The mainstream media is usually keen on opinion polls, yet it curiously overlooked the results of a survey by the ORB agency last week.They asked 1,461 Iraqis how many household members had died as a result of the conflict since the 2003 invasion.
The results suggest there have been over 1.2 million such deaths in Iraq. This figure tallies with evidence published in the Lancet medical journal in October last year. The Lancet team estimated Iraqi deaths at over 650,000 – a figure that is now likely to have risen to over a million.
The newspapers and politicians who cheered the drive to war in Iraq would prefer to ignore evidence of the mass slaughter they unleashed.
But even they know that the situation in Iraq is desperate. That’s why there has been a rash of calls to bomb Iran of late – notably from French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner.
The neocons want to get out of a hole by escalating the war still further. It is the anti-war movement’s responsibility to prevent any such escalation – and to counter the lies about Iran with the truth about Iraq.
Labour party conference
Goodbye to last vestige of party democracy
Gordon Brown wants to neuter the remaining ability of the Labour Party conference to influence government policy. He is proposing that the conference can only refer its “views” to ministers and the National Policy Forum – which meets behind closed doors.
Not content with ignoring embarrassing conference decisions, Brown now wants to remove any vestige of the notion that conference should be the supreme policy maker in the party.
This is creating a debate among those who have argued it was possible to “reclaim” Labour for the left. Despite being outside Labour’s ranks, the Communist Party of Britain was a staunch defender of this “reclaim Labour” position.
Last week the party’s general secretary Rob Griffiths wrote in the Morning Star newspaper that if the labour movement “cannot or will not reclaim the Labour Party from the privatisers, the warmongers and the Thatcher fans, it will have to re-establish one”.
He concluded: “Does our movement have the leadership and vision to fulfil such a historic responsibility?” Respect supporters should pose this question across the labour movement.
Climate change is no excuse for GM crops
The government and multinationals want to use people’s legitimate concerns over climate change to steamroll through the reintroduction of genetically modified (GM) crops.
A public outcry over the safety of GM and against corporate plans to dominate the food industry meant that the first attempt to bring such crops into Britain was halted in 2004.
But now New Labour wants to start growing GM crops in Britain to produce biofuels. A government insider told the Guardian, “GM will come back to Britain. The question is how it comes back, not whether it’s coming back.”
Just as with nuclear power, the government is misusing concern over climate change as an excuse to push through measures that will harm the planet and the poor.