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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 May 2004

And They Call This Liberation

Torture of Iraqi prisoner by US militaryFIRST BUSH and Blair said Iraq was in breach of UN resolutions for not dismantling its weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) - One year after Saddam Hussein was overthrown no WMDs have been found.

Pic: Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq under US and British-led occupation: As under Saddam's regime, the report found that beatings and torture were systematically used by US soldiers.

Next, Bush and Blair said Saddam's secularist regime was harbouring Islamic terrorist groups. 

Now after one year of a US-led occupation the country, according to the Pentagon, is overrun with 'foreign Islamic terrorists'.

Then, when the WMDs couldn't be found and no evidence emerged linking the former regime with al-Qa'ida terrorism, Bush and Blair justified the war and occupation of Iraq by pointing to the removal of Saddam's bestial Baathist regime. But, today, it is the US and British forces who are torturing Iraqi prisoners. The American military are even using the same prison - Abu Ghraib - where Saddam's opponents were tortured and murdered.

In Falluja, the US marines have pulled back from besieging the city - during which time around 1,000 Iraqis were killed - and handed control over to 1,100 former Iraqi soldiers and commanded by Jassim Mohammed Saleh, previously a general in Saddam's notorious Republican Guard!

However, Saleh's 'credentials' have embarrassed the US (he was involved in bloodily suppressing the 1991 Shia uprising against Saddam). The military have now subordinated Saleh to the command of major general Mohammed Latif - a former Iraqi military intelligence officer!

Beatings and torture

ACCORDING TO The New Yorker magazine which obtained a 53-page US military report, as under Saddam's regime, beatings and torture were systematically used by US soldiers.

"Sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" by guards was used to 'soften up' Iraqi prisoners before interrogation involving private contractors hired by the Pentagon.

 The magazine also reports that the shocking photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused and humiliated by US soldiers are mild. Apparently graphic photos of actual torture exist.

Britain's military are also under the spotlight after photographs of similar acts of torture surfaced in the Daily Mirror. 

The military deny such acts and say the photos are fakes. But they can't dismiss the ongoing investigations into ten allegations of beatings, including a murder, in Basra by British forces last year.


No wonder then that the US and its coalition allies are hated in Iraq. Moreover, every Iraqi knows that the so-called 30 June handover to Iraqi civilian rule is a charade. A hand-picked, self-serving clique of returned corrupt Iraqi exiles will act as US stooges.

The US will still control the armed forces, the oil and the economy. Direct elections leading to an independent, democratic Iraq will remain a pipe dream. Multinational corporations will keep profiting from reconstruction contracts, public services will remain near to collapse. Mass unemployment, poverty and violence will blight the lives of most Iraqis for years.

George Bush and his 'lieutenant', Tony Blair, believed that a swift military victory over Saddam would be followed by the establishment of a pro-Western regime. This would enable imperialism to use Iraq as a stepping stone to reconquer the Middle East and guarantee cheap oil to lubricate the world economy. Instead, oil supplies are being targeted by Iraqi insurgents and its price remains relatively high.

Nearly 700 coalition troops have been killed since the official end of the war. That's over 500 more than during the invasion. Thousands of Iraqis have also died - many from coalition fire. Rather than pacifying the population, the actions of coalition forces have generated a new and potent Iraqi nationalism which has bogged down the US and its allies in a political and military quagmire.

The ghost of the Vietnam war now looms larger as each day passes. As Patrick Cockburn in the Independent on Sunday put it: "The tide is going out for the US in Iraq. They were not able to use their military strength against Fallujah and Najaf. They have very little political support outside Kurdistan. They can no longer win. It may be one of the most extraordinary defeats in history."

US Diplomats Attack Bush's Policies

HARD ON the heels of a letter signed by 52 UK diplomats criticising Blair's Middle East policies, comes a similar letter signed by 50 former US diplomats rounding on George Bush's foreign policy.

Both sets of diplomats complained that Bush and Blair's unabashed support for Ariel Sharon's repression of the Palestinians and his West Bank land grab, has irredeemably damaged Western interests in the Arab and Muslim world.

It shows how reactionary Bush and Blair's Middle East policy is that long-serving representatives of Western powers feel moved to rubbish their own president and prime minister.

But for Palestinians it's not worries over diplomatic consequences that trouble them, it's their nightmare conditions of existence in the Gaza strip and the occupied territories.

The daily repression by Israeli Defence Forces, routine assassinations of political leaders, the continuing Israeli settlements and encroachments by the 'security fence' on Palestinian lands and the endemic unemployment and poverty is fuelling anger not only amongst its Palestinian victims but throughout the region.

Undoubtedly this sense of injustice is merging with a growing feeling of oppression amongst Iraqis suffering under the US-led occupation.

Bush and Blair's support for the war criminal Ariel Sharon and their brutal occupation of Iraq, are stoking a wave of anti-imperialism. However, in the absence of genuine democratic workers' parties and organisations, this anti-imperialism is bolstering support for right-wing Islamic terrorist groups who are targeting populations in the West.

18 MAY - Picket Bush Senior!

GEORGE BUSH Senior, the architect of the first Gulf war, is coming to London on 18 May. The warmongering father is here to raise money for his even more bellicose son's re-election campaign. He'll be the main guest at a dinner party hosted by Republicans Abroad where tickets for the event are $1,000 each!

Join the picket of the event (called by Stop the War Coalition),

Tuesday 18 May


Landmark Hotel, 222 Marylebone Rd, London, NW1

(nearest tube Marylebone, Bakerloo Line).
If you'd like to join the protest with ISR please contact us on: 020 8558 7947
ISR, PO BOX 858, London, E11 1YG.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 8 May 2004:

And They Call This Liberation

Socialist Party election campaign

New Labour's Education Crisis

Socialist Councillors: There Aren't Enough Of Them!

Fighting For Decent Homes

Socialist Party campaigns

Campaigning Against Low Pay In The Civil Service

Fighting Victimisation

FBU conference: Time To Break The Link With New Labour

The Winter of Discontent: When Workers Could Take No More

International socialist news and analysis

Strikes in Italy: Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

European Union Constitution - What's It All About?


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