Socialist Worker

In Brief - Post Office, Marxism, CIA and Iraq

Issue No. 1904

They only want to post a profit

ROYAL MAIL is making a profit again-but only by destroying the service. The organisation boasted a £105 million profit last week. At the same time it was condemned for failing to meet all its 15 targets.

Now there are fears that the Post Office is heading for privatisation. Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton is rumoured to be preparing a deal to bring in billions of pounds of private cash and expensive bank loans. There is widespread opposition to the wholesale privatisation of Royal Mail. Even Margaret Thatcher balked at the move.


Teachers' action over pensions

THE LARGEST teachers' union has taken an important step towards action over the threat to public sector workers' pensions. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) pensions committee has decided to seek support from other public sector unions for joint industrial action.

The union is also urging the TUC, which has called a demonstration over pensions on 19 June, to call a national day of action, including a workday lobby of parliament.

Significantly, the NUT is to ballot in the autumn term for a day of action over pensions even if other unions do not. The move comes after a highly successful indicative ballot held by the NUT in Bolton for a strike on 10 September over the raising of teachers' retirement age.

Barry Conway, secretary of Bolton NUT, says, "We are encouraging other local NUT associations to do what we have done. "It has already had the effect of helping to firm up the national position. We are also coordinating with other unions locally to build support for the TUC demonstration and for further actions."

  • Pay up for pensions-assemble 12 noon, Saturday 19 June, Embankment, central London (Temple tube)


    In Brief

    UN gives cover for CIA stooge

    THE US has imposed a Ayad Allawi as the new prime minister of Iraq. He is head of the US-appointed Iraqi National Council, which is widely reviled as a puppet of US foreign policy. The UN was supposed to be finding a replacement for the council to take over after 30 June. But the UN special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, was sidelined. He was not even in the room when the decision to appoint Allawi was made.

    The White House attempted to quell the outcry caused by Allawi's appointment by saying he had emerged as "the popular candidate". White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said Allawi "appears to have broad support among the Iraqi people".

    In fact, Allawi is the least popular of 17 prominent Iraqi politicians monitored by the Iraqi Centre for Research and Studies. Allawi is a CIA stooge who has lied and bribed his way to power. His aide Nick Theros was directly responsible for the spurious claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. Theros now admits this was a "crock of shit".


    No apologies from this lot

    FORMER MIRROR editor Piers Morgan was sacked for a slip-up in the paper's coverage of torture in Iraq. So what about:

    Veronica Wadley, editor of the Evening Standard. Its front page after the release of Tony Blair's September 2002 dodgy dossier was "45 Minutes From Attack". As the dossier neared publication Blair's chief of staff sent spin doctor Alastair Campbell an e-mail asking, "What will be the headline on the Standard on the day of publication?"

    Rebekah Wade, editor of the Sun. Murdoch's rag ran the headline, "He's Got 'Em... Let's Get Him" the day after the dossier was published. The paper reported on page four, "British servicemen and tourists in Cyprus could be annihilated by germ warfare missiles launched by Iraq, it was revealed yesterday. They could thud into the Mediterranean island within 45 MINUTES of tyrant Saddam Hussein ordering an attack."


    Rumsfeld set up torture scheme

    US DEFENCE secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally authorised the expansion of a secret programme that led to US torture of prisoners, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has discovered.

    The programme encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation to obtain information. It was known to George Bush and less than 200 other people and took place at a number of CIA stations around the world. One former intelligence officer says the programme was governed by the rules, "Grab who you must. Do what you want."

    Rumsfeld set up the secret operation after 11 September. Stephen Cambone, Rumsfeld's undersecretary for intelligence, applied the programme to Iraq. "They weren't getting anything substantive from the detainees in Iraq," a former intelligence official told Hersh.

    Oil companies will rake it in on the forecourt, but higher prices will push the poorest people, such as these women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, further into poverty


    Marxism 2004

    A LEADING anti-war and anti-capitalist activist from Spain is now speaking at Marxism 2004. Angeles Maestro from the Madrid Anti-Capitalist Platform will be joining discussions on the future of the anti-war movement and of the anti-capitalist movement.

    These are just two of over 250 meetings taking place at Marxism. Michael Albert will be introducing two discussions on the subject of his book Parecon: Life after Capitalism.

    Gareth Peirce represents people locked up in Belmarsh prison without trial. She will be introducing a discussion on "Labour and the Attack on Civil Liberties". Walden Bello from Focus on the Global South will be taking part in the opening rally and asking "Can Trade be Fair?"

    Socialist Worker editor Chris Harman will be discussing "Is Revolution Possible in the 21st Century?" You can order timetables for your friends, workmates and campaigners-phone 020 7538 2707 or go to the website www.marxism2004.net


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    News
    Sat 5 Jun 2004, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1904
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