Archive | April 5th, 2015

UKIP, xenophobia and the upcoming general election

NOVANEWS

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Divisive role of racism

Racism is a potent weapon used by the ruling class to divide the working class so as to render the latter powerless in its struggle against capitalist exploitation and all the ills that flow from it – unemployment, inadequate housing, poor education, with health provision and social services under relentless attack. Racist propaganda aims to portray the foreigner and the immigrant as the enemy, responsible for all the ills of capitalism, and thus direct the wrath of the working class against the ills and inequities of capitalism against those who are the worst victims of capitalist exploitation and predatory imperialist wars. While ever-present in bourgeois society, racism assumes monstrous proportions in periods of economic crisis, as has been the case since 2008, which set off the worst ever economic crisis, as well as in the run-up to elections, when bourgeois parties try to gain electoral advantage by setting up their divisive stalls through whipping up anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hysteria. The next British general election, due in May 2015, is no exception. This time round, spurred on by the electoral successes of the anti-immigrant and anti-EU Ukip (United Kingdom Independence Party), the major bourgeois parties – Conservative, Labour and LibDem – have turned up the volume of their racist propaganda.

Ukip’s electoral success

Ukip won the greatest share of votes in the last election to the European Parliament held on Thursday 22 May 2014 on an anti-EU and anti-immigration platform, causing panic in the Conservative camp. With a fairly large number of Conservative parliamentarians harbouring great sympathy for the Ukip programme, Prime Minister David Cameron, in an effort to appease the Eurosceptic battalions in his party, was obliged to promise, if his party won the election, an in-or-out referendum in 2017 on British membership of the European Union. Further, he asserted that he would recommend a British exit from the EU unless he could secure better terms for Britain, which would require treaty revision. That will not happen, for such a revision requires the agreement of all other member states, quite of few of which are opposed to such an outcome. For its part, Ukip has successfully exploited the chasm that separates Cameron’s rhetoric from reality and has lured two Conservative MPs to defect to its camp – Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless.

The Clacton and Strood by-elections

Having defected to Ukip, Douglas Carswell resigned his parliamentary seat, forcing a by-election in his Clacton constituency from where he won, with a 35% swing over the Tories. This was quickly followed by the defection to Ukip of another Conservative MP, Mark Reckless. Following in the footsteps of Carswell, he too resigned his seat, forcing a by-election in the constituency of Rochester and Strood. With a swing of 42% to Ukip, Reckless won on 20 November by a majority of 2,900 votes, securing 16,867 votes (42.10%), while the Conservative candidate polled 13,947 (34.81%) and Labour 6,713 (16.76%). The LibDems, with 349 (0.87%) were reduced to total irrelevance, with their share of the votes sinking below the 1.2% the Liberals received at the Glasgow Camlachie by-election in 1948.

More than Douglas Carswell, who is a figure of some stature and intellectual depth, the defection and victory of Reckless, a much-derided nonentity, sent shockwaves through the Conservative Party. If Ukip can win in Rochester, which was the 271stmost winnable seat on its list, it can hardly augur well for the Tories. Their defeat in Rochester was all the more glaring considering that Cameron had made it a point of prestige, reportedly saying that he wanted to kick Reckless’s fat arse off the green benches of the Commons and insisting that he would throw the kitchen sink at winning the seat. Cabinet members and Conservative MPs were instructed to visit the constituency in support of their candidate. Notwith-standing a record number of 97 ministerial visits, including five by Mr Cameron, as well as by 246 Tory MPs (80% of their number in the Commons), each of whom made at least one visit, and a logistically impressive mail drop to each household across the constituency on the morning of the poll, the Tories failed to win the seat where they had a majority of 10,000 at the last election.

Profusion of racist propaganda

In sheer desperation, the Conservative candidate, Miss Kelly Tolhurst, sent a barely disguised racist letter, approved by the Tory headquarters, mentioning “uncontrolled immigration” and the fact that local people felt unsafe on their high street owing to crime, linking the two issues in a way that made it appear that it was the immigrants who were responsible for crime on the high street. Even some right-wing Tory MPs were reportedly ‘incandescent’ about the letter, characterising it as ‘deeply unpleasant’.

For his part, Reckless maintained that Ukip stood for the repatriation of migrants after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, a statement which Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, was forced to dismiss, with Reckless insisting that repatriation had been the party policy up to then. A mere few days later, Farage went on to say that children born to immigrant parents in the UK ought also to be regarded as immigrants.

While the prime minister slyly hints that Britain is in danger of being overwhelmed by migrants, some of his colleagues are only too overt on the subject. His Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, explicitly asserted on the Andrew Marr Show that Britain’s towns were being “swamped” by migrants, with their residents “under siege” from “large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits”. On instructions from the Party leadership, Fallon retracted his remarks but by then his utterances had achieved their intended purpose of fanning the flames of racism. Be it said in passing that Fallon received public support from several MPs, including David Blunkett, former Labour Home Secretary.

Ukip and Labour

In addition to being a threat to Tory electoral fortunes, there are signs that Ukip is eating into Labour votes as well. In October, Ukip came within 617 votes of winning in Heywood and Middleton (Greater Manchester), a safe Labour seat in the Party’s former industrial heartlands. Ukip asserts that it, not Labour, represents the concerns of the working class. The truth is that none of the bourgeois parties, including Ukip, care about, let alone represent, the interests of the working class. Ukip’s main policy plank – anti-EU an anti-immigration – is hardly a recipe for the liberation of the working class from the horrors of capitalism.

In an effort to placate the eurosceptic wing of his party and win the coming General Election, David Cameron is concentrating on securing EU agreement for draconian restrictions on in-work and out-of-work benefits for migrants from the EU, such as the denial of universal credit to those who are unemployed, denial of tax credits, social housing and child benefits to those who have been in Britain for less than four years; and those unable to secure work for six months are to face deportation. If implemented, these proposals can only result in the subjection of migrants to further exploitation and degradation.

Not desiring to lag behind, the Labour Party too is busy burnishing its anti-immigrant image, notwithstanding the assertion by Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, to the effect that Labour will not pander to ” those who deny the positive contribution that immigrants have always made to our country”. It is precisely to such people that Labour is busy pandering. In October, Labour leader Ed Miliband, saying that immigration was the top concern of his Party, went on to declare that Labour would work for EU reforms, which would entail barring migrants from new member countries for a longer period, and deny child benefit and tax credit for children resident outside of Britain. In November, Ms Reeves announced an extension of the restriction on out-of-work and in-work benefits.

Writing in Why Vote Labour 2015, Shadow Immigration Minister, David Hanson, with admirable candour, stated: ” There is nothing in labour history, values, or traditions that require us to be in favour, in principle, of unlimited immigration”, adding that “…we have and always will be for managed immigration”. Dead right! Like the other bourgeois parties, Labour is, as it always has been, in favour of managing immigration to suit the interests of British capital, for the purpose of every single measure to draw a line between migrant and indigenous workers, as by limiting or denying state benefits to the former, is to hand them on a platter to the capitalist class as material for super-exploitation. This in turn puts downward pressure on the wages and conditions of non-migrant labour and gives rise to resentment against the unfortunate foreign victims of such measures, while the capitalist class laughs all the way to the bank.

ONS figures

At the end of November, the ONS (Office for National Statistics) published figures revealing that in the year to June 2014, net migration to the UK rose to 260,000, compared with 244,000 in June 2010 when the Conservative and LibDem coalition government came into office promising to reduce migration to the ” tens of thousands” by 2015. According to the latest figures, immigration for the year 2014 rose to 583,000, up from 502,000 in the previous 12 months.

Ukip seized upon these figures, with Nigel Farage accusing the Tories “of a total scandal or a long-standing con trick”.

Ukip migration spokesman, Steven Woolfe, said:

” Today’s astronomical migration figures show an abject failure by this Government to control immigration, despite countless promises to the public.

“‘The eye-watering increase places immense strain on employment prospects, schools, hospitals and housing.”

It is not immigrants who are placing strain on employment prospects, schools, hospitals and housing; it is the inexorable workings of capitalism which produce these strains, for even if every immigrant were to be thrown out of the country, within a very short time capitalism will see to it that a certain portion of the population is superfluous to its requirements. This is the truth that none of the bourgeois political parties dares to speak.

In an attempt to out-Ukip Ukip, a Labour spokesman greeted these figures thus:

“Every quarter, the net migration figures shred Theresa May’s reputation a little bit more. A failing immigration system presided over by a failing Home Secretary and Prime Minister”.

In addition, the ONS figures drove home the simple fact that the government’s fixation on EU migrants, driven by Ukip, bears no relation to reality. Of the 583,000 people who came to Britain from abroad, a good deal fewer than half, or 247,000, came from the EU. In other words, as usual, greater migration is from outside the EU which theoretically is within the government’s remit to control, which goes to show that all the anti-EU noise by the government, as well as other bourgeois parties, is merely a side show to distract the attention of the masses and deluding them into believing that an exit from the EU will solve all problems. Moreover nothing is ever mentioned about the 315,000 plus people who EMIGRATE from the UK every year! It is equally deceptive to assert that an end to all immigration will solve the problems of unemployment, for imperialism is bound to continue causing job losses through the export of capital and increased labour productivity on a vast scale without any help from net immigration.

Refugees

As regards the influx of refugees, they are the victims of wars waged by imperialism, or the civil strife inspired, aided and abetted by imperialism – from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and many other places. Their number, for the first time since the Second World War, stands at a record 50 million. These are people who have been forced in their millions, literally at gunpoint, to flee from their countries, devastated by predatory imperialist wars waged by Anglo-American imperialism, yet they are denied refugee status by the ruling classes of the very countries which are responsible for their sad plight. In 2014 alone, 3,000 people have died in the course of attempts to reach Europe via the Mediterranean. Those lucky enough to survive the journey are subjected to extremely harsh treatment by the police forces of the countries of their intended destination or of the transit countries. One has only to cast a cursory glance at the refugee shacks in the French port of Calais to gauge the immorality and inhumanity with which imperialism treats the victims of its wars.

The US and British inspired civil strife in Syria alone has forced 3.3 million Syrians to become refugees abroad, with another 7.6 million internally displaced, with no end in sight as yet as leading imperialist powers continue to fuel the war with weapons and money funnelled through their surrogates – the Gulf autocracies and the Turkish government of Erdogan.

The British working class is honour bound to defend the right of the victims of its ‘own’ ruling class to seek and gain asylum in Britain. Any other stance would be the height of meanness and a total violation of the basic principles of proletarian internationalism.

Labour – not a working-class Party

If the Labour Party were truly a party of the working class, which it decidedly is not, its spokesmen would not be promising the recruitment of 1,000 extra UK border guards to keep immigrants out. They would not be complaining, as the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper did recently, that during the Coalition government ”the number of people stopped and turned away at the border has halved. A smaller proportion of the people absconding at the border are being found”, adding that “we recently discovered 175,000 failed asylum seekers may not be removed because the Department has ‘limited resources’”. How is this stance any different from that of Ukip?

If indeed Labour had the interests of the working class at heart, it would instead be pinning the blame for all the major ills of our society on capitalism – not on the victims of this system. However, it is not a party of the British proletariat, notwithstanding the shrill assertions of its apologists – ‘left’-wing social democrats, renegade revisionists and counter-revolutionary Trotskyites. Rather than looking after the interests of the working class, it stands, just like the other bourgeois parties, for attacking the working class at home and waging war against the oppressed peoples abroad. And to continue to do that, it needs a divided working class, to which end it is not at all disinclined, just like the other bourgeois parties, to use the weapon of racism.

Migrants are not scroungers

Far from being scroungers, who lead lazy lives on state benefits, repeated studies have shown that just the opposite is the case. The latest study on the subject by two distinguished migration experts at University College, London University, published in November, brings out clearly that between 2000 and 2011, European migrants made a net contribution of £20bn to public finances; of this, £5bn was from East European migrants, educating whom would have cost Britain £6.8bn had their education not been paid for by their countries of origin. If they appear to be contributing to poor housing, bad schools and inadequate health provision, that is mainly due to the fact that, being at the bottom of the pile, they end up in deprived and rundown places which are not provided with decent services and facilities – a fault that is neither theirs nor of the people already eking out an existence in such places.

Disillusionment with bourgeois parties

The rise of Ukip is a reflection of the disillusionment of the electorate with the three major bourgeois political parties, none of which have any real solutions to the problems facing the working class. Having spent gargantuan amounts rescuing the robber barons of finance capital, with the Treasury empty and budget deficits uncomfortably high, wages stagnant despite the economy being allegedly in its sixth year of recovery, the government is busy attacking the working class through continuing austerity as well as waging war abroad. In the absence of a truly revolutionary party of the proletariat, whatever resistance the working class has to offer is channelled into the dead end of support for the Labour Party which promises to implement similar austerity measures only over a slightly longer period sprinkled with ‘kindly’ rhetoric. Thus we find ourselves in the dreadful situation whereby the ruling class not only attacks the working class and wages war on the oppressed people but also, through its agents in the working-class movement, controls the anti-austerity and anti-war campaigns whose function, it would appear, is to pacify the anger of the working class and mobilise them as vehicles for the election of a Labour government. The People’s Assembly against austerity and the Stop the War Coalition perform precisely these dishonourable roles – furious denial by the revisionists and Trotskyites notwithstanding.

A hung parliament likely

Meanwhile, to stop the Ukip bandwagon gathering momentum, Conservatives and Labour are busy putting out the same sort of vicious propaganda against migrants and refugees. Only the results following the coming general election will show if they have scuppered the chances of Ukip emerging as a third major force in the British parliament, eclipsing the LibDems. What is most likely, though, is that the next parliament, like the present one, would be hung, with no party commanding an absolute majority. Whether Labour or the Tories get the most seats will depend on the performance of the SNP (Scottish National Party) in Scotland. If the latter manages, as predicted, to rout Labour in Scotland, and Labour lost quite a few of its 41 seats in Scotland it would thus be deprived of the chance of emerging as the largest party in parliament.

Overthrow imperialism

Be that as it may, the working class needs to understand that no bourgeois party has a solution to its problems, for the solution lies outside the bounds of imperialism. There will be no peace on earth, and no end to attacks on the working class, as long as imperialism continues to exist. The overthrow of imperialism alone will bring about the liberation of the working class in the imperialist countries and the vast masses of oppressed people abroad. Unless and until the working class grasps this obvious truth, it is bound to be driven from pillar to post between the Conservatives, Labour and some other outfit like Ukip. Those who are really interested in serving the working class and the oppressed peoples have a duty to work for the building of a truly revolutionary party of the proletariat, without whose leadership the working class cannot accomplish its historical mission of achieving socialism through the overthrow of capitalism.

Europe not overpopulated

Before concluding this article, it is worth emphasising that neither Britain nor the rest of Europe are overpopulated. The European Commission has just published a report on the subject entitled The 2015 aging report: underlying assumption and projection methodologies. It states that in a Europe defined by aging societies, shrinking workforces and stagnant living standards, immigration, while being a political problem, is part of the solution.

The EC report forecasts that immigration into the UK up to 2060 will be to the tune of 9 million people, while net immigration into the EU will total 55 million, of whom 70% will be destined for just four of the EU’s 28 member states: 15.5 million to Italy, 9.2 million to the UK, 7 million to Germany and 6.5 million to Spain. That these projections are likely to be exploited by xenophobic parties such as Ukip in Britain , the Front National in France and the Northern League in Italy, has little to do with the reality of a Europe characterised by an aging and shrinking workforce.

The EC report goes on to say that Africa’s share of the global population is forecast to rise from 15% in 2010, while that of Europe will fall from 7.2% to 5%, despite net migration flows. Overall the EU’s population is forecast to rise to 523 million in 2060 form 507 million in 2013.

According to these projections, Britain will become the EU’s most populous country, with the number of people rising form the present 64.1 million to 86.1 million in 2060, with the French population rising from 65.7 million to 75.7 million, while that of Germany will register a decline from 81.3 million to 70.8. Largely owing to immigration, the UK would wield extra weight in the EU – if, that is, the EU is still in existence by then and the UK continues to be a member of it.

Conclusion of the EC report

European societies are aging so fast that, even with net migration, the EU will in 2060 have only two working-age people for every person over the age of 65, instead of the present four.

Nobody knows whether these projections will actually come to be realised. One thing, however, is clear, i.e., that in the sober analysis of the European ruling classes, immigration is more of an economic necessity than a political choice.

As usual, bourgeois thinking on the subject is marked by a kind of schizophrenia. On the one hand the bourgeoisie whips up racist and anti-immigrant hysteria, the better to divide the working class by diverting the latter’s gaze away from capitalism as the real cause of its misery and laying the blame on the doorstep of immigrants, while on the other hand it at the same time produces well-founded reports that emphasise the necessity of increased immigration.

Overpopulation and immigrants are not the problem. Capitalism alone stands in the way of fraternal harmony, rising prosperity and a peaceful world. Let the working class realise this truth, rise to the occasion and accomplish its historical mission of overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with socialism. Let those who claim to be socialists, Marxist-Leninists, make sure that it is this message, and this alone, that permeates the working-class movement.

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No votes for austerity, racism or war. Join the class struggle!

NOVANEWS

Image result for CPGB-ML LOGO
Issued by: CPGB-ML
Issued on: 01 April 2015

 

No votes for austerity, racism or war. Join the class struggle!With seemingly endless media coverage of the forthcoming election, it is difficult not to get swept along by the hyperbole into believing that every matter of interest to workers is going to be decided on 7 May.

Parliament vs class struggle

The prejudice that parliament is the place where all the important decisions are taken and from which the country is run goes very deep. After all, our rulers have had several centuries to inculcate us with that belief.

But, as was revealed long ago by Marx and Engels, ‘democracy’ is not an abstract or neutral concept, but a class question – so that one has always to ask: ‘Democracy for whom?

The capitalist state, it turns out, is ‘democratic’ only for the big capitalists. For the rest of us, it is simply the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie – the means by which we are forcibly held down by our exploiters.

The real business of running the country takes place in the boardrooms, back rooms and private members’ clubs of the capitalist super-rich. Parliament, in truth, is little more than a toothless talking shop, rubber-stamping the dictates of the ruling class.

No change of elected officials could effect a serious change in this system, since the levers of power – the army, police, judiciary, media, school system etc – always remain in the hands of the ruling class.

That is why bank bailouts, wars and austerity always take priority over health care, housing or education, no matter which party is in power.

Bourgeois politicians are not ‘our’ representatives; they are hired hands who have sold themselves to our rulers in return for cushy careers. That is why Marx wrote that, in a capitalist democracy, the workers merely get to decide “once in three or six years which member of the ruling class is to misrepresent the people in parliament”.

Ever since societies emerged that were divided into exploiters and exploited, there has been a struggle going on between the tiny minority who control society’s wealth and the vast majority who work to maintain and expand that wealth.

The interests of the majority lie in destroying the existing capitalist machinery, which is designed to keep a tiny elite in control, and to replace it with our own state, which will require entirely different institutions, since it will be, for the first time, a state of the workers (the majority), aimed at expanding democracy and participation whilst keeping the displaced capitalists (a small minority) in check.

While the capitalist system remains, it is not elections, but the class struggle that will decide the fate of the working class. After all, there is one outcome we can be assured of: we had an anti-worker government in Westminster before the election and we will have another one there after the election.

Apathy vs consciousness

Having grasped this fact, there are some who declare avoidance of bourgeois elections to be a point of principle, and who even claim that the political apathy that is widespread amongst British workers (and is not confined merely to avoidance of the ballot box) constitutes a great victory.

Many workers do have a healthy distrust of all the institutions of the state, and the poorest sections are very well aware that it is neither neutral nor fair. But these instincts are too often transformed not into class-conscious action, but into a far more palatable (to the ruling class) resignation.

Many of those who should be the most active in preparing the overthrow of the system have been pacified by the repeated assertion that ‘there’s no point’ because ‘politicians are all the same’. This is a victory for the capitalists, since workers often end up being as suspicious of communist activists as of bourgeois career politicians.

It is certainly true that we can’t rely on elected capitalist governments to look after our interests, but that does not mean we should just accept the status quo. Instead, we must organise ourselves into a power that cannot be ignored.

Given the severity of the capitalist crisis, it is only by putting the fear of revolution into the hearts of our rulers that we will be able to force them to reduce their profit margins in the interests of making or retaining even the most basic provisions for our wellbeing.

If we want to save our hospitals and schools; to improve workers’ pay, pensions and conditions; to raise benefits for the unemployed; to end homelessness and rent racketeering, we need to create fighting organisations that will harness the strength of the working class to achieve these aims.

If we want to stop imperialist wars being waged in our name; to stop our rulers sending our sons and daughters to butcher our brothers and sisters abroad and facilitate the looting of their resources, we need to get organised to disrupt and sabotage the imperialist war machine.

If we want to end our rulers’ divide-and-rule scapegoating of minorities, the unemployed etc, we need to unite workers on the basis of our shared class interests.

If we don’t want foreign workers to be used to undercut our pay, we need to insist that every worker joins a fighting union, and make it impossible for the bosses to keep playing us off against each other.

If we want to free ourselves from the confusion and suffocation of bourgeois propaganda, we need to pay for and support the building of an independent, working-class press and break the information stranglehold of the ruling class.

Class consciousness does not lead to apathy but to activity. Neither demonstrations nor elections alone will achieve any of these aims – only the power of the workers, organised and determined, will frighten our rulers into granting the smallest of our demands.

We need to get educated and organised, and to build a movement that represents our true interests. We should be capable of putting up our own candidates in elections, or of calling for active, conscious boycotts, and of using parliament and every other platform presented by the system in such a way as to advance the cause of the working class.

All this work must be done. There is no quick and easy path to socialism!

In the meantime, let no worker give a vote or any credence to any party that goes along with the racist scapegoating of immigrants, with divisive nationalism, with privatisation and austerity, or with the imperialist war agenda. A spoilt ballot paper is a far preferable option than a vote for either Labour, Tory, the LibDems or Ukip, all of which are racist, pro-business and anti-worker to the core, with hardly a cigarette paper to be got between their true aims and objectives.

The demands of workers are quite modest and perfectly achievable. We have technology. We have wealth. We have incredible powers of production and innovation and infinite creativity in their application.

Whatever happens on 7 May, the class struggle will continue.

Join us and play your part in bringing about the final victory of the working class!

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Editorial: Our health is not for sale!

NOVANEWS
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As the general election hype machine takes off, the kicking around of that favourite political football, the NHS, provides a useful gauge for judging the true allegiance of the parties asking for our votes.Created after the victory of the red armies over fascism in World War 2, and inspired by the demands of a militant working-class movement, the ‘last remaining religion of the British people’ was a concession granted by a ruling class that was weak from war and threatened by the high tide of the world revolutionary movement.

Having granted this major concession, however, the capitalist class has been tireless in its campaign to attack – or ‘radically reform’ – the health service almost since the day of its foundation.

These attacks moved into a higher, more relentless gear with the onset of the capitalist overproduction crisis in the late 1970s, when opportunities for making decent profits out of industrial activity started to dry up as world markets glutted.

The reason for this apparent hostility to workers’ wellbeing is simply that the need to maximise profits is the built-in driving force of the capitalist system. As profits get harder to come by in the productive sphere, any public service provided to workers by the state is seen as a wasted opportunity by the billionaire profiteers who make up our ruling class.

This is the same logic that ensures that banks are bailed out while workers with disability and chronic ill-health are declared ‘fit to work’ and left to die in isolation and misery.

As the new electoral kid on the block, Ukip has been aggressively marketed by the media as an ‘alternative’ to the established parties of austerity and war – one in which we are encouraged to place our hopes as the bringers of ‘common-sense’ salvation.

As far as the NHS is concerned, Farage and co have laid their cards on the table and proposed the abolition of a public health service in favour of private provision and personal insurance – ie, the system in operation in the US, which deprives the poorest 50 million people of health care entirely, while creating vast profits for monopoly health and insurance companies.

Meanwhile, although there are very few workers who believe that the Conservatives have the best interests of the NHS at heart, there are plenty of people who, with the help of a never-ending stream of corporate media misdirection, have fallen for the lie put about by all the parties that Britain simply cannot afford to keep providing a comprehensive service, free to all at the point of use.

Our rulers have been clever. By artificially creating all sorts of problems such as waiting lists, staff shortages, debt burdens etc, they have created the impression that to go on ‘in the old way’ simply isn’t viable.

It is the same trick that was played with the post office – profitable and easy-to-run sections that had helped finance the whole were sold off first, and all sorts of other conditions imposed that made the remaining public-service rump increasingly inefficient and crisis-ridden. And then, hey presto, we were informed that all these problems were proof that public services simply don’t work!

In fact, what is not viable is the new way – the way of outsourcing, PFI building, the carving up of a single service into hundreds and thousands of dislocated entities, and the inevitable (given the increasingly complex web of interactions and payments between these entities) and innumerable layers of management and bureaucracy for every hard-pressed frontline staff member.

Meanwhile, the credulous faith that many workers and ‘left’-wing groups continue to place in the entirely misnamed ‘Labour’ party is a source of continual wonder to us. Labour’s claim to have ‘brought us the NHS’ overlooks the reality that, in 1945, the Tories and Liberals would have done precisely the same thing. And the party’s contribution to galloping privatisation and indebtedness during the Blair-Brown years has been extensively documented.

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Labour was still in power. Even before the election that brought us the current ConDem government took place, all three main parties had agreed to £20bn cuts in the NHS budget, just as they had all agreed to a bottomless bailout fund for the banks.

And all the parties now collaborate in the game of coming up with fake ‘solutions’ to the ‘problem’ of NHS budget shortfalls that they previously conspired to create.

All the bourgeois parties are signed up and committed not only to an ongoing package of austerity, but also to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which they claim will bring ‘huge economic benefits’ by creating the world’s largest ‘free market’. But make no mistake – there is nothing free about it.

Under the innocuously-titled TTIP, large companies will be able to take local and national administrations to court and exact huge financial penalties for every public service that is provided by the NHS, or by your local council – unless they are allowed to tender for that service.

Far from the promised ‘increased efficiency’ of a few peripheral services being managed by the private sector that was mendaciously put forward by the Blairites and Brownites, this will be the final culmination of selling off the NHS, lock stock and barrel, to the privateers. It will make the £150bn doled out to private banks on PFI spending look like loose change.

We are clear – there is only one way to guarantee the future of health provision, and that is to ensure that the needs of the health of working people are the driving factor in decisions regarding health policy, rather than maximisation of profit.

The free market does not serve working people. Austerity is not a bitter pill that will lead to a better future. It is the poison that will blight the living standards of the vast majority in perpetuity, so that the parasitic financial oligarchy can continue to amass the wealth produced by our collective social labour.

We must get rid of all politicians who try and sell us our own slavery by insisting we ‘tighten our belts and wait for better times’. If this system cannot provide decent health care for all, the system must be removed. Meanwhile, w e must make it clear on the hustings that our health, our wellbeing, our lives are not for sale!

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Zio-Wahhabi Jihadists are now beheading Palestinian Yarmouk refugees camp

NOVANEWS

The savage Zio-Wahhabi (ISIS) organization has seized nearly all of the Palestinian district of  Yarmouk refugee Camp  in Damascus, and there are reports coming out about beheadings and mass killings of Palestinians.

Zio-Wahhabi (Isis) militants have seized most of a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, forcing many to flee, local activists said. British MI6 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the Zio-Wahhabi RAT’S militants have taken over 90% of the Yarmouk camp in the outskirts of Damascus.

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The camp on the southern edge of the Syrian capital has been the scene of a violent three-way fight since it was entered by IS militants earlier this week.

Zio-Wahhabi extremist group struck an unusual allegiance with rival jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra, to wrestle control Yarmouk from rebels loyal to Palestinian faction Hamas, which had been fighting against regime troops.

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“AL-QAEDA affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS were able to take control on 90% of the Yarmouk camp after violent clashes against Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis and Islamic battalions,” SOHR reported, adding that two militants from the latter group were beheaded by Zio-Wahhabi ISIS.

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“Five soldiers in regime forces were killed after clashes against Islamic battalions in the camp,” SOHR added, reporting also bombardments by regime forces in the area. ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, have been fighting each other in other areas of Syria.

The UN expressed concern about the situation in the refugee camp which was once home to between 100,000 and 150,000 Palestinians and Syrians.

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Percentage of support for ISIS in the Islamic world.

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“The situation in Yarmouk is an affront to the humanity of all of us, a source of universal shame,” UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness told Reuters. “Yarmouk is a test, a challenge for the international community. We must not fail. The credibility of the international system itself is at stake”.

Zio-Wahhabi occupied Yarmouk until February 2014 when they agreed to leave Palestinian anti-Assad forces inside. The ensuing siege has forced almost 90% of residents to leave and the remaining 18,000 face severe shortages of food and water.

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During a visit to the camp in early 2014, UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi described the scenes witnessed as “shocking” comparing the people queuing for food to “the appearance of ghosts”.

Syria Direct, a news site that collates information from activists inside the war-torn country, quoted a source inside Yarmouk as saying that Zio-Wahhabi ISIS intended on hitting back against the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas.

A group within Hamas in Yarmouk reportedly kidnapped 10 Zio-Wahhabi ISIS members on Tuesday after the radical Zio-Wahhabi RAT’S assassinated one of its leaders.

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, SyriaComments Off on Zio-Wahhabi Jihadists are now beheading Palestinian Yarmouk refugees camp

Behind The Media Spin Tories and Labour Both Beg The Rich For Support

NOVANEWS

” When are people going to realise that ALL these elections are a FRAUD. The candidates for premiership are ALL pre chosen, pre selected by the hidden Zionist Elite and the candidates are usually of covert Jewish Stock posing as ‘Christians’ or are staunchly Zionist and Pro Israel.[as in the USA] Cameron, Blair and Milliband. No candidate as in the USA will ever get ‘[S]elected unless he has sworn hi undying and loyal Masonic allegiance to the Jews [to Rothschilds] and the Israeli Entity”

Hope 4 M

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by Sadie Robinson

The general election campaign is officially underway—and many people are bored of it already.

The lack of choice on offer was laid bare in a non-debate between Tory prime minister David Cameron and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband last week.

The mainstream media said presenter Jeremy Paxman gave Cameron a “mauling”.

In fact Cameron managed to keep talking for as long as possible to cut the amount of questions he’d have to avoid answering.

Miliband briefly got on the front foot when he talked about standing up to the energy firms and banks, and helping people out of work.

Unfortunately his party can’t be relied on to stand up for ordinary people.

As shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves helpfully put it, “We are not the party of people on benefits.

“We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work.”

Labour has tailed the Tories’ attacks on working class people and welfare. Cameron likes to talk of supporting “hard working families” —but spoke of freezing in-work benefits last week.

Both party leaders somehow managed to talk about the thing that supposedly no-one can ever talk about—immigration.

People

And both vowed to make it harder for people to come to Britain—although some people seem to be more problematic than others.

Miliband said Labour could “get low skill migration down”—so presumably rich migrants would still be welcome.

Many people were understandably outraged at the Labour Party mug that pledged controls on immigration. What is really outrageous is that this is one of the party’s key election pledges.

Meanwhile the Tories continued Cameron’s dodging of questions this week by refusing to confirm details of planned benefit cuts.

Welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith said it may not be “relevant” to let people know how all of the Tories’ £12 billion of welfare cuts will be made.

“When we are ready we will talk about what we plan to do,” he said. “What I will say is that there are some things that we will do.”

Both parties got on with addressing the people they really care about this week—the rich.

The Tories predictably attacked Labour over the economy, claiming a Labour victory would mean “economic chaos”.

Meanwhile Miliband launched Labour’s business manifesto claiming that Cameron’s plan for a referendum on European Union membership would mean chaos for firms.

A debate between seven party leaders was set to take place on Thursday of this week.

Millions of people across Britain are sick of the Tories and austerity. We need a real alternative.

Posted in UKComments Off on Behind The Media Spin Tories and Labour Both Beg The Rich For Support

How Governments Twist Terrorism

NOVANEWS

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States craft terror definitions and designations to absolve themselves and satisfy their constituencies.
By Philip Giraldi 

March 12, 2015 “ICH” – “American Conservative – The Washington Post reports that “terrorism trend lines are ‘worse than at any other point in history.’” But what is terrorism? It has frequently been pointed out that “terrorism” is a tactic, not an actual physical adversary, but it is less often noted that a simple definition of what constitutes terrorism is hardly universally accepted, while the designation itself is essentially political. The glib assertion that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter fails to capture the distinction’s consequences as the terror label itself increasingly comes with a number of legal and practical liabilities attached. Describing an organization as terroristic in order to discredit it has itself become a tactic, and one that sometimes has only limited connections to what the group in question actually believes or does.

The bone of contention in defining terrorism is where to draw the line in terms of the use of violence in furtherance of a political objective. In practice, it is generally accepted that state players who employ violence do so within a social framework that confers legitimacy, while nonstate players who use political violence are ipso facto terrorists, or at least susceptible to being tagged with that label, which confers upon them both illegitimacy and a particularly abhorrent criminality. But some on the receiving end of such a Manichean distinction object, noting that the laws defining terror are themselves drawn up by the governments and international organizations, which inevitably give themselves a pass in terms of their own potential liability. They would argue that established regimes will inevitably conspire to label their enemies terrorists to marginalize both resistance movements and internal dissent in such a way as to diminish the credibility of the groups that are so targeted. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently been doing precisely that, and one might reasonably argue that government use of violence is often in practice indistinguishable from the actions of nonstate players.

Some common dictionary definitions of terrorism include engaging in “the systematic use of terror,” surely an indication of the inscrutability of an issue when the word must be used to define itself. The United Nations has been unsuccessfully negotiating a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism since 2002 that would define terror as causing death or serious injury or destroying or damaging public or private property “to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”   The United States Federal criminal code uses similar language, as does the Patriot Act, with the key elements being the use of violence or physical destruction to “intimidate or coerce” a civilian population or an existing government.

Governments are aware of what can be accomplished by invoking the word “terrorism.” The diplomacy-averse United States frequently hides behind the label, as it is prohibited by law from negotiating with groups so-labeled, and thereby avoids having to confront the possible legitimacy of what they represent. And it also justifies a uniformly violent response, which is invariably described as self-defense.

Fourteen years ago the “global war on terror” was used to justify wholesale American intervention in predominantly Muslim countries. A number of European countries, including France and Britain, have followed the example of the two Patriot Acts by introducing antiterrorism legislation that provides special police and intelligence service authorities that limit normal legal protections in terrorism cases. The broadly written laws have largely rendered the authorities immune from either regulation or prosecution, and governments in the West have generally been reluctant to allow any third-party inquiries into the related behavior of military and police forces. In the United States the state secret privilege, originally intended to prohibit the exposure of classified information in court, has been used to completely derail judicial proceedings relating to offenses allegedly committed by the government in terrorism cases.

And critics of the essentially hypocritical double standard used in defining terrorism certainly have a point. One might reasonably argue that the use of drones, in which “signature” targets are killed because they match a profile, fits comfortably within the definition of terrorism. During 2003-4, American Army and Marine forces in Fallujah sometimes shelled and bombed targets in the city indiscriminately and were certainly responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths. The Israeli Defense Forces killed thousands of civilians in two incursions into Gaza as well as several attacks on Lebanon. There was no declaration of war to justify the use of armed force in either case, and independent observers noted that many of the civilian casualties could have been avoided, normally a defining factor that makes an incident terror. Both Israel and the United States turned the tables on the situation by referring to their opponents and victims as “terrorists.” There has been no accountability for the deaths because it was two governments that carried out the killing.

In a world seemingly obsessed with terrorism it was inevitable that something like an anti-terrorism industry would grow dramatically. Every television and radio network has its own stable of pundits who pontificate on every violent incident, and there also are well-compensated freelancers, who describe themselves as experts, such as Evan Kohlmann and Steve Emerson. Emerson recently had to apologize after claiming that Birmingham, England had a number of no-go areas controlled by local Muslim extremists.

It should be no surprise that lawyers have now also gotten into the game. In 1996 Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which allows victims of terrorism to file civil suits in federal and state courts against sponsors or supporters of terrorism. Once you have a group or individual labeled as terrorist, or providing assistance to terrorists, there are a number of options you can pursue. The burgeoning antiterrorism industry appears to be in some ways linked to the increasing employment of Lawfare, which uses the legal system to wage war by alternative means, making it possible to obtain a favorable judgment and damages from the assets of a recognized terrorist organization. Such litigation benefits from favorable legislation in the United States that makes terrorism a worldwide crime subject to U.S. judicial review.

Recent court cases have involved both states that allegedly sponsor terrorism or actual organizations that are now parts of governments that either currently or at one time were perceived to be terrorists. Many of the groups targeted are enemies of Israel, and the Israeli Lawfare center Shurat HaDin is most active in pursuing such litigation. In a recent case in New York City, the Palestinian Authority was successfully sued by a group of Israelis and Americans over terrorist attacks that took place in Israel in 2002-4. If the appeal fails, the Palestinian Authority will be required to pay $1 billion in damages and will be bankrupted, with negative consequences for the United States, which has been seeking to create a viable government on the West Bank.

The U.S. Department of State identifies four countries as state sponsors of terrorism, making them prime targets for sanctions and other legal action. They are Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran. Cuba is an anomaly as it has not threatened anyone in decades but remains on the list due to the deep passions within America’s politically powerful Cuban Lobby. Sudan likewise should not be so designated, as even the U.S. government admits that it is cooperative on terrorism issues.

This leaves Syria and Iran, both of which are regarded as state sponsors of terrorism even though both are themselves victims of terrorist attacks carried out by groups supported by the United States. They are on the list because they harbor or cooperate with Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. All three groups consider themselves to be resistance movements against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, but Israel regards all three as terrorists, a view shared by the United States on the state department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list. That viewpoint is not necessarily shared by many European governments, which regard the organizations as having evolved into legitimate political parties. There are also thousands of individuals and groups considered to be terroristic or criminal, collected by the U.S. Department of Justice on its Special Designated Nationals List. Individuals and organizations on the list have their assets blocked and are subject to other punitive action by the United States government.

Being designated by the Department of the Treasury or state does not necessarily mean that someone or some organization was actually involved in terrorism. The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity, was declared a terrorist organization in 2001. Its officers were convicted and imprisoned in a 2008 trial because the Treasury Department determined ex post facto that it had given money to Hamas before that group was itself named as a terrorist organization.

Inclusion on the State or Treasury lists can mean that there is solid evidence of wrongdoing, but it can also represent mere insinuations or a strong desire to see a group singled out for punishment. In any event, once a group or person is designated for a list, it is difficult to get off. Organizations that have not engaged in terrorist activity for many years remain on the list while other groups that are active escape censure. Recently, the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist group that killed six Americans in the 1970s, was removed from the list under political pressure from Congress and the media. Again, Israel was involved. MEK is an enemy of the current government in Tehran and is itself an important component of the Israeli intelligence effort against Iran, having been involved in the fabrication of information suggesting that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program as well as participating in the assassinations of Tehran’s scientists.

So what terrorism actually consists of very much depends on one’s perspective, rendering the word itself largely meaningless. But those who are listed as terrorists experience real consequences even accepting that the designation is both selectively applied and politicized. The United States and Israel in particular use the terrorism label to demonize opponents, drum up fear, and generate popular support for security policies that might otherwise be unpalatable. They also justify their own behavior by asserting that they occupy the moral high ground in the defense of the world against terror, a claim that certainly should be regarded with considerable skepticism.

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Lies and Deceptions on the Left: The Politics of Self Destruction

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Over the past year, what appeared as hopeful signs, that Left governments were emerging as powerful alternatives to right-wing pro-US regimes, is turning into a historic rout, which will relegate them to the dustbin of history for many years to come.
By James Petras
ICH” – The rise and rapid decay of left-wing governments in France, Greece and Brazil is not the result of a military coup, nor is it due to the machinations of the CIA. The debacle of left governments is a result of deliberate political decisions, which break decisively with the progressiveprograms, promises and commitments that political leaders had made to the great mass of working and middle class voters who elected them.Increasingly, the electorate views the leftist rulers as traitors, who betrayed their supporters at the beck and call of their most egregious class enemies: the bankers, the capitalists and the neo-liberal ideologues.

Left Governments Commit Suicide

The self-destruction of the Left is an unanticipated victory for the most retrograde neo-liberal political forces. These forces have sought to destroy the welfare system, impose their rule via non-elected officials, widen and deepen inequalities, undermine labor rights and privatize and denationalize the most lucrative sectors of the economy.

Three cases of Left regime betrayal serve to highlight this process: The French Socialist regime of President Francois Hollande governing in the second leading power in Europe (2012-2015); Syriza, the left regime in Greece elected on January 25, 2015, portrayed as a sterling proponent of an alternative policy to ‘fiscal austerity’; and The Workers Party of Brazil, governing in the biggest Latin American country (2003-2015) and a leading member of the BRICS.

French ‘Socialism’: The Great Leap Backward

In his Presidential campaign, Francois Hollande promised to raise taxes on the rich up to 75%; lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 years; launch a massive public investment program to reduce unemployment; vastly increase public spending on education (hiring 60,000 new teachers), health and social housing; and withdraw French troops from Afghanistan as a first step toward reducing Paris’ role as an imperialist collaborator.

From 2012, when he was elected, to the present (March 2015), Francois Hollande has betrayed each and every political commitment: Public investments did not materialize and unemployment increased to over 3 million. His newly appointed Economic Minister Emmanuel Macron, a former partner of Rothschild Bank, sharply reduced business taxes by 50 billion euros. His newly appointed Prime Minister Manuel Valls, a neo-liberal zealot, implemented major cuts in social programs, weakened government regulation of business and banking and eroded job security. Hollande appointed Laurence Boone from Bank of America as his top economic adviser.

The French ‘Socialist President’ sent troops to Mali, bombers to Libya, military advisers to the Ukraine junta and aided the so-called Syrian ‘rebels’ (mostly Jihadist mercenaries). He signed off on billion-euro military sales to the Saudi Arabian monarcho-dictatorship and reneged on a contracted sale of warships to Russia.

Hollande joined with Germany in demanding that the Greek government comply with full and prompt debt payments to private bankers and maintain its brutal ‘austerity program’.

As a result of defrauding French voters, betraying labor and embracing bankers, big business and militarists, less than 19% of the electorate has a positive view of the ‘socialist’ government, placing it in third place among the major parties.. Hollande’s pro-Israel policies and his hardline on US- Iranian peace negotiations, Minister Vall’s Islamophobic raids in French Muslim suburbs and the support of military interventions against Islamic movements, have increasingly polarized French society and heightened ethno-religious violence in the country.

Greece: Syriza’s Instant Transformation

From the moment in which Syriza won the Greek elections on January 25, 2015, to the middle of March, Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister and Yanis Varoufakis, his appointed Finance Minister, reneged in rapid order on every major and minor electoral program. They embraced the most retrograde measures, procedures and relations with the ‘Troika’, (the IMF, and European Commission at the European Central Bank), which Syriza had denounced in its Thessaloniki program a short time earlier.

Tsipras and Varoufakis repudiated the promise to reject the dictates of the ‘Troika’. In other words, they have accepted colonial rule and continued vassalage.

Typical of their demagogy and deceit, they sought to cover up their submission to the universally hated ‘Troika’ by dubbing it ‘the Institution’ – fooling nobody but themselves– and becoming the butt of cynical cackles from their EU overseers.

During the campaign, Syriza had promised to write off all or most of the Greek debt. In government, Tsipras and Varoufakis immediately assured the Troika that they recognized and promised to meet all of their debt obligations.

Syriza had promised to prioritize humanitarian spending over austerity – raising the minimum wage, rehiring public employees in health and education and raising pension payments. After two weeks of servile groveling, the ‘re-formed’ Tsipras and Varoufakis prioritized austerity – making debt payments and ‘postponing’ even the most meagre anti-poverty spending. When the Troika lent the Syriza regime $2 billion to feed hungry Greeks, Tsipras lauded his overseers and promised to submit a multi-billion euro list of regressive ‘reforms’.

Syriza had promised to re-examine the previous rightwing regime’s dubious privatization of lucrative public enterprises and to stop on-going and future privatizations. In government, Tsipras and Varoufakis quickly disavowed that promise. They approved past, present and future privatizations. In fact, they made overtures to procure new privatization ‘partners’, offering lucrative tax concessions in selling-out more public firms.

Syriza promised to tackle the depression level unemployment (26% national, 55% youth) via public spending and reduced debt payments. Tsipras and Varoufakis dutifully met debt payments and did notallocate any funds to create jobs!

Not only did Syriza continue the policies of its rightwing predecessors, but also it did so in a ludicrousstyle and substance: adopting ridiculous public postures and demagogic inconsequential gestures:

One day Tsipras would lay a wreath at the gravesite of 200 Greek partisans murdered by the Nazis during WW II. The next day he would grovel before the German bankers and concede to their demands for budget austerity, withholding public funds from 2 million unemployed Greeks.

One afternoon, Finance Minister Varoufakis would pose for a photo spread for Paris Match depicting him, cocktail in hand, on his penthouse terrace overlooking the Acropolis; and several hours later he would claim to speak for the impoverished masses!

Betrayal, deceit and demagogy all during the first two months in office, Syriza has established a record in its conversion from a leftist anti-austerity party to a conformist, servile vassal of the European Union.

Tsipras’ call for Germany to pay reparations for damages to Greece during WW II –a long overdue and righteous demand– is another phony demagogic ploy designed to distract the impoverished Greeks from Tsipras and Varoufakis sellout to German contemporary austerity demands. A cynical European Union official tells the Financial Times (12/3/15, p. 6), “He’s (Tsipras) giving them (Syriza militants) a bone to lick on”.

No one expects German leaders to alter their hardline because of past injustices, least of all because they come from interlocutors on bended knees. . No one in the EU takes Tsipras demand at face value. They see it as more empty ‘radical’ rhetoric for domestic consumption.

Talking up 70-year German reparations avoids taking practical action today repudiating or reducing payments on illegitimate debt to German banks and repudiating Merckel’s dictates. The transparent betrayal of their most basic commitments to the impoverished Greek people has already divided Syriza. Over 40% of the central committee, including the President of the Parliament, repudiated the Tsipras –Varoufakis agreements with the Troika.

The vast majority of Greeks, who voted for Syriza, expected some immediate relief and reforms. They are increasingly disenchanted. They did not expect Tsipras to appoint Yanis Varoufakis, a former economic adviser to the corrupt neo-liberal PASOK leader George Papandreou, as Finance Minister. Nor did many voters abandon PASOK, en masse, over the past five years, only to find the same kleptocrats and unscrupulous opportunists occupying top positions in Syriza, thanks to Alexis Tsipras index finger.

Nor could the electorate expect any fight, resistance and willingness to break with the Troika from Tsipras’ appointments of ex-pat Anglo-Greek professors. These armchair leftists (‘Marxist seminarians’) neither engaged in mass struggles nor suffered the consequences of the prolonged depression.

Syriza is a party led by affluent upwardly mobile professionals, academics and intellectuals. They rule over (but in the name of) the impoverished working and salaried lower middle class, but in the interests of the Greek, and especially, German bankers.

They prioritize membership in the EU over an independent national economic policy. They abide by NATO, by backing the Kiev junta in the Ukraine, EU sanctions on Russia, NATO intervention in Syria/Iraq and maintain a loud silence on US military threats to Venezuela!

Brazil: Budget Cuts, Corruption and the Revolt of the Masses

Brazil’s self-styled Workers Party government in power an unlucky 13 years, has been one of the most corruption-ridden regimes in Latin America. Backed by one of the major labor confederations, and several landless rural workers’ organizations, and sharing power with center-left and center-right parties, it was able to attract tens of billions of dollars of foreign extractive, finance and agro-business capital. Thanks to a decade-long commodity boom in agro-mineral commodities, easy credit and low interest rates, it raised income, consumption and the minimum wage while multiplying profits for the economic elite.

Subsequent to the financial crises of 2009, and the decline of commodity prices, the economy stagnated, just as the new President Dilma Rousseff was elected. The Rousseff government, like her predecessor, Lula Da Silva, favored agro-business over the rural landless workers’ demands for land reform. Her regime promoted the timber barons and soya growers encroaching on the Indian communities and the Amazon rain forest.

Elected to a second term, Rousseff faced a major political and economic crises: a deepening economic recession, a fiscal deficit, and the arrest and prosecution of scores of corrupt Workers’ Party and allied congressional deputies and Petrobras oil executives.

Workers’ Party leaders and the Party’s campaign treasury received millions of dollars in kickbacks from construction companies securing contracts with the giant semi-public petroleum company. President Rousseff promised “to continue to support popular social programs”, and “to root out corruption”, during her election campaign. However, immediately after her election she embraced orthodox neo-liberal policies and appointed a cabinet of hard-right neo-liberals inclu

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Stephen Harper Should Arrest Himself

NOVANEWS

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And while he’s at it, he can lock up all the other Western leaders who have savaged the Muslim world too

By Robert Fisk

 

March 22, 2015 ICH” – “The Independent – Is Stephen Harper off his rocker? Forget his trip to Jerusalem last year when the Canadian prime minister said that criticism of Israel was a “mask” for anti-Semitism. Ignore his utter failure to bring home to Canada al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, whose retrial was staged by the Egyptian government to give him the chance to leave for his country of adoption. Cast aside Harper’s Blair-like contention that the Islamist murders of Canadian soldiers had nothing – absolutely zilch – to do with his decision to send Canada’s F-18 jets against Isis.

 

Now Harper, the man with the choir-boy good looks whose pro-Israeli policies might win him a seat in the Knesset, is about to push a truly eccentric piece of legislation through parliament in Ottawa. It’s called – and I urge readers to repeat the words lest they think it’s already April Fool’s Day – the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”. Yup, when I first read the phrase “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”, I felt sure it was a joke, a line from the “Big Bang Theory” or a Channel 4 mockudrama about Nigel Farage’s first premiership.

 

Nope. It’s all real. But let me quickly explain that the “Barbaric Cultural Practices” in question are polygamy, “gender-based” family violence, “honour-killing” and forcing children under 16 to leave Canada for marriages abroad. I’ve no problem with legislation against this, of course. Nor have most Canadians.

 

I’m also against illegally invading foreign countries, colonising other people’s land, “waterboarding” and bombing wedding parties, or firing drone missiles into Waziristan villages. But these aren’t quite the “barbaric cultural practices” Mr Harper has in mind.

 

What’s odd about the “barbarism” he’s thinking about – although the very use of the word “culture” is intriguing now that Isis has determined that “culture” is a sin after the Tunis museum massacre – is that these “practices” are already forbidden by Canadian law.

 

Polygamy is illegal in Canada – although Mormon polygamists in British Columbia appear strangely untouched by the new legislation – and Canadians were a bit non-plussed to learn from their government last week that there are “hundreds” of polygamists in their country. As for “honour-killing”, murder is murder is murder, in Canada as in Britain and in the US and in almost every other country in the world.

 

No, the catch is that this unique legislation, which Canadian MPs will be discussing again today, is that it doesn’t come from Canada’s perfectly capable minister of justice Peter MacKay, but from the Canadian minister of – you guessed it – Citizenship and Immigration. Now isn’t that odd?

 

The chap in charge of Canada’s immigration policies is Christopher Alexander, who is himself a pretty “cultured” politician, a McGill and Balliol man, a former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, where there’s plenty of polygamy and “honour-killing” and child marriage, and, well, let’s not go into Afghan government corruption, Afghan police torture, drones and the rest.

 

Because in truth, the new Canadian legislation is about foreigners or – more to the point – Muslims. Hence the BC Mormons have nothing to worry about. Because the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (Bill S-7) – let us keep repeating this weird name – is playing what Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom calls the “foreign barbarian card”.

 

It foregrounds not crime per se but crime specifically associated with Muslims – hence the Canadian government’s legislative gloss that the act is against barbaric “traditions”. And Muslims, as we know, have for centuries been famous in Western song and legend for harems, multiple wives and disrespect for women.

 

There are indeed plenty of things wrong with Muslim societies. I’ve written extensively in The Independent about the scourge of “honour killings” – the slaughter of young women for refusing arranged marriages or adultery or who were merely rumoured to have behaved “immorally” (like calling a man on a mobile phone) in Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, “Palestine”, Jordan and Egypt.

 

We’ll forget for a moment that NGOs also told me that per head of population, “honour-killing” may be practised even more widely among Egyptian and Jordanian Christian communities. For the Christians, be sure, are not among Christopher Alexander’s targets.

 

It’s odd too, that “barbaric” is part of the Isis vocabulary for foreigners who bomb predominantly Muslim countries – America’s bombing of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and Libya come to mind over the past 42 years – and collude with the occupation and theft of land from Arab Muslims by the very same country whose critics are in danger of being called “anti-Semitic” by Stephen Harper.

 

And you can be sure that this same prime minister, in his outrage at the barbaric practices of Isis – and Canadian Muslims – will understandably now be avoiding all talk of a little scandal that must be bothering him quite a bit in private: the Turkish accusation that a Syrian intelligence operative who allegedly helped three British girls cross into Isis-held Syria was also working for Canadian intelligence employees. Accprding to Turkey, these agents operated from the Canadian embassy in Amman – where the Canadian ambassador was handpicked by the aforementioned Stephen Harper after being the prime minister’s top bodyguard in Ottawa.

 

Now I’m not going to take the side of the Turkish police – they deported me from their country in 1991 after I found Turkish troops stealing blankets and food from Iraqi refugees. But their computer records reportedly show that the supposed spy for Canada, a certain Mr Rashed, entered Turkey 33 times on a Syrian passport and had also travelled to Canada.

 

The man does not work for CSIS, Canada’s spy outfit, according to Ottawa government “sources”. But officially, CSIS, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – the guys who always “get their man” – and Harper’s office have all refused to comment. The Ottawa Citizen has been highlighting another new bit of Harper legislation, Bill C-44 this time, which would allow Canadian judges to authorise CSIS activities abroad “to investigate a threat to the security” of Canada, “without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state…”

 

Plenty to think about there. But no, it’s those pesky Canadian Muslims – or Muslim residents of Canada – who are the guilty ones, those who engage in “barbaric cultural practices”. It certainly says an awful lot about Harper’s Canadian political cultural practices.

 

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Canadian intelligence caught clandestinely backing Islamic State

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by 
Image Source: AteshCommons

Image Source: AteshCommons

In the latest of a string of incidents that call into question the West’s real intentions in the battle against the Islamic State, an alleged asset of Canadian Intelligence was caught red handed smuggling Islamic State sympathizers into Syria.

Editor’s Note: The Fifth Column does not report conspiracy theories. As bizarre as the unfolding story is, it is not based on anonymous sources or unsourced allegations.

On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Minister (a person holding the equivalent office of John Kerry) publicly stated:

“The person arrested by us is someone working for an intelligence agency in the coalition.”

Later in the week it was specified that the suspect was working for Canadian Intelligence.

It is important to note that Turkey is one of the West’s key allies in the region and has been since the nation joined NATO in 1952. This is not an allegation the Turkish government takes lightly.

Turkish authorities are holding Mohammed Mehmet Rashid (AKA Doctor Mehmet Rashid and Mohammed al Rashid) after he was caught smuggling three teenage girls into Syria to join the Islamic State. He confessed to working for the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan. The bizarre claim was backed up with a computer and cell phone that are reportedly in Turkish custody that were provided by the Canadian government. When he was captured he also had in his possession the passport photographs of 17 other people, in addition to the three teenage girls he had just handed over to the Islamic State.

Rashid’s travel records indicate that he has bounced back and forth across the border more than 30 times since 2013, while most people have a hard time getting out of war torn Syria once. There was another entry on Rashid’s travel documents: a trip to Canada.

Rashid’s finances revealed another suspicious irregularity that confirmed his story. Payment for his services was made through a bank in the United Kingdom. The UK arguably has the strictest counterterrorism banking laws in the world. The laws are so broad that known legitimate charities have trouble transferring funds because of their work in conflict zones. Because of this, the Islamic State does not transfer money through banks, and certainly not banks in the UK. They use Hawaladors, which are paperless bankers throughout the world that transfer cash for a fee. Hawala is a literally ancient system of banking that is prominent in the Middle East and in Eastern Asia.

As an example, if I want to transfer funds from my location in Syria to your location in Uzbekistan; I contact my local Hawalador, hand him the cash, and tell him where I want it sent. He calls a colleague in Uzbekistan who will immediately hand you the money. Weeks later, the two men will settle their accounts. Both Hawaladors take a percentage as a fee. Although for the Islamic State they are probably conducting the transfers for free in order to keep their heads.

The important piece of information to take away from this is that Rashid was not being paid by the Islamic State.

On the other side of the espionage trail, we would have to identify Rashid’s handler. He confessed to working out of Canada’s embassy in Amman, Jordan. Handlers, more properly known as “case officers,” often work out of embassies under what are known as “diplomatic covers.” They take a position within the embassy and freely operate because if they are caught, they enjoy diplomatic immunity and are simply deported. Due to the prevalence of law students in the intelligence community, the most common cover position has been the office of the “legal attaché.” However, it was used so often that people immediately assumed every legal attaché was a spy, so intelligence agencies began placing officers in roles they weren’t qualified for so they could enjoy diplomatic immunity. When trying to identify an intelligence officer in an embassy, it becomes important to look for two things: someone holding a position they aren’t qualified for and someone who does not even pretend to fulfill the duties of their office.

One name jumps off of the Canadian Embassy’s roster: the Ambassador himself. Canada’s embassy in Jordan is a very special one. It handles Jordan, Iraq, and because the office in Syria is vacant, it handles that as well. One would think that given the current crisis, the Canadian government would want a top level diplomat assigned to the post. Instead, the position is filled by a man with no diplomatic experience. Literally none. He has never held a diplomatic post in his life. His background is certainly interesting though.

Bruno Saccomani’s prior experience is that he was a Mountie. Americans immediately think of a man on a horse wearing a funny hat and red coat when they hear the term. Of course, the reality of the situation is a little bit different. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the equivalent of the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and every state police force rolled into one. Saccomani’s most recent position was the Prime Minister’s chief bodyguard. In this position, he was required to have the highest security clearance Canada has because he was with the country’s leader during classified briefings and as he traveled overseas.

So what does Saccomani do at the embassy? Nothing related to diplomacy. The chief diplomat seems to allow various Ministers to deal with the actual diplomacy. A quick scan of the embassy’s press releases reveals that he doesn’t even sign his name to public statements from the embassy.

Rashid and the Canadian Embassy came into contact when he was seeking asylum. Once the Canadians became involved in his asylum case, he traveled to Canada for a brief period of time before returning and beginning his smuggling. He recorded his smuggling escapades. These videos were probably of intelligence value to the Canadian intelligence services. However, after two years it is still unclear as to why the Canadians were running the smuggling operation for the Islamic State in the first place. The intelligence value of knowing who is entering and joining the Islamic State’s ranks is not even remotely equivalent to the value of shutting the routes down.

This is just the latest in a string of bizarre incidents that have led many to believe the West is funding, arming, and assisting the Islamic State so the war continues to destabilize regimes in the area.

Historical context of incidents:

An Islamic State commander admits receiving funding from US.

In an era when the US can send a missile into an 18 inch window, it has repeatedly dropped arms and supplies to Islamic State fighters by accident.

The US hampered Kurdish resistance to the Islamic State until significant pressure was brought to bear by independent media outlets.

While all of this is certainly damning and generates the appearance that the West is actively supporting the Islamic State, there are no credible theories as to why the West would be subverting its own interests. It is possible that this was yet another example of intelligence agencies running amok without proper supervision. Given the volume of factual evidence and the continued stream of anecdotal evidence, we must also consider that the West is involved in a large clandestine operation pursuing interests its citizens are unaware of.

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Zio-Wahhabi History of Hypocrisy we choose to ignore

NOVANEWS

On Thursday, a Saudi blogger will receive his second flogging for ‘insulting Islam’. Robert Fisk looks at a barbaric regime with a brutal record

Sir William Hunter was a senior British civil servant and in 1871 published a book which warned of “fanatic swarms” of Sunni Muslims who had “murdered our subjects”, financed by “men of ample fortune”, while a majority of Muslims were being forced to decide “once and for all, whether [they] should play the part of a devoted follower of Islam” or a “peaceable subject”.

Hunter identified a “hate preacher” as the cause of this “terror”, a man inspired on a visit to Arabia by an ascetic Muslim called Abdul Wahab whose violent “Wahabi” followers had formed an alliance with – you guessed it – the House of Saud. Hunter’s 140-year-old volume The Indian Musalmans – given a dusting of internet race hatred, murderous attacks by individual Sunni Muslims, cruel Wahabi-style punishments and all-too familiar proof of second-class citizenship for Muslims in a European-run state – might have been written today.

Even before Hunter’s day, the Wahabis captured the holy cities of Arabia and – Isis-style – massacred their inhabitants. Like Isis, they even overran Syria. Their punishments, and those of their Saudi military supporters, make the public lashing of today’s Saudi blogger Raif Badawi appear a minor misdemeanour. Hypocrisy was a theme of Arabian as well as European history.

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website
In those days, of course, oil had no meaning. The Saudi ruler was dispatched to Constantinople in 1818 to have his head chopped off by the local superpower – the Ottoman Empire – and the European states made no complaint. A young British army captain later surveyed the destroyed Saudi capital of Diriya – close to modern-day Riyadh – with satisfaction. But successive campaigns of Saudi-Wahabi conquest, and then the swift transition of oil from the vile black naphtha, in which Arabian sheep regularly drowned, into the blood vessels of the Western world, meant that the purist Wahabi violence – which included the desecration of mosques, the destruction of ancient Muslim tombs and the murder of “infidels” – was conveniently separated from the House of Saud and ignored by Europeans and Americans alike.

Erased, too, is history; including the fact that Mohamed Ibn Saud, the leader of the Nejd, even married Abdul Wahab’s daughter.

Our disregard of present-day Saudi-Wahabi cruelties and venality might astonish Sir William Hunter; the Wahabi Indian Muslims in his British Empire were led by an insurrectionist prelate called Sayyid Ahmed whose followers regarded him as the next Prophet and whose own pilgrimage to Arabia turned him into a life-long purger of promiscuity. His believers came from Afghanistan as well as India where his power lay in what is now Pakistan. In fact, he was proclaimed “Commander of the Faithful” in Peshawar. His men might have been the Taliban.

Britain’s wars against the Wahabis were as ferocious as Europe’s today, though far more costly in lives. And if Hunter rightly identified the second-class status, lack of employment and poor education of the Sunni Muslims of India as a cause of insurrection – France, please take note – he also understood that India’s Muslims were being asked to choose between pure Islam and Queen Victoria. The Hindus of India and the British rulers were at war with those whom Hunter, mindful of medieval Christian missions to Jerusalem, caricatured as the “Crescentaders”.

Ensaf Haidar, centre, wife of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, holds a vigil in Montreal, Quebec, urging Saudi Arabia to free her husbandEnsaf Haidar, centre, wife of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, holds a vigil in Montreal, Quebec, urging Saudi Arabia to free her husband (Getty)

Today, the Americans and Europeans – and of course, our own Prime Minister – like to draw a line between the “moderate”, friendly, pro-Western, oil-wealthy Saudi Arabians who are praised for denouncing the “cowardly terrorist attack” in Paris, and their Crescentader Wahabi friends who behead thieves and drug dealers after grossly unfair trials, torture their Shia Muslim minorities and lash their own recalcitrant journalists. The Wahabi Saudis – for they are, of course, the same – cry crocodile tears over the murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who lampoon their religion, while sympathising with the purists in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who slaughter journalists and aid workers, destroy ancient monuments and enslave women.

All in all, a pretty pass. The Saudis are special, aren’t they? Fifteen of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 were Saudis – and George W Bush immediately arranged for leading Saudis (including some from the House of Bin Laden) to be freighted out of America to safety. Osama was himself a Saudi (later de-citizened). The Taliban were financed and armed by the Saudis; the Taliban’s Organisation for the “Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice” was identical to the Saudi-Wahabi religious police in Riyadh and Jeddah. So precious are the Saudis to us, that Tony Blair was able to close down a British police inquiry into Anglo-Saudi bribery. “National interest” was at stake. Ours, of course, not theirs.

And we ignore, amid all this tomfoolery, the spread of Saudi money through the institutions of Sunni Islam in Asia, in the Balkans – take a look at the new Saudi-designed mosques that mock the wonderful old Ottoman institutions in Bosnia – and in Western Europe. Suggest that the Saudi authorities – not, of course, to be confused with their Wahabi fraternity – are supporting Isis, and journalists will be confronted not by sympathy for their oppressed colleagues, but by threatening letters from lawyers on behalf of the Saudi government. Even in the Levant, aid workers are frightened of the school-teaching in Saudi-funded refugee camps for Syrians.

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