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Issue No. 173 04 April 2003  

The Fog of War
As the War Without a Mandate proceeds apace, any notion of a domestic political agenda has become surplus to requirements.


Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Walk Against the War Coalition convenor Bruce Childs outlines the challenge for the peace movement in the lead up to Palm Sunday.

Unions: The Royal Con
Jim Marr argues the Cole Commission can only be taken seriously by people kept ignorant of the way it actually operated.

National Focus: Around the Grounds
Unions maintain the pressure for peace as the upcoming organising conference takes on added significance, reports Noel Hester.

Economics: The Secret War on Trade
Overseas-based multi-nationals are coming after our film industry, electricity, water, pharmaceutical benefits and even childcare. Or are they? Nobody knows, as Jim Marr reports.

International: United Front
Workers and their unions around the world have possibly never been as united in their commitment to campaign together against the War in Iraq, writes Andrew Casey

History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Bill Pirie has one of the largest collections of trade union badges in the world. After 20 years the collection now numbers some 6,000 badges.

Politics: Stalin�s Legacy
Fifty years ago last month Josef Stalin died. How could it be that a democratic and socialist revolution produced one of the monsters of the twentieth century, asks Leonie Bronstein.

Review: Such Was Not Ned�s Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a �ball tearing yarn� so why have writers of the movie adaptation felt so impelled to dress it up with fiction, asks Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Through our extensive intelligence networks, we have managed to track down the top recruiter for the global terror network of Osama bin Laden.

Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett was devastated today to report an 18.3% rise in profit under his management over the last year.


 Cole Launches Civil Rights Assault

 Protests Target Arncliffe �Shocker�

 Commerce Swallows DIR

 Abbott, Bosses Turn Guns on Low Paid

 Fat Cats Should Justify Salaries - LHMU

 Black Humour for a Dark Issue

 Minister on Threats, Coercion

 Bosses Stonewall Union Dues Ruling

 Private Hospitals Pay Out on 15 Percent

 Councils on Hotel Workers� Agenda

 Sharon Hammers Israeli Workers

 Shangri-La Blue Ends

 Inaugural Orwell Awards

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Factional Free-For-All
Chris Christodoulou looks at the fallout from the selection of the new Carr Ministry and what it means to the factional warlords.

The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo

Books on Bombs
In times like these, reading inevitably turns to America and war. Chris White wades through Pilger, Chomsky, Eco, Moore and Vidal.

Postcard from Harvard
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel was elected to give the valedictory speech to this year's Harvard Trade Union Program.

 The Rule of Law
 Trots Bomb Back
 Tom's Turn
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Letters to the Editor

Tom's Turn

Dear Sir,

While not dismissing the diverse views of many in opposition to the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, even those that use violence on the vulnerable, while protesting their passiveness, the reality is; that this despot and his cohorts will be removed.

With the acceptance of this inevitability, any further argument on the legality, morality or methodology of his removal is futile and the almost universal acknowledgment along with the recognition that the removal of this regime, is desirable not only for the oppressed of Iraq, but the wider Arab communities and the world as a whole. While it would be preferable that the oppressed people of Iraq remove this regime by coup d'etat, it appears that the American betrayal from the Gulf War still sticks in the throat of these repressed people.

With this acceptance of necessary regime change, the International community can then focus on the more important process in the cleansing of this corruption that is the rebuilding of this country for , with and by its own citizens.

It is essential for this rebuilding to be commenced as a united country, which can be achieved primarily by ensuring the inclusion of the three autonomous provinces of Northern Iraq Dohuk , Erbil, and Suleimanyah , with and within, the 15 provinces previously under the oppressive control of the Hussein regime.

There can be no doubt that the evolution from an oppressive centralized regime will require a period of Non-Iraqi intervention particularly in core areas such as defense, security, trade, police, industry and specifically the rebuilding of the infrastructure, and with infrastructure in areas such as health and education still in place, requiring supplies and funding, but still effectively operated by the Iraqi people.

This process could be already in place except for the intransigence fabricated to suit the purposes of avarice displayed some members of the UN Security Council

The United States, while understandably disturbed by the Machiavellian and undermining tactics that are an inherent part of French politics, and the self interest shown by the ruling government in Germany, should in this area take advice from their coalition partner the United Kingdom, who have not only centuries of experience in dealing with the French, but have an exceptional batting record for returning the serve. In short the reconstruction of Iraq must be commenced and completed without delay, not only for, but by the people of Iraq, and with the willing assistance of the United Nations, a body, which even if it is against its wishes, must not be permitted to bleed to death from its self inflicted wounds.

This reconstruction can be achieved successfully as can be seen from the reconstruction of Afghanistan and closer to home we have the experience of East Timor, and the Howard government should be prepared to share its experiences gained in East Timor, in fact, because Iraq already has much infrastructure the task should be swifter and more effective, creating a stable environment which could be used as an example within the Arab world.

While the expectations of the Iraqi population will play a great part in the perception of a successful transition to a free , transparent and democratic government , the reality that they have been oppressed for several decades will after the excision of their inherent fears create a positive environment in which freedom may be permitted to proliferate.

What ever plan is decided upon for this reconstruction, it must be made public and as soon as possible, if only to destabilize the opposition being created by the Iraqi ,Iranian , Syrian and Jordanian factional vultures already fighting over the carcass the Hussein regime.

No matter what plan is evolved, as many Iraqis' as possible including these vultures must be given ownership by bringing them into the transition process, thereby allocating an interest in its success rather than its failure. It is now , the time to create a timetable for reconstruction.

The adopted plans must also have an accepted Universal legitimacy, this may be what is being currently considered under the auspices and the application of the 1Fourth Geneva Convention by the Pentagon , which has rejected until now , the re-involvement of the United Nations , who have been nothing short of obstructive throughout this cleansing process, or the submissions of the United Kingdom and Australia , both of whom have been lobbying for a United Nations Administration , prior to the election of a recognized Iraqi government , this being the ultimate goal.

If one tests the power structure prior to this conflict, it becomes obvious that in the immediate term, a committee type administration would not be viable. If there were to be a committee structure in the months after the cessation of conflict the very structures that must be dismantled and the reason for this conflict, will actually be empowered in the confusion and it will require an administration capable of operating with complete and absolute sovereignty.

It must be remembered that the Hussein regime has been kept in power through patronage dispensed by family associations , consisting of a network of patronage which includes 30,000 members of Saddam's extended clan, the al-Bu Nasir; 30,000 members of affiliated clans; 80,000 - 200,000 secret police; and over a million Ba'ath Party members. Their rewards have come at the expense of the majority of Iraq's people, who have been subjugated and their tribal, religious and ethnic differences exploited as a matter of government policy.

The success of the inevitable transition and permanency of democratic governance is pivotal on the ability to dismantle this system of nepotism and familial patronage. To achieve this; the institutions that empower civil authority and increase and personify tolerance and democratic government must be encouraged and this will assist in the elimination of opportunities for a phoenix like rejuvenation of another Dictatorship or Theocracy such as is in Syria and Iran.

There can be no doubt that Iraq, unlike many other countries has the resources to not only achieve this transition, but to maintain it for the foreseeable future.

Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, but , the Hussein regime has seen the country bankrupted - a quarter of all Iraqi children are malnourished, over half the adult population is illiterate, In 2001 GDP was estimated to be about one-third of the 1989 level, and Iraq's foreign debt is now in the region of $140 billion. The 1982-1988 war against Iran and the invasion of Kuwait which gave rise to the Gulf War and was a precursor to sanctions that did little to ebb this economic decline.

From the creation of this state (Hashimite Dynasty when Faisal I who had recently been ousted from Syria by the

French became the first king of Iraq in 1921) by the British in the aftermath of the First World War, politics in Iraq have been fraught with associated problems. These are the employment in extreme, levels of organized violence by the state to dominate and shape society; the use of state resources such as jobs, development aid and patronage to buy the loyalty of sections of the population, in this case the Muslim Sunni Sect, the use by the of oil revenue to increase its sovereignty and the exacerbation and recreation of communal and ethnic divisions within Iraq by the state as a strategy to embed rule.

This fundamental direction of resources should be distanced, and the benefits of Iraq's wealth made available to the provinces, private enterprises and individuals. Iraqs' primary resource, "Oil" is particularly critical in this regard.

The oil industry is currently controlled by the state and all revenues, apart from those diverted to the UN in northern The Iraqi oil industry should be broken up and privatized, as we argue below, but this will take time. In the meantime, a system should be introduced in order to divide oil revenues between the regions. Oil revenues could be divided between them in proportion to their relative populations

Although the conflict is still following its course, the goals and end results are inevitable and we Australians as a nation and particularly those political opportunists, who have persistently attempted to have an each way bet on these tragic events, should now focus their energies in a more constructive manner. The challenges facing not only Iraq, but the world, in the backwash of these events require more than parliamentary parrots squawking on their publicly funded perch.

The call by our leader of the opposition Simon Crean for an immediate United Nations administration to be installed is as ridiculous as his statements that; although we should bring our troops back, he supports them, and is the ultimate madness.

There must be a period of military administration to ensure the complete excision of the despotic culture of the Hussein regime. What purpose would be served if one dictatorship was replaced by another, and would not , the divisive and weak willed United Nations provide a fertile ground for the growth of another dictatorship?

One only needs to examine the consequences as to the interference by right wing New South Wales Socialism in the Fijian elections, as to the ruination of those people in the islands of Fiji, as they attempted to regain their autonomy.

If a strong foundation in Iraq, is created from this unfortunate but necessary intervention then there is can be an optimistic future for the people of Iraq. A pulsating, vibrant society can only survive with an acceptance of dissent and an acceptance of differences, with the only premise being; that this dissent and diversity be projected in a peaceful manner and does not impinge on others in society, this proposed evolution from an totalitarian state to a democratic government respecting the rule of law and abiding by the will of its people will constitute one of the most ambitious and complicated state-building tasks yet undertaken. To have any chance of success it must be led by Iraqis for Iraqis. It must be as public and transparent as possible and must involve as many Iraqis as possible.

To achieve this, the belligerent divisiveness of the European and Russian wreakers must be prohibited from securing a role capable of vetoing or in any way obstructing this progress.

There can be no doubt that with the positive cooperation of the United Nations this transition will be a success, and we in Australia can and under our current strong leadership, unlike the East Timor debacle 30 years ago, 2(Whitlam had personally told General Suharto during a meeting in Jakarta in September 1974 that the Australian government supported the incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia )will discharge its humanitarian obligations by encouraging our coalition ally the United States to limit its military administration and rise above the insults offered by the United Nations by encouraging them to participate in this administration thereby legitimizing a new and Democratic Iraq.

Tom Collins


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