The least important global environmental issue is potential
global warming, and we hope that your negotiators at Johannesburg
can keep it off the table and out of the spotlight.
- Excerpt from a letter sent to George W. Bush by a group of
Exxon Mobil funded lobbyists.
As if dodging out of the Kyoto treaty, supporting rabid fossil
fuel consumption, and making money at the expense of all forms of
life on earth werent enough to keep them busy, it now seems
that some of the big business lapdogs in Washington have taken it
upon themselves to sabotage the upcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
In a letter to George W. recently leaked to the media by Friends
of the Earth, thirty-one lobbyists many funded by Exxon Mobil
told Bush that we applaud your decision not to attend
the Summit in person
the Johannesburg Summit will provide
a global media stage for many of the most irresponsible and destructive
elements involved in environmental issues. Your presence would only
help to publicise and make more credible various anti-freedom, anti-people,
anti-globalisation, and anti-Western agendas.
So lets get this straightthis lot doesnt want
Bush to attend the conference because they think its been
taken over by irresponsible and destructive tree-huggers who, unlike
them, wouldnt sell their own grandmothers to make a buck.
Theyre upset because they think the Earth Summit is actually
going to be a meeting of concerned environmentalists, gathering
to discuss what can be done about the impending ecological disaster
brought on by capitalism and free trade. They think the Summit is
a threat to all the things they hold deargreed, gain, and
globalisation. But for once, dear readers, the jokes on the
corporate whores. They neednt bother sabotaging the conference
because its already been sabotaged by their favourite thingsmultinational
greed, corporate gain, and the push for globalisation at any cost.
If the American big business butt kissers would simply pause a
moment to review some of the people who are planning to attend the
Summit, theyd quickly realise they have nothing to fear. Just
for kicks, lets look at some of Blairs hand-picked delegates.
Blairs posse contains a number of his Big Business cronies
including Bill Alexander, chief executive of Thames Water. The largest
water company in the UK, Thames Water has been prosecuted for pollution
over 20 times since 1996. Just two days after it was announced that
Thames Water would become an official defender of the global environment
in Johannesburg, its parent company, RWE, threatened to cancel the
creation of 4,000 new jobs unless the European commission dropped
its plans to impose stricter controls on carbon dioxide emissions.
During the Summit, Bill Alexander will be making a speech outlining
how private water companies can make immense contributions to environmental
and humanitarian interests. Try telling that to the hundreds of
South Africans who contracted cholera from drinking polluted river
water after their unaffordable privatised water was cut off (See
Chris Fay, another of Blairs prime choices, is not only a
non-executive director of Anglo America, another of the worlds
mining giants, but hes also a director of British Airways
and was formerly the chairman of Shellmining, aviation, and
oil being three of the most sustainable industries, of course. This
is a particularly sensitive choice on Blairs part, as many
South African communities are currently involved in seeking compensation
from Shell and BP following leaks from an oil refinery. Fay is also
a director of Weir Group Plc., whose subsidiary, Weir Pumps, has
been implicated in human rights abuses and genocide in Sudan.
And last, but certainly not least on Blairs stunning list
of eco-warriors, is Sir Robert Wilson, executive chairman of mining
company Rio Tinto. As the worlds largest mining conglomerate,
Rio Tinto has destroyed ecosystems the world over and is currently
the focus of one of Australias highest profile environmental
rows ever. The companys plans to mine uranium in one of the
planets most valuable wildlife sites Kakadu National
Park, a World Heritage Site has sparked protests that have
led to more than 500 arrests.
Speaking sensitively about environmental issues in underdeveloped
countries, Hugh Leggat, a Rio Tinto spokeman, has remarked: When
you get there, you can find the locals have chopped all the trees
down. So perhaps it would be advantageous to allow in a mining firm
which could then in return promise to do regeneration work.
Cross your heart and hope to die, Mr. Leggat? But, as Leggatt has
pointed out, We are already just about the most regulated
industry in the world. Apparently he doesnt remember
his companys brilliant track record in Bougainville.
With a group of delegates like this, one might wonder just what
kind of an environmental conference Blairs going to? But at
the heart of Blairs seemingly contradictory delegate choices
lurks his pet project - public-private partnerships. He, along with
many other Western governments, seems to think that by inviting
reckless corporations to the party and allowing them to control
things like water, energy, and forests, they will then start to
behave sensibly, protect these crucial resources, and sustainable
development will naturally follow.
But the craziest part is this - even if corporations werent
in the thick of the decision-making process, it would still be a
bogus summit. Why? Because none of the agreements that the involved
parties sign will be legally binding. Legal regulations (covering
such issues as human rights and the environment) have been dropped
in favour of voluntary codes. The draft plan now calls only for
the promotion of corporate accountability and responsibility
and the exchange of best practices. Believing in the actual
existence of corporate accountability and responsibility,
the powers that be have decided that voluntary self-regulation is
all thats needed to fix the environmental problems caused
by free trade. As George Monbiot says, To defend the world
from the destruction brokered by multinational capital, governments
will tie a ribbon round it and hand it to multinational capital.
Arrest of the Week
For being Ash-Holes!
17 people were arrested earlier this year during a protest against
incinerated waste being shipped to the Danish island of Langoya.
They bared their bums in a collective moonie with the words ASH
HOLES spelt out on their backsides.
NOW! SchNEWS of the World
What a year it was... Genoa, September 11,
Argentina, Palestine, Gothenburg and the rest. Phew. All in
one book. Issues 301-350 of SchNEWS plus 200 pages of articles,
satire, cartoons, photos, subverts, the direct action yellow
pages and loads more. Order yours from us now - £8.50
including p&p (cheques to Justice). ISBN 09529748-6-X
Eleven Indonesian villagers, backed by the International Labor
Rights Fund, are trying to sue oil giants Exxon Mobil in an American
court claiming that the company knew of the murder, torture and
rape of residents near its natural gas plant in the northern province
Since 1990, there has been a bitter war of independence being fought
in Indonesia. Human Rights Watch reports that in the last decade,
Over 1000 people were killed, tortured or have disappeared
Thousands of Acehnese were detained without charge, often
for years at a time, in military camps; Many never returned.
The current law suit says that under an agreement with General Suharto,
the former military dictator of Indonesia, Mobil paid the Indonesian
military for protecting its facilities. One of the plaintiffs described
how troops held him in a building at a Mobil plant and tortured
him for three months. Before they released him, the soldiers showed
him a large pile of human heads. Another plaintiff claims he was
tortured by soldiers at a building inside the companys compound.
Others have reported similar accounts of abuse.
This legal wrangle all started in 1998 when several Indonesian
human rights groups accused the company of sponsoring the violence
because it had provided the army with earth-moving equipment used
to dig mass graves.
In April, addressing a US federal district judge, an Exxon Mobil
lawyer said This is a very difficult time in Indonesian-American
relations because al Qaeda fighters are residing in that large Muslim
nation. He continued that it would be bad for trade relations
and bad for the so-called war on terror if a US court accused Exxon
Mobil and the Indonesian government of murder. The judges
decision on whether to proceed with the trial is still pending.
After the bankrupt Enron corporation, Exxon Mobil were the second
largest campaign contributor to the Bush administration. In 2000,
Exxon Mobil refused to sign a code of conduct for businesses working
in developing nations where governments might commit human rights
abuses. They have constantly denied that global warming is happening
and even claim that covering ourselves in crude oil is actually
good for us.
The lawsuit against Exxon Mobil is one of a series of suits brought
to U.S. courts by human rights groups against multinational companies
under the Alien Tort law, which allows victims to sue in US Courts
for alleged human rights violations perpetrated in other countries.
Corporations like NatWest, Barclays Bank, ICL and Vickers are currently
facing a multibillion pound lawsuit claiming they profited from
collaborating with apartheid in South Africa. One of the lead plaintiffs
in the campaign for compensation said, We want reparations
from those international companies and banks that profited from
the blood and misery of our fathers and mothers, our brothers and
In a time when everywhere is being McStandardised, Common Ground
is working on a big encyclopaedia all about Local Distinctiveness,
championing the regional differences still to be found across England.
They tell all Schnews readers,You know much more than we do,
and with your knowledge and help, we can bring the book and the
web-site alive. We would like to hear your local stories, details,
examples, and observations about the particularity of everyday places:
from houses and woods to food and legends, from dialect words and
endemic wild life to vernacular greetings and breeds of sheep.
If youve got something to contribute visit www.england-in-particular.info
- Catch up with everyones direct action summer adventures
at the next Rebel Alliance, 4th September 7.30pm upstairs
at the Albert Pub, Trafalger St. Brighton.
- On the same night, SchNEWS will be hosting our annual Book
Launch Party at the Volks, Madeira Drive, Brighton 9pm. Please
- Great news - Steward Community Woodland in Devon has
been given a 5 year temporary planning permission to continue
their sustainable woodland low-impact living project www.stewardwood.org
- Film premiere of Drowned Out about the Narmada
Dam protests in India. Its on at Curzon Soho Cinema,
Shaftesbury Ave, London W1 £7/5,Wed 28th, 7pm, the screening
will be followed by a Q&A session. www.spannerfilms.net
- The Colchester Radical Collective have opened a social
centre in a Grade 2 listed building. The building had been left
empty by Capita (big friends of New Labours Private Finance
Initiative) who have been trying to turn it into posh flats. Capita
is taking the squatters to court today (23rd). If youre
going to the Colchester Free Festival (www.colchesterfreefestival.co.uk)
this bank holiday Monday, why not pay the centre a visit? 87 East
Hill, 0798 6654583 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meanwhile in nearby Southend, two people let everyone
know about a road widening scheme that could destroy 100 trees
by spending eight hours in the threatened trees branches
- Worthing cops are continuing to hassle people they suspect might
be ringleaders of the campaign to stop the destruction
of ancient Titnore Woods by property developers. The next
action planned on September 1st is delivery of a letter to the
landowner urging him to consider preserving the area as a nature
reserve. Fancy dress if you can. Meet 1pm Coach and Horses on
the A27 Arundel Road www.worthinga27.freeserve.co.uk
- Copies of our new SchNEWS OF THE WORLD book will be on sale
at a S.C.R.A.P. Records music alldayer next Saturday (31st)
at Windmill Pub, 22 Blenhelm Gardens, Brixton, London. 3pm onwards
- The Fylingdales Star Peace Camp in the North Yorkshire
Moors is desperate for more people to come and stay otherwise
they might have to shut up shop. 01274 730795 email@example.com
Cartoon Molotovs In The Face Of Corporate Rule
a cartoon book by Polyp
Anti-American, unbalanced and unreasonable - Coca
Get yours for £6 from NI Publications,
01858 438896 ISBN 09540499-3-4
At a demo during the recent No Borders protest camp in Strasbourg
(SchNEWS 366) Ahmed Meguini, co-founder of the French anti-racist
group Mouvement Spontane (Spontaneous Movement), was violently arrested,
receiving a broken wrist from the French riot squad. From his arrest
on 24th July to his trial date on 21st August, Ahmed was held in
solitary confinement, which meant, amongst other things, he was
not allowed to receive visitors. At his trial, Ahmed was sentenced
to 8 months but luckily 5 of these will be probation which means
he will be out in 3months. He also received a fine of 700 Euros
(£500). Incidentally Ahmed was the only person from the No
Borders camp who was locked up the entire time before his trial
and the charges against him were the heaviest. This Saturday (24th
Aug) there will be a benefit to help pay his fines at the Radical
Dairy, 47 Kynaston Rd, Stoke Newington, London, with food and DJs.
* The Fair Justice For All campaign which represents
the families of people imprisoned after the Bradford riots last
year (SchNEWS 313) are holding a rally on bank holiday Monday outside
the city court house. They are protesting against harsh sentences
given to 94 people convicted of riot, people such as Istifar Iqbal,
who received 11 months for picking up, but not throwing, two stones
and Ashraf Hussain, who got four years for throwing three stones.
Campaigners contrasted the length of the sentences with maximum
terms of 18 months given to white youths who rioted on the Ravenscliffe
estate the day after the disturbances in Bradford.
This special treatment is also reflected in the team
that was appointed to look into the causes of last years riots.
Muslims on the community cohesion review team told one member of
the review team At the first team meeting we were informed
our purpose was not to focus on any one community, but to look for
solutions to bring communities together. This was disappointing,
as I felt that the specific issues of the Muslim community needed
to be investigated and dealt with. Often Muslim participants would
tell me in private of their frustration with this review. When I
asked why they didnt speak up at the meetings they answered:
Whats the point? Theyre not going to listen.
After banging on and on about the leaked letter to Bush on the
front page, we thought you might be interested in who it was exactly
that sent the letter. Many of these organisations have been involved
in anti-environmental activities before. More to the point seven
of them are known to be funded by Exxon Mobil. Signatories include:
- Fred L Smith and Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute
- funding from Exxon $280,000 in 2001
- Craig Rucker from the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
(CFACT) - funding from Exxon $35,000 in 2001
- Steven Hayward from the American Enterprise Institute - funding
from Exxon $230,000 in 2001
- Terrence Scanlon from the Capital Research Center - funding
from Exxon $25,000 in 2001
- Joseph L Bast of the Heartland Institute - funding from Exxon
$90,000 in 2001
- Deroy Murdock of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (AERF)
- funding from Exxon $150,000 in 2001
- H Stirling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis
- funding from Exxon $20,000 in 2001
This is, of course, absolutely typical of the way Exxon works.......
They pay other people to do their dirty work and thenwith
breathtaking hypocrisydeny that they are trying to influence
anybody or are the tiniest bit anti-environmental!!
SchNEWS warns all readers to not take everything we say letterally.
issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage. - Nearly sold out...
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage
£4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
from the direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p.
You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300
more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7
+ £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or
your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
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.
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.