| Friday 11th August 2006 |
WAKE UP! IT'S YER
STICK THIS IN YER PIPE...
Of Oil | Protests and Peace Camps | Inside
SchNEWS | Blazing Saddles | Dammed
If You Don't | SchNEWS in Brief | Rape
Alarm | ...and finally...
WHY THE WEST SITS BACK WHILE LEBANON
As SchNEWS goes to print it seems as if attempts in the UN to
obtain a ceasefire between Hizbollah and Israel have failed.
As Israel pours more troops across Lebanons borders, the wars
escalation threatens a cataclysm. Is Lebanon destined to play the
overture to a far wider middle-eastern war? It is this fear coupled
with solidarity with the Lebanese people which has sparked a resurgence
in the UK anti-war movement.
The public can see that Blair is allowing this war to be prolonged.
The prospects of a ceasefire are blocked by the governments of Israel,
the US and of course dear old Blighty. The security council resolution
confronts Hizbollah with totally unrealistic demands to disarm (i.e.
surrender) while Israel merely halts its offensive operations.
With this formula Israel can remain in control of the territory
it has seized and effectively have a veto over Lebanese internal
politics. Its easy to see why Israel would be so keen - but
whys Blair sticking with the Zionists on this one? Its
possible to get a few cheap laughs out of the whole Blair
is Bushs poodle thing but that masks the true nature
of the game. In fact, the US, UK and Israel stand shoulder to shoulder
(to shoulder). This war is as much a part of the War on Terror
as the attacks on Iraq. It is being fought for the same profiteering
ends by the same few politicians.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Yankee bombs are making
their way to the suburbs of Beirut via UK airports and that the
British taxpayer is subsidising arms exports to the regions
number one aggressor nation. Blair wasnt failing to demand
a ceasefire because hes on the neo-cons leash but because
he and UK plc are deeply committed to their agenda. The attacks
on Lebanon are just part of a much wider plan. The Israeli government
has confirmed that it is in for a long war. Patterns
of weapons stockpiling by Israel support this. To meet shortfalls
in current stocks of WMD, Israels IDF is to take delivery
of an emergency shipment of precision guided bombs, including US-made
GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs produced by Raytheon.
As ever, to find out whats really going on youve got
to follow the money. On July 13th just one day before the aerial
bombardment began, the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline was officially opened
(despite a determined resistance campaign causing delays and overspend
- see SchNEWS 433 and www.bakuceyhan.org.uk).
This inauguration was attended by ministers from 16 countries and
marked the success of a project designed to bypass Russias
stranglehold on central Asian energy. This pipeline will pump oil
from the Caspian Sea to the eastern Mediterranean and has already
transported over two million tonnes of oil. It is a vital part of
the Wests energy strategy. UK-based BP (wittering on about
sustainable development Beyond Petroleum) have a 30.1% stake in
this monstrosity. Meanwhile Israel is lobbying for an extension
of the pipeline to its port of Ashkelon and Blair was recently spotted
hob-nobbing with Arnold Schwarzenegger and BP chief Lord Browne
of Madingley in California.
The trouble with this project is that starting in Baku (Azerbaijan)
and ending up in Turkey (Ceyhan is only a short distance from the
Lebanese border) the BTC pipeline aint exactly in the most
pro-western part of the world. The war in Lebanon, together with
that in Iraq, is an attempt to reshape the region around the Wests
interests. Israels offensive could be intended to provoke
a reaction from Syria, and be used to engineer a collapse of its
regime. This would have the effect of removing a threat to the energy
supplies whilst delivering a message to Iran. This is why Blair
is content to watch mass murder of civilians while pushing fairy-tale
ideas like NATO stepping into Israels para-boots in Southern
Lebanon. The idea that NATO represents a neutral force
must surely have had any surviving al-Qaeda fighters laughing into
their beards. In early 2005, NATO held joint military exercises
UP FOR A FIGHT
This crisis in the Middle East has spawned a second wave of anti-war
protests and it looks as if this time round theres gonna be
more emphasis on direct action rather than polite lobbying. Last
Saturdays march in London, attended by 100,000 gave a sense
of the scale of opposition. A die-in was staged outside Downing
Street, sparking scuffles with cops, and a valiant attempt was made
to push through barriers to the US embassy. Unfortunately the dead
hand of Socialist Worker Party stewards served to create boundaries
between the passive and active parts of the crowd. Big marches in
London have their point, but most have realised that politely asking
this government to abstain from war crimes is an exercise in futility.
Crucially, others are working towards more direct intervention in
the war machine.
On August 9th, nine Northern Irish activists stormed the software
development centre of US arms giant Raytheon in Derry. The plant
was occupied for eight hours, ransacked and computers hurled onto
the streets. They compared their action to the decommissioning of
IRA arms. Eventually all nine were nicked and have been remanded
for a month. They have been charged with offences that mean that
they will face a juryless Diplock court, presumably
to avoid any inconvenient acquittals (More at www.indymedia.ie)
On the same day, around 20 Israeli anarchists blockaded the entrance
to Ramat David air force base in the north of the country where
fighter planes have been taking off to bombing missions in Lebanon.
In mainland UK peaceniks have been busy. Brighton activists continue
their targeting of EDO MBM, the UK subsidiary of EDO Corp who manufacture
vital components, guidance systems and release mechanisms for Raytheon
(For more see www.smashedo.org.uk).
We may have been turned into a supply base for the illegal war
on Lebanon without being consulted, but not all the citizens of
Airstrip One are happy to give the green light to weapons transport.
For three nights running at Prestwick airport near Glasgow (5th-8th
Aug), Trident Ploughshares activists organized citizens inspections
at the airport. Nightly, people have gained access to the supposedly
civilian airport and found that it is being used as a US military
staging post. Altogether 16 citizens weapons inspectors have
been arrested. A peace camp has been established and needs support.
(More info on 08454 588 361 or www.tridentploughshares.org).
Having been publicly embarrassed with the exposure of Prestwick
airports role, the UK establishment is simply re-routing the
flights through RAF bases. Mildenhall and Brize Norton have already
been the focus of protests and campaigners are setting up peace
camps at both sites.
AND PEACE CAMPS
11 August London: End Israels Attacks On Lebanon
and Palestine. 5-7pm Downing Street.
12 August Brize Norton: 12noon picket main gate at
RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. Info from Andy on 01793 520
903 ** Cambridge: Unconditional Ceasefire Now
12.30pm Phone Tom: 07712 893 552 / 01223 473 943 ** Hackney:
1pm corner Balls Pond Road/Kingsbury Road, nr Dalston Junction
** Preston: March & Demo 2pm, Preston City Centre,
Flag Market at 2.30pm. Tel: 07956 100 786 ** Manchester:
1pm Piccadilly Gardens, tel 07765 122 829 ** Edinburgh:
foot of Middle Meadow Walk on the Meadows at 2pm.
13 August Cardiff: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Cymru
are having a rally against deaths in Lebanon and Palestine,
1.30pm by Nye Bevan Statue, Queen St.
19 August, Cambridge: 12.30pm, Market Sq. Phone Tom:
07712 893 552 / 01223 473943 ** Brighton: Palmeira
Square, Hove, 1pm, marching to the Pier. Call 07854 188 565.
21 August, London: 8am, blockade of the Foreign Office,
Whitehall against the UKs continuing complicity with
the war in Iraq and Lebanon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prestwick: 07966 649 370
Mildenhall: 07760 161 755
Brize Norton: 07760 161 755
* Send us yer anti-war events for publication we
want to know how youre resisting in your home town.
* An American freelance journalist, Josh Wolf, has been
jailed for failing to assist a Grand Jury investigation into the
2005 anti-G8 activities of activists in the US. After refusing to
testify or turn over an unpublished video out-takes of activists,
Josh was charged with civil contempt and jailed. He could be held
for up to a year (the remainder of the Grand Jury) despite never
having been convicted of a crime. To find out how to help, including
an address for writing to, see www.freejosh.pbwiki.com
* Animal rights activists, Natasha Avery, Heather Nicholson
and Daniel Wadham have been convicted of public order offences
relating to an incident with fox hunting supporters. The sentences
16 months for Nat and Heather, 12 months for Dan, are grossly
severe due to the fact that all three are well known animal rights
campaigners, and involved in SHAC (See www.shac.net).
All would appreciate letters and support: Natasha Avery (new prisoner)
and Heather Nicholson (NR7271), both at UKDS Bronzefield, Woodthorpe
Road, Ashford, Middlesex, TW15 3JZ; and Daniel Wadham (new prisoner),
HMP and YOI Feltham, Bedfont Road, Middlesex, TW13 4ND. For more
Activists are out pedalling their messages far and wide.
On August 6th, the Peace Cyclists set off from Embankment Gardens
in London on a epic ride across Europe and the Middle East to raise
awareness about the occupation of Palestine and call for a just
peace in the region. Proving its not just superfit huge-calved
steroid-abusing Tour de France-types in lycra who can go the distance,
the 35 cyclists include a man of 70 and a 23 year old graduate who
has left the occupied West Bank for the first time to take part
in the ride across 10 countries, back to his home in Palestine.
For updates see www.thepeacecycle.org
Meanwhile two brothers from London have reached John OGroats
in their 5000 mile cycle around the entire British coastline on
bizarre cannibalised seven-foot high Tall bikes. And
its all for charidee... Re-Cycle, which aims to redistribute
abandoned bikes to Africa (See www.re-cycle.org).
Cyclemagic Community Projects, Leicester-based schemes aimed at
promoting cycling, and teaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds
about bicycle maintenance. www.cyclemagic.org.uk
and Sustrans, the UKs leading sustainable transport charity
For a diary, pictures and more details see www.tallbiketourbritain.com
* Or how about joing the protest rides to Campsfield Detention
Centre? On the last Saturday of every month, in Oxford. Meet at
Martyrs Memorial (nr The Randolph and Debenhams) at 11:15am. For
more see www.closecampsfield.org.uk
DAMMED IF YOU DONT
Heard the old cliché about the calm, peaceful Scandinavians
with more mature, liberal-socialist governments? Tell that to protestors
engaged in the battle against the construction of the giant Karahnjukar
hydro-electric dam in the Icelandic Highlands one of Europes
last surviving wildernesses (See SchNEWS 487).
The campaign stepped up a gear last week as activists relocated
their protest camp from Snaefell, some hours walk to the construction
site, to a much nearer, more disputed area at Lindur, an area threatened
with flooding by the dam.
An eyewitness reports that the move took place in the face of massive
police efforts to frustrate it, using exclusion zones and roadblocks,
which required breaching by the activists. The new camp has subsequently
been surrounded by cops, who are refusing to let vehicles in with
food and water. On August 3rd, 7 activists broke in to the construction
site and police were liberal with their batons, mistreating and
arresting four. The next day, there was another invasion by more
than 30 people who locked on to vehicles and stopped work for 4
hours. The police were back on brutal form, attacking video activists
and damaging equipment, and cutting through peoples D-locks
with scant regard for safety. 17 people were arrested and many people
had serious bruise injuries from the handcuffs used. One British
woman could hardly walk on leaving the police station. The police
refuse to state what laws they are using for this repression, but
its clear whos side they are acting on.
The camp needs bolstering to maintain a strong international presence
to keep up awareness of, and pressure on, the tactics being used
in pursuit of this devastatingly destructive plan to turn large
areas of Icelands unique environment into industrial wastelands
- polluting for profit.
* For more see www.savingiceland.org
SchNEWS in Brief
- Legendary Anarcho-punks Conflict are back on tour. They
play the Cartoon in Croydon on August 25th and the Supernova in
Derby on the 27th .See www.conflict-uk.com
Some of the gigs are in support of the bands long-standing drummer,
Paco, whos made himself ill by playing too fast. Phil Collins
- Fundraising event for the Friends of Ernesto Campaign.
Ernesto Leal, a Chilean who fled danger under the Pinochet regime
and has been in the UK since the early 70s, was taken to
Belmarsh Prison on May 1st this year, threatened with deportation
to Jamaica (See SchNEWS 542). He was
granted bail and released in June, but still faces deportation.
Proceeds from this event go to the legal fund fighting his deportation.
Thursday 17th, 7pm-midnight, £8, Gramaphone Bar & Restaurant,
60-62 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT (nearest tube Aldgate
East). Line up includes Howie B and The Alabama 3 Soundsystem.
Phone 020 7377 5332 Web www.friendsofernesto.org.uk
- There will be a meeting in London on Sat 19th, 3pm, to plan
actions for October 1st, after which there will be a year of protest
against the Faslane Naval Base in Scotland. At the Everything4Everyone,
4 Dalston Lane, Hackney, E8 (Opposite the Peace Mural), a minute
from Dalston Kingsland train station. For more email email@example.com
- RIP Lorna who died last month. There will be a
benefit gig at The Albert, Brighton, Weds 16th, 7.30pm (£3)
with Tragic Roundabout and Chicken Shed Zeppelin to pay for her
wake and help cover the costs of her fathers flight from
New Zealand. Lorna, a Maori, was well known amongst the traveller
community, latterly at the Cement Works in Steyning.
Despite the market in organic food growing at an unprecedented
30% per year, the Government and its agri-corporate chums are ignoring
public opinion and signalling their intent to get their Genetically
Modified paradise by hook or by crook.
The first wave of GM crop trials were trashed en masse by anti-GM
campaigners, and supermarkets were forced to distance themselves
from GM food due to strong public pressure. Even the Govts
own experts claimed that GM farming and its related pesticides would
devastate the flora and fauna in rural areas. Eventually they reluctantly
staged a climbdown and issued a moriatoruim on further GM until
at least 2008 (See SchNEWS 445, 448).
Now the Government have announced proposals of just how they will
mix GM and non-GM crops should they be able to swing the EU consultation
on GM going on at the moment (something theyre working hard
on behind the scenes).Theyve also decided just how pure organic
food needs to be: allowing for 0.9% GM contamination of nearby organic
crops. On top of this, a recent call to protect rural families by
banning the spraying of pesticides in five-metre buffer zones around
farm fields was... rejected.
This all follows the discovery of a superweed, the
result of GM oilseed rape cross-breeding with a common weed in farm
scale trials, making a genetically modified new breed of charlock,
previously thought to be safe from mutation. This version of the
common weed, found alongside oilseed rape in the UK and mainland
Europe, is resistant to the weed killer used in the GM trial and
confirmed as containing the gene inserted into the GM oilseed rape.
If GM oilseed rape was grown commercially, herbicide-resistant
weeds could become widespread. Farmers would then have to use more
and more damaging toxins to get rid of them, with all the associated
knock-on effects on the environment.
Without the slightest hint of irony, the Minister for Environment
said that new trials were necessary to establish independent evidence,
because otherwise, we ... leave ourselves open to pressure
from commercial companies, for example, and we are not going to
bow to that.
The governements position on GM clearly demonstrates its ongoing
commintment to the War on Terra. For more see www.pan-uk.org
In this column a few weeks ago (See SchNEWS
550) we mentioned that Bonos company Elevation Partners
had bought up Pentagon-puppet Pandemic Studios, makers of such eco-people-friendly
computer games as Mercenaries 2:World in Flames and Full Spectrum
Warrior. Because there was a joke or two in the article it seems
many people didnt believe it and thought it a spoof
clinging on to that rosy-tinted Live Aid do-gooder image no doubt.
Well...it was true. And it seems he still hasnt found what
hes looking for, but is wide awake in America when it comes
to one desire... more cash.
In another ethic-lite money-making investment, Bono-heads
California-based venture capital firm has now bunged around $300m
to Forbes, the US business magazine which is frequently described
as the bible of capitalism. Meanwhile, having nailed
his true colours to the mast finally, Bono is obviously not fussed
about the bad press from switching U2s financial affairs from
Ireland to Amsterdam in a massive tax evasion manoeuvre. Nice work,
comrade, lets hope its a beautiful day when your stock finally
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