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

Issue 188, 23rd October 1998


"The multinationals, in collaboration with the military, have waged a very vicious and relentless ecological war on our land."
- Oronto Douglas, founder of the pan-ethnic CHICOCO movement in the Niger Delta.

The fuse has once again been lit in Nigeria nearly three years after writer Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni dissidents were hung for non-violent protests.

In the past couple of weeks more than 10 oil stations, two helicopters and a drilling rig have been seized by armed Ijaw tribesmen, cutting the country's oil output by more than a fifth.

On Saturday tragedy struck when over 300 people were killed when a sabotaged pipeline caught fire as local people tried to collect the spilt petrol.

Despite the protests oil giants Shell peddle the same old multinational bullshit namely, 'that the politics of a country no matter how dodgy the regime, has nothing to do with them'. The fact is, Shell make over $300 million a year from Nigeria and is about to begin work on a $4 billion natural gas venture with the regime. And it is this money from the oil companies that provides the military with 80% of its revenue about half of which comes from Shell, helping to prop up the regime of "guns, boots, loot, whip, whims, decrees and prison bars."

Following the recent death of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha democratic elections have been promised for May. However, the continuing environmental pollution and widespread cynicism about government promises to give an increased share of oil revenue to local communities has led to an upsurge in protests. As one BBC correspondent pointed out, many inhabitants of the densely-populated delta can see multi-million dollar oil installations from their makeshift homes where there is often no electricity or public water supply.

Once again multinationals like Shell are showing they dance to just one tune - the jingle of money. However, it is people like the Ogoni, who have chased Shell out of their lands, who show where our real power lies, and in a land which is one of Africa's largest military regimes.


"Past action against Shell has been crucial to the morale of those resisting in Nigeria. We thank you for that and ask you to show solidarity again to keep the pressure on Shell and its military allies. Aluta continua! The struggle continues!"
- President of MOSOP-UK, Bari Kumbe

Shell now plans a 600 mile pipeline from Nigeria's neighbour, Chad, to Cameroon which could carry 900 million barrels. Backing the plan is a consortium including Exxon (a.k.a. Esso), Elf and, of course, Shell. World Bank officials are concerned about widespread environmental damage and disruption to indigenous tribes, Amnesty International have drawn attention to the 3 years imprisonment of an opposition MP by Chad's repressive regime for simply criticising the plans.

According to over 300 scientists on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change we can only burn a quarter of known fossil fuel resources before climate change becomes intolerable if not catastrophic.

For news and background on Ogoni, Shell and Nigeria contact:

Box Z, 13 Biddulph Street, Leicester LE2 1BH, UK.
Tel: O116 255 3223 E-mail: lynx@gn.apc.org
Web: http://www.oneworld.org/delta

To find out about how multinationals operate contact:

Box E, 111 Magdalene Road, Oxford OX4 1RQ, UK
Tel: 01865 791391 E-mail: mail@corporatewatch.i-way.co.uk
Web: http://www.oneworld.org/cw

And to find out more about sustainable lifestyles and how to save the world contact:

Myson House, Railway Terrace, Rugby CV21 3HT
Tel: 01788 560631 E-mail: itdg@itdg.org.uk
Web: http://www.oneworld.org/itdg

For a copy of the leaflet 'What's wrong with Shell' send a SAE to:
London Greenpeace, 5 Caledonian Rd., London, N1 9DX.



Richard Hardman(!),Director of Oil Exploration company Amerada Hess, has become a member of the Council of the Natural Environment Research Council.



The Mexico Support Group have organised an event during the Mexican day of the dead - a time of joyful celebration with the living and the dead. Artists Luis Rey and Carmen Naranjo are setting an altar in the October Gallery to celebrate the Zapatista women and their struggle in the Mexican state of Chiapas, along with poetry and Mexican music. If you want to go, its at the October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester St., London, WC1N 3AL (Holborn tube) £10/6 conc. All profits are going to provide food and basic implements for the children in the Chiapas Highlands.

  • Protest! November 6th 12.30 till 2pm outside Mexican Embassy, 42 Hertford St., W1 (nearest tube MarbleArch) and first Friday of every month Tel: 0181 679 6930
  • Send e-mail messages of protest to Mexican Embassy mexuk@easynet.co.uk and to President Zedillo, webadmon@op.presidencia.gob.mx
  • The Electronic DisturbanceTheatre organise virtual web-reistance to show solidarity with the Zapitistas. On November 22 they are targetting the Department of Defence' 'School of the Americas' - notorious trainers of repressive Lation American military and intelligence forces. There will also be protests outside the 'school' on the day. More info http://www.thing.net/~rdom/ecd/ecd.html



Imagine an orphanage, baby girls in filthy clothes tied to wicker chairs, their legs splayed. No toys or distractions. Left to just urinate on the floor. Other babies are tied to beds, sometimes five to a cot, left to slowly die. A horrifying scene but it is in fact still happening in China today.

In chinese culture girls and in some cases mentally or physically handicapped boys are seen as a misfortune to the family, or worse sheer unattractive ,and are therefore abandoned or left on roadsides, riverbanks ,... The government tried to hide this fact saying there wasn't anything wrong, and Dr Zhang Shuyun from the Children's Welfare Institute had to flee the country after exposing the atrosities in fear of punishment.

In the last years conditions in only five in 100,000 orphanages have been improved !. Put pressure on the Chinese government by writing protest letters to The Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, 49-51 Portland Place, London WIN 3AH, or if you even want to adopt a child contact Overseas Adoption Helpline, PO Box 13899, London N6 4WB.



"I will like the new road when it opens it will go right through the countryside and it's nice and quiet there"
Child interviewed on TV about the opening of the Newbury bypass (honest!)

Yeah right. With an estimated 25,000 vehicles a day hurtling down four lanes (which in five years will increase to 50,000), it should be the quietest place in Britain. After three years of protests, the Newbury Bypass is nearly complete with only a bit at each end to complete. The Highways Agency (HA)says, "work is on schedule and it will open on time", although, as the Press Officer of W. Berkshire complained to SchNEWS. "They (the HA) won't tell me what the opening date is and it's our road. If you find out would you let me know ?" Aside from feeling sorry for press officers, SchNEWS does know that the road will be opening this side of xmas but if you're hoping to attend the opening ceremony, you can't 'cos there won't be one. The HA are shitting themselves there might be a repeat of the 'Newbury Rampage' (SchNEWS 103) where diggers spontaniously combusted and other things broke. Instead they held a 'Childrens Tree Planting Ceremony' a ridiculous televised PR stunt from which the above quote came (the children all came from a local Public school which explains why they were so good at sticking to the script). The Third Battle of Newbury told us. "All the trees were dead, but they planted them anyway. All the trees the HA planted at Twyford Down are now dead." And the vultures are already moving in on the corpse of the forest. Local developers Trencherwood are applying to build a 'commuter village' in the infill (the land that runs alongside a motorway), another wants to build factories and Vodaphone, one of the areas largest employers is threatening to pull out of the town if they can't build shiny new offices amongst the trees.

All this while car over-production continues world-wide. In a sneaky bid to get round an advertising ban on promoting speed. The industry is trying to persuade us faster is good. Honda is currently running an ad that says: "For safer overtaking it has the most powerful engine in its class." And on a motoring program the results of a roadhandling test are supposed to persuade us 'slowing down going round corners makes the car unstable'. Motorists already know that but the way they tell it everyone should buy a faster car.

  • There is going to be an 'End of the Road Reunion' on Sunday 10th January 99. For details of this and monthly meetings: 07000 785 201. P.O. Box 5642, Newbury, Berks RG14 5WG. E-mail: thirdbattle@hotmail.com
Birmingham North Relief Road:eviction any minute now as a mob of police & bailiffs start enjoying their work clearing the way for Britain's first privately funded motorway toll road. For direction of camp see SchNEWS 182 TEL: Brum F of E 0121 632 6909 camp mobile 07971 354045

Glen of the Downs - Evicition imminent, need climbers & walkway constructors NOW. Usual state/big-biz destruction of scenic beauty for consumer traffic directions. Delgany, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.

Avon Ring Road -crunch point looms nearer as contracts for clearance work get signed today (22nd) Work starting mid-Nov or sooner.Ring 0411 21 41 68.

The Toytown camp in Cheltenham are having a Halloween party on Saturday 31st October, followed the next days with an action. The camp is defending the only piece of woodland left in the town from being trashed by a supermarket, cinema, car-park etc. 0797 1316597 E-mail: toytown@stones.com

More people are needed for actions to stop Pioneer Aggregates translocating a wildflower meadow in Ashton Court Park (see SchNEWS 183). There's gonna a Hallowe'en party at the Craggy Island Camp Saturday October 31st. Tel: 0467 430211.

Eviction alert at the Radstock Railway camp in Somerset, where people are trying to stop Beazer Homes from building high cost fortified executive housing on a green open space displacing wildlife. Tel: 01249 701667.



A massive slap-on-the-back is due to the Hillingdon hospital women who have won a victory against all odds for low paid workers everywhere. Last week an industrial tribunal awarded the women compensation of £11,300 each and a promise of their jobs back

The dispute started over three years ago when private contractors Pall Mall tried to force the women to take pay cuts of up to £35 a week from an already meagre £7000 year salary. The mainly Asian women refused and 53 of them were sacked.

What followed was an incredible fight by the women that took on the full might of the 'contracting out culture', in the health service.

They also had to fight their union UNISON every step of the way. First, UNISON only started supporting the women after they took direct action and occupied the union HQ. Then UNISON cut a deal with Pall MalI without consulting the strikers, and then 'officially' ended the strike and strike pay when only a handful of the women accepted. Then they ended the women's union membership, saying that as they had not been paying union dues for 18 months (eh, that's because they were on strike) they weren't entitled to be members!

Still, forget the UNISON press release trumpet blowing that "the union ran a high profile campaign involving rallies, lobbies, a national march, days of support and national newspaper advertising", because in reality any campaign activities were run by the women themselves. The union in fact made so much effort to raise press awareness that even an article on 'forgotten strikes' forgot to mention the Hillingdon women.

Whilst the strikers are rightly incredibly proud of the result the fight is still not quite over. Granada services have now taken over the hospital contract, and the tribunal ruling does not legally bind that company to re-employ the women. A spokesperson from Granada said "We are surrprised by the tribunal's decision for re-engagement. We shall need to consider the decision very carefuly, and whether or not we intend to appeal."

Still, if there's one lesson is to be learnt out of all this, it's this: don't listen to people when they tell you there's no point in fighting back. As one of the strikers Malkiat Bilku told SchNEWS, "We are proud, very proud of what we have achieved." And so you should be.



Frustrated and angered by repeatedly absent teachers and inadequate or non-existent resources, students and schoolchildren in France have taken to the streets in demonstrations that began in Paris and have now have spread across the country. On Thursday 500,000 people marched in different locations, proclaiming themselves 'on strike'

Demonstrators in Paris clashed with the police with bottles, window-smashing and car-trashing. 122 people were arrested. Many students appeared to be as frustrated by the way the demonstrations had gone as what they were about "It's inevitable," said Marcel, 16, "they treat us like idiots, we'll behave like idiots. Everyone has the right to demonstrate and if the police block our route, this is what happens."

Education minister, Claude Allegre, conceded that the school system needs reform and promised to present plans next month. However, pupils are aware that this will not bring about immediate change or remedy the injustices done to them personally. "It'll take years," said Rachid, 17. "My exams are this summer and I don't have a teacher in three subjects."

Nous Sommes Tous Des Casseurs A history and analysis of youth revolt in France in 1994. A month of demos, protests and riots forced the French government to back down from a proposed 20% wage cut. £2 (inc p+p) from AK Distribution, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE.



Animal Liberation Front prisoner Barry Horne who is serving an eighteen year sentence is now in the third week of his third hunger strike. His demands include an immediate end to all non-medical vivisection, and specifically that conducted at Portland Down warfare research establishment, the immediate scrapping of the Animal Procedures Committee (the government-sponsored front for the vivisection industry) and a commitment for all vivisection to be stopped by 6th Jan 2000.

Barry called off a previous hunger-strike in February 1997 when New Labour promised to tackle vivisection. Surprise surprise, they still haven't got round to it, even after Home Office discussions with representatives of the Barry Horne Support Campaign.

  • Write/phone/fax the Home office: Room 977, 50 Queen Anne's Gate London SW1H 9AT. tel:0171 273 2861, fax: 0171 273 2029 (for the attention of Ric Evans or Steve Wilkes).
  • Contact Animals Betrayed Coalition , PO Box 21339, London WC1X 0NJ Tel: 0181 208 3289 Web: http://www.animal-liberation.net/barry
  • Write to Barry - VC2141, HMP Full Sutton, York, YO4 1PS.
  • The recent demonstrations against Hillgrove cat vivisection farm, have resulted in loads of arrests and some people receiving prison sentences. Prisoner support, especially letters, is vital, and is being coordinated by the ALF Supporters' Group. They're getting skint & would really appreciate donations as well as people to write letters to those inside: ALF Supporter Group, BM 1160 London WC1N 3XX, E-mail 100302.161@compuserve.com.
  • Eddie Izzard and Robert Newman are among the comedians who are doing a benefit concert for Danny McNamee, sentenced to 25 years for conspiracy to cause explosions after some seriously dodgy forensic evidence. It's on November 2nd at the Jazz Cafe in london and tickets are available from 0171 916 6060



"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people" Henry Kissinger, ex-US Secretary of State to Richard Nixon.

It made SchNEWS heart-bleed to hear that poor old General Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean military dictator, arrested in London while getting treated in a private hospital. In his frequent past visits to Britain, Pinochet had come to expect VIP treatment on arrival at the airport before being whisked off to five-star hotels or tea with Lady Thatcher and a shopping visit to everybodies favourite arms dealers.

Some are not best pleased at his arrest including the United States, who are apparently making behind-the-scenes gestures that the general should not to be extraditied to Spain to face charges of torture and genocide - maybe because it might expose the role the US planned in the coup that brought him to power?

What coup? Well, in 1971, Chileans elected Salvador Allende, a socialist whose attempts at wealth redistribution were destroyed by an unrelenting CIA campaign of subversion. Economic chaos was achieved, Allende was assassinated and Washingtons man's, General Pincohet, began a military reign that saw thousands of Chileans murdered, tortured and 'disappeared'. But he became a darling of America and Thatcher with his free-market 'reforms' and support of our boys in the Falklands war.

Still, SchNEWS has its collective fingers crossed that Pinochet, in the twilight of his life, gets to experience some of the treatment he once seemed so keen to dish out to his opponents.

(We know we keep on going on about it, but to get a wider picture of what happened in Chile and generally what make the capitalist world tick, we highly recommended 'Hidden Agendas' by John Pilger published by Vintage). Can we have a free copy now please?



oi, put this down, you don't know where it's been.


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Last updated 29 October 1998
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