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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 187, Friday 16th October 1998

"In 1985, the 200 largest multinational corporations alone had combined sales of $3 trillion, equivalent to one third of total global output, and also controlled over two thirds of world trade."
- Michael Rowbotham, 'The Grip of Death'


"The government has no business in business and I would be the last person in the world to ever try to involve the government in a business of mine. But the business of government is business."
- Joseph Heller, 'Catch 22'

Next Tuesday, Paris sees the next round of talks to try and put in place the global trade monster that will be the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (see SchNEWS 141)

The MAI is being written by the world's 29 richest nations and, if signed will transcend all national laws, rolling back all legal barriers to foreign investment everwhere. Under the MAI, public health and environmental protection, the formation of unions, health and safety at work legislation, state subsidy and protection for national and local industries are all considered as obstructions to investment.

Under the MAI, any nation that puts up trade'barriers' will be liable for a flurry of multimillion dollar law suits.We only need to look at the North American Free Trade Agreemant(NAFTA)to see what's in store if the MAI gets the green light.

"The MAI is a multinational's wet dream"

NAFTA came into force in 1994. Its signatories are the United States, Canada and Mexico.Three legal claims issued by US companies claiming violation of NAFTA rules by federal governments provide a chilling preview of a world with MAI.


In July the Government of Canada settled a NAFTA claim brought by the Ethyl Corporation of America, the company which gave the world leaded petrol (SchNEWS 180) The Canadians had imposed a ban on a fuel additive called MMT, which was manufactured solely by Ethyl. The toxin contains manganese, which causes nerve deterioration leading to attention deficit and memory loss in children. Even car manufacturers discourage its use because it damages cars!

Never mind all that, thanks to NAFTA, the Ethyl Corporation said it had been mistreated, so a three member arbitration panel of law professors and trade lawyers, who rule NAFTA disputes were asked to look at Ethyl's claim. The panel's 'discussions' are held behind closed doors, its decision is final and not subject to appeal, and its records are not disclosed.

The Canadian government, realising its chances of winning were nil, decided to settle with Ethyl for $13 million, allowed them to resume sales and announced that "MMT poses no health risk."


Next came S.D.Myers of Ohio, a PCB treatment company who want an undisclosed sum from Canada for profits lost when the country operated a fifteen-month ban on the export of PCB contaminated waste. The ban came into force in 1995, but was revoked in early 1997 when ministers bowed to pressure from pollution industry lobbyists.

PCB's are organo-chlorines, (your novel food fathers Monsanto cornered the market in producing them for industry and is resposible for releasing 1.2 million tonnes of them worldwide since production began in 1929). The UN Environment Programme describes the 209 possible PCB's as 'persistent organic pollutants' to be phased out. They take years to bio-degrade because they are not soluble in water, but they are soluble in fat so they concentrate at the top of the food chain. Effects of PCB's in the body include damage to the immune and nervous systems, birth defects, reproductive disorders and cancer.How could anyone possibly complain about that! Well Myer can and did and have resorted to NAFTA, saying their right to free trade has been denied.


Meanwhile, over in Mexico the Metalclad Corporation of Canada. has a case before a NAFTA tribunal in which it claims the State of San Luis Potosi 'effectively expropriated' its future expected profits from a toxic waste facility which the state closed down.

Metalclad had taken over a waste disposal plant, which had a history of contaminating the local water supply, with the obligation that it clean it up. However after an environmental impact assessment, the State Governor declared the site part of an ecological zone and closed the dump.Not to worry, the new laws of multinational trade says the polluter must be paid, and the Federal Government of Mexico is now facing a $90 million bill.

The text and scope of NAFTA acted as a model for the MAI, but the MAI goes even further to empower megalomaniac profiteers.Thought we'd just warn you...

On Monday the World Trade Organisation (whose President once infamously said ' we are writing the constitution of the single global economy') ruled that the US government's ban on shrimps caught in nets without turtle excluder devices breached international fair trade rules. Some 150,000 sea turtles, an endangered species, drown each year in shrimping nets so in 1996 America banned the import of shrimps that were caught without the excluders. Tough shit turtles,the World Trade Organisation said it was against free trade.

"What then is a free market? The idea of half a dozen grocers in the high street freely competing with each other is one thing, but the spectacle of huge multinational companies,some of which now command resources larger than the budgets of many countries, impels one to ask 'where in trading terms is the freedom?'. Such groupings express not freedom but licence, licence to exploit, manipulate and destroy any such free instituions that stand in its way."
- John Papworth 'Fourth World Review'

PROTEST! Tuesday 20th Oct. Street theatre organised by ARROW outside parliament,where they are gonna be auctioning off bits of parliament in protest at MAI! Meet Embankment 12 noon 0171 607 2302

DISCUSS! Wed 21st MAI meeting @ House of Commons Grand Committee room 4-5pm

INFO! Public Citizen Global Trade Watch http://www.citizen.org/, http://www.tradewatch.org/ [Online Editor: Turn your graphics off - front page is a nightmare!]

World Development Movement, P O Box 100, London, SE1 7RT 0171 737 6215 http://www.wdm.org.uk/



Cinematique, Middle St., Brighton (behind the Nine Bar, formerly The Cybar)
Wednesday 21st October
Showings at 7.30 & 9.30 pm. Tickets £2.50.



REFUSE COLLECTORS On a 'as & when required' basis. must be able to work at a fast pace. 7am start, £3.40 per hour.

STREET CLEANERS On a 'as and when required' basis. Would suit mature person. Will be working with hand barrow. 7.30am start, £3.40 per hour.

Advertisements from The Ellesmere Port Standard



"She danced across the field towards me and said 'Would you like a veggieburger ?'"
- Evidence from fur trader as proof of harassment.

Despite this blatant display of intimidation, three anti -fur trade activists were acquitted on Wednesday of harassing Peter Harrison, owner of a mink fur farm in Ponteland, Northumberland. Earlier this year , they had been barred from going within half a mile of the farm after being found guilty of harassing the owner. Their case was the first prosecution of campaigners under the Protection from Harassment Act, designed to protect people from stalkers, but (surprise, surprise) now being used to hassle protestors (SchNEWS 159).

The judge at their appeal, after sitting through eight days of evidence, decided to throw the case out, ruling that their conduct had been reasonable and the everyone knows that fur farms are bad!

The Cornyhaugh Fur Campaign said it hadn't been a personal vendetta against Harrison and his family, but a protest against the fur trade. A disappointed Harrison said "I will continue to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare are applied on my mink farm."

SchNEWS isn't too sure how locking mink up in small cages for the whole of their miserable lives equates to animal welfare.



The 'Gandalf' trials continue - you know the one, get put in prison for reporting direct action. This, despite the three 'editors' of 'Green Anarchist' being acquitted on appeal after serving part of the sentence, the appeal judge described the case as "fatally flawed". Still, what the hell, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is going ahead with the prosecution of the remaining two defendants, Animal Liberation Front Press Officer Robin Webb & Green Anarchist General Editor Paul Rogers...with the original trial judge, Judge Selwood! Seems that in the weeks following the successful appeal, the CPS came under intense pressure to continue prosecution from the Hampshire police force, desperate to save face.
  • There's a mass demonstration outside Portsmouth Crown Court, Winston Churchill Plaza at the start of the trial Monday 2nd November 1.00pm. Contact Gandalf Defendants Campaign, PO Box 66, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 2TR 01442 240246/01954 230542
  • If you have experience of direct action, volunteer as a witness on your motives and the implications of the conspirarcy/incitement laws. Contact Murphy's solicitors, 29 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, E.Sussex 01273 602111
  • The SchNEWS GANDALF Pages



Yes, it's true SchNEWS scribes get everywhere. While one of us was in Canada, saving rainforests and chatting up bears etc., he went to Vancouver and did a workshop at an Alternative Media Gathering. One woman who'd met a couple of us at a fayre in New York asked if everyone who writes for SchNEWS had a drinking problem. A couple of hours of 'informal networking' later and she got the picture. Listen, working here would drive anyone to drink. PS If anyone would like to pay us to go an alternative media gathering in Australia don't be afraid to offer

So we'd better not mention the launch of Miracle Beer. Simply put some white powder in a special container, fill it with tapwater and leave it to ferment. Two weeks later and you've got 10 pints of premium bitter for only 65p a pint and taking of pints...Fancy a pint and a revolution? Or at least, come and talk about what pisses you off, what pisses other people off and what we can do about it. The all new The Rebel Alliance, made up of all the various direct action groups in Brighton meets last Wednesday of every month 7pm upstairs at the Hobgoblin, London Road. Next dates Oct 28, Nov 25, Dec 30.



(or) SchNEWS in saucy undies
  • A new anti-drug pamphlet produced in America is helping parents look for tell-tale signs that their children are using drugs. All the usual 'awake all night/need for cash' etc. but, (and get this), "...excessive preoccupation with social causes, race relations and environmental issues?"
  • Hen Heaven chicken sanctuary, home to 700 ex-battery hens, may face closure if it doesn't get full planning permission. The hearing is at Horsham Town Hall, Park House, North Street, next Tuesday (20th) 2pm - people are asked to turn up and show support. Horsham Council has condensed the 300 letters it received in support of the sanctuary into 3 sentences for its Report, whilst the 1 letter of objection got 8 sentences - so no bias there then. Contact Linda 01273 495 614.
  • Last Tuesday people from Uncaged held an action on Proctor and Gamble (those veteran vivisectionists), turning up at company HQ in Gosforth with the Grim reaper and a coffin. For more info contact Uncaged Campaigns, 14 Ridgeway Road, Sheffield S12 2SS Web: http://www.uncaged.co.uk/
  • The comprehensive Animals Contacts Directory is available online at http://www.innotts.co.uk/~rainbow/veggies/acdirect.htmThe 1998 printed edition is a snip at £4.50 from Veggies, 180 Mansfield Rd., Nottingham NG1 3HW
  • Schwoops - we got the name of Kate Saunders book mentioned in 'Chinese Balls' wrong last week - it's called 'Eighteen Layers of Hell: Stories from the Chinese Gulag' (cheery stuff) and is published by Cassell.
  • Spikey and direct 'Zero Hour' benefit compilation LP. 57 minutes of eco anarcho punk screaming for a future - yours for a fiver (plus £1p+p) from Active Distribution: BM Active, London WC1N 3XX (send a large SAE and ask for a list of their catalogue of anarchist and situationist books)
  • Anarcho-communist publication Subversion has folded, but their website is still going. Go to http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/8195/
  • Latest edition (special BSE issue!) mag TOXCAT ( that's 'Communities Against Toxics' to you) is out now; £2 from CATS, PO Box 29, Ellesmore Port, South Wirral, L66 3TX. Email: cats@tcpub.demon.co.uk. 'fone: 0151 339 5473, fax 0151 201 6780.
  • Attention anyone who's got an interest in alternative technology and loads of dosh to spare. The Centre for Alternative Technology runs lots of very sound residential courses (everything from straw bale houses to xmas veggie cooking) and the autumn '98 - 99 schedule is now available: contact Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ. 'fone 01654 703743; fax: 01654 702782, http://www.cat.org.uk/
  • The 'Free Range' environmental activists network is "a network of environmental activists working on different campaigns, providing the resources for people to fight on their own terms." Get in touch via Paul Mobbs, tel./fax 01295 261864, or visit their website at. http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/rangers/
  • Sunday 18 Oct (that's this Sunday kids!) is South Downs Day talks, displays, discussion and music, including a guided walk to Blackcap in the afternoon. It's at the Refectory Building, Uni of Sussex from 11.30 am onwards. More details 01273 486 351
  • If you're into chatting about anarchism not pop along to the London Anarchist Forum. They meet every Friday 8 pm at Conway Hall, 25 RedLion Square, London (nearest tube: Holborn)
  • And don't forget the March on the Monarchy Saturday 31 October. Meet in Hyde Park at 2pm before heading for Buckingham Palace. Contact them at PO BOX 14672, London E9 5UQ
  • And for the morning after, Sunday 1st November, there's a Anti-Military Critical Mass Trespass, meet in vehicles, at midday, for re-direction at Reading Services, jnc 12 of M4



In 1992, Avon and Somerset Police were a bit rude about SchNEWS's fave photographer Alan Lodge AKA Tash. He successfully complained about the abuse he received on his way to the Inglestone Free Festival in May 91. The complaint was upheld and he received an apology. The following year the police 'intelligence' document Operation Nomad Bulletin, libelled him as a drug dealer and general troublemaker, and a warning was published that he should "be handled with care". Damn right, too, 'cos Tash was anonymously sent a copy of the publication, took the police to task for 'Malicious Falsehood'...and won!

SchNEWS has been fortunate enough to peruse a copy of the NOMAD Bulletin, the document that charts traveller activity. This highly prized publication - complete with hand drawn caricatures of the intelligence team - has production values to rival...Er...well, suffice to say SchNEWS has seen better produced dog turds.



The camp on the Birmingham Northern Relief Road who are fighting Britain's first planned toll motorway, is facing imminent eviction probably in the last week of October. Tat and tings and most importantly a drove more people would be really welcome. A benefit for the campaign featuring the Head Mix Collective and assorted DJs is happening on Sat 14 Nov at Screamers nightclub, Worcester St, Wolverhampton. All money to go straight back into the camp (assuming they've not been evicted!)



Just what kids have always wanted to lug around - a two foot Portable Stoplight. The blurb reads "Children do not always remember to apply the traffic safety code, and this is an increasing source of anxiety for parents. But now they can relax - provided they have equipped their children with the Portable Stoplight. The child in charge switches it on and, regardless of whether he or she remembers to look both ways, a bright red light beams in both directions, halting the oncoming taffic (they hope!)... the spotlight only shines red. The danger of carnage resulting from an accidental green light is thus cleverly avoided.". Forget to look, but remember to turn the light on ?!?




The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) held a shoestring meeting last week in the shadow of the Monte Carlo casino to figure out whether new rules are needed to regulate (i.e. censor) the internet. And to prove that the internet was full of nasties, the UN went out of its way to get everyone - police, government and civil rights advocates - all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everything was all smiles and togetherness until a senior official from INTERPOL gave an impassioned rant from the floor about how police should work shoulder to shoulder with civil rights advocates to achieve everyone's "common goals, shared visions," etc etc. At that point one the speakers, Simon Davies from that well known consensus group Privacy International, decided the UN spirit of unity had gone too far, and broke every rule in the book by standing up on stage and accusing the police of "gross and endemic deception...lying barefacedly...and shamelessly exploiting everyone's good will". According to our sources in Monaco, there was an audible intake of breath around the auditorium as Davies continued to denounce the police and to declare "I'm taking my ball and going home. You'll never get cooperation from me or my colleagues - you can go and play that game with someone else."



Thurs 19 Nov Madiera Hotel
Gonna be a good one - watch this space!



The SchNEWS warns all readers not to attend any illegal gatherings or take part in any criminal activities. Always stay within the law. In fact please just sit in, watch TV and go on endless shopping sprees, filling your house and lives with endless consumer crap. Then you will feel content. Honest.


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Last updated 29 October 1998
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)