SchNEWS 523, 2nd December, 2005 AMIR-ACLE Iranian man who has been living in Brighton while seeking asylum has avoided deportation thanks to grassroots support from the community. Also St Agnes Place evicted, housing sold off in Hackney and more.
522, 25th Nov, 2005
521, 18th Nov, 2005
520, 11th Nov, 2005
519, 4th November, 2005
SchNEWS 518, 28th October, 2005 FREEDOM.CON The Freedom to Protest conference in London brought together people from campaigns from all over the country. Meanshile, back on the ranch, anti-arms protesters are up in the High Court, asylum seekers are being deported to countries known for torture. And more...
517, 21st October, 2005
SchNEWS 516, 14th October, 2005 SICK JOKE Blunkett plans to force the sick and disabled to work for their benefits while the super rich hold all their asses abroad and pay no tax. Councils try to sell off council housing and more.
515, 7th October, 2005
514, 23rd Sep, 2005
513, 23rd Sep, 2005
512, 16th Sep, 2005
SchNEWS 511, 9th September, 2005 BOMBS AWAY London is soon to be the host of the world largest "Defence" showcase. Do you feel a warm glow inside? Makers of machines of pain and death will be there peddling their wares to whoever wants them. We'll be there causing trouble. Also: protests against the corporate sell off of Iraq's assets and more.
510, 2nd Sep, 2005
509, 26th August, 2005
508, 19th August, 2005
Whilst the world economy grows at around 2% per year, the transnational
corporations expand by five times that amount. The ten largest corporations
are worth £400 billion, more than the one hundred smallest
countries. The assets of the 84 richest people in the world exceed
the Gross Domestic Product of China, which has 1.2 billion inhabitants.
A tiny minority of super-wealthy people are consistently acting
against the interests of the majority of the worlds population
and concentrating their wealth in fewer and fewer hands. At Hong
Kong therell be some debt relief for Africa, providing the
countries in question play ball of course. A reduction in barriers
to trade for the West will be lauded as a victory for the poor,
but itll just mean that more skint countries will be laying
themselves open to economic exploitation.
But at least the leaders of poor countries know now that its
all a con. At another WTO meet up back in Cancun in 2003 (see SchNEWS
423), the conference ended in stalemate as poorer nations refused
to accept to the G8 spin. The WTO had murmured some crap about being
nicer to the poor after the UN set up their Millennium Development
Goals back in 2000, which included a promise to half world hunger
by 2015. Responding to pressure, the WTO organised a Development
round of talks in Doha in 2001 and agreed to take some positive
action. But as South East trade union organiser Hidayat Greenfield
puts it Its fitting that the Sixth WTO Ministerial should
arrive in Hong Kong only a couple of months after the opening of
Disneyland. In both cases reality is abandoned at the door, while
fiction and fantasy take over. The magical Doha Development
Round promises an end to global poverty and a new prosperity for
all -- based on an agenda that boosts transnational corporate power
and demolishes the remnants of political and social barriers to
corporate profit. Like a rollercoaster ride through a fictional
world, we set off to alleviate global poverty and arrive at greater
impoverishment as the destination. At least in Disneyland the fiction
and fantasy ends when you leave. Waldon Bello sees the fantasy
this way: The WTO is like a Dracula... we really need to drive
a stake through the heart of this vampire and finish it off. Permanently.
* The Hong Kong Peoples Alliance on the WTO http://daga.dhs.org/hkpa
* Action Aid Trade Invaders: the WTO and Developing Countries
01460 238000 www.actionaid.org.uk
* Recommended reading: www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=13&ItemID=9164
In October, tone deaf plod from the Met ungroovily nicked two bellringers
outside Downing St. This Wednesday, Maya Evans was the first person
to be found guilty of taking part in an unauthorised protest
under the Serious Organised Crime Act (SOCA). Maya and Milan Rai
were both taking part in a bellringing ceremony where they read
out the names of those killed in the Iraq war. Talk about dropping
a clanger. Weirdly, although Mayas been found guilty, and
charged £100 costs, the CPS still havent decided whether
to charge Milan. Under SOCA its an offence to take part in
any demonstration within one square kilometre of parliament without
written police approval seven days in advance. Twenty more people
face trial in the New Year for other unauthorised protests within
the Big Ben pig pen. Ask not for whom the bell tolls... it tolls
One of the many things under threat from planned liberalisation
and expansion of international trade in services as negotiated behind
closed doors in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is libraries.
Globalisation, Information and Libraries, a new book
by Ruth Rikowski, examines the implications for the worlds
state-funded libraries of the WTOs most infamous treaties
- GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services see SchNEWS
378) and TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights - see SchNEWS 420).
GATS is a set of trade rules whereby WTO member countries must
open up their service sectors to the global market. Assurances made
by the UK government, the European Commission and the WTO, that
all public services such as health, education, water, housing, and
libraries are exempt from GATS are in fact bogus. There has been
a steady process of commercialisation and private sector involvement
in all the above listed public services over the last decade.
So, state-funded libraries in the UK and across the world will
be forced, in time, to turn into profit-making enterprises that
will open the door to long-term privatisation. Brighton already
has its multi million pound PFI library. (See www.roughmusic.org.uk/#four)
Although the UK (under the EU) has not so far committed its Library
Service to the GATS, this could easily change in future negotiations,
succumbing to private companies searching for ripe opportunities.
TRIPS, meanwhile, is about the trading of intellectual rights,
including copyright, trade marks, geographical indications, patents,
industrial designs and trade secrets. Rikowski shows that TRIPS
is not concerned with moral and humane issues in regard to intellectual
property, but instead allows corporations to appropriate, patent
and then profit from the traditional knowledge of indigenous populations
in the poorest developing countries without giving due recompense.
So GATS and TRIPS will continue transforming services and intellectual
property rights into internationally tradable commodities, to be
sold in the market-place for profit. As Rikowski says, In
Britain today we already have examples of private companies running
public library services (e.g. in the London Borough of Haringey),
and many examples of public-private partnerships building new libraries.
Coupled with the growing pressures on libraries to generate income
and operate more like private companies rather than public good
providers, the commercialisation by stealth of British
libraries and information is an everyday reality. When a country
signs up its Library Service to GATS it means that foreign corporations
must be allowed the right to compete with local authorities and
domestic firms for the provision of public library services. This
will open up the way for privatisation which could threaten the
British public library free at the point of use.
* The books full snappy title is: Globalisation, Information
and Libraries: the Implications of the World Trade Organisations
GATS and TRIPS Agreements (Chandos) or check out www.libr.org/ISC/articles/19-R.Rikowski-1.html
Thinking you havent heard much about Burma lately? Dont
worry, its still a brutal military regime supported in part
by Western corporations, and Aung Suu Kyi, leader of the National
League for Democracy who won a landslide victory in a 1992 election,
is still safely under house arrest. In fact, despite UN and other
international pressure, youll be glad to hear that Suu Kyis
term has just been extended another six months.
In case you worried that those in power werent continuing
to stamp on any resistant locals, take heart that in late November,
two thousand villagers from five villages in Northern Karen State
were forced to flee from their homes as their settlements were all
burned to the ground by Burmese army mortar attacks. The mainly
black former residents and by black we mean insurgents
as the government call them, are now living in the jungle with little
food and no shelter, according to the Karen National Union secretary
general Mahn Sha.
Its not any easier for any pro-democracy rebels in the southern
state of Arakan either. Groups including the Democratic Party of
Arakan (DPA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Arakan Liberation Party
are hiding in the deep forests along the border, presumably to avoid
facing the friendly Burmese troops. Some who crossed the border
did not get a warm welcome from neighbouring Bangladesh, as on November
24th the army launched an operation with 900 soldiers and destroyed
three of their camps. Of course, this probably had nothing to do
with the fact that the Bangladeshi army chief is visiting Burma
in the moment. Accompanied by his wife, he is visiting at the invitation
of Burmese army chief senior general Than Shwe no doubt for
some 5-star hospitality, chats about border controls, chummy military
relations and thanks for being so co-operative.
Meanwhile French oil company Total have reached a US$6 million
out-of-court settlement in the case of human rights abuses in relation
to the Yadana Gas pipeline Project (see SchNEWS
488). Of course that doesnt mean they were guilty of anything
- thats not the corporate way. Jean Francois Lassalle, Totals
vice president for exploration and production, claimed the payments
were only agreed to promote social responsibility and
nothing to do with facing a trial over using forced labour, or supporting
a regime which represses and tortures its own citizens. Right, we
like totally believe you...
A new report from the Legal Action for Women campaign (Available
online at www.allwomencount.net/Publications/pamphlets.htm)
describes Yarls Wood Removal Centre as a Bleak House
of our times. It details the failures of the fast but
fair asylum system and how most detainees never had the chance
to present their case. The report is based on the experiences of
over 130 women detained in Yarls Wood. It showed that the
women who were fleeing from abuse in their own countries were facing
abuse and intimidation by security staff and that 57% of the women
had no legal representation. By detaining traumatised women, the
Home Office is ignoring its own and other official guidelines, advising
against the detention of those suffering from serious medical
conditions or the mentally ill; those where there is independent
evidence that they have been tortured...
The launch of this report is in London at 11am, 15th December at
the Trinity United Reformed Church, Buck Street, Camden, followed
by a protest outside Communications House Enforcement Unit, 210
Old Street at 3.00pm.
Theres also a Christmas carols & picket at noon, 17th
December, outside Yarls Wood Removal Centre, Twinwoods Road,
Clapham, Bedfordshire. Transport from London and for further information
about the report contact Legal Action for Women: 020 7482 2496,
07958 152171, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Recently Brighton resident Amir Hassan was snatched from his
home and taken to Colnbrook detention centre and would have been
illegally deported if it hadnt been for a campaign by his
friends and supporters (see last weeks
Stop The Arms Trade Defend The Right To Protest - THIS SATURDAY
10th December 12pm Churchill Square, Brighton. www.smashedo.org.uk
Jose Fernandez Delgado is an anarchist who spent more than
20 years in Spanish prisons, 14 of them in the infamous FIES-isolation
regime, known for its brutality and systematic torture. He escaped
and was arrested with three others in Aachen (Germany) in June 2004,
and condemned to another 14 years. Shortly after the verdict, he
was transferred to the prison of Köln. He did not get any of
his personal stuff and was immediately put in complete isolation,
without even being able to go for daily exercise. As a protest he
refused to put on prison clothes. He then went on to hunger strike,
which lasted 13 days, without any liquid for the last four. None
of his demands were responded to and pressure is needed on the judge
and on the director of the prison. A model letter, with post/email
addresses is available at www.brightonabc.org.uk
and of course write to Jose himself and his comrades Gabriel Pombo
de Silva and Bart de Geeter at at Staatsnwaltschaft Aachen, AZ 401JS284/04,
Stifstrasse 39-43, 52062 Aachen, Germany.
Diane Wilson, who had refused to serve a four month prison sentence for criminal trespass in a protest related to Dow Chemicals and the 1984 Bhopal disaster (see last weeks SchNEWS) was arrested on Monday (5th) at a $4200-per-head fundraiser for Tom DeLay, the former Majority Leader of the US House who was indicted on charges of conspiracy and money laundering. The highlight of the evening was a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney, which Diane interrupted by unfurling a banner saying Corrupt greed kills from Bhopal to Baghdad.
Work has resumed on the Oxford Primate Vivisection lab, which got
half-built and then abandoned after repeated campaigning and ALF
attacks on the building company (SchNEWS 439).
Secrecy now surrounds the project; in a bizarre Battle of
the Balaclava, its the workers on site who are taking
a leaf from the ALF book and masking up to avoid identification.
A weekly demo at the site every Thursday at 1pm has been organised.
A major march through Oxford city will happen on January 14th next
Frogger: Game Over
Frog news roundup: Norwich City Council have agreed to put in a
number of measures to help its local amphibian friends. Traffic
on Chapel Break Road in Bowthorpe has killed off 80% of the frogs
as it cuts through their migratory path. The Council will make the
road easier for frogs to cross by lowering the pavement and will
put up Frog X-ing signs (for the motorists not the frogs).
Meanwhile, in County Meath, Ireland, a frog breeder has been forced out of business by the Animal Liberation Front. Acid was thrown on the businessmans car and slogans daubed on buildings around his farm. Hes since publicly declared his intentions to quit with immediate effect. He has also pledged to give the survivors to an animal welfare group. The frogs had originally been destined to end up staring down the wrong end of a vivisectors blade somewhere and showed their joy by hopping off to start a campaign against the forced wearing of flying hats and goggles whilst dancing to Axel F...
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