Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pieces Together

From the August 2008 issue of the Socialist Standard

ANOTHER LABOUR PARTY SUCCESS "Britain was the world’s biggest arms seller last year, accounting for a third of global arms exports, the Government’s trade promotion organisation said. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that arms exporters had added £9.7 billion in new business last year, giving them a larger share of global arms exports than the United States. “As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a first-class defence industry, with some of the world’s most technologically sophisticated companies,” Digby Jones, the Minister for Trade and Investment, said." (London Times, 18 June)

ANOTHER CAPITALIST NIGHTMARE "British forces in Afghanistan have used one of the world’s most deadly and controversial missiles to fight the Taliban. Apache attack helicopters have fired the thermobaric weapons against fighters in buildings and caves, to create a pressure wave which sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted to the use of the weapons, condemned by human rights groups as “brutal”, on several occasions, including against a cave complex.The use of the Hellfire AGM-114N weapons has been deemed so successful they will now be fired from RAF Reaper unmanned drones controlled by “pilots” at Creech air force base in Nevada, an MoD spokesman added. (Sunday Times, 22 June)

OIL AND WAR "A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say. The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said." (New York Times, 30 June)