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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER SUITED AND BOOTED...

SchNEWS

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

Issue 216, Friday 18th June 1999


A KICK IN THE BALKANS

"The economy shall function in accordance with free market principles."
-
Rambouillet accord, Feb 99

"There will be a new deal for financial institutions"

These were the words of the UK's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook last week after NATO's 'victory' against Serbia. Where NATO's troops tread, multinational corporations will surely follow in their never ending pursuit of minerals, fossil-fuels and cheap labour.

For the bombing was never a humanitarian mission, but a war not only about NATO expansion, but about resources; it's a resource war which, as former head of the European Commission, Jaques Delors, said will define the 21st Century.

Kosovo is rich in nickel, lead, zinc magnesium, lignite and kaolin. It also has vast forests of wild chestnut, oak and beech all ripe for multinational pickings.

Further afield is the question of oil under the Caspian Sea. As environmental journalist Robert Allen points out "For some time now the leases for this oil have been up for grabs and the US oil corporations have been desperate to get their hands on them."

The problem is access. In the winter of 1997, the American oil boys began seriously hassling Washington politicians to loosen the restrictions on doing business in that part of the world. The best route for a pipeline is through Iran, a country which nicknamed the US 'the Great Satan'. Maybe not the best option. An alternative is via the Balkans, but that would require a US military and diplomatic presence to 'stabilise' the region.

Enter NATO. On 12 August 1998, the US Senate Republican Policy Committee claimed "Planning for a US led NATO intervention in Kosovo is now largely in place. The only missing element seems to be an event -with suitably vivid media coverage - that could make the intervention politically saleable…That Clinton is waiting for a 'trigger' in Kosovo is increasingly obvious."

That trigger was Serbia's failure to sign the "peace accords" drafted at Rambouillet, France in February. The accords would have given a NATO force occupying Kosovo complete and unaccountable political power, immunity from laws, ability to go where they want, when they want, and "upon simple request" to be given all telecommunications services completely free. As the author John Pilger commented, "The peace negotiations were stage-managed, and the Serbs were told: surrender and be occupied, or don't surrender and be destroyed…No government anywhere could accept this "

Hey, we won the war!

SchNEWS aren't apologists for Serbian atrocities but what about some of 'our boys' antics.

  • 1,500 is the number of Yugoslavian soldiers Serbia admit have been killed in the bombing campaign. That's also the number of 'collateral damage', sorry - civilians casualties NATO admit have been killed by their bombs.
  • Professor Nikos Katsaros, head of the Union of Greek Chemists reckons "an ecological catastrophe" has taken place in Serbia. Nikos Charalambides, of Greenpeace Athens adds "When pharmaceutical plants, oil refineries, fertiliser depots and transformers are bombed you create the conditions for the production of dioxin." Dioxin is the industrialised world's most toxic product, a carcinogen that can exist in the atmosphere for up to 50 years, it has been linked to foetal death, immune deficiencies and skin diseases.
  • Depleted uranium shells were being used, as they were in Iraq, where the incidence of leukaemia and rare cancers has multiplied seven fold since the 1991 Gulf War. Depleted uranium is also the most likely cause of "Gulf War Syndrome", which has crippled thousands of veterans.
  • There's nothing like a war for improving arms sales. On the first day of the bombing shares British Aerospace rose faster than any other company in the FTSE index. Meanwhile, when President Clinton gave a speech in May refusing to rule out a ground war the Janes Defence Weekly Index shares rose 24 points.
But it is after the conflict that the real arms bonanza begins. Planes unable to fly because of cloud cover, or rain and cruise missiles missing targets, will result in a race to supply high-tech more accurate weapons. The B2 Stealth Bomber, can bomb in any weather, even at night, but costs $2 billion a throw so only a few have been built. Post conflict, Clinton has promised to pay for a lot more.
  • "The expansion of NATO" - report by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, 11 Goodwin St., Finsbury Park, London, N4 3HQ Tel: 0171 281 0297 Web: www.caat.org.uk

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HYPOCRITE OF THE WEEK

"We must hammer home to our children...that violence is wrong...We must teach them to...resolve their conflicts with words not weapons."
- Bill Clinton, in the wake of the Columbine High school shootings.

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GLOBALISATION BAD FOR YOU SHOCKER

After salmonella in eggs, BSE and the Belgian dioxin scare, the latest threat to our health is, wait for it, the globalised economy. Despite being the favourite project of western governments and businesses, the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation reckon that shifting production to developing countries where it's easier to kill workers without fear of prosecution might, amazingly enough, increase the number of deaths and injuries at work. Work accidents and diseases kill 1.1m people a year - as many as malaria. In the US alone, occupational deaths and injuries cost $171bn a year, which makes work as costly as cancer. This suggests yet another reason for business' love affair with globalisation - western employees are expensive, what with inconveniences like pensions, national security and workplace safety measures. If you poison and maim third world workers, however, it won't cost a penny and there's always more where the last one came from.

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WOTTA LOADA BULL

Under Rio de Janeiro's new arms legislation, pit bull terriers are labelled as "dangerous weapons." Apparently the animals are popular with teenagers, who roam the streets in packs, terrorising the rich. The authorities have banned pit bulls from Rio's streets between 10pm and 5am, thus thwarting the young scamps who will, of course, all be tucked in bed at that time. Pit bull owners have promised a dogged non-compliance campaign.

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SCHNEWS SURVIVAL GUIDE

OUT NOW!

Featuring issues 151-200 with cartoons, photos and a whole lot more to help you protest and survive as well as a comprehensive database of over 500 grassroots organisations. Yours for a mere £7.20 inc. p+p from the usual address.

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STONED AGAIN

This Summer Solstice we truly have something to celebrate when the sun rises over Stonehenge: the Exclusion zone has been lifted for the first time since the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985. Stonehenge has traditionally been a gathering place for people to celebrate the Solstice. From '74 onwards the Stonehenge People's Free Festival grew to be a massive annual event, celebrating the solstice in style until 1985 when the police resorted to violence to stop the party. A shocked ITN report who witnessed the scene described it: "We saw police tactics which seemed to break new ground in the scale and intensity of their violence. We saw police throw hammers, stones and other missiles through the windscreens of advancing vehicles; a woman dragged away by her hair; young men beaten over the head with truncheons as they tried to surrender; police using sledgehammers to smash up the interiors of the hippies' coaches." Although 420 people were arrested that day, every case was thrown out of court, with the police ending up paying damages. Then, in March this year, Margaret Jones and Richard Lloyd won a historic victory in the House of Lords which allows them and others the right to peaceful protest in the area. In gleeful celebration during the spring equinox, various pagans and druids were joined by the Mutant Dance sound system at the stones where they partied through the night.

This weekend the annual walk by the Free Stonehenge Campaign from London arrives at the Stones where they hope to join up with like-minded individuals for a peaceful party within the exclusion zone. The aim is to play it cool this year 'cos y' know those Wiltshire Police are easily aroused! Superintendent Andy Hollingshead promises to use his powers "vigorously" to stop any free parties from happening. Hmmm. www.mutant-dance.org.uk

Solstice: The sun will set at 8.49pm on Mon 21st and rise at 4.59 BST on Tues 22nd.

Stonehenge Campaign c/o 99 Torriano Ave., London NW5 2RX. For a copy of their quarterly newsletter send an SAE.

The Last of the Hippies - booklet about Wally Hope, one of the main people who got the Stonehenge Festival going and what happened to him at the hands of the authorities. £1 + SAE from DS4A, Box 8, Colston St., Bristol, BS1 5BB.

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GLOOMY WEATHER

While you were out sunbathing, you didn't see a couple of islands disappear did you? SchNEWS asks this because two Pacific islands in Kiribati are gone, disappeared, sunk without a trace, down the plug-hole. This follows record storms and floods across the planet over the last few years. And why? The real reason is that global warming is taking place even faster than scientists previously thought.

Global warming causes the level of the ocean to rise, and is due largely to increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions (CFCs, carbon dioxide etc.). As the overall temperature of the planet is raised, bits of Antarctica break off and melt, there is more evaporation and rainfall then it's goodbye to land masses, leaving people scrambling from their homes for higher ground.

As global warming continues, small low-lying islands will be the first to go, but not the last. A one metre rise in sea level - easily possible within a century - would affect up to 5 million square kilometres - 3% of the planet's land area - including New York, London, Bangkok, not to mention 30% of total cropland. The statistical facts are staggering, but we haven't the space or anti-depressants to list 'em all here.

Read the 'Climate Crisis' issue of The Ecologist: £3.50 inc. p+p, c/o Cissbury House, Furze View, Five Oaks Road, Slinfold, W. Sussex RH13 7RH. Tel: 01403 786726.

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SCHNEWS IN BRIEF

  • A Danish army officer really got on the tits of his female colleagues when he ordered 500 uniform brassieres - all the same size. Then they complained, he resorted to vital statistics, claiming the manufacturer had told him a C-cup size 100 bra would fit 90% of Danish women.

  • The government is preparing to scrap restrictions on huge new supermarkets. By a peculiar coincidence, the news comes days after Wal-Mart, that's the world's biggest retailer to you, took over ASDA. Apparently Tony Blair met Wal-Mart bosses in March, and presumably promised to bend over backwards to accomodate them.

  • Behind a banner reading Global capital can bank on Global Resistance, around 100 demonstrators occupied two banks, blockaded a third and staged an unauthorised march along Princes Street, Edinburgh, last Saturday. The protests were part of co-ordinated world protests to highlight the links between economic globalisation, poverty, and the destruction of the Earth's environment.

  • Tommy Sheridan, Scottish Socialist Party MSP, and Ian Page, new Socialist Party Lewisham councillor, are speaking at a Socialist Party rally on Thursday 24th June at 7.30pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square. Tube: Holbourn.

  • The new copy of Green Pepper is out now with lots of dirt on the European Union and resistance to nasty bureaucrats and greedy corporations. Send £2.50 inc. p+p to EYFA, PO Box 94115, 1090 GC Amsterdam, Netherlands. Email greenpep@eyfa.org

  • Brighton Lifeline for Kosova meeting upstairs at the Hobgoblin, Monday 21st 7.00pm, arranging convoys out to the Balkans. Come along or phone 234 788 ext 234 or 0780 864 3523.

RIP. Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Joseph Glover, one of the survivors of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, lost a brother at the ground. He died last month after pushing his friend out of the way of a five-tonne marble load and taking the weight himself.

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NUKEM, COWBOY

These days it can be nearly impossible to get a train where you want to go, so here's a SchNEWS top tip to ease those transport blues... strap a load of nuclear waste to yourself, and watch the rail network open up before you. Well, it works for British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., who transport 50 tons of radioactive waste across the country this way every week, exposing communities miles from nuclear power stations to the delights of radioactive dust and the risks of serious disaster if one of the trains derailed. When BNFL decided to re-route trains through Cricklewood, parking nuclear waste there for fifteen hour periods, the locals weren't happy. In response, the government ordered an 'independent survey', appointing the appropriately named company, Nukem, to carry it out. The report was published on May 4th and according to the transport minister John Reid it proved that the nuclear wagon trains present 'no threat to the public health'. So, who are these defenders of public health and safety? Well, CND have revealed that 'independent' Nukem have nearly £100m of contracts with... BNFL, and both companies own chunks of Urenco, a uranium enrichment fim. Nukem also has a long record of corruption and lying - they're being sued in the US for trying to stitch up Kazakhstan's uranium deposits, and have been done by the German government for bribery, corruption, falsifying documents and illegally dumping nuclear waste into the north sea. SchNEWS reckons Nukem is doing a great job and calls on whinging residents and eco-freaks to lay off them and get proper jobs themselves.

Contact: Communities Against Nuclear Trains (at CND) 0171 700 2393

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NOT SO NATTY NATO

Over 300 peace activists from 31 countries took part in a 10-day march from the International Court of Justice in the Hague to NATO HQ in Brussels at the end of last month.

Their aim was to see "NATO's plans for the use of weapons of mass destruction / crimes against humanity." which they said they had "a right and duty" to see under the Nuremburg principles. These state that every citizen must act to prevent such crimes.

After being received by local politicians and delivering anti-nuclear speeches and flyers in towns and villages along the way, the marchers were refused entry to Brussels by the Mayor. The NATO HQ was sealed with barbed wire, and the notoriously unpleasant Belgian riot police were out in force.

NATO allowed 5 representatives into the HQ for talks, but showed them no nuclear plans. Activists then climbed and cut through fences to carry out "citizen's war crime inspections." This did not go down well at the high-security head quarters, with riot police throwing protesters back over the fence, hitting them with batons and firing water cannon. 130 protesters were arrested, though all were later released without charge.

Two days later protestors were back again, making the arrestometer spiral to the dizzy heights of 272. This time one activist managed to get inside the main building and "borrow" military uniform. Whilst wearing it, he "confiscated" some floppy discs, but lost them again during his subsequent arrest. The events received good media coverage, being reported across the world by CNN, but surprisingly, not in the US.

Contact the Hague Appeal for Peace, 11 Venetia Road, London N4 1EJ. Tel/Fax: 0181 347 6162.

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HUNGRY FOR JUSTICE

On the 28th May a Sudanese refugee was murdered during deportation from Frankfurt airport. The police put a motor bike helmet on him, his hands and feet were tied and he was dragged onto the plane where he died from heart failure.

Two weeks ago refugees and their supporters, losing patience with this kind of abuse from Fortress Europe, occupied the Green Party offices in Cologne. Protesters were still on Hunger Strike as the G8 met in Cologne. "We are not only exposing the racist reality we face in Germany but also the reasons for our flight, the reality of the dictatorships and the fascist regimes that exist in the countries where we came from and how Germany and other G7 countries prop up those regimes to maximise their profits."

International Human Rights Association. Tel: 00 49 421 557 7093 Web: www.humanrights.de

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AND FINALLY

There were a few interesting names on the guestlist at the recent meeting of international baddies, the Bilderberg Group (see SchNEWS 213). The 120 delegates met in Portugal to discuss in "NATO, Genetics, Emerging Markets, and International Financial Architecture" and how great they all are. If that doesn't get your paranoia flowing, two of the guests were none other that the prince of darkness himself Peter Mandelson, and housewive's favourite environmentalist Jonathon Porrit.

Mandelson is due to make a comeback soon, and with the backing of SPECTRE we're sure that all those nasty rumours about him will be dealt with, and that bodies of rebellious MPs will start turning up in the Thames. Equally worrying was the presence of Porrit's name (see SchNEWS 212 on greenwash and co-opting ecologists). What was Porrit doing there? We shall never know, 'cos of course the Bilderbergers never reveal what was said, and anyway Porrit's PA reckons he hasn't been to Portugal for years. The plot thickens...

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DISCLAIMER

SchNEWS recommends all readers go to free gatherings and stop being such a bunch of merchant bankers. Then you'll feel relieved. Honest.

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Last updated 18 June 1999
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