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DUCK AND COVER! DUCK AND COVER! WE'RE ALL UNDER ATTACK...Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 181, Friday 28th August 1998
- Richard Norton Taylor
President Clinton orders a bombing of targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan hoping everyone will forget about his sex life. (How can we, it's just so interesting).
After the horrors of Omagh, the Irish and British governments look set to recall parliament early and rush ahead with new state powers. Terrorism is top of the global agenda.
So is knee-jerk reaction and hypocrisy.
In Sudan the government have denied the US target was manufacturing chemical weapons and has asked the United Nations (UN) to investigate the rubble in Khartoum. Meanwhile a country already faced with desperate problems of famine, disease and civil war has seen its major source of pharmaceuticals destroyed by cruise missiles. And what would have happened if had been a 'poison gas' factory with its deadly cocktail drifting over a crowded city?
What is so different about the innocent victims of Omagh and the innocent victims of Sudan?
The difference it seems, are what journalist John Pilger describes as "television's un-people"
Take the "un-people" of Iraq, half a million of whom have died according to conservative estimates by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Health Organisation since economic sanctions were imposed by the UN. Baby food and enriched powded milk are blockaded along with vital hospital equipment like stethoscopes, X-ray machines, medical swabs, scanners and water purifiers. The people of Iraq are punished because the West say Saddam Hussein is a terrorist. (However, during the Iran - Iraq war he wasn't a terrorist and the US and the West armed and backed Hussein in a war where a million people died.)
Or the 'un-people' of East Timor, where a third of the population have perished since it was invaded by Indonesia in 1975. But the government of Indonesia aren't labelled terrorists so its ok to do business, as Hawk jets, armoured tanks, water cannons etc. are sold to them by the West.
Business is business. Economic sanctions might be lifted soon if the Libyan leader Gaddafi, once described as the worlds most dangerous perpetrator of state terrorism, agrees to hand over the people accused of being involved in the Lockerbie. British Aerospace has already admitted holding secret talks with Libya, with an eye on juicy contracts.
Meanwhile, nearer to home and we have the imminent return of the infamous Diplock docks, where a judge sitting alone would be able to put someone behind bars for seven years on the word of a single police officer that the accused was a member of a banned organisation. Internment by any other name, and one which flies in the face of international agreements on human rights that Britain has signed.
As Mitchel McLaughlin, chair of Sinn Fein pointed out "The result of such repressive legislation has historically been the routine violation of human and civil rights, and resulting miscarriages of justice. Given the history of the RUC it would be an act of extreme folly to give that force additional repressive powers."
In fact the governments new package of anti-terrorist legislation will include unprecedented powers to convict people of conspiring within Britain to commit terrorist offences anywhere in the world. The kind of sweeping changes envisaged would once have locked up Nelson Mandela and could threaten peaceful supporters of the Pakistani campaign for a 'Free Kashmir'.
So, when is a terrorist not a terrorist? Sections of the animal rights movement are already labelled terrorists and many have received longer sentences for damage to property (or merely conspiring to damage) than rapists and murderers.
For the direct action movement the warning signs have been here a while. Last week two people received prison sentences for alleged offences at the Whately Quarry mine which is destroying the Mendip Hills. The judge said he was making an example of them because "environmental protest was becoming so popular". As one activist pointed out "When the minor sentences don't work, you start by harassing people - raiding their homes. When this fails what do you do? You turn them into eco-terrorists."
If we ever really become a threat to a world where profit comes before people, if we ever start getting even half serious about overthrowing the corrupt elite thatcalls the shots, then we will find those missiles will be aimed at us. And all of a sudden we will be the terrorists.
"Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies,
in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who
are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is
spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of
its children We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of
wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more
than eight thousand people This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.
Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of
SchNEWS 126). A public inquiry inspector told WBB to "consider withdrawing your application" after it emerged that the quarry company was ready to build a mile long stretch of river two-thirds the size it should have been. This glaring error would have led to the rivers 'unzipping' after the first flood, risking flooding to homes as far afield as Newton Abbot. Apparently WBB's erm... experts have been 111% out on their flow rates since 1986 and are now responsible for a catalogue of botched river diversions around the world.
Derr...Fick!! Mike Clarke of Teigngrace Village Forum said: "If it had not been for the protestors entering the site last year, construction would be under way and we would be waiting for heaven knows what to happen". The inquiry resumes Sep 29. Latest - Dave: 01626 363844
ORGANISED BY THE SIMON JONES MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN
7.30 PM AT THE HOBGOBLIN, LONDON RD.
Simon would have been celebrating his 25 birthday, except four months ago he was killed while working as a casual labourer at Shoreham docks.
Speakers include sacked Liverpool dock workers and SchNEWS.
- Ministry of Defence, Faslane
Which is why the Navy has spent an estimated £1million in just two weeks trying (not very well) to prevent over 130 activists from Trident Ploughshare 2000 (TP2000), along with the regular Faslane Peace Camp crew, from gaining access to the submarine base that houses Britain's nuclear arsenal. With the original 15 year old peace camp still under threat of eviction, members of TP2000 have been sending out daily multi-pixie missions from their own camp, bought and owned by a former Greenham Common protester. TP2000 is an alliance of priests, students, road protesters and peace campaigners from countries as far apart as Germany and Australia, calling themselves 'Hobbits'. Activists have nicknamed the base 'Mordor' after the evil castle in the 'The Hobbit'. The hobbits involved in the latest two week non-stop assault on the nuclear sub base have been pissing all over security, even cheekily giving embarrassed police and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) advance warnings. The MoD say, " There has never been a breach of security", funny that, considering that in the last two weeks activists have; cut the fences constantly, defeated the ' unscaleable' razor wire with old carpet, played a half hour game of football inside the base before anyone noticed, performed classical music in the road, demanded access to the base as weapons and war crimes inspectors, two elderly women have planted wild flowers and in one action, hobbits played spoons on the sound sensitive fence, setting off the alarms and distracting the guards whilst others swam across a loch to the subs. " It was so easy it took almost no planning. We just started swimming, I was able to swim past two security boats ... and right up alongside Trident". So far there have been 107 arrests, some being released without charge whilst others are being held on remand. One of those on remand for stealing a boat and taking a sightseeing trip to nearby Coulport nuclear arms depot, is Angie Zeltzer, one of the original Ploughshares acquitted last year of committing any crime when she helped sledgehammer Hawk Jets bound for Indonesia (see SchNEWS 78 & 84).
"We see ourselves as fully open and accountable"
Just as they did then TP2000 have sent the MoD their names, addresses and videos of their actions "Most people would try to evade the law", says Angie, "we say we're within it and the Goverment is outside..we are upholding international law. Britain...uses it against Saddam Hussein or others but when they are applied against Britain, it goes blank". International law is why the Ploughshares are so up for it, they won the Hawk Jets case because the jury agreed that theirs was a lesser crime committed to prevent the greater crime of Genocide (Nuremburg Principles, SchNEWS 177), now they want to put the British Government in the dock for breaking the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion on nuclear weapons which states, "(nuclear arms are)... the ultimate evil...destablising humanitarian law". Whatever the outcome tp2000 have pledged to continue the actions from now until the the year 2000 unless Britain gives up the bombs (or some prat puts his coffee mug on the button?)
"From Polaris to Trident" by Graham Spinardi (Cambridge Uni Press)
Monsanto, makers of healthy genetically engineered soy beans and other goodies displayed a hotline number for complaints in a recent issue of The Grocer magazine. Since, they have received 2717 calls from angry customers. Says Ann Foster, Monsanto's PR person, '...we were totally unprepared for the hostility. Some calls were pure vitriol.' Answering the phone for such a popular firm? No thanks. Pity the hotline doesn't put you straight through to the Board of Directors. Give it a go though! 0800 092 0401
Anyone out there up for installing 3.11 and some e-mail software on a 2 Meg laptop (yeah I know!)? Phone office.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 4 September 1998
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