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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 155, Friday 19th February 1998New Labour's Welfare to Workfare Roadshow is coming to town this Saturday (21st).
Meet 12 noon Pig & Paradise, Queens Rd.
-Senior US officer
The US and Britain are preparing to let loose their war machine on the people of Iraq in order to maintain their dominant position in the Middle East. Having crippled Iraq with seven years of sanctions that are estimated to have killed two million Iraqis, half of them children, Clinton and Blair are concerned that world opinion is increasingly calling for sanctions against Iraq to be lifted, allowing Iraqi oil to compete with US and British controlled oil. The war being prepared for - and the horrors it will hold for the Iraqi people - will have nothing to do with standing up to an 'evil dictator'. It will all be about profits.
The excuse for going to war being fed to the public in Britain and the US is that Saddam Hussein cannot be trusted with 'weapons of mass destruction'. While there is enormous doubt about whether Iraq has any such weapons there is no doubt about who does.
The United States and Britain have massive stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The US and Britain arm, train and subsidise brutal dictatorships throughout the world. They are currently amassing a force of 30,000 troops, aircraft carriers, stealth fighters, B52 bombers, cruise missiles and much more in order to bomb Iraq, "back into the stone age", as they did in 1991. The 'smart bombs' sent to Iraq in 1991 hit 28 hospitals, 52 community centres, 676 schools and 56 mosques. 400 civilians were burned alive in a bomb shelter in Amirya. Now who was it that can't be trusted with 'weapons of mass destruction' again?
There is growing opposition throughout the world to US and British war plans. The idea that a country should be bombed into oblivion for breaching United Nations resolutions is viewed with interest by Cubans, who have seen the UN pass five resolutions in the last five years calling for the US to end its crippling embargo against Cuba only to see the US ignore them all. A clear majority of Americans oppose military action. Explaining France's opposition, their foreign minister said, "That is not just the French position. It is the position of all Europeans apart from the British. Obviously it is also the position of the Arab world, the Russians, the Chinese." One lot of people still keen to go to war, however, are own politicians - in a vote on Tuesday less than 4% of MPs voted against the goverment's plans for war.
Opposition is strongest, of course, in the Middle East. Last Sunday, Palestinians in the Deheishe refugee camp took to the streets to oppose US and British war plans. Referring to continuing US support for Israel's illegal occupation of south Lebanon for the last 20 years, one of the protesters said, "The US is pulling out all the stops to make Saddam comply with UN resolutions, yet could you imagine the difference it would make if the US applied the minimum of pressure on Israel to comply with UN resolutions?".
The current attack against Iraq is the latest chapter in the long history of the carve-up of the Middle East by the superpowers. The United States, with its ally Britain, maintains its dominant position by arming countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey so they can suppress popular, democratic movements in the region. From the Palestinians and Kurds denied their right to a homeland, to the Iraqi child dying for lack of medicines banned by sanctions, the peoples of the Middle East suffer poverty, displacement and war as a result of this continuing carve-up.
Before sanctions were imposed, Iraq was one of the most developed countries in the Middle East. For years, Saddam Hussein was supported by Britain and the US in order to 'contain' Iran, the threat to 'stability' at the time. Up until February 1996 British taxpayers paid £696m to arm Iraq. Things only changed when Iran became less anti-American and Saddam Hussein showed signs of independence from the US. The 1991 Gulf war took place to ensure that an autonomous, oil-rich Iraq did not emerge to challenge US and British dominance of the oil market.
Since the war, sanctions have cost Iraq over $90bn in lost oil revenues. Iraq currently owes Russia $7bn and France $4bn, money that these countries can only recoup if sanctions are lifted. An independent Iraq trading its vast oil reserves in alliance with France or Russia or any other European power would undermine US dominance of the region. This is why the US and Britain are so keen to decimate Iraq, whatever the human cost.
Last week 7,000 Turkish troops, backed by US-made Cobra attack helicopters, invaded the Kurdish part of northern Iraq killing around 20 PKK guerillas. On Monday Israeli troops evicted dozens of Bedouin families from their homes on the West Bank, where they have lived since the 50s, to make way for the expansion of a Jewish settlement. Iraqi children continue to die from sanctions and next week could be dying from missile attacks on their homes. If they do, it will be one more chapter in the superpowers' war against the people of the Middle East.
While the media would have us believe that the country backs another Gulf War, people have been demonstrating. On Valentines Day anti-war protesters encircled the Ministry of Defense in Whitehall, whilst on the following Monday, protesters blockaded Northwood Joint Deployment Force HQ .
Rapid Response: If an attack is launched by there will be demos at noon on the day, and noon every Saturday @ Downing St.
The National Peace Council have set up an emergency response network: 0171 354 5200 firstname.lastname@example.org
There are more nuclear waste transports planned at Ahaus in Germany. The convoy is due to arrive between 23 - 26 March. The nuclear mafia hope the half-forgotten Ahaus site will attract less protest than Gorleben, scene of massive protests last year with a 20 year history of resistance. So.... Spread the news: 0031 (0) 4645 24803 (Rampenplan) or 0049 (0)2561 9617-91/-99 (Ahaus activists)
Alan Bowkett, chairman of the company that owns Magnet Kitchens, is suffering from some noisy neighbours. A chicken farm (un) officially opened by sacked Magnet workers next to Bowkett's £ 1.5 million estate is driving the poor old fat cat mad. The farm was set up to evade the secondary picketing laws, and to annoy the man who gave himself a £124,000 pay rise last year. Unfortunately, one of the feathered protesters met an untimely death on the A428 after escaping and his surviving brothers have staged a coop sit-in to mark his death. A medieval 'pageant' is also planned in the fat cat's village this Saturday, complete with a karaoke session featuring 40 years of chart songs with chicken references! The cockerel capers are the latest episode by the 350 sacked workers, who have been on strike now for eighteen months over a three-year wage freeze and deteriorating working conditions. They need your support - Don't buy a Magnet Kitchen and check out their web-site at http://www.gn.apc.org/magnetstrikers/ or give 'em a call on 01325 282389.
On Wednesday 4th March, there will a be an educational shut down, with possibly two million students walking out of lectures nationwide, in protest of the new tuition fees. The Government plans to introduce fees of £1,000 a year as part of the teaching and Higher Education Bill, but this money will not go back into education. Applications for further education have dropped by 20,000 since these plans were first unveiled - the equivalent to the intake of 4 Universities. If you want to support the shutdown contact your local Students Union. Locally, Northbrook College, Worthing will be holding a party in the car park at the Durrington site on the Littlehampton Rd, Worthing contact Jo or Jim on 01903-207888
A claimant has been found guilty of Breach of the Peace in Edinburgh for delivering a "3 Strikes" warning letter to a dole office worker who has been consistently abusive to claimants. A demo outside the court, included 20 people wearing masks made from a photo of the said interviewer! Sentencing the claimant to 150 hours community service, the judge described the claimant as a 'Robin Hood figure' and said that he had been considering a 3 month prison sentence, as this was a "premeditated and clearly illegal attempt to undermine the operation of the Welfare Benefit System".
Edinburgh Autonomous Centre 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA
During a mass trespass at an airbase, a copper who stole a banner found himself under citizen's arrest. He was led to the back of a van until other police were summoned. Whilst being informed that his right to silence had been eroded by parliament, the alleged criminal exclaimed. "I wish I hadn't come out now.". He returned the banner and was released.
White witches gathered at Hillgrove Farm (suppliers of cats for vivisection) and performed a 'cleansing ritual' on owner Christopher Brown by burning his effigy, "Dispeling any murky black energy around and evoke the Earth Mother".
A couple of SchNEWS scribes were surprised to find themselves 'special guests' of Chumbawumba at the glitzy Brit Awards last week. We'd been outside with the Revolutionary Communist Group and other trouble-makers, throwing eggs at the stretch limos and playing British bulldog with security and celebs as part of the Reinstate Nigel Cook Campaign. While the celebs were sitting at the £5,000 a table awards, packers for Polygram CD's earn as little as £3 an hour, have to stand for 12 hour shifts, with no sick or holiday pay. Nigel was forced under the Job Seekers Allowance to take the job. When he complained about the conditions and tried to organise a trade union he was sacked. Polygram in 1996 made £3 billion and paid its directors £6.2 million! As Polygram are behind the Brits, we thought we'd join the picket to let the stars know, what's really behind the glitz. The plan was if Chumba won an award, two sacked Liverpool dock workers would accept. They didn't - so SchNEWS crew headed for the stage with megaphones, while Chumba's Danbert NoBacon headed for John Prescott with a bucketful of ice. SchNEWS got spotted and thrown out the door, Mr. NoBacon was more successful and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do not attempt to read SchNEWS. It is intended to be used only as an ornamental table mat and not as an organ of serious philosophical debate.
Whilst you're questioning everyone and everything don't forget to question yourself.
Happy Pancake Day everyone.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 24 February 1998
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