The push by the UK, France and Germany to refer Iran to
the UN Security Council, while rooted in the language of diplomacy,
is really nothing less than an act of war. - Scott Ritter;
former Chief UN Weapons-inspector in Iraq.
Iran is the new Iraq. The reaction of the US and UK leaders to
a comment made by the Iranian President couldnt have shown
that more clearly. OK, so President Ahmadinejads comments
about wiping Israel off the map were never going to help them get
a win-new-Western-friends award but they werent supposed to
be taken as a statement outlining foreign policy intentions. They
were part of a speech to a student conference in Tehran where he
went on to say that the Palestine issue would continue until a
democratic government elected by the people comes to power.
And comments like this have been standard rhetoric for Iranian Presidents
ever since the Islamic revolution of 1979. So why all the big fuss
Jackboot Straw has already shifted from saying that military action
against Iran is inconceivable to saying that it is inconceivable
in relation to the nuclear issue. So is the War on Terror
about to spread democracy to Iran?
For some time UK plc and US Inc have been moaning about Irans
support for the Iraqi insurgency. Prime Sinister Blair recently
declared, without any sense of irony, There is no justification
for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq. Come again?!
Hello Mr Kettle, meet Mr Pot.
And this isnt the first time that the UK and US have clubbed
together to mould political events in Iran to their strategic needs.
Back in 1933, the government of the Iranian King (Shah) guaranteed
British control over Iranian oil for 60 years. Leading a movement
against this, Mohammed Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister in 1951
and quickly started to enforce an Oil Nationalisation Act. Not best
pleased at potentially losing their grip on the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company, the CIA and MI6 agreed to support the Shah and help him
dismiss the Prime Minster and his nationalist cabinet. Shortly after,
massive rioting erupted in support of the Prime Minister and the
Shah legged it to Italy. But three days later the spooks weighed
in and a tank attack on Mossadeghs home was organised. Within
a few hours Mossadegh and his top cabinet leaders surrendered. The
Shah promptly flew back to Iran and ruled the country with an iron
fist for another 29 years, toeing the Western line and leaving the
oil multinationals in charge of Irans black gold.
Not that getting into bed with the West bought much loyalty of
course during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the West covertly
supported and armed the aggressor, our old friend Saddam Hussein.
Well, shucks, we never meant anything by it
And the current posturing is about more than just making sure the
oil flows in the right direction. Ensuring that the dollar remains
the basis for transactions in the world economy guarantees US dominance
over the process of economic globalisation. Now a mob of disrespectful
countries, including Iran, is seriously threatening the US economy
by moving to trade petrol in euros rather than dollars. Such a move
has the potential to cause an economic crisis in the US and helps
to explain why the Bush mob is so determined to wipe out the leaders
of countries like Iran, Iraq and Venezuela (Axis of Evil
PA$$ THE BUCK
Iraq started to trade oil in euros in 1999. Four years later Iran
did the same and may soon be joined by others. Such a move would
mean consuming nations having to swap some of their dollars for
euros to be able to buy or sell oil, leading to a freefall in the
value of the dollar. The US economy is already knackered and is
only propped up by rabid consumption. The US is the most debt-ridden
nation on earth owing $3,500,000,000,000 to various creditors
(and we thought our bar tab was bad!). China, meanwhile, holds the
second largest reserves of dollars in the world which means they
could wreak havoc on the US economy by selling greenbacks. Similair
tactics against currencies have been well used as an economic weapon
by the US, not just against upstart third world countries but also
against the UK during the Suez Crisis in 1956.
The comments about Israel by the conservative Ahmadinejad were
part of local political shoring up manoeuvres in the face of the
impending UN Security Councils condemnation of Irans
supposed intentions to build a nuclear bomb. In response, Ahmadinejad
sacked his ambassador to London and announced a trade embargo of
British goods, busily adopting the tactics of Saddam: when under
threat, pose as the defender of Palestine and lambast the Israeli
state. Ahmadinejad was a student of Khomeini and hopes to revitalise
the decaying Islamic revolution. Despite the continued grip on power
by Khomeini supporters, a large part of Irans youthful population
is far more hostile to fundamentalism than before. If the UK and
US wait a while longer, there could be an Islamic democracy in the
region. But thats the problem: any alternative to Westernised
corporate democracy must be avoided and an excuse for war quickly
As the war drums grow louder, UK Defence Secretary John Reid recently
commented that some countries, for instance, Iran, have been
trying to develop nuclear weapons by deceiving the world, not complying
with their obligations under the non-proliferation treaty.
But its Reid whos deceiving: under Article IV of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory,
the country not only has the right to develop nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes, but nuclear powers have an obligation to help
it in furthering this aim.
OH, THE IRAN-Y...
Not that SchNEWS reckons anyone developing nuclear anything is
a good idea, but the director-general of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, has said that Iran is fully compliant
with its obligations under the treaty, confirming that all
the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and,
therefore, such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.
Some countries that have nukes, whether they admit it or not, including
Israel, Pakistan and India, wont even sign up to the NPT never
mind allow IAEA inspections. And all the while the Bush administration
is developing nuclear bunker busters that can strike
deep underground, and Britain has ordered a new generation of Trident
missiles, blowing away their own obligations under the NPT about
reducing their nukes.
But when has a total absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction ever
stopped an invasion? The doctrine of pre-emptive war adopted by
the White House means that once again we face the manipulation of
intelligence to justify an attack that has been planned for months.
A recently leaked document from the CIA confirmed that, under orders
from Dick Vice Cheney, US Strategic Command had drawn
up contingency plans for a large scale air assault on Iran
employing both conventional and nuclear weapons.
Speaking at a recent conference, the former UN Weapons Inspector,
Scott Ritter, predicted that the US will attack from Azerbaijan
and head straight for Tehran. By hitting Iran hard with air strikes,
then applying pressure on the regime with the presence of ground
troops on the countrys borders and encircling the capital,
the aim is to create the conditions for a civilian uprising to depose
the regime. Iranians will then presumably embrace their US liberators
and become nice little consumers of Western goods happy to be living
in a country free of Islamic fundamentalism. Er, just like the roaring
successes of Iraq and Afghanistan? Remember, the US and UK arent
really too concerned about peace in the Middle East, they want control.
Take a look at the corporate involvement in Iraq and you might be
able to gue$$ why.
Save Dalkeith Park: A green park area south of Edinburgh, on a
listed wildlife site has been compulsory purchased by
the Scottish Executive, and guess what they plan do with it? Put
in a road bypass of course! A protest camp has recently been set
up to defend another beautiful woodland from unnecessary destruction
and urgently needs help because trees are contracted to be felled
in the next two weeks. If you would like to get there, visit the
Bilston Glen anti-bypass protest site where these is a van going
between the two sites. For directions there see: www.bilstonglen-abs.org.uk
/ For more information see: www.save-dalkeith-park.org.uk
* Camp Bling protest camp was set up in opposition to a road being
built on Priory Park in Southend, Essex. Located above the site
of a recently discovered Anglo-Saxon burial (See SchNEWS
514), its now into its fifth week, and although they've
had loads of support from locals and people from around the country
they still need help to set up a strong camp as work wont
start on the road till next year. 07817 182394 www.savepriorypark.org
* For more information on these and loads of other protest camps
and campaigns check out www.roadalert.org.uk
The Revolution Will be Televised is a ten day festival
of films, talks, gigs and art exhibitions in The Common Place
an autonomous social centre that is reopening in the yuppified Calls
district of Leeds centre. It has been organised by a network of
Leeds-based anti-capitalist activists committed to the expansion
of autonomous social centres in the UK. The festival runs from the
4-13th For a full programme see www.thecommonplace.org.uk
* Aspire are opening another temporary autonomous zone
in the Leeds area 17-20 November. To get involved call 07974 781017
GET UP STAND UP
Londons longest surviving squatted street St Agnes
Place is under threat. Its not just that 200 people could
be left homeless as winter approaches because St Agnes Place is
a 30 year old ethnically diverse community which is the focal point
for many Rastas in London, and home to the International Rastafarian
Headquarters a place Bob Marley frequented during the 1970s.
The council want to redevelop the street with new social housing,
and claim St Agnes Place is riddled with crime, yet it has a much
lower average crime rate than neighbouring areas.
This street resisted eviction several times in the late 1970s and
more recently in 2003, but now the council have permission to begin
sending bailiffs in, which could happen from any time now. The community
are asking that people get down there and help if and when a mass
eviction begins SchNEWS and others will keep you posted.
FRIENDS, ROMANY & COUNTRYMEN
Next month the Commission for Racial Equality will tell the High
Court that Basildon councils decision to evict the largest
traveller community in Britain, Dale Farm, is racially motivated.
Chairman Trevor Philips says he intends to ask the court on 29th
November to allow CRE to join with Dale Farm residents in their
application for a judicial review of the $4 million eviction plan.
The largely Romany Gypsy community are part of a long-time persecuted
ethnic group and by long, think centuries; they were originally
forced to flee the Punjab region of India around 800-950AD to escape
invading Islamic forces. With no homeland, not unlike the Jews,
they were forced to move around and were always an easy target for
the power-hungry slick talkers of the day to point the finger of
blame at for all their societies ills. Treated with suspicion,
fear and prejudice they nonetheless managed to survive, sustain
some of their culture and live alongside so-called locals (ie. slightly
earlier settlers). For hundreds of years they have been a feature
of British life, at times joining with others with common cause,
like the displaced Irish, and more recently with a new generation
of travellers seeking to find less insane, more ecological ways
to live than under the corporate boot.
The Tories started a new era of repression with the 1994 Criminal
Justice Bill. This repealed councils obligation to provide
land for travellers, and said that even if they owned their land,
as many now do, they had to apply for planning permission in order
to have any habitable structures on it. So, the unhappy campers
applied for planning and naturally virtually all requests were refused.
Neo Labour have taken up the baton where the Tories left off. There
have been increased court actions and evictions, sites have been
closed down and not living on a site is criminalised. Do the math.
The government are effectively saying join our corporate system,
move to a different country or get locked up (and they secure some
nice real estate for luxury flat development in the process). No
wonder this looks a little like a home-grown bit of ethnic cleansing
because it is. Perhaps it is not so racially motivated as ideologically
motivated the upsurge of interest in alternative lifestyles
in the 1990s and the surge in traveller numbers was the real threat
that had to be stamped out.
Meanwhile, back in self-styled Gods County, Basildon
big-wigs are determined to push ahead, drawing up a confidential
blue-print for the eviction, with the help of Constant & Co.,
a firm which likes to specialise in gypsy and squatter clearance
and always charming no doubt. Two nearby yards have already
been cleared, though Constant succeeded only in moving caravans
a small distance.
Residents are bracing themselves for a Constant barrage, but have
always been up for non-confrontational ways out of the blatantly
impossible position theyve been forced into. The Farms
Sheridan clan are now sending representatives to the newly-created
European Roma and Travellers Forum, meeting in Strasbourg on l6
They will meet delegates from Europes ten million other Roma,
from 40 countries, and hope to make links with travellers threatened
with eviction elsewhere. They want Roma Nation Day on 8 April 2006
to be marked all across the continent by demonstrations against
Were making this stand against all the odds,
says spokesman Richard Sheridan, Not for ourselves alone but
for Travellers everywhere
* Background reading Roma: Europes Gypsies (Minority Press)
by Grattan Puxon, a campaigner and writer and source for some of
the info in this article.
* More about previous Constant & Co traveller community site
evictions, at Meadowlands in Essex (SchNEWS
439) where the residents were evicted, then had homes torched
by arsonists, and at Bulkington near Coventry (SchNEWS
437) which ended in a victory.
* see also www.gypsy-traveller.org
SchNEWS IN BRIEF
- People from County Mayo who are involved in the fight
to stop Shell from building a gas pipeline in their area
(see SchNEWS 506) are doing a speaking
tour in the UK. They will be appearing at a benefit gig with films,
discussion and music on Sat, Nov 12th, 7pm til 3am, at RampARTs
social centre, 17 Rampart St, London E1 2LA, (Whitechapel
For other dates on the tour see our Party & Protest guide
- Also at RampART this Saturday (5th) The Wobblies Are Back!
London IWW is celebrating a centenary of The Industrial Workers
Of The World with films, talks, benefit gig, drink and vegan food.
- Dungavel - monster of the Glen. World premier of film
about the Scottish detention centre for asylum seekers. Saturday
(5th) 12 Rose St, Glasgow 2pm www.camcorderguerillas.net
- Lothian and Borders police are looking for people who
took part in disturbances in Edinburgh during the G8 summit, check
out the wanted mugshots www.lbp.police.uk/Appeals/G8
- The Bigoted Neanderthal Party (BNP) cancelled their planned
rally this Saturday after the Home Secretary signed a banning
order. The counter demonstration has also been called off 020
7833 4916 www.uaf.org.uk
- Almost 2000 cyclists ignored the threat of arrest by the Met
Police last Friday and joined a Halloween themed Critical Mass
mobile party. Next one is one 25th November. www.critical-mass.org
- A letter to the Prime Minister: Jo Wildings Diary
from Iraq is a film about Jos time in a childrens
circus travelling through Iraq and into Falluja during the US
led invasion. It will be shown with talk at an Indymedia film
night at East Oxford Community Centre, Cowley Rd, Oxford, on Sunday
(6th) at 7:30pm £3/2 and again at another Indymedia night
on Sunday (13th) at The Dancehouse, 10 Oxford Rd, Manchester,
free/donation, 7pm. www.alettertotheprimeminister.co.uk
With talk from Iraqi Humanitarian Aid worker about current situation
in beseiged cities around Iraq including Falluja. Also with films
- Caught in the Crossfire about the second seige of
Falluja and its aftermath by Mark Manning, plus film & speaker
about ID Cards www.defy-id.org.uk
MILKING A BAD JOKE
On Tuesday five protesters were found guilty of aggravated trespass
for blocking a Sainsburys depot in Bristol which distributed
milk from cows fed on GM crops. Four of those convicted had no previous
criminal record but were given 50 hours community service, the fifth
got 65 hours. The judge agreed that the protestors had conducted
their actions in the belief that they were protecting the public.
However, he also judged that they had planned to harm Sainsburys
shareholders through their actions (shock-horror, kill the tree-huggers!)
and so he had considered giving them curfews and Anti-Social Behaviour
Orders for their troubles.
THOSE CRAZY BOSSES
A trade union in the USA has been accused of voodoo. Harborside
Healthcare has had to withdraw charges that the SEIU union had turned
to voodoo to intimidate workers in its Massachusetts nursing home.
Bosses seemed convinced that the only way workers could possibly
have voted 2:1 in favour of unionization was if they were under
some magic spell! This is the second known case where a company
has turned to the state for protection against voodoo. Both involved
Haitian staff, who managers claimed used magic to win union rights.
Why they didnt use these powers to win a 100% pay rise or
a four hour day is not explained!
SchNEWS warns all readers... if you didn't like Iraq'n'Roll,
you're gonna hate Iran Maiden. Honest!
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