In the week that George W. presents his vision for
a post-war Iraq, a vision that he has already refused to contribute
to financially, SchNEWS reckons its appropriate to look at
Afghanistan one year on. Just how has bombing and killing civilians
improved the situation for the Afghan people?
The Wanted posters that litter the country, dropped by US planes,
give us a clue. Americas most wanted are Osama bin Laden,
former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and former Prime Minister and
hardline Pashtun warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Little change there
then. Hekmatyar continues to rally support among the Pashtun communities,
probably due to the oversight that neglected to allow them proper
representation in the Transitional Government headed up by US puppet
Hamid Karzai. Karzais credibility plummets as he turns to
the US for his own security, and his power has yet to extend beyond
Kabul. Someone obviously forgot to read the bit in Security Council
Resolution 1378 stating that both the transitional and the pursuant
democratic governments should be broad-based, multi-ethnic,
and fully representative of all Afghan people.
With their usual go for the symptom if you cant get
the cause way of looking at things, the US have been bombing
the Pashtun communities in the South and East of the country. If
the mans too slippery, go for the people who may, just possibly,
one day in the future, support him. In January, US, Norwegian and
Danish fighter planes conducted a massive bombing raid close to
Spin Boldak, a refugee village near the Pakistan border that houses
65,000 men, women and children, reportedly killing hundreds of civilians.
Accurate numbers were not available as the area was sealed off by
troops and access denied even to the Red Cross. This is in direct
contravention of UN Resolution 1379 - which underlines the importance
of full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel
and goods, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all children
affected by armed conflict. Earlier this month, 17 civilians,
mostly women and children were killed in bombing raids designed
to wipe out a handful of rebel fighters in the Baghran district
to the South.
ORE OF BABYLON
US forces continue to use outlawed weapons in these attacks, such
as uranium bombs and the innocuously named Daisy Cutter, a bomb
the size of a VW beetle which incinerates everything within a 600
metre radius and whose shock waves can be felt miles away. Findings
by the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC) point out that uranium
poisoning is already causing severe health problems throughout Afghanistan
The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health
impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every
bombsite investigated, people are ill.. Yet again the US shows
its middle finger to resolution number 1379 that calls upon all
parties to respect conditions of Prohibition or Restriction
on the use of weapons which have Indiscriminate Effects.
And to add insult to mass destruction, George W. forgot
to include any humanitarian and reconstruction funds in his 2003
budget. Yet another unfortunate oversight hurriedly rescued by Congress
who managed to rustle up $300 million for the cause. How many times
did Bush pledge not to walk away from the Afghan people? $300million
might seem like a lot, but it constitutes a small proportion of
the $4billion total pledged at the Tokyo donors conference
to help rebuild Afghanistan. Compared to the $3 billion that Israel
receives in US foreign aid every year, $300m figure suddenly loses
its impact. Israel has been given $240 billion since 1973, much
of it used for the purchase and manufacture of weapons, plus additional
funds, not counted as foreign aid, for special projects such as
$180 million for the development and manufacture of the Arrow missile
project. Weapons now make up 50% of Israels manufactured exports.
Contrary to the norm, Israel is not required to use this injection
of funds to buy American goods, in fact American defence contractors
are often forced to buy Israeli goods, and it has the power to block
the sale of US military equipment to Middle Eastern countries. In
common with other states that have earned the rogue nation
label, Israel has the capacity to manufacture nuclear, biological
and chemical weapons and maintains a stockpile of nuclear weapons,
yet has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow
any independent inspection of its facilities.
Israel are now demanding an additional $3-4 billion for the next
3 to 5 years to help them cope with the continuing Palestinian uprising
and the consequences of a US war in Iraq. Perhaps George W. should
see someone about his blurred vision before he makes
more of a spectacle of himself.
More info: Uranium contamination - www.URMC.net
Daisy cutters - www.robearly.com/911/DaisyCutter.html
Israeli foreign aid - www.csmonitor.com
Its a Fairford Cop, Guv
Last Sunday around 500 people met for a day of direct action at
Fairford, a US military base in Gloucestershire. Fairford is the
biggest bomber base in Europe and houses US stealth bombers that
will drop depleted uranium bombs on Iraq. After gathering at the
main entrance of the base, someone announced that they were weapons
inspectors and wanted to inspect the base. A peace activist told
SchNEWS, We tied ropes to the top of the front gate and started
pulling on them and shaking the gate. To everyones surprise,
including the cops, it collapsed on one side and swung open after
a few minutes. There was a pause while everyone on the outside watched
the horrified expressions on the faces of the police on the other
side and then everyone rushed in. While being part of a huge
crowd on the streets is an important show of dissent, direct
action allows us to slow down or stop the war machine as one
protestor told SchNEWS, The best thing was that it was cool
to see different types of people working together and not letting
each other get beaten up by the police and fighting back.
- Since last Friday Italian protesters have been stopping and
delaying US army trains of death (weapons, vehicles
and personnel) http://italy.indymedia.org
- Last Saturday around 10,000 people marched on the US air base
in Rhein-Main, Germany with 2,000 of them blockading entrances
to the base. Meanwhile on the Sunday 10,000 who marched to a military
base in Cologne were met by armed soldiers. Security at all military
bases in Germany is now being stepped up.
- Belgian cops took several hours freeing/arresting 11 Activists
who chained themselves to transport trains heading to the port
in Antwerp where military equipment is on its way to Turkey and
- Rolls Royce, Derby producers of nuclear fuel components for
Trident missiles was closed for a day last week after activists
chained themselves to the gates 0796 003003
- 5 scientists in Antarctica made a banner and held a demo against
the war on Iraq, which goes to show how global the anti-war movement
Crap Arrest Of The Week
For handing out leaflets
In Minneapolis, eight antiwar protestors handing out leaflets on
the pavement were suddenly outnumbered by police demanding they
leave, Kathryn Gilje and Lisa Zaragoza pointed out the charge of
soliciting wasnt valid as they werent selling, just
distributing political literature, so the pair were arrested for
BRIGHTON STOP THE WAR PROTEST
Saturday 1st March, meet 1pm War Memorial for moving protest with
street theatre and samba bands 07815 983022 www.safp.org.uk
KISS MY ESSO
The looming war in Iraq has nothing to do with oil. Or so Bush
Jnr sponsored by the oil industry would try to have us believe.
But, according to City analysts Deutsche Bank, the oil corporation
Esso exert a huge political weight over Bush and may
find itself in pole position in a changed-regime Iraq.
Making this link Greenpeace shut down 119 Esso petrol stations
on Monday by locking petrol pumps together and removing handles
from electricity switches. Essos head office was also shut
down when a container blocked the entrance. Greenpeace have published
a report showing how oil is fuelling the drive to war and the role
Esso has played.
More info: Greenpeace UK: 020 7865 8255 www.greenpeace.org.uk
Therell be more action against the War-Oil-Climate Change
cabal with a Kyoto March - 2 Years after Bush dumped the Kyoto agreement.
It leaves on 20th March 7am from the Esso HQ in Leatherhead for
a 20 mile walk to the US Embassy. But you can meet it at a Rally
at the Imperial War Museum, 3.30pm and an End of the World Party,
5.30pm at the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London. 020 88553327
Tony Blairs Best Pals, BP will be welcomed to their Annual
General Meeting by a Carnival Against Oil Wars and Climate Chaos
on the 24th April at the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London.
- Air pollution in the UK kills 10 times more people than road
accidents every year. 24,000 deaths are caused by peak
air pollution episodes. Another 4,000 lung cancer deaths a year
are caused by air pollution, and an increase in heart diseases.
National Society for Clean Air 01273-878770 www.nsca.org.uk
- March 17th 22nd: Towards Car-Free Cities III, Prague,
Czech Republic. A conference promoting alternatives to car
dependence and car culture. If you want to go see www.carbusters.org/conference
- This week the Government unveiled its Energy White Paper, which
has produced a lot of hot air even before its chucked on
the fire. The Government announced it wants to cut emissions of
carbon dioxide by 60% by 2050. But they havent said how
this would be achieved and the target of producing 20% of energy
from renewable sources energy by 2020 is now an aspiration!
And while claiming no more nuclear power stations will be built
in the near future they havent ruled it out as a long term
The award winning community organisation the Arts Factory have
submitted a planning application to develop a wind farm close to
their Rhondda base. The eight turbine wind farm will generate enough
electricity to meet the needs of over 6000 households (20% in the
Rhondda) and over 3300 local people have signed a petition in support
of the project.
The Power Factory will provide a long term income to the Arts Factory,
providing jobs for at least 20 people, not just greasing the turbines,
but jobs providing desperately needed services in the community,
such as nursery, community and youth workers.
There will be a series of road shows at community events in Rhondda
to promote the project.
More info: The Arts Factory - 01443 757954 www.artsfactory.co.uk
SchNEWS in brief
- Nestlé, the company who tell mums in the third
world that powered milk formula is better for kids than breast
milk, have scrapped plans to sponsor a new teenage book prize
after seven leading writers said that they do not wish to
be associated with Nestlés prize in any way.
Info on the worlds longest consumer boycott - Baby Milk Action
01223 464420 www.babymilkaction.org
- Home secretary David Blunkett whose asylum policies are
leaving people in the UK destitute, while his government threatens
to bomb countries and create more refugees is visiting the Marriot
Hotel, College Green, Bristol, next Thurs (6th). A demo has been
organised meet 6.30pm
- Last week Spanish cops raided the offices of Egunkaria,
the only exclusively Basque newspaper, and arrested its editor
and nine senior staff under anti-terror laws. The Judge claimed
the paper had links to the Basque separatist organisation ETA
and imprisoned five and fined the others at least £8,000
- If youre interested in organising another MayDay
event this year theres a meeting this Sunday (2nd) 11am
onwards (lunch provided) @LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1
(Whitechapel tube) firstname.lastname@example.org
- A Piece of Peace, benefit night for a peace compilation
CD this Saturday, 7pm, Ray Tindle Centre, Upper Gardener Street,
- Anti-war picket of Labour party conference this Saturday
outside Floral Hall, Southport, Merseyside. 9-11am 0151 708 7764
- Cycle for Peace this Saturday 11:30am at the gates of
Abney Park cemetery, Stamford Hill, London N16 07787 523907 email@example.com
- Performance of the play Lysistrata, an Ancient
Greek comedy of a womens sex strike in order
to stop their menfolk from going to war. 10.30am, Parliament Square,
London and 800 other readings in 42 countries. More readings are
planned during the day, with a rehearsed reading at Pleasance
Theatre, Caledonian Road, 7.30pm. £5 entry proceeds
to the War Child charity. www.lysistrataproject.com
- The small peace camp outside Fylindales in Yorkshire
are looking for more people. 01274 730795 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peace camp on the grass of the Peace Gardens near the
Town Hall, Manchester, March 8th after the anti war demo in the
City. 0161 881 0450 email@example.com
- Stop the warmongers. Demonstration at the Janes
Defence Weekly conference 10th March, Royal Institute of International
Affairs, Chatham House, 10 St James Street, London SW1 8am, bring
whistles, banners, flags, drums etc. www.disobedience.org.uk
- Human shields in Iraq have now taken up their positions
to defend important civilian infrastructures. Donations are urgently
needed send cheque/money order made out to Human Shield Action
c/o Christine Strickland, 97, Retford Road, Romford, UK, RM3 9ND
Info 0207 572 1125
- Tell Cherie Blair: No War! email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Kelleher, the man who knocked the head off a statue
of former PM Margaret Thatcher as a protest against the ills of
the worlds political system, has been jailed for three months.
On the day of the attack Mr Kelleher arranged a babysitter for his
son and bought a cricket bat. He smuggled the bat into the Guildhall
under his coat, but when he hit the statue the bat pinged
off. So he picked up a metal crowd barrier and finished the
job. He then waited for the cops to turn up and when he was being
arrested told them he thought the statue looked better this
way. The statue (a snip at £150,000) can be repaired
for £10,000, but sadly, according to the judge, will
never look the same.
Theres an online petition for clemency at: www.petitiononline.com/pkvsmt/petition.html
If anyone has his prison address can they tell us, so we can send
him SchNEWS each week.
* Barbara Smedema is in prison for disabling an American
communications dish at the military airport of Volkel in the Netherlands.
The damage has been estimated at 500,000 Euros. Barbara said We
do not have the illusion that we can stop the warmachine in this
way but we need to show hope and confidence that the world can be
different. Write to: Barbara Smedema, P.I. Ter Peel, Patersweg
4, 5977 NM Evertsoord.
You Asda Be Kidding
Old Kent Road already has three supermarkets, but no decent community
facilities. So guess what is gonna be built? Yep, a Wal-Mart/ASDA
superstore! Traffic, pollution and respiratory disease are at an
all time high along this stretch of road, which also, ironically,
has the lowest car ownership in London. The Ossory Road Yard has
been squatted since September as a community space with childrens
weekends, discussion groups, workshops and an anti-war forum. They
want to build a kids adventure playground, cultivate the land
and create a genuinely community-run space. They have been served
an eviction notice and expect bailiffs to arrive some time in March.
Ossory Road Social Centre: 07769 791387 email@example.com
To read Nine reasons why not to shop at Asda see www.corporatewatch.org.uk/news/resist_asda.htm
... and finally...
You know the scenario soldiers leaving to go off to war
being interviewed by the media and saying things like Its
a job we have to do or Were professional people
and were going to fight for our country. Well when 26
reservists from all walks of civilian life were leaving
for the Gulf from the Territorial Army base in Dundee the media
were invited along, but this time instead of smiling for the cameras
and saying it was their patriotic duty to go and fight they angrily
condemned the stance taken by the Bush / Blair axis.
Gary McIntosh, a medic who had been called up, became tearful when
saying goodbye to his threeyear-old daughter. How do
I say Daddys got to go away, I dont know when
Ill be back, he said. I dont understand
why we have to go. This is about Bush wanting to finish off what
his father started and us Brits are getting dragged into it because
of Blair. I dont really see why I have to be parted from my
family for that. All highly embarrassing for their commanding
SchNEWS warns all readers having visions to stop masturbating for
peace. (see SchNEWS 392) Honest.
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