Our Say

After G8 and the London bombings - the way forward

London terror attacks condemned

After Live 8:
from pressure to action

The G8 summit and political power

Make the G8 leaders history

A sham election

10 good reasons to boycott May 5

Don't be blackmailed into voting

Reject ‘dependency’ politics

No votes for New Labour!

Parliament seals its own fate

A secret policeman's government

Vote for "none of the above"

How to remember the victims of the tsunami

A state of crisis

New Labour and the big lie

Yasser Arafat - a revolutionary life

After the US election

Blood on New Labour's hands

Butler and weapons of mass deception

With 'leaders' like these, who needs enemies?

How to meet the threat from the right

Barbarians at the gate

Torture, values and lies

The silence of the lambs

War crimes in Iraq

The slaughter in Madrid

The unfinished business of the miners’ strike 1984-85

L’état – c’est New Labour

The death of liberal democracy foretold

Hutton washes the state whiter than white

Top-up fees and the market economy

Our challenge for 2004

New Labour's march to a police state

Bush & Blair - partners in crime

London Region revolts against FBU leaders

Postal workers in the front line

No turning back

Where we go from here

Stop the War Coalition leaders and political fabrication

Regime change begins at home

Blood on New Labour's hands

There's more involved than just Blair

New Labour, lies and spies

Firefighters should reject deal and disown leaders

BECTU vote on New Labour link a step forward

Time runs out for FBU leaders

New Labour's one-party state

The blind alley of crude anti-Americanism

Occupation of Iraq - time to move beyond protest

War is a test for principles

Iraqi defiance shocks and awes

FBU leaders who backed capitulation should resign now

Down with New Labour's war - for regime change in Britain

FBU at war with New Labour

New Labour, not just Blair, is the target

50 years since the death of Stalin - an assessment

FBU finds itself in Precott's trap

War is Peace - Blair's fictitious 'push for peace'

15/2: Global marches put power on the agenda

Crisis of globalisation behind attack on Iraq

Tell it how it is

An injury to one is an injury to all

War plans expose fraudulent 'democracy'

A 'regime change' in Britain is the answer to war on Iraq

FBU needs a new strategy

Challenging New Labour

A moment of truth in the fight against New Labour

Gilchrist says it how it is

Time to defy the anti-union laws in support of the FBU

FBU must ask for solidarity strikes

FBU leaders must ask for support now

New Labour provokes confrontation

Italian police attack No-Global movement

New Labour declares war on FBU

Don't let the FBU fight alone

UN writes a blank cheque for war

Blood on Putin's hands

Unions must support firefighters with action not words

Support the firefighters - defeat New Labour

Bush-Blair war agenda revealed

Seeing through New Labour's weapons of mass deception

The US media and the new garrison state

The BEGINNING of Politics

How technology could
free humanity

'Terminator' engineering: A threat to humanity

The future is socialist

Asylum legislation fuels racist attacks

Road map to the future

E-mail to hear about site changes, placing 'update' in body of message



Torture, values and lies

When the American and British governments declare that the systematic torture of Iraqi detainees is contrary to "our values" and is the work of a few rogue elements among the military, they only add another layer to the mountain of lies and hypocrisy that have accompanied their illegal war and occupation.

The torture at Abu Ghraib and other centres was systematic and began almost as soon as the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown. This is clear from the Red Cross reports that have now become public. That being the case, it is inconceivable this organised torture was the work of a few elements. There was a chain of command that stretches all the way up to the Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld.

In any case, the techniques used are commonplace in both the US and British military and are taught to members of the so-called special services. Abu Ghraib is no exception but part of a long history of brutality. In Vietnam, US forces tortured and killed thousands of prisoners. They threw Vietnamese fighters out of helicopters and kept them in cages. US "specialists" have trained torturers and death squads throughout Central and South America. Systematic torture and assassinations by British forces were commonplace in the north of Ireland.

In Iraq, the torturers have taken their cue from the racist regimes that sent them in the first place. Barely distinguished from the Crusades of the Middle Ages in ideology, the armies were supposedly on a mission to "civilise" an inferior people (never mind that their civilisation predates Europe and North America by many centuries). The same civilising missions were carried out against native Indians in the US and colonial peoples under the British empire and are the social roots of racism today. Add to all this that American troops were given the lie that the Iraqis were behind the September 11 attacks and it is not difficult to see how torture of detainees becomes commonplace.

The political crisis in Washington that has resulted from the publication of photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib expresses a number of deeper currents. Firstly, the invasion of Iraq on the basis of inventions about "weapons of mass destruction" met resistance as soon as it became clear to Iraqis that the objective was not limited to removing Saddam's regime. The US-British plan was and is to install a client regime that will privatise Iraq's economy, especially oil, and open up the country to the global capitalist market in trade and investment. That has sparked off a justified national resistance to foreign occupation. This shook the Americans especially, resulting in the widespread use of torture to try and break the resistance.

Secondly, it is not possible to hide for ever the venality of the George W. Bush presidency from the American people, who are beginning to realise the systematic lying and corruption at the heart of the White House. The democratic ideals and values ordinary Americans aspire to stand in stark contrast to the nature of the Bush regime. The Pentagon knew about the torture six months ago and conducted a massive cover-up. This is the principal reason why Congress is angry. It was kept in the dark despite voting through countless billions for the war. In effect, Rumsfeld and the military had conducted a putative coup against both Congress and the White House under the cover of the spurious "war on terror".

In Britain too, the "values" promoted by Blair and the New Labour regime are not shared by the majority of the population. They opposed the invasion and are angered by the deceptions, half-truths and state propaganda over the issue of WMD. Just as in the US, the British government bases itself on the power of the corporations and the spy agencies. In fact, New Labour and the spooks are virtually indistinguishable from each other. John Scarlett, who as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee sanctioned the infamous WMD dossier, was characterised as "my mate" by Alistair Campbell when he was Blair's spokesman. Scarlett's reward for total loyalty to Blair is to be made the new head of MI6.

The political crisis in Washington and London, driven on by the impossible task of trying to run Iraq through a combination of stooges and armed force, is testimony to the weakness of the Bush/Blair regimes. What seemed all-powerful and all-conquering to those bemused by the appearance of things, in fact has feet of clay. Corporate-led globalisation has resulted in economies based on intense exploitation, immense amounts of credit and wholesale ecological abuse. It has also undermined the legitimacy and authority of governments and traditional parties which defend the status quo. Working for regime change in Washington and London, with the aim of creating a truly democratic society based on economic co-operation, popular ownership and control, is the way to give our values real meaning.

Movement for a Socialist Future
10 May 2004