senior members of the leadership including you, who could have compromised the organisation. He seemed to question whom to trust. This, according to those veterans, eventually led to Tambo’s first stroke.</p>
<p>In 1990 before you were released from prison you assured your supporters that the nationalization of mines, banks and minerals were on the cards. That belief had formed the core doctrine of the ANC and was enshrined in a document known as The Freedom Charter.</p>
<p>"The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth beneath the soil; the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industries and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people," the charter states.</p>
<p>It later emerged that you and other ANC leaders were busily creatively re-interpreting the “Freedom Charter’s” commitment to nationalisation in order to comfort the monopoly white capitalists.</p>
<p>The nature of the sell out</p>
<p>When you negotiated with the Nationalist had intended to oversee a settlement which guarantees the maintenance of a white capitalist South Africa and of the profits extracted from the exploited black masses, and leaves power firmly in the hands of the white capitalists for the foreseeable future. As De Klerk has insisted “I do not intend to negotiate myself out of power”. On the contrary, negotiations were intended to prevent the victory of the black masses. De Klerk had laid a trap for the blacks into which they were being led by you. Any so-called 'deal' made with devils MUST, by default, go wrong! Truth be told; you were out-negotiated by the Nationalists.</p>
<p>Failed transfer of power during negotiations</p>
<p>The negotiations focused on two aspects: one was political, the other economic. When you were negotiating with the Nationalists you choose to separate political and economic power. That was your biggest mistake and betrayal to black people. The transfer of ownership of wealth and land is at the heart of a transfer of power. Hence it was clearly stipulated in the Freedom Charter. But you chose to ignore that.</p>
<p>During the negotiations everyone was watching the political negotiations. You were too concerned that if the political negotiations didn’t go well there would be mass protest. People were not interested in the economic negotiations and when the economic negotiators would report back, people thought it was technical; no one was interested. (Lack of education) You should have known better. This is where we missed our freedom completely and you sold it to the Nationalists.</p>
<p>Failed economic negotiations and state ownership of the Reserve Bank</p>
<p>Mr Former President, your mandate from the people was to ensure that the values of the Freedom Charter were implemented including nationalization of country’s assets. Instead of nationalizing the mines you were meeting regularly with Harry Oppenheimer, former chairman of the mining giants Anglo-American and De Beers, the economic symbols of apartheid rule.</p>
<p>Shortly after the 1994 election, you even submitted the ANC’s economic program to Oppenheimer for approval and made several key revisions to address his concerns, as well as those of other top industrialists. Shame on you for selling out of minerals and land to the imperialists.</p>
<p>The outcomes of those meetings were that you could have the political power but the gold and diamonds would remain in the hands of the individuals that controlled it before. Have you forgotten what the Freedom Charter had said??</p>
<p>One of the most revealing aspects of the economic transition was the ownership of the Reserve Bank of South Africa. Arguably the most powerful institution in the country, its fate was explained by Durban businessman Vishnu Padaychee; asked to draft a document for the negotiating team on the on the pro’s and con’s of having an autonomous central bank, run with total autonomy from the elected government. Padayachee could not believe what he was hearing. He and his team drafted and submitted the document with a clear policy of not allowing the Reserve Bank to be autonomous.</p>
<p>He was later told by the negotiating team that, “We had to give that one up”.</p>
<p>The bank is privately owned and today has some 650 shareholders. Why did you let go of the Reserve Bank and let the imperialist whites take control of it Mandela?</p>
<p>During the negotiations you agreed that not only would the Reserve Bank be run as an autonomous entity within the South African state, with its independence enshrined in the SA constitution, but it would be headed by the same man who ran it under apartheid, Chris Stals. Another Apartheid era figure, finance minister Derek Keyes, also retained his position in the new administration. Mandela how could you allow the people who oppressed us to be in charge of the Reserve Bank?</p>
<p>Padayachee lamented that with the loss of the Reserve Bank, “everything would be lost in terms of economic transformation”. This is indeed true; everything was lost when YOU handed over the Reserve Bank!!!!! One of the Freedom Charter pledges is the redistribution of land; this became highly constrained with a new clause in the constitution which protected all private property.</p>
<p>Failed rainbow-nation coated myth</p>
<p>You have been preaching this rainbow-nation myth to the world that does not exist but only exists in your head. Reconciliation has meant nothing but black people `forgiving’ whites for 300+ years of dispossession, humiliation and suffering. I experience pain every time a white South African - at the shop; in a bar; on the Talk Radio 702 or online forums - says that “We need to forget the past, get over it.” It is like they are saying to us `forget your pain’. And that from someone who benefited at your expense! We have suffered racial abuse and our abusers are among us.</p>
<p>You and Desmond Tutu’s rainbow myth glossed over this pain - much to the relief of whites. Whites fail to acknowledge our pain and suffering - and their position as beneficiaries of our pain. But you were overly concerned with not rocking the boat as far as whites were concerned. That is why you are the subject of a personality cult in the white community than the black community.</p>
<p>Whites in this country believe that you are the only honourable black person while the rest of us blacks are corrupt, criminals, rapists, drunkards and uneducated buffoons.</p>
<p>The FREE & FAIR environment post-94 is another rainbow-coated myth. Black people are not free (unless you describe freedom as being able to vote and not having to carry ID’s 24/7). We are not FREE and very little is fair! All thanks to you Mandela.</p>
<p>The current state</p>
<p>Are you aware that blacks remain landless, underfed, houseless, under- employed, badly represented in senior managerial positions? The state of healthcare and education for black people remains as it was, if not worse than, under apartheid.</p>
<p>Vestiges of apartheid and colonial economic patterns, ownership and control remain intact despite the attainment of political freedom by you. Are you aware that political freedom without economic emancipation is meaningless?</p>
<p>The unemployment crisis is also defined along racial lines due to the fact that in the third quarter of 2010, 29.80% of blacks were officially unemployed, compared with 22.30% of coloureds, 8.60% of Asians and only 5.10% of whites. About 12 million of the population lives on less than R2.50 per day, whilst 16 million South Africans receive social grants.</p>
<p>In terms of racial distribution of per capita income, African and coloured income levels in 2008 were still only 13% and 22% respectively of white per capita income, compared to 10.9% and 19.3% in 1993. The income gap for Indians has narrowed, with Indian per capita income in 2008 standing at 60% of those of whites as against 42% in 1993.</p>
<p>In 1995, median per capita expenditure among Africans was R333 a month compared to whites at R3 443 a month. In 2008, median expenditure per capita for Africans was R454 a month compared to whites at R5 668 a month. Source: [Leibbrandt, M. et al. (2010), "Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid"]</p>
<p>The economy has failed to create jobs at the pace necessary to reduce extremely high unemployment, and the education system has failed to ensure that equalised public spending on schooling translates into improved education for poor black children.</p>
<p>Final thoughts</p>
<p>The democracy has not brought what was promised, you as former president of the ANC and of the country is responsible for that misdirection.</p>
<p>Mr Former President what you have done for black people is that you have laid the final brick by selling out on the struggle to achieve your dream of political victory. Your dream which has become our worst nightmare as black people.</p>
<p>You sold us as black nation for a “Noble Peace Prize” and that is the reason for the service delivery demonstration and the lack of service delivery. Our Constitution hailed as the best in the world favours the Caucasians while it oppresses the Africans. Thanks for nothing Mandela. You understood the Kempton Park negotiations as a sell-out solution to rescue white capital and for the few in power, and that such a democracy would continue the suffering of the black majority.</p>
<p>I have a problem with people giving “Messianic status to Madiba” like a black Jesus when we all know that you have failed the black nation.</p>
<p>When I started out this letter I told you about my grandma who died before she could vote for you. Well, I am glad that she never voted for you as she would have voted for a traitor. What you have done is simply continued where the apartheid government left us off and dug the holes of poverty and oppression deeper.</p>
<p>Before you leave this earth I would like you to take responsibility and apologise for your actions and what you did to black people. You sold our land to the imperialists, if you fail to apologise before you die it simply means you are an accomplice to them.</p>
<p>When you eventually die and meet the likes of Dr Hendrink Verwoerd and P.W. Botha may you have good time with them and laugh at how blacks continue to suffer. I have nothing but hatred for what you have done to us.</p>
<p>Signing out from the deep dark hell hole of continued oppression you put us in.</p>
<p>Yours Sincerely,</p>
<p>Youngster<br />
Shared from @[100001314188316:2048:Muhammad Nuhr]
Mandela with Zionist Puppet Bander Bin I$raHell
An open letter from a young black south african girl to the late Mandela. Dear Former/Dead President Nelson Mandela, I was only about 5 years old when were released from prison. I come from a poor background as a black child and I was raised by my grandmother. In 1994 South Africa had its first democratic elections; I remember people around me including my grandma were excited to vote for you and the ANC government. Sadly my grandma passed away before she could vote in beginning of April in 1994. I understand that you had meetings between 1985-1990 with P. W. Botha to have a negotiated settlement. Revered late ANC President, Oliver Reginald Tambo, referring to your meetings with the colonial-apartheid regime in the crucial 1980s, said “Prisoners can’t negotiate their freedom”.
I have read that according to aged ANC veterans, Tambo seemed disturbed about senior members of the leadership including you, who could have compromised the organisation. He seemed to question whom to trust. This, according to those veterans, eventually led to Tambo’s first stroke. In 1990 before you were released from prison you assured your supporters that the nationalization of mines, banks and minerals were on the cards. That belief had formed the core doctrine of the ANC and was enshrined in a document known as The Freedom Charter.
 "The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth  beneath the soil; the  banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industries and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people," the charter states. It later emerged that you and other ANC leaders were busily creatively  re-interpreting the “Freedom Charter’s” commitment to Nationalisation in order to comfort  the monopoly white capitalists. The nature of the sell out When you negotiated with the Nationalist  had intended to oversee a settlement which guarantees the maintenance of a white capita-list  South  Africa and of the  profits  extracted from the exploited black masses, and leaves power firmly in the hands of the white capitalists for the foreseeable future.
As De Klerk has insisted “I do not intend to negotiate myself out of power”. On the contrary, negotiations were intended to prevent the victory of the black masses. De Klerk had laid a trap for the blacks into which they were being led by you. Any so-called ‘deal’ made with devils MUST, by default, go wrong! Truth be told; you were out-negotiated by the Nationalists. Failed transfer of power during negotiations The negotiations focused on two aspects: one was political, the other economic. When you were negotiating with the Nationalists you choose to separate political and economic power. That was your biggest mistake and betrayal to black people. The transfer of ownership of wealth and land is at the heart of a transfer of power. Hence it was clearly stipulated in the Freedom Charter. But you chose to ignore that. During the negotiations everyone was watching the political negotiations. You were too concerned that if the political negotiations didn’t go well there would be mass protest. People were not interested in the economic negotiations and when the economic negotiators would report back, people thought it was technical; no one was interested. (Lack of education) You should have known better.
This is where we missed our freedom completely and you sold it to the Nationalists. Failed economic negotiations and state ownership of the Reserve Bank Mr Former President, your mandate from the people was to ensure that the values of the Freedom Charter were implemented including nationalization of country’s assets. Instead of nationalizing the mines you were meeting regularly with Harry Oppenheimer, former chairman of the mining giants Anglo-American and De Beers, the economic symbols of apartheid rule. Shortly after the 1994 election, you even submitted the ANC’s economic program to Oppenheimer for approval and made several key revisions to address his concerns, as well as those of other top industrialists.
Shame on you for selling out of minerals and land to the imperialists. The outcomes of those meetings were that you could have the political power but the gold and diamonds would remain in the hands of the individuals that controlled it before. Have you forgotten what the Freedom Charter had said?? One of the most revealing aspects of the economic transition was the ownership of the Reserve Bank of South Africa. Arguably the most powerful institution in the country, its fate was explained by Durban businessman Vishnu Padaychee; asked to draft a document for the negotiating team on the on the pro’s and con’s of having an autonomous central bank, run with total autonomy from the elected government. Padayachee could not believe what he was hearing. He and his team drafted and submitted the document with a clear policy of not allowing the Reserve Bank to be autonomous.
He was later told by the negotiating team that, “We had to give that one up”. The bank is privately owned and today has some 650 shareholders. Why did you let go of the Reserve Bank and let the imperialist whites take control of it Mandela? During the negotiations you agreed that not only would the Reserve Bank be run as an autonomous entity within the South African state, with its independence enshrined in the SA constitution, but it would be headed by the same man who ran it under apartheid, Chris Stals. Another Apartheid era figure, finance minister Derek Keyes, also retained his position in the new administration. Mandela how could you allow the people who oppressed us to be in charge of the Reserve Bank? Padayachee lamented that with the loss of the Reserve Bank, “everything would be lost in terms of economic transformation”.
This is indeed true; everything was lost when YOU handed over the Reserve Bank!!!!! One of the Freedom Charter pledges is the redistribution of land; this became highly constrained with a new clause in the constitution which protected all private property. Failed rainbow-nation coated myth You have been preaching this rainbow-nation myth to the world that does not exist but only exists in your head. Reconciliation has meant nothing but black people `forgiving’ whites for 300+ years of dispossession, humiliation and suffering. I experience pain every time a white South African – at the shop; in a bar; on the Talk Radio 702 or online forums – says that “We need to forget the past, get over it.” It is like they are saying to us `forget your pain’. And that from someone who benefited at your expense! We have suffered racial abuse and our abusers are among us. You and Desmond Tutu’s rainbow myth glossed over this pain – much to the relief of whites.
Whites fail to acknowledge our pain and suffering – and their position as beneficiaries of our pain. But you were overly concerned with not rocking the boat as far as whites were concerned. That is why you are the subject of a personality cult in the white community than the black community. Whites in this country believe that you are the only honourable black person while the rest of us blacks are corrupt, criminals, rapists, drunkards and uneducated buffoons.
The FREE & FAIR environment post-94 is another rainbow-coated myth. Black people are not free (unless you describe freedom as being able to vote and not having to carry ID’s 24/7). We are not FREE and very little is fair! All thanks to you Mandela. The current state Are you aware that blacks remain landless, underfed, houseless, under- employed, badly represented in senior managerial positions? The state of healthcare and education for black people remains as it was, if not worse than, under apartheid. Vestiges of apartheid and colonial economic patterns, ownership and control remain intact despite the attainment of political freedom by you. Are you aware that political freedom without economic emancipation is meaningless?
The unemployment crisis is also defined along racial lines due to the fact that in the third quarter of 2010, 29.80% of blacks were officially unemployed, compared with 22.30% of coloureds, 8.60% of Asians and only 5.10% of whites. About 12 million of the population lives on less than R2.50 per day, whilst 16 million South Africans receive social grants. In terms of racial distribution of per capita income, African and coloured income levels in 2008 were still only 13% and 22% respectively of white per capita income, compared to 10.9% and 19.3% in 1993. The income gap for Indians has narrowed, with Indian per capita income in 2008 standing at 60% of those of whites as against 42% in 1993.
In 1995, median per capita expenditure among Africans was R333 a month compared to whites at R3 443 a month. In 2008, median expenditure per capita for Africans was R454 a month compared to whites at R5 668 a month. Source: [Leibbrandt, M. et al. (2010), “Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid”] The economy has failed to create jobs at the pace necessary to reduce extremely high unemployment, and the education system has failed to ensure that equalised public spending on schooling translates into improved education for poor black children. Final thoughts The democracy has not brought what was promised, you as former president of the ANC and of the country is responsible for that misdirection. Mr Former President what you have done for black people is that you have laid the final brick by selling out on the struggle to achieve your dream of political victory. Your dream which has become our worst nightmare as black people. You sold us as black nation for a “Noble Peace Prize” and that is the reason for the service delivery demonstration and the lack of service delivery. Our Constitution hailed as the best in the world favours the Caucasians while it oppresses the Africans.
Thanks for nothing Mandela. You understood the Kempton Park negotiations as a sell-out solution to rescue white capital and for the few in power, and that such a democracy would continue the suffering of the black majority. I have a problem with people giving “Messianic status to Madiba” like a black Jesus when we all know that you have failed the black nation. When I started out this letter I told you about my grandma who died before she could vote for you. Well, I am glad that she never voted for you as she would have voted for a traitor. What you have done is simply continued where the apartheid government left us off and dug the holes of poverty and oppression deeper. Before you leave this earth I would like you to take responsibility and apologise for your actions and what you did to black people. You sold our land to the imperialists, if you fail to apologise before you die it simply means you are an accomplice to them. When you eventually die and meet the likes of Dr Hendrink Verwoerd and P.W. Botha may you have good time with them and laugh at how blacks continue to suffer. I have nothing but hatred for what you have done to us. Signing out from the deep dark hell hole of continued oppression you put us in.
Yours Sincerely,
Youngster Shared from

Posted in AfricaComments Off on THANKS FOR NOTHING MANDELA

DPC Peace Call to Avert Sectarian Violence

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

Sectarian violence continues in Pakistan in one form or the other. In this regard, Punjab President

of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Maulana Shamsur Rehman Muaviya was shot dead by the

two unidentified gunmen in Lahore on December 6, this year. A large number of workers of

ASWJ staged sit-in protest and demonstrations across the country against his targeted killing.

Particularly, in Lahore, shops and roads were closed and traffic jams were witnessed due to

protest. Besides, on December 3, a senior leader of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) was

assassinated by two armed men on the University Road in Karachi. Following the incident, MA

Jinnah Road was blocked and protesters pelted passing vehicles with stones, which also resulted

in traffic jams in many parts of the city. Petrol pumps and CNG filling stations were also closed.

New wave of sectarian violence started in the aftermath of Rawalpindi tragedy which witnessed

bloodshed between Shia mourners and Sunnis, leaving 10 dead and several injured in the city

on November 15. Angry protesters targeted the mosque and the seminary, torching its building

including an adjacent cloth market where events of looting and arson occurred. The incident was

followed by violent demonstrations and bloody clashes between the two religious sects, which

also took place in Multan, Chishtian, Bahawalnagar, Kohat and Hangu. Curfew was imposed and

Army was called to restore peace not only in Rawalpindi, but also in other affected-cities.

In this regard, several Ulema (Religious scholars) and politicians belonging to Majlis-e-Wahdat-
e-Muslimeen, Sunni Ittehad Council, The Sunni Tehreek Ulema Board, The Melli Yakjaheti

Council, Tanzeem-i-Nefazi Fiqa Jafria, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F and Muttahida

Quami Movement said, “Conspiracies were being hatched to destroy peace in the country though

sectarian divide…the enemies had once again succeeded in igniting sectarian strife.” They also

urged the masses to be patient to foil the international conspiracy and asked the government to

unmask the culprits including some hidden forces behind the Pindi sectarian incident.

However, the Rawalpindi tragedy carried the swelling prospects of spreading sectarian unrest

in the country—there is a need to defuse the tense situation by undertaking various measures to

resolve the sectarian crisis.

In this context, peace call of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) to avert sectarian violence is

of special consideration, as it is a step in right direction. Notably, in the recent past, DPC held

a meeting under the Chairmanship of Maulana Samiul Haque in Islamabad to avert spread of

sectarian violence across the country. The meeting was also attended by Hafiz Muhammad

Saeed, Liaquat Baloch, Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, Ejazul Haque, Maulana Fazalur Rehman

Khalil, Lt Gen (R) Hamid Gul, Mian Muhammad Aslam, Abdullah Gul and Sardar Attique

Ahmad. The meeting concluded that Rawalpindi tragedy was a plot against Pakistan, and

appreciated the patience demonstrated by students of the targeted seminary in Rawalpindi. DPC

Chairman Maulana Samiul Haque lauded the role of Ulema for successfully averting the spread

of violence. He also demanded that hate-material of different religious institutions should be

Besides recommending to the Parliament to pass legislation so as to control sectarian violence,

DPC also gave a peace call to protest against the Rawalpindi incident. Its Chairman Maulana

Samiul Haque appealed to the potential protestors to remain peaceful on the Friday in the

aftermath of the Rawalpindi episode. This was a right step forward to create conducive

atmosphere for all schools of thought to mull over contemplating the need for introspective

analysis and maintaining respect for other sects.

Peaceful march on the related-Friday by the DPC proved that remaining peaceful and

demonstrating tolerance and patience towards each other’s sect is much superior option than to

react in retaliation. This also sent a message to foreign forces which have been funding sectarian

groups to fight their proxy wars inside Pakistan.

It also showed that those elements which are trying to destabilize Pakistan would also be suitably

scolded with a pledge that all Pakistanis are united and have the resolve to maintain sectarian

harmony—sectarianism poses a security threat to Pakistan and we can fight it by keeping

cohesiveness in our ranks and files.

While, it was also prudent for the organizers of that Friday peace protest including law-enforcing

agencies and the administration which ensured that peaceful march by the demonstrators was not

disturbed by violent elements and criminals. And all possible measures were taken to make the

march a peaceful, violence-free and dignified protest.

It is mentionable that in the past few years, Pakistan has been facing various kinds of subversive

activities, but foreign hostile entities have also accelerated sectarian violence as part of their

unfinished agenda to further weaken the country. Undoubtedly, the sporadic sectarian violence

against these Muslims has intensified, but, it cannot be seen in isolation as it includes multiple

anti-Pakistan designs. Notably, secret agencies like American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian

RAW are behind sectarian unrest in Pakistan.

In fact, the US had planned to spark a civil war between the Sunnis and Shias in wake of war on

terror. So, we cannot blame these secret agencies without solid evidence.

For the purpose, a study of the Rand Corporation, titled ‘US Strategy in the Muslim World After

9/11’ was conducted on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force. The report

of the Rand Corporation-a leading think tank, released on December 27, 2004 advocated that

Sunni-Shia sectarian division should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim

The report of the Rand Corporation was first implemented in Iraq. In this context, CIA also got

the services of Mossad and RAW to fuel sectarian violence in Iraq. In 2004, major terror-attacks

were carried out against the Shias in Karbala and Baghdad. Afterwards, a chain of Shia-Sunni

clashes started between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, targeting each other’s mosques, religious leaders

through bomb blasts, suicide attacks etc.

After Iraq’s experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian strife and clashes have been conducted

in Pakistan, which still continues in one or the other way.

As a matter of fact, some banned religious outfits like Lashkar-i-Janghvi and the Sunni militant

groups, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have claimed responsibility for a number of terror

assaults on Shias in Balochistan get arms and ammunition from RAW and CIA. These foreign-
backed militants groups which have close connections with each other and Tehrik-i-Taliban

Pakistan are behind target-killing of many Sunni and Shia leaders, political figures of these sects,

bomb blasts, suicide attacks, assaults on the religious processions, mosques, Imambargahs etc.,

carried out in various regions of Pakistan to achieve the covert aims of the US, India and Israel.

In this respect, while hinting towards US, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had

rightly disclosed, “The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at

creating a division between the Shias and Sunnis…those who carry out these terrorist actions are

directly or indirectly foreign agents.”

Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the Rawalpindi tragedy, the atmosphere presents an edgy

picture, as tension still brews among sects of different religious seminaries (Madrassas)—heads

of some Madrassas and sects which have also conducted demonstrations and rallies.

As part of solution to counter the sectarian violence in Pakistan, DPC initiative of peace must be

supported by media, civil society, key communicators and religious scholars who must play an

effective role in creating religious tolerance and enlightenment amongst all religious factions,

particularly those of Sunnis and Shias, convincing them to live in harmony and peace. They

must point out that in democratic a state, peaceful protest is a right way, but violent attacks on

places of worship and clashes against each other’s sect, and damaging the property is against the

teachings of Islam. It will help creating an atmosphere conducive for all schools of thought to

contemplate the need to remain peaceful and develop respect for others having different practices

Supporting the DPA demands, these internal entities including political parties should urge

the Parliament to pass anti-sectarian laws, while the government must also focus on creating

sectarian harmony in the country and political elements must not be allowed to muddle

negatively in religious matters.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on DPC Peace Call to Avert Sectarian Violence

In Solidarity: Irish Workers and Apartheid in South Africa

NOVANEWS
Global Research

On July 19th, 1984, Dunnes Stores worker Mary Manning refused to check out a customer’s South African fruit (Outspan). Her union, IDATU (the Irish Distributive & Administrative Union), had directed their members not to handle goods from South Africa.

She was given five minutes to change her mind and when she refused, she was suspended on the spot.[1]
The 1980s were also a time of high unemployment making strike action a difficult decision for the workers.
http://gaelart.net/dunnestores4web.jpg
Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáinhttp://gaelart.net/derekspeirsdss.jpg

Photo: Derek Speirs

“Most of the workers at Dunnes in Henry Street went on strike that day, and eight of them joined Mary Manning and Karen Gearon thereafter. They would stay on strike for the next two and a half years, surviving on strike pay of £21 a week, returning to work only after the Irish government prohibited the sale of South African fruit and vegetables in Irish stores.”[2]

http://gaelart.net/dunnestores8web.jpg
Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
(St Bernard is a Dunnes Stores brand)

This selfless action by Irish workers in 1984 led to extraordinary events as support for their actions grew despite fierce racist reaction by some individuals. Karen Gearon and Mary Manning were invited to meet Desmond Tutu in London and Gearon testified in front of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid. Then things really hotted up when the girls were invited by Tutu to visit South Africa.

http://gaelart.net/dunnestores1web.jpg

Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

““Myself and eight of the strikers flew to South Africa and weren’t allowed in,” says Brendan Archbold, the IDATU official in charge of the strike. “We were held at the airport and weren’t allowed contact our families for over 24 hours.” They were put on the next plane back home. The furore over their disappearance captured the public imagination. “It definitely changed the tide,” says Gearon.”[3]

http://gaelart.net/dunnestores3web.jpg

Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

At the time, myself and many others would join the strike on Saturdays, the busiest day of the week for Dunne’s Stores. I was in my last year in art college and decided to base one of my final show prints on the strike.

http://gaelart.net/dunnestores2web.jpg

Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

While taking photos of the offending oranges and grapefruit I was stopped by the management who threatened to take my film on the basis that I was ‘stealing their display designs’. The finished print can be seen below.

http://gaelart.net/fruitweb.jpg

‘Fresh Ideas About Fruit’, Silkscreen print by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (1985)

The strike would last nearly 3 years before the Irish government banned South African goods from being sold in Ireland.

Their story entered the popular imagination as the Dunnes Stores strikers had songs written about them by Christy Moore (‘Dunnes Stores’[4]) and Ewan MacColl (‘Ten Young Women and One Young Man’).

Several months after being freed from prison in February 1990, Nelson Mandela met with some of the strikers when he visited Dublin and told them that their stand helped keep him going during his imprisonment.

http://gaelart.net/mandela.jpg

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/call-for-dunnes-strikers-to-attend-mandela-funeral-1.1620897

Cathryn O’Reilly, from Finglas, one of the Dunnes Stores strikers, presenting Nelson Mandela with a Robert Ballagh print calling for the release of the Birmingham Six in 1990. Photograph: Frank Miller

In 2008 the workers strike action was commemorated with an official plaque in central Dublin.

http://gaelart.net/dunnesstoresplaqueweb.jpg

Plaque to the Dunnes Stores Strikers, outside Dunnes’s Stores, Henry Street, Dublin (Source: Gavin Brown)
http://nonstopagainstapartheid.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/postcard-from-dublin-reconnecting-the-dunnes-stores-strikers/

The eleven Dunnes Stores workers from Henry Street were:

Mary Manning, Cathryn O’Reilly, Karen Gearon, Theresa Mooney, Vonnie Munroe, Sandra Griffin, Alma Russell, Michelle Gavin, Liz Deasy, Dorothy Dooley and Tommy Davis. They were later joined by Brendan Barron who worked in the Crumlin branch of Dunnes Stores. [5]

Notes

[1] http://www.sundayworld.com/top-stories/news/dunnes-strike-woman-hails-mandela

[2] http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/12/06/the-dunnes-stores-strikers/
[3] http://cake1983.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/strike/

[4] http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/christy_moore/dunnes_stores.html

[5] http://www.rte.ie/tv50/essays/cathrynoreilly.html

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on In Solidarity: Irish Workers and Apartheid in South Africa

The media war on Syria

NOVANEWS

LALKARONLINE


How honest anti-war activists can end up serving the wrong side

The correspondence below was written by a CPGB-ML member in response to an article that appeared on MediaLens.org titled ‘Structural inclinations – the leaning tower of propaganda: chemical weapons attacks in Ghouta, Syria‘ on 9 October.

____________________________________________

Dear Media Lens

I was horrified to see the extent to which the imperialist bias that you make it your business to expose in corporate journalism has infected your own view of events in Syria.

In your recent article on the chemical weapons propaganda, you felt constrained to emphasise twice – at the beginning and at the end of your article – that President Assad of Syria is a ‘war criminal’. And, just like the journalists you excoriate, you offered not a shred of evidence for this assertion.

Near the beginning of your article you wrote, by way of an apology for criticising the corporate media’s ‘house lefties’: ” The point is not that Aaronovitch, Hasan and Monbiot are wrong – the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes, and may have again in Ghouta .”

And at the end, having yourself referred to just some of the evidence that, when put together, makes it quite clear that the Syrian government did NOT carry out the recent chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, you undermined your whole article with the following statement: “Again, none of this means that the Syrian government, and indeed Assad himself, was not to blame for the August 21 attacks.”

For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades.

He heads a government that has been freely elected and which comprises members of many parties – a national-unity coalition, in fact. Syria’s government is far more democratic and representative than our own. Did you know that 50 percent of the seats in the Syrian parliament are reserved for workers? Since you so casually refer to it as a ‘dictatorship’ – as if that was established fact – I can only assume that you did not.

President Assad’s only ‘crime’ is to be the leader of a nation that has refused to ‘know its place’. He unites people from all backgrounds and presides over a much-valued secular state in a region where sectarian hatred has been deliberately fostered (and armed) by outsiders for generations.

Anti-imperialist, independent Syria has stood up to US and British corporate and military interests and to Zionism. It has given real, physical support to Palestinian and Iraqi resistance and refugees – at great cost to itself. It has spent its resources on providing free education and health care, on keeping food prices low, and on limiting the activities of the very bloodsucking international corporations you also claim to oppose. It has refused to allow its people to become yet more disposable sweatshop-fodder for the world’s financial elite.

For decades, Syria has stood side by side with Iran and the Lebanese resistance to form a counterweight against Israeli (and therefore imperialist) dominance of the Middle East. It has supported countries all over the world – through both trade and diplomacy – that are trying to carve an independent furrow and lift their people out of the superexploited poverty that western imperialists have consigned them to.

So why should it be that you, who claim to want peace and harmony in the world, and an end to the domination of the imperialist corporations, have such a knee-jerk, hostile reaction to a leader and a government who are actually putting your supposed programme into action by standing up to the forces of imperialism? Why are you so quick to come down against David and agree with Goliath?

The only answers I can come up with are laziness and prejudice. You must have relied on vested interests for information in order to so casually refer to ‘dictator Assad’. And you would seem also to have accepted the right of the free-market fundamentalists who control our media to judge and label their opponents.

But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’. Can it be that, despite all your years of opposing the propaganda machine, this simple truth has so far eluded you?

Be that as it may, since you have set yourselves up as an independent voice that purports to expose the bias of the corporate media, it behoves you to find out the truth about the people that the West is demonising. And even if you can’t be bothered to do that, it ought to be a very minimum requirement that you not make categoric statements like ‘the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes’ without backing them up.

I can assure you, if you think you have evidence, there are plenty of people out there who can help you see through it. Like so much of today’s propaganda, it will turn out to be paper thin.

Over the years, I have subsidised your work (when able), read your books and bought them for friends, followed your alerts and forwarded/shared them around. I have considered the work you do to be extremely useful to progressive humanity. You have written many things I disagreed with, but I considered you to be thoroughly critical in your thinking and aware that the narrative passed down to us by officially-sanctioned history books and the corporate media is written by vested interests and aimed at keeping us quiescent in the face of Britain’s hideous imperial crimes.

Which only makes your refusal to recognise the lies being told about President Assad and the Syrian government more baffling and disappointing.

I very much hope you will publish a full retraction of statements that – whether you mean them to or not – are reinforcing the lies of the corporate war propaganda machine, and therefore supporting what you yourselves have identified as a criminal war effort.

Sincerely yours

JB

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hi J

Thanks for your email and support in the past.

Assad is certainly not head of the kind of system we would consider democratic. We’re not alone in that view. Noam Chomsky has commented: ” First of all, Israel was not opposed to Assad. He has been more or less the kind of dictator they wanted.”(english.al-akhbar.com/node/16132)

In 2011, Amnesty reported: ” The authorities remained intolerant of dissent. Those who criticized the government, including human rights defenders, faced arrest and imprisonment after unfair trials, and bans from travelling abroad. Some were prisoners of conscience. Human rights NGOs and opposition political parties were denied legal authorization. State forces and the police continued to commit torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, and there were at least eight suspicious deaths in custody. ” (amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2011)

You write: ” But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’ 

That’s often true but the corporate media doesn’t have a monopoly on the use, or intended meaning behind the use, of particular words. We can use the same words without intending anything of the sort. We have often quoted Ralph Nader on the US political system: ” We have a two-party dictatorship in this country. Let’s face it. And it is a dictatorship in thraldom to these giant corporations who control every department agency in the federal government.” (medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2009/565-protesting-war-an-exchange-with-the-bbcs-diplomatic-editor-mark-urban.html)

In quoting Nader, we didn’t intend to suggest that the US was an uppity native getting in the way of profit-taking.

You write: ” For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades .”

We didn’t say Assad wasn’t popular or unifying. We’ve often pointed out that Syria has faced escalating attacks from external forces of the kind you’re describing.

We wrote that the Assad dictatorship “has committed many horrific war crimes“. That’s really undeniable. For example, Robert Fisk has cited Syrian army officers who made it very clear that they had not been taking prisoners. The Syrian air force has clearly been bombing civilian areas, also a war crime, and so on. As in any war, the government and head of government are responsible for all crimes of this kind.

Best wishes

David Edwards

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Dear David

From your reply it’s clear that you are relying on supporters of the system for your information.

‘Human-rights NGOs’ are usually backed by the same corporations who control the rest of our media. They are the missionaries of our time, clearing the way for imperial crimes by preaching to the oppressed and spreading slanders about them while pretending to be ‘independent’ of the imperial machine.

They present themselves as ‘neutral arbiters’, but a hefty proportion of what they put out is outright lies, while the rest is distorted through the mirror of western corporate interests.

And who appointed these western ‘NGOs’ as arbiters of rights anyway? Isn’t the first right of people everywhere to be allowed to live in peace? To just live??? Amnesty International led the war propaganda effort for the destruction of Libya with total lies. Its leaders loudly and shamelessly laid the groundwork for a genocide against black Libyans and the almost total destruction of 40 years of civilisational advance – then quietly retracted their lies when the war was over. MSF have been doing the same in Syria by spreading unfounded lies about the use of chemical weapons based on nothing but the say-so of Nato’s death squads.

Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky are similar ‘left-wing’ imperialists of the type that you are usually quite good at spotting. They are ‘safe’ critics because they never question the really big lies on which the whole ideological edifice of this rotten system rests. If they weren’t such tame critics, you probably would never have heard of them! I know you have a thing for Chomsky, but I would not rely on him for information for a second. In the case of Syria, he reinforces the western narrative by describing the terror gangs there as a legitimate liberation struggle that has been forced to arm itself. So yes actually, it is perfectly deniable that President Assad is the author of ‘horrific war crimes’ – not only Assad and Syria deny it, but so do most of progressive and oppressed humanity. (See rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/09/chavez-backs-assad-again-blames-u-s-for-war/)

There is no civil war in Syria. The US, British and French imperialists are fighting a PROXY WAR. Civilians caught up in terrorist campaigns universally report on how many foreign accents and even languages there are amongst the fighters – who have mostly been drafted in from abroad. These mercenaries are not patriots. They have been trained by their masters to be utterly brutal (ie, killing and kicking out huge numbers of civilians from their homes, kidnapping young children and using chemical weapons on them in order to take photos and blame the deaths on the Syrian government). They recognise no rules of engagement. No crime is too barbaric for them. They are true servants of the Nato nazis.

Syria is fighting for its life as an independent and proud nation against the most powerful forces this planet has ever seen. Are you really saying that you (or Robert Fisk, come to that) are in a position to judge their tactics? One brutal battle where some bloody nasty terrorists got killed does not make the leader of a government into a war criminal. Especially when that government is trying to defend its people’s fundamental right to life by standing up against a criminal onslaught. They are trying not to become the next Afghanistan, the next Palestine, the next Congo, the next Iraq or the next Libya. They are trying to prevent the next middle-eastern genocide.

Do you think the Syrian government would remain popular if it was seen to be bombing its own civilians? Does that actually make sense if you stop to think about it? Why are the Syrian army greeted everywhere as liberators if that’s how they conduct warfare?

There has been a difficulty with ‘democratic freedoms’ in Syria. Where is there not? In Syria’s case, these limitations were a direct result of imperialist and Zionist warfare, not the random whim of some mythical ‘evil tyrant’. Countries that stand up to imperialism are forced to take defensive measures. They are under constant attack on all fronts all the time – economically, militarily, via the media and through sabotage and infiltration. In order to allow people to keep going to school, to keep living in their subsidised housing, eating their subsidised food and using their free hospitals, the government had to protect the system that provided those from collapse at the hands of outside agents.

Think Britain during WW2. The country was in a state of emergency. People were asked to be vigilant against alien activity. Democracy was curtailed. Were there good reasons for it? Did the people understand it? Would you therefore characterise Churchill’s government as a brutally oppressive regime of war criminals? [In fact, it’s a bad comparison, as Churchill really was a war criminal and a nasty racist piece of work, but you take my point, I hope.]

Syria has been in a state of emergency, a state of war, since Israel occupied the Golan Heights. It has been constantly infiltrated by spies and saboteurs and, of course, some Syrians are in the pay of these forces. Do you honestly believe that a country under such attack should not take any steps to defend itself? Would you like to see imperialism being given free reign to control every corner of the planet? How do you expect countries to defend themselves if not by ‘oppressing’ those who want to hand the country over to the forces of free-market fundamentalism?

But it is not the job of peace-lovers and anti-imperialists to condemn the victim for trying to stop a crime. We should be pointing our fingers at the criminals and exposing their dastardly activities, not helping them to justify their vicious attacks.

The imperialists are angry only because the measures such states take to protect themselves are to a certain extent effective against their attempts to effect regime change from within, by subversion and manipulation. ‘We should be able to control your political and economic life’ is what calls by the imperialists for ‘open government and democracy’ really amount to. They are total doublespeak. Is it really so hard to see that?

Are you aware that the genuine ‘popular protests’ that the West homed in on and infiltrated as an excuse to trigger its proxy war were against market reforms that had been forced through by the IMF? Did you know that a structural adjustment programme had opened up parts of the economy to corporate investors and led to higher prices and unemployment? That the demonstrations were essentially a result of Syria having made concessions to the great economic pressure that has been brought to bear for decades by the imperialists?

Did you know that the real protestors considered President Assad to be on their side in their call for greater democracy (a lightening of the state of emergency) and for a return to a more nationalised economy and better opportunities for young people? Did you know that the mass of people backed a new constitution two years ago and back the government today? If you knew these facts you would not be so quick to believe the stupid lies about Assad ‘clamping down’ on protestors, ‘firing on his own people’, etc etc.

It is documented that terrorist snipers and armed men attacked police at faked ‘protests’ in order to portray the government as ‘brutal’ and justify their impending war – a war that has been in the planning for at least a decade. (See globalresearch.ca/syria-who-is-behind-the-protest-movement-fabricating-a-pretext-for-a-us-nato-humanitarian-intervention/24591)

Governments get demonised by the West precisely when they do manage to stand up for themselves and protect their people. While imperialism exists in the world, people will have to find ways to deal with that reality. They didn’t create the situation. They didn’t ask to be in the firing line. I’m sure they would like nothing better than to be left the hell alone to develop their economy and their culture in peace.

But that’s not what happens is it?

Why are we in the imperialist countries allowed to identify with the nobly vanquished victim and loudly wish that the world was not so unjust, but not to give any real support to those who are trying not to be the next victims of this barbaric system? Should we not be pulling out all the stops to help those on the front line who are actually doing something to change the balance of forces in favour of the oppressed?

And if Assad is popular, unifying and freely elected, where the hell do you get off calling him a ‘dictator’?

It’s time to dig a little deeper and decide which side you are really on. There are no neutral arbiters in this world.

Sincerely yours,

JB

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The media war on Syria

Postal workers and tax payers shafted

NOVANEWS
LALKARONLINE

Royal Mail sell-off

The eventual complete privatisation of Royal Mail (with only the post offices separated and remaining in public hands) passed with barely a whimper let alone anything resembling a bang. This privatisation was one, along with the NHS, that various governments have considered over the years but every one of them, from Thatcher to Major, Blair to Brown have always settled for taking chunks in partial privatisations or ‘opened up’ the work of Royal Mail to let in private competition, but they have shied away from privatising the full thing fearing real resistance from the workforce and the public that actually owned the service. The fact that in the end, after the years of such attacks, it all went through so quietly does not bode well for the last remnants of the NHS.

Of course the sale was brought forward right into the middle of the CWU membership passing a strike ballot that had been proposed by the CWU (Communication Workers’ Union), a ballot concerning pay and conditions following privatisation but not actually mobilising to oppose privatisation. CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the Express as saying: ” What we want is a groundbreaking, long-term, legally binding agreement that not only protects postal workers’ job security, pay and pensions but will also determine the strategy, principles and values of how Royal Mail will operate as a private entity .”

The strike ballot was won with a 78% majority of a 63% turn-out of the 115,000 members balloted. It has to be said that to achieve this vote at a time when the privatisation was a fait accompli, free shares were being given to the postal workers (albeit shares that couldn’t be sold for three years) and a bribe of £300 offered to those willing to cross picket lines was no mean achievement, but one has to wonder, with that amount of anger among the workforce, what could have been achieved with a plan of indefinite strike action to keep the Royal Mail public? As it is a 24 hour strike on November 4 and another ballot, this time on whether workers should boycott the mail from rival private companies, is all that the union have planned.

Of course, the CWU is affiliated to the Labour Party and will, no doubt, be calling on their members to put their faith in the declared intention of that party at its annual conference in Brighton this year to reverse this privatisation if elected to government. While it is extremely unlikely that anything so controversial will even get into Labour’s election manifesto the likelihood of the Labour Party in power actually reversing this, or any other, privatisation is right up there with the moon turning bright blue and the river Thames suddenly becoming malt whisky. The leadership of the CWU know and understand this as they are part of the Labour Party apparatus but they have made the right noises and can continue raking in the subs of their members whilst claiming they ‘had done their best’.

When it comes to criticism of the privatisation the union, the TUC and the Labour Party seem to be concentrating their combined fire not on the fact that the privatisation took place or why it has been done but rather on complaining that it was done too cheaply. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said: “Privatising Royal Mail has become little different from selling five pound notes for four quid.

“No one can be blamed for wanting a share of that, but let’s not forget that this has taken something that belonged to all of us and given a large slice away for free to those who could afford an entry ticket. And everyone knows that in the long run the postal service will get worse, just as other privatised industries have ended up abusing markets and ripping off consumers. 

Actually, it’s worse than selling fivers for four quid as that means a loss of 20 percent, when in fact the difference in this case is nearer 36 percent and rising. But the analogy is flawed in another way as well. The person selling the fivers doesn’t own them but does have a vested interest in line with the biggest buyers. This, rather than any ideological point is the real reason behind privatisation.

The consensus from the CWU, TUC and Labour Party is that the shares were incompetently sold well below their real worth and that this has lost the exchequer a large amount of cash which could have helped alleviate some of the worst effects of the current recession. While there is some truth in this view, it overlooks the whole point of privatisation, ie maximum profit for imperialism! If the union leaderships and the Labour Party were explaining the crying needs of imperialism to find profitable outlets for investment which demand wholesale privatisation of public services, it would do more of a service to the working class – but that is not the function of the Labour Party or the Social-Democratic leadership of British Trade Unions. Any worker can see that Royal Mail has been sold off cheaply, and understand that the ‘Tories are giving a nice fat bonus to their friends in the city’ but this doesn’t reveal the full story. The Labour and Lib-Dem parties are just as likely to do the privatising, the Lib-Dems are part of this present one, of course, so, the problem is not which party is in office but which political system is in use.

We live in a world ruled by the illogic of imperialism. The drive to maximise profits supersedes everything and this drive includes making production as cheap as possible. This is best done within the present system by lowering the cost of labour through lower wages, speeded up working methods and cutting workforces. This inevitably leads to the crisis of overproduction, the curse of capitalism, whereby vast shortages of goods are caused because we have produced too many of these goods. These goods exist. and the low-paid and unemployed may be in desperate need of these goods, but they are unable to buy them because they don’t have the means. The capitalists cannot just give them away or sell them too cheaply as that runs counter to the accumulation of maximum profit. So industries grind to a halt, thus exacerbating the situation since yet more workers find their spending power destroyed. The usual way out of the type of stagnation now affecting the whole capitalist world is war. War uses up surplus production and is wonderful for arms, oil and building companies, giving stagnant capital a useful (ie, one that produces maximum profit) avenue to pursue. At present it is estimated that there are trillions of pounds being retained by corporations around the world who see no viable avenue for profitable investment. US companies are holding on to approximately $1.7 trillion; 2 trillion or so euros are floundering about in Europe, and British firms have about £750bn doing nothing. This is stagnant Capital and the logic of imperialism dictates it must be used to its fullest effect for stagnation is death. By opening up the remains of the public sector in this country to privatisation British imperialism hopes to get a lot of this ‘resting’ capital into circulation.

So how big was the undervaluation of Royal Mail? A cross section of city analysts have calculated that the sell off was undervalued by between £600 million and £2.7 billion (between 22% and 80%) while the Labour Party released a report prior to the sale claiming that the undervaluation was around 30% (£1 billion). The shares that had gone out to some small investors and which were allowed to be traded on Friday 18 October rose immediately in value from 330p to 445p at the close of business. Others got their chance to sell on Tuesday 22 October. The shares were sold in tranches or bundles of £750.00 and only 30% were released for purchase by small investors, while 70% went to the big investors, hedge funds, pension funds, banks etc. Small investors who applied for more than £10,000 worth of shares ended up with none while the massive hedge fund, Landsdowne Partners Ltd, got awarded £50 million worth which brought them a hefty £18 million profit on that first day of trading. The 30% of shares that went to the small investors are making their way into the waiting hands of the big investors with far greater speed than any previous sell off as the small investors sell for the quick profits and the big investors buy these hastily sold shares to make huge profits over longer periods.

An area of the sell off that will be very profitable is the huge amount of property that is held by Royal Mail – in excess of 2000 properties around the country. These were badly undervalued at a mere £787 million. Many of these properties are not only huge but are already considered to be ‘no longer required’ which means that they will be sold to developers. As some of these are in prime London locations such as Nine Elms in Battersea and Mount Pleasant they will make very tidy profits. Mount Pleasant sorting office in Islington at 12 acres is one of the largest of these and should bring in around a billion pounds on its own if sold for housing at present rates.

One company that didn’t bother to wait for privatisation to feed off of the Royal Mail property is Great Portland Estates who acquired Rathbone Place, a 2.3 acre site, from Royal Mail for £120 million in 2011 and rented it back to them until just before the privatisation. The site is just of Oxford Street and will now be redeveloped creating offices, retail housing lots, which analysts at Oriel and JP Morgan estimate should turn a £100 million profit for Great Portland Estates. Not a bad return on investment in these hard times!

Prior to the sell off, a nasty little trick performed by the Government with little or no criticism was to separate the Royal Mail pensions from the new company keeping the liabilities and debt on the public books while moving only assets over to the new private company. This liability of the postal worker’s pensions will be the responsibility of the public purse for decades to come. One MP said: ” I fear the government is going to steal £22bn of pension assets, dump the liability as a mortgage on future generations and dress it up as the salvation of the Royal Mail. Their plan to steal the pension assets to help reduce their borrowing figures while taking out a massive mortgage to cover Post Office pension liabilities for 50 years is nothing more than a massive accounting scam … This dangerous plan must be resisted. ” The MP was in fact Tory MP, Alan Duncan, speaking in 2008 when the Labour Government was trying to do exactly the same thing. No wonder Labour have not made a clamour about it. And why is Alan Duncan now happy with this state of affairs? This illustrates beautifully the inter-changeability of bourgeois parties in government and opposition.

Of course, some people have taken note of the obscene profits being made by the privateers in this latest sell off of a publicly owned service. This being the case bourgeois democracy will instigate investigations and reports by committees to review, discuss and make recommendations until everyone is thoroughly bored by the subject. It is in this light that we see the recall by MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee of the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, to answer questions (or for a ‘grilling’ if the press are to be believed) for the second time re this sell-off. They are also calling in representatives of the banks that advised Royal Mail on the price of shares, Goldman Sachs and UBS along with the investment bank that advised the Government, Lazard. Two other banks, who have refused to be named, have already said prior to the sale that the price should have been 500p per share.

Although there is for the moment no great outcry from the public over this privatisation, opinion polls taken before the event found 70 % of those asked were against privatisation with 36% of those saying they were strongly opposed while just 20% declared in favour with only 4% of those strongly in favour. This should then leave the Labour Party in a strong position to make big electoral capital out of this sale of the mail, shouldn’t it? Well, it might have had they not themselves when last in Government already tried to sell just under half of it to a private company in 2008.

Royal Mail can be traced back to 1635 under the rule of Henry VIII but its later history is far more interesting for us. Going back to 1980 we saw British Telecom ripped away from the Royal Mail to become a private telephone company in 1981. 1990 was the year Girobank was taken from Royal Mail and sold to Alliance and Leicester. In 1994 Michael Heseltine, then President of the Board of Trade, published a green paper on postal reform which outlined various options for privatisation but was dropped after a number of Tory MPs said they would not support such legislation.

In 2000 the Labour Government brought in the Postal Services Act making the Post Office a public limited company and changing the name to Consignia a year later. After a public outcry about the name change led by the CWU the name reverted to Royal Mail Group plc in 2002. The 2000 Act set up a postal regulator called ‘the Postal Services Commission’, aka Postcomm. Postcomm was there to offer contracts to private companies to deliver mail in competition with Royal Mail, and 2004 saw the scrapping of the second daily delivery to, we were told, improve efficiency and save money. The mail trains were also axed that year in what could only be seen as measures to destroy confidence in and support for Royal Mail.

In 2006 Royal Mail totally lost its monopoly and the British postal market became fully opened to companies to collect mail and pass it to Royal Mail for delivery in a service known as downstream access. In 2008 the Hooper Review of the postal services recommended selling off a large part of the service to a private company. Despite getting the legislation through the Lords, the Labour Government had to abandon it owing to strong opposition in the Commons. With the change of government in 2010 privatisation was back on the table and prices went through the roof. The aim of this was on the one hand to alienate support for a publicly owned service and on the other to save the new private company from having to put up prices too much straight away.

All of which brings us up to date except to add that the Chief Executive in charge of this privatised service, Moya Greene, is calling for ” protection from industrial action” and, when asked if a price rise was imminent, replied: “Well, we didn’t raise stamps last year.

Ultimately our services will only be run properly under the system of socialism where the service to the people is the only profit anyone is looking for from it and where the real improvement of that service and the improved conditions of the staff are the only reason for any changes in that service.

 

Posted in UKComments Off on Postal workers and tax payers shafted

A comment on the September attack upon Nairobi’s prestigious Westgate Mall

NOVANEWS

Hands off Somalia!

September witnessed a bloody attack by between ten and fifteen Al-Shabaab militants upon Nairobi’s prestigious Westgate Mall, a partly Israeli-owned complex which offers the country’s elite and well-heeled tourists the “supreme experience of shopping“. The rescue operation stretched over several days and concluded with a death toll estimated at over seventy, with many wounded and unaccounted for.

The attack appeared to have been meticulously planned, with some reports suggesting that machine guns had earlier been smuggled into the shopping centre and stashed in a shop rented for that purpose. By contrast, the response of state security was marked by incompetence and corruption, with different spokesmen unable to agree a consistent narrative as events unfolded. The collapse of three storeys of the Mall, causing many of the casualties, was at first attributed to the militants burning mattresses in order to create a diversion, then later to a suicide bomb. Unofficial reports disagreed, suggesting that in fact the collapse had been caused by the security forces firing rocket-propelled grenades indoors. Further doubt was thrown on the competence and integrity of the security forces when it emerged that, even as the siege dragged on, thousands of dollars worth of jewellery and electronic equipment was being looted by persons unknown.

This act of terror attracted a good deal of lurid media attention and handwringing. What was missing from most coverage however was any serious attempt to explain how such an event came about in the first place. The impression given was that this destruction had come out of a clear blue sky, a completely random and motiveless outrage perpetrated by evil Muslim bombers against an unsuspecting civilian population.

The moral outrage which greeted the slaughter of three or four score unfortunate Nairobi shoppers contrasted starkly with the resounding silence from the same quarters concerning the many thousands of Somali men, women and children who have died, and continue to die, as a result of over thirty years of imperialist meddling in the Horn of Africa, culminating in the current occupation and attempted break-up of Somalia by Kenyan, Ethiopian and other African forces acting shamefully on behalf of the British, US and French imperialist powers.

Kenyan invasion

Yet even in the imperialist media, glimpses of reality could not be completely avoided. Whatever may be thought about Al Shabaab’s tactics and ideology, nobody can claim to be in doubt about their motives after the very clear statements its spokesman offered in an interview with Channel 4 News. These statements had little to say about religious matters, but plenty to say about defending the unity and independence of Somalia and resisting imperialism.

“The reason we attacked is to defend our people, our country, because Kenya attacked us, they are still controlling parts of our land. We have been peaceful neighbours, but they are the ones who attacked us and we are defending ourselves. Whether you are Muslim or Christian, the law says you have to defend yourself from those who attack you… We have told the Kenyans and those who come to Kenya that we will not tolerate what Kenya is doing to us. We told them we would defend ourselves and we warned them about travelling to Kenya. Kenyans have blood on their hands. Anyone who is prepared to come to Kenya must be prepared to face the reality, and we don’t fear Europeans and Americans because we are not weak. And we are saying to the Europeans and the Americans who have been supporting those who have been attacking us, you should tell the Kenyans to stop their aggression if you want to be safe… We are saying to the British, since we believe they are helping the Kenyans, and Kenyans are their slaves, they should tell the Kenyans, they should order back the Kenyan army out of Somalia.”

Contrary to Kenyan government assertions that the illegal invasion by some 4,000 of its troops in October 2011 was triggered by a spate of cross-border abductions allegedly carried out by Al-Shabaab, a cable released by WikiLeaks makes clear that the invasion had been planned for at least the previous two years, and always had as its goal the creation of an artificial Jubaland buffer state. Whilst Kenya presents this as a defensive measure to protect its shipping and tourism from destabilisation, it should be noted that the Jubaland area sits on a large body of untapped oil, and that it is Somalia which has itself been the longstanding victim of destabilisation by imperialism and its cowardly allies. The so-called “Jubaland Initiative” is in fact part of a much wider plan to balkanize the country, just as has already started to happen with the earlier establishment of another pretend statelet in the North East, “Puntland“, under whose auspices the Canadian company Africa Oil has already begun drilling.

Unlike Uganda’s invasion of 2007, which took the precaution of covering its naked aggression with the fig leaf of UN approval and going in under the banner of the African Union Mission (Amisom), Kenya did not even bother with these niceties. Indeed, the government did not trouble to seek approval from its own parliament, as the country’s constitution requires. The government of the then prime minister Raila Odinga, Washington’s faithful friend in Nairobi, was confident that the “international community” would soon enough offer its retrospective blessing. Sure enough the invading Kenyan forces were then allowed to huddle under the Amisom umbrella, alongside forces from Uganda, Djibouti and Sierra Leone, crucially backed up by the French navy and by drones flying out of US bases in Ethiopia and Djibouti. The Kenyan forces, with much help from the West, managed to drive Al Shabaab from the important southern seaport of Kismayu, thereby helping Amisom to consolidate its grip on Mogadishu.

From the outset the puppet Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has been racked with internal dissensions, provoking Hillary Clinton to wring her hands over “people inside and outside the TFG who seek to undermine Somalia’s peace and security or to delay or even prevent the political transition”. The TFG (lately rebranded as the Somali Federal Government), whose writ barely runs beyond the confines of Mogadishu itself, with vast swathes of the rural population still looking to Al-Shabaab for leadership in resisting foreign aggression, felt its shaky “national” pretensions further challenged by the sight of Somalia’s Kenyan neighbours throwing their weight around in the south. A leaked diplomatic letter from the SFG accused the Kenyans of deviating from their supposed role as “neutral peacekeepers” by backing one Somali faction against others, arresting a senior Somali army officer and using heavy weaponry against civilians.

Kenya in fact is doing no more and no less than is intended by its paymasters in the West. By playing on clan rivalries in the region in order to annex a ” buffer state“, they are assisting the imperialist strategy of balkanising the country, the better to suck it dry of its oil and keep it weak and divided. Sure enough, in August this year the SFG was pressured into signing an agreement with the warlord Ahmed Madobe, whose Ras Kamboni militia have been acting as Kenya’s hired guns, opening the way to the invention of a clan-based Jubaland statelet.

The ICC: “a farcical pantomime

Such conflicts erupting between competing flunkeys of imperialism, in the process exposing Washington’s crass efforts at recolonising Africa, are compounded by its misfiring plans within Kenya itself. Thinking to have guaranteed the electoral triumph of Odinga’s US-friendly government by prevailing on the International Criminal Court to have his rival Uhuru Kenyatta up on charges relating to electoral violence back in 2007, the Obama administration was truly gobsmacked to see Uhuru Kenyatta sail to victory by a comfortable majority. Whereas the October 2011 invasion of Somalia had been presided over by a regime meeting Washington’s approval, the blowback from the invasion is now being handled by a government led by men whom Washington was only yesterday wanting to see banged up. The African Union, painfully aware of the key role played by Kenya in Amisom’s struggle to suppress Al-Shabaab, has hastily declared that no sitting head of state should be prosecuted by an international tribunal.

Mr Kenyatta’s response to the Westgate Mall massacre was as one would expect from the leader of a nation which has just suffered a major terror offensive, but time alone will tell with what degree of eagerness the new administration in Nairobi will warm to the counter-insurgency role Washington has reserved for the Kenyan military. The fact that, more than ten years into its life, the ICC has indicted only African suspects might make more than one African leader think twice about the wisdom of entrusting the fate of African nations to the tender mercies of the “international community“.

As Mr Kenyatta told the African Union in closed session, the ICC “has been reduced into a painfully farcical pantomime, a travesty that adds insult to the injury of victims,” adding that it “stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers.” The United States itself refuses to ratify the ICC and holds a veto in the UNSC, hoping never to be held to account for its war crimes in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, to mention only the most recent in its long criminal history.

Somalia: a history of oppression and resistance

Shortly after gaining its independence, Somalia sought to follow a progressive path, looking to the Soviet Union for protection and embracing a socialist orientation. Sadly, the country fell prey to the blandishments of US imperialism, falling for promises of economic and military support in exchange for its assistance in 1978 in attacking progressive Ethiopia. The just rebuff suffered at the hands of Ethiopian and Cuban forces sparked an extended economic and political crisis, resulting in 1991 in the collapse of the Siad Barre government. Looking to capitalise on the resultant vacuum, Washington in 1992 sent 12,000 marines to invade. The ensuing occupation awoke the spirit of national resistance. The uprising against occupation which erupted in 1993 culminated the following year with the occupation forces being driven out at gunpoint, a massive humiliation for the US and its allies despite their overwhelmingly superior firepower.

Out of this reborn spirit of national resistance, and in the teeth of all the meddling and bullying from the Washington, Paris and London, there emerged a unifying force in the form of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). For a brief spell, from 2000 to 2006, a degree of stability and order was restored to the country. To the great relief of Mogadishu citizens the streets were cleaned again, rubbish was collected, the seaport was reopened, planes could once more fly in and out of Mogadishu International and measures were taken to curb piracy.

Stung by the refusal of Somalia to resign itself to the imposed status of a “failed state“, the West decided to punish the country from a safe distance, backing the 2007 invasion and occupation by Ethiopia, a country which had itself by now fallen back into neo-colonial tutelage, in a bloody campaign that cost countless lives.

Two years of brutal occupation also saw Somalia plunged back into yet another devastating famine. Uncle Sam is a past master at manipulating the supply of food aid to reward its friends and punish its enemies, the very practice of which the media like to accuse Al-Shabaab. A UN report says that between 2010 and 2012 at least a quarter of a million Somalis starved to death. Many of those were people fleeing the invasion and occupation of the south by Ethiopia and Amison. Drought caused the famine, but US policy multiplied the death toll, first by sponsoring the invasion which drove people from their lands and then by cutting off food aid to anywhere Al-Shabaab had influence – i.e. all over the rural areas. According to Ken Menkhaus, professor of Political Science at Davidson College in North Carolina, the US’s anti-terror laws were used to obstruct assistance from reaching famine victims in desperate need of aid. Speaking in a seminar at Helsinki University, he said humanitarian organisations suspended food aid delivery to drought-struck areas controlled by Al-Shabaab for fear of violating the USA Patriot Act.

Under the double impact of military force and engineered famine, the ICU lost ground and was driven back. Resistance did not cease, however. The role of national resistance effectively devolved to those elements of the ICU which refused the path of collaboration. The struggle was taken up in particular by the youth – or, in Arabic, “Al-Shabaab“.

When the Ethiopian occupation ended in 2009, Washington made sure there was in place an “internationally recognised” puppet government to try to keep the lid on the resistance and act in a comprador role. Whilst some elements of the ICU opted to collaborate with these puppets, others continued to take the path of resistance, notably including Al-Shabaab. The youth wing of the ICU now took up the resistance struggle, declaring war against the “transitional” government and demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Somali soil. There are currently estimated to be some 25,000 such foreign troops in Somalia under the banner of Amisom.

British imperialism

Nobody should underestimate the role of Britain in all this, although its current military involvement remains shadowy. As a former colonial power it is no stranger to the practice of oppression, and as a monopoly capitalist power with an overweening need to plunder resources and dominate markets it is right up there with the US, France and Israel.

Whilst many on the left find it more comfortable to characterise British imperialism as “a poodle of America“, the reality is that British imperialism is not simply led astray by the US but actively pursues its own blood-stained agenda. Back in February 2012 David Cameron hosted an international conference in London, ostensibly to talk about “rebuilding” Somalia – code for dividing up the spoils. The conference included all the big imperialist powers, plus the UN’s Ban Ki-moon and a token representative of the puppet Somali “government”. We commented at the time that “The British spearheading of the conference is due in no small part to the aggressive manoeuvring of Britain’s own oil multinational, BP, which clearly hopes to play a major role in tapping in to Somalia’s substantial oil reserves. To aid the corporation in this ambition, the British government has worked hard to create close ties with the ‘Transitional Federal Government’. A representative from the TFG in Puntland told the Observer: ‘We have spoken to a number of UK officials, some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues. They will help us build our capacity to maximise future earnings from the oil industry … We need those with the necessary technical knowhow, we plan to talk to BP at the right time.'” (Proletarian, April 2012)

Nor should we fail to note that the very guns which were turned upon the hapless shoppers in Nairobi were in all likelihood an overspill from the flood of lethal weaponry poured into the hands of counterrevolutionaries in Libya and Syria, with the active assistance of the same British government which is supposedly tasked with the protection of its own citizens. How this task is furthered by first violating Somalia’s sovereignty and then furnishing its outraged citizens with the means of launching a revenge attack is a question that should be addressed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The future for Somalia

What form Somalia’s national struggle will take going forward is as yet unclear. Some reports suggest that within Al-Shabaab itself there is tension between those whose primary focus remains the national defence of Somalia against imperialist oppression and others who are seduced by feudalist pipedreams about establishing a universal caliphate under theocratic rule. Whilst it is the case that some of the most spirited resistance to imperialism has clothed itself in mullah’s robes, recent experience in Syria and Egypt serves as a painful reminder of the limitations such feudal ideology imposes upon the struggle, leaving such movements vulnerable to manipulation by imperialism. One has only to consider the counterrevolutionary role played by Al Qaeda in Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the jihadists in the northern Sinai to understand the self-defeating perils to which this flawed ideology can expose the struggle against imperialism.

But whatever form it may take, it is certain that Somalia’s national struggle will not cease. It is the incurable crisis of monopoly capitalism which is behind Washington’s feverish efforts to reverse a hundred years of historical development and recolonise the continent of Africa. And it is the oppressed masses of the world who cannot but press forward to confound these colonial aspirations, with the full force of history at their backs.

Hands off Somalia!

Posted in AfricaComments Off on A comment on the September attack upon Nairobi’s prestigious Westgate Mall

Salafist crimes in Syria against Islam escalate as sunnis join shia in repudiation

NOVANEWS
by hasta_la_victoria

Salafist gang carry out a beheading in Syria

Salafist gang carry out a beheading in Syria

This is the hideous reality of what has been unleashed on the famously tolerant and educated people of Syria. It didn’t come out of nowhere. And it isn’t native to Syria. Our government, along with the US and France, has ordered this and paid for it!

The imperialists, while bragging at home about their ‘progressiveness’ will actively bankroll and support all kinds of mediaeval barbarity if it serves their purposes. This bloodthirsty backwardness is not inherent to the Middle East. It would not even exist in today’s world if it wasn’t for the financing and arming that fundamentalist nutcases have received from the US and Britain over the last 30 years.

And yet the ’socialists’ of the SWP still try to tell the British people that the death squads in Syria are a ‘people’s revolution’ setting up ‘workers’ councils’. And our ‘anti-war’ leaders are more bothered about accidentally looking like they support the Syrian people’s legitimate government than about opposing these horrific crimes and sabotaging the imperialists’ dirty war on Syria.

Time for an anti-war movement that is worthy of the name, and a leadership that is actually representative of British workers, rather than the cosy little clique of careerist scum dishing out jobs to each other we’re saddled with right now.

No cooperation with British war crimes!

****************************************

By Franklin Lamb in Damascus, via Al Manar

Reports from across Syria, increasingly arriving from such diverse locations as Aleppo, Qalamoun and Reqaa, lay bare massive crimes now being perpetrated against the Syrian people in areas under salafist control.

A recent German domestic intelligence service annual report describes salafism as the fastest growing Islamic movement in Syria. And indeed, interviews conducted by this observer recently in Damascus indicate that mainstream salafism, with its emphasis on adherence to the Koran’s principles and standards for correct behaviour towards humanity, is being deeply subverted in the Syrian Arab Republic by forces organised from outside this country.

Historically, salafi methodology has been respected among scholars of Islam. It is a school of thought named after the ’salaf’ or ‘predecessors’ among the earliest muslims, individuals widely considered to have been examples worthy of emulation.

At the same time, the salafist movement is often thought of as related to, or even synonymous with, Saudi wahhabism, or is perceived at least as a hybrid of it. It is only since the 1960s that salafism has become widely known among muslims, and some attribute this phenomenon in part as the result of the zionist occupation of Palestine and other projects of western hegemony.

These developments have led to a revising of some claimed interpretations of Islam, resulting in the adoption of views more common during periods of history when Islam was threatened. Salafism presents to its followers a literalistic, strict, puritanical interpretation of the Koran. Particularly in the West, and increasingly in Syria, some salafist jihadis espouse violent jihad against the public, even muslim civilians, as a legitimate expression of defending Islam.

Though salafis claim to be sunni muslims, some authorities interviewed by this observer, including scholars at Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque as well as sunni sheiks based in Damascus, say that salafis are a sui generis sect, and are thus apart from traditional sunni muslim Koranic interpretations and practice.

One professor of Islamic studies, representing perhaps the minority view, looks upon salafis and wahhabis as essentially the same. The basis of the claim is that salafis do not acknowledge or follow any of the four schools of thought to which other sunni muslims adhere, but rather have their own beliefs and laws, their own leaders and social systems.

It is a theological adherence entailing strict and widely rejected extremist practices, including the commission of crimes targeting civilians, including fellow muslims, for political and financial reasons.

One currently ascendant salafist group in Syria, among more than a thousand or so competing for weapons and fighters, is ‘Daash’. The word is an acronym whose letters stand for ‘the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’.

Daash appeared on the scene about a year ago, and some local observers believe it arrived via Iraq, with large amounts of funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, and with the latter, especially, facilitating its weapons, supplies and access to the north of Syria via Turkish territory. Daash membership figures have expanded recently, partly because it pays its recruits nearly four times the going gunman wage here, or approximately $500 per month, as it competes with Jabhat al Nusra and others to impose some of its frankly bizarre interpretations of Islam.

Damascus presently is awash in tales coming in from Daash-controlled areas – areas around Aleppo and elsewhere. What is being told of is a sheath full of fatwas and orders posted on walls laying down what is expected of the local civilian population.

Reports, some of which have been verified, indicate that the group acts with brutality in enforcing its edicts. A sunni law student from Damascus University Faculty of Law, who has compiled research on the subject over the past few weeks, calls it “an insane frontal assault on Islam by criminal acts against muslims and others of the Book’.

On 27 November, a young lady arriving at the Dama Rose Hotel reported to this observer that in parts of Raqaa, Aleppo and other Daash-controlled areas, if a man from Daash covets something, such as someone’s new car or another man’s wife, he must only say “Allah Akbar” three times. The personal property or the targeted women then belong to him, and he can beat the wife and rape her with impunity.

This latest fatwa obviously causes serious problems both within Daash as well as with other militias. The young lady, who comes from a prominent Dasmascene sunni family, reports that Daash members are currently taking gas, oil and bread at will from non-Daash villages for distribution to members of their cult of approximately 5,000 members.

Also according to recently televised reports, it is now permissible for Daash members to rape any woman who is not muslim, as well as muslim women who support the Assad government.

Some recently reported Salisfist practices spreading in Syria include, but are not limited to the following:

· Females in Daash-controlled areas of Aleppo and elsewhere are being prevented from wearing jeans and sweaters and must wear only the islamic dress Abaya and Barkaa. They are forbidden from putting on any make-up, and now, as of two weeks ago, to even leave their homes without a male escort. Some women in parts of Aleppo and Raqaa now refer to their neighbourhoods as Tora Bora, Afghanistan, given the similarities of repression between Taliban and salafist treatment of women.

· As of 15 November, force is used to prevent smoking and use of arguila (water pipes) by men and women in some villages.

· Some barber shops for men are being shuttered in order to prevent the shortening of hair and ‘modern’ haircuts. Barrettes for young people are also forbidden.

· It is now forbidden in Daash areas to display any sign or advertisements for cosmetics and skincare products in women’s hairdressing shops. Violators are subject to penalties of 70 lashes. Any business that employs women must have two work-day shifts, one for men and a separate one exclusively for female employees.

· No women’s clothing can be displayed in shop windows. In the event a woman should enter a tailor’s shop, the shop must shut its doors to men until she leaves.

· The Daash militia has long prevented women from seeking medical attention from male doctors, but recently it put into place prohibitions against women visiting doctors of either sex. Also it is not permissible for a woman to wear orthodontic devices such as teeth braces because straight teeth might attract men, and in any case their bodies are under the stewardship of their husbands or fathers only.

· Daash has proclaimed that women who swim in the sea are in fact committing ‘adultery’, even if they wear a hijab. This is due to the fact that Arabic nouns, as in the case with many other languages, are gender specific. ‘Sea’ is masculine, and when water touches the woman’s vaginal area she becomes an ‘adulteress’ and must be punished.

· Women are also forbidden from eating certain vegetables or even touching cucumbers, carrots or bananas due to their phallic imagery, which may tempt them to deviate. It is also unacceptable for women to turn on their air conditioning at home when their husbands are absent as this could be a sign to neighbours that they could commit adultery with her.

The Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm in its 15 November edition reported that Daash-variety fatwas regard women as strange creatures created solely for sex, and that the organisation’s members consider the voices of women, their looks and presence outside of their homes as an ‘offense’ – while some salafists regard women in general as ‘offensive’.

Among the practices permitted by Daash is the widespread acceptance of wives lying to their husbands concerning politics. Daash believes that if the husband forbids her from being supportive of their agenda and control of Syrian villages in Aleppo and Raqaa, for example, she may then, through dissimulation, support them while pretending to be against them.

During interviews in Syria, one religious advisor to Daash opined to this observer that marriage to ten-year-old girls should be allowed in order to prevent their deviating from the correct path.

Needless to say, school attendance by girls is also prohibited, even if the school is close to their homes, and one Daash fatwa states that a marriage is annulled if the husband and wife make love with no clothes on, while another sanctions the use of women and children as human shields in violent demonstrations and protests on the grounds that these are jihads to empower Islam.

Yet other fatwas forbid muslims from greeting christians or forbid muslim cab drivers from transporting christian priests. And still others criticize Egypt’s Al Azhar, considered by many to be one of the oldest and most prestigious Islamic universities in the world, for withdrawing its fatwa that instructed women to ‘breastfeed’ male acquaintances, thereby making them relatives and justifying their mixed company.

Men are now being physically assaulted by Daash milita on the street if they are clean shaven or wear tight trousers. Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction can, however, watch pornographic movies provided that the participants in the porno flicks are islamists.

Education is focused on boys in Daash areas, where schools, at both the elementary and secondary levels, are being run like Pakistani madrassas, with education limited to memorising every word of the Koran while severely limiting any instruction in the sciences or secular subjects – this in a country heretofore acknowledged as having particularly high standards of education.

Last month a new Daash fatwa proclaimed that “all those who support Bashar al-Assad, even the word, or who are in favour of the National Coalition or agree to a dialogue with him, must have his head separated from his body, including the beheading of all members of the coalition favouring Geneva II or dialogue”.

One much respected sunni sheik from Tripoli, Lebanon currently residing in Damascus and with whom this observer has become friends over the course of many visits to Syria, is Sheikh Abdul Salam El Harrach, Symposium Coordinator of Muslim Scholars in Akkar, in north Lebanon. Sheik Harrach is a strong supporter of the Hizbollah-led resistance to the zionist occupation of Palestine, as well as an advocate for the Syrian people. He favours dialogue – and he has run afoul of Daash.

Sheik Harrach is hopeful about Geneva II and believes that the settling of some of the existing problems between Iran and the US could bear fruit for Syria. Moreover, he argues that the Syrian people must decide in the coming presidential election who their leaders will be – not those countries sending militias to create chaos in the country while turning a blind eye to salafist, un-islamic criminal campaigns.

As a result of his political stances, the sheikh has been targeted for assassination more than once by Daash/al Qaeda types, and is rumoured to have a large bounty on his head from Jabat al Nursa, Daash and others in Tripoli who oppose sunni-shia rapprochement, either in the Levant or globally.

One assassination attempt, which wounded his son Wael, took place in the north Lebanon town of Aaat during a Ramadan Iftar event held in tents outside his home. Some blamed the March 14th coalition and extreme islamic elements.

Sheik Harrach offers the view that the assault on his son and other such armed attacks are perpetrated against a background of incitement against sunni muslims from extremist elements. Some of these, he concludes, have the complicit backing of some of the security services.

But it is his endorsement for reform and development in Syria under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad that has turned him into a target, he believes – this along with his support for the resistance and his outright rejection of the US and zionist project for Lebanon and the region.

To his credit, and in solidarity with the people of Syria, Sheik Harrach vows to continue working with the growing sunni/shia joint resistance to Daash and like-minded salafist militias until they are expelled from Syria. He insists that if someone wants to learn about Islam they need only come to Syria to study, and that they need not fall victim to ‘Islamic instruction’ from foreign-manipulated fanatics/fundamentalists seeking the establishment of a Levant-wide or global Caliphate.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Salafist crimes in Syria against Islam escalate as sunnis join shia in repudiation

Theatre: Marx in Soho

NOVANEWS
Proletarian issue 57 (December 2013)
 
Giving socialism a bad name.
 
One-man show at the Calder Bookshop and Theatre, The Cut, London (19 September-13 October 2013).The actor Daniel Kelly gave a tour de force performance, and the play was well directed by Sergio Amigo, the Argentine artistic director at the Calder. But while the full house at the tiny fringe theatre clearly enjoyed the show, the play itself was a disappointment.

It should not have been, but the playwright (and historian), the American Howard Zinn (1922-2010), was known for his belief that the Soviet Union gave “socialism a bad name. However, the title of the play, Marx in Soho, did rather suggest that it was going to look at Marx’s early life in London, rather than go off into a diatribe about how, like a reverse Superman, Stalin singlehandedly ruined the world.

Granted the riff against the Soviet Union only took up five minutes in a 80-minute production, but it was a long five minutes and the play had few other redeeming features by way of compensation. It was never actually boring – the good acting saw to that – it was just so wrong in its presentation of Marx’s political analysis and also in so many of its biographical details.

In politics, Zinn presents Marx as a bad-tempered liberal, rightfully furious at the condition of the world, but with no more idea than the permanently hand-wringing Tony Benn or Jeremy Corbyn as to what to do about it. And while lamenting the glories of the Commune of Paris, Zinn also reinvents Marx as being opposed to its revolutionary violence, when anyone who has read Marx’s wonderful Civil War in France knows that he thought the communards were generally too magnanimous and underestimated the need for ferocity against the armies of that “mysterious abortion” Adolphe Thiers.

[T]hat monstrous gnome … A master in small-state roguery, a virtuoso in perjury and treason, a craftsman in all the petty stratagems, cunning devices, and base perfidies of parliamentary warfare; never scrupling, when out of office, to fan a revolution, and to stifle it in blood when at the helm of the state; with class prejudices standing him in the place of ideas, and vanity in the place of a heart; his private life as infamous as his public life is odious …” [1]

Since most of the communards were confused (and confusing) bourgeois radicals, rather than Marxists, it is hardly surprising that they were defeated – though, to be fair, the odds against them were overwhelming, as Marx had understood from the start, though he enthusiastically supported them anyway.

[W]hat historical initiative, what a capacity for sacrifice in these Parisians! After six months of hunger and ruin … they rise, beneath Prussian bayonets, as if there had never been a war between France and Germany and the enemy were not at the gates of Paris. [2] History has no like example of a like greatness …the present rising in Paris – even if it be crushed by the wolves, swine and vile curs of the old society – is the most glorious deed of our party since the June (1848) insurrection in Paris … these Parisians, storming heaven …” [3]

As to the erroneous biographical material in the play, when Marx came to London with his wife Jenny in 1849, he had three children (Jenny, Laura and Edgar), not two. He was closest emotionally to his eldest daughter Jenny, not his youngest daughter Eleanor.

Rather more importantly, Marx did not address the inaugural meeting of the International Working Men’s Association on 28 September 1864, but sat silent on the platform throughout; [4] and Eleanor’s interest in Judaism was a product of her later friendship with Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) and she was not always challenging her father on the jewish question.

Some of these errors in detail are the result of imperfect research, and, being accidental, are forgivable if irritating, but some errors are intentional distortions. Zinn was jewish, and while he had a good track record as an anti-Vietnam-war activist, he was clearly incensed by Marx’s The Jewish Question, so as a polemical device Zinn just invented an angry young Eleanor so he could accuse Marx of the old canard of being a self-hating jew – an insult that could also be thrown at Jesus Christ, (so the religious might think Marx was in good company).

There is an odd mixed-up touch of religion in the central conceit of the play. It begins with Marx telling the audience he is dead and has been in Heaven, where for some reason that he does not explain he has been hanging out with Gandhi and Mother Jones rather than with Engels or his own family. That peculiarity aside, and to cut a tedious story short, Marx has been allowed out of Paradise to come down to Earth to tell us that while he might be dead, Marxism is not.

But by accident he has been out in SoHo, New York, rather than Soho, London. Using his articles in the New York Tribune, he then draws a few parallels about his own time on Earth as a living human being and today. Nothing much has changed, we are told and “The Risen Marx” exhorts us “do something about it” (‘it’ being capitalism and imperialism). But while Daniel Kelly as Marx gets very passionate, all the Marx character suggests is Protest and yet more Protest. And, rather than resembling anything that Marx might have said, the speech sounds very much like Tony Benn or Jeremy Corbyn if they ever got really angry and put on a German accent.

What is best about the play is its trenchant critique of capitalism. What is worst is its equally trenchant denigration of the dictatorship of the proletariat – the only viable means of defeating the capitalist class and suppressing its frenzied attempts to use every despicable means to regain its lost paradise.

In the end, the real message of the play is the old petty-bourgeois exhortation: capitalism may be very bad indeed, but socialism is far worse!

NOTES

1. K Marx, The Civil War in France,1871.

2. Paris was surrounded by the German armies and was effectively defeated by Thiers in alliance with Bismarck.

3. Letter from K Marx toKugelmann, 12 April 1871.

4. Letter from K Marx to F Engels, 4 November 1864.

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