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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER DICTATOR HATING, LIP CURLING, SNEERING...
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 193, Friday 27th November 1998COUNTER-DEMO AGAINST THE FASCISTS MARCHING IN MARINE PARADE, DOVER
SAT 5TH 0171 924 033X
- Anna Maria, Chilean exile and victim of torture
History performed a shuddering gymnastic twist on Wednesday, as a committee of five Law Lords ruled that General Augusto Pinochet, former dictator of Chile,be extradited from Britain to face trial in Spain.
Outside Parliament, the crowd erupted as hundreds of Chileans, many of them exiled victims of Pinochet's brutal regime wept with joy and relief. There, where Chilean groups have maintained a constant vigil since Pinochet's arrest, the scene moments earlier was frozen like a photograph as the seconds shivered forward to the verdict. The Lords' ruling was achieved by the narrowest possible 3-2 margin, and in principle could still be overruled should the Home Secretary so choose.
This doesn't at first seem like such a tough decision for Jack Straw, who now is in the position to see justice is served to the tyrant, three times winner of the international 'Biggest Nastiest Bastard' award.
Isobel's parents fled Chile in 1975, to where she grew up in Britain. "My father was detained twice, beaten to within an inch of his life, tortured and electrocuted", she says. Her case echoes those of the 130,000 people who were murdered, tortured and 'disappeared' by Pinochet's secret police as the military took grip on the nation's public life.
Not such a tricky one then, Jack - send the man to Spain. So why, have almost the only voices of power to have supported Pinochet's extradition, come from the Law Lords?
Perhaps because, ever since he seized power, our western leaders have been sleeping with him and having his children.Of course they would, so pleased were they with him for usurping his leftie predecessor, President Salvador Allende. In the years preceding the coup, Allende attempted massively to redistribute wealth, and had nationalised the copper industry which until then profited the US multinationals that owned it. Pinochet was given a leg-up into power by the US, which had made every effort to destabilise Allende's elected government. Resorting to economic strangulation and subversion, the strategy was, in the words of US Ambassador Edward Korry, to "...do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty".
Once the military regime was installed, the country became a model for policies of 'structural adjustment' which the US continues to push on developing nations through the IMF and World Bank. In Chile, with direct guidance from free market guru Milton Friedman and his disciples at the University of Chicago, such policies saw the number of poor rise from one to seven million while the population remained stable at twelve million. Still, free market enthusiasts continued to masturbate over the 'Chilean Miracle', once the country thus had been set on the right course by US intervention.
"Pinochet has done his work; they don't need him any more", says Berenice, an exile whose sister 'disappeared in Chile in 1974. Even so, Margaret Thatcher has continued to admire Washington's favourite stooge, dining with him even since leaving office.
For her as for the US establishment, the choice between liberal democracy and fascist dictatorship is secondary; economics is the bottom line. For the US, it was from the start to finish an exercise in realpolitik, carried out in the name of economic dominance. The game goes on as always: it's a war waged by the rich, on the poor. People continue to die for what is considered economical.Tory ex-Cabinet minister Malcom Rifkind recently argued against extradition for Pinochet on the grounds that it could open the way for other ex-leaders, including Britain's, similarly to be prosecuted for crimes they committed while in office. SchNEWS says: just keep pursuing that logic, Malc_.People everywhere are beginning to get their heads around the sheer vastness of what it would mean for Pinochet to be brought to justice.
"Can you imagine the frustration of growing up here while all the time Pinochet continued to rule at home?" says Isobel. "I feel this finally is recognition of why we've been in exile all these years, of what we've been through."
You don't have to be Chilean; we all have the right to be ecstatic if he goes down. Her words echo those of exiled Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, in the afterword to his play Death and the Maiden; "what we feel when we watch and whisper and ache with these faraway people from faraway Chile could well be that strange trembling state of humanity we call recognition, a bridge across our divided globe."
STOP PRESS: Reports are coming in that six children caught playing cops and robbers are now on death row after being found in possesion of deadly spud guns.
Construction of the 27 mile road is due to start in January 1999 and will cost £700 million to destroy miles of Green belt, 2 sites of special scientific interest, archeological sites, sites of ecological interest, homes and farmland.
Codename 'Operation Encompass' is taking the issue of safety into a new realm with dialogue between police and protesters resulting in the threat of manslaughter and aggravated criminal damage charges with potential life sentences for activists should anything go wrong in the tunnels! Whilst campaigners have dubbed this as scaremongering, police state that the only way to absolve their criminal liability in the event of an accidental injury is to avoid the risk entirely.
Midlands Against Super Highway (M.A.S.H) have assembled specialist treehouses, tunnels, bunkers and towers, and believe that although the possible charges would be very difficult to prove, if they do pull this one it will have considerable consequences on the non violent direct action tunnel tactics implemented by us in this country.
NOW IS THE TIME to step up the campaign large stylee to Britain's first private toll motorway the scale of Newbury or Fairmile. Get down there for a bit of the old eviction fever.....NOW.......
National and international protests for Barry continue despite a virtual media blackout on the hunger strike. On the day of the state opening of Parliament, people unfurled 3 banners in front of the Queen as she made her way to Parliament. Later, activists blockaded Downing Street with two people swinging their vehicle across the gates, slashing their own tyres, and securing themselves to the steering wheel with D-locks. It took police an hour to remove them. The Friday before people carried out their own advertising campaign on behalf of Barry, spraying over 80 walls around East London, and messages appearing along the M1 and M25.
The government's announcement that no more licences for cosmetic testing would be issued, covers just 0.3 % of the over 2.6 million animals that are used each year is a lame gesture. Since 1990, experiments in genetic engineering have increased 630%. The gross ingenuity of torture carried out in vivisection "procedures" also means over 5 million animals bred for scientific experiments each year are killed by gassing , lethal injection or by breaking their necks before even reaching laboratories because they are "surplus to requirements". The horrendous wastage of millions of animals including dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits, mice and rats is just one aspect in an industry where species difference makes results unreliable: vivisection told us thalidomide was safe and that the greatest elixir of conventional medicine, penicillin, was unsafe (penicillin kills guinea pigs), Do not allow the government to continue this scientific fraud and ignore its pledge which concerns the lives of millions of animals and the life of Barry Horne.
Six people had originally been charged with 'conspiring to incite persons unknown on unspecified dates over a five year period to commit unspecified criminal damage'!- for basically reporting the facts about direct action. Three editors of GA were found guilty and each given three year sentences. However they were released after serving just three months and their convictions quashed (SchNEWS 161) Robin Webb told SchNEWS " I'm delighted at what the National Union of Journalists refered to as 'an extreme vendetta against me by Hampshire Police' has finally come to an end."
See SchNEWS Web site for info.
- John Pilger
As Chileans were rejoicing yesterday at the Governments decision to refuse General Pinochet immunity from prosecution, Britain this week played host again to a senior member of another military dictatorship. The foreign minister of Burma's military government, U Win Aung, flew into London this week, despite EU rules banning senior members of the military Government from entering into EU states. Britains feeble excuse for letting U Win Aung into the country is that he is still officially Burmas London ambassador,and therefore has every right to be allowed in,even though on his return to Burma he will be celebrating his promotion to Foreign Minister..
There are two sides to Burma.You may enter the ancient world and see the glorious temples or the giant Buddahs, travel freely on the convenient railways taking you across the plains,to spend nights in hotels and be guided around by polite Burmese natives.If you have money, Burma will provide.
Yet, behind this 'o so beautiful facade' is a disgusting military regime supported by the cash brought in by foreign investment and tourists. Burma has been by the military dictatorship since 1962. Thousands of people have been shunned from their homes onto squatter settlements,out of site, out of mind, to make way for the tourists and foreign investment by multinational corporations. Surveillance is a fact of life- public gatherings are outlawed, to utter words such as 'democracy'in public is punishable by 5 years hard labour and talking to the BBC is worthy of 14 years hard labour. Burma is characterized by fear, where hundreds of people have 'disappeared' mysteriously in the night, or forced as 'volunteers' to work on the road and railway constructions in a country that is rapidly resembling a large slave labour camp.Troops patrol each village to hand pick the 'volunteers' who will be anyone from young children to pregnant women, many of whome are chained together while labouring and watched over by the troops. As one survivor of the railway work explains, "prisoners are used like cows and buffaloes, having to pull rollers. If the rollers don't move, the soldiers beat them with huge canes. I saw this. They were shackled and given no water."
Tourism is one of the major investments into such a hideous regime. If New Labour don't see the contradictions in allowing such scumbags into the country, at least we have the power, as tourists to avoid countries like Burma.
Don't forget Rob Newman benefit gig for Anarchist tea pot + others next Friday Tower Theatre, Pelham St., Brighton. Tickets from the Peace Centre.
Last updated 4 December 1998
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