Robert Fisk: The shaming of America

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who’d been tortured and you’d be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or “collateral damage”, or a simple phrase: “We have nothing on that.”

Of course, we all knew they always did have something. And yesterday’s ocean of military memos proves it yet again. Al-Jazeera has gone to extraordinary lengths to track down the actual Iraqi families whose men and women are recorded as being wasted at US checkpoints – I’ve identified one because I reported it in 2004, the bullet-smashed car, the two dead journalists, even the name of the local US captain – and it was The Independent on Sunday that first alerted the world to the hordes of indisciplined gunmen being flown to Baghdad to protect diplomats and generals. These mercenaries, who murdered their way around the cities of Iraq, abused me when I told them I was writing about them way back in 2003.

It’s always tempting to avoid a story by saying “nothing new”. The “old story” idea is used by governments to dampen journalistic interest as it can be used by us to cover journalistic idleness. And it’s true that reporters have seen some of this stuff before. The “evidence” of Iranian involvement in bomb-making in southern Iraq was farmed out to The New York Times’s Michael Gordon by the Pentagon in February 2007. The raw material, which we can now read, is far more doubtful than the Pentagon-peddled version. Iranian military material was still lying around all over Iraq from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and most of the attacks on Americans were at that stage carried out by Sunni insurgents. The reports suggesting that Syria allowed insurgents to pass through their territory, by the way, are correct. I have spoken to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers whose sons made their way to Iraq from Lebanon via the Lebanese village of Majdal Aanjar and then via the northern Syrian city of Aleppo to attack the Americans.

But, written in bleak militarese as it may be, here is the evidence of America’s shame. This is material that can be used by lawyers in courts. If 66,081 – I loved the “81” bit – is the highest American figure available for dead civilians, then the real civilian mortality score is infinitely higher since this records only those civilians the Americans knew of. Some of them were brought to the Baghdad mortuary in my presence, and it was the senior official there who told me that the Iraqi ministry of health had banned doctors from performing any post-mortems on dead civilians brought in by American troops. Now why should that be? Because some had been tortured to death by Iraqis working for the Americans? Did this hook up with the 1,300 independent US reports of torture in Iraqi police stations?

The Americans scored no better last time round. In Kuwait, US troops could hear Palestinians being tortured by Kuwaitis in police stations after the liberation of the city from Saddam Hussein’s legions in 1991. A member of the Kuwaiti royal family was involved in the torture. US forces did not intervene. They just complained to the royal family. Soldiers are always being told not to intervene. After all, what was Lieutenant Avi Grabovsky of the Israeli army told when he reported to his officer in September 1982 that Israel’s Phalangist allies had just murdered some women and children? “We know, it’s not to our liking, and don’t interfere,” Grabovsky was told by his battalion commander. This was during the Sabra and Chatila refugee camp massacre.

The quotation comes from Israel’s 1983 Kahan commission report – heaven knows what we could read if WikiLeaks got its hands on the barrels of military files in the Israeli defence ministry (or the Syrian version, for that matter). But, of course, back in those days, we didn’t know how to use a computer, let alone how to write on it. And that, of course, is one of the important lessons of the whole WikiLeaks phenomenon.

Back in the First World War or the Second World War or Vietnam, you wrote your military reports on paper. They may have been typed in triplicate but you could number your copies, trace any spy and prevent the leaks. The Pentagon Papers was actually written on paper. You needed to find a mole to get them. But paper could always be destroyed, weeded, trashed, all copies destroyed. At the end of the 1914-18 war, for example, a British second lieutenant shot a Chinese man after Chinese workers had looted a French military train. The Chinese man had pulled a knife on the soldier. But during the 1930s, the British soldier’s file was “weeded” three times and so no trace of the incident survives. A faint ghost of it remains only in a regimental war diary which records Chinese involvement in the looting of “French provision trains”. The only reason I know of the killing is that my father was the British lieutenant and told me the story before he died. No WikiLeaks then.

But I do suspect this massive hoard of material from the Iraq war has serious implications for journalists as well as armies. What is the future of the Seymour Hershes and the old-style investigative journalism that The Sunday Times used to practise? What is the point of sending teams of reporters to examine war crimes and meet military “deep throats”, if almost half a million secret military documents are going to float up in front of you on a screen?

We still haven’t got to the bottom of the WikiLeaks story, and I rather suspect that there are more than just a few US soldiers involved in this latest revelation. Who knows if it doesn’t go close to the top? In its investigations, for example, al-Jazeera found an extract from a run-of-the-mill Pentagon press conference in November 2005. Peter Pace, the uninspiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is briefing journalists on how soldiers should react to the cruel treatment of prisoners, pointing out proudly that an American soldier’s duty is to intervene if he sees evidence of torture. Then the camera moves to the far more sinister figure of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who suddenly interrupts – almost in a mutter, and to Pace’s consternation – “I don’t think you mean they (American soldiers) have an obligation to physically stop it. It’s to report it.”

The significance of this remark – cryptically sadistic in its way – was lost on the journos, of course. But the secret Frago 242 memo now makes much more sense of the press conference. Presumably sent by General Ricardo Sanchez, this is the instruction that tells soldiers: “Provided the initial report confirms US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted unless directed by HHQ [Higher Headquarters].” Abu Ghraib happened under Sanchez’s watch in Iraq. It was also Sanchez, by the way, who couldn’t explain to me at a press conference why his troops had killed Saddam’s sons in a gun battle in Mosul rather than capture them.

So Sanchez’s message, it seems, must have had Rumsfeld’s imprimatur. And so General David Petraeus – widely loved by the US press corps – was presumably responsible for the dramatic increase in US air strikes over two years; 229 bombing attacks in Iraq in 2006, but 1,447 in 2007. Interestingly enough, US air strikes in Afghanistan have risen by 172 per cent since Petraeus took over there. Which makes it all the more astonishing that the Pentagon is now bleating that WikiLeaks may have blood on its hands. The Pentagon has been covered in blood since the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, and for an institution that ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 – wasn’t that civilian death toll more than 66,000 by their own count, out of a total of 109,000 recorded? – to claim that WikiLeaks is culpable of homicide is preposterous.

The truth, of course, is that if this vast treasury of secret reports had proved that the body count was much lower than trumpeted by the press, that US soldiers never tolerated Iraqi police torture, rarely shot civilians at checkpoints and always brought killer mercenaries to account, US generals would be handing these files out to journalists free of charge on the steps of the Pentagon. They are furious not because secrecy has been breached, or because blood may be spilt, but because they have been caught out telling the lies we always knew they told.

US official documents detail extraordinary scale of wrongdoing

WikiLeaks yesterday released on its website some 391,832 US military messages documenting actions and reports in Iraq over the period 2004-2009. Here are the main points:

Prisoners abused, raped and murdered

Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. Since these are itemised in US reports, American authorities now face accusations of failing to investigate them. UN leaders and campaigners are calling for an official investigation.

Civilian death toll cover-up

Coalition leaders have always said “we don’t do death tolls”, but the documents reveal many deaths were logged. Respected British group Iraq Body Count says that, after preliminary examination of a sample of the documents, there are an estimated 15,000 extra civilian deaths, raising their total to 122,000.

The shooting of men trying to surrender

In February 2007, an Apache helicopter killed two Iraqis, suspected of firing mortars, as they tried to surrender. A military lawyer is quoted as saying: “They cannot surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets.”

Private security firm abuses

Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism says it found documents detailing new cases of alleged wrongful killings of civilians involving Blackwater, since renamed Xe Services. Despite this, Xe retains extensive US contracts in Afghanistan.

Al-Qa’ida’s use of children and “mentally handicapped” for bombing

A teenage boy with Down’s syndrome who killed six and injured 34 in a suicide attack in Diyala was said to be an example of an ongoing al-Qa’ida strategy to recruit those with learning difficulties. A doctor is alleged to have sold a list of female patients with learning difficulties to insurgents.

Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints

Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents.

Iranian influence

Reports detail US concerns that Iranian agents had trained, armed and directed militants in Iraq. In one document, the US military warns a militia commander believed to be behind the deaths of US troops and kidnapping of Iraqi officials was trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Robert Fisk

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Policing report Brussels No Borders Camp 2010.

This report was written for Fitwatch by a no borders activist.

This report is a basic document gathered from direct witnesses, anecdotal evidence, footage, legal documents and statements after the incidents. It is no way entirely comprehensive or representative of everything that happened at the Camp and during the week. Anonymity is ensured. The report has been organised under these main headings which should cover all the points and incidents.

1) Pre-emptive Arrests
2) Undercover Policing+Intelligence
3) a) Brutality (demonstrations)
b) Brutality (detention)
4) Sexual Violence
5) Resistance

The Brussels No Border Camp (NBX) was organised as a week of actions, workshops, discussions and a space to come together against the (anti) migration policy of the European Union. It was a platform for groups and individuals to organise and share information as well as participate in actions against various targets, ranging from private companies to EU buildings.

Pre-emptive Arrests

It seemed that the Police in Belgium had learnt a lot about preventing protests and disorder from the Danish Police. Those of us who had been in Copenhagen felt the despairing feeling of a waste of time in Police detention. The policy of mass arrests began on the Wednesday the 29th. This was the day of the anti-austerity demonstrations in Europe. Tens of thousands of Trade Unionists from all over Europe including France, Spain and Poland descended on Brussels. The No Borders were invited to join in solidarity and people decided to go as an Anti-Capitalist Black Bloc. But the cops had other ideas and arrested around 300 people before they arrived at the demonstration. Anyone who looked like a NB activist was spotted and detained. The law of Administrative arrest in Belgium is that it is legal to detain people for 12 hours without them having committed any crime, only that they might in the future. This continued on the 1st with the evening ‘illegal’ demonstration called by a Brussels Anarchist group against the Police and Authority. Around 100 people were rounded up again and arrested, with the Police having banned all groups of over 5 people around the train station. Plastic handcuffs and the strange V-sitting position made infamous in Copenhagen were used.

“we were simply getting onto a bus when an undercover police car drove in front of the bus and stopped it. They got onto the bus and took us out, they refused to identify themselves and when one activist demanded to see his ID the officer pointed a can of CS into his face and screamed that that was his ID. They did not tell us why we were under arrest but instead cuffed us and dragged us away”

The policy extended not only to demonstrations but also to any activists walking around in the city at any time of day for any reason. The author witnessed several groups of people who were walking around the shopping area being chased, thrown to the floor and arrested. The Belgian Police used this ability of pre-emptive arrests to break people and destroy demonstrations, to great affect. Many people were too exhausted by the ordeals that they didn’t go on subsequent demonstrations.

Undercover and Intelligence

The use of undercover police was prolific during the camp. Every demonstration contained significant numbers of undercovers. They used video cameras to gather intelligence on specific activists or incidents. They were used to break up demonstrations and would identify during riots with orange armbands, but they would also simply attack people and were incredibly violent. They were noticed all around the city for the whole week and some were noticed in the camp itself, although they were quickly driven out. On the demonstration on the 29th they were used to splinter, attack and disperse the anti-capitalist bloc. They used batons and CS spray to arrest 50 activists, working with the highly visible riot cops. It was highly demoralising to people that the person standing next to them could just attack them when they got the order.

The intelligence gathering during the week was covert and effective. Many undercovers would roam the streets around the camp and direct visible police to any NB street presence. They were able to gain information on peoples whereabouts and their description without overt surveillance:

One group of German activists decided to attend the demonstration on the 29th. They dressed in civilian clothes and joined a 30 strong group of students who were walking in the direction of the demonstration. Within five minutes the police arrived and handpicked the five German activists out the group of 35 people.

The author witnessed several rubbish collectors giving information to the undercover police as to the whereabouts of NB activists. Other activists witnessed similar levels of civilian collaboration.

Intelligence gathering on demonstrations was also used. People would only be let out of kettles once they had been photographed. Activists had photos used against them in detention as proof of crimes. Forcible photographing was also used in detention with many people being beaten and seriously injured until they were photographed.

The suspicion of cross-border collaboration was confirmed when a prominent French activist working with Calais Migrant Solidarity (a sister group to No Borders providing practical solidarity along the Northern French Coast) was taken from his cell and interviewed by the head of Northern France’s undercover police. The activist in question refused to answer his questions and was put back in his cell.

Brutality (demonstrations)

The attitude of the Police throughout the week gave the impression that they had been given free reign to be violent, abusive and cruel without any recourse. Many people have testified to the brutality of the week.

Sunday 26th

The first demonstration of the week began against a close detention centre and as a commemoration for Semira Adamu who was killed in 1998 during her deportation. The detention centre was surrounded by specially placed barbed wire, water cannons, riot cops, horses and dogs. The demonstration concluded with incredible violence. People were surrounded and people taken out and beaten. One journalist had his ear drum ruptured from excessive beating. A cop was also kicked by a horse which led to the police retaliating by beating several activists to the ground and kicking one girl in the head until she lost consciousness.

Wednesday 29th

Those who managed to avoid pre-emptive arrest (see above) and arrived at the demonstration were confronted by highly edgy and violent police. They used undercover police and riot police to disperse and arrest demonstrators. The cops injured many people and several went to hospital with severe head injuries. They also used CS spray prolifically. People who managed to escape were later attacked in a park by undercover police who also beat them badly. The demonstration was attacked without provocation and the main objective seemed to be simply to attack No Borders activists:

“any association with the No Borders Camp and any desire to help those who live their everyday lives in the insecurity of having no papers and nowhere safe to turn, was a justification for severe violence. The police laid their values on the table for me, clear as day. For them the safety, physical and mental well being and the democratic rights of the human beings whose care they were responsible for was irrelevant”

Brutality (detention)

Whilst the Police certainly were violent on the streets, they saved their most brutal behaviour for the arrests and detention. An unbelievable amount of violence against No Borders activists went on inside the Police stations.

For fourteen unforgettable hours I was held in custody and subjected to their violence, their authority, their every whim. I was beaten, spat upon, repeatedly called a ‘dirty whore’ and chained to a radiator until 4am right outside the open door to the office of the chief of police, who observed it all and reacted only with silence. The police chief and I also witnessed the violent beating of another arrestee, also chained to a radiator, upon whom the police unleashed a fit of rage like none I’d ever seen – the young man fell to the ground screaming the only French word he knew, ‘non, non, non’. As I watched this, chained myself right next to the police chief, I wondered what country I was in, how such a thing could happen at all in this world, and where oh where had democracy and justice gone?

Those brought into the Police stations were held for many hours without charge, had property stolen, beaten, denied water and food and toilets for 12 hours, had false allegations made against them and sexually abused.

October 02, 2010 17:55 – According to a testimony of an eyewitness, six people that were arrested yesterday after 10pm near the attacked police station Place du Jeu de Balle were heavily mistreated inside. The beatings, kickings, spittings, insultings took several hours until they were brought to Palace de Justice. At least one of the arrested was visibly injured and constantly asking for a doctor. Dozens of police were present, the harassments took place in front of the office of the head of the police station. A detailed report will follow in the next days.

The Police seemed to use the opportunity of detention to retaliate for ‘losses’ on the streets, they beat people on the basis of nationality. The brutality was also not the actions of a few unhinged officers but seemed to come from the highest command. The testimony of being chained to a radiator outside the Chief of Police’s office seems to confirm that all officers were complicit, that there was a culture and attitude of acceptance towards brutality of detainees.

“The violence I experienced and witnessed was not the random act of a single police officer that had gotten out of hand. It was apparent from the very first beating that for these police officers, in this police station, this unimaginable violence was completely normal behaviour. They did not feel the need to hide me in a cell in order to beat me; they did not shelter their violence from the eyes of their superiors or their colleagues; their colleagues did not even look up from their paper work. Why would they? They obviously saw this everyday.”

People also lost many possessions to the Police. Cameras, passports, money, USB sticks, Dictaphones and personal property were stolen and some given back later but many were never recovered:

“When I was finally released by a judge fourteen hours later, I received a plastic bag with my belongings in it. But many items were missing. Most importantly, my Identity Card, but also my USB stick, the camera I had with me and twenty-five euros cash. When I returned to the police station to reclaim my items – together with friends because I literally feared for my life – they laughed at me and said they were keeping my money as ‘financial compensation’ and taking the camera and the USB stick for investigation. I asked for a written record that these items were being confiscated and received none. I requested my ID card back and they just laughed. When I returned two days later for my ID card, they told me they had lost it somewhere in a ‘combi’”

Those arrested on the street also faced a horrific experience. Many were forced to sit for hours, sometimes in the rain. Detainees on the street were forced to kneel and grovel in front of undercover officers, many were spat at, shouted at, verbally abused, beaten, pepper-sprayed and physically assaulted. Inside the vans detainees were also beaten, had their heads smashed into the walls or sexually assaulted.

Sexual Violence

Whilst many aspects of the Polices behaviour was abhorrent and outrageous it is the aspect of sexual violence that has worried and terrified many activists the most. The idea of physical harm is something that many activists have experienced and are prepared for, but sexual abuse at the hands of a Police officer is something that breaks many people. The reports suggest that all sexual violence was aimed almost exclusively at female activists, although there were male activists who were strip searched.

‘Operation Trouser’ is one part of this experience. Many female activists were forced to strip down to their underwear in order to humiliate them in front of male officers during interrogations. Many female activists were injured when they refused to do so but were forcibly stripped anyway. Eye-witnesses report that this technique was referred to as ‘Operation Trouser’.

“Later, two women from camp were picked up by police while walking in the direction of the Gesu squat. While in custody they were forced to strip in front of male officers. One woman refused and had clothes physically ripped off her. They were later released, again without charge, in a highly distressed state”

The most terrifying and worrying technique however is that the Police would pick female activists off the street and threaten to rape them inside their vans. One friend was picked up outside a squat and driven around the streets. The Police did not believe that she could speak French, but she was able to. She overheard them discussing whether or not to rape her, they decided not to and was thrown out of the van.

“Later, a man and woman out walking near camp were stopped by police. The woman was told she was going to be raped before being bundled into a van by five policemen and her hood pulled down over her head. She was released soon after on the other side of camp, highly distressed”

The gender violence also extended to the girls not having access to toilets whilst in detention. Female activists were forced to urinate into bottles or across the floor. The cells were not equipped with toilets for females and the Police refused to take them from their cells.

Resistance

As distressing and disturbing the violence was during the week, one thing that stood out from other summits, such as Copenhagen is that people did not let it stop them carrying out autonomous actions, retaliations against the police, resistance in the cells and intelligence gathering against the cops.

There are too many autonomous actions to list here, people took it upon themselves amidst the repression of the week to go out in small groups and disrupt, smash and attack all manner of targets. Here is an example of some:

Despite the repression, several other actions took place: anti-Frontex banners and flyering at the airport, Frontex windows and doors smashed and smoke bombs were let off, locks glued at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). A building of Sodexho – the French hotel and catering company with a 50% share in Corrections Corporation of Australia and UK Detention Services, had windows smashed and oil was spilled over another Sodexho building. Steria, the company that designed the Eurodac fingerprinting database – leading to thousands of migrants a year being deported – had its windows smashed and “Smash Eurodac” spray-painted across it. The Italian Embassy had excrement thrown over it.

Several autonomous actions took place, including BP’s headquarters which was blockaded, plus The Royal Palace Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Greek Embassy spray-painted with slogans like “You have blood on your hands – No Borders”.

This was the tone of the week. People refusing to be silenced by the repression and not losing the message of the camp to the simple ‘cops-vs-protesters’ that often mars many action camps.

Retaliations against the police was also prolific. Many people were enraged at their friends being so abused and took direct action against the cops.

In retaliation for the mass arrests and sexual violence, 30 people attacked a police station, breaking windows and doors, letting off smoke bombs and starting a fire. Police vans were also attacked with Molotovs. Six unrelated people caught up in the resulting turmoil were arrested.

Resistance in the cells continued all throughout the week. People cut their handcuffs, and helped other do the same. Cells were graffitied, lights were smashed, toilets ripped off the walls, plaster and bricks were ripped from the walls, doors were damaged until they would not lock, water and food were thrown at the cops. People did not remain calm in the face of Police repression and screamed and chanted for many hours. The police brought dogs into the station to control activists but people were still not deterred. Resistance to the fingerprinting was also done. Skillshares on how to remove fingerprints with different materials led to people damaging their fingerprints to the extent that they were unable to have them taken. The machines could not recognise damaged fingers.

People also resisted the intrusive behaviour of the undercover police. Photos and names of undercovers were circulated throughout the camp so that everyone could recognise them if they entered the camp or attended a demonstration. People also spent time in demonstrations searching for undercovers and ousting them, people held cardboard banners saying ‘civil police here’ if they found some. Many were chased out of the big demonstration on the 2nd to the chants and jeers of demonstrators.

Overall it felt like despite the police repression people were able to fully participate in the camp, attend meetings and workshops, participate in and organise autonomous actions without lasting legal repercussions, attend demonstrations and be part of a growing movement. The reactions of activists was more encouraging than in Copenhagen, people refused to the best of their abilities and moved away from the mass action to small affinity group actions. It seems that many people have had that feeling after the camp, that mass bloc actions are dead with the rise of mass police pre-emptive arrests. It felt like a success and full credit to the organisers of the camp and the No Borders as a whole which feels like an exciting and growing movement to be a part of.

Love and solidarity to all, especially to those who suffered at the hands of the police during the week.

No Borders Anti-National

Hundreds of articles, photos, videos and communiqués can be found here:

http://bxl.indymedia.org/articles/368

http://www.contre-faits.org/spip.php?article109&pas=1&textforum=x#doc2094

Pictures of broken windows and arrests here: http://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/26054

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Ratcliffe on Trial

21 climate change activists face a Crown Court trial for defending the future of the planet.

Their crime: Planning to shut down the UK’s third largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Arrested in a night-time police raid on the eve of their attempt to shut down E.ON’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station, the defendants could face up to 3 months in prison for daring to act. RatcliffeOnTrial.org has been set up to to support them and communicate why they felt compelled to take direct action. Read the full story ».

“On the issue of coal-fired power stations they are right … carbon emissions will kill us all … As politicians we do not grasp the urgency of scientific warnings about how little time we have left to radically transform our whole thinking about sustainable energy systems. Inevitably, this leaves the challenge to be picked up by the public rather than by parliament. In doing so, it just doesn’t help if we end up locking up those who would save the planet rather than those who drive us towards climate crises.”

Alan Simpson, former MP for Nottingham South

The Story and What happened.

In the early hours of April 14th 2009 a highly expensive and widely condemned policing operation saw 114 climate campaigners arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage. In what has been deemed the largest ever ‘pre-emptive’ arrest, hundreds of police burst into a meeting room where plans were being made to safely shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar, the UK’s second largest coal fired power station.

Had the action gone ahead it would have stopped around 150 thousand tonnes of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere, while drawing attention to the failure of provided democratic channels.

Through invasive surveillance police had gathered information on the activists, pinpointed their location, and interrupted the meeting meaning the action never went ahead. The campaigners were held for over twenty hours before being released onto the streets of Nottingham in the middle of the night, many with their phones and money confiscated.

All charges were dropped for the majority of the 114, but 26 have been committed to Nottingham Crown Court on a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass. The maximum sentence for this offence is three months in prison, a fine of £2,500, or both. All entered a plea of not guilty.

Five of the defendants hadn’t decided whether to take part at the time of being arrested, but are still being dragged through a lengthy court process. Their trial takes place in January 2011.

The remaining 21 defendants admit that they planned to shut down the power station, but argue that they are not guilty because they were acting to prevent the greater crimes of death and serious injury caused by climate change. This is called a ‘defence of necessity’. Their trial starts on the 22nd November 2010.

Why Necessity?

In addition to slowing Ratcliffe’s carbon emissions, this action was to be part of a wider movement for global environmental justice. You only have to look at the floods in Pakistan and the droughts in Russia to see that climate change is hitting those least responsible for it the hardest while putting all of our futures in jeopardy.

Around the world governments are failing to address the climate crises. Instead they protect business as usual as they continue to compete for endless economic growth. This is in spite of increasingly stark warnings from the scientific community of the cost of inaction. By allowing the coal to keep burning at dinosaurs like Ratcliffe-on-Soar, the UK government continues to evade its legal duty to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

As we face the worst spending cuts in decades we have to ask why so many resources are being ploughed into monitoring climate campaigners, while so little is being done to create an environmentally and economically just future.

From the suffragettes to the civil rights movements, direct action has long been the pathway to change the world for the better. Those on trial are ordinary people experiencing the failures of our present political system, who remain determined to see action taken on climate change.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP?

1. Statement of Support

If you believe in the importance of acting on climate change, and the necessity of direct action, show your support by sending us a short statement we can publish here and elsewhere.

You can either email us your statement of support to info[at]ratcliffeontrial.org or, better still, write it on our Facebook Wall!

We’re keen to receive these from individuals and organisations.

2. Come to Court

Support in the courtroom is essential. It is very important that the public galleries are packed to show the strength of support for the defendants. If you can come to Nottingham, from 22nd November, for a day, week, or just half an hour, please do!

Email info[at]ratcliffeontrial.org for more information.

3. Donate

Can you help fund the Ratcliffe on Trial campaign?

Publicity materials, meeting space, travel costs and public events have all taken their toll on campaigners’ pockets. If you are in any position to donate, no matter how small or large an amount, you can do so by transferring funds to:

The Skint Fund
SC: 08-92-99
AN: 65385883

Or posting a cheque to:

The Skint Fund,
18 Stratford Street
Oxford
OX4 1SW

In both cases, please drop us a quick email to notitfy us of your donation: info[at]ratcliffeonsoar.org

4. Organise a Fundraiser

One of the best ways to raise much needed cash for the cause is to organise a fundraiser in your locality. These have already proved to be a massive success in the past, and a lot of fun.

If you’re thinking of organising one drop us an email at info[at]ratcliffeonsoar.org and we can help publicise.

5. Follow them Online

They will be continually updating there website and blog in the weeks leading up to the trial, and throughout the trial itself: www.ratcliffeontrial.org

Subscribe to receive email alerts for there blog posts: http://ratcliffeontrial.org/subscribe/

Follow us them Twitter: www.twitter.com/ratcliffetrial

6. Spread the word

They  need your help to get people talking about this unique case. Tell everyone you know, look out for media coverage, and feel free to copy and paste anything from here http://ratcliffeontrial.org.

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Some thoughts on The Sheffield Free School…

So you decide not to Squat, though Pisgah House is The Grade II listed building you took over at the same time of the return of Students, last year you just walked in with out any contact with community to talk over the issues you had not an issue then regards it being a squat and being abusive to The Community..

Background:

Botanic Garden Tapton Experimental Gardens

The new plans for the site are pretty much the same as the previous plans and do nothing to conserve the historic gardens and the plant collection on the site. The council are inviting comments and objections on this new planning application right up to the time it comes before the Planning Board.

On Monday 21 June 2010, The planning board, stated they wanted to visit the sight for it was put off for three weeks You can access the planning application 07/01380/FUL and submit your comments by following here.( http://planning.sheffield.gov.uk/publicaccess/tdc/DcApplication/application_detailview.aspx?caseno=JGFV80NYT9000 )

New to all of this and wondering what all this is about? The Secret Garden was saved from redevelopment as a housing estate last year, thanks to the Broomhill Action Neighbourhood Group vigorous and well-supported campaign to oppose planning permission for the site. Looks like we’ll need to do it all again.

Pisgah House is a Grade II listed (will be saved see 09/03207/CAC) residence constructed in the 1820’s, tucked away in a quiet backwater (Pisgah House Road) at the top end of Hoole Rd. It is next door to the Etruria House Hotel, which is also a listed building. Pisgah House has a fine 2-story coach house which is itself a listed building.

To the rear garden of Pisgah House is part of the Botanic Garden on the Tapton Experimental Gardens site. It houses a significant portion of the plant collection. When the Tapton site is redeveloped, whatever public open space remains on the site will adjoin Pisgah House’s garden.

This New aplication will see The Demolition of existing student halls of residence, annex, associated building including temporary structures around experimental gardens and Nos. 26, 28 & 30 Taptonville Road.

What is it?

Founded in 1951, The Botanic Garden contains more than 2000 species of plants and has provided an experimental centre for Sheffield University’s department of plant sciences. The garden is established in grounds that form part of the historic landscape around Hallamgate House (built circa 1780, now demolished), Tapton Elms (now renamed Hadow House) and Pisgah House (the oldest listed residence still standing in Broomhill). The garden contains a number of built structures including a ha-ha, a Victorian walled ornamental garden and a pond, in addition to many fine mature trees. The University want to sell the site to developers who plan to demolish many of the existing structures and build a housing estate, along with a larger development on the site of the Tapton Halls of Residence on the adjoining land.

Where is it?

Main entrance is at number 26 Taptonville Road, towards the top end of Taptonville Road, but the garden also has a second entrance from Hoole Road to the rear. The total land area of the garden is around 1 hectare (2.5 acres). Few people in the community know about it because it has rarely been open to the public.

Why save it?

It occupies such a sensitive site in the heart of our conservation area, and has importance as part of the historic landscape pre-dating (and contemporary with) the development of Broomhill.

It provides amenity for the surrounding houses, and an important habitat for birds, bats, rare newts and other wildlife, in addition to its unique plant collection.

Broomhill is desperately short of public green space and the loss of such a good potential public garden in the centre of our community would be a tragic missed opportunity.

Broomhill has suffered many detrimental changes to our local environment as a result of University expansion: surely the University could give something back by working with the community to conserve this garden?

The land in question was originally the garden of Tapton Elms, a fine house now owned by the University of Sheffield that was built by Alderman John Hobson and his wife Thyrza in 1853. Alderman Hobson and his wife had several children. Their second child, called Albert, who continued to live at Tapton Elms after his parents died, was awarded a knighthood around the turn of the century. He also served as Lord Mayor, Master Cutler and president of the Chamber of Commerce nationally and locally, and sat on the council of Sheffield University.

The general lay-out of the ‘Secret Garden’, as it is known , from old maps. There was an informal lawned area immediately in front of the house and a formal walled garden beyond that. Many of the original features of the walled garden still remain. The residents of Broomhall proposal, which was supported by the 1750 people who signed a petition, is to re-create the original gardens and open them as a small public park?.

This would showcase the time when Sheffield was becoming one of the industrial powerhouses of the world and some of the foundations for the city we have today were laid. Among the legacies of that time are the houses and gardens built by successful businessmen (in the days before Ferraris and helicopters), at least partly to show off their wealth. Re-creating the gardens The residents of Broomhall propose would place Tapton Elms once again in its original garden setting. It is proposed that the house itself should be converted into apartments, and The residents of Broomhall have no objection to that.

John Hobson, who might he be then?

John Hobson was in fact responsible for the development of much of Taptonville Road, where these gardens are situated, and it was the view up the road that prompted John Betjeman to describe Broomhill as ‘the prettiest suburb in England’ back in the 1960s.

Another reason for the proposal is that Broomhill is identified in the current Unitary Development Plan as being extremely short of public open space. Restoring the gardens of Tapton Elms would also address that problem to some extent. We see no other opportunity to do so, given that Broomhill is so densely developed now and almost all land of any size is also owned by the University.

Sheffield University have enough empty places, (over 20 in the area you rented) no you went and paid cash to a landlord.  Just another note mind: Did you welcome The Sex Workers from the area for food a chat and warmth, all so I ponder did you nip over the road to the move on accommodation for family’s invite them over?

What about those with drug problems? (they use of a lot derelict units as dens)

At present, society seems to be caught in the limbo between enforced rehab and virtual tolerance towards heroin users, and the Needle Exchanges are virtually giving intravenous drug use an almost acceptable status… they make it easy to be a junkie.

The least these outlets could do is make sure there’s more than enough places to deposit used syringes. sharp boxes everywhere would help educate and promote an awareness to potential users and sheltered members of society alike, the message: that more needs to be done.

Alright, choice being limited by social circumstance, it’s usually the poorest and most desperate souls who end up as junkies but there’s still a choice at the end of the day. i can remember a friend referring to heroin use back in the mining village where he came from, saying that it was the boring individuals with no hobbies or interests when they were younger who ended up as smack heads.

I’d love to see the drug addicts who work Sheff’s streets sort themselves out and get help (help themselves basically, as no one else is going to help them) but a lot of them gave up on life even before they had their first dig.

Who lets the shit into the country in the first place anyhow? smack comes from Afghani/Pakistan while crack/coke comes from South America…

Is this why the US wants to control these two regions – while a surplus of the populations back home (in the 1st world) are kept distracted/off their heads??

It is convenient for modern society to discard both buildings and people. The whole saga of the empty home/office/warehouse units is the story of discarding a lifestyle. Poor people could live like Croesus in such places provided they respected the buildings and the neighbors.

This causes envy on the part of the property speculators who put up those student flats in the city and rent them out to temporary residents at London prices. The Middle Classes just don’t want The Working Class to rise above their place in Sheffield and their envy and greed is more destructive than Osama Bin Laden.

Junkies are discarded people. Many veterans of Britain’s imperialist wars end up junkies and psychotics. And here are the rich, intent on leaving empty spaces fit for heroes.

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Communique from Class War HQ, The Cave, Sherwood Forest

Reply to Communique from Class War HQ, The Cave, Sherwood Forest:

Comrades if that is what you are.. Alcoholism in the UK (www.ias.org.uk) i do not want to come over as some precise fucking vegan animal rights moralist far from nothing like a good pint and Full English next day to cure the hangover and each to own.

But moderation on the self harm, then we can inflict more harm on The Middle  Class and I propose we buy them a round or two let them suffer alcoholism not the working class who it kills more..

 

‘Class War awoke from it’s semi-vegetative state at the Topuddle Festival in July. Some had declared the patient dead but a robust regime of heavy drinking ensured a lively presence on the Tolpuddle Martyrs march with particular invective being saved for the Prison officers Association pipe band.

The Class War banner was also to the fore at the Birmingham Tory Conference demo where a mob of about 50 former and present Class warriors enlivened the day later on by roundly abusing every tory in sight. So great was the press of the Class warriors at the pub bar that CW arranged a handsome collection for the single barman on duty.

Noticeably with the return of a Tory government many former Class warriors are returning to the Colours. Class war has always had a good relationship with its ex- members mainly due to our reciprocal liver transplant arrangements. .A new edition of the paper – first for two years – features a re-run of the infamous Thatcher with axe in head cover but this time featuring Snooty Cameron.

Class War’s aim over the next six months will be to recreate the kind of street opposition to the Poll Tax that is needed to stop the cuts. We aim to cause as much trouble, build a big street mob again and drink lots of alcohol. If you can find a better deal go for it.’

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So, who are the English Defence League exactly?

You have probably read all about the planned EDL protest in leicester on saturday, but do you know what the group really stands for? Adam Wakelin reports on their short but stormy history

If the cause was different, you might be tempted to call it a rainbow coalition. Football hooligans, neo-Nazis, gay rights activists, disillusioned BNP supporters who think the nasty party’s gone soft and more besides: protest movements have seen some rum old alliances down the years, but nothing quite like the disparate bunch who gather under the English Defence League banner.

You could equally call it an unholy alliance, if it weren’t for the fact that the EDL has Christian and Jewish supporters and has been trying to encourage Hindu and Sikh youths to join the group’s protest in Leicester this weekend.

What binds them all together? A common enemy. Islamic fundamentalism.

“We are fighting an extreme interpretation of Islam, people who have no qualms about killing themselves and other people in the process,” says Guramit Singh, event organiser and EDL spokesman.

“It’s a grass roots social movement.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has a rather different view. “Dreadful people,” was his verdict on the EDL during the election campaign.

Journalist Matthew Taylor, who followed activists earlier this year for an exposé in the Guardian, said the group acts as a “lightning rod for people with a range of grievances who appear to be coalescing around a rampant Islamophobia.”

“At each demonstration I attended, I was confronted by casual – often brutal – racism, a widespread hatred of Muslims and often the threat of violence,” he wrote.

And on Saturday, they’re coming to Leicester.

So what is the real driving force behind this group that will descend on our city in a couple of days, provoking a counter Unite Against Fascism protest, and costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to police? Who are the EDL?

The English Defence League was born in the aftermath of an ugly demonstration by a small extremist Muslim group in March last year against homecoming troops parading through Luton. Its growth since then has been rapid. The EDL now has between 200 and 300 divisions across England, claims Guramit, and is affiliated to similar defence leagues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Links have also been forged with groups in Europe and the USA. Luton was the “spark that ignited the fire,” he says.

People were sick of the creeping Islamification of Britain and the failure of mainstream politicians to protect our “democratic freedoms” from the medieval dogma of militant Muslims and their Sharia law, reckons Guramit, who got involved with the EDL when it marched through his home town of Nottingham last year.

“There are more than 100 Sharia courts practising on a daily basis,” he claims.

Sharia law is a “racist, fascist, paedophilic law”, he insists; a law which condones child marriage, imprisons women behind burkhas, legitimises female circumcision and wants to take over the world.

Actually, it doesn’t. Sharia courts in the UK don’t trample over the laws of the land. They’re mainly a forum for resolving matrimonial disputes. In truth, they’re the Islamic equivalent of Relate.

The idea that the EDL arrived out of nowhere is wrong, reckons Simon Cressy, a journalist for the anti-fascist monitoring organisation Searchlight. Simon, not his real name, has been keeping a watchful eye on the EDL since day one.

The rump of the EDL, he claims, is a shotgun marriage of football hooligans and extreme right-wingers who have been lurking in the shadows for years. Its self-proclaimed leader is a man who is said to have taken the name of a notorious Luton Town FC football hooligan, Tommy Robinson, as his pseudonym.

Searchlight claim the man behind the pseudonym has a BNP past and a conviction for assaulting an off-duty police officer. “The EDL has quite a lot of unsavoury characters, not the sort of people you want to congregate around,” says Simon.

Football hooligan firms are the foundation of the EDL, claims Simon. They use Facebook and established hooligan networks to organise.

The EDL, which has no formal membership structure, has also been a magnet for neo-Nazis and older National Front thugs who’ve found themselves marginalised by the BNP’s desire to present themselves as more respectable.

But it would be wrong to dismiss them as a simple replay of the far-right street movements of the past.

“Black and white unite in Leicester,” says the EDL poster for this weekend’s protest. The group has launched a Jewish section, with its own Facebook page. There is also a “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender division,” says Simon, but their presence has noticeably thinned at recent marches.

“The EDL has made a number of representations to Hindu and Sikh youths in Leicester to come out and march,” he says.

Taking a stand against Islamic extremism might be the rallying cry, but Simon claims it’s just a front. “The majority of the EDL will be in Leicester for one reason,” he says. “They will be there to get drunk and have a fight. They are not serious people with a political agenda.”

Surprisingly, Guramit makes no attempt to play down the football hooligan element of the EDL. If anything, he’s rather proud of them.

“Most of the main football firms in the country are involved,” he says. “It’s the only time football hooligans have come together. One Saturday they are kicking the s*** out of one another, the next weekend they are buying one another a drink.

“At the end of the day, we need our army,” says Guramit. “We don’t need counsellors and school teachers against militant Muslim youth, we need our army, so I don’t have a problem with them. It’s nothing to me if they want to have a fight on a weekend basis. Some of them are friends and brothers to me.”

Guramit has visited Leicester “four or five times”.

He says he’s seen three to five-year-olds in burkhas and talks of no-go areas that have been “ethnically cleansed” by Muslims. Which is a bit odd because anyone who lives here and strolled through those “no-go areas” won’t have seen that.

“In some areas of Leicester there are more burkhas than baseball hats and that shouldn’t be allowed,” he says. “I’m not really a PC sort of person” says Guramit. “I may say things that other people might find offensive.”

Proof of that can be found on a video of him posted You Tube.

Guramit, brandishing a megaphone at an EDL rally, can be heard bellowing: “God bless the Muslims. They’ll need it for when they’re burning in ****ing hell”.

And he’s their official spokesman, someone who addressed that braying crowd as “one of the 12 leaders of the English Defence League”.

It was a slip of the tongue, says Guramit. He missed a word out. He meant to say “Muslim extremists… burning in ****king hell”.

It’s interesting that Guramit sees extremists everywhere. Could it be that it takes one to know one? “I say an eye for an eye,” he says. “If people want to behead me and take my mum and my grandma as war booty then I’m going to fight them.”

Take your mum and grandma as war booty? What? In Nottingham?

It could happen, believes Guramit. If people don’t take a stand, he claims, Britain will become an Islamic state.

“As a British-born Sikh I’ve learned about the 10 Gurus that sacrificed themselves to save India from militant Islam. Everything they fought for is being washed away by the third Jihad. I’m against any fascist ideology that wants to take over my life and my family’s life.”

The EDL’s core support “appears to be young white men who are often fuelled by drink and sometimes drugs”, according to Matthew Taylor’s report in the Guardian.

Simon, from Searchlight, says most are working-class, male and aged 16 to 40. Strongholds are Yorkshire, Lancashire, Birmingham and London. That’s where the vast majority will be coming from on Saturday.

Professor Colin Copus, director of De Montfort University’s local governance research unit, has interviewed 25 EDL supporters for a research project. Only half could be described bellicose nationalists on the fringes of the far-right, he says. Others were ordinary people who had voted for all of the major parties in the past.

For many the EDL was an outlet for their dissatisfaction with the “privileges” given to minorities by governments and public sector organisations. There was also a strong sense that such groups were almost above criticism.

They might not be the angry brigade who go on marches, says Prof Copus, but it showed how the league had tapped into growing resentment felt by a relatively broad base of followers.

“In some respects it’s a sign of how fractured and frightened some elements of society are,” he says. “They will associate themselves with groups they wouldn’t normally associate with because they are worried about what they see as a greater problem.”

The EDL’s Leicester division usually brings 30 to 40 supporters to a demonstration, claims Guramit. He expects up to 200 local activists in a crowd of about 3,000 when it mobilises in the city.

Simon believes the EDL will be “lucky” to get 1,000 out on to Leicester’s streets.

The EDL is already struggling to carry the weight of its contradictions and conflicting agendas, some observers claim, with friction between the hooligans and the right-wing elements.

At a recent rally in Bradford, dubbed ‘the big one’, only 700 turned up. Marches and demos might have seen the EDL commandeer acres of newsprint, but the tactic already seems to be running out of steam.

The idea of spending two hours on a bus and being corralled into a corner of a city centre for another two hours, before getting back on the bus is rapidly losing its appeal for a lot of EDL activists, says Simon.

That doesn’t mean Leicester can afford to be complacent.

“The number of arrests (on an EDL rally) doesn’t really tally with the amount of disorder,” he claims. “I was in Bradford and I saw what the EDL was like and what the locals were like. The police momentarily lost control. They just wanted to get the EDL in and out with the least amount of fuss possible.

“The BNP has had to adapt and portray a more moderate image. The EDL don’t have to answer to anybody. They can get away with doing what they want – they don’t want respectability.”

In total, Matthew spent four months filming the EDL for his Guardian report, The English Defence League Uncovered. He said it had only been possible to record some of “the most alarming scenes” with a hidden camera.

He joined EDL supporters at a pub in Stoke in January for their first demonstration of the year.

“They had spent the past four hours drinking,” he wrote. “The balcony around the top of the cavernous pub was draped in flags bearing the names of different football clubs – Wolves, Newcastle , Aston Villa – and the chants ‘we all hate Muslims’ and ‘Muslim bombers off our streets’ filled the air.

“The atmosphere was tense, and not just because of the growing anti-Islamic rhetoric. The pub was packed with rival football gangs from across the Midlands and the north of England. Twice, fighting broke out as old rivalries failed to be subdued by the new enemy – Islam.”

It will get ugly if the EDL an United Against Fascism are within shouting distance of one another, believes Simon.

“I feel sorry for the people of Leicester that they’ve got to put up with this in their multi-cultural city,” he says. “I’d appeal for locals to stay indoors. Don’t attend the counter-demonstration. Don’t get involved.”

If you doubt the wisdom of that then Guramit makes it crystal clear.

“We’re here for peace,” he says. “But we’re ready for war.”

See Matthew Taylor’s film for the Guardian here.

Leicester Mercury

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The Unfinished Crimes and Plunder of Anglo-American Imperialism

In the light of British Petroleum’s grotesque crime, as yet unfinished, against humanity in the Gulf of Mexico, it is well to recall briefly BP’s no less hideous crime perpetrated in its earlier incarnation as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) and, later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).

At the turn of the 20th century, William D’Arcy, financial tycoon and politician, pursuing the advice of his financial associate and empire builder Cecil Rhodes, frantically began his quest for oil in the Persian Gulf. Little did they realize that one of the most dazzling El Dorados in the long and tortured history of British imperialism would soon be born. Geopolitically it would have reverberations well beyond the Persian Gulf region. It was one of the most decisive steps in the march of imperial globalization, accelerating the concentration of capital and the imperialist rivalries that are its normal concomitant.


William D’Arcy

In 1908, D’Arcy’s quest was consummated with one of the biggest oil discoveries of all time, and APOC was established a year later. The British government would subsequently gobble up a sizeable chunk of the total shares in APOC. It was only decades later that BP was privatized by Thatcher.

In record time, Abadan in Persia became the world’s largest oil refinery. Not only did the advent of APOC herald one of the major triumphs in the struggle for global oil and the striving for ever-larger market shares, but its ascendancy blazed new horizons for a galloping imperialism in what was to become one of the world’s major strategic commodities with the onrush of the automobile age. The reverberations of the production and marketing of this commodity – earlier labelled black gold by Rockefeller – at a moment when imperialism’s first major holocaust, the Great War (1914-1918), was about to erupt revolutionized the world economy.

APOC’s ascendancy owed nothing to the free play of market forces idealized by mythmakers of economic liberalism, but to the role of Big Capital and the thrust of imperial financial power for enhanced control of world markets. Like the earlier conquests and brutal territorial annexations of Cecil Rhodes, it signallized the marriage of Big Capital and the imperial political-military complex. The pivotal actor in this compulsive planetary drive to market supremacy and control was Winston Churchill (1874-1965), soon to become First Lord of the Admiralty.


Winston Churchill


Cecil Rhodes

As with Rhodes’ earlier African conquests – from the Cape to Cairo – Churchill (a personal friend of both Rhodes and D’Arcy’s) grasped immediately the potential of APOC to alter the balance of geopolitical power in favour of British imperialism, which was then facing the life-and-death challenge of German imperialism. It proved a major catalyst in the enhancement of the global reach and unchallenged supremacy of the Royal Navy and the British merchant marine.

An El Dorado of boundless prospects opened up, and well could Churchill label it, without hyperbole, as one of the greatest pillars of the British Empire. Well before APOC came into existence, all members of the British ruling class had been big-time investors in the super-lush pickings of empire. APOC added to Churchill’s already immense personal financial spoils and not least to those of the royal family. Not only was it a prodigious source of accumulation for the entire British ruling class but it also fanned the already raging fires of inter-imperialist rivalries. Imperial Germany’s drive into the Ottoman Empire’s backyard was checkmated and pushed back. The Royal Navy successfully blockaded oil supplies to Germany when the war was unleashed.

Of crucial strategic importance was that British capitalism had largely ceased to be dependent on the world’s largest petroleum giant, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, slated to become one of its major economic rivals. With huge British government subsidies, that is, the taxpayer’s money, APOC acquired the world’s largest tanker fleet; it came to dominate the entire oil market from pit head to the retail pump. British imperialism was to reap the benefits of its victory over its imperialist rivals in all ways and APOC was one of the vital catalysts in this battle for the conquest of world markets.

With the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, British imperialism turned the newly emergent Iraq into a British neo-colony and the private preserve of APOC. In joint ventures with the British Burmah Oil Company, the vast oil reserves of Kirkuk were grabbed and monopolized. This colossus of British imperialism, like its contemporary American counterpart, the United Fruit Company (born in 1898), came to enshrine the rapacity of imperialist hegemony. As with UFC, its corporate existence was to be soaked in blood, political intrigue and manipulation of the highest order.

The debacle of German, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian imperialism did not lead to the end of imperialist rivalries but rather to intensified drives for enhanced market conquests in the crisis-stricken years and decades that followed. State terrorism, not dialogue, became the exclusive instrument of imperial rule.

The year 1919 signallized a turning point in the history of APOC in Iran and indeed throughout the Middle East (yet another imperialist designation). It marked the first organized strike at the Abadan refinery. More than 30 workers were killed by the Shah’s army acting in concert with the special armed constabulary created by the company. Dozens were wounded. It was at this point that MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, began its close working relationship with the company. Many of the strike leaders and militant workers who slipped through the gauntlet were arrested and tortured in prisons located on the premises of the oil fields. APOC had taken the leap into sustained state terrorism, as had the masters of the Colonial Office and British imperialism. The Rubicon had been crossed. But what the APOC/ MI6 duo could never have imagined were the long-term revolutionary reverberations that these well-coordinated and organized strikes would engender.

The first major strike of a colonized working class in the Middle East triggered a political firestorm that would reshape the political configuration, but of course it was not an isolated event. It was meshed into the burgeoning colonial struggles that had now become ubiquitous. The mass peasant uprising in the Mekong Delta was crushed in blood by the Foreign Legion in 1919. It was one of the largest single massacres in colonial history. More than a thousand men, women and children were killed. “The peaceful colonial world that we inherited from our parents is now exploding,” moaned British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Of course the anti-colonial revolt and battle for freedom had begun earlier with the Easter Uprising (1916) in Ireland that was acclaimed by Lenin and throughout the colonial world.

The killings in Abadan occurred (April 1919) simultaneously with the mass murder in Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar), India in which General Dyer’s Gurkha mercenaries slaughtered (according to the official count that was grotesquely understated) 279 non-violent Satyagrahis and left 200 gasping for life on the ground. This act of imperial butchery was, in Dyer’s arrogant words, “to teach the natives that the power of the British Empire was not to be trifled with”. But that power would be challenged not only in the Indian sub-continent but universally.

The Abadan strike had extensive political ramifications in other major cities and over-spilled into the countryside; it was the crucial catalyst in the creation of the Iranian Communist Party in 1920. Many of the leading strike militants were destined to become members of the party’s central committee. Their political mission to Moscow in that decisive year was of revolutionary significance as it blueprinted the party’s central theses, which were nationalization without compensation of the entire productive and marketing operations of APOC and its infrastructure; expropriation of the large landed estates; the democratization of the armed forces and the creation of worker/peasant militias. The struggle against APOC revealed the first fledgling roots of the party’s internationalism.

This was a revolutionary platform that left no space for reconciliation with the existing order of British imperialism and the likes of APOC. Here was a concrete example of the workings of the Third International. Many of the party’s future leaders held discussions with Lenin, Zinoviev, Bukharin and Karl Radek in which their strategies for seizure of state power were framed. The imperialist wars of intervention (1918 – 1921) against the Russian October Revolution had not yet ended when discussions with the beleaguered but soon to be triumphant Soviet leadership got underway.

Easily conceivable was that the backlash of APOC, which had already co-opted many segments of the Iranian ruling class, the army and the higher clergy with its massive payoffs, was immediate. Churchill and the masters of APOC grasped the revolutionary significance of this new politico-ideological orientation. That was not too difficult given the international revolutionary context, and the fact that foreign imperialist powers were waging a life-and-death struggle to annihilate the emergent forces of the October Revolution whose existence threatened the existing order.

The spectre of anti-communism was raised. APOC published and distributed thousands of pamphlets fulminating that the party’s blueprint for the overhaul of existing property relations would be an onslaught against Islam. It would inexorably lead, given the corollaries of their policy inferences, to the extermination of the landed aristocracy, the monarchy and private property and wholesale destruction of law and order. Such were the ideological onslaughts that would endure until the ouster of Mossadeq decades later. The party was attacked on all fronts. The incipient trade union movement was victimized but never successfully undermined, as subsequent decades revealed. The military, seeing the potential threat that the party and its freedom manifestos posed to its class privileges and prerogatives, was instrumental in imprisoning hundreds of party members and those suspected of “seditious conduct”, in the language of Reza Shah Pahlavi. State terrorism had now become a grim and present reality.

Mohammad Mossadeq (1882-1967) [1], whose active political life was galvanized at the start of the 1920s, grasped the wider meaning of the party’s programme, but recoiled from their offer of elaborating a popular front movement. It was his first strategic political blunder that he came to regret, as he would state time and again during his imprisonment after the coup and subsequent years of house arrest. This was understandable because Mossadeq was a landed aristocrat who earlier coddled the utopian illusion that APOC could be persuaded to agree to some sort of profit sharing and equitable marketing arrangement. He was what I called a reconciliationist, a believer that the sheep and the wolves could peacefully coexist. It was a perspective shared by Chile’s Salvador Allende; the upshot we all know. Let me say in parenthesis that I had a long interview with Allende a short time before his life and delusions were shattered by the bullets and the jackboots of the Pinochet/Kissinger coup.


Mohammad Mossadeq

This was proof sufficient that Mossadeq, a well-intentioned Western-educated bourgeois intellectual, had never been fully unshackled from the cultural stranglehold of imperialism (a theme that Edward Said analyzed perceptively in his chef d’oeuvre, Culture and Imperialism). As a self-styled nationalist, Mossadeq’s goal in the 1920s and early 1930s was never to effectuate changes in the social propertied relations of Iran. That was true in relation not only to the monarchy and the landed estates but also to APOC. He strenuously believed that reason could prevail and that capitalism was an economic engine susceptible to modification, that is, to becoming more humane. He failed to understand the Gandhian truth that there could be no such thing as “equality between unequals”.

The 1930s and the horrors of the Great Depression crystallized and radicalized his thinking in several ways. The visceral hatred on the part of his own social class towards his persona and his policies became clearer as the crisis deepened. As General Fazlollah Zahedi, his Interior Minister and later the hatchet man who demanded that he be hanged after the successful putsch, would say: “He was an unredeemable criminal that betrayed his class.”

The advent of Nazi-oriented parties in Iran deepened Mossadeq’s insights of the dynamics of imperialism and its domestic stooges. He had ceased to live in a cocooned world. What was important was that as an acute intellectual, a citizen of a quasi-colonial country who travelled widely within Iran, the Middle East and Europe during those years of ascendant fascism and brutal colonial repression, Mossadeq grasped the significance of the changes then shaking the colonial world and the nature of European fascism. He came to realize that fascism, despite its parliamentary and nonparliamentary variants, was a bulwark of imperialism and the racism that partnered it. His theoretical insights were soon to be metamorphosed into concrete policy directives. The Great Depression, trailed by the collapse of commodity prices and mass joblessness on a scale unprecedented in capitalism’s history, brought him closer to the resistance movements in the colonial world. India became a formative influence in his thinking and the nationalist policies that flowed from it. His encounters and lengthy exchanges with such legendary nationalist resistance leaders as Nehru, Gandhi and, above all, Krishna Menon were of decisive importance.

Mossadeq, as Menon said to me on many occasions in Bangalore, enshrined the qualities and dilemmas, and shortcomings, of many colonial intellectuals. True, Mossadeq shifted ideological gears in the crisis-strapped 1930s, but it was a radicalization or rather conversion that stopped short of hammering out a full-blooded militant working relationship with the Iranian Communist Party. (The latter renamed itself the Tudeh Party in l941.)

A crucial date in Mossadeq’s political trajectory (and that of APOC, which was renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935) was the forced abdication in 1941 of Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was succeeded by his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The date was of immense geopolitical significance. It coincided with the first massive Soviet offensive that pushed the Wehrmacht 200 km west of Moscow and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The anti-fascist coalition gave a new impetus to the resistance struggle. Oil was being marketed to the Soviet Union for the first time despite AIOC’s stiff resistance. Tudeh’s new strategy was to resist calls for precipitous nationalization. Its central goal was to extend its organizational power base throughout the country by mobilizing the industrial working class and the peasantry, and making deep recruitment inroads into the armed forces.


Reza Shah Pahlavi


Mohammed Reza Pahlavi

This policy orientation moved in tandem with closer collaborative work with Mossadeq’s National Front. This new turn was masterfully summarized in a proclamation by Tudeh’s Central Committee. Couched in a language of moderation, it was nonetheless interpreted by the ruling class, AIOC and imperialism as signalling the liquidation of AIOC and the end of Britain’s influence:

“Our long-term goal is the building of a coherent socialist society. That means democracy, social justice, equality before the law, and elimination of repression and violence against our people. We must extend our organization in all sectors of society into every corner of our land. This marks a deepening of the democratic process. We shall work with those who honestly strive to work with us for a democratized social order. We shall continue to support the struggles of the peoples of the USSR against the fascist barbarians. We shall not act in haste so as not to jeopardize our fraternal relations with our friends and sympathizers.”

Although he would return later to Iran from his forced internment in Cyprus, the voices of the likes of General Zahedi, a paid Nazi agent and a servant of AIOC, were momentarily stilled. But he would surface again to execute his counterrevolutionary goals at the end of the war.

Of great political importance was the election of Mossadeq as Prime Minister by the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, in April 1951. The Cold War had scaled new levels of intensity, as had the anti-imperialist drive in Iran. On the first of May – and the choice of date owed nothing to chance – more than 50,000 workers, members of the armed forces, intellectuals and peasants that comprised a large contingent of women massed in front of the Majlis to give their support to the nationalization of AIOC. It was a victory that went well beyond the confines of Iran for it was the first successful manifestation of the anti-imperialist struggle.

The US-backed Syngman Rhee invasion of North Korea (June 1950) was set in motion, but it was successfully checkmated three months later by Chinese volunteers. The war in Indochina had reached a critical phase with the liberation of the frontier areas bordering China in 1949. This spelt the end of the geographical isolation of the Viet Minh freedom fighters. A frontier of 1,000 km had now been liberated. Supplies from the USSR and China would now boost the offensive capabilities of the Viet Minh in Indochina. One of his closest aides told me that Mossadeq took time to study the unfolding events in Indochina notably through his systematic study of the excellent day-by-day reports in Le Monde. His interest or, better still, ideological commitment extended to all of South-East Asia. His battle with imperialism had propelled him into the front ranks of the leadership of the anti-colonial struggle.

The nationalization decree and his non-stop daily speeches in town and country gave us a glimpse of a militant who would become one of the greatest anti-colonial speakers of his age. He was ceasing to be an armchair politico. This flight of eloquence is seen in what would become a manifesto of economic and political freedom:

“We are nationalizing the AIOC because it has systematically over several decades refused to engage in a constructive dialogue with us. Working hand in glove with the British government it has trampled on our national rights. Their conduct was one of unspeakable arrogance. Our battle for the end of the company’s domination has finally arrived and we shall triumph. It is a war against a beast that has corrupted officials at every level of the government. It has pillaged our ancient nation over decades. It has reduced us to poverty and humiliation. Above all, ours is a struggle for the conquest of our political freedom.”

The rapturous acclamation of the masses drove home to the masters of AIOC and the British Colonial Office that these were not frivolous words on the part of an opportunist politico begging for crumbs from the white man’s power structure and who believed that their conquests and pillage were things of fixity and permanence. Rather, they were a direct and powerful blow to the vitals of imperialism. Indeed, in my view, this was one of the mightiest anti-colonial manifestos that had ever been penned.

The Churchill government and Lord Beaverbrook’s tabloid yellow press in the UK unleashed their venom. Amongst other things, Mossadeq was dubbed a thieving wog, a Bazaari thug and of course a commie stooge. This sustained outpouring of filth did not stop there. The BBC joined the chorus, followed by the Voice of America. The British government engineered a series of repressive measures or, in the contemporary lingo of Hillary Clinton, “crippling sanctions” aimed at toppling the government. It warned tanker fleets that they would not receive payments from British and European banks if they marketed Iranian oil. (The loss of Iranian oil was offset by the boosted production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. That was comprehensible since Saudi Arabia was a hostile enemy of Mossadeq’s reforms.)

A banking boycott by the City on Iranian credit institutions followed. The Seven Sisters, the cartel of oil corporations which controlled the world oil market, were corralled into the conspiracy to strangle the nationalization decree and bring down the government. AIOC pulled out its technicians but the workers blocked attempts to dismantle and even at times sabotage its oil installations. The British Royal Navy imposed a blockade on the entire Persian Gulf. The USSR, for reasons of its own internal policy considerations and to mollify Churchill, the United States as well as AIOC, gave no succour to Iran in its moment of dire need.

The UK took the matter to the United Nations Security Council. Mossadeq’s discourse at the Council session in October 1951 was one of the most tragic utterances of a country that was being raped and pillaged and striving to retain its dignity:

“It went without saying that as long as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company had a monopoly over this source of national wealth, the government and people of Iran could not enjoy political independence. Despite its business façade, this company is to be considered as the modern counterpart of the old British East India Company, which in a short span of time extended its control over India. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company had an annual income exceeding that of the Iranian government; its foreign trade was larger than ours; it intervened actively in the internal affairs of the country, and grossly interfered in our elections to the Majlis and the formation of cabinets, and thus conducting themselves in a manner calculated to wring the greatest profits from resources which it owned and controlled. By a complex conspiratorial network within the country, by widespread corruption of government ministries, and the illegal support to native journalists and politicians, it had in fact created a State within a State. Little by little it sapped the independence of the Iranian nation.” [2]

What Mossadeq has bequeathed us is a portrait of imperial genocide seen in the stricken soul of one of its most legendary victims. This damning indictment of one of the most brazen criminal corporations of all time has never, in my view, been more succinctly portrayed.

There was no respite in the offensive against the progressive and nationalist forces led by Mossadeq. The counter-revolutionary putsch was gathering steam. Churchill, who had been in the counter-revolutionary business since 1917 and whose hatred of revolutions and of coloured peoples was legendary, recognized that a bankrupt Britain was incapable on its own of pulling down the Iranian government. He pleaded with Eisenhower, who didn’t need too much urging, in the name of the US-British “special relationship”, to bring down a “monster that was threatening Western civilization”. This was a manifesto of political genocide. It left nothing unsaid.

“We are fighting a war,” he ranted on, “against a communist offensive that is moving on all fronts. The Chinese terrorists are at our throats in Malaya. They have a stranglehold of the country. Ho Chi Minh backed by the Chinese and Russian communists is fighting to grab rich Indochina. [Indonesia’s] Sukarno is a communist stooge and that land endowed with unmatchable oil and mineral and agricultural resources will be grabbed by Peking and Moscow. In Korea, the red hordes of Mao have invaded the country and they are killing Americans in great numbers. Compounding this onslaught is that a communist Russia bent on further conquests has thrown its full weight in support of the war against freedom. The moment is propitious to halt the drive to communism. For all these reasons we have to root out the tyranny of Mossadeq.”

In the corridors of imperial power in Washington the alltoo- familiar Churchillian babble, recycled for decades and distillated in the Fulton Declaration (1946), found an echo in the now militantly expansionist circles of corporate imperialism underpinned by the political/military oligarchy in the United States.

Of major historical significance, aggravating the agony of imperialism, was that yet another liberation struggle had taken root in Washington’s backyard which was, as Che Guevara said, to alter the history of the Americas, and indeed the world. In 1951 President Jacobo Arbenz (1913-1971) scored a crushing electoral victory against the entrenched forces of the Guatemalan oligarchy, the Roman Catholic hierarchy (one of the biggest landowners in all of the Americas) and its Gringo backers. One of the major planks of his agrarian reforms – “the mildest of the mild” – empowered his government to expropriate uncultivated land of the oligarchy and the multinational food companies.

The battle lines were becoming clearer. One of the biggest latifundistas (landowners) in Guatemala (and indeed in all of Central America) was the United Fruit Company headquartered in Boston. Its shares were owned by most members of Congress and the Senate, which vastly contributed to its political leverage. One of its major shareholders and political backers was John Foster Dulles (1888-1959), later Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration that came to power in January 1953 – a year of pivotal importance, as we shall see, in the history of Iran. His brother Allen Dulles, who would play a paramount role in the butchering of Iranian democracy, became head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). After the CIA-orchestrated eradication of the Arbenz administration in 1954, Allen Dulles became the chairman of the board of United Fruit. Indeed, the Dulles family had been among the largest stockholders of UFC since the 1920s.


John Foster Dulles


Allen Dulles

B
y the start of January 1953, the offensive against Iran was well underway. Operation Ajax, as it was codenamed, was engineered to axe the legitimately elected government. It would be the precursor of several such crimes against humanity in the years and decades that followed. By temperament and his unbendable ideological propensity to aggrandize the sphere of imperial conquests in the Middle East and grab its oil resources, the choice of Kermit Roosevelt Jr. (1916-2000), a long-serving CIA professional agent, to direct Operation Ajax proved ideal. A fact repeatedly acknowledged by his mentors, the Dulles brothers.

A grandson of ex-president Theodore Roosevelt, he was an entrenched conservative and a card-carrying Republican Party member. Indicative of his class outlook was his burning hatred of the New Deal and of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who he incessantly proclaimed had betrayed his class and was shovelling America down the road to communism. From this he drew the inference that the CIA was the most appropriate institution “to defend America’s interests at home and abroad”. He was a symbol of the moneyed East Coast establishment; a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) educated at Groton and Harvard. His first postings to the Middle East had reinforced his earlier connections with the tycoons of Big Oil and the Wall Street bankers – connections that he nurtured until his death. In short, his credentials for the political and human genocide that he was now to trigger were unblemished.

He slipped into Iran under the alias of James Lockridge. He had personally recruited his fellow criminal conspirators from the Iranian army and upper Shia clergy, members of MI6 with American passports and members of AIOC. One of his most ruthless co-conspirators (dubbed the Iranian Himmler by his Iranian military associates) was General Zahedi, former Minister of the Interior in Mossadeq’s cabinet. Zahedi, as an animal that had fed from many troughs, had long been on the payroll of AIOC. The rope, as an MI6 conspirator jubilantly noted, had been slung over Mossadeq’s neck but the trapdoor remained to be sprung.


General Fazlollah Zahedi

A special plane chartered by AIOC had brought the exiled Shah back from Rome. Allen Dulles was on that plane. As Zahedi later said: “The money flowed into our coffers like the Niagara Falls.” He was right in a way, but for Dulles the sum of $5 million sprinkled across the spectrum to a wholly corrupt band of gangster politicians was piddling as the gains, both financial and geo-strategic, to imperialism would subsequently run into the tens of billions. Mossadeq was arrested on 19 August 1953 and hauled before a military tribunal. Treated as a traitor and a criminal, he was tortured and kept in solitary confinement until 21 December. His prison term was subsequently extended to three years of incarceration followed by house arrest until his death in 1967. “Our job isn’t over yet,” boasted Kermit Roosevelt. “The enemy is running fast but we’re running faster. Wherever he goes we’ll hunt him down and kill him.” Once again he was on target.

What followed in Iran was nothing short of an inferno. The CIA had joined forces with Israel’s Mossad intelligence service that would go on to become one of the founders and manipulators of the Savak secret police force in Iran. It should be noted that Savak as conceived by Mossad and the CIA was a force that combined the institutional attributes of the Nazi Gestapo secret police and the SS military fighting units. Thousands were deported, butchered and disappeared. That was, however, a non-issue for the yellow corporate press. The repression bore striking similarities to Pinochet’s Chile, save that it was on a far vaster scale. The entire nation was blanketed by Savak, which became the highest-paid and most privileged thugs of the Shah’s Anglo-American-dominated empire.

Israeli premier David Ben Gurion ecstatically proclaimed that Israel would henceforth never cease to enjoy easy access to inexhaustible and cheap supplies of oil. The oil may have been cheaper but it was now drenched with the blood of the Iranian peasant/worker resistance. The joys of Ben Gurion stemmed not only from cheaper oil but also from other, political factors. As the historical record reveals, Mossadeq and Tudeh had vigorously articulated their hostility to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland and the savage colonial occupation that followed.


David Ben Gurion

Savak became the training ground for mass murderers and torturers. Training camps were swiftly set up within Iran and in Israel as well as in that institution of mass genocide that was the School of the Americas in Panama. Genocide Inc. in Iran had now been globalized.

The pay of the Savak killers was exceptionally high. Lavish bonuses were doled out to those that denounced resistance fighters who had gone underground. The biggest and most notorious death camp, near the village of Irafshan in southern Iran, where temperatures hit 50°C in the summer months, housed 50,000 inmates at the time of the Shah’s departure. Thousands died of malnutrition, typhus and malaria.

At the University of Geneva, in Paris and elsewhere, I had the privilege of meeting several members of Mossadeq’s family and his political entourage that included members of Tudeh that had been singled out for extermination by Savak. The speed of the butchery of Iranian democracy and the horrors which trailed in its wake brought to the fore two major criminal actors in the Middle East: Iran and Israel. The Shah’s tyranny continued its march of unrelenting terror until it was ignominiously crushed in 1979.

The ousting of Iranian democracy boosted US imperial hegemony. It would ensure US imperial rule but it also marked the irreversible eclipse of British imperialism that was accentuated after the nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1967.

Kermit Roosevelt and his co-conspirators had saved BP’s (AIOC was renamed British Petroleum in 1954) wretched skin. In those three decades (1953-1979) BP became fully globalized, enhanced by its newly rediscovered El Dorado. Well could its stockholders enjoy their fabulous pickings. By market capitalization (1979) BP had become the world’s fifth largest company.


Kermit Roosevelt Jr.

Roosevelt had achieved the acme of his sordid career. He was the prototype of the war criminal spawned by the CIA, Mossad and MI6. The Shah’s grovelling gratitude towards these killers, including Mossad, epitomized his euphoria in the aftermath of 19 August:

“I thank God for all His mercies that he has showered on [this] Kingdom, and all of you who are gathered here for the help you have given us in eliminating the greatest scourge that our nation has ever known. I offer my special thanks to Mr Kermit Roosevelt, who has come thousands of kilometres from a land blessed by liberty, for his sustained and selfless devotion to the cause of freedom.”

It is wholly irrelevant whether the Shah was capable of drafting these lines or whether they were written by one of the foreign hangmen of the Iranian people in their embassies. But there was more to it than this fatuous piece of verbiage. Roosevelt’s colossal personal pickings were now bounteously displayed on the table for the world to see. His victims’ bodies were not among his newly acquired trophies. Among his honours were the Peacock Throne’s highest military and civilian decorations, to which was added an annual pension of $25,000 (and a lump sum of $1 million) which he received until the end of the regime in 1979.

But of course there were other delectable gifts too. BP bestowed on him an executive position on its board of directors which he turned down. What he did not decline, however, was the manna of $500,000 from the British government (the biggest shareholder in BP at the time) and BP. Overnight he metamorphosed into a big-time investor in BP, whose lush profits now rocketed to the stratosphere in the aftermath of the political coup. His destiny remained linked to the perpetuation of Big Oil.

Roosevelt went on to assume an executive position at another oil giant, Gulf Oil, and was propelled into the Political and Economic Directorate of its oil empire, which of course embraced Iran. Almost up to the end of his life (2000), this killer-conspirator never severed his connections with Iran, which he visited regularly. Nor did he shed his connections with the CIA, Mossad and his British plotters.

Roosevelt was more than a bloodthirsty mega-sized spymaster. He enshrined the unity of political power at its highest peaks and the financial exigencies of imperial aggrandizement. And hence he became a recipient of the highest award for US spies, the National Security Medal. Present at the ceremony in the White House were President Eisenhower himself, who had earlier stealthily refused to acknowledge his connections with the planned coup, the Dulles brothers, the head of MI6 and the head of BP’s operations in the Middle East. This was the grand galaxy of imperialism.

Meanwhile Mossadeq was spared the hangman’s noose because of conflicts within the conspiratorial cabal. At his death, his extensive personal papers and memoirs were confiscated and presumably destroyed. And that included his precious personal diaries. As were the CIA records of the putsch which he refused to remove. What we do know is that his overthrow did not end his militancy and what I would call his unbending faith in the unfolding revolutionary process.


Mohammad Mossadeq

He followed events intensely and, as several of my friends and informants noted, his singular regret was that he had not followed Tudeh’s injunction for arming the peasantry and the urban masses. In short, the direction of armed struggle. In the living room of his residence hung a large portrait of Ho Chi Minh which he refused to remove when ordered to do so. He followed, up to the end of his life, the liberation struggles (and repressions) in the colonial world. The triumph of Cuban freedom in January 1959 happened to be one of his greatest joys, proof of his internationalism. Even as the Iran of today and its democratically elected government face the threat of physical liquidation by the combined forces of Zionism and imperialism, the struggles and aspirations of this great humanist and architect of freedom will remain, to all who strive for justice and decency, forever green.

Notes

[1] He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Paris and his doctorate at the University of Neuchatel.

[2] Official records of the Security Council.


Author’s note:
Without the tenacity and sustained devotion of my friends Lim Jee Yuan and Lean Ka-Min, who have been a constant source of comradeship and inspiration over decades, this monograph would never have seen the light of day.

Published by Citizens International
Jalan Masjid Negeri
11600 Penang Malaysia
email: cizs@streamyx.com

ISBN 978-983-3046-11-9

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