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Padraig
09-03-2006, 01:28 AM
Subsidiary to/splitting from thread Excellent New 9/11 Video (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=3316&page=5&pp=15)

Droid: I also asked for an explanation about this think tank business - still waiting for that though...

If youve nothing dodgy to hide then why not tell all?


Oliver Craner: I have nothing dodgy to hide.

To those who might possibly have a dodgy interest in these matters, Mr Craner is a fully paid-up member of Labour Friends of Iraq (http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/), (Motto: "Building Support For The New Iraq"), established in 2004.

Here's what an Editorial in The Labour and Trade Union Review (The Magazine of the Bevan Society) has to say about this organisation:

A reader of the L&TUR recently wondered why we had not welcomed the formation of Labour Friends of Iraq in October 2004 and had not supported its aim to “ build direct links of solidarity between the emerging Iraqi labour movement and progressive organisations and the British labour movement”. Is there something about Labour Friends of Iraq, he asked, which prevents the L&TUR from giving its support? Well, actually, there is.

Labour Friends of Iraq is a UK Parliament-based group set up by Labour MP Harry Barnes and his political adviser Garry Kent, the group’s Director. Its aim of building solidarity between the Iraqi and British labour movements, namely the trades unions as there is no appropriate political party in Iraq to support, is simply a fig leaf to hide its real purpose of acting as an opposition to the Stop The War Coalition, Labour Against the War, from which Harry Barnes resigned in February 2005, and anyone who opposes the occupation of Iraq.

Solidarity with the Iraqi trades unions is being carried out at a national level by the TUC and unions like the RMT and UNISON. A grass-roots organisation, IraqUnionsSolidarity <iraqunionsolidarity@yahoo.com> was set up earlier this year at the behest of the TUC, with precisely the same aim as Labour Friends of Iraq. Why, if the solidarity work is already being done by the trades unions, is there a need for Labour Friends of Iraq? The answer to that question can be found on Labour Friends of Iraq’s website.

The greater part of the website is not concerned with solidarity with the Iraqi trades unions, unless one accepts that providing space for the Iraqi Federation of Trades Unions to defend itself against its critics many of whom belong to the British labour movement, represents an act of solidarity with grass roots Iraqi trade unionists. Acting as a vehicle for the Iraqi Federation of Trades Unions to promote its view of the conflict in Iraq appears to be the only solidarity work undertaken by Labour Friends of Iraq.

Like the Iraqi Federation of Trades Unions, Labour Friends of Iraq claims to have opposed the invasion, but now wants the occupation to continue because, it argues, immediate withdrawal would lead to civil war and, possibly, victory for those it believes to be opposed to a democratic Iraq.

This also happens to be the view of British and US government and military leaders. The fact that it is also held by the Presidents of Iraq and the Iraqi Federation of Trades Unions does not make it a credible position. Opinion polls have shown that most Iraqis want the occupation to end, suggesting that political and trade union leaders in Iraq do not speak automatically for the people.

Labour Friends of Iraq’s opposition to the Stop The War Coalition and Labour Against the War develops into a pathological hatred of the politics of the Socialist Workers Party, Respect and George Galloway.

An article by Labour Friends of Iraq’s Gary Kent, published in the Yorkshire Post in September, is reproduced in full on the website. In it he ‘explains’ why immediate troop withdrawal is wrong and appears to support the United Nations’ contention that, “Iraq’s occupation ended in June 2004" when “Iraqis elected a government with nearly 9 million people defying the bombers to vote to build a new society after decades of repression, war and isolation”. However, what cannot be found on the website is a speech on the ‘Left and Iraq’ made by the same Gary Kent to the Henry Jackson Society in June this year at Peterhouse College, Cambridge.

Which is strange given that there is a direct website link between the two groups. The Henry Jackson Society seems happy to openly support Labour Friends of Iraq even though this is not reciprocated, is this, one wonders, because Labour Friends of Iraq and the Henry Jackson Society, an extreme right-wing militaristic group, (see SubAmericanisation and the invention of human rights, published by the Labour and Trade Union Review, Nov 2005), are in agreement on Iraq and support the aim of the British and US governments to extend western liberal democracy by fair means or foul? A Statement of Principle of the Henry Jackson Society says that it “Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate...”, which probably explains why it also “Supports the maintenance of a strong military by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach”. And we are told that the West is not at war with Islam.

Labour Friends of Iraq should come clean and state its real purpose. If it is simply to build links of solidarity between the British and Iraqi labour movements, then its efforts should reflect that and its website should report the work on this by the trades unions of Britain and Iraq. But almost everything it says and does leads one to suspect that its real aim is to undermine the anti-occupation left and thereby effectively support the occupiers, as well as insidious groups like the Henry Jackson Society, whose raison d’e tre is global domination by western liberal values.

Morover, as a 2005 Counterpunch article by Lee Sustar (http://www.counterpunch.org/sustar06182005.html) makes clear:


THE CONTROVERSY over the IFTU [Iraqi Federation of Trade Unionists] erupted in Britain in October 2004 when the federation's representative Abdullah Muhsin intervened at the annual Labour Party conference to help head off a resolution calling for withdrawal of occupation troops.

In a recent phone interview from London, Muhsin denied advocating any position on the occupation to the Labour Party or British unions. "Our demand is for the [United Nations-created] political process in Iraq to succeed, to have a permanent constitution, and peace," he said. "If the labor movement in the U.S. wants to campaign and say troops should be removed [from Iraq], it is their right, and who are we to say no?"

But Muhsin did argue against the out-now position in Britain. He distributed an open letter to union delegates at the Labour Party conference, saying that an early withdrawal of troops "would be bad for my country, and play into the hands of extremists."

Such a characterization of the resistance is a regular theme for Muhsin. In the interview, he attacked Iraq's insurgents for "indiscriminately killing" innocent people. "This is no resistance," he said.

Along with his denunciations of the resistance has come praise for Allawi, the Baathist apparatchik-turned-CIA asset who in 2004 was put in charge of Iraq by the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority. Muhsin proposed inviting Allawi, then prime minister in the U.S.-appointed government, to address the Labour Party conference. This, Muhsin wrote, presented an "opportunity for those who honorably opposed the war to extend support to Iraqi democrats who are trying, in the most difficult circumstances, to construct a vibrant civil society."

Muhsin's speech to a fringe meeting at the party conference was organized by Labour Friends of Iraq, which is co-chaired by a retired union official who is antiwar-and the prowar Ann Clwyd, Prime Minister Tony Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq.

The aim of the group, says its director, Gary Kent, is "to move beyond the war, uniting those who were for the war and those opposed to the war in grassroots solidarity with what we call grassroots Iraq-chiefly, the trade unions." He added: "We are very struck by the argument that the democratization of Iraq could have positive repercussions throughout the Middle East. It is very important that we don't cede the flag for democracy and freedom in Iraq to the neocons."

In fact, the group is proposing to support a contributor to the neoconservative Weekly Standard newspaper -the ex-leftist Christopher Hitchens-in a debate with antiwar member of Parliament George Galloway, who recently shook up a U.S. Senate hearing with his challenge to the Bush administration's occupation of Iraq.

Material on the Labour Friends of Iraq Web site slams Galloway-and squarely supports the continued occupation of Iraq. Its mission statement declares, "We will encourage support for the IFTU."

Photo [right]: Nozad Ismail (centre) with Brian Joyce of the Fire Brigades Union and the IFTU's Abdullah Muhsin in Kirkuk. http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/images/nozad.jpg

Harry Barnes MP [below] addressing a fringe meeting on the subject of 'Grassroots Iraq' at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, September 2004. Other speakers included Abdullah Muhsin, IFTU Foreign Representative; Bill Rammell MP (Foreign Office Minister); Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP (Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Iraq on Human Rights); Owen Tudor (TUC International Secretary); and Keith Sonnet (Deputy General Secretary of Unison). http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/archives/harrybarnes.jpg

IdleRich
09-03-2006, 08:38 AM
"Mr Craner is a fully paid-up member of Labour Friends of Iraq"

How do you know this?

droid
09-03-2006, 09:01 AM
Theres a big difference between joining a lobby group whose politics you support and working for them for free, and being paid by a private institution to disseminate information IMO...

bassnation
09-03-2006, 10:26 AM
what irritates most about armchair warmongers like oliver is that they never lead from example. you'll never see them dying for the beliefs - its always someone elses children getting their heads blown off.

and as for these craven labour mps - well this party have utterly debased themselves a long time ago and no-one should be in the least suprised.

HMGovt
09-03-2006, 11:52 AM
what irritates most about armchair warmongers like oliver is that they never lead from example. you'll never see them dying for the beliefs - its always someone elses children getting their heads blown off.

and as for these craven labour mps - well this party have utterly debased themselves a long time ago and no-one should be in the least suprised.

Aren't a lot of those neo-con gobshites now saying invading iraq was the wrong thing to do?

Honestly, what a shower of cunts.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article350092.ece

sufi
09-03-2006, 02:13 PM
bun the witch = no fair?
:)
ta

craner
09-03-2006, 02:18 PM
Padraig, more hysterical and mendacious distortions. You seem to specialise in them.

The TUC, RMT, the International Confederation of Trade Unions, and the International Labour Union are linked and allied the IFTU and LFIQ. The breakaway unions that Galloway and SWP attach themselves to are heavily politicised far Left unions who wish to split the otherwise independant Iraqi Trade Union movement for their own ends. To dismiss the IFTU and their allies as stooges of the US occupation is an obscene lie.

Secondly, the Henry Jackson society was started by Oliver Kamm and a group of undergrad friends at Oxford University. Henry Jackson was a hawkish Democrat senator. The philosophy of the group is, basically, 'liberalism with teeth'. It is not an extreme right-wing militaristic group. Nor does it have anything like the sinister influence your article insinuates.

The particular mendacity Harry Barnes receives comes from the fact that he took an active role in the anti-war protests, but defected when SWC took the position that they supported the right of Iraqi insurgents to take back Iraq "by any means necessary" - this when they'd already began bombing mosques and markets and beheading Shi'ites and foreign workers. He was not the only anti-war activist to abandon the SWC over this.

I don't have time to pick apart all the lies and innuendos in that article; I only wish I did.

For my "dodgy" role in all this...well, here's my declaration of support: http://worldwarfour.blogspot.com/2005/04/time-for-bit-of-solidarity-working.html

which'll save Padraig dragging it up and then declaring it evidence of my neo-fascism.

I think the basic difference between the IFTU and the SWP is this: while the SWP declares its support for the inusrgency, the IFTU actively opposes it, and tries to get on with rebuilding Iraqi society from the bottom.

matt b
09-03-2006, 02:19 PM
yeah, oliver is a blairite/ new labour wonk, not a nazi ffs.

craner
09-03-2006, 02:25 PM
Maybe. But LFIQ is hardly a hotbed of New Labourism either. Why do you think it's trade union orientated?

bassnation
09-03-2006, 02:26 PM
wonk

i love that word.

matt b
09-03-2006, 02:32 PM
Maybe. But LFIQ is hardly a hotbed of New Labourism either. Why do you think it's trade union orientated?

sorry oliver, a bit of an over simplification

matt b
09-03-2006, 02:33 PM
i love that word.

i aim to use it at least once everyday ;)

droid
09-03-2006, 02:36 PM
I think the basic difference between the IFTU and the SWP is this: while the SWP declares its support for the inusrgency, the IFTU actively opposes it, and tries to get on with rebuilding Iraqi society from the bottom.

So am i to take it that you dont believe in the right of an occupied people to resist illegal aggression and occupation as enshrined in the UN charter then?

I guess this document is a bit outdated anyways...


DECLARATION ON PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCERNING FRIENDLY RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION AMONG STATES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS

....Convinced that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a major obstacle to the promotion of international peace and security, Convinced that the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples constitutes a significant contribution to contemporary international law, and that its effective application is of paramount importance for the promotion of friendly relations among States, based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality,

Convinced in consequence that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of a State or country or at its political independence is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter....

...Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Such a threat or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.

A war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law.

In accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression.

Every State has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate the existing international boundaries of another State or as a means of solving international disputes, including territorial disputes and problems concerning frontiers of States.

Every State likewise has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines, established by or pursuant to an international agreement to which it is a party or which it is otherwise bound to respect. Nothing in the foregoing shall be construed as prejudicing the positions of the parties concerned with regard to the status and effects of such lines under their special regimes or as affecting their temporary character.

States have a duty to refrain from acts of reprisal involving the use of force.

Every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples referred to in the elaboration of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence.

Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing or encouraging the organization of irregular forces or armed bands including mercenaries, for incursion into the territory of another State.

Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force.

The territory of a State shall not be the object of military occupation resulting from the use of force in contravention of the provisions of the Charter. The territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of force. No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal...

....By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.

Every State has the duty to promote, through joint and separate action, realization of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, and to render assistance to the United Nations in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to it by the Charter regarding the implementation of the principle, in order:

(a) To promote friendly relations and co-operation among States; and

(b) To bring a speedy end to colonialism, having due regard to the freely expressed will of the peoples concerned;

and bearing in mind that subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a violation of the principle, as well as a denial of fundamental human rights, and is contrary to the Charter.

Every State has the duty to promote through joint and separate action universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Charter.

The establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people.

Every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples referred to above in the elaboration of the present principle of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence. In their actions against, and resistance to, such forcible action in pursuit of the exercise of their right to self-determination, such peoples are entitled to seek and to receive support in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

http://www.hku.edu/law/conlawhk/conlaw/outline/Outline4/2625.htm

Padraig
09-03-2006, 03:23 PM
Secondly, the Henry Jackson society was started by Oliver Kamm and a group of undergrad friends at Oxford University. Henry Jackson was a hawkish Democrat senator. The philosophy of the group is, basically, 'liberalism with teeth'. It is not an extreme right-wing militaristic group. Nor does it have anything like the sinister influence your article insinuates.


I think the basic difference between the IFTU and the SWP is this: while the SWP declares its support for the insurgency, the IFTU actively opposes it, and tries to get on with rebuilding Iraqi society from the bottom.

"liberalism with teeth". Must remember that one - another euphemism for "neo-conservative" ie right-wing militarism.

"Oliver Kamm" - now that name rings a BELL ...

The IFTU actively supports the occupation, which is destroying Iraqi society, bottom up and top down. [Incidentally, supporting the insurgency is hardly the answer either ...].

droid
09-03-2006, 03:39 PM
"liberalism with teeth". Must remember that one - another euphemism for "neo-conservative" ie right-wing militarism.

"Oliver Kamm" - now that name rings a BELL ...

The IFTU actively supports the occupation, which is destroying Iraqi society, bottom up and top down. [Incidentally, supporting the insurgency is hardly the answer either ...].

Dont go all 'third way' on us now Padraig... ;)

Padraig
09-03-2006, 04:16 PM
Dont go all 'third way' on us now Padraig... ;)

Whatever has happened to Secularism?

As Nadia Mahmoud of the Iraq Freedom Congress said, a victory against the US and 'political Islam' in Iraq would be a victory that would have an impact across the whole world.
...
The position that the Iraq Freedom Congress and the The Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (represented at the meeting by Houzan Mahmoud) advocate - secular universalism - is significant, indeed crucial, because it constitutes the Impossible option, the one excluded by the current political 'reality'. Majority opinion in the western media (including majority opinion on the left) colludes in offering us the most unsavoury of Hobson's choices: EITHER western 'civilization' (interpreted to mean US-dominated global capitalism) OR a theocratic but notionally anti-imperialist Islamism. In terms of Iraq, this cashes out in terms of a 'choice' between the US occupation and the resistance.
...
Leftist support for what both the Mahmouds called 'the reactionary resistance' would only makes sense if the Iraq Freedom Congress and the The Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq did not exist. But given that there are secularist communist groups in Iraq that demand women's rights, why should the left have any truck with theocratic militias who shoot women for not wearing the veil?
...
The point is, a choice between the imperialist US and a reactionary militia is not a choice a leftist group should accept. In any case, it is not a 'choice' at all, because the Islamists groups have only come to the fore in the wake of the invasion. Both Nadia and Houzan Mahmoud made it clear that the resistance is more of an effect of the US invasion than an alternative to it. The war on terror and Islamism are in a relation of inter-exciting feedback, not of opposition. In an Iraq that was previously politically secular, Islamism had no real foothold. But the US invasion and occupation have provided exactly the breeding ground for Islamism that many who opposed the war warned that it would.

===>Another way, a way out... (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/007308.html)

http://www.graffitiverite.com/f-only-way-out.JPG

droid
09-03-2006, 05:54 PM
I agree in principle Padraig and I think that historical developments in Palestine and Algeria are testament to the failure of violent theocratic resistance - but I disagree with the assumption that the 'insurgents' are a homogenous mass of theocratic and reactionary facists.. thats the kind of line I might expect from Oliver.

Padraig
10-03-2006, 01:19 AM
I agree in principle Padraig and I think that historical developments in Palestine and Algeria are testament to the failure of violent theocratic resistance - but I disagree with the assumption that the 'insurgents' are a homogenous mass of theocratic and reactionary facists.. thats the kind of line I might expect from Oliver.

http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/117-1723_IMG4.jpg

Yes, Droid, the resistance is far from being a rigid homogenous phalanx, but when we examine its diverse composition somewhat more critically, secular anti-occupation/anti-Islamism active resistance groups are apparently nowhere to be seen [though I'd be very interested to hear of any anywhereabouts]. Take, for example, this Analysis of Iraqi Resistance Fighters (http://www.jihadunspun.com/articles/18122003-Iraqi-Resistence/ir/ailatir01.html), which lists and describes an exhaustive number [dozens upon dozens] of currently active resistance groups in Iraq. No sign there of any "secular universalist" ones, unless one counts secular nationalism within such a label, a mistake surely?

Most fighters are motivated by the religion of Islam or nationalism, not by support for Saddam Hussein. In fact, some of the groups may not even know who their leaders at the very top are or where their financing is coming from. The ideology of many of the fighters is described as "post-Saddam" and is a simple combination of Islamism and nationalism, covering a wide spectrum of Muslims viewpoints that converge on the common goal of ending US military rule inside the country. The US occupation is an assault on both Islam and the entire Arab World, and is therefore viewed as something that must be resisted. Saddam loyalists may be more active in the command and control, recruiting, planning, hiring, weapons procurement, financial, and logistical end than in the actual fighting within their limited involvement.

But one only has to look at the history of colonialism/imperialism and post-colonialism to recognise the problem here. Take Ireland, for instance: independence was immediately followed by 1. suppression of leftist groups (Connolly's Irish Citizen Army) 2. Civil War. And then, and then - over half a century of repressive [Catholic] theocracy [masquerading as a "modern democracy" ] leading up to today's Wild West liberal (racist) Kapitalism ... (and, of course, "hailed" by gliberals everywhere as a model for post-colonial states everywhere, a satellite host-state for US-style corporate capitalism)...

http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/apr2005/vodafone_ad__busted.jpg


In the final analysis it is clear that the resistance facing US forces is coming from a large proliferation of groups that have risen from the grass roots population after the combat phase of the war. Primarily from the large Arab Sunni Muslim population inside the country, many have organized fighters into mujahideen units but some are simply small groups of Muslims who are heeding their religion and taking up arms in defense of their communities.

While foreign fighters are operating throughout the country, these fighters have come in for the most part independently in defense of the Muslim lands and have joined a variety of local groups. Al-Qaida has a limited presence inside the country.

http://www.infoshop.org/graphics/latuff/IraqiResistance2_thumb.gif

Saddam loyalists remain in the picture however they are significantly outnumbered by the local Muslim resistance groups. Saddam loyalists do not make up a large percentage of actual fighters in Iraq however some information suggests that loyalists and possibly Saddam himself continue to finance the resistance.

The sizeable Shia population remains largely on the sidelines however they have warned this will not last forever. Should they actively join the resistance en masse, the outcome is expected to be profound considering the number of daily attacks already occurring.

It appears that the longer US forces occupy the country, the more aggressive their tactics become and their foreign presence fuels the resistance. The number of resistance groups is expected to continue to rise, as are the number of attacks and casualties

You mention Algeria: interesting that - and having just watched Winterbottom's classic-social-realist-polemical The Road to Guantanamo on CH4 - Gillo Pontecorvo's superb, unprecedented, ground-breaking The Battle of Algiers, after over 40 years, still manages to inspire and move, its seamless docu-drama ambiguity leaving the work of the likes of the well-meaning Winterbottom/Loach/ early Stone/Gavras etc in the shade ...

http://www.orgs.bucknell.edu/hilltop/new%20stuff/battle%20of%20algiers.jpg

Why, even The Pentagon blowhards have been using the film as An Educational Tool ... (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4704.htm )