Your War, Our Corpses
One year on from the American occupation of Iraq and does the world
feel a safer place? In Iraq, one and a half thousand cluster bombs
litter the countryside while depleted uranium pollutes the soil
and air. 530 American soldiers and uncounted thousands of Iraqis
have died. The economy is a disaster; electricity and water are
sporadic. Sweeping new laws have also led to Iraqs infrastructure
being sold to Bushs corporate chums. Theres a new secret
police force containing former members of Saddams security
services and a bogus July 1st sovereignty transfer planned
that will actually maintain the occupation. The US is also planning
to construct what will be the worlds largest embassy in Iraq,
staffed by up to 3,000 people, while the military plans to maintain
permanent bases for as long as it wants.
But the occupation of Iraq cannot be seen in isolation from U.S.
designs in the region as a whole, in which Israel is a central player.
This role was perfectly described by the Israeli newspaper Haartez,
Strengthening Israel helps the Western powers to maintain
equilibrium and stability in the Middle East. Israel is to become
if for any reason the Western powers should sometimes
prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied upon to punish
one or several neighboring states whose discourtesy to the West
went beyond the bounds of the permissible.
Today, Israelis are involved in training and advising US occupation
forces in Iraq. According to one report last year, As they
prepared for war in Iraq, American military officers studied Israels
use of helicopters, tanks and armored bulldozers to fight in the
claustrophobic quarters of Palestinian refugee camps. Today
Israel is carrying out repeated assaults on Palestinians, including
targeted assassinations. Borrowing sentiments from the
U.S. war on terror, their charming Prime Minister Ariel
Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and
will strike its enemies in every place and in every way. Meanwhile,
the illegal apartheid wall it is building continues to grow, cutting
off more Palestinians from one another, from their lands, from their
work, and from any hope of a future.
Across the world, inequality grows and with that, resentment and
anger. Millions upon millions are trying to survive under conditions
of unspeakable degradation. Nearly 4 billion people earn less than
$1,500 (US) a year, less than $5 a day. Yet satisfying the entire
worlds need for food and sanitation would cost just $13 billion.
A huge sum? Well that figure is less than one percent of the combined
wealth of the worlds 587 billionaires, who between them are
worth more than the Gross National Product of 170 countries.
In Europe and America, the danger is that, in order to try to pre-empt
the kind of hellish scenes witnessed in Madrid, governments will
crack down even harder on civil liberties. Although Blair might
find it difficult to actually find one of our British civil
liberties that hasnt already been attacked.
What happened in Madrid was a crime against humanity, but other
such crimes go unreported day in, day out across out world. So while
politicians tell us that terrorism is now the greatest threat
in the world today ask them about the millions of innocent
people dying daily from war, filthy water, climate change, environmental
degradation, and preventable diseases.
As Robert Fisk points out, If Americas neo-conservatives
believe in the war of civilisations, then so does al-Qaida
are now to die in Europe as brutally as they have died in Bali and
Tunisia and Istanbul and - let us, for a moment, see the world through
another prism - as they have been torn to pieces by our bombs in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
* Bypass the corporate media: www.indymedia.org
* Demos across the world to coincide with 1st anniversary of the
war in Iraq. www.stopthewar.org.uk
Crap Arrest of the Week
For working for the wrong news agency...
Salah Hassan, a cameraman for the Al Jazeera news network, was arrested
by US troops at the site of a roadside bomb attack on a US military
convoy in Iraq last November.
US troops accused him of knowing in advance of the attack even
though his footage showed that he arrived at least half an hour
after the attack!
This heralded the beginning of 6 weeks of imprisonment, abuse and
torture. Salah was initially taken to the US military base at Baghdad
airport and held in a bathroom for 2 days. Next, he was flown bound
and hooded to Tikrit, and finally, Salah was moved to Abu Ghraib,
a massive Saddam-built prison currently holding 13,000 prisoners,
where he spent his first night standing naked for 11 hours in the
cold winter air. The following day, Salah was given his prison issue
clothesa puke-stained set of red overalls. He was then locked
alone in a tiny cell. Meanwhile, Salahs employers at Al Jazeera
hired a top lawyer to defend him. At the trial, Salah ended up being
released for lack of evidence and dumped on a roadside outside Baghdad.
He is now back working for the news network.
On Monday morning, March 15, Coca-Cola union workers in Colombia
began a hunger strike in front of Coke bottling plants in Barrancabermeja,
Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín,
and Valledupar. Juan Carlos Galvis, vice president of the local
union in Barrancabermeja, has said, If we lose the fight against
Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our jobs, and then
our lives. Although this may seem like dramatic language to
some, he speaks from experience. This past August, there was an
assassination attempt against him, and just a few months ago, in
December, his brother-in-law was brutally murdered in an incident
that many human rights groups have linked to anti-union thugs.
On September 9, 2003, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Colas largest
Colombian bottler, closed the production lines at 11 of their 16
bottling plants and launched a new offensive against union-affiliated
workers in an effort to break support for Sinaltrainal, the union
Galvis belongs to that is fighting to organise Coke workers. Coke
FEMSA imprisoned workers by force in factories or hotels and pressured
them to renounce their employment contracts in return for a measly
payout. Since September, more than 500 workers have pressured
into voluntarily resigning from their contracts. Most
of the union leaders have refused to resign and the company has
escalated the pressure against them. There have been numerous
cases of assault by mysteriously unidentified assailants,
including the kidnapping and torture of one union leaders
15-year-old son, as well as the murder and attempted murder listed
above. On February 25, the Colombian Ministry of Social Protection
(Labour) authorized Coca-Cola FEMSAs plans to dismiss 91 workers
- 70 percent of whom are union leaders. Sinaltrainal hopes
that the hunger strike will draw international attention to the
situation, but also fears for the safety of the workers.
To keep up-to-date on the situation, www.killercoke.org/news.htm
After recently being released after serving 27 years for actions
including robbing a bank and setting fire to the money to condemn
capitalism, Helen Woodson is back in jail. Last Thursday she walked
into a federal courthouse and allegedly covered security apparatus
in red paint before making a Christian inspired eco/peace statement.
She is also alleged to have sent four threatening letters and made
one threatening phone call. Send letters to Helen D Woodson, #03231-045,
c/o Bates County Jail, PO Box 60, Butler, MO 64730, USA. More info:
After failing to build a primate vivisection lab at Cambridge (SchNEWS
439), mad scientists are now trying a more subtle approach by building
an animal housing facility at Oxford University, which
will (surprise!) be doing some of the same research that was going
to be done at Cambridge. In a desperate attempt to hoodwink the
public, the new project has been euphemistically called a research
hotel in the planning application. Some Hotel!Where
you get kept in solitary wire cages, injected with drugs, deliberately
brain damaged and then killed. In response to this latest development,
the campaign that stopped the Cambridge lab has been resurrected
to fight the new proposals and started with a demo last Saturday.
0845 3307985 www.speakcampaigns.org.uk
A computer game has been released featuring an electro-shock tested
weasel and a rabbit deformed from cosmetic testing. The aim of the
game is to rescue animals from a laboratory by smashing up security
cameras and lab equipment and chain whipping policemen! www.whiplashgame.com
Stephen Funk, conscientious objector (CO) to the Iraq war, was
freed this week from a US army clink after being locked up for 6
months. In the face of this unjust war based on deception
by our leaders, he said, I could not remain silent.
I spoke out so that others in the military would realize that they
also have a choice and a duty to resist immoral and illegitimate
orders. Last September, Stephen showed up to work for the
army 47 days late, clutching his CO papers in hand. He was accused
of going AWOL, although the initial, harsher accusation was desertion
which supporters claimed was an overreaction intended to scare other
soldiers into keeping their concerns under wraps and their guns
on display. Why so paranoid? Well, this week has seen a trickle
of other potential COstwo US army medics have applied, saying
the idea of killing is to them revolting as well as
one sergeant who has vowed not to fight in this oil-driven
war. Three more isnt exactly a trend but, according
to the Center for Conscience on War, this small number of applicants
is just the tip of the objector-iceberg. They estimate that the
number of military personnel seeking CO status at the moment is
several hundred at the bare minimum. Applying for CO
status is hardly a walk in the park either. After completing a 22-question
form and attending interviews, soldiers have to wait 6 months for
applications to be processed - by which time theyre probably
eating out of mess tins anyway. According to the Center and their
stats from previous wars, COs waiting for their case to go through
are often beaten, harassed or threatened with court marshal. During
the first Gulf War, the US army received 111 applications from COs
before freezing the process and instead sending people to prison.
Around a dozen people walked calmly into the Caterpillar defence
plant in Shrewsbury at around midday on Tuesday, occupied various
areas within the complex, and shut it down for the entire afternoon.
Several protesters locked themselves onto factory fixtures using
bicycle locks. The action took place exactly one year after peace
activist Rachel Corrie, an American working with the International
Solidarity Movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine,
was crushed to death under a specially-designed armoured bulldozer
manufactured by Caterpillar as she attempted to peacefully stop
it from bulldozing a Palestinian home in Rafah. This city has now
been virtually razed to the ground by such bulldozers in the year
since she was killed. The demolitions are a violation of international
In a letter to friends and family in the US, Rachel described her
difficulty in trying to convey the larger picture,The assassinations,
rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities - but in
focusing on them Im terrified of missing their context. The
vast majority of people here - even if they had the economic means
to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on
their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious
of Sharons possible goals), cant leave. Because they
cant even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because
their destination countries wont let them in (both our country
and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut
off in a pen (Gaza) which people cant get out of, I think
that qualifies as genocide...
Protesters at the Caterpillar plant tried to talk to workers about
Caterpillars role in killing people but management closed
the plant and ordered the staff to leave after triggering the fire
alarm. All the protesters were later arrested and released at around
11pm, bailed to return to face charges of attempted burglary. Police
also confiscated mobile phones and video footage taken during the
SchNEWS in brief
- Another two GM crops have been dropped from potential
commercialization in the UK. Both of Syngenta/Monasantos
sugar beet varieties have been withdrawn from the national seed
listing process, leaving only three out of an original potential
58 varieties of GM crops.
- Leeds No Sweat public meeting next Monday (22) will hear
reports from Alice Nutter from Chumbawamba speaking about her
visit to Mexican trade unions organizing in sweatshops and from
Wendelin Huang, a trades union activist from the Chinese Labour
Federation. Its at the Adelphi Pub, 8pm, email@example.com
- Phantom Conservation Volunteers, 2nd Big Day Out this
Sunday (21) at a destination close to the South Downs Way. Help
reclaim a piece of land neglected by the landowner who has banned
people from the land for decades. Meet 11am, Brighton Station,
bring strong gardening gloves, picnic food, and drink to share.
Site location and transport details on the day: 07966 952018
- Theres a refugee film night at the Sanctuary Café,
Brighton next Wednesday (24) 7.30pm
- Oil on the Warpath, meeting to discuss Petrol Addiction,
energy alternatives and resistance to big oil. Next Saturday (27)
Quaker Meeting House, Sheffield, 10am-6pm £5 donation. 0114
- As well as a London to Aldermarston Atomic Weapons Establishment
march (last weeks SchNEWS) there will also be a youth
march from Oxford, over the Easter weekend 07967 392229 www.youthstudentcnd.org.uk
- Day of Action against the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Meet
midday, 27th March, outside Waitrose, to take part in the building
of a security wall between Brighton and Hove.
- SchWOOPS! The website for the Palestinain Olive Oil mentioned
in last weeks SchNEWS is http://zaytoun.co.uk,
orders from firstname.lastname@example.org
- TV news reports in America that showed Bush getting a
standing ovation from potential voters have been exposed as
fake. The US government also admitted that it paid actors
to pose as journalists in video news releases sent to TV stations,
as well as preparing scripts to be used by news anchors. SchNEWS
expects any day now to be informed that Bush himself is merely
an actor (albeit a bad one) hired by Corporate America, the Oil
Bosses and the Military Industrial Complex to simply read the
scripts they prepare for him. Standing ovation anyone? www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5862.htm
- A recent article in the British Medical Journal reviewing animal
research said that there was little evidence that
the research has contributed to treating human disease. A separate
study published in New Scientist showed that studying mice brains
had delayed treatment for Multiple Sclerosis because mice have,
er, different brains!
Some cheeky chappy has managed to carve Tony Blair is a c***
into the Commons table used by the Prime Minister! Now you might
have thought that the Conservatives being the opposition would have
agreed with these sentiments, but obviously not, as Conservative
MP Derek Conway criticized the bright clown and proudly
stated, Furniture polishers were brought in straight away
and the message was removed shortly before the Prime Ministers
question session started. Such communal back slapping just
shows that all politicians are a bunch of
And across the Atlantic, a maintenance worker has been suspended
after he displayed a sign with the word traitor on a
snowplow while helping provide security for President Bushs
motorcade in Ohio. http://tinyurl.com/2h3df
SchNEWS warns all readers that when Blair says things
can only get ETA, you know that theyre only getting
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