This article is part of the international report that was presented at the 12 January meeting of the CPGB-ML central committee.
In Afghanistan, incidents of ‘green on green’ killing continue to mount.
On 18 December, a teenage boy kept against his will for sex by an Afghan border police commander, drugged the commander and the other 10 policemen at the post and then shot them all while they were asleep. Eight of them died.
According to the New York Times, “in the commonplace practice known as bacha baazi … powerful Afghan commanders frequently keep young boys as personal servants, dancers and sex slaves. The practice was outlawed during Taliban times but has never gone away, and even some provincial governors and other top officials openly keep bacha baazi harems.” (‘Betrayed while asleep’ by Rod Nordland, 28 December 2012)
On 23 December, a local police commander in Jawzjan shot and killed the five men under his command and then deserted to the resistance.
On 27 December, an Afghan policeman in Oruzgan province unlocked the door to his station, letting in several resistance fighters who killed four policemen as they slept and wounded eight others.
In the meantime, Gulbuddin Hektmatyar, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, said of Prince Harry: “the British prince comes to Afghanistan to kill innocent Afghans while he is drunk … But he does not understand this simple fact that the hunting of Afghan lions and eagles is not that easy! Jackals cannot hunt lions.”
See also: Afghan resistance advancing to victory
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.
Following the French announcement last month that it is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan earlier than had previously been envisaged, the US has now also announced its early departure, ie, the ending of its ‘combat role’ by the middle of next year.
Of 90,000 US troops in Afghanistan, 22,000 are to be withdrawn by this autumn, although no schedule for the departure of the remaining 68,000 has been given. US imperialism is also proposing to scale down the Afghan puppet troops, which are costing the US and other Nato countries some $6bn a year.
Meanwhile, attempts are still continuing to find ‘reasonable’ elements of the Taliban with whom to reach a peace agreement. However, Afghanistan remains very much a country at war. Increasingly, imperialism is “privatising the ultimate sacrifice”. Last year, for the first time since the start of the Afghan campaign, more civilian contractors working for the US were killed than were US soldiers. (‘Risks of Afghan war shift from soldiers to contractors’ by Rod Nordland, New York Times, 12 February 2012)
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 February
France has announced that it will be withdrawing its 3,900 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, a year earlier than planned; and this year it will be pulling out 1,000 troops rather than the 600 originally planned.
The announcement to that effect was made by Sarkozy as part of his presidential re-election campaign, in response to the killing of four French soldiers and the severe wounding of eight others by a member of the Afghan puppet forces. These deaths aggravated public anger at a war in which most French people believe the country should never have become involved.
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 3 December
Relations between Pakistan and the US continue to sink below rock bottom.
First there has been a scandal (‘Memogate’) surrounding allegations that President Asif Ali Zardari (‘Mr Bhutto’) sought help from the US in asserting control over his own country’s military in the wake of the outrage caused by the US raid on a house in Pakistan in which Osama Bin Laden was killed.
It is claimed that in return for this support Zardari offered to sack various generals and introduce a civilian-led security team.
In the midst of the Memogate furore, a Nato helicopter air raid took place over the weekend of 26-27 November on two separate border posts operated by the Pakistani army in the Mohmand tribal region.
At least two dozen Pakistani soldiers were killed in the raids. After the bombing started, one of the posts fired back against the helicopters that were attacking them.
This renewed assault on Pakistani sovereignty forced the Zardari government to retaliate by closing supply routes to Afghanistan relied on by Nato (as it has done at least twice before) and to order the CIA to vacate the Shamsi base used to launch drone strikes.
Pakistan has also pulled out of a major international conference that had been called to discuss Afghanistan’s security and future development.
The following motion is being submitted by the CPGB-ML to the upcoming Stop the War national conference.
We believe that the proposed programme of action is both necessary and achieveable. We therefore call on all anti-imperialists and anti-war campaigners to give it the widest possible circulation in order to generate discussion and to mobilise support for this important work.
Individually, we may be powerless, but together, we do have the power to stop imperialism’s criminal wars.
CPGB-ML resolution to StW conference, October 2010
This conference notes the passing last year of a motion calling on the coalition “to do all in its power to promote a movement of industrial, political and military non-cooperation with all of imperialism’s aggressive war preparations and activities among British working people“.
Since that resolution was passed, many important developments have taken place, which on the one hand make this work more urgent, and on the other have created an atmosphere that is more receptive to our message.
Conference notes the attack on those condemning war crimes that was embodied in the draconian sentences handed down to the Gaza protestors. Congress further notes that these sentences were aimed not only at discouraging muslim youth from political activism, but also at dividing the anti-war and Palestine solidarity movements along racial lines, and branding Palestine solidarity as a ‘muslim’ issue.
Conference condemns the murder by Israeli commandos of nine solidarity activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May, despite the fact that the UN had called for the ships to be allowed to pass. Conference notes the UN’s recent findings that these murders were illegal – another war crime to add to the many being committed daily against the Palestinian people.
Conference further notes that in the atmosphere of international outrage that followed these murders, even Israeli-friendly politicians such as Cameron and Hague were forced to make statements condemning both the murders and the siege on Gaza.
Conference reaffirms its support for all those who have taken the lead in active non-cooperation over the past year, in particular for Joe Glenton, for the EDO Decommissioners, for the Gaza protestors, and for the many British participants in siege-busting missions by land and sea to Gaza.
Conference notes that the landmark acquittal in the case of the Decommissioners can only facilitate more actions of this kind, since it not only sets a legal precedent, but is a reflection of the general sense of disgust against Israeli war crimes in particular.
Conference reaffirms its belief that the majority of people in Britain are opposed to British imperialism’s wars, and considers that the time is ripe to make active non-cooperation a central theme of our work. Conference therefore calls on the incoming steering committee to take the line of non-cooperation into as many arenas as possible, including:
- Putting on a fundraising concert to draw attention to the Gaza prisoners’ plight and to raise money towards a campaign to overturn their convictions.
- Approaching Joe Glenton to take part in a national speaking tour against cooperation with the Afghan war.
- Giving full backing, including maximum possible publicity, to all those groups or individuals, whether affiliated to the Coalition or not, who, like the EDO Decommissioners, the Raytheon activists and Joe Glenton, are targeted by the state for refusing to cooperate with, or for actively attempting to prevent, the illegal wars and bombings waged and backed by British imperialism.
- Stepping up the campaign outside army recruitment centres and at army recruitment stalls in schools, colleges and universities, drawing attention to the war crimes committed by the British armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Launching a full campaign inside the unions to draw attention to British, US and Israeli war crimes, with the aim of passing in each of them, and then at the TUC, motions condemning those crimes and calling on workers to refuse to cooperate in their commission, whether it be by making or moving munitions or other equipment, writing or broadcasting propaganda, or helping in any other way to smooth the path of the war machine.
- Following the excellent example set by PSC (eg, the campaign to draw attention to pro-Israeli propaganda in Panorama) and Media Lens (eg, alerts drawing attention to the media’s cover-up of war crimes committed in Fallujah) and working with these and others to draw in as many members and supporters as possible to an ongoing campaign to hold the media to account for their pivotal role in apologising for, covering up and normalising British, US and Israeli war crimes.
- Continuing and increasing the work already done to make Britain a place where war criminals, whether US, British or Israeli, can get no peace, through holding protests, through citizens’ arrests and through all other available channels, including using local, national and international courts to file charges and draw attention to their crimes.
The following resolution, submitted by the CPGB-ML, was overwhelmingly adopted by the national conference of the Stop the War Coalition, held on 25 April 2009.
No cooperation with war crimes
This conference condemns Britain’s continued involvement in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and calls for the immediate recall of all British troops from both these countries.
While the City of London’s financial elite sought to benefit by joining arms with the US to seize Iraq’s oil wealth and manipulate her domestic and foreign policy to their advantage, this conference affirms that the entire bloody debacle has always been contrary to the interests of the vast majority of British workers, who have consistently demonstrated their opposition to this modern-day Anglo-American colonial crusade.
Since 2004, more than 1.5 million wholly innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been slaughtered as a result of the illegal invasion and occupation of their country. This can only be termed genocide. In addition, more than 4 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes as internal and external refugees, and the resultant dislocation of Iraq’s cultural, political and economic life is near total.
In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of people have been murdered, and the country’s infrastructure smashed to pieces as a result of the Anglo-American oil monopolies’ quest to control the routes of projected pipelines.
This conference notes with shame the fact that ‘our own’ British imperialist Labour government has been a key player in planning and perpetrating these heinous war crimes against the Iraqi and Afghan peoples.
Conference notes that many British workers were browbeaten, by a compliant political and media establishment, into accepting these wars on entirely false premises (Afghan responsibility for the 11 September attacks, Blair’s ‘45 minute’ claim about Iraqi WMD, etc) that sought to paint Afghanistan and Iraq, rather than Anglo-American imperialism, as the aggressors. Thus the necessary ground was laid to send British and US soldiers (workers in uniform) to do the bankers’, oil magnates’ and armament manufacturers’ dirty work.
This conference believes that war fought to enforce subjection and servitude upon another nation is morally abhorrent; to fight and die in such a cause is demoralising, corrupting and meaningless.
This conference realises that, although individually powerless, collectively, British workers do have the power to stop the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, since the government and corporations cannot fight them without us.
This conference therefore resolves that the coalition will do all in its power to promote a movement of industrial, political and military non-cooperation with all of imperialism’s aggressive war preparations and activities among British working people.
Union mobilisation remains key to the success of such a policy, and this conference instructs the incoming Stop the War steering committee to campaign vigorously among trade unions to encourage them to adopt a practical policy encouraging their members to do everything not to support illegal wars or occupations, directly or indirectly; and to render every support to members victimised for taking this principled stand.
This conference welcomes the magnificent examples set by such signal actions as:
- 2002/3: FBU strike action immediately preceding the invasion of Iraq, which threatened the entire enterprise.
- Jan 2003: Fifteen Aslef train drivers refused to move arms from Glasgow factories to Glen Douglas base on Scotland’s west coast (which remains Nato’s largest European arsenal, and from where they were bound for the Gulf).
- 9 Aug 2006: Protesters occupied the Derry offices of Raytheon when Israel invaded Lebanon, to “prevent the commissioning of war crimes by the Israeli armed forces using weapons supplied by Raytheon”.
- May Day 2008: tens of thousands of US west coast dockers defied court injunctions to strike in protest against US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the decision of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) leadership to withhold official sponsorship for the strike.
- Dec 2008: Smash EDO demonstrators occupied and disabled production at Brighton-based missile-delivery system manufacturer EDO (recently acquired by Armament Giant ITT) during Israel’s massacre of Gazans.
- Feb 2009: Norwegian Train drivers staged a national stoppage to protest the Israeli massacre in Gaza.
- Resolutions asking Bectu media workers to resist the transmission of imperialist war propaganda will be considered at the union’s forthcoming congress.