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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 147, Friday 12th November 1997
"The environmentalists are going to have to be like the mob in the square
in Romania before they prevail."
Greenpeace said it was a "tragic wasted opportunity", while the "death-row" industries who had done so much behind the scenes to wreck it, said it spelled the end to the American way of life. But, as the Kyoto summit on climate change finally ended, it was clear that if real change is ever going to happen the power of the multinational corporations that shape and control our world, will need to be seriously challenged.
"The carbon club members maintain that they are defending business and
nation. But according to the UN's best estimates, the angry tide of climate
changes will in time wash over economies, grabbing territory and laying waste
with the ferocity of the most effecient invading army."
The world's climate is in turmoil: floods in one region, droughts in another; record hurricanes and cyclones in the Caribbean and the Pacific; forest fires in Indonesia; disappearing glaciers in the Alps; diseases like Malaria and Dengue on the increase world-wide; endangered species losing their habitat; lower wheat and rice harvests; entire island nations like the Maldives or the Marshall Islands threatened. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change coming to the conclusion that man-made greenhouse gases were contributing to global warming it is clear that action needs to be taken - and fast.
Yet 11 days of talks and the UK have agreed to legally binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 8%, Japan 7%, US 7% by 2008-12. Australia however is being allowed to increase emissions! But even these hopeless figures have been challanged by American senators, who promise to block its passage through the Senate.
Even more controversial are all the loop holes such as emissions trading, where countries can buy up other countries' quota of CO2 emissions. In effect the right to buy and sell permission to pollute if they are not using it themselves!
"Corporations use their economic power and resources to shape public opinion through think-tanks, public relations and propaganda. But this shaping is designed to go unnoticed, to alter perception, reshape reality and manufacture consent without their targets being even aware that it is happening." Says one Public Relations executive. "You never know when a PR agency is being effective; you're just find your views slowly shifting." Sharon Beder, lecturer and author.
With just 4% of the world's population, the US generates more than 20 per cent of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide, yet in the lead up to the summit a propaganda war, described as "one of the most successful and vicious of all time" has been waged to mislead and distort the truth about climate change.
A US consortium of 20 organisations launched a £10 million campaign of TV ads warning of job losses, tax rises and the end of the the American consumerist way of life if a meaningful treaty went ahead. With money no object, they could run rings around their opponents, fund right-wing think tanks that talked of global warming creating "a milder, greener, more prosperous world" and fund `greenhouse sceptic' scientists, who describe themselves as "independent" despite toeing the fossil-fuel line.
One of these consortiums is the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). It is made up of 50 trade associations and private companies representing almost every major US and European oil, motor, chemical, airline, electricity and plastic company, including BP, Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motor Company, and Mobil. In the run up to the summit it's activities included distributing to hundeds of journalists a video which claims that increased levels of carbon dioxide will increase crop production and help to feed the hungry people of the world!
But the fact is all these corporations care about is profit. John Gummer, former Conservative Environment Secretary commented "We are not talking about piddling trade negotiations over the price of beans here, we are talking about something serious - for example, whether Bangladesh and 36 small island states disappear below the sea. We are talking about the richest nation in the world playing games with the lives of the poorest." But what we are really talking about is multinational corporations with the politicians in the pockets, making sure profit as usual becomes before people and the planet.
According to the UN $300 billion of taxpayers money has been used world wide in the last 20 years to prop up the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. In contrast, environmental solutions like solar electricity and wind power received only $15 billion. Likewise in the past few months BP and Shell in particularly have launched solar power programmes, but their commitments are less than a penny in every £100 that there are spending on looking for yet more oil.
For having a glass of wine on your own front porch! Two men were nicked for drinking a glass of Chardonnay in Washington DC. Thanks to the city's zero tolerance hardline, the two spent three hours handcuffed to chairs in the holding area before being fined $25.
Nearly....A Peacehaven Big Issue vendor was threatened with arrest for waving a copy of the mag at a passing police car !
Quack Arrest: Police in the Republic of Congo have arrested a duck suspected of sorcery after it caused a traffic accident.
John Wesley-Davis, AKA Inverness John, (CH4543) and Iain Williamson (CH5067) @ HMP Altcourse, Higher Lane, Fazakerley, Liverpool, L9 7LH. The two are on remand for alleged violent disorder, ABH, and criminal damage at the Manchester Airport evictions earlier this year.
Pablo Locke (MM2797) @ HMP Bristol, Cambridge Road, Horfield,Bristol. Inside for life after defending himself against `a psycho with a multitude of violent convictions.' Pablo admits he was no angel but the sentence should have been more like 8 years. " The whole point of the lifer system is to break the mans spirit." Don't let `em!
Raphael Roe (MP3660) @ HMP Kingston, Milton Road, Portsmouth, Hants, PO3 6AF. Michael Davis (MP3661) @ Swalefide, Brabalan Rd, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4DZ. Randolf Johnson (MP3903) @ HMP Whitemoor, Longhill Rd, March, Cambs, PE15 OPR. The three were found guilty of the `M25 Murder" in a case consisting of many inconsistencies (even admitted by the judge), including the fact that the police were looking for two white men with fair hair and blue eyes - the convicted men are all black!
Satpal Ram (E94 164) @ HMP Nottingham, Perry Rd, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 3AG. Sentenced in 1986 to life for the self defence killing of a racist who attacked him in a restaurant. In those 11 years, he has been beaten up, kept in isolation, subjected to humiliating body searches, had drugs planted on him, and been constantly moved around.
Mark Barnsley (WA2897) @ HMP Garth, Leyland, Preston, PR5 3NE. Mark, a former long-standing editor of The Sheffield Anarchist, was attaked in the Pomola pub, Sheffield, by 15 drunk students. Due to witheld and missing evidence, he is now serving his fourth year of a twelve year sentence.
Don't forget next Wednesday (17th) there's a public meeting for all those who want to defend and support the radical press and help the campaign to free the Gandalf 3. It's at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square 7pm (nearest tube Holborn)
On December 5, people in the public gallery of Bristol Crown Court were cleared out by police wielding batons and CS gas canisters, leaving them quite certain that the hearing was indeed over. Thus ended the sentencing of animal rights activist Barry Horne, given a total of eighteen years in prison for various attempted acts of arson, and possession of items that could be used to make incendaries (all those who own clocks and candles*, watch out). He is appealing some of the convictions, most notably those relating to a series of arson attacks on the Isle of Wight two years ago, about which the Judge misinformed the jury that Barry is the only suspect.
* The author of this report would like to make it clear that the mention of candles and clocks is based on a guess as to what materials might be used in the manufacture of incendaries, NOT on any experience or detailed technical knowledge.
On Thursday 4th December, Jack Straw overturned a Court of Appeal ruling which means that prisoners are no longer permitted freedom of contact with the media. The decision re-imposes regulations about who inmates can meet.
Last December, the high Court ruled that Prison Rules 1964 sections 37 and 37A were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. However last week overturning the decision Lord Justice Kennedy said "The loss of that right ... is part and parcel of a sentence of imprisonment."
Speaking out against this reversal in prisoners' rights is Sara Thornton, who served 5 and a half years for murdering her abusive husband. Thornton was eventually released from her original life sentence after a long campaign, but suffered fallout while inside. Following a 1994 documentary, `Women Who Kill', for which, unable to be interviewed in person, she sent a tape in response to questions sent in the post, she was charged with, in essence, wilfully trying to publicise her crime. She was able to retaliate against the charges, on the basis that her communication formed `part of a serious comment about crime' which of course it did.
Thornton regarded last year's European ruling as `a big step forward', saying "tragedies like the Bridgewater Four ... will be seen in the future as dreadful mistakes that produced wonderful changes". Robert Woffinden, who wrote articles about one of the cases which prompted the original inquiry into the media access issue, said "Standards of criminal justice are still lower than people generally appreciate, and the authorities don't want this to be recognised."
Stop Press: SchNEWSers drink Champagne with Shell's chairman and Michael Howard Shocker.
"You only feel the chains when you begin to move..."
Last updated 9 January 1997
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