Columnists

Camp X-Ray on the NHS

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Look which US company is at the front of the queue for Iraq contracts.

What connection could there be between Texas, Vietnam, Camp X-Ray, US vice-president Dick Cheney and computerisation of the National Health Service? The answer, of course, is Halliburton--the US corporation which has been handed one of the first contracts for 'reconstruction' in Iraq and which the folks back in England are only just beginning to find out about.

Denying Dissent

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It has sometimes been difficult to find accurate information about what is actually happening in Iraq.

Embedded journalists only put a highly censored story. It is not surprising, then, that alternative news sources on the web have been the subject of intense debate and in some cases censorship. The nature of the internet makes websites particularly sensitive to attack or closure if their content doesn't meet the approval of the people whose computers run the site, or those with the skills to cause damage.

Theatre Enters Stage Left

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Theatre can be a forum for debate and encourage collective action.

Recently I was rereading some of John McGrath's essays on political theatre in his book 'Naked Thoughts That Roam About'. McGrath, who died last year, set up the 7:84 theatre group (7 percent owning 84 percent of the wealth) to create an agitprop theatre for the generation of anti Vietnam War protesters.

Leader of the Pack

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The war in Iraq has exposed splits between the imperial powers.

The spectacle of French president jacques Chirac trying to block George Bush's path to war was one few people would have predicted in May last year when he was reelected president. The French ruling class had happily taken part in the last three US-UK wars, against Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan. And France has its own very dirty record of imperialist violence in Africa. To see what motivated Chirac it is necessary first to be clear about the reasons for Bush's push to war.

Dumb and Dumber

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This is a war without reason, justification or explanation.

Tony Blair recently proclaimed that even if he were in a minority in the country he would still be committed to wage war on Iraq. Today it appears he is, so he's going to get the chance to prove it.

Never has a war seemed to have less reason, justice or explanation. It is impossible to find a single persuasive argument in its favour.

Picturing the Horrors of War

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Picasso's 'Guernica' depicts the cost of conflict. Mike Gonzalez explains why it's time it was discovered again.

We are surrounded by images of war. Real, imagined or remembered conflict is a constant in the kind of films that are shelved under 'Action' at Blockbuster's. Very few computer games have gone beyond the simple binary of good and evil, friend or enemy. Newspapers regularly carry stark and terrifying photographs of the victims of war in some unnamed place--as if only fear and terror can really be dramatic. And then there is the machinery of warfare, drawn out in loving scientific detail on the nightly news. Thus war is made part of our natural experience.

Far Right: Left Pole of Attraction

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The growth of the anti-war movement means greater forces to deal with the dangers from the far right.

Two contradictory moods are sweeping Britain. There is the enormous movement against the war on Iraq. Not only has there been the biggest anti-war demonstration the country has ever seen, but the global anti-capitalist mood that emerged after Seattle has been getting a wide echo within the movement, feeding into the first real political student movement for years and creating a wide sense of solidarity with the firefighters' strikes at the end of last year.

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