Saturday, April 10, 2004

Who are “Baghdad Kerry” Nettle’s travel agents? 

Last night I gave you my initial reaction to the tragic news that the Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle had to temporarily postpone her prejudice finding mission to Iraq. Today, I had a bit more time to look at the people who were organising Nettle’s Appeasement Tour ’04.

The main culprit seems to be an NGO called Occupation Watch. Its website features, among other stirring appeals, the “Emergency call for solidarity with the Iraqi people” by Eman Ahmed Khammas, director of the International Occupation Watch Centre in – you’ve guessed it – the “occupied Baghdad”. In part it reads:

“The Iraqi people call for international solidarity as they resist attacks by US-led Occupation Forces. It is clear that these attacks are designed to terrorize entire populations of Iraqi towns and neighborhoods… Please take to the streets to demand an end to the US-led aggression. Organize protests in front of US consulates and embassies around the world and demand: an immediate end to this massacre; an immediate end to the siege of Iraqi cities and neighborhoods; immediate access to humanitarian and medical aid organizations seeking to provide assistance to Iraqi people who are living under attack; and an end to the occupation of our nation.”

I was trying quite hard to find out what the Occupation Watch actually wants to see happen in Iraq should the Coalition forces withdraw. Probably a socialist utopia of some sort, although there’s nothing said about how that can be achieved seeing that the people running round with AK 47s are either Baath Party die-hards, opportunistic foreign terrorists, or radical Shias. Never mind, who cares about reality.

I was amused, though, to read the “About Us” section of the website, which reads in part:

“The purpose of Occupation Watch is to:

*Monitor the economic and reconstruction policies under occupation, including the activities of international corporations, and advocate for the Iraqis' right to control their own resources, especially oil;

*Work collaboratively with other human rights groups to document violations of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly by the occupation administration and governing council, and advocate for the elimination of these violations;

*Research the dynamics, programs, and composition of the Iraqi movement to resist occupation in order to provide a more comprehensive picture to the international community;

*Monitor the impact of the occupation on employment and working conditions, disseminate this information and help facilitate links between local and international worker rights groups;

*Monitor the impact of the occupation on daily life, including access to the basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, education and health care, and advocate on behalf of the social and economic rights of the Iraqi people.”

It boggles the mind that the international left, which with some very minor exceptions never gave a flying fuck about Saddam Hussein and the fact that for almost three decades he brutalised and terrorised both his own people and his neighbours, now goes bananas over “employment and working conditions” of Iraqi workers. Bugger the Iraq-Iran war, the Kuwait invasion and internal repression that together took around 1.5 million lives, bugger the gassed Kurds, bugger the exterminated Marsh Arabs, bugger years of terrorising and starving his own people to build more palaces – now we have to “advocate on behalf of the social and economic rights.” The Left doesn’t get the sweet irony that the only reason they can now run around Baghdad fighting for human rights (however they see them) is because Saddam is no longer in charge, and the US is.

And while the Occupation Watch wants merely to “research the dynamics, programs, and composition of the Iraqi movement to resist occupation”, some of the individuals associated with this noble NGO are far more forthcoming about where their sympathies and support lie. Take for example Tariq Ali, one of Advisory Board members, and in real life (I use this term loosely, talking as I am about a leftie) one of the more loathsome scum left on the rim of the British political bathtub after the 1960s New Left water had been let out.

Ali had this to say in a recent interview: “There are 20 or so different resistance groups which have been set up. The Iraqi Communist Party is not one of them -- it's collaborating in the quisling Governing Council.” Imagine that – Ali is so Terroristically Correct that even the Communists have sold out and are now too far to the right!

And in an opinion piece in the “Guardian” he calls the fascist Baath insurgents the “Iraqi maquis”, thus comparing them to the French Resistance during World War Two. He also writes that “Iraqis have one thing of which they can be proud and of which British and US citizens should be envious: an opposition.” Now we know that our Western liberal democracy will remain a sham until we have Islamic fascist thugs taking potshots at Bush, Blair and Howard and setting off roadside bombs.

Among international leftie groups behind Occupation Watch is Global Exchange, an anti-globalisation, anti-free trade NGO, which lists on its website “9 things you can do to oppose the American occupation of Iraq”. Among the pearls of wisdom:

“Demand Books, Not Bombs. Instead of spending billions on a humongous military, we should invest in our schools and health care system. Hold a rally at your library, school or hospital to show how this war is bleeding money from our social system.”

…and throw a book at bin Laden. Literally.


“Educate yourself about the history of US colonialism. A century ago, the US also had a bad case of colonialism. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the US military occupied the Philippines and Cuba, sparking a massive anti-imperialist movement among ordinary American citizens. We have much to learn from the lessons of the past.”

Sadly, the most recent part of the past, the twentieth century, is the one that Global Exchange and their ilk never seem to learn anything from. Like the great track record of socialism, and other minor historical footnotes.

United for Peace and Justice is another NGO behind Occupation Watch’s operations. Its Unity Statement contains this stirring proclamation of principle:

“We come together to turn the tide, to overwhelm war with peace, and oppression with justice. We hold that sovereign nations have the right to determine their own future, free from the threat of “pre-emptive attacks” and “regime change,” military occupation, and outside control of their economic resources.”

Ah, the sovereignty. Remember when the left actually bothered to pretend that they care about human rights? But who cares about the gassed Kurds when you can fight instead for Saddam Hussein’s sovereign right to keep on gassing them.

And by the way – in case you were wondering - the Unity Statement contains no mention of Saddam Hussein. Or Osama bin Laden.

These are the people at Kerry Nettle’s travel agency. Maybe she will eventually amass enough frequent flier points to give her a free trip back to the real world. Here’s hoping.


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