Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 331, FRIDAY 16th November, 2001
"The government is using this bill firstly to introduce the indefinite detention of suspects on the say-so of the security services, and secondly to introduce a whole series of new powers which have nothing to do with terrorism." - Statewatch
With the UK now under a 'State of Emergency' Home Secretary David Blunkett this week announced another brand spanking new terrorism bill, this time with added internment - that's trial without jury - for any foreigners suspected of being terrorists. Those lucky enough to be locked up would be able to appeal to a special immigration tribunal but not have access to the security information that led to their arrest in the first place! Even better, the suspected terrorist could remain in prison indefinitely, subject only to six monthly reviews.
The emergency order which says the events of 11th September are 'threatening the life of the nation', is a technical twist to allow Britain to opt out of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which rather inconveniently bans detention without trial.
Still, we've seen internment before during the Gulf war. Writer Abbas Shiblak was one of more than 100 Iraqis and Palestinians who were said to be linked to terrorism and detained without trial in the UK. Shiblak had in fact been a critic of Saddam when the UK was still busy selling weapons to Baghdad (Saddam was still considered a good guy then). After months of imprisonment the suspects were released without a single one of them being charged or deported.
Internment was also re-introduced in Northern Ireland in August 1971 as an attempt to crush the IRA. During one night the Army sealed off whole areas raiding homes and taking away hundreds of Catholic men for detention without trial. All were subjected to brutal treatment, 12 in particular were selected for 'special' treatment. These twelve were secretly moved from the internment clearing centres to an unknown destination and held for seven days. They had hoods on their heads throughout, had no idea where they were and were kept completely isolated. They were severely beaten, forced to stand spreadeagled against walls until they collapsed, given hardly any food and subjected to 'white noise', which prevented them from sleeping. All the while being constantly interrogated. It was a new technique of sensory deprivation designed to disorient the mind and help the authorities to find the 'truth'. By March 1972, when London took over direct rule of Northern Ireland, some 924 people were interned. The vast majority were Catholic who were eventually released without being charged. The mass arrests led to widespread rioting, twenty-three deaths and increased support for the republican movement. As Amnesty International pointed out, "Internment measures have resulted in human rights violations and failed to deter political violence in several parts of the world."
It's only been 16 months since the last Terrorism Act was passed (see SchNEWS 268) and it's already been used on peaceful protestors. The existing Act defines terrorism as "The use or threat of action, designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause." Which is why at a recent EU Terrorism Summit after September 11th one of the Prime Minister's spokesmen boasted "we have some of the toughest laws anywhere in the world." But obviously not tough enough for Blunkett who's got even more (Santa) clauses on his Christmas wish-list.
So shut up CND - time to forget about letting people know that nuclear trains might be running through their towns. Beat it peace campaigners, no more protesting outside nuclear bases. Stop whinging Amnesty, who cares about foreigners being locked up without trial? Put a sock in it Privacy International, what's wrong with telecommunications companies storing every email, phone call, or fax we've ever made? So don't you airy-fairy lot forget that in order to safeguard our civil liberties against the terrorist threat we must.er, take liberties away.
* See the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act in full www.statewatch.org
After 4 years of negotiations a final agreement was reached last week on the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing climate change. It sets targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by a measly 5.2% by 2012, which is pathetic when you consider that it's estimated that what is really needed to stabilise the climate is a cut of 60-90%. It's unlikely though that even this small target will be met, with the agreement including massive loopholes which will allow richer polluting countries to buy carbon credits off of those who have credits to spare (see SchNEWS 314/315). The fact that the US aren't having anything to do with the protocol also makes it totally irrelevant before it's even signed since they produce a quarter of the world's greenhouse gases. George W's reasoning for pulling out of the talks in July was that it was "unfair because it exempts developing nations", but er George, isn't that fact that the US uses 20 times more energy than India and 300 times more than Mozambique slightly more unfair?
*Vigils outside American Embassy every Monday 5-7pm
* December 1st Stop Esso protests outside petrol stations throughout the country. To adopt your local store go phone 0870 010 9510 or www.stopesso.com
*December 8th March from Embassy of drought stricken Afghanistan to the US Embassy in solidarity with the victims of climate change- passing the Ethiopian and Bangladeshi Embassies on the way. Meet 11am Prince Consort Road, South Kensington tube, London www.campaignagainstclimatechange.net
* To get yourself informed about climate change get hold of a copy of this months Ecologist. £3.50 plus p&p from The Ecologist Unit 18, Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Road, London SW10 0JQ tel: 020-7351-3578 www.theecologist.org
*For more info on climate change check out www.risingtide.org.uk
*Next week in London (19th) there's a conference called 'Transport in a Renewable Era' For more info contact Matt on 0207 752277 firstname.lastname@example.org
"We are delighted. We were not expecting this, because Balfour Beatty was fighting hard for the dam. This Ilisu campaign is a great example of environment and human rights groups fighting together to be effective." - Kerim Yildiz, spokesman for the Kurdish Human Rights Project.
After shedloads of direct action this week Balfour Beatty announced they were pulling out of the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey. This incredible victory is an inspiration to us all. Comedian and activist Mark Thomas, on tour in Brighton this week, had SchNEWS hacks cracking-up with his quips about shutting down Balfour's Annual General Meeting: "The Kurdish Human Rights activists were raging about the atrocities being committed by Turkish government in the Ilisu area, and Friends of the Earth, they were really angry too. I mean they were tutting - loudly - and looking very cross.and the Quakers normally pacifists to the end shoulder-barged their way onto the platform. At this point a couple of big, mean looking Group 4 security thugs started pacing towards us with intent and in the blink of a eye two very skinny, attractive environmental activist women had rugby tackled them to the ground."
As the chief executive of Balfour Beatty, Mike Welton, explained "Balfour Beatty believes the project could only proceed with substantial extra work and expense and with considerable further delay. Accordingly, in concert with Impregilo of Italy, it has decided to withdraw from the project."
The Dam planned for the Kurdish region of Turkey and would have made more than 30,000 homeless and affected up to 78,000 people. It would have drowned dozens of towns and villages including the world historic site of Hasankeyf, submerging a total area the size of Greater Manchester. This massive dam would also have made it possible for the Turkish government to control the flow of the Tigris river into Syria and Iraq - no prizes for guessing that this would've been seen as fightin' talk. As part of an international Swiss-led consortium including 7 multinationals and 8 governments, Balfour Beatty were seeking $200 million in export credit guarantees from the British Government to build the dam - that's British taxpayers money that would have been used to pay for the ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Turkey.
The World Commission on Dams (WCD) published a report of large-scale hydroelectric dams in November last year saying, "in many cases dams have led to the irreversible loss of species populations and ecosystems." It went on to explain that "Impacts of dam building on people and livelihoods have been.devastating." In other words, Dams are NOT environmentally friendly and they are NOT a viable answer to increasing energy demands if you care about anything other than profit.
The Ilisu Dam is now not likely to go ahead. But, there are 22 other dams planned in the Tigris and Euphrates basins in Turkey that must be stopped. Amec, another British construction company, want to build a dam in Uyseffely in the Jordanian minority region of Turkey. If their plans go ahead they will displace 12-15,000 people and its predicted environmental impact goes off the scale. They are trying to secure a £68 million export credit guarantee from the taxpayer - that means if Turkey defaulted on the payment, taxpayers will foot the bill. See www.foe.co.uk and www.ilisu.org.uk, or call 01865-200550.
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For kissing a cop. A 77 year old was recently nicked for kissing a female cop on the cheek. The amorous OAP grabbed the WPC, planted a smacker on the shocked rozzer's face and was promptly arrested for his misdeed. He was bound over to keep the peace for six months by magistrates. Mind you, kissing a pig has got to be one step from bestiality.
WAR ISN'T TOPPS
Children in the States are being brainwashed by Topps swap cards who claim "Our cards deliver the details in a medium with which they are familiar and comfortable" about their series called 'Enduring Freedom'. The deceptive cards depict George W. Bush and the US military in a nice clean sanitised image as they save the world from the "evil doers". Check out the slickening details at www.topps.com/enduringfreedom.html. But free thinking kids are being urged to bunk off school on 5th December and get involved in the international strike of pupils against the war. Contact: email@example.com
* Check out the new anti-World Trade Organisation/anti-war spoof of the SUN "newspaper" at the big anti-war demo in London (Sunday 18th, noon, Hyde Park, www.stopwar.org.uk), or see www.the-spun.co.uk. And why not join the SchNEWS block at the demo and help us give out some of these bloody newsletters (if we're not at the demo check out the nearest pub where we will be trying to become the drunk block). After the demo why not get down to the blatantly squatted café on Drummond Street, (nr. Euston station). Hosted by the Goblins with food & drink, DJs, films and anarchy. Followed by an eviction party on evening of 21st.
* A medical student, Carlos Geovanny Blanco Leguzamo, has been shot dead at an anti-war demo by police at the Colombia National University, Bogota. The police had invaded the University campus, undeterred the students stayed on campus overnight for further protests. www.midiaindependente.org/
* There's a call to take non-violent anti-militarist direct action on International Human Rights Day (10th December). There's a blockade of the British Military Joint Forces Hq, Northwood, meet 7.30am, Northwood Tube, or get in your own affinity group and go to Northwood or your own target. www.northwood.cjb.net. 07950-567099. Preparation day, 1st December, phone for details.
They Shot the Sheriff
The Trident Ploughshares campaign has made a formal complaint about comments made by a Sheriff during a court case at Faslane trident nuclear base. "I look upon you so-called peace protesters as parasites, causing untold damage to fences, disrupting the base and wasting this country's money which could be spent elsewhere." Er, wasting money? Trident costs Britain £1.5 billion a year. And a bit more than a few fences would be damaged if one of those friendly missiles ever went off.
Today Satpal Ram starts his 16th year of imprisonment for murder. He was viciously attacked by racists in a restaurant and in self defence stabbed one of the attackers who later died after refusing medical treatment. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has admitted he was the victim of a prolonged attack, but believe he was wrong to defend himself. They have provisionally rejected Satpal's legal team's submission after sitting on the case for four years. Please URGENTLY send protest to the CCRC, Alpha Tower, Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1TT. Tel: 0121-633-1800. Fax: 0121-633-1823. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters of support to: Satpal Ram, HMP Blakenhurst, Hewell Lane, Redditch, Worcestershire, B97 6QS. More info and sample letter at www.appleonline.net/satpal
SchNEWS in brief
Let's face it there's loadsa consumer crap out there, especially mobile phone accessories: "We all like to relax in the sun and we're sure your mobile or cordless phone feels the same! Here's its very own deck chair, so while it suns itself by your side, you'll never miss a call." Except that you'll never get a call if yer that sad! If you are stupid enough to fall for that why not have a $500 bikini. This useless bit of cloth says on the label "Should not be worn in the sun or water". Er, what's the point of that then? Alternatively you could save your hard won cash and give consumerism a rest on Buy Nothing Day, 23rd November. www.adbusters.org
Or why not take a leaf out the fanclubbers book where 30 fake shoppers bought and returned goods throughout the day every 10 minutes for six hours! This caused the store massive inconvenience and they were obliged to honor all the returns causing the tills to run out of money at one point! www.fanclubbers.org
SchNEWS warns all shopaholics that Justice can be seen to be blind so pull yer finger out! Honest
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.
Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.
Last updated 16th November, 2001