Stoppers

Weasel words and lies

Stop the War have finally broken their silence on the murderous campaign against the Iraqi labour movement carried out by the ‘resistance’ they support.

They have yet to answer the questions put to them by Labour Friends of Iraq but instead have published three letters sent to newspaper editors in response to recent critical articles by Johann Hari and Nick Cohen.

Andrew Murray, Chair of Stop the War and a member of the Communist Party of Britain (which is supposed to be a sister party of the Iraqi Communist Party whose members are among the victims of the death squads) does condemn the murder of Hadi Salih.

But of course he isn’t able to simply condemn the murders and express soldarity with the comrades in Iraq. Talking of the killers of Salih he adds the phrase “whoever they are”. Why does Murray refuse to take the word of the Iraqi trade unionists who have clearly pointed the finger at the Ba’athist diehards? What possible reason does he have for believing the Iraqi comrades are wrong and that someone else was behind the murder? Or is he trying to deflect the focus away from the ‘resistance’ he supports?

Secondly, while condemning the killing of civilians, he again expresses his support for the ‘resistance’ without the slightest attempt to look at their aims and objectives. “We recognise the right of Iraqis to resist that unlawful occupation” is all he can offer up. But this isn’t about ‘rights’ is it? It is about their actions.

Finally, the classic Stopper line that the occupation is at the root of violence in Iraq is somewhat dated now isn’t it?

It may have had some credibility when the main targets of the ‘insurgents’ were US soilders. But now that schoolteachers, railway workers, trade unionists, school kids, charity workers, UN officials, election workers and ordinary civilians are the central victims, this attempt to pass the blame for all violence in Iraq on the occupying forces no longer has a shred of crediblity.

Again it amounts to nothing more than an attempt to deflect criticism away from the actions of the ‘resistance’ he supports. The people to blame for the murders carried about the death squads are the murderers themselves.

Next up is Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War and a leading member of the pro-Ba’athist, pro-Islamist Socialist Workers Party.

There is no other way of putting this – German lies.

Lie One. The Stop the War Coalition has never issued a statement containing the phrase ‘by any means necessary’.

Yes it did and I’ve seen a copy of the email signed off by a certain Lindsey German and Andrew Murray. Why can’t she be honest and admit that they did indeed put out such a statement and that the wording was only changed later after their position was exposed and the likes of Mick Rix kicked up a fuss?

Indeed as this lie is being repeated time and again by STWC, for the benefit of anyone who doubts the facts I will point out (again) the copy of the original document which is still to be found on the site of the STWC affliated group ‘Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation’.

It is titled, unambigously, Statement by Stop the War Coalition and it ends like this:

The StWC reaffirms its call for an end to the occupation, the return of all British troops in Iraq to this country and recognises once more the legitimacy of the struggle of Iraqis, by whatever means they find necessary, to secure such ends.

Got that?

Lie Two. Mick Rix, who resigned from Stop the War’s elected steering committee in October last year, did not do so because he believed that we endangering the lives of Iraqi trade unionists.

Again untrue.

If German wants to know what Mick Rix thought of the STWC’s attacks on Iraqi trade unionists she need only ask Andrew Murray. In an exchange of emails which are avaliable on a number of websites including this one Rix wrote to Murray:

I have resigned because I do not agree with your right to attack socialists, trade unionists and anti-war supporters, and our Iraqi comrades. I think betrayal is at your door.

The movement that I was brought up in, comrade, allows constructive criticism, yourself, StTW and Respect crossed the line, in terms of human decency, and was an all out assault. The language that was used was deliberate, archaic, violent, and plain downright stupid and dangerous if you happen to be an Iraqi at this present time. Then again you are not.

I don’t think you also realise the danger that your actions and those of the Respect colleagues in the StTW have placed Abdullah and perhaps others in the IFTU against attacks from extremists. Some people talk about life and death situations, some unfortunately have to live it and so do their families in Iraq and I don’t see why you, Respect or the coalition have a right to think you can place them in that situation, when they are living daily with those consequences, because they are not the “new” friends of yourself, George (Galloway – H), StTW or Respect such as extreme nationalists, or religious fundamentalists. It is you who have attacked the IFTU and Abdullah. So much for the bold statement the StTW will not interfere in Iraqi internal politics, your statement, and that of the StTW at worst, did, the statement has probably placed these good trade unionists and socialists at a terrible risk.

Got that?

Finally an incredible letter from the pro-STWC Iraqi Sami Ramadani.

He condemns the murder but then says: It is highly relevant to inform your readers that Mr Salih was a leading cadre in the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP). After the occupation of Iraq, the ICP changed its line of opposing the US administration’s policy, and its secretary-general, Mr Hamid Majid, joined the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Today the ICP plays a vocal role in Mr Iyad Allawi’s government.

Mr Salih’s murder, and that of another ICP leader few weeks ago, were widely reported in Iraq and seen as part of a campaign against “collaborationists.”

I wonder if Andrew Murray and other STWC supporting members of the Communist Party of Britain think it is “highly relevant” to the death of Salih that he was a communist?

The reference to ‘collaborationist’ is weasel words. Does Ramadani himself think that all those (communist and not) involved in seeking to end the occupation via the ballot box and the UN-backed political process are collaborationists? On the basis of his letter the very best that can be said is that he is neutral about such a notion.

The so-called Stop the War Coalition are so-called because they aren’t against stopping the war. They have been given a chance to turn away from the Ba’athist-Islamist killers and make a clean break and join the decent left in supporting the Iraqi labour movement and other progressive democratic forces in Iraq.

They have declined the invitation.

It is time that those trade unions who still fund STWC ask themselves exactly what they are supporting and why?

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