From: New Worker Online <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 22:17:53 +0000
Subject: [New-Worker-News] New Worker Online Digest - 4/2/2002

New Worker Online Digest

Week commencing 1st February 2002.

1) Editorial - State of war.

2) Lead story - Rail strike 'rock solid'.

3) Feature article - Bloody Sunday: Who gave the orders?

4) International story - Enron scandal.

5) British news item - CBI attacks public service protection.

1) Editorial

State of war.

"THE WAR against terrorism is just beginning", said President Bush in his
State of the Union speech last Tuesday. And he made it absolutely clear
that this is far more than just carrying on with the search for Osama bin
Laden and his associates. It is a declaration of war upon any state the
United States ruling class wants to attack.

 It appears that all Washington has to do is assert that the countries it
puts on its list of targets are "terrorists" or an harbouring "terrorists".
So, riding on the back of the emotions aroused by the events of 11
September, the US government has written itself a blank cheque to do
whatever it likes to whoever it likes.

 Bush's list of "rogue" or "outlaw" slates changes from time to time. But
the latest version now includes: Iraq, Iran, Democratic People's Republic
of Korea (DPRK) and Somalia. And of course the military action against
Afghanistan is still going on.

 It apparently doesn't matter to the savages who draft US policy that the
countries on the "outlaw" list did not carry out the 11 September attack on
the United States nor had any hand in it whatsoever. And as for "harbouring
terrorists" -- was it not the case that those said to have hijacked the
planes had actually been living in the US in the run-up to the attack.

 Bush doesn't care about any of this. He has already moved the goalposts
since he first announced the "war against terrorism" in the immediate
aftermath of 11 September. The countries he rants against now were in
Wachington's gunsights long before last September and the events of that
month have simply provided the US with a pretext for aggression -- even if
the arguments used are totally dishonest.

 All the accusations flung around by the US are supposed to be believed by
the American public and the world at large. President Bush said: "The
United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes
to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons".

 Such lies beggar belief. Not one of the countries named by Bush has
threatened the United States or any other state. These countries are not
"stockpiling" weapons of mass destruction. Even years and years of United
Nations' inspection failed to find any stocks of such weapons in Iraq and
still the US repeated its scandalous claim.

 In reality the country with the largest arsenal of nuclear and other
weapons of mass destruction is the United States itself. It is also the
only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons and it is today
pressing ahead with its "star wars" plan to militarise and monopolise
space. It is trying to scrap the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and is
determined to be unassailable as the most powerful nuclear state in the

 In the case of Somalia it seems that country's "great crime" was to
bravely defend itself from earlier US aggression and, despite being a poor
country, gave US much more of a fight than Washington bargained for.

 There are two issues in all of this. One is the bullying, murderous
foreign policy of US imperialism which is now using the Twin Towers attack
to cover Washington's ongoing strategy to achieve global domination and
control -- it's a strategy that involves the suppression of any state that
Washington cannot readily push around. And there is the desire to avenge 11
September and prevent any further attacks against America or Americans.

 For all the military and political might of the United States, it is
unlikely to succeed in either of its aims. It will not be able to prevent
further actions against the US because it fails to address the fact that it
is years of US imperialist policies that have stirred enormous anger around
the world. The very real grevances of millions of people demand justice and
without that the United States will be widely hated -- some of that hatred
will no doubt find expression in action.

 And the attempts to suppress other sovereign states will not be met with
compliance but by a rising determination to resist -- not all of America's
military objectives can be gained from 30,000 feet -- the US will find the
price of its brutality is more than money, bombers and technology.

 Nor are the targeted countries alone. There is growing solidarity around
the world, including among the working class within imperialist countries.
In this we have a part to play. The opposition to imperialist wars and
threats must echo from Downing Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. Workers of
all countries unite!


2) Lead story

Rail strike 'rock solid'.

by Caroline Colebrook

"WE ARE AS solid as a rock," Bob Crow told the New Worker during last
week's 48-hour strike by employees of South West Trains (SWT) -- the third
two-day stoppage in this dispute so far.

 The assistant general secretary of the RMT transport union continued: "
Seventy three per cent of the workers are out and standing shoulder to

 The long-running dispute concerns the low pay awards imposed on train
guards and station staff by Stagecoach, the company that runs SWT compared
to the rises offered to train drivers.

 RMT Waterloo branch secretary Greg Tucker told the New Worker. "The rail
companies have played off one group of workers against another for long
enough. Now we're fighting back."

 He was also delighted at the amount of support and solidarity the workers
are receiving from the general public and passengers. He was particularly
pleased that the pensioners' movement is supporting the strike.

 SWT management resorted to dirty tricks to try to break the strike. It
transferred "retrained" managers and a group of scab new recruits to
replace guards and try to run some trains. It claimed to have around one
third of its usual 1,700 daily services.

 These scabs had only minimal training for a vital job. Greg Tucker said
the company was "playing Russian Roulette with the safety of passengers".

 He added: "There were numerous incidents in the last strike, including
trains leaving stations without the doors properly closed."

 SWT has also placed recruiting advertisements with a view to replacing all
its striking staff with non-union workers.

 This prompted TUC general secretary John Monks to warn that such
strike-breaking tactics would lead to a "desperate situation" on the

 Bob Crow said that if SWT did try to sack 2,500 workers for striking, the
TUC must give them its full backing. "The trade union movement must stand
up," he said, "to these union-busting moves."

 John Monks supported the rail workers' call for a return to national
bargaining. He said: "If we got back to relationships that were well
ordered rather than clearly disordered, which is at the heart of the
problem we've got now, we'd be in a lot better position."

 Meanwhile a rising tide of other rail disputes threatens to engulf the
whole network throughout Britain. The ongoing dispute between Arriva trains
and the RMT brought trains to a halt in the north of England last Thursday
and Friday.

 Some 1,400 services were cancelled and the strike was estimated to have
cost Arriva 7 million. Divisive pay rises were again the root of the

 The union has also called a ballot for strike action on Silverlink trains
in the south-east of England and on the Docklands Light railway.

 And the driver's union Aslef is still engaged in a dispute with ScotRail,
where an unofficial overtime ban has been in place for three weeks. The
union is now balloting for official 24-hour strikes.

 Both the RMT and Aslef are balloting for strike action on London
Underground which would take effect in early March. Around a dozen other
train companies are preparing for wage reviews and are reported to be
increasingly worried" that strikes could spread.

 The mood of rail workers is growing increasingly militant. The Silverlink
workers voted to reject a low pay offer in spite of an RMT recommendation
to accept. Now they are balloting for strike action.

 So much as the rail bosses would like to pin this down to a handful of
union "troublemakers" it is they themselves who have made the troubles by
treating their workers shabbily and divisively and resorting to dirty
tricks to smear and undermine the unions.

 And it shows that trade unionism is alive and kicking in Britain.
 The next scheduled 48-hour stoppage on SWT will be 12 and 13 February next


3) Feature article 

Bloody Sunday: Who gave the orders?

by Daphne Liddle

"WE KNOW what happened, we were there, we saw it. What we need to know is
why it happened, who gave the orders, what was the chain of command?"
speaker Eamonn McCann told a packed London meeting last Sunday, called to
commemorate the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1972.

 The meeting in Hammersmith Irish Centre was chaired by Islington North MP
Jeremy Corbyn and it opened with Siobhan Maguire recounting the long
history of Irish solidarity protest in Britain.

 She listed a number of atrocities committed against the nationalist
community in the occupied north of Ireland by various "loyalist"
paramilitaries before Bloody Sunday.

 Eamonn McCann pointed out that Bloody Sunday was unique. It was not an
atrocity committed in the dead of night, petrol bombs hurled by unseen
assailants or attacks in dark alleys.

 "This happened in the full light of day," he said, in full sight. We knew
what had happened and who had done it. What we want from the Saville
inquiry is not the truth about what happened to be told but not it to be

 He pointed out that the long campaign by the bereaved fami lies is not to
hound 60-year-old former squaddies who happened to fire the shots that day
but to uncover the chain of command: "Because it was a political atrocity
as much as a military atrocity".

 Mr McCann said "The paras were brought in that day to do a job. They were
hyped up to -- at the very least -- act in a way that would lead to
innocent civilians being killed."

 He denounced the biased Widgery inquiry, set up by the Heath government
shortly alter the killings, as "a conspiracy to pervert the course of

 Eamonn McCann then reminded the meeting of British government policy in
the months leading up to Bloody Sunday. Internment without trial had been

 The nationalist community in Derry had responded by setting up barricades
to prevent their homes being raided and their young men being dragged away
in the middle of the night and being held in internment camps without
charge or trial.

 "Free Deny", the nogo area behind the barricades, was an affront to the
British govern ment's belief in its right to rule.

 On 14 December 1971, just a month before Bloody Sunday, Home Secretary
Reginald Maudlin had visited the army headquarters at Lisburn, County
Antrim, and spoken with General Hughes and General Sir Robert Ford -- the
two most senior officers in the north of Ireland.

 He had told them that the Government was determined to put an end to the
no-go area and that they "might, at some stage have to be shooting innocent
civilians" to do this.

 In November 1971, Heath had spoken publicly about plans to end the no-go
area: "As for Londonderry, there may have to be operations including
civilian casualties".

 "This was nora few squaddies running amok," said Eamonn McCann, "but doing
everything that had been laid on them by their superiors."

 Eamonn McCann received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

 Former Labour MP Tony Benn stressed that the struggle was not between the
Irish people and the British people but with the British government -- and
that ordinary British workers were also victims of that government.

 "The sooner Britain is out of Ireland the better for all of us," he said.

 He paid credit to Tony Blair that the Good Friday Agreement had happened
-- in contrast to the attitudes of former British governments, Labour and
Tory -- and he praised the role of Mo Mowlem.

 Although there were many criticisms of some things she had done and said,
she was a vast improvement on any of her predecessors and the peace process
had moved forward under her influence.

 Michael McKinery of the families of the victims campaign spoke of the
problems besetting the current Saville inquiry: the vital forensic evidence
destroyed, including 29 army rifles and the fact that soldiers serving at
the time have been excused giving evidence in person "because that would
put them at risk of retaliation ".

 Mr McKinery said none of the families wanted to see any violence come to
these men and have given many assurances. What they want is for these men
to be there to answer questions about who gave them what orders.

 Derry Sinn Fein councillor Gerry O'hEara gave an account of his own
experiences and those of a close friend, of being falsely accused of
"riotous behaviour" by the Royal Ulster Constabulary and having to go on
the run to Dublin, but returning to fight when they realised what was being
done to their community shortly before Bloody Sunday.

 He said how even then they had thought through what would he needed to
bring peace to the north of Ireland. "We had a pretty ambitious shopping
list," he said, " but high on that list was a proper inquiry into Bloody
Sunday and air acknowledgement of what had really happened."

 He repeated that no one wanted to get at the actual squaddies "who
probably joined the army because they were unemployed and did not know any
better". Some of the people they did want exposed were: "The Unionist
business people -- some of whom are still there and still prospering -- who
put pressure on the RUC and on the British government to smash Free Derry
because it was hampering their trade -- 'even if it means shooting a few

 He said of the Saville inquiry: "If it doesn't tell us the mindset of the
people who sat round a table and plotted this, it will have failed."

 And he called on the Queen to apologise for pinning medals on the officers
who ordered the massacre.

 He went on to give an optimistic view of the peace process now underway,
with Sinn Fein gaining electorally both in the Republic and in the occupied

 He described the Unionists as currently divided and leaderless and said:
"Progress with the Unionist population is the key to reconciliation and
reunification, we have to engage with the Unionists.

 "They know what is coming, this is why their organisations are now reduced
to gangs of thugs. Once they engage in a dialogue with us, progress will be
rapid. We must address the reasonable ones among them, the ones who see us
as human beings and will talk with us."

 Labour MP John McDonnell wound up the speeches by pointing out that the
long slow process of British withdrawal from Ireland is now underway. It is
our job in the Labour movement in Britain to think of every way we possibly
can to exert pressure to move this withdrawal along.

 "It's no good thinking we're almost there," he said, "We need to explain
about the inevitability of a united Ireland and to help it come about."


4) International story

Enron scandal.

THE COLLAPSE OF ENRON CORP, the biggest bankruptcy case in US history, took
on another dimension of tragedy last week with the apparent suicide of a
former vicechairman, who had opposed the company's financial practices that
led to the collapse of the energy trading giant.

 J Clifford Baxter, 43, who resigned as vice-chairman of Enron Corp last
May, killed himself with a gunshot inside his car in a suburb of Houston,
police said.

 Baxter last spring had complained to Enron's management team, including
the then chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling, about the company's
questionable accounting measures.

 Baxter joined Enron in 1991 and was chairman and CEO [Chief Executive
Officer] of Enron North America before being made chief strategy officer.
In October 2000, he was promoted to vice-chairman.

 Baxter was one of the 29 senior Enron executives named in a shareholder
lawsuit seeking compensation of losses due to the collapse of the company.

 He sold more than 577,000 shares, the lawsuit said, worth $35.2 m over a
three-year period before the bankruptcy.

 Enron said in a short statement that the company was "deeply saddened" by
Baxter's tragic loss.

 A former Enron employee, who was laid off by the company in December, said
the timing of Baxter's death has something to do with the investigation
around Enron's collapse.

 His death came one day after the start of Congressional hearings on
Enron's collapse and the role of its auditor, accounting firm Arthur
Andersen. Hearings by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and another
by the Senate last week were the first of nine scheduled over the next six
weeks into Enron.

 Baxter was one of a handful of current and former Enron executives whose
testimony is central to federal and congressional investigations.

 Congressional Investigators had contacted Baxter's lawyers and sought to
interview Baxter.

 "It seemed to us that he was a pretty highly placed insider at Enron who
had understood exactly what was wrong there," said Representative James C
Greenwood, chairman of the House committee's Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee. "It adds to the depth of this tragedy."

 The political influence of the two firms came under renewed scrutiny on
Friday, with the reporting that of the 248 Senators and Congressmen on
Congressional committees investigating the firm, 212 received political
donations from Enron and Andersen.

 The White House on Friday ordered a review of $70m in US government
contracts with Enron and Andersen. The director of the White House Office
of Management and Budget, Mitchell Daniels, said that media reports of
"potential irregularities" in work done by Enron and Andersen could
"reflect poorly on ... their ability to provide quality work."

 White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan disclosed that the US government had
more than 100 contracts worth about 70 million dollars with the two

 Enron freely gave donations to both Democratic and Republican politicians,
but the Bush administration has close ties to Enron and its chairman,
Kenneth Lay. The company reportedly made some 623,000 dollars in
contributions to Bush's campaigns since 1993 when he launched his political
career as governor of Texas.

 In another development, Congress' top investigator said he will decide
this week whether to take the Bush administration to court for withholding
details about how it developed its controversial energy policy.

 "if we did go to court, it would be the first time in history that we
would have ever taken a federal entity or official to court. We need to try
to do everything we can to avoid it. But we' re committed to do our job,"
said David Walker, head of Congress' General Accounting Office.

 Congressional Democrats John Dingell and Henry Waxman released a letter on
25 January urging Walker, whose office is Congress' investigative arm, to
file suit against the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. The two
congressmen for nine months have been demanding identities of business
leaders and lobbyists who met with Cheney's task force as it developed the
energy plan.

 Waxman and Dingell wrote that task force details were vital to
congressional consideration of energy policy, "particularly with recent
questions concerning the influence of officials of Enron."

 The Houston-based Enron group filed the largest bankruptcy in US history
on 2 December, hammering investors, destroying thousands of jobs and
raising questions about its ties to Bush.

 So far, the collapse of the nation's seventh largest company has qualified
as a financial scandal from the aggressive accounting practices that misled
investors to the frantic shredding of Enron financial documents by Andersen.

 However, news coverage of the case has been fueled by the assumption that
scandalous disclosures could follow because the company's money was so
Intertwined with Washington power.

 "There are so many ties between Enron and the White House and the Congress
that it's impossible to ignore," says Larry Satato, a University of
Virginia political scientist.

Peoples Daily, Beijing.

5) British news item

CBI attacks public service protection.

THE CONFEDERATION of British Industry last week circulated a confidential
letter to Cabinet ministers rejecting proposals to introduce new legal
employment protection for workers whose jobs are privatised.

 Last September the Labour leadership headed off a trade union revolt over
the increasing privatisation of public services by promising this new
legislation to protect the terms, wages and conditions of public sector
workers whose jobs would be affected.

 Many unions are still dissatisfled with the Government's increasing rush
to privatisation and are reducing donations to the Labour Party -- using
the money instead in campaigns against privatisation.

 But the privateer bosses are not happy about any new legislation to
protect workers and are piling on the pressure to make the Government
renege on these promises.

 The CBI has said that "any legalistic or rule book protection of workers
would slow down reform, strangle innovation and drive leading edge provides
to leave the market."

 In other words it would hamper their profit making. The CBI wants a "code
of conduct" instead, claiming this would fulfill the Government's promise
to the unions.

 The unions, on the other hand, are insisting on legal protection. Speaking
on behalf of the giant public sector union Unison, Malcolm Wing said: "We
must have something that is legally enforceable, including a code with
teeth and that means statutory backing."


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