On 2 April the Brentford and Isleworth Labour Party held a meeting of members to discuss the war against Iraq. On the platform were the local MP Ann Kerr and two “invited guests”. Both were pro-war: the Armed Forces Minister, the Right Hon. Adam Ingram MP, and a “Doctor” Hamid Al-Bayati referred to as a spokesman for the “Iraqi National Council”, but who has proclaimed himself on both Channel 4 and BBC1 to be a member and spokesman for “the Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq”.
As someone who was born in Iraq and still has two brothers and a sister living there, I wanted to point out that the war was not a just war but a war of subjugation. But I was not allowed to speak.
I had also wanted to ask both the Minister and my MP why the Labour government was funding an Islamist Shia fundamentalist organisation whose stated aim was the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iraq whereas the country has been a secular state where Christians, Moslems (both Sunni and Shia) and Jews co-exist and have done for generations, as have all the other diverse minorities that make up Iraq.
I wanted to know why they were sharing a platform with an individual whose henchmen took part in 1991 in wholesale looting, pillage, wanton destruction, rape, and torching and murder of numerous young people who did not agree with their philosophy, following the retreat of the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Only this week a cleric has been hacked to death by followers of Al-Bayati, and another cleric has been given an ultimatum to leave Iraq. And that is before they are given any power. Another cleric (Hakim) has vowed to slaughter many Sunnis.
It is a disgrace to the Labour Party that they and the Prime Minister should be fêting and giving credit to an organisation of Shia-bigots.
I am grateful to you for allowing me to put these facts before your readers.
GEORGE DAVIS, London, W4
Reply: We publish this letter as an example of the depth to which the Labour Party has sunk. But we are not surprised. When in office the Labour Party has always done what was required to further the interests of British capitalism abroad. In fact, the first use of gas against Kurdish villagers was not by the Saddam regime in 1988 but in 1924 – under the first Labour government. Talking about “freedom” and “democracy” while supporting a movement that wants to install an oppressive, backward-looking “Islamic Republic”, in order to help topple a regime hostile to British capitalist interests, is just par for the course as far as Labour governments are concerned–Editors.
Back in 97, like so many others, I received in the post a circular from “Labour” HQ in the form of a questionnaire. It began: “Should a Labour Prime Minister be returned at the General Election, what, in your opinion, would be the biggest problem he faces?”. Answer: How to run with the fox while hunting with the hounds!
We must concede that the election returned as leader, an agile mind and brilliant orator, truly able to ward off the slings and arrows of parliamentary question time. But to what end? So successful has he been that he now feels free to confront the nation at every opportunity and dismiss its collective will with the finality of “I’m right, I know I’m right!”. What arrogance! Yet all part of the recently imported “democracy”, rather than the more familiar Graeco-European version.
To understand this “new democracy” we have only to look to the arm twisting, cajoling and naked trickery that has go on at the UN over resolution two: the tactics of the mob! New World Order? New Global Empire more like!
Tony Blair has been flitting about the planet like the proverbial scalded cat in abject subservience to a crooked triumvirate and its military-industrial complex. At home he is in bed with corporate Britain and if we would but believe, is the sole surviving intellect in the land.
Time to part company, Mr Permagrin. The people will bring in the final verdict.
CHRIS WHELEHAN, Enfield, Middlesex
The two big lies which Blair and Bush used to “justify” the destruction of Iraq’s civilisation and infrastructure and the slaughter of thousands of its citizens are now for all to see.
Lie number one was possession of weapons of mass destruction (WOMD) by Iraq. Before the war, the regime couldn’t win. Complying with demands to destroy stocks of WOMD would “prove” it had been in breach of UN resolution since 1991. Non destruction of alleged stocks would “prove” it continued to be in defiance.
Now it is Blair’s and Bush’s turn to be hanged by their logic. If after invading and occupying Iraq, there still cannot find WOMD, then what shocking, disgusting deceit have they spun. If they do find any evidence of WOMD, then lie number two is also torn to shreds, that Saddam’s regime was a dangerous threat to its neighbours and even to Britain and America. If ever they were going to be used, it was when the life of the regime itself and the capital Baghdad were under threat from the new crusaders. They were not.
However, I would not at all be surprised to learn of a little “gardening” activity by the occupation forces in the next few days or weeks and the “discovery” of suspicious munitions, workshops and documents. Watch out too for the next big lies that most of the evidence was slipped out to Syria, alongwith much of the Iraqi leadership, as part of the softening up process for preparing the public for the next stage of this permanent murderous war.
The real possessors of WOMD are the ruling elites of Britain and America. They not only have them, they are using them to inflict agonising pain and suffering and carnage on ordinary working people. We too need to declare a war on such people and their weapons, but a class war, a real war of liberation, a war for emancipation, a war for socialism.
Andrew Northall, Isham, Northants