Friday, 27 March 2009

BROTHER MALCOLM COULDNT HAVE PUT IT BETTER

'White, blue-eyed bankers have brought
world economy to its
knees':

What the Brazilian President told Gordon Brown


Daily Mail

27th March 2009

Gordon Brown’s efforts to broker an £80billion bailout for
world trade on a trip to Brazil hit a stumbling block
tonight when the country’s president lashed out at ‘white,
blue-eyed’ bankers for bringing the world economy to its
knees.

Mr Brown watched on uneasily as his host, President Luiz
Inacio Lula de Silva, launched a bizarre tirade in which he
warned that next week’s G20 summit in London would be a
‘spicy’ affair.

President Lula said it was completely unfair that the
poorest people in the world were suffering most for the
mistakes of wealthy, Western financiers. brown and lula

‘This was a crisis that was fostered and boosted by
irrational behaviour of people that are white, blue-eyed,
that before the crisis looked like they knew everything
about economics,’ he declared.

‘Now they have demonstrated that they don’t know anything
about economics.’

President Lula, head of Brazil’s main left-wing party, said
that ‘no black man or woman, no indigenous person, no poor
person’ had been in any way culpable for the global banking
crisis.

‘I’m not acquainted with any black banker,’ he said. ‘The
part of humanity that’s responsible should pay for the
crisis.’

The president, who apologised for coughing at the start of
his joint press conference with Mr Brown because he had
been snacking on ‘cheese bread’ immediately beforehand,
lavished praise on the Prime Minister’s role in trying to
rebuild world economies.

But he said he favoured tougher regulation of the financial
sector than Mr Brown and celebrated the chance the crisis
gave governments to create a bigger state.

Turning to the G20 summit in London, he added: ‘Normally we
are very polite with each other – but this meeting in
London, it has to be a little bit spicy, a little bit of
heat.’

...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

iSRAEL STILL GETTING SLAMMED IN WESTERN MAINSTREAM MEDIA

'Guardian investigation uncovers evidence
of alleged Israeli
war crimes in Gaza
'

• Watch all three documentaries

Clancy Chassay and Julian Borger
The Guardian

The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war
crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in
the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of
Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of
medics and hospitals.

A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of
civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft
said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the
colour of the clothes worn by a target.

The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films
which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into
the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed
at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including
more than 300 children.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) refused to respond
directly to the allegations made against its troops, but
issued statements denying the charges and insisted
international law had been observed.

The latest disclosures follow soldiers' evidence published
in the Israeli press about the killing of Palestinian
civilians and complaints by soldiers involved in the
military operation that the rules of engagement were too
lax.

Amnesty International has said Hamas should be investigated
for executing at least two dozen Palestinian men in an
apparent bout of score-settling with rivals and alleged
collaborators while Operation Cast Lead was under way.

Human rights groups say the vast majority of offences were
committed by Israel, and that the Gaza offensive was a
disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks. Since
2002, there have been 21 Israeli deaths by Hamas rockets
fired from Gaza, and during Operation Cast Lead there were
three Israeli civilian deaths, six Israeli soldiers killed
by Palestinian fire and four killed by friendly fire.

"Only an investigation mandated by the UN security council
can ensure Israel's co-operation, and it's the only body
that can secure some kind of prosecution," said Amnesty's
Donatella Rovera, who spent two weeks in Gaza investigating
war crime allegations. "Without a proper investigation
there is no deterrent. The message remains the same: 'It's
OK to do these things, there won't be any real
consequences'."

Some of the most dramatic testimony gathered by the
Guardian came from three teenage brothers in the al-Attar
family. They describe how they were taken from home at
gunpoint, made to kneel in front of Israeli tanks to deter
Hamas fighters from firing, and sent by Israeli soldiers
into Palestinian houses to clear them. "They would make us
go first so if any fighters shot at them the bullets would
hit us, not them," 14-year-old Al'a al-Attar said.

Medics and ambulance drivers said they were targeted when
they tried to tend to the wounded; sixteen were killed.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than half
of Gaza's 27 hospitals and 44 clinics were damaged by
Israeli bombs. Link to this video

In a report released today, a medical human rights group
said there was "certainty" that Israel violated
international humanitarian law during the war, with attacks
on medics, damage to medical buildings, indiscriminate
attacks on civilians and delays in medical treatment for
the injured.

"We have noticed a stark decline in IDF morals concerning
the Palestinian population of Gaza, which in reality
amounts to a contempt for Palestinian lives," said Dani
Filc, chairman of Physicians for Human Rights Israel. The
Guardian gathered testimony on missile attacks by Israeli
drones against clearly distinguishable civilian targets. In
one case a family of six was killed when a missile hit the
courtyard of their house. Israel has not admitted using
drones but experts say their optical equipment is good
enough to identify individual items of clothing worn by
targets. The Geneva convention makes it clear medical staff
and hospitals are not legitimate targets and forbids
involuntary human shields. Link to this video

The army responded to the claims. "The IDF operated in
accordance with rules of war and did the utmost to minimise
harm to civilians uninvolved in combat. The IDF's use of
weapons conforms to international law," it said. The IDF
said an investigation was under way into allegations
hospitals were targeted. It said Israeli soldiers were
under orders to avoid harming medics, but: "However, in
light of the difficult reality of warfare in the Gaza Strip
carried out in urban and densely populated areas, medics
who operate in the area take the risk upon themselves."

Use of human shields was outlawed by Israel's supreme court
in 2005 after a string of incidents. The IDF said only
Hamas used human shields by launching attacks from civilian
areas. An Israeli embassy spokesman said any claims were
suspect because of Hamas pressure on witnesses. "Anyone who
understands the realities of Gaza will know these people
are not free to speak the truth. Those that wish to speak
out cannot for fear of beatings, torture or execution at
the hands of Hamas," the spokesman said in a written
statement.

However, the accounts gathered by the Guardian are
supported by the findings of human rights organisations and
soldiers' testimony published in the Israeli press.

An IDF squad leader is quoted in the daily newspaper
Ha'aretz as saying his soldiers interpreted the rules to
mean "we should kill everyone there [in the centre of
Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist."

• This article was updated on Tuesday March 24 2009 to
reflect changes made for the first edition of the Guardian
newspaper.

'BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS' - SECTIONS OF A DOC-FILM ON THE GREAT REVOLUTIONARY FRANTZ FANON

Friday, 20 March 2009

FORMER ANTI-APARTHEID REVOLUTIONARY LEADER - RONNIE KASRILS - SPEAKS OF THE JUST PALESTINIAN CAUSE

Who Said Nearly 50 Years Ago that
Israel was an Apartheid
State?


Ronnie Kasrils is South Africa’s Minister of Intelligence.
This article was based on Mr. Kasrils’ address at “Israel
Apartheid Week”, South Africa, delivered on Feb. 28, 2009

Palestine Chronicle

Mandela: 'We South Africans cannot feel free until the
Palestinians are free.'

At the onset of international 'Israel Apartheid Week' in
solidarity with the embattled Palestinian people, I want to
start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as
far back as 1963 that "Israel is an apartheid state." Those
were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu or
Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the
architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister, Dr.
Hendrik Verwoerd.

He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and
Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech , in contrast
to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel.

To be sure Verwoerd was correct. Both states preached and
implemented a policy based on racial ethnicity; the sole
claim of Jews in Israel and whites in South Africa to
exclusive citizenship; monopolized rights in law regarding
the ownership of land, property, business; superior access
to education, health, social, sporting and cultural
amenities, pensions and municipal services at the expense
of the original indigenous population; the virtual monopoly
membership of military and security forces, and privileged
development along their own racial supremacist lines - even
both countries marriage laws designed to safeguard racial
“purity”.

The so-called “non-whites” in apartheid South Africa,
indigenous Africans, others of mixed race or of Indian
origin - like second or third class non-Jews in Israel -
were consigned to a non-citizenship status of Kafkaesque
existence, subject to bureaucratic whims and the laws
prohibiting their free movement, access to work and trade,
dictating where they could reside and so forth.

Verwoerd would have been well aware of Israel’s
dispossession of indigenous Palestinian in 1948 - the year
his apartheid party similarly came to power - of the
unfolding destruction of their villages, the premeditated
massacres and the systematic ethnic cleansing.

Within a few short years the apartheid regime was
ruthlessly clearing South Africa’s cities and towns of
so-called “black spots” - where the “non-whites” lived,
socialized, studied and traded - bulldozing homes, loading
families onto military trucks, and forcibly relocating them
to distant settlements. Unlike the “native reserves” - soon
to be reconstituted as Bantustans - not too far away from
industrial areas because the economy thrived on a quota of
cheap black labor.

Whilst he did not live to see the division of Palestinian
territory after the Six Day War, and the subsequent
creation of miniscule Bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza,
he would have greatly admired and approved of the
machinations that enclosed the Palestinians in their own
ghettoized prisons. This after all was the Verwoerdian
grand plan, and the reason why Jimmy Carter could so
readily identify the Occupied Palestinian Territories as
being akin to apartheid. In fact the Bantustans consisted
of 13% of apartheid South Africa, uncannily comparable to
the derisory, ever shrinking pieces of ground Israel is
consigning to the Palestinians.

A further comment about the Bantustans. When I visited
Yasser Arafat in his virtually demolished headquarters in
Ramallah as part of a South African delegation in 2004, he
pointed around him and said “See this is nothing but a
Bantustan!” No, we responded, pointing out that no
Bantustan, in fact not even our townships, had been bombed
by warplanes, pulverized by tanks. To a wide-eyed Arafat we
pointed out that Pretoria pumped in funds, constructed
impressive administration buildings, even allowed for
Bantustan airlines to service the Mickey Mouse capitals in
order to impress the world that they were serious about
so-called “separate development.”

What Verwoerd admired too was the impunity with which
Israel exercised state violence and terror to get its way,
without hindrance from its Western allies, increasingly key
among them the USA. What Verwoerd and his ilk came to
admire in Israel, and seek to emulate in the southern
African region, was the way the Western powers permitted an
imperialist Israel to use its unbridled military with
impunity in expanding its territory and holding back the
rising tide of Arab nationalism in its neighborhood.

After the Six Day War, Verwoerd’s successor John Vorster,
infamously stated: “The Israelis have beaten the Arabs
before lunchtime. We will eat the African states for
breakfast.”

But it was not only the racial doctrine of Israel that
excited apartheid’s leaders, it was the use of the biblical
narrative as the ideological rationale to justify its
vision, aims and methods.

The early Dutch pioneers, the Afrikaners, had used Bible
and gun as colonizers elsewhere, to carve out their
exclusive fortress bastion in South Africa’s hinterland.
Like the biblical Israelites they claimed to be “God’s
chosen people” with a mission to tame and civilize the
wilderness; disregarding the productivity and
industriousness of people who had tilled the soil and
traded for centuries - claiming it was only they who would
make the land flow with milk and honey. They invoked a
covenant with God to deliver their enemies into their hands
and to bless their deeds. Until the advent of South
Africa’s democracy, the racial history books generally
taught that the white man arrived in South Africa more or
less as the so-called “Bantu tribes” from the north were
wandering across the Limpopo - South Africa’s border with
Zimbabwe - and that they the were pioneer settlers in a
land without people.

Such a colonial racist mentality which rationalized the
genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and
Australasia, in Africa from Namibia to the Congo and
elsewhere, most clearly has its parallels in Palestine.

What is so shameless about this anachronistic colonial
barbarism is that Zionist Israel has been permitted by the
West to aspire to such a goal even into the 21st Century.

It is by no means difficult to recognize from afar, as
Verwoerd had been able to do, that Israel is indeed an
apartheid state. Verwoerd’s successor, Balthazar John
Vorster visited Israel after the 1973 October War, when
Egypt in a rare victory regained the Suez Canal and Sinai
from Israel. After that Israel and South Africa were
virtually twinned as military allies for Pretoria helped
supply Israel militarily in the immediacy of its 1973
setback and Israel came to support apartheid South Africa
at the height of sanctions with weaponry and technology -
from naval ships and the conversion of supersonic fighter
planes to assistance in building six nuclear bombs and the
creation of an arms industry.

For the liberation movements of southern Africa, Israel and
apartheid South Africa represented a racist, colonial axis.
It was noted that people like Vorster had been Nazi
sympathizers, interned during World War II - yet feted as
heroes in Israel and incidentally never again referred to
by South African Zionists as an anti-Semite!. This did not
surprise those that came to understand the true racist
nature and character of Zionist Israel.

Time and space does not allow further elaboration, but it
is instructive to add that in its conduct and methods of
repression, Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid
South Africa at its zenith - even surpassing its brutality,
house demolitions, removal of communities, targeted
assassinations, massacres, imprisonment and torture of its
opponents, collective punishment and the aggression against
neighboring states.

Certainly we South Africans can identify the pathological
cause, fuelling the hate, of Israel’s political-military
elite and public in general. Neither is this difficult for
anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the
way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a
justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions
against even defenseless civilians - women, children, the
elderly amongst them. In fact was this not the pathological
racist ideology that fuelled Hitler’s war lust and
implementation of the Holocaust?

I will state clearly, without exaggeration, that any South
African, whether involved in the freedom struggle, or
motivated by basic human decency, who visits the Occupied
Palestinian Territories are shocked to the core at the
situation they encounter and agree with Archbishop Tutu’s
comment that what the Palestinians are experiencing is far
worse than what happened in South Africa, where the
Sharpeville massacre of 69 civilians in 1960 became
international symbol of apartheid cruelty.

I want to recall here the words of an Israeli Cabinet
Minister, Aharon Cizling in 1948, after the savagery of the
Deir Yassin massacre of 240 villagers became known. He
said: “Now we too have behaved like the Nazis and my whole
being is shaken.”

Recently the veteran British MP, Gerald Kaufman, long time
friend of Israel, was reported as remarking that a
spokeswoman of the Israeli Defence Force, talked like a
Nazi, when she coldly dismissed the deaths of defenseless
civilians in Gaza - many women and children amongst them.

It needs to be frankly raised that if the crimes of the
Holocaust are at the top end of the scale of human
barbarity in modern times, where do we place the human cost
of what has so recently occurred in Gaza and against the
Palestinians since 1948 in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) they
have endured?

How do we evaluate the inhumanity of dropping bombs and
blazing white phosphorous on civilian populations, burning
people alive, gassing them in a Gaza ghetto under
relentless siege with no place to run or hide. For 22 days
relentless bombardment whole families vaporized before the
horrified eyes of a surviving parent or child.

Guernica, Lidice, the Warsaw Ghetto, Deir Yassin, Mai Lei,
Sabra and Shatilla, Sharpeville are high on that scale -
and the perpetrators of the slaughter in Gaza are the
off-spring of holocaust victims yet again, in Cizling’s
words, behaving like Nazis. This must not be allowed to go
unpunished and the international community must demand they
be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For
the lesson is that if apartheid Israel is not stopped in
its tracks these crimes will get greater and spread not
only to engulf the entire Middle East and Iran, but indeed
anywhere that Israel is challenged . Like the apartheid
security forces the hand of Mossad stretches very far
indeed. And of course with Israel a key ally in the USA’s
“War on Terror” and all the motives for that onslaught, oil
resources included, there will be no end to this bloody
saga - with the Palestinians targeted to go the way of the
extinct peoples of the former colonial era.

But such a fate must not and will not happen, if together
with the unconquerable Palestinian people we share the
resolve and determination to halt this insidious Zionist
project, and its Great Power backing and encouragement.

Once more, let me turn to our South African experience.

There, as with other struggles such as Vietnam, Algeria,
the former Portuguese colonies, the just nature of the
struggle was the assurance for success.

With that moral advantage, on the basis of a just
liberation struggle, we learnt the secret of Vietnam’s
victory and strategies according to what we termed our Four
Pillars of Struggle:

Political mass struggle; reinforced by armed struggle;
clandestine underground struggle; and international
solidarity.

At times any one of these can become predominant and it is
not for outsiders to direct those at the frontline of
struggle what and how to choose but to modestly provide the
lessons of our experience pointing out that the unity of
the struggling people is as indispensable as the moral
high-ground they occupy. For the Vietnamese the military
element was generally primary but always resting on popular
mass support.

In South Africa the mass struggle became the primary way,
with sabotage actions and limited guerrilla operations
inspiring our people. It all depends on the conditions and
the situation.

But unquestioningly, what helped tip the balance, in
Vietnam and South Africa, was the force and power of
international solidarity action. It took some 30 years but
the worldwide Anti-Apartheid Movements campaigns - launched
in London in 1959 - for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -
not only provided international activists with a practical
role, but became an incalculable factor in (a) isolating
and weakening the apartheid regime (b) inspiring the
struggling people (c) undermining the resolve of those
states that supported and benefited from relations with
apartheid South Africa, (d) generated a change of attitude
amongst the South African white public generally, and
political, business, professional, academic, religious and
sporting associations in particular. Boycott made them feel
the pinch in their pocket and their polecat status
everywhere - whether on the sporting fields, at academic or
business conventions, in the world of theatre and the arts
they were totally shunned like biblical lepers. There was
literally no place to hide from universal condemnation
backed by decisive and relentless action which in time
became more and more creative.

To conclude: we must spare no effort in building a
world-wide solidarity movement to emulate the success of
the Anti-Apartheid Movement which played such a crucial
role in toppling the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela stated after South Africa attained
democratic rule that “we South Africans cannot feel free
until the Palestinians are free.” A slogan of South
Africa’s liberation struggle and our trade union movement
is “An injury to one is an injury to all!“ That goes for
the whole of humanity. Every act of solidarity demonstrates
to the Palestinians and those courageous Jews who stand by
them in Israel - that they are not alone.

Israel has lost in Gaza. Whilst many Palestinians have lost
their lives the Palestinians have not been conquered or
cowed. Repression generates resistance and that will grow.
Israeli aggression stands exposed. A turning point has been
reached in humanity‘s perception of this issue. The time is
ripe for us to drive home the advantage. When 150,000
Palestinians within Israel itself demonstrated against the
carnage in Gaza; when Jewish women staged a sit-in in at
the Israeli Consulate in Toronto; when Norwegian tram
drivers stopped their transport in sympathy; when
municipalities and colleges decide to divest like Hampshire
college in the USA (the first that took this step against
apartheid South Africa), when Durban dockworkers refused to
unload a ship with Israeli cargo; joining with the
countless thousands around the world, from Australia to
Britain to Belgium to Canada to Cairo, Jordan, Indonesia
and the USA we know the times are changing and Zionist
hegemony is fast losing control. BDS represents three words
that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and
victory for Palestine. Like South Africa this can mean,
must mean: freedom, peace, security, equality and justice
for all - Muslim, Christian and Jew. That is well worth
struggling for!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

WE DONT CARE ABOUT zIONIST 'INVESTGATIONS', WE BELIEVE OUR OWN PEOPLE AND ORGANISATIONS WHO TOLD OF THIS WHEN IT WAS HAPPENING

Israel troops admit Gaza abuses

BBC News

An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers'
accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during
recent operations in Gaza.

One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children
at close range whom troops had told to leave their home.

Another speaker at the seminar described what he saw as the
"cold blooded murder" of a Palestinian woman.

The army has defended its conduct during the Gaza offensive
but said it would investigate the testimonies.

The Israeli army has said it will investigate the soldiers'
accounts.

The testimonies were published by the military academy at
Oranim College. Graduates of the academy, who had served in
Gaza, were speaking to new recruits at a seminar.

"[The testimonies] conveyed an atmosphere in which one
feels entitled to use unrestricted force against
Palestinians," academy director Dany Zamir told public
radio.

Heavy civilian casualties during the three-week operation
which ended in the blockaded coastal strip on 18 January
provoked an international outcry.

Correspondents say the testimonies undermine Israel's
claims that troops took care to protect non-combatants and
accusations that Hamas militants were responsible for
putting civilians into harm's way.

'Less important'

The Palestinian woman and two of her children were
allegedly shot after they misunderstood instructions about
which way to walk having been ordered out of their home by
troops.

"The climate in general... I don't know how to describe
it.... the lives of Palestinians, let's say, are much, much
less important than the lives of our soldiers," an infantry
squad leader is quoted saying.

In another cited case, a commander ordered troops to kill
an elderly woman walking on a road, even though she was
easily identifiable and clearly not a threat.

Testimonies, which were given by combat pilots and infantry
soldiers, also included allegations of unnecessary
destruction of Palestinian property.

"We would throw everything out of the windows to make room
and order. Everything... Refrigerators, plates, furniture.
The order was to throw all of the house's contents
outside," a soldier said.

One non-commissioned officer related at the seminar that an
old woman crossing a main road was shot by soldiers.

"I don't know whether she was suspicious, not suspicious, I
don't know her story? I do know that my officer sent people
to the roof in order to take her out? It was cold-blooded
murder," he said.

The transcript of the session for the college's Yitzhak
Rabin pre-military course, which was held last month,
appeared in a newsletter published by the academy.

Israeli human rights groups have criticised the military
for failing to properly investigate violations of the laws
of war in Gaza despite plenty of evidence of possible war
crimes.

'Moral army'

The soldiers' testimonies also reportedly told of an
unusually high intervention by military and non-military
rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in
religious terminology.

"All the articles had one clear message," one soldier said.
"We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country
almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the
gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land."

"Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of
religion," he added.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that the
findings would be examined seriously.

"I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of
course there may be exceptions but I have absolutely no
doubt this will be inspected on a case-by-case basis," he
said.

Medical authorities say more than 1,300 Palestinians were
killed during Israel's 22-day operation, including some 440
children, 110 women, and dozens of elderly people.

The stated aim was to curb rocket and mortar fire by
militants from Gaza. Thirteen Israelis, including three
civilians were killed.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

1971 - JAPAPESE RED ARMY AND PALESTINIAN PFLP CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL RED ARMY AGAINST IMPERIALISM

SUPPORT MAU-MAU REPARATIONS CLAIM FROM UK GOVERNMENT

THE NATURE OF THE MAU MAU CLAIM

Pambazuka News

The Kenya Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau) claim relates to
torture and the cruel and degrading treatment of detainees
perpetrated by the Kenyan colonial government during the
state of emergency (1952–60). It is a tortious claim based
on negligence and will be instituted in the British High
Court. The claimants are seeking compensation for personal
injuries sustained while in detention camps of the Kenya
Colonial Government which operated under the authority of
Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). The proposed claims are
based on the tort of negligence. It is alleged that HMG is
liable not only because of actions of the Kenyan colonial
government, but also for its failure to take any or
adequate steps to prevent the widespread use of torture
that it knew was being perpetrated in its name.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

The campaign’s objectives are as follows:

- Institute proceedings against the HMG in the British High
Court with a view to achieve a ruling compelling HMG to pay
reparations to Mau Mau torture survivors - Build local and
global awareness on the Mau Mau claim for reparations -
Energise ongoing efforts for recognition of Kenyan heroes
and heroines - Implant the tools for comprehensive
transitional justice in Kenya.

VISION OF THE KENYA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (KHRC)

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) will this year
file a representative suit in the British High Court on
behalf of the survivors of the Mau Mau struggle, seeking
reparations from HMG for atrocities committed against the
Mau Mau during the state of emergency period (1952–60).

The Mau Mau, an indigenous anti-colonial movement,
struggled valiantly for Kenya’s independence, won from the
British in 1963. The armed struggle raised the cost of
colonisation, forcing the British to hand over power to
Africans. During the armed struggle, atrocities were
inflicted on the Mau Mau and the African communities that
supported them. These atrocities have been well-documented
by historians. Routine preventive detention, systematic
denial of due process guarantees, summary killings,
torture, beatings, rape, forced labour, destruction of
property, forced evictions, villageisation, and other forms
of pillage defined British policy against the Mau Mau
during the emergency. It is estimated that perhaps 160,000
Kenyans passed through the ’moral rearmament’ corrective
program (or ‘The Pipeline’), in order to renounce the Mau
Mau oath, which was the stated justification of preventive
detention.

The extent to which thousands upon thousands of Africans
were killed, maimed or displaced during the emergency has
only come to be appreciated in recent years. Despite the
scale and severity of these atrocities, the British and
successive African governments in Kenya, including the
present government, have refused to either acknowledge
these barbaric abuses or provide relief to the survivors.
In fact, there has been a conspiracy of silence between the
British and various Kenyan governments. Today, national
amnesia threatens to bury the history of one of Africa’s
most brilliant anti-colonial struggles.

The KHRC believes that the legacy of the Mau Mau is
inextricably linked to the reform of the Kenyan state. In
particular, the KHRC believes that the Mau Mau Reparations
and Recognition Campaign will play a key role in addressing
the long standing problems of impunity for past abuses,
developing a basis for implanting the tools and instruments
of transitional justice in Kenya, and buoying the efforts
to litigate against the atrocities committed in the name of
colonialism. It is not credible, nor is it defensible, to
argue that the post-colonial Kenyan state can be reformed
without a proper accounting for colonial atrocities, the
most poignant of which involved the Mau Mau. Even the task
force on a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission
(TJRC) for Kenya, led by KHRC Chair Professor Makau Mutua
recommended that a special investigation be conducted to
establish culpability for abuses committed in the colonial
period.

As a part of its transitional justice programme – looking
into and seeking justice for past abuses –the KHRC
established the Mau Mau Reparations and Recognition
Campaign. It is clear to the KHRC that the recovery of the
memory and honour of the Mau Mau would have enormous
implications for human rights, social justice and democracy
in Kenya and Africa as a whole. What is more, the Mau Mau
reparations case provides an opportunity to broaden the
debate on reparations for slavery and colonialism in
general. This is critical at a time in which the West is
focused on debt reduction and forgiveness, as though these
cleanse the atrocities committed in Africa through slavery,
colonialism and the Cold War.

The KHRC’s position is that reparations are due to Africa
for these ills, and should not be viewed as charitable
donations out of the kindness of the West. Reparations
cannot be traded off for debt reduction or cancellation.

IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN MILESTONES

Objective 1: Institute proceedings in the British High
Court with a view to achieving a ruling compelling HMG to
pay reparations to Mau Mau torture survivors

On 4 October 2006, the KHRC and its United Kingdom-based
legal team, Leigh Day & Co solicitors, submitted a letter
of claim to Margaret Beckett, the British foreign
secretary, formally presenting their intention to sue HMG
for the torture it inflicted upon the Mau Mau. The letter,
which outlined some of the evidence gathered so far, also
requested that HMG accept responsibility for those
atrocities. Subsequently, on 2 April 2007, HMG’s solicitors
responded to the letter and stated that should proceedings
be issued in court, and that it would defend itself against
the claims on the grounds of (a) British limitation laws
and (b) laws of state succession and related case law on
who is the appropriate defendant. The nature of the
response, and previous statements by the British High
Commission in Nairobi, indicate that HMG will ‘defend
itself vigorously’ in the matter of the Mau Mau claim.

Objective 2: Build local and global awareness on the Mau
Mau claim for reparations

In June 2007, the KHRC sent a team of three human rights
experts to the UK where they spent a week cultivating
contacts in the British media and making logistical
arrangements with the support of Kenyans and human rights
organisations for the implementation of a programme of
events originally planned for the Suit Filing Week in
February 2008. In the UK, the KHRC has the support of
Fahamu, the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH), the Kenya Community Abroad (KCA) and Mobilization
for Economic Growth (MEGA)-UK chapter among others.

In May 2006, the KHRC embarked on a campaign to directly
influence opinion makers in both Kenya and the UK to bring
pressure to bear on HMG to accept responsibility for the
obvious atrocities it inflicted upon Kenyans during the
state of emergency. Most of local media institutions were
supportive and have partnered with the KHRC to bring the
desired publicity to the suit. Some of the international
media institutions that have reported on the campaign
specifically, and the Mau Mau generally, include but are
not limited to Associated Press, The Guardian, The Times,
the Daily Telegraph, the British Broadcasting Corporation,
Al Jazeera, British Sky Broadcasting and Reuters.

Objective 3: Energise ongoing efforts for recognition of
Kenyan heroes

No law has been enacted or issued officially proclaiming
any Kenyan figure as a national hero. But owing to their
significant roles in the process of nation-building and
contributions to history, there needs to be laws enacted
and proclamations issued honouring these heroes and
heroines. Towards this end, the KHRC continues to play an
instrumental role in the work of the Task Force on National
Heroes/Heroines, which is situated in the Ministry of
National Heritage (office of the vice president) as well as
the national museums of Kenya’s National Exhibition on
Kenya’s Struggle for Independence Project.

Objective 4: Implant the tools for comprehensive
transitional justice in Kenya

The KHRC has consistently maintained that the only way to
address the atrocities by post-colonial Kenyan governments
lies in looking into Kenya’s painful colonial history. The
KHRC is aware that many of the problems in the
post-colonial Kenyan state – impunity for public officials,
despotism by government, atrocities by the police and
security officials, the culture of corruption,
landlessness, and steep gender inequities – are either a
legacy of colonialism, or were exacerbated by it.

These problems were not confined to any one region or
community or even one country. Indeed, a successful
investigation and accounting of the Mau Mau question in
addition to the atrocities of former European colonial
powers would start the process of national healing and help
consolidate quest for democratisation in Africa.
Consequently, the KHRC is organising the Conference on
Reparations for Colonial Injustices against African People,
which will bring together historians, activists and media
practitioners to share ideas on this complex issue.

THE ENVISIONED LEGAL PROCESS

Issue of proceedings: HMG is required to respond to the
proceedings instituted as soon as these are issued. There
are two possibilities for HMG, which would form part of the
preliminary phase of any eventual, full hearing: a) It may
formally apply to the British High Court to file a defence
based on existing limitation laws in Britain, or; b) It may
formally apply to the courts to file a defence based on the
laws of state succession, namely, that the
post-independence Kenyan state inherited the liabilities of
the British colonial state and, therefore argue that the
post-independence Kenyan State, and not HMG, should be held
to account for colonial-era atrocities.

Preliminary hearings: Should the first option apply, the
court may set a date for a preliminary hearing a few months
from the time of issuing of proceedings. Some questions
that may arise are: - How will this hearing be conducted? -
Will the court require evidence from both sides at this
stage? - What kind of evidence will this be? Would expert
witnesses appear at this stage?

Based on the court’s assessment of what is brought before
it during the preliminary hearings, there could be two
results: 1) The court may find that the matter came before
the courts after a very long period of time and it would be
prejudicial to HMG to defend itself, or; 2) The evidence
may be so compelling as to cause the court to lift the
limitation law and allow the case to come to trial some
months after the preliminary phase.

Trial phase: It is instructive that if the court takes the
second decision, it would effectively be declaring that the
suit does indeed have merit. However, either side would
have the right to appeal the High Court’s decision in the
British Court of Appeal, should they be dissatisfied with
the court’s decision about whether or not the case goes to
trial.

ELOISE MUKAMI DEDAN KIMATHI AS THE LEADER OF MAU MAU
DELEGATION TO BRITAIN

‘It is better to die on our feet that to live on our knees’
Dedan Kimathi

On 18 February 1957, having been charged and convicted as a
terrorist, Mau Mau Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi was hanged,
his remains buried in an unmarked grave, possibly at the
Kamiti maximum prison near Nairobi. To this day, his
remains are unaccounted for, though it is highly probable
that HMG, which executed him and certainly disposed of his
remains, is in possession of information that may enable
their discovery. It is believed that HMG was attempting to
avoid a situation in which Kimathi’s burial site would be
turned into a shrine for the Mau Mau and Kenyans, hence the
secrecy with which his execution and burial were carried
out.

For almost 50 years now, the family of the late Kimathi and
Kenyans have been denied the right to honour him by giving
him a decent state burial, which he and they deserve.
Though living in a condition of destitution, Mukami
Kimathi, his widow, has worked tirelessly to support the
cause of the Mau Mau for recognition while being involved
in activism aimed at compelling the Kenyan and British
authorities to disclose information about the whereabouts
of Dedan Kimathi’s remains. Consequently, the KHRC has
invited Kimathi and a member of her family to lead the Mau
Mau delegation in London.

Between 2001 and 2003, the family of the late Kimathi and
the Kimathi Movement held a series of meetings with
political leaders and bureaucrats at the home, health and
justice and constitutional affairs ministries seeking their
intervention in the matter of the hero’s remains. However,
these officials did not act, compelling the Kimathi
Movement to approach the Nairobi-based British High
Commission, which was equally unhelpful. Undeterred, the
family of the late Kimathi and the Kimathi Movement
continued to popularise its goals by celebrating Kimathi’s
life and struggles each year on the anniversary of his
execution, 18 February. While the Kimathi Movement no
longer exists, the KHRC remains committed to carrying out
the noble initiative and will support Kimathi’s goal to
follow up the matter directly with the head of state of the
United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II.


PRINCIPAL PARTNERS IN THE CAMPAIGN

- The Mau Mau War Veterans’ Association (MMWVA) – the only officially
registered Mau Mau advocacy group with the political clout, drive and
capacity to pursue such a complex legal-political and historical
affair such as the reparations suit and heroes’ recognition agenda

- Kenya Oral History Centre – offers expert advice on the history of
the colonial government in Kenya and for making contacts with Mau Mau

- Awaaz – Kenya south Asians history magazine

- Paul Muite & Co advocates – lead counsel for Mau Mau reparations
suit and link institution to Human Rights Matrix Chambers

- Mbugua Mureithi & Co advocates – offers expert advice on
evidentiary matters such as development of claimants’ statements

- KCA-UK – a North America-based Kenyan diaspora umbrella group

- Fahamu – UK-based human rights organisation assisting with
publicity and networking with progressive individuals and
institutions

- Caroline Elkins, Faculty of African Studies, Harvard University –
Mau Mau historian and advisor on colonial history, Kenyan heroes and
reparations

- David Anderson, Oxford University – Mau Mau historian and advisor
on colonial history, Kenyan heroes and reparations

- Leigh Day & Co advocates – lead counsel for Mau Mau reparations
suit and link institutions to Human Rights Matrix Chambers.

MAU MAU - KENYAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS

Monday, 9 March 2009

ENGLISH OCCUPIERS NEED TO LEAVE THEIR FIRST AND LAST COLONY IN PEACE

Gerry Adams defends response to murder of soldiers

Sinn Féin leader says it is important to understand the
history of Northern Ireland before criticising the nature
of his party's reaction to the killing of two sappers on
Saturday

guardian.co.uk
Monday 9 March 2009

Gerry Adams said today that the British army was "not
wanted" in Northern Ireland as he explained Sinn Féin's
decision not to condemn the killing of two soldiers in
Antrim as robustly as other parties have done.

In an interview on the Today programme, the Sinn Féin
leader said it was important to understand the history of
Northern Ireland before criticising the nature of the Sinn
Féin reaction.

Sinn Féin took 14 hours to issue a response to the killing
of two soldiers at Massereene barracks on Saturday night.
The party said that the attack was "wrong and
counter-productive" and that, because Sinn Féin had a
"responsibility to be consistent", therefore "the logic of
this is that we support the police in the apprehension of
those involved".

Adams has been criticised for not condemning the attacks
more vehemently. Lord Tebbit, the former Conservative party
chairman, told the Daily Mail: "It is a pity that Gerry
Adams could not find it in his heart to express any
sympathy for those who republicans have murdered."

On the Today programme this morning Adams said that his
thoughts were with the families of those who were killed
and injured. But, when it was put to him that the Sinn Féin
response appeared cold-hearted, he said those who were
saying that did not understand the history of Northern
Ireland.

"The Sinn Féin statement was totally and absolutely
unprecedented," he said.

"The history, and I suppose it's a very unsettled history,
is that the British army in Ireland is not wanted by
republicans, by patriots, by democrats. I stress again that
this is not to justify what occurred. Many people have
suffered at the hands of the British army."

Adams said that Northern Ireland had now reached a peaceful
and democratic phase and that those behind the attack were
seeking to undermine that. But he had to be the "best
judge" of how he decided to react.

"We have been very successful at how we have brought the
broad republican community to where we are. I have to be
the best judge of how I address that community."

Adams said that those behind the attacks had "no popular
support". He also said that he and his Sinn Féin colleague
Martin McGuiness were seen as legitimate targets by the
dissident republicans.

SONS OF MALCOLM SALUTES PALESTINIAN WOMEN

SONS OF MALCOLM IN PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE TO NEW DOC-FILM 'GROVE ROOTS'; 8 YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE A FILM ABOUT THE COMMUNITY STRUGGLES AND CULTURE

Saturday, 7 March 2009

BRITAIN'S GREATEST MODERN WORKING CLASS LEADER - ARTHUR SCARGILL- TALKS OF BRITAIN'S GREATEST STRUGGLE AGAINST THE STATE

'We could surrender - or stand and fight'

By Arthur Scargill
The Guardian
It has been 25 years since the miners' strike began - now, for the first time, the then president of the NUM writes his account of the most divisive and bitter industrial dispute in living memory

Twenty-five years ago, the Tory government led by Margaret
Thatcher declared war on the National Union of Mineworkers.
The Tories had been preparing for a showdown with the NUM
since before the 1979 general election. They could not
forget the victorious miners' strikes of 1972 and 1974, the
second of which had brought down the Tory government in a
general election.

But the NUM's historic battle did not begin in March 1984,
as so many pundits claim. The seeds of the dispute had been
sown long before. A pit closure plan in 1981 resulted in
miners, including miners in Nottinghamshire, taking
unofficial strike action (without a ballot) and forcing
Thatcher into a U-turn, or in reality a body swerve.

At that time, Britain's coal industry was the most
efficient and technologically advanced in the world, a
result of a tripartite agreement, the Plan For Coal, signed
by a Labour government, the National Coal Board (NCB) and
the mining trade unions in 1974, and endorsed by Thatcher
in 1981. And yet, shortly after I became national president
of the NUM in 1982 I was sent anonymously a copy of a
secret plan prepared by NCB chiefs earmarking 95 pits for
closure, with the loss of 100,000 miners' jobs. This plan
had been prepared on government instructions following the
miners' successful unofficial strike in 1981.

I took this document to the union's National Executive
Committee (NEC) - its contents were not only denied by
government and NCB chiefs, but were disbelieved by militant
NUM leaders who had been assured that their pits had
long-term futures. However, the exposed revelations struck
a chord among our members throughout Britain's coalfields
where colliery managers - clearly acting on instructions
from above - had already begun unilaterally changing agreed
working practices, affecting shift patterns and
supplementary payments.

It became clear that the union would have to take action,
but of a type that would win maximum support and have a
unifying effect. The NEC accepted a report from me
recommending that we call a special national delegate
conference, and link our opposition to the pit closure plan
with a demand that the coal board negotiate the union's
wage claim. The NEC agreed, and the special conference was
held on 21 October 1983. Delegates from all NUM areas were
given a detailed report so that they could vote on what
action - if any - should be taken. Following a full debate,
they agreed to call a national overtime ban from 1 November
- until such time as the NCB withdrew its closure plan and
agreed to negotiate an increase in miners' wages with the
NUM.

Over the next four months, the overtime ban had an
extraordinary impact. It succeeded in reducing coal output
by 30%, or 12m tonnes, thus cutting national coal stocks to
about the same level as they had been during the miners'
unofficial strike in 1981.

Then, on 1 March 1984, acting I believe on national
instruction, NCB directors in four areas announced the
immediate closure of five pits: Cortonwood and Bullcliffe
Wood in Yorkshire, Herrington in Durham, Snowdown in Kent
and Polmaise in Scotland.

Coalfield reaction was electrifying. On Saturday 3 March,
accompanied by the NUM Yorkshire president, Jack Taylor, I
spoke at a packed meeting in South Yorkshire initially
organised to discuss various issues that had already
brought seven Yorkshire pits out on strike. I knew we had
to do everything possible to persuade our members to direct
their rage in a united way at the pit closure plan and its
threat to butcher our industry.

On Sunday evening Taylor and I attended a Yorkshire Brass
Band Festival in Sheffield city hall. By then I had
consulted my fellow national officials, the vice-president,
Michael McGahey, and the national secretary, Peter
Heathfield.

It was essential to present a united response to the NCB
and we agreed that, if the coal board planned to force pit
closures on an area by area basis, then we must respond at
least initially on that same basis. The NUM's rules
permitted areas to take official strike action if
authorised by our national executive committee in
accordance with Rule 41. If the NEC gave Scotland and
Yorkshire authorisation under this rule, it could galvanise
other areas to seek similar support for action against
closures.

During an interval in the concert, I used the back of a
programme to draft a strike resolution which I asked Taylor
to present the following morning to the Yorkshire area
council meeting. I told him that McGahey would be doing the
same thing at the same time in Scotland.

On 6 March, at a consultative meeting at NCB London
headquarters, the coal board chairman, Ian MacGregor, not
only confirmed what we had been expecting, but announced
that in addition to the five pits already earmarked for
immediate closure, a further 20 would be closed during the
coming year, with the loss of more than 20,000 jobs. This,
he said, was being done to take four million tonnes of
"unwanted" capacity out of the industry, and bring supply
into line with demand.

The Scotland and Yorkshire NUM areas did vote to seek
endorsement from the NEC for strike action, and at the NEC
meeting on 8 March were given authorisation under Rule 41.
South Wales and Kent then also asked for authorisation. The
NEC agreed, and confirmed that other areas could, if they
wished, do the same. We realised that the NCB announcement
on 6 March had amounted to a declaration of war. We could
either surrender right now, or stand and fight.

A question that has been raised time and time again over
the past 25 years is: why did the union not hold a national
strike ballot? Those who attack our struggle by vilifying
me usually say: "Scargill rejected calls for a ballot."

The real reason that NUM areas such as Nottinghamshire,
South Derbyshire and Leicestershire wanted a national
strike ballot was that they wanted the strike called off,
believing naively that their pits were safe.

Three years earlier, in 1981, there had been no ballot when
miners' unofficial strike action - involving Notts miners -
had caused Thatcher to retreat from mass closures (nor in
1972 when more than a million workers went on strike in
support of the Pentonville Five dockers who had been jailed
for defying government anti-union legislation).

McGahey argued that the union should not be
"constitutionalised" out of taking action, while the South
Wales area president, Emlyn Williams, told the NEC on 12
April 1984: "To hide behind a ballot is an act of
cowardice. I tell you this now ... decide what you like
about a ballot but our coalfield will be on strike and stay
on strike."

However, NUM areas had a right to ask the NEC to convene a
special national delegate conference (as we had when
calling the overtime ban) to determine whether delegates
mandated by their areas should vote for a national
individual ballot or reaffirm the decision of the NEC to
permit areas such as Scotland, Yorkshire, South Wales and
Kent to take strike action in accordance with Rule 41.

Our special conference was held on 19 April. McGahey,
Heathfield and I were aware from feedback that a slight
majority of areas favoured the demand for a national strike
ballot; therefore, we were expecting and had prepared for
that course of action with posters, ballot papers and
leaflets. A major campaign was ready to go for a "Yes" vote
in a national strike ballot.

At the conference, Heathfield told delegates in his opening
address: "I hope that we are sincere and honest enough to
recognise that a ballot should not be used and exercised as
a veto to prevent people in other areas defending their
jobs." His succinct reminder of the situation we were in
opened up an emotional debate to which speaker after
speaker made passionate and fiercely argued contributions.

Replying to that debate, I said: "This battle is certainly
about more than the miners' union. It is for the right to
work. It is for the right to preserve our pits. It is for
the right to preserve this industry ... We can all make
speeches, but at the end of the day we have got to stand up
and be counted ... We have got to come out and say not only
what we feel should be done, but do it because if we don't
do that, then we fail."

McGahey, Heathfield and I had done the arithmetic
beforehand, and were truly surprised that when the vote was
taken, delegates rejected calls for a national strike
ballot and decided instead to call on all miners to refuse
to cross picket lines - and join the 140,000 already on
strike. We later learned that members of one area
delegation had been so moved by the arguments put forward
in the debate that they'd held an impromptu meeting and
switched their vote in support of the area strikes in
accordance with Rule 41.

During the strike I was also criticised, indeed attacked -
by my own colleagues - for arguing that the NUM's prime
picketing targets should be power stations, ports, cement
works, steelworks and coking plants. But evidence now
available shows my argument was correct.

My passionate conviction that the Orgreave coking plant in
South Yorkshire should be selected as a main target was
rubbished at the time. Yet, it has now been revealed from
official sources that show coal stocks at steel plants -
particularly Scunthorpe in Yorkshire, Ravenscraig in
Scotland and Llanwern in Wales - were so low that these
works could only continue in production for a matter of
weeks, with Scunthorpe - where British Steel had already
laid off 160 workers due to coal shortages - actually
earmarked for closure by 18 June 1984.

The issue of dispensations that would allow provision of
coal supplies created divisions among the most militant
sections of the NUM. I had argued passionately that there
should be no dispensations for power stations, cement
works, steelworks or coking plants, whose coal stocks were
extremely low.

Many on the union's left - particularly those in the
Communist party - argued that the union had a
responsibility to ensure that a minimal amount of coal
could be delivered in order to keep the giant furnaces and
ovens "ticking over". Heathfield and a number of others on
the NUM left agreed with me that there should be no
dispensations and that if steelworks had to close down, as
British Steel's chairman, Bob Haslam, warned was
inevitable, then the responsibility lay firmly at the door
of the government, not the NUM.

Despite the passionate arguments made by Heathfield and
myself, areas did give dispensations. Two months went by
before it dawned on Yorkshire, South Wales and Scotland
that they had been outmanoeuvred by British Steel, and the
leadership of the steelworkers' union, and that British
Steel was moving far more coal than the dispensations
agreed with NUM areas. Yet there was still time to stop all
those giant steelworks, and if the steelworkers' union
would not cooperate with the NUM to stop all deliveries of
coal to the steelworks then the National Union of Seamen
and rail unions Aslef and NUR had already demonstrated that
they would stop all deliveries.

The scene was set for the battle of Orgreave.

Orgreave coking plant was a crucial target for mass
picketing. I knew that its coal supplies could be cut off
as had been the case at the Saltley coke depot in
Birmingham in 1972 - a turning point after which that
strike was soon settled.

Contrary to popular mythology, Orgreave was closed twice:
first on 27 May 1984, when together with dozens of others I
was injured on the picket line. Second, on 18 June, when
10,000 pickets faced 8,500 riot police in a scene
reminiscent of a battle in England's 17th-century civil
war.

So fierce was the conflict on 18 June that dozens of
pickets were hospitalised (including me), but the picketing
resulted in British Steel's chairman sending a telex
closing down Orgreave on a temporary basis - exactly as had
been the case at Saltley coke depot in Birmingham 12 years
before.

The fundamental difference between Saltley in 1972 and
Orgreave in 1984 was that in 1972 following the first
closure at Saltley, picketing on my demand was increased
the following day - while at Orgreave, on 19 June 1984, the
pickets were completely withdrawn by the NUM Yorkshire and
Derbyshire areas and other coalfield leaders, despite my
desperate urging that picketing be stepped up.

Had picketing at Orgreave been increased the day after 18
June, I have no doubt that Orgreave - and Scunthorpe -
would have faced immediate closure, forcing the government
to settle the strike.

For 25 years, I have been accused of refusing to negotiate
a settlement with the NCB, and of "snatching defeat from
the jaws of victory" - a blatant lie. The NUM settled the
strike on five separate occasions in 1984: on 8 June, 8
July, 18 July, 10 September, and 12 October. The first four
settlements were sabotaged or withdrawn following the
intervention of Thatcher.

The most important settlement terms were agreed between
leaders of the pit deputies' union Nacods and the NUM at
the offices of the conciliation service Acas on 12 October
1984 and included a demand that the NCB withdraw its pit
closure plan, give an undertaking that the five collieries
earmarked for immediate closure would be kept open, and
guarantee that no pit would be closed unless by joint
agreement it was deemed to be exhausted or unsafe.

Nacods members had recorded an 82% ballot vote for strike
action, and their leaders made clear to the NCB that unless
the Nacods-NUM terms were accepted, the Nacods strike would
go ahead.

I was later told by a Tory who had been a minister at the
time that when Thatcher was informed of the Nacods-NUM
agreement she announced to the cabinet "special committee"
that the government had no choice but to settle the strike
on the unions' terms.

However, when she learned that Nacods - despite pleas from
the TUC and the NUM - had called off their strike and
accepted a "modified" colliery review procedure, she
immediately withdrew the government's decision to settle.
Nacods' inexplicable decision led to the closure of 164
pits and the loss of 160,000 jobs.

The monumental betrayal by Nacods has never been explained
in a way that makes sense. Even the TUC recognised that the
Nacods settlement was a disaster.

The fact that Nacods leaders ignored pleas from the NUM and
TUC not to call off their strike or resile from their
agreement with the NUM not only adds mystery but poses the
question - whose hand did the moving, and why?

Over the years, I have repeatedly said that we didn't "come
close" to total victory in October 1984 - we had it, and at
the very point of victory we were betrayed. Only the Nacods
leaders know why.

A full account of the strike of 1984/85 is still to be
written. However, we have learned more and more about the
then Labour party leader, Neil Kinnock's treachery, the
betrayals by the TUC and the class collaboration of union
leaders such as Eric Hammond (the electricians' EETPU) and
John Lyons (Engineers and Managers Association), who
instructed their members to cross picket lines and did all
they could to defeat the miners.

We have also seen how many who, like Kinnock, bleated
constantly about the need for a ballot during the miners'
strike didn't call for the British people to have a ballot
in 2003 when Tony Blair took the nation into an unlawful
war and the occupation of Iraq.

During the past 25 years, many who have attacked the NUM,
and me, about the need for a ballot, or argued that we
selected the wrong targets have done so to cover their own
guilt at failing to give the miners a level of support that
would have stopped the Tories' pit closure programme and
thus changed the political direction of the nation. Britain
in 1984 was already a divided and degraded society - it has
become much more so in the 25 years since.

The NUM's struggle remains not only an inspiration for
workers but a warning to today's union leaders of their
responsibility to their members, and the need to challenge
both government and employers over all forms of injustice,
inequality and exploitation.

That is the legacy of the NUM's strike of 1984/85, a truly
historic fight that gave birth to the magnificent Women
Against Pit Closures and the miners' support groups. I have
always said that the greatest victory in the strike was the
struggle itself, a struggle that inspired millions of
people around the world.
• On 12 March, at 7.30pm, Arthur Scargill will be speaking on the lessons of the 1984/85 miners' strike at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1