Socialist Worker

Truth, lies, propaganda over war and occupation

Issue No. 1850

WATCHING NEWS at Ten (29 April) revealed blatant distortion by the BBC over the killing of Iraqi civilians in Fallujah by American troops. The BBC suggested US troops fired upon an aggressive protest and that protesters headed for a US 'base' or 'compound'.

This was the town's school, commandeered by the US army and surrounded by razor wire. Local residents were demanding their school back. The BBC failed to mention the word school. This peaceful demonstration consisted of 100 unarmed civilians. They were murdered by trigger-happy invaders.

The BBC should be bombarded with complaints when they distort 'news' in this way. We should also contrast the massive coverage of the suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, whilst ignoring the grotesque treatment every day of the Palestinians.
Andy Coles, Manchester

WHERE ARE the jubilant liberated people of Iraq? Should they not be showering Donald Rumsfeld with flowers? Why did Rumsfeld on his visit to Iraq choose only to address his own troops in barracks rather than the Iraqi masses openly?

As the Ba'athist regime collapsed, support for the 'liberators' should have increased. Instead ordinary Iraqis view US forces as oppressors. The British tried to incite Iraq's Shias to rebel. 'Liberated' Shias are now demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops.

The facade is clear. It was built upon the twin towers of non-existent weapons of mass destruction and 'liberation' by guns and bombs.
Yamin Zakaria, London

THE propaganda used to justify attacking Iraq was blatant. This 'war' was about increasing America's power over world resources, and warning any country that does not allow American interests to take priority.

Blair has allowed America to parasite itself on us, wasting resources that should be spent on public services. Now there are forged documents designed to discredit the anti-war movement - proof the warmongers have no creditable argument.

They know that a majority of the world's population understand it is about American domination.
B Foy, Pembrokeshire

Meeting of note

A MEETING in Twickenham in London last week answered those who suggest the mood against the war on Iraq has evaporated. George Galloway addressed over 200 people, from school students to Iraqi exiles. Galloway was, as usual, fantastic, upbeat and resilient. He tackled the issue of the current occupation and how there has not been any liberation for the Iraqis.

During the contributions from the floor many interesting points were made. Many said we need to resist the occupation, further imperialist wars and capitalism. If we are receiving such an excellent reception in Twickenham, what must everywhere else be like?
Henna Malik, South West London

Use our power to boycott US goods

CORPORATE America rides roughshod over millions who want peace. By threats and bribery it imposes its will on the world's affairs, causing hunger and poverty for billions. There is no government or coalition of governments to match the military or economic might of the US.

But there is a coalition of peace and anti-globalisation movements which has tremendous purchasing power. This could be used against US goods. A call to boycott US goods from drink to meals, from cars to sports wear, would hit corporate America where it hurts.
D Cozens, Swansea

Why demo was a disappointment

AN 11-strong delegation from my Unison branch attended our union's national anti-racist demonstration in Manchester on 26 April. I remember marching with a similar delegation through Tower Hamlets in east London in the mid-1990s. Then tens of thousands of trade unionists were organised by the TUC in protest at the election of a Nazi councillor. The Manchester demo was, by contrast, a huge disappointment. It failed to reflect the commitment to anti-racism in the union.

For weeks the march was advertised simply as a demo promoting harmony, not as a direct challenge to the BNP. Attempts to mobilise were confined to a couple of letters to branches from the general secretary. In the north west the union organised its regional council (delegates' meeting) for the same day. This apparent cynicism towards mobilising is dangerous. It is the job of unions to combat the Nazis, and overcome the disillusion which feeds them.
Brian Butterworth, branch secretary Brent Unison

Marking their cards

AS A correction to the evil 'card set' Donald Rumsfeld has produced, I suggest a pack of real war criminals. The spades would be: Ace, Bush; King, Blair; Queen, Rumsfeld; Jack, Wolfowitz; Ten, Hoon; Nine, Cheney; Eight, Powell; Seven, Straw; Six, Rice; Five, Sharon; Four, Netanyahu; Three, Woolsey; Two, Brooks.

Other points Socialist Worker might remind us of are the thousands left injured and suffering by the US. Also, whatever we say of Saddam Hussein, he kept the oil industry nationalised. It should be kept so, managed by and for Iraqis.
P Hart, South East London

What's behind Nordic peace?

JOHN Molyneux's article 'What Causes Wars?' (Socialist worker, 12 April) was excellent, but had me puzzled on one point. He says that Scandinavia has 'lived for long periods in peace', yet these nations exist under capitalism which 'has within it a built-in tendency to war'. I'd be interested to have an explanation for the Scandinavian nations' lack of involvement with wars.
Dave Taylor, Hampshire

Worries over selling drugs

ASDA HAS always struck me as a 'conscientious' retail outlet. However, I have complained at Skelmersdale ASDA, and faxed them and their head office about tablets like Ibuprofen attractively and brightly packaged within easy child reach.

These boxes of medicine are not sealed properly and allow virtually instant access to potentially dangerous pills. If video tapes can be sealed with tough outer plastic, then so can medicine.
Dr David MacDonald, Leigh

US learning from Ireland

BRITISH generals boast that the experience of Northern Ireland is helping in operations in Iraq. The US has certainly been studying British methods in Ireland. Last week US occupation forces in Iraq on one day shot 14 people dead after firing on unarmed civilians.

On Bloody Sunday in 1972 British paratroopers in Derry, Northern Ireland, also shot at unarmed civilians, and 14 people died after being shot.
Simon Donnelly, South London

Foreigners in Palestine

THE MEDIA went into a frenzy because the two suicide bombers in Israel last week had foreign passports, in this case British. They never mention the Israeli settlers who were born and bred in countries like the US, and who have stolen Palestinian land and homes, and who every day kill Palestinians.
Christine Johnson, Manchester

Sheffield says back Galloway

THE SHEFFIELD Stop the War Coalition unequivocally supports George Galloway in the face of an intense propaganda attack against him by the Daily Telegraph. We see this whole exercise as an unscrupulous attempt to malign the Scottish anti-war MP and to sow the seeds of disillusionment within the ranks of the wider peace movement, of which Mr Galloway has been a vocal and relentless supporter.
Satish Sachdeva and Phil Turner, Sheffield

Debate the foundations

WE NEED a more public debate on the issue of foundation hospitals. Mr Blair has hijacked popular support for nurses to obscure the reality of these moves.

For a number of years nurses' leaders and organisations have been incorporated into the system. The result? Falling patient care and demoralisation. We need to support those Members of Parliament opposed to these new foundation hospitals. We need to encourage a degree of public action.
Patrick Cooper-Duffy, Southampton

Some lessons from history

IN THE present din of local politics and noisy politicians, let history speak for just one quiet moment. In 1953, 'Out of an electorate of 2,407, 1,402 people voted - 58.25 percent' (a Crawley paper). In 2003 77 percent of Crawley's electorate did NOT vote.

Why? In 1953 the people (especially young people) looked forward to a better world after two bloody world wars. In 1953 the people (especially young people) believed their vote made a difference.

In 2003 the people (especially young people) do NOT look forward to a better world, after a bloody 20th century. In 2003 the people (especially young people) do NOT believe their vote makes a difference. Who is responsible?
Richard W Symonds, Crawley

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Sat 10 May 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1850
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