Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 330, FRIDAY 9th November, 2001
"It's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or you're against us in the fight against terror." - President Bush. "We refuse the choice that is offered by both sides in this conflict - you are either for us or against us.
As anarchists we obviously see little attraction in the sort of religious state fantasized about by Bin Laden and enacted by the Taliban. But we also oppose the fake democracy of the western states where politicians are bought by oil companies, refugees are criminalised and where corporations rule." - Anarchist Platform statement.
Last Sunday, Nicaragua went to the polls knowing that a vote for one of the candidates, Daniel Ortega of the Sandinastas, would be a vote that could see vital American humanitarian aid to the worlds poorest speaking Spanish country cut off. Worse the election of Ortega would in the eyes of the United States make them "against us" in the fight against terrorism.
You see the Sandinastas and America go back a long way. In '79 a revolution by the Sandinastas ended the brutal Somoza family dictatorship - a few years later and the Sandinastas won elections convincingly. America however refused to recognise the left-wing government, which started to seize and redistribute land and businesses. Instead the CIA funded the Contras, a right-wing paramilitary group, who waged a campaign of terror that destabilized the country and led to 50,000 deaths.
To keep the Contras war chest healthy the CIA allowed the import of tonnes of Contra cocaine to sell mainly as crack in the inner city ghettos across America. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was obstructed from investigating Contra groups and their agents. Former DEA agent Michael Levine said "I watched the CIA protect drug traffickers . I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people." The CIA have even admitted this in an internal report, with retired CIA inspector-general Frederick Hitz saying "There was a great deal of sloppiness and poor guidance". Which is basically bureaucrat speak for "We knew about it and we didn't care."
In 1990 the electorate finally voted for a US favored candidate and the CIA spooks got what they wanted. But eleven years on America are still sticking their oar into Nicaragua's business. Over the past few weeks they've used money, free food and propaganda to get their Liberal Party candidate into power. Pressure was successfully put on the Conservative candidate to drop out of the election to prevent splitting the anti-Ortega vote. A US ambassador wearing a Liberal Party baseball cap went on an emergency food-aid distribution trip. Jeb Bush, the President's brother and governor of the state of Florida, home of one of the dodgiest US election results in history, attacked Ortega in an apparent lack of irony because he "neither understands nor embraces the basic concepts of freedom, democracy and free enterprise."! He then went on to accuse Ortega as someone who has condoned international terrorism - and his whole rant was duly reprinted in a Nicaraguan paper as an advert by the Liberal party.
In the end the Sandinastas lost the election but the actions of America speak volumes about its foreign policy. On the day it began bombing Afghanistan George Bush announced "If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents.they have become outlaws and murderers themselves." But it seems that this doesn't count if it is US sponsored death squads that are carrying out the killing. As the journalist John Pilger points out "The Bush family's violence, from Nicaragua to Panama, the Gulf to the death rows of Texas, is a matter of record. Their war on terrorism is no more than the continuing war of the powerful against the powerless, with new excuses, new hidden imperatives, new lies."
Where did all those Latin American dictators and their terrorist henchmen go to fine tune their 'skills'? - the School of Americas in Georgia, USA. In 1996, the US government was forced to release some of the school's training manuals where, among other top tips for terrorists, they recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives. Last year the school was closed down, then re-opened immediately under the snappily named Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation. But as one senator commented, apart from the name, nothing at the 'school' has really changed. www.soaw.org/
* Read about the CIA in 'Washington's War on Nicaragua' by Holly Sklar (South End Press, 1988), ISBN 0896082954. Or, 'Killing Hope: US military & CIA Interventions Since World War II' by William Blum (Common Courage Press, 1991) ISBN 1567510523.
Biscuits not Bombs
Army and navy recruiting offices occupied in Brighton, banners hung on the BBC building in Manchester denouncing the 'Blair Broadcasting Corporation'. The Department for International Development squatted by people demanding food not bombs for the Afghani people. These are examples of people taking direct action to show their opposition to the war.
* There's a demo against the war in Brighton this Saturday (10th) Meet noon at the Level. And don't forget the Stop the War demo Sunday 18th. Meet at 12pm Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London - there will be an anti-capitalist block. email@example.com
* Info on researching companies send £1 + SAE to 16b Cherwell St., Oxford, OX4 1BG www.corporatewatch.org.uk
* Campaign Against Arms Trade, 11 Goodwin St., London N4 3HQ. 020-7281-0297. www.caat.org.uk
* Daily Express journalist Yvonne Ridley, who spent ten days as a prisoner of the Taliban, is speaking out against the war. At the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, Tuesday 13th 7.30pm 01273 692880
* Brighton Against the War meet every Monday 7.30pm upstairs at the Hobgoblin Pub, London Road (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"We have had an unfair trial that was followed, after a long wait, by an unfair appeal. This was a political trial from day one and we are totally innocent. We were only convenient scapegoats. A huge amount of evidence is still hidden, all of which points away from us. We will carry on the struggle for our freedom and justice as part of the larger struggle for our people's freedom and justice" Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh 1st November.
Last week, in an extremely dodgy political verdict, high court judges dismissed the appeal by Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh against their 20 year jail sentences for the bombing of the Israeli Embassy and Balfour House in '94 (see SchNews 278, 286). A large amount of evidence was covered up by various secret services including MI5 and Special Branch and a leaked senior MI5 manager's report pointed towards the involvement of Mossad (Israeli intelligence service) in the bombings. Police, the prosecution and the secret services also withheld evidence to the court under Public Interest Immunity certificates, which MI5 and other secret police outfits use to cover up their dodgy dealings if they end up in court. David Shayler, the ex-MI5 officer, also made a statement that the security services knew that the Israeli Embassy was about to be bombed but his superiors did not act on this information. Why not? Well, at about the same time the Palestinians and the Israelis were involved in peace talks held in Oslo and Israel had the most to lose from the peace talks. So what better way to derail the peace talks than to plant a bomb and then claim 'terrorists' have broken the ceasefire. Incidentally no one was killed or even injured in the explosion. Like the MI5 man said, Mossad were involved in the bombing and they needed to blame someone else.
For more info check www.freesaj.org.uk
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For not being drunk! Seven 'ghosts' out in London's Oxford Street on Hallowe'en were jumped on by police searched, punched and arrested for various charges including being drunk and disorderly. One of the alleged drunks asked to be breathalysed at the Police Station, this was refused but he saw a doctor who declared him sober. www.wombleaction.mrnice.net
What would it be like if the world had no Esso? (Exxon-Mobil to the rest of the world) Would the globe really be warming if there were no Oil giants? What if there was no Bush in the Whitehouse? That's what people will be thinking during National Tree Week (26th Nov - 2nd Dec) supported wholeheartedly by ..er, Esso. So through Tree Council events up and down the country school children, community groups and individuals can learn how driving everywhere in Esso fueled cars helps to care for trees across the UK. www.stopesso.com
* Instead why not take part in Treesponsibility's Tree Week (at the same time), who think that "taking care of our local and global environment is something not to be left to multinational corporations." Contact 10 Broughton St, Hebdon Bridge. HX7 8JY. 01422-843222 www.konsk.co.uk
* Stop Esso campaign benefit, 13th Nov., including Hexstatic (Ninja Tune), Pressure Drop & Tru Thoughts. 9:30pm-3am, Concorde 2, Brighton. Tickets £5 from Brighton Peace and Environment Centre.
* Exxon Mobil are to have their $5 bn fine for the worst US oil spill reduced after a federal court ruled the sum was too high. They must also be pleased with neo-Labour endorsing new guidelines allowing more branding of teaching materials and activities, in schools, by corporate sponsors. Seeing Through the Spin is an education pack produced in response to the corporate takeover of schools. £15 + £3p&p from Baby Milk Action, 23 St Andrew's Street, Cambridge. CB2 3AX 01223 464420 www.babymilkaction.org
The growing anti-war movement is one of the most diverse movements this country's ever seen. A new organisation Muslims for Justice and Peace was formed in opposition. Many of the people involved in setting it up have never been involved in protesting before, Shaheed Saleem, one of the organisers, says "Our main point is trying to get the majority of Muslim people involved; people who look at CND and SWP banners and say 'this has nothing to do with us'. We're saying we do have a place in the movement". Other Islamic groups such as Islamic Relief, a UK based charity have decided to help by bypassing aid agencies and sending out aid directly to Afghanistan using their own convoys.
* Muslims for Justice and Peace: email@example.com/
* Islamic Relief www.islamic-relief.org.uk.
*Asian Women Unite! have a meet up point for Asian women to march together on the 18th November London anti-war demo. Meet at exit 9 of Marble Arch underground station 12pm. More info: 020-7424-9535.
Barry Horne RIP
Animal rights prisoner Barry Horne has sadly died in prison from liver failure during a hunger strike. He was sentenced to a massive 18 years for arson. He was convicted following a series of arson attacks in the early '90's on Boots the Chemist stores, who had been exposed by the Animal Liberation Front as still testing on animals after it managed to persuade everyone it was an animal friendly company. In prison he went on three hunger strikes to try and get the newly elected Neo-Labour government to honor its pre-election promise of a Royal Commission on vivisection, but they still haven't honored their promise. After the third hunger strike lasting six weeks his eyes and kidneys were damaged. He has since been on a number of hunger strikes and his last was believed to be over the government's handling of foot and mouth disease.
* The trial of three people from Shac (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) on conspiracy charges is getting underway, there will be weekly Monday demos at Huntingdon Life Sciences Labs, Cambridgeshire, details 0845-458-0630. www.shac.net
Spitalfields Market Under Threat (SMUT, nice acronym) is in it's 14th year of campaigning to preserve Spitalfields Market as a public space. The indoor market in between Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane is now seriously under threat from Spitalfields Development Group who want to demolish the market and create a 'soulless' office space. The developers are seeking planning permission at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, Mulberry Close, Docklands, Nov 21st at 7pm. Last time the developers bused a load of Yuppies down to the council meeting and 'sloshed them with champers'. To preserve the market rather than privatise it, contact www.smut.org.uk or 020-7503-1965.
SchNEWS in brief
Clare Short our lovable International Development Secretary has been mouthing off in the lead up to this weekend's World Trade Organisation meeting in Qatar. According to her, anti-capitalist protesters and the al-Qaida network are virtually indistinguishable, claiming that "since 11th September we haven't heard from the protesters. I'm sure they are reflecting on what their demands were because their demands turned out to be very similar to those of Bin Laden's network". Um yeah, well as SchNEWS can exclusively reveal secret anti-capitalist and al Qaida discussions in the Afghan desert recently broke down due to severe ideological divisions and the fact that most of us refused to grow beards (especially the women).
Forget anti-capitalists, SchNEWS spotted scary similarities between Bin Liner and Bush:
SchNEWS warns all readers the Bushes are scrubbing out enemies so need pruning back. Honest.
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer
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Last updated 9th November, 2001