The Whole Cart's Rotten
The US has consistently refused to allow scrutiny of their prison
practices; when the truth seeps out there is first denial, then
whitewash. Recently the US army investigated itself (!) over the
Abu Ghraib scandal, clearing four out of five top officers. Army
statements when the scandal first broke blamed a few bad apples.
Charles Graner, the grinning torturing goon from the famous photos,
worked as a jailer in the US before going to Iraq. It seems likely
he picked up his torture tips from other sadistic rednecks. The
New York Times reported that the humiliations depicted in the Abu
Ghraib pictures are regularly practiced back home in domestic US
prisons. The reporter, Fox Butterfield, dug up examples of hooding,
stripping naked and forced sex inflicted by guards in jails in Arizona,
Utah, Virginia and Texas.
The bad apple theory falls down due to the emerging evidence of
a widespread pattern of abuse encouraged and coordinated from the
top of the command structure. There is even a codename for the operation
in Iraq to extract information with torture: Copper Green. Donald
Rumsfeld was the architect of this project and there is an increasing
mass of evidence from officials involved with it. Defending the
cover-up of Copper Green in Iraq, a government consultant said,
Remember, we went to Iraq to democratize the Middle East.
The last thing you want to do is let the Arab world know how you
treat Arab males in prison.
At the same time as trying to suppress the scandal of prisons in
Iraq, the US has been trying to keep a lid on the legal challenges
to Guantanamo Bay. In July 2004 the US Supreme Court ruled that
a federal court in Washington could hear a case to decide if the
detentions in Cuba were unconstitutional or against US law. The
military kangaroo courts that were meant to dispense justice
to the detainees were described by the US National Association of
Criminal Defence Lawyers as unethical. Their head recommended all
his members boycott the show trials as they would not be able to
defend their clients properly, and failure to do so might result
in them being put to death. How irritating for the government to
face such scrutiny at home: what the US learnt with Guantanamo and
Abu Graibh is that secrecy is the key to getting away with murder.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
It came out last year that Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary,
had approved the secret keeping of ghost detainees in
Iraq. They were kept off the registers that were shown to the Red
Cross and therefore lost the chance of being visited or having other
According to some US and UK military officials there are more than
10,000 ghost detainees being held. The difference between
them and the Guantanamo detainees is that nobody knows where they
are or what is happening to them - which means that the US has the
freedom to do anything to them. Maybe thats what George meant
in the speech.
Now more prisoners are candidates for more complete invisibility
by being sent for detention in secret locations abroad. The Pentagon
announced that half of the 540 or so inmates at Guantánamo
will be transferred to prisons in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia,
and on March 7 they confirmed that 211 prisoners had left the prison.
A senior US official told the New York Times that three-quarters
of the 550 prisoners who were held at Guantánamo Bay no longer
have any intelligence of value. But they will not be released out
of concern that they pose a continuing threat to the US. Youre
basically keeping them off the battlefield, and, unfortunately in
the war on terrorism, the battlefield is everywhere.
Well leave the last word to Dubya. More wise words from his
Second Inaugural Speech;
We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope
of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.
We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
- SchNEWS VocabWatch: gulag (noun): 1. A network of forced
labour camps in the former Soviet Union; 2. A forced labour camp
or prison, especially for political dissidents; 3. A place or
situation of great suffering and hardship.
- A new book Inside the Wire blows the whistle
on the hell-hole that is Guantánamo Bay. Erik Saar is an
Arabic speaking American soldier, was a translator in interrogation
sessions for six months. His tale describes his gradual disillusionment,
from arriving as a soldier keen to do his duty to eventually leaving
believing the regime to be a breach of human rights and a disaster
for the war on terror.
Countries the US transfers prisoners to for routine torture:
Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Saudi Arabia, and the British island of Diego Garcia in the southern
Have I Got SchNEWS For You!
all this weekend...
READING - Friday 13th @ The RISC , 35-39 London St 6pm contact
for more info.
LEEDS (With T.R.A.P.E.S.E)- Saturday 14th @ The Common Place
Social Centre, 23-25 Wharf St (as part of Leeds Day of Dissent)
7.30pm Contact www.dissent.org.uk
for full list of events.
SHEFFIELD (With T.R.A.P.E.S.E) Sunday 15th. @ The Cricketers
Arms Pub. (as part of Anti-G8 Awareness day) 7.30pm Contact Sheffield
Indymedia for full timetable of events.
DUNDEE - TBC (ring the SchNEWS office for more info).
Crap Arrest of the Week
For Displaying Aggressive Art!
Los Angeles Police have turned into artistic censors and decided
to close down an art show, deeming it to be aggressive and
offensive. The art show was entitled Mark of the Beast
and featured subverted corporate logos; the Levis logo was changed
to read Evils, Pepsi was changed to Piss and Nikes catchphrase
Just Do It became Just Dont. The aggressive material can be
seen at: www.transportgallery.com/transport/photosApr05.cfm
On 17th May, peace campaigner Lindis Percy is in court to find
out whether the judge will grant an Anti Social Behaviour Order
on her to stop her demonstrating outside Menwith Hill spy base (SchNEWS
494). Support needed from 10am, Harrogate Magistrates Court.
01943 466405 www.caab.org.uk
On the same day, a judge will also give the final verdict on the
extradition of Babar Ahmad. Babar was originally arrested under
anti-terrorism laws, but despite six days of intensive investigation
he was released without charge (SchNEWS 474). The USA is seeking
extradition and under the Extradition Treaty 2003 it does not need
to provide any evidence to the Court to back up its allegations.
Demo in support of Babar Ahmad, 10am, outside Bow Street Magistrates
Court. 07915 063564 www.freebabarahmad.com
Not so great news: work has recently started on a new atomic weapons
facility at Aldermaston in Berkshire. Better news: a protest group
called Block the Builders are leading a peaceful blockade
of the entrance to the construction site and have managed to prevent
work continuing. With it recently being revealed that Tony Blair
has already decided to replace Trident with a new generation of
nuclear deterrent, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) conference going nowhere in New York, a Block the Builders
statement said, We believe that these new developments will
equip the UK to test, design and build new weapons which will violate
the UKs commitments under Article VI of the NPT. Or
as Aldermaston Womens Peace Campaign put it, What were
seeing every day at Aldermaston do not look like measures towards
the total elimination of nuclear weapons, but the first stages of
building the next generation of nuclear weapons.
The lucky corporate contractors on the project are a conglomerate
with the catchy name of AWE Management Limited. This is in reality
an unholy alliance between BFNL (government owned British Nuclear
Fuels Ltd.), US weapons giant Lockheed Trident and, er, UK public
services company SERCO. Canny protestors who object to the new factory
of death have realised that trying to make their feelings known
to the former two organisations is like asking the devil if he could
be a little less naughty, but SERCO on the other hand undertakes
a number of contracts for Kent County Council, including waste management
and parks management, as well as running the Docklands Light Railway
in London. Block the Builders believe that public action (such as
the blockading of the landfill and waste disposal depot) could have
a significant impact - especially considering SERCO is currently
due for a government audit and keen to maintain its low-profile
To get involved in the blockade 07887 802879 www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
- Nukewatch, volunteers who independently track movements
of nuclear materials, have reported on recent nighttime conveys
of warheads (breaking the long held practice of transporting in
daylight for safety reasons). As Peter Burt of Reading Nukewatch
said, The nuclear convoys
pass through towns and villages
all along the route, and local authorities and emergency services
are not informed. We believe the Ministry of Defence is taking
and places the security of its weapons
before the safety of the public
We have a right to know if
these convoys are passing along the end of our streets. If you
see a convoy please tell Nukewatch on 02380 554434 and the local
SchNEWS In Brief
- Check out the excellent spoof newspaper Hate Mail www.toryscum.com/images/04-05/hate-mail.pdf
- Indymedia Birthday and Benefit Party at RampArt this
Sunday (15). A post-convergence benefit gig to celebrate UK Indymedia
birthday and raise funds for alt media coverage of anti G8 mobilizations.
With live bands Headjam and The Kut and more! Plus roots dj til
late. RampArts, off commerical road, London E1 2LA
- Freedom March against eviction and planned destruction
of the UKs largest Traveller settlement at Dale Farm, Crays
Hill, Essex. Noon this Saturday (l4)- the day after some 80 families
are supposed to vacate the site. Travelers hope this last appeal
will persuade council leader Malcolm Buckley to call off what
would be an inevitably violent attack on the settlement. 01206
- Anti-G8 Benefit Gig next Tuesday (17) with Freq Nasty,
Fun-da-Mental and Smart. Free - £1 a pint Goldsmiths College
Student Union, New Cross
- Lots of events happening at Brightons Cowley Club during
the Brighton Festival. On Monday (16) the Radical film festival
continues with We Interrupt This Empire about
the direct actions that shut down the financial district of San
Francisco in the weeks following the invasion of Iraq. Followed
by a speaker from the EDO campaign. On Wed (18) The Take
a film about the collapse of the Argentinan economy and workers
taking control. On Thursday (19) Queenspark Books Radical Readings.
All start 6.30pm and are free. www.cowleyclub.org.uk
- Dissent! Anti-G8 Gathering in Nottingham next weekend.
To book a place: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Tribe of Brigid have organized a magickal day
of healing, workshops, music Tuesday (15) at The Circle
Community Centre, St Georges Theatre, 49 Tufnell Park Road, N7
to raise cash for the G8 protests. 12 noon onwards. www.dragonnetwork.org/brigid/
- Freedom To Protest Conference planning meeting to discuss
the conference and look at ways to resist a whole range of repressive
measures increasingly used by police and companies to intimidate
and undermine all manner of protests. Next Sunday (22) 1-5pm the
Autonomy Centre, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London
The investigative journalist Greg Palast recently got his hands
on secret Pentagon documents calling for the privatisation
of all Iraqi assets, especially the oil industries. No new
story there, except for the fact that Palast also found out that
the privatisation was being opposed by big oil companies who were
afraid of losing their record level of profits.
Just days after the presidential election in 2000, Pentagon officials
met to decide who should replace Saddam and how the oil should be
divided up. They called Philip Carroll, former Chief Executive of
Shell, to discuss the give-away of Iraqi oil. Whilst admitting that
only someone without a brain wouldnt support privatisation,
his chums in the big oil companies were more worried about their
profits. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
had been increasing the price of oil for some time: the Bush plan
was to shift control of the oil to his pals in private companies
who would then respond to the demands of US drivers by cutting the
price of oil. Trouble was that the major US petrol companies had
just posted record profits so there was no reason for them to cut
the price of oil. Palast then found that the state department and
Pentagon bashed out a compromise: a state-owned oil company under
which the state maintains official title to the reserves but operation
and control are given to foreign oil companies. Whats Palast
got for this scoop? An award? Er, no - two lawsuits from oil companies
which threaten to close down his website. So if youve got
any spare cash, Gregs asking that you buy some of his stuff
so he can save up the money to fight the case.
Nicolás David Neira Alvares, a 15 year old who was marching
in the anarchist block on Mayday in Bogota, Colombia, died at the
weekend following injuries sustained from a police attack. On the
march police attacked the demonstration with tear gas and rubber
bullets. 8 police singled out Nicolas and beat him till he was unconscious
- a week later he died from his injuries. Apparently the trauma
was so extensive that doctors were unable to operate to save him.
As scientists and naturalists take their high tech toys further
into the more remote and inhospitable corners of the Earth, they
continue to find and identify new species in surprisingly high numbers.
In an average year 15-20,000 new animals are recorded, 2000 new
plants and a few hundred fish (not to mention the most numerous
creatures on the planet, insects).
Well, never let it be said that in this era of global capitalism
corporations dont take an advertising opportunity when they
see one. A recent addition to the known world is a variety of titi
monkey discovered in the dense tropical rainforests of South America.
From now on the lucky monkey will be called Callicebus aureipalatii,
meaning Golden Palace titi so named after an
online charity auction was won by online gambling site GoldenPalace.com.
SchNEWS wonders whether beer companies will be stepping forward
to lend their names to newly identified strains of yeast living
in the guts of beetles, or perhaps Tescos will bid for a recently
unearthed type of blood-sucking vampire fish in the
With the current number of recorded species at about 1.75m, and
the UN Global Biodiversity Assessment proposing a working estimate
of 13.6m species in total, this is one market with a seemingly limitless
potential for expansion except the race is on to find and
save all these unknown species from extinction caused largely by
the self-same corporate system. Its an unfunny old world.
SchNEWS warns all readers not to accept a lift from a man with
dark glasses and an american accent... Honest!
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