The world is being pushed towards war by the US, aided and abetted by the UK. Bush has cynically used grief for the victims of 11th September 2001 to provide a moral platform for his aggression, as though these have been the only lives lost in atrocities. We remember the thousands murdered by the US instigated coup in Chile, which also took place on 11th September. What about the thousands of innocent lives taken in the US bombardment of Afghanistan? And the Kurds butchered by the Turkish state as well as those slaughtered by Saddam Hussein? What about the seven thousand lives that are taken each year in Colombia's civil war fuelled by US intervention? As exemplified by the habitual media presentation of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation, it seems that some lives are worth more than others.
A decade ago the great hopes of the Rio summit were drowned in the realities of the Gulf War. Once again we see at the Johannesburg conference that the institutional mechanisms established to provide dialogue between the poor nations and the rich have been manipulated for the benefit of the multinationals. We protest against neoliberalism's sustained injustice against the majority of humanity. What has become evermore clear is that these inhuman economic policies are backed by military power, the USA's surge of imperialist expansion.
Colombia is on the frontline of the US drive into Latin America. The Colombian elite has allied with US imperialism against its own people. Since the Second World War the officer corps of the armed forces have been evermore integrated into the US military. Colombians were the only Latin Americans to fight against communism in Korea. More than 10,000 Colombian officers have been trained in the School of the Americas in Panama and Fort Benning, Georgia. As with Pinochet, the Argentine generals and dictators across the continent, the Colombian military fully embraced the Doctrine of National Security, by which its role was redefined as combating domestic subversion rather than external enemies. Since then the USA has promoted and assisted the dirty war in Colombia through clandestine killer networks.
The new government of Alvaro Uribe encapsulates perfectly what the USA wants in its 'war against terror'. A new tax for the military while social spending is slashed. Civilian life will be militarised through village guards, informer networks and legalised paramilitaries. Under the slogan 'democratic security' there will be total war on the guerrilla. In reality it is also a war on the social movements, aiming to criminalise social protest. This was seen when the state detained hundreds of peasants, indigenous people, students and workers on 16 September, a day of peaceful mobilisations against neoliberalism. Uribe declared a State of Unrest within two days of becoming President, under which he can dictate laws without parliamentary debate, such as Decree 2002 that suspended democratic liberties and has put half the country under siege.
When Uribe came to London he urged the multinationals to influence the UK government in sending troops to Colombia. Uribe claims that Blair agreed to co-operate on security. Although the content of this support is not known, two things are clear. The profitable investments of BP and the mining multinationals Anglo-American and BHP Billiton underpin the UK government position on Colombia. And the fact that two of the word's biggest oil companies, BP and Shell, are British is the key to Blair's close alignment with Bush's drive for war in Colombia and the Gulf.
The Colombia Solidarity Campaign is defined as an anti-imperialist campaign at the insistence of our Colombian members. This is because the fundamental obstacle to peace is US military intervention through Plan Colombia and other regional operations. And as anti-imperialists we send our solidarity to the Iraqi people, the Kurds, the Palestinians and all the oppressed peoples of the Middle East region. Whatever the latest pretext and manipulation, it is clear that Bush and Blair have already decided to attack Iraq. It is up to all peace loving people around the world to mobilise to stop them.
UNITE TO STOP IMPERIALISM!