Is it a real victory - so many victims? The tragedy of
the musical did not spring out of the blue. It is not the end, but
the beginning. Now we shall live in fear, as we see our children
and our elderly go out into the street. Perhaps this is how Chechen
people live? - Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist who
went in to talk to the hostage takers.
Russias very own war on terrorism came back to haunt it last
weekend when Chechen rebels took hundreds of people hostage in a
Moscow Theatre. Their demand was that Russia pull out of Chechnya
which over the past few years has been bombed back to the iron age
- retribution for a number of bomb attacks in Moscow that were blamed
on the rebels. Russian troops captured the capital Grozny - already
a pile of rubble after the last war with Russia five years earlier
- and in the process killed up to 40,000 civilians. Although the
conventional war has largely ceased, human rights organisations
have reported a rise in the disappearance, torture and summary executions,
in what is called the Wild West of Russia.
There is a catalogue of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Russian
Army: In June, a ditch containing 50 mutilated bodies was discovered
near the Russian army post in Chankala. The corpses were missing
eyes, ears, limbs and genitals. In July in the village of Meskyer
Yurt, 21 men, women and children were bound together and blown up,
their remains were thrown into a ditch. The list goes on...
Some those who survive sometimes wish hadnt. In Zernovodsk
this summer, townspeople say they were made to watch women being
raped. When the men tried to defend them, 68 were handcuffed to
an armoured truck and raped too. After this episode, 45 of them
joined the guerrillas in the mountains. One older man, Nurdi Dayeyev,
who was nearly blind, had nails driven through his hands and feet
because it was suspected that he was in contact with the fighters.
The Russians do not deny that these things happen, theres
even an official order issued banning such abuses.
Last weekends tragedy has refocused attention on the conflict,
which Russia has repeatedly claimed is winding down, even though
its soldiers continue to die at a rate of two to three a day. Russias
President Putin has tried to sweep the embarrassing brutalities
of the ongoing anti-terrorist operations under the carpet,
whilst the West has turned a blind eye so they could get Russian
support for their own wars of terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
The problem according to Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, a Polish reporter
is that the brutality of the Russians has also resulted in
a growing radicalisation of their opponents. Russia has tried
to link the rebels to al-Qaeda, as some of the Chechen leaders no
doubt see the conflict as a holy war. Now Chechens everywhere
face a further crackdown. Soldiers are surrounding refugee camps,
while Chechens in Russia are being rounded up and arrested.
Russia has tried to stop the World Chechen Congress in Copenhagen,
they persuaded Denmark to arrest Akhmed Zakayev, Chechnyas
top European representative, who was to be the main speaker, who
they accuse of playing a part in the theatre siege. As one Russian
journalist commented The search for participants in the terrorist
act is turning into a cleansing operation to rid Moscow of all Chechens.
* For conspiracy theories that it was the Russian secret police
who carried out the 1999 bombings of apartment blocks that sparked
the latest war with Chechnya and swept Putin to power see http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=24275
* Amnesty International this week published a new report on the
human rights situation in Russia and Chechnya. For copies 020 7814
Both Russia and the US are fighting the war on terror
to justify attacks on (largely) Islamic societies with racist rhetoric
about the need to combat fundamentalism, but the real
reason behind it is justification for anything the state does to
protect its interests. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the
former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Back in July, this tiny country was granted $64 million of aid by
the US government, making it the third largest recipient of US aid
in the world. The reason? Both the US and Russia reckon that Georgia
is in the frontline of the war on terror. Russia argues
that Georgias mountainous Pankisi gorge, which sits along
the border with Chechnya, is a hideout for Chechen rebels, who are
able t o move across the border to launch attacks on Russian troops.
The US reckons that amongst these fighters there might be as many
as a dozen Al-Qaeda members. The $64 million is for counter-insurgency
training and equipment for the Georgian army, allegedly so that
it can flush out these bad guys. Russia was furious about this move,
which amounts to the US establishing a base for its Special Forces
on the Russian border. Russia accused Georgia of complicity
with international terror and Putin wrote to the UN saying that
Russia reserved the right to use pre-emptive strikes
on Georgia to defend itself.
The US claim that its pouring money on the Georgian military
so that they can take out al-Qaeda, one journalist wrote, why
would the dozen or so suspected al-Qaeda terrorists hang around
until a new force is trained? But what other reason would
there be for making sure the Georgian army is tooled-up like the
Green Berets? Hmmm, maybe its got something to do with the
massive oil and gas pipelines that the US and Britain want to run
through Georgia, to take oil from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Ceyhan in
Turkey. For the last 10 years the US and Britain have been investing
in central Asian oilfields, but have been struggling to find a way
of getting the oil to the West without taking it through Iran or
Russia. The proposed solution is the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, which
if built would transport 1 million barrels of oil a day along a
route that runs across (amongst other things) 20 major rivers and
2 dense primary forests, and borders on several zones of conflict.
The consortium of companies backing the pipeline is only offering
to provide 30% of the £3 billion costs. BP, the company heading
the consortium, has said that the project would not be possible
without masses of free public money (i.e. our money),
including £65 million from the UKs own Export Credit
Guarantee Scheme. It will also need military or paramilitary patrols
all along the route to protect the pipe from sabotage and theft.
Campaigners opposing the pipeline say that the proposed route as
well as passing through war zones, cuts through villages and bisects
peoples lands. Many will be evicted, or forced to trespass
on oil company property in order to lead their daily lives. Similar
situations in other countries (such as BPs pipeline in Colombia)
have led to major human rights atrocities. Whilst Georgian
peasants worry that Russias new hard-line approach
to Chechnya will drag their villages back into conflict, Western
greed for Central Asian oil is driving plans that, if carried out,
will ensure that Georgia is threatened by war and environmental
crisis for decades to come.
More info: www.bankwatch.org
For kicking a balloon
One of Turkeys most famous singers, Hulya Avsar, faces the
prospect of six months in jail for kicking balloons displaying the
Turkish flag. Avsar allegedly kicked some balloons that were in
her way as she walked to meet guests on her TV show. Unfortunately
for the popular singer its illegal in Turkey to display the
flag on objects and near blasphemy to have the sacred flag on the
ground. The TV crew and the balloon makers also face a six month
stay in jail for the malicious act.
Last Tuesday (22nd October) workers on the Birmingham Northern
Relief Road were able to enjoy an unscheduled break when a dozen
people stormed the construction site of a bridge over a canal and
disabled diggers and a crane. The protesters say it represents the
start of a new phase of the campaign against car culture and climate
change in the face of a renewed road building program under the
Labour Government. The action happened one day before the start
of the British International Motor Show and the UN climate conference
in New Delhi, India (COP 8).
At the Motor Show in Birmingham, Europes largest car show,
actions continued highlighting how the car industry is part of the
problem of climate change.
Its not just people in the west who have been protesting against
climate change. Those communities most affected (mostly in southern
countries) met at a Climate Justice Summit held at the same time
as the UN climate conference to provide a platform for climate change
impacted communities from around the world. The negotiations
to solve the climate change crisis have been hijacked by corporations
and industrialised nations, especially the US. These meetings resemble
a trade meeting to push globalisation over developing countries
rather than a meeting to address the genuine needs of people,
said Medha Patkar of the India Climate Justice Forum. The summit
was followed by a 5, 000 strong rally in New Delhi.
And while the people directly affected by climate change met to
discuss the issues affecting them the worlds Governments met
to carve-up another commodity - the earths climate. The conference
looks like being yet another failed opportunity, with the initial
draft resolution in combating climate change being described as
unacceptable and worthless. Expect more
storms and floods of hot air from the conference which finishes
Car show actions: www.anticarshow.net
* 600 protesters managed to shut down all 28 Esso petrol stations
in Luxembourg last Saturday in a climate change protest by Greenpeace.
Last Thursday protestors used D-locks, Superglue and good ol
determination to blockade the US spy base in Menwith Hill, Yorkshire.
The blockade started at 5am with protestors D-locking themselves
to the main gates and then handcuffing themselves to each other.
With alternative gates sealed off by Superglue and locks, all traffic
was blocked and the 3 scheduled shift changes were disrupted. Most
employees were prevented from entering the base to do their daily
spying and so ended up heading back home. After 4 ½ hours
the ever-friendly men in blue were threatening arrests and the protestors
ended the blockade, happy with the results.
So whats this spy base about then? Well, its an interception
centre that would be used to co-ordinate any bombing of Iraq.
Its part of Americas murky Echelon programme
set up during the Cold War a network of listening posts
able to intercept millions of phone, fax and e-mail messages. Our
upstanding government assures us that communication interception
is covered by strict legal guidelines - honest! But the EU parliamentary
committee set up to investigate Echelon reckons that
Uncle Sam uses it for industrial espionage to benefit US companies.
So the committee recommends that all EU capitalists encrypt everything
* Fylingdale Star Peace Camp, outside the US airbase, which is now
5 months old, have received eviction papers and are appearing in
court next week. Vigil outside the court 10.45am,6th Nov, Whitby
Law Court, Waterstead Lane, Whitby. The camp also urgently needs
funds send money payable to WoMenwith Hill Womens Peace
Camp, P.O. Box 105, Harrogate HG3 2FE. Tel 01947896481 www.FreeFylingdalesNetwork.co.uk.
- Sick of prefab pop music? To help the sporadic network
aimed at bringing down Pop Rivals visit www.killpop.org
- The global arms trade has flourished since the end of the Cold
War. Find out in the No-Nonsense Guide To The Arms Trade
available for £7 from CAAT, 11 Goodwin Street, London
N4 3HQ www.caat.org.uk
- Taking Aim a Revolutionary Conference for the
liberatarian left, activists and other rebel-rousers, will be
held in Bradford next year. To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sic Chumbawambas very slick er zine
is out. All good stuff with Mark Thomas and others contributing,
available now for a fiver
- To get a copy of Que Se Vayan Todos, the excellent newsprint
publication about the events of the last 12 months in Argentina
send SchNEWS a 41p SAE
- Zapatista - A benefit for Mayan autonmous communities,
Tues 4th downstairs at the Sanctuary, Brunswick St, Hove. With
food, info and world and rebel beats. Kicks off at 7pm with the
- Remember Barry Horne. Anniversary of the death of the
animal rights prisoner who died on hunger strike against the government
broken promises of animal welfare reform. Memorial demo Tues 5th
2pm followed by night vigil at HLS, Alconbury, Cambs.0845 458
0630 or 07899 775493
- Scottish Anarchist Day School Sat 9th, Kinning Park Centre,
Glasgow, Scotland. 10.30am-5pm. Workshops, discussions, and much
more! £3/1. Anarchoemail@example.com
- Runway No Way Demonstration against Stanstead Airport,
2nd Nov Montessori School, Mole Hill Gn, nr Broxted. 07817 708113.
- Public meeting to discuss the current aviation consultation
14th November at Plants Brook School, Upper Holland Road, Sutton
Coldfield, West Midlands 7.30pm.
- Remember the fuel blockades a couple of years ago by truckers
and farmers? Welsh farmer Mr Brynle Williams one of its leaders
claimed to have no political bias: Im not a politician,
Im just a simple farmer. Well guess who has been selected
as Conservative candidate for Clwyd West? But then he did say
I dont want a career in politics at all so maybe
joining the dinosaur Conservative Party is the right thing to
The Woodside Caravan Park a legitimate campsite in Bedfordshire
bought in 1997 by 27 gypsy families is under threat of eviction
from this Friday (1). A protest camp has been set up to help the
community resist eviction, and needs more people and tat. This comes
a week after a gypsy from another camp, a 22 year old father of
two, was subject to a murder attempt and dumped in a coma outside
Woodside in a racially motivated act of intimidation. For Woodside
residents this is even more reason to remain on the site as they
feel safer together. Info. 01767 681 651 www.f-f-t.demon.co.uk/fft/woodside.htm
The indefinite detention of 12 people without trial in the UK under
last years knee jerk Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act
(see SchNEWS 363), has been deemed legal by the High Court. In July
an appeal by those detained under the Act, led to an immigration
appeals commission to rule that it contravened the European Convention
on Human Rights. That decision has now been overturned by the High
Court who believed the government that these 12 people are a threat
to the nations security in this time of emergency.
And what evidence did the government need to produce to show that
were in a state of emergency- well the evidence put forward
by the government to back its argument remained secret and
was not considered by the court in its decision. As according
to the judges the government is in a better position than the courts
to make such important decisions. Two of those detained have now
left the country, the remainder now face indefinite imprisonment
for the duration of the emergency.
Pelle Strindlund from Bye Bye Meat Industry - a group that
carries out animal rights ploughshares type actions
- has been given 8 months for rescuing hens from a battery farm.
Hed appreciate letters of support. Pelle Strindlund, Ostragård
kriminalvardsanstalt, Box 215, SE462-23 Vanersborg, Sweden
Cassidy Wheeler an US anarcho-primitivist serving 8½
years for petty theft is looking for penpals to keep up with whats
going on whilst hes inside. Cassidy Wheeler #1428456, SRCI,
777 Stanton Blvd., Ontario, Oregon 97914-8335, USA.
For those readers old enough to remember Basil
Brush the countrys favourite fox, youll remember that
he wasnt all sweetness and light. Well hes back on TV
screens and hes still causing a bit of a stir, not only is
he fatter and now allegedly a bit camp, but his foxs natural
instinct to dislike farmers has resulted in an episode of his series
being temporarily withdrawn by the BBC. The episode,
which featured Basil calling a bad-tempered farmer manure
breath, and then ALF-style liberating the farmers chickens
from a chicken pie fate. The BBC insisted that the programme was
not being screened because it was not yet ready for transmission
and that it was nothing to do with complaints from Richard Haddock,
a member of the National Farmers Union council, who said:
I am absolutely disgusted. The BBC in London seems to be going
down this anti-farm agenda. Which is obviously laughable considering
the unquestionable support they gave to last months Countryside
This story was stolen from Octobers brilliant Shoreham Protester-
which includes loads of interesting info about the Countryside Alliance.
50p plus SAE from The Shoreham Protester, 7 Stoneham Road, Hove,
BN3 5HJ. www.shoreham-protester.org.uk
SchNEWS warns all warmongers to stop taking the peace. Honest.
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SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
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