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:: Article nr. 33550 sent on 09-jun-2007 17:02 ECT
The Anglo/American Alliance and Alternatives Part 2
Les Skeates, Outside the Gates
Posted may 21, 2007
The " target="_new">www.outsidethegates.com/content/view/347/">The last essay was incomplete, had been rushed for posting before the Scots Parliamentary, Welsh Assembly and English local authority elections. I think I made it clear that the Labour Party were going to get hammered and could lose control in all. Well they got hammered - not hard to predict really - but didn't quite lose control in all. Nearly, and enough to allow the SNP's Alec Salmond to become Scotland's First Minister and Plaid Cymru seems to be heading for the same in Wales. These were Labour Party heartlands. The liberals lost seats as well in the English local councils, with the Tories gaining. It seems people want a change and in England the Tories are the challengers.
Anyway the essay was ostensibly about the Anglo/American Alliance, but I started to wander and have a go at the mainstream media with its immense influence in reinforcing a culture of low expectation and shallow ambition for our abilities as social beings to improve on what we were or are, on what we can become; that human nature is fixed, is brutish in attitude and action to others, is misanthropic, that we loath and hence fear ourselves. It being better to live believing such nonsense than attempt to disrupt and turn-over this dystopia on the chance of unleashing all the horrors that inhabit the psyches of the demonised-by-media poor. Or that's the impression I get - I don't watch telly, so what do I know.
Something about the British media that became glaringly obvious with the blanket, week long coverage of the Virginia Tech mass murder, is the depth of its selective sympathy for murdered dead. Two days after 33 students and staff died, over 200 people out shopping were blown-up, shredded and mutilated beyond recognition in Baghdad. The Baghdad dead got one days minor headlines on page 10 and not one of those who died were named, compared to the front page and a further 5 pages of short biographies of the Virginia Tech dead and detailed analysis of what happened. This treatment of the story lasted a week, whilst Iraq's outrage to dignity quietly fell off the bottom of the page the next day. www.medialens.org/alerts/07/070502_putting_virginia_tech.php
" target="_blank">Media Lens - again - goes into some depth about this with one of their alerts.
This doesn't only represent an elitist mindset in the mainstream media, a heirarchy of worthy dead, but blatently exposes an institutionalised pro-American bias. We know the Murdoch press is like this, the poisonous marsupial has taken American citizenship for gawd's sake, but the likes of the Guardian? What are these editors thinking of when they throw resources at reporting a mass killing in America and effectively ignore the suffering in Iraq? Is it embarrassment at the Bruegelesque hell that is now Iraq and which they are responsible for helping create when amplifying the Bush/blair warmongering lies? Do they blush in shame when reminded of Iraq? Probably not.
How deep the Anglo/American alliance goes in our society can be seen from the control and use of our nuclear 'assets' and British atomic weapons research. Tridents's platform, the nuclear submarines based at Faslane, are designated NATO who control their deployment and use unless we are directly attacked and NATO is a USA controlled military alliance. In 1997, Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment, was sold to Halliburton. That's right, Cheney, has had his blood soaked hands on Britain's nuclear weapons before he was even appointed Vice-President during the USA Supreme Court coup in Dec 2000. It puts a whole new light on the upgrading of Trident and it amazes me that MPs can still reiterate the bald-faced lie, and expect us to believe that Britain's nuclear weapons are our "independent deterent".
The criminal influence of the USA can be seen from the response by AWE to requests for information on Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation in the atmosphere over Britain following the 'shock and awe' illegal invasion of Iraq. The AWE only released the information after being forced to by Dr Chris Busby and Saoirse Morgan using the Freedom of Information Act. Even then the data for 2003 was withheld until obtained from the Defence Procurement Agency. This is despite the fact AWE had to release the information under law anyway. When the data finally made the public domain in 2006, three years after the invasion of Iraq, it showed why Halliburton were failing to meet their legal obligations for openness. It was discovered that DU radiation over Britain had increased both in 2001 following the use of DU munitions in Afghanistan and again after the 2003 'shock and awe' bombing in Iraq. In the case of Iraq, the DU radiation took 9 days to get here. (Pdf)
Depleted Uranium is the residue after the removal of the isotope uranium-235 from uranium ore for use in nuclear power stations, or after further refining for nuclear weapons. There is a lot of DU and unfortunately it has a property the military adore. It is very dense and when weaponised in tank, artillery and cannon shells can punch through almost anything. When they hit their target and explode the DU is aerosolised, becoming minute particles capable of being suspended in the air and blown to great heights and distances. Its in the dust in Iraq, in the sand and in the soil. Its being inhaled, ingested and absorbed through the skin. As well as being radioactive it is also chemically toxic.
In other words, we are conducting a "nuclear and chemical war" in Iraq and the DU radiation we are spreading around the world has a half life of 4.5 billion years - longer than the expected life time of the solar system! Reports from what is left of Iraq's health system are providing anecdotal evidence that there has been an unprecedented increase in cancers in very young children and multiple cancers in adults which had never been seen before. But the most shocking result of DU contamination is the phenominal rise in foetal deforminity. New born are arriving without eyes, brains or skulls, some have all their intestines outside their bodies or are covered in large tumours. This is now being replicated in the new born of Iraqi veterans when conceived after their return from Iraq. Only view these pictures from the first Gulf war if you have a very strong stomach.
Mining is an exempler of cross share-holdings and directorships that underline the Anglo/American alliance. A wonderful piece of research by David Barouski and carried at Znet goes into great detail about the 2 recent wars in the Congo for control of the mining concessions and the role of mining conglomerates in perpetuating the carnage. From 1996 to 2003, 2 million died. Coltan - for mobile phones, diamonds, casserite - for tin, gold, niobium - for heat resistant alloys, are all present and in high demand and thought more important than the welfare of human beings.
The usual suspects are present in Barouski's article which also exposes the intricate, intimate and international relationship between government and business. Name-checks include; Brian Mulroney - former PM Canada, Lord Powell who sits in the British House of Lords, Bush Snr and the family consigliere James Baker, as well as ex-CIA director Richards Helms. All of the previous names are present and past members of Barricks Gold which is one of the major players in ripping off the people of the Congo. Others include; Anglo-American Corporation, DeBeers, Citibank, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Goldman Sachs and of course the Carlyle Group (rumour has it blair will be joining the board of Carlyle once no longer PM).
blair's lauded concern for Africa has never been translated into taking on the interests directly responsible for the poverty and mass starvation inflicted on that continent.
But that's not all. There are two oil exchanges, oil trading centres, in the world. The New York Metals Exchange, NYMEX, and the London Pertroleum Exchange. Both trade oil in dollars. Now I can understand New York trading in dollars, the last time I checked the city was still geographically located in the land of the greenback. But London? Especially when we've spent many years under successive administrations defending that symbol of our sovereignty, the ú. We even go so far as rejecting joining the Euro.
There are reasons for this of course. One being the relationship between the big American and British oil companies. BP took over Amoco (American Oil Company) in 1988. Although Amoco sold it to its shareholders as a merger there are no Amoco gas stations left in the USA, they've either been replated as BP or closed. Amoco - the company that brought the world such life enhancing innovations as the drive-through filling station and gasoline tanker truck! (The wikipedia entry is a bit of a puff for Amoco but its interesting for the part Standard Oil played in the growth of Amoco prior to BPs involvement)
Shell, like BP operate around the world through joint ventures with other oil companies. The Shell/ExxonMobil joint venture has been exploiting the North Sea oil fields for over 40 years. Shell are also working a joint venture in Nigeria with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Elf, and Agip. Oil, 'Black Tears' was discovered in Nigeria 50 years ago and the oil companies legacy has been one of poverty and the creation of the ghost warriors of MEND .
These oil people are so shamelessly immoral that they now want to turn food stuffs into fuel. (Fidel Castro is now writing for the the internet via Granma). Agribusiness and the petro-chemical industry will love a world of monocultures to feed the car and not the poor.
Which just goes to show that they are typical multinational oil companies. And like most international companies they are in intimate relationships through cross share holdings and joint directorships, with a myriad of companies from all sectors of global business. An example of this can be seen via the recently disgraced ex-head of BP, Lord Browne who was exposed as having lied under oath in court - committed perjury. Browne, beside being CEO of BP was also a member of the board of Goldman Sachs (bank) and has at least a further handful of non-executive directorships with other companies including Apax Partners (private equity investors) and Intel (computers).
These corporations interest is for a global capitalism regulated to their benefit - maximising returns for their owners and shareholders from the expropriation of peoples labour time, which they are legally mandated to do. They will support the power they think can maintain that environment in a time of organic crisis even if it requires the murder of those who would resist such thievery. Presently it is the Anglo/American alliance using their military might to try and impose such a framework. In this scenario Iraq can be seen as the opening gambit to the bigger game of resolving the global crisis in preference of a unipolar capitalism.
The Anglos are very much the lesser partner in this alliance and hence the primary reason London trades oil in dollars is purely for USA geopolitical interests. America's economy only survives because of the infamous petro-dollar which makes the dollar the pre-eminent world currency. One of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq that the corporate media has downplayed was the decision of Saddam to start trading oil in euros. Creating the petro-euro. After the invasion, when Iraqi oil came back on the market it was once again traded in dollars not euros. Once oil starts to be traded in euros the dollar will be weakened and its pre-eminence lost, threatening to bankrupt the American economy as dollar holdings are sold off and the $700 billion in outstanding loans called in by creditor nations and competitors like China. With the present state of the USA economy being one big bubble, it will only take a prick to burst.
Having Britain so supine to USA interests by not joining the euro means we are weakening it as a world currency and keeping the dollar in the pre-eminent position. Economically the European Union is considered a competitor to the USA and any fracture or difference will be exploited by the USA to weaken its unity and Britain is the perfect vehicle for that. Which makes it clear that we, Britain are acting as a wedge of instability within the EU for furthering USA interests. A bit like Israel's role in the Middle East.
When I first titled these two essays 'The Anglo/American Alliance and Alternatives', I was worried about any alternative having relevance, let alone contribute to the break-up of the alliance. Even that the word itself is the wrong choice. The power, apparent solidity and reach of the Anglo/American alliance can seem quite overwhelming and one of the most insidious effects of the mainstream media on peoples thinking is to continually reinforce a feeling of hopelessness in face of such seemingly insurmountable odds. Defeatism is a very powerful weapon and should not be underestimated, but I am firmly of the opinion that most British people know the alliance is not good for us and would respond to some imaginative direct action.
At the beginning of April I wrote a piece titled 'Provocations' which the two following paragraphs are from;
"In Ecuador 5th-9th March 2007, an international gathering of anti-bases activist was held and launched the 'International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases (No Bases)'. Declaration here. The reports from Medea Benjamin and Herbert Docena at Focus on the Global South, of the meeting and their first action at the USA's Eloy Alfaro air base in Manta, Ecuador, are pleasant reminders of the relationship between theory and action. One of the participants in the meetings and action had this to say, "Five years of organizing the World Social Forums and other meetings and weĺre learning."
It seems the imaginings emanating from the World Social Forum are rippling around the world and are more than dreams. Have the ability to be a material force. Hopefully."
Some of this is already happening here and has been for a long time. Since the early 1990s a Quaker inspired group, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases - CAAB, affiliated with Yorkshire CND , has organised regular events at Menwith Hill. The 365 day peace blockade at Faslane, the nuclear submarine base and part of CND's campaign for No Trident Replacement, has been going for 117 days. There is a monthly women's peace camp at Aldermaston.
Unfortunately there are quite a few military bases and these are the only three campaigns directed at them or other installations that I can find. The Faslane blockade is calling on support from CND groups around the country working a rota. A list of some of the USA bases are here and don't be fooled by the RAF designation, they are sites run by the Americans. Of the ten listed, 2 have closed (Greenham and Upper Heyford) and the majority of the rest are in East Anglia. Some of the bases were 'peace-camped' last year, like RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, when the USA was using them to refuel re-armaments flights for Israel during the war on Lebanon.
The USA bases are the most obvious centres for the expression of opposition to the American led denigration of the Iraqi people and the alliance, but there is no sustained presence. Maybe I am being a bit naive but I would have thought the Stop the War Coalition would make the American bases a priority for action and if possible for a permanent presence at them. I am not saying what StWC is doing at present is wrong, far from it. Its just that more needs to be done and summertime is the time for camping!
If there is any problem over religious sensitivities in the anti-war coalition, then why not establish women only camps like at Greenham Common during the early/mid 1980s in opposition to cruise missile deployment. It was a great success as a mobiliser for the peace movement at that time and the idea has travelled the 20 years or so to today and Aldermaston. Or is the peace movement frightened of women in hijab and niqab camping?
Far be it from me to suggest that StWC call for any action that could be deemed illegal so the following few paragraphs are not really directed to the coalition. Honest.
One of the most memorable and quite imaginative industrial actions I was involved in was also in the early 1980s. It was while working for Hackney Council as a driver of a mechanical broom. At the time the Thatcher government was starting to privatise some of the local authority services and the unions were trying to find ways to oppose it. Trades unionists in the London inner city boroughs; Hackney, Lambeth, Camden etc decided that an effective way of fighting back was to create a blockade of the City and West End using council vehicles like refuse trucks.
If you check a road map of London you will find that there are, at the most 10 strategic roundabouts and one-way systems which, if choked with traffic during the morning rush hour, will cause chaos and effectively shut the West End and City. The 10 include Aldgate, Elephant & Castle, Vauxhall Cross, Swiss Cottage, Highbury Corner, Britannia Junction. Hackney's target was the Shoreditch one-way system where three major feeder routes from the north and east meet - the A10 Kingsland Road, Hackney Road and Bethnal Green Road.
Refuse trucks travelling at 2-3mph and five abreast, took 15 minutes to choke the one-way system and have traffic backed up along the A10 Kingsland Rd as far as Tottenham in north London, a distance of 5 miles. The Hackney and Bethnal Green Roads were snarled to standstill, gridlocking north-east London. The chaos took the day to clear. Unfortunately the Hackney council drivers were the only local authority workers to take the action. A pity because we proved the effectiveness of this type of non-violent mass participatory civil disobedience and direct action. You don't need bombs to shut the City. It was in the early years of Thatcherism and the lack of trades union unity, the action not being officially supported, presaged other defeats.
Critical Mass, the cyclists campaign have taken the idea and run with it - so to speak - in their own way and the form of mass poltical activity has crossed the Atlantic.
Some actions are just straight forward humanitarian. A Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen has initiated an appeal to all European hospitals to make room to treat at least one wounded Iraqi child. They are also calling on all European schools to host Iraqi children so they can continue their studies. Details are available here. If it can be done for the children of Chernobyl it can be done for the children of Iraq.
One of the things I was hopeful for as an alternative, was a contest for the Labour Party leadership which could produce a leader able to start the withdrawl from Iraq, as it is the only possible thing which could give Labour a chance of winning the next general election. It didn't happen. No leadership election. Brown will be the new prime minister and as chancellor he bankrolled the war. A bit of a silly hope on my part really, especially considering what I've written about the crisis in political parties and how they are 'not fit for purpose' - that new political formations and instruments have to found which can create the space for the matrix of civil society organisations to start building a new state.
For Henry Wales, aka Prince Harry and third in line to the throne, it has been deemed to dangerous for him to lead his squadron in Iraq. If it is to dangerous for him to be sacrificed in the American led quest to control the Middle East oil spigot, so are the sons and grandsons of every parent in Britain. A point the Ministry of Defence has recognised so is now trying to question the head of the army, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt's decision as being "final". The army know this war of choice is lost and want home before they are broken. Only idiots would disagree.
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