On Tuesday the UN Security Council unanimously voted to overhaul
the economic sanctions against Iraq a move so radical it
was immediately condemned by the sanctions-busting group Voices
in the Wilderness, four of whom are currently in Iraq distributing
medical supplies. They called the resolution a deadly fraud
that will do little to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Forget the cruel tyrant Saddam Hussein (once supported by the West
when he towed their line), what about the ordinary people of Iraq?
Who, thanks to these economic sanctions imposed on them by the West
for nearly 12 years have seen 500,000 of their children die. Denis
Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck, who were both at one time responsible
for the UNs humanitarian programme in Iraq, both resigned
in protest at what the sanctions were doing. Last year they wrote,
The death of 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated
water, lack of medicines and malnutrition.
And it will be the ordinary Iraqi people who wil again be suffering
if President Bush and his cronies use their so-called war on terrorism
to start bombing a country, that has already been bombed back to
the dark ages. The Pentagons medium case scenario
is that a war on Iraq could condemn to death more than 10,000 civilians.
But this could be even worse if, as journalist John Pilger puts
it, the Americans implement their current strategy of total
war and target Iraqs electricity and water.
Not that we should forget that American and British aircraft have,
in a largely forgotten war, been bombing Iraq week-in week-out,
for more than four years. The Wall Street Journal reported that
the US and Britain faced a dilemma because few
targets remain. Were down to the last outhouse
bemoaned a Pentagon official.
Still, the US insists that action is necessary because Iraq has
been defying United Nations resolutions and represents an imminent
threat to the world, and to the U.S. in particular. Excuse us, but
defying UN resolutions and ignoring international treaties is what
the Bush administration does best, with Bush making it clear that
he will not honour any treaty if he reckons it might harm U.S. interests.
In fact just last week Bush pulled out of the International Criminal
Court you know that radical idea to create the worlds
first permanent tribunal to prosecute people for war crimes, genocide,
and other crimes against humanity (see SchNEWS 326).
Bush and his militaristic government argue that they have to bomb
Iraq because Saddam wont comply with United Nations weapons
inspectors. So best forget that the Bush administration denied international
inspectors access to U.S. chemical and biological weapons-related
facilities because it might violate commercial interests.
Still the truth slipped out earlier this month when US Secretary
of State Colin Powell said regardless of what the inspectors
do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better
off with a different regime in Baghdad. Not that SchNEWS could
disagree with that a lot of countries would be better off
without dictators and corrupt governments - its just the US
wants another Saddam Hussein, but this time one wholl do what
Meanwhile Cuba is now being added to the US hit list, because hey
the US right has always hated Cuba. In a speech entitled Beyond
the Axis of Evil, Under Secretary of State John Bolton pointed
the finger at Cuba because of the countrys advanced biomedical
industry. Forget that Cubas advance biomedics has more do
with their better-than-the-US Health Service and their policy of
sending doctors to help third world countries (so hey, lets
add them to the list). Plus Castros visits last year to three
rogue states accused by the US state department of sponsoring
terrorism: Iraq, Syria and Libya. States that renounce terror
and abandon WMD [weapons of mass destruction] can become part of
our effort, Mr Bolton said. But those that do not can
expect to become our targets.
So its back to that old you are either with us or against
us mantra. Each new stage of the war against terrorism makes
it clearer that the real aim has little to do with what happened
on September 11th and more to do with what the American military
describes as full spectrum dominance. A document from
the US Space Command spells it out The United States will
remain a global power and exert global leadership
communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality
of life contributing to unrest in developing countries..
So while everyone else must abandon those weapons of mass destruction
the US this week got the green light from Russia this week to go
ahead with its plan for the National Missile Defence Project or
Star Wars II to keep us all in check (SchNEWS 307).
When it comes to Israel of course then its a different tune.
Israel has been defying U.N. resolutions for more than 30 years.
No action has been taken against their bloody and illegal rampage
through Palestine. Hey, they were after terrorists. They face no
sanctions for blocking a United Nations fact-finding mission into
military action at the Jenin refugee camp. In fact their two fingers
to the world earned them a serious reprimand in the US Senate who
voted for an increase in military aid to Israel.
Is this because the Palestinian civilians, just like the Iraqis
and the five thousand Afghani civilians killed in the last holy
war against terror, are what John Pilger calls the Unpeople. The
killing of Iraqi infants, like the killing of Chechens, like the
killing of Afghan civilians, is rated less morally abhorrent than
the killing of Americans.
Americas war on terrorism is just another word for imperialism
and Iraq is currently head of its wish list of countries
where a new head of state needs to be put in place, one that will
be a lot more open to Uncle Sams way of doing things.
* John Pilgers new book The New Rulers of the World will be
published by Verso soon. Read more of his articles at www.johnpilger.com
* The sanction busters will be giving a report on their visit next
Friday (24) at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London (nearest tube
Holborn) 7.30pm. Contact: Voices in the Wilderness 08454 560282
* Bypass the corporate media: www.znet.org
Taking the Peace
Israeli Human rights organisation BTselem has just published
a report showing that Israel has illegally taken over 42% of the
West Bank since they first occupied the area in 1967. Although built-up
Jewish settlements occupy only 1.7% of the land, various excuses,
including seizure for military needs, for being abandoned
assets and even an obscure 19th century Law about state
Land - has been used to take over the rest. Although the land
grabbing is a violation of international law and of the Palestinians
human rights it is upheld by the Israeli high court. The settlers
are not only more privileged than the Palestinians, they are treated
better than other Israelis. In 2000, settlement councils received
165% more land than councils in other territories.
March for Palestine this Saturday Assemble 12 noon Speakers
Corner (Marble Arch tube) Why not join the Anti Capitalist Bloc,
not hard to spot, look for the only part of the march surrounded
More than 1000 activists from around the world have been in Israel
on solidarity actions since the army began its latest series of
attacks against Palestinians. Therell be another group of
peace observers going from the UK this summer and therell
be training weekends in Manchester, London and possibly Scotland
and Newcastle for people intending to go, or planning to be part
of support teams organising actions in this country or doing press
work. The weekends will include non-violent direct action training,
information on the area and opportunities to talk with former volunteers.
Marcia Tubbs, a British citizen recently in Palestine said In
the prison we were in, 3 Palestinian medical workers were also detained.
You could hear people screaming as they were beaten. We can make
such a difference by just being there as international observers,
doing what the UN and governments are unwilling to do, protecting
the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. More info:
or write to ISM, box 29, 22a Beswick Street, Manchester M4 7HR.
* On Monday, about 15 activists did a solidarity action against
the Israeli embassy in London. They were beaten back by Israeli
military police using golf umbrellas! On the same day another group
did an action against the Israeli Tourism Information office and
the office of El-Al, the Israeli airline which has been deporting
* Dispatches: State of Terror is being repeated on Channel
4, Sunday 19th 2.45am Dispatches reporter Deborah Davies was one
of the first journalists to enter the Jenin refugee camp after the
Israeli Armys brutal offensive. The programme looks at the
real victims of this anti terrorist action.
* Yigal Rosenberg and Yair Hilu, who signed an open letter along
with more than 120 other high school seniors and refused to do military
service in the Occupied Territories, are back in prison. Each of
them have been imprisoned four times, 21 other objectors are currently
in prison. They are asking for people to write to them and show
support. c/o The Forum in Support of Conscientious Objectors, POB
41199, Jaffa 61411, Israel. email@example.com
The Pink Castle occupied on the site of a proposed GM maize crop
near Weymouth was surrounded by 30 cops on Thursday morning. The
farmer brought some tractors in and some protestors managed to lock
themselves onto them (four were arrested for aggravated trespass),
however it seems that the farmer had borrowed some more as he had
six tractors and managed to plant the crop. Last week the local
TV crew had been down looking for Swampy (of road protest fame).
Despite the castle denying he had been there the TV said that protestors
had refused to confirm or deny if he had been there! More people
are urgently needed and occupiers of the castle say they intend
to decontaminate the field. More info: 07773 640159 www.sayhi.to/thecastle
* Earth Crimes - a newspaper giving the low-down on the biotech
baddies produced for Aprils Convention on Biological Diversity
(See SchNEWS 346) is available now, send SAE to GEN 1 Archway Resource
Centre, 1a Waterlow Road, Archway London N19. 020 7272 1586.
- Park Nook Protest Camp is back. After a campaign to give
the woodland in central Liverpool town green status
was lost, trees are now being cut and the camp needs people, tat,
rope etc. Picnics on Sun 19th & 26th May. 0780 3609271.
- London action resource centre have an open evening with
protest singer David Rovics, table-tennis and refreshments. 18th
May, 4.30-10pm. LARC, 62 Fieldgate St. 020-7377-9088 www.londonarc.org
- Debate The Problems of Anarchy tonight (17th) at the
London Anarchist Forum, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn
- Not this Time - The Story of the Simon Jones Campaign.
The revamped film has its premier showing introduced by Mark Thomas,
Tues 21st 7pm Ritzy Cinema, Brixton. £5/£3. If you
are interested in organising a showing of the film email firstname.lastname@example.org
- A protester against the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm in
Staffordshire had to go to hospital after being punched by a neighbour
of one of the farms workers. The police, despite knowing
who was responsible for the attack, have made no arrests. Now
theres a surprise! www.guineapigs.org.uk
- The Harvest Forestry squat saw off Bailiffs on Monday,
and expect eviction soon, keep up to date at the links page of
- Magpie have their 10th Birthday Bash at Saunders Park,
noon-8pm 18th May
- For the StopEsso day of action (18th) every Esso station
in Brighton will be targeted - start noon - and a mass gathering
at Hollingdean Road Esso 3pm. Info on demos nationwide 020 7354
- Ex-Black Panther Robert King Wilkerson speaks about the
case of the Angola 3 who were framed for organising the local
chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defence in Angola
(Louisiana state penitentiary). Robert talks about 29 years behind
bars, and the two men still imprisoned for a crime they did not
commit! The Queens Head (opposite Brighton train station), 21st
- Brighton Animal Rights Campaign have a demo against Proctor
and Gamble outside Sainsburys on London Road, 1pm 25th May.
This week saw one of the most senior Russian officers facing trial
for the murder two years ago of Kheda Kungayev, an 18-year-old Chechen
girl. This is the first trial of a Russian soldier over any atrocity
that has occured in Chechnya since Russia invaded in 1999. (See
Schnews 334) After getting drunk the general and his men seized
Kheda Kungayev. She was taken from her home, bound in a blanket,
to the colonels sleeping quarters. What is clear from the
initial post mortem is that Kheda was then stripped and beaten,
before being raped and finally strangled.
Although the colonel does not deny the killing, he claims that he
strangled Kheda in a moment of rage during a night-time interrogation,
which is being fully supported by the States psychiatrists.
He is claiming temporary insanity and if the court accepts this
then he can walk free.
While large-scale fighting in Chechnya nominally ended in 2000,
Russian forces continue to detain hundreds of people without charges.
Pressure from the UN and human rights organisations have forced
the Russian authorities to introduce some improvements, including
the formal opening of investigations of war crimes although they
have refused to allow designated UN human rights investigators into
Chechnya. Unsurprisingly most abuses remain uninvestigated which
could expain why only one soldier has been brought to trial when
thousands of civilians have been killed by Russian forces.
For more info see Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org/europe/russia.php
day of action is taking place on 5th June in solidarity with the
41 people who have so far been sent to prison after the protests
during last summers EU Summit in Gothenberg. (see SchNEWS
310). Many of the convictions have been based on very dodgy evidence
and sentences are extremely harsh. Organisers of the day of action
are calling for people to protest outside Swedish embassies, consulates
or to do other similar actions in solidarity with the prisoners,
and to call for the halt of the criminalisation of summit protesters.
Evgeni Novozhilov, a human rights activist and anarchist
sympathiser has been sent to a mental hospital in Krasnodar, on
the false charge of practising a hoax about an act of terror.
Two years ago he wrote an article in the local paper about the atrociites
the Russian army committed in the 1994 Chechen civil war, since
then he has been harassed by the FSB (former KGB). He has been imprisoned
since last October, for an indefinite period, after the FSB tapped
one of his phonecalls where he made a vague reference to skyscrapers
and planes. This repression of free speech is akin to the soviet
era where forced treatment in mental hospitals was a notorious anti-dissident
tool. Evgeni feels very isolated and desperately wants to make contact
with other people. Contact him through his mother, by writing to:
Evgeni Novozhilov, ul. Ignatova 51, kv. 105, 350061 Krasnodar, Russia.
Evgeni speaks English, German and Swedish. Read more about the case
A release fund has been set up for Mark Barnsley, the framed
anarchist prisoner from Sheffield. Mark will have served 8 years
this summer, and is expected to be released but will be homeless.
His case has only just gone before the Criminal Cases Review Commission
so hell need money to continue his case from the outside,
travel expenses etc. Send cheques/Postal Orders (made out to Mark
Barnsley Release Fund) /train vouchers (and anything else
useful you can think of!) to Mark Barnsley Release Fund, Sumac Centre,
Box CC, 73 Beech Avenue, Nottingham, NG7 7LR.
This weekend Emma Murphy-Ellis who was sentenced to four
months imprisonment in Portland, Oregon for blocking a road in front
of a forest that was being destroyed is celebrating her 19th Birthday.
Send letters of support and birthday cards to: Emma Murphy-Ellis
Clackamas County Jail 9000 SE McBrod Milwaukie, OR 97222, USA.
Haven Distribution who supply books to prisoners have a new
catalogue, available to prisoners for a second class stamp. They
are also very skint and need donations. Haven Distribution, 27 Old
Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX.
Cops doing it doggy style
Because of continued stop and searches by police with sniffer dogs
on trains in Australia, activists have come up with a novel way
of confounding the canine cops. Jokers (or is that tokers) have
been spraying carriages with bong water and making the dogs, who
have been trained to sniff out pot, go mental every time they board
a train thus leading to commuters being frisked by over zealous
cops. The railway companies have denied that the late arrivals have
been due to grass on the line. More info: www.nswccl.org.au
SchNEWS warns all readers not to attend any illegal gatherings
or take part in criminal activities. Just stay at home, watch TV
and go on endless shopping sprees, filling your lives with pointless
consumer crap, then youll feel happy. Honest.
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