Socialist Worker

The super-rich who think war is a game

Issue No. 1848

JAPANESE electronics giant Sony has patented the term 'shock and awe' for a computer game. Sony registered the term with the US patent office just one day into the war. It wants to use it for computer and video games, as well as broadband games played over the internet by Sony PlayStation users.

The sick Sony game is just one of many attempts to cash in on killing. The US is set to be flooded with goods ranging from T-shirts, toys, board games, sunglasses, mugs and fireworks branded with slogans such as 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' and 'Battle of Baghdad'.

A British company, SCi Games, has registered the title of a computer game called Conflict Desert Storm II: Back to Baghdad. Anyone remember all those criticisms about Arabs teaching their children to glorify death?


ONE GROUP of people unruffled by war in Iraq is the Iranian elite who left the country when the Shah was overthrown in 1979. As half a million people demonstrated in Hyde Park on the Saturday after war started, across Park Lane at the Grosvenor House Hotel super-rich Iranians were gathering for a £140 a ticket gala ball.

Among them was David Khalili, the third richest man in Britain. 'We would never let a protest ruin a party,' one Iranian socialite remarked. 'We were brought up on demonstrations in Tehran - people were always being killed on the streets.'


In the Frame - No. 7 William Kristol

KRISTOL IS a key figure in the Project for the New American Century and architect of the Bush doctrine.

He uses his magazine the Weekly Standard to promote his hard right views. His magazine only survives thanks to a massive subsidy from Rupert Murdoch. Kristol regularly graces the schedules of Murdoch's Fox TV station.


A very sticky privatisation

TUBE sell-offs came unstuck on London Underground two weekends ago. Central Line tube trains were taken out of service in January following a near disaster. The grand reopening lasted for just two hours.

Dust fell from the walls of Tottenham Court Road station when it was cleaned by private company Tube Line. The dust stuck to glue on the track, which is maintained by a second company, Metronet.

The glue was left after posters were put up by a third company, London Underground. The dust heated up when trains began running triggering a fire alert in the rush hour.


Auntie can't add up

THE BBC's Six O'Clock News reported the gathering in Baghdad as US soldiers pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein on 9 April as: 'A momentous event', 'a witness to history', 'a day of extraordinary drama and historic images'. Here's how the BBC's Newsnight responded when two million people took to the streets of London on 15 February:

'The people have spoken. Or have they? What about the millions who didn't march?'


Israel's killing zones

ISRAEL'S TOP court has authorised the use of tank shells designed to rip crowds of people apart. These Flechette shells were sold to Israel by the US. Israel's supreme court decided that the weapons are compatible with the Geneva Convention.


Donald ducks any scrutiny

SUPER-HAWK Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, is using the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war to grant himself even greater powers. He wants to be free to launch further attacks. On Monday of last week he submitted a sweeping proposal to the US Congress. The proposals were titled 'Defence Transformation for the 21st Century Act'. The 204-page document presents a shopping list of demands.

Among these are plans to make it easier for Rumsfeld to spend more on the Son of Star Wars missile project, without being overseen even by Congressmen and Senators. He also wants to end the requirement for the defence department to periodically report to Congress over a range of issues.

The plan calls for keeping the uniformed strength of US forces at 1.5 million people, but also franchising out 300,000 support jobs to corporate contracting firms. Presumably they will be the same contractors that are sniffing around Iraq and until recently kept much of the Bush gang on their payrolls.


US dropped poison

THE US army used far more chemical and biological weapons during the Vietnam War than it admitted at the time. Between 1961 and 1971 weapons of mass defoliation were dropped on Vietnam to destroy food and shelter.

A new scientific study published in the magazine Nature last week showed an extra seven million litres of weapons like Agent Orange were sprayed on Vietnam. Jeanne Stellman of Columbia University, New York, said, 'The government position had always been that it was impossible to do a study because military records weren't any good.'

Stellman's report unearthed lots of material that had been classed as top secret in all earlier investigations. Her report says, 'Large numbers of Vietnamese civilians appear to have been directly exposed to herbicidal agents.'

And the study goes on, 'Other analyses carried out by us show large numbers of American troops were also directly exposed.' Campaigners have long argued that horrific deformities still being found among Vietnamese children were caused by US weapons.


Figure it out

£60 thousand - THE AMOUNT prison authorities tried to charge for 'board and lodging' to Vincent and Michael Hickey, wrongly imprisoned for 20 years for the murder of Carl Bridgewater


Who says?

'He was born with a golden plate in his mouth, so he is not hungry.'
Amir Hussein, school friend of Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon choice to run Iraq

'It's clearly a budget - it's got lots of numbers in it.'
George Bush, on his budget

'The denial of economic reality that permeated Wall Street a few years ago has now migrated to Washington. Denial has become a ritual at the White House. What cloud are they on?'
Jeff Madrick, economics professor and New York Times columnist on Bush's budget

'Receiving the MBE was one of the proudest moments of my life - but I'm more sorry about the war.'
Liz Nunn, MBE-winning charity worker who returned her award in protest at the war

'What was so moving, so deeply heartening, was that you totally understood the nature of Iraq and her people.'
Prince Charles, congratulates Colonel Tim Collins on his speech to British troops just before they took Basra

'They said the UN inspectors were bumbling idiots and can't find anything. Now these guys are looking like bumbling idiots that can't find anything.'
David Albright, former UN weapons inspector


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 26 Apr 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1848
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