Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In Defence Of Madrid...

It has been seventy years, today, since the International Brigade's first units reached Madrid on 8th November. Led by the Soviet General, Emilo Kleber, the XI International Brigade was to play an important role in the defence of the city against the fascist coup. Amongst them was a small dispatch of British machine gunners.

The war erupted when General Francisco Franco staged a coup de ta' against the Republican government. This divided the country between those loyal to the government, the loyalists and those who supported Franco, the nationalists. Franco had heavy support from the also fascist governments of Mussolini and Hitler.

In response more than 2,300 young men and women from Britain and Ireland traveled to the country to fight against Franco More than 500 were to die on the fields and streets of Spain before the war was out.

Their memory is commemorated by a monument at South Bank, London, next to the Millennium Eye.

They Went Because Their Open Eyes Could See No Other Way.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Need For Change Inside The Political Left.

The fall of the Soviet Union devastated the cause of the left; many now believe that Communism and Socialism are finally broken never to rise to challenge the power of the west again. This has ruined leftist political parties throughout the western world; the current formula for revolution has failed.

The left is now seen as an extremist party, full of hypocrites, hippies, vagrant and spongers off the state. What was once seen as the movement which would lead to the next stage in human development is now seen as an archaic system worthy only of misfits.

How has this image come to be? A large portion of our misrepresentation has come about because of the negative influence of mass media; media owned by the Elites. The evident sympathy for conservative parties because of their leniency towards big business has created a system whereby the left cannot possibly hope to compete in media representation. There is only one daily english socialist newspaper in the whole of the world (The Morning Star) and many millions of capitalist newspapers world-wide.

Knowledge is Power as the old saying goes. Without an objective perspective present in the mass media the left will always be condemed to the role of dangerous or just plain stupid. To change we need to change the media.

However it is not just the media that is at fault. The left is in serious need to change the way it presents itself to the rest of the world. Revolution has always been the method by which Communism has gained power; the world is now too stable for the coup de ta’s of the 20th century, any attempt would result in a catastrophic failure.

We must therefore adjust to the situation of our time, Gone should be the days of protest and rallies over every single detail of our capitalist state policy. We need to readjust our language also, imperialism, fascist, bourgeois, comrade all should be changed; we have been using them for too long. The aim should be words not actions for our current situation; create a respectable party with as much representation in the media as possible. If we build up a credible alternative party our cause will seem more respectable and worthy to the masses.

I believe we are already well on the way to accomplishing this goal.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Push for War Crimes; American Soldiers 'Unlawfully Killed" British Journalist

A inquest on Friday into the death of Terry Lloyd, one of Britain’s most accomplished war correspondent has discovered that U.S soldiers were at serious fault and responsible for the unlawful killing of Terry and his translator, Hussein Othman. There is hope that in the wake of this inquest, the soldiers responsible can be tried for war crimes.

The award winning war correspondent that had covered conflicts in Iraq, Cambodia, Bosnia and Kosovo was killed in March 2003 in southern Iraq as he reported from the front line during the first few days of the U.S.-led invasion.

"It was a despicable, deliberate, vengeful act,"

The ITN television crew passed the American positions in vehicles clearly marked 'press' to report from the frontline. When they came under fire by Iraq vehicles they rushed back to the American defences. The soldiers that had seen the vehicle not five minutes ago opened fire killing translator Hussein Othman and probably French cameraman Fred Nerac, who is still missing.
Terry, who had been shot in the stomach by an Iraqi bullet, was being loaded into a minibus by helpers when an American Soldier shot him in the head.

Louis Charalambous, the Lloyd family's lawyer criticized the U.S Army as " appear[ing] to have allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger-happy cowboys" and urges for the soldiers responsible to be brought before a war crime tribunal. This has received full support by ITN, who will vehemently back any moves to bring those "those responsible for Terry's death to account before a court of law".

The coalition suffered more casualties from American forces than from the entire Iraqi army and the subsequent Insurgents. Their gung-ho attitude has brought about countless deaths of Iraqi civilians, a large portion of which are women and children. These are rarely reported and hardly ever acted upon if no press are present.

What is it about the U.S. armed forces? Ever since the Mai Lai massacre of Vietnam their soldiers and superiors have acted with a complete disregard for the countries they are 'liberating'.


But then everybody knows one American soldier is worth a hundred non-American civilians.

Right?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

North Korea Plans To Test It's Nuclear Weapons.

North Korea continues to plunge onwards with its intention to test its nuclear devices; despite world outcry and disproval from its closest ally China, as well as the United Nations.

North Korea announced its intention to conduct a nuclear weapons test on state television earlier today, explaining that this would increase security in face of US hostility. The two countries have suffered an abysmal and almost meaningless relationship ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953; tensions have heightened in recent years.

Meanwhile China, N. Korea’s closest ally is becoming increasingly infuriated with the countries nuclear ambitions. In a short statement on Wednesday Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao urged restraint from N. Korea:

"We hope that North Korea will exercise necessary calm and restraint over the nuclear test issue,"

China wishes for the dispute to be sorted by diplomacy in the form of the ongoing Six Nations talks; between Russia, China, USA, Japan and the two Koreas aimed at solving N. Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

N. Korea has been avoiding in protest at America’s crackdown on their offshore bank accounts, which the US claims are used for illicit activities and has nothing to do with the six-party process.

The USA wishes for the matter to go to the United Nation Security Council, with sanctions probable, and even possible military action aimed at destroying N. Koreas nuclear capabilities.

N. Korea is believed to have a handful of nuclear bombs, though none have ever been tested. It has however tested its possible delivery systems for such weapons; with the launching of seven missiles in July 2006.

As the tensions mounts, it is more and more likely that Iran will look towards N. Korea to observe how the international community and especially the USA will deal with a hostile nuclear equipped state.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

America Is Outraged; The Rest Of The World Applauds...

There was a mass reaction yesterday as two ‘rogue’ leaders aired their views at the UN. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both come under heavy fire for criticising America on US soil. They received support and their speech's were warmly welcomed from the international community.

This has created further embarrassment to America; there is already talk from the a number of American politicians on pressuring for change in the UN’s forum procedure or even completely withdrawing from the United Nations in the wake of this ‘outrage’. The UN is increasingly being viewed as weak in some circles, for upholding its democratic forum in which every nations has a right to express and explain their views.

The USA is criticizing the UN for allowing what they have been calling ‘mindless thugs’ and ‘tyrannical dictators’ as well as terrorist to air their views to a world audience. Perhaps its is not the fact that they are allowed to to talk, but rather that they are receiving such international support that is angering the US.

One statesmen defiantly stated on FOX news television that if this 'mindless ganging up' of UN members continued the US may be forced to consider 'other alternatives.

Chavez received a ovation by virtually all member states for his speech in which called the US president George Bush the devil.
‘it still smells of sulphur today’ he added brashly

Hugo Chavez in what is viciously being called a ‘PR' stunt has pledged support for impoverished American families today by providing over 45 million litres of home heating oil at a 40% reduction of market price. Supporter and protesters were both visible outside a church in Harlem today, where he made the pledge. Inside he was greeted by chants of “Chavez, Chavez, the people are with you," by over 200 hundred people willing to take up his offer; some had driven 14 hours from alaska to see him.

Venezuela supplies over 1 million barrels of oil a day to America; a fact very much resented by the American right; to need such amounts of oil from a country that so fervently opposes American policy. As much as the USA resents Venezuela, there is a general consensus that Iran, which made it's speech at the UN yesterday, is more of a threat which could jeopardise the US’s oil interests in the middle east.

In recent months Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been heavily pressured to give up its uranium enrichment programme or face heavy sanctions and possible military action. The USA and Israel especially, argue that Iran is intent on making nuclear weapons and has aims to become a regional superpower; there are also fears of a conflict directed against Israel.


Iran however insists that its enrichment will be used solely for civilian purposes and thus is only continuing down a legitimate path of any country that wish to have civilian nuclear power:

“The age of nuclear weapons has ended ... We do not need the bomb”

He announced at the UN in New York today. Uranium enrichment if pursued, would take another 3 years minimum upon reaching civilian grade uranium, to become weapons grade uranium; which would then be used for a nuclear weapon. A Carnegieen Dowment estimates:

“ that Iran is 5-10 years away from the ability to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon”

There is some thought that it could be possible to allow Iran to enrich uranium to civilian levels and intervene only if there is any further enrichment which would indicate a decision to make nuclear bombs, though this is not widely supported.

Venezuela and Iran are prominent members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Currently two thirds of the United Nations states are members NAM. Their support for Chavez and Ahmadinejad has been evident throughout the meeting in New York, to the embarrassment of the US. The USA is a proud country and does not tolerate humiliation readily; it is probable that the UN will come increasingly sever strain to change it forum style to try and stop charismatic leaders like Chavez from influential other countries to oppose American policy.

If this happens it would be the greatest failing of democracy since the death of the League Of Nations. The dream of a united world torn apart and left bleeding to it's death.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dialogue Is The Key...

An upcoming meeting of the United Nations is to be held in New York. One of the main issues of the meeting will be the discussion of what course to take to dissuade Iran from its uranium enrichment activities now that the deadline to stop has been ignored. George Bush is due to make a speech urging the instant application of sanctions, in the hope this will increase pressure to cease its nuclear programme.

It seems George W Bush has not learnt from his father’s mistake in pushing through tough sanctions on Iraq after the first Gulf War. The sanctions of 1991 plunged a country that had been at the forefront of the developing nations into acute poverty; infant mortality rose by a horrifying 160%. These sanctions enforced by the UN under American pressure crippled Iraq in the hope that this would stop any future war occurring against Saddam. It didn't.

Therefore it is with scepticism that one should view these new sanctions; there seems little chance that they will work. If history does indeed repeat itself, another war is in the making. Leading political figures have sided against the USA in opposing sanctions:

"I don't believe in a solution without dialogue," Mr Chirac told Europe-1 radio, urging countries to remove the threat of sanctions against Iran.

Not everyone feels the same way though, a recent FOX report interviewed a prominent human rights campaigner who thought it was a travesty and "the greatest betrayal of democracy" that Iran will be allowed to argue its views at the UN meeting.

One cannot but be amused by this comment; surely allowing everyone regardless of intent a chance to argue their views is the basis of all democracy. If we begin to denounce those who disagree with us, then there is no longer a democracy, there is a dictatorship; next comes war.

Sanctions will not work, war will bring nothing but death; dialogue is the key.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Iran May Suspend It's Nuclear Programme.

Iran has told the European Union that it may suspend it’s uranium enrichment programme to enable talks aimed at resolving the current dispute with the West. Although neither side has confirmed the Iranian offer it is thought that a suspension of the nuclear programme would last roughly two months.

"Iran ... has accepted to talk about the question of suspension.” spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei informed news agencies at a regular news briefing

Over recent weeks increasingly strained relationships have developed between Iran and other international states, especially the USA, as Iranian president President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refuses to back down over Iran’s uranium enrichment activities.

Ahmadinejad claims that the programme is solely for civilian purposes. Legally, a country may enrich its own fuel if it is used solely for civil nuclear power; Tehran argues that is doing just this and thus should be allowed to continue. However critics have fears that Iran has plans for a nuclear weapons programme and will use the uranium enrichment to make atomic bombs.

There is increased dispute within the United Nation as to how to handle Iranian dissidence, especially after Iran ignored a recent UN deadline to call a halt to its nuclear programme. The US is strongly advocating UN sanctions to be imposed immediately. However no immediate action is likely to be taken now that Iran has offered to suspend nuclear activities temporarily. Russia and China, both veto holding member on the security council have stated that they will not support severe punishments.

Yesterday foreign office minister Kim Howells expressed his doubt that punitive sanction would be successful:

"I can't see a military way through this and I'm not sure that even there's an easy way for the U.N. to impose sanctions," he told parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

"It's a very diverse country and I've no doubt it could survive for a very long time and continue doing what it's doing," he added.

If sanctions fail, as they are expected to, military action seems inevitable. If military action does come to light it would probably be spearheaded by Israel and the USA. A ground offensive seems unlikely given the USA’s commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Israels forces being tied up in Lebanon. Most likely, military action will compromise an large air attack aimed at at the systematic destruction of Iranian nuclear targets with the goal of setting back Iran’s nuclear programme 3-5 years.

One report from the influential Oxford Research Group is pessimistic about the successfulness of military action:

"One key response from Iran would be.. to reconstruct a nuclear programme and develop it rapidly into nuclear weapons capability...this would require further attacks....A military action would not, therefore be a short term matter but would set in motion a complex and long lasting confrontation. “

It concluded that
“Military action should be firmly ruled out, and other alternatives sought.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.


Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.