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Jonathan Steele

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About Jonathan Steele

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  1. The core of democracy is tolerance of other people's views. Whether it is Rosa Luxemburg's call for respecting the "freedom of people who think differently" or Winston Churchill's pride in British parliamentary debate, left and right agree on this principle. Alas, it is not much on display in Kiev. Egged on by their favourite, Viktor Yushchenko, crowds have been blocking the main government building and doing all they can to humiliate his rival, prime minister Viktor Yanukovich. Their man won the presidential election, but where is the respect for constitutional procedures they claim to supp
  2. The voice on the line was polite but insistent. The FBI was conducting a nationwide manhunt for three men who had disappeared in Mississippi. My car had been found abandoned in suspicious circumstances in nearby Louisiana. Would I come immediately to explain why, and whether I knew anything about the men? The phone call was unnerving even though I had nothing to hide, and I hastened to obey the summons. Of course I knew that the men had gone missing: the case was rocking America that summer, exactly 40 years ago. America's turbulent civil rights decade was at its height and the missing men w
  3. Although Saddam was still a junior figure, it is a matter of record that the CIA station in Baghdad aided the coup which first brought the Ba'athists to power in 1963. But it was Reagan who, two decades later, turned US-Iraqi relations into a decisive wartime alliance. He sent a personal letter to Saddam Hussein in December 1983 offering help against Iran. The letter was hand-carried to Baghdad by Reagan's special envoy, Donald Rumsfeld. Reagan liked several things about Saddam. A firm anti-communist, he had banned the party and executed or imprisoned thousands of its members. The Iraqi lead
  4. Reagan's policies towards the Soviet Union were hysterical and counter-productive. He put detente into deep freeze for several years with his insulting label "the evil empire". It led to overblown outrage over the downing by Soviet aircraft of a South Korean airliner that intruded into Russian air space. Moscow's action was inept, but if Reagan had not put the superpowers in collision, the Kremlin might have treated the wayward plane more calmly. Moscow's policies in the developing world were no less cynical than Reagan's. In Iran and Iraq they played both sides, tilting towards Saddam Husse
  5. Although Saddam was still a junior figure, it is a matter of record that the CIA station in Baghdad aided the coup which first brought the Ba'athists to power in 1963. But it was Reagan who, two decades later, turned US-Iraqi relations into a decisive wartime alliance. He sent a personal letter to Saddam Hussein in December 1983 offering help against Iran. The letter was hand-carried to Baghdad by Reagan's special envoy, Donald Rumsfeld. Reagan liked several things about Saddam. A firm anti-communist, he had banned the party and executed or imprisoned thousands of its members. The Iraqi lead
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