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The weekly newsletter from Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

SchNEWS - this week 10 years ago

SchNEWS This Time Last Year


SchNEWS 577,
23rd Feb, 2007

FOREST GRUMP We have a closer look at the the pop star supported mega million pound carbon trading industry so see just what its chances are of saving the world. Also tree protests in Tasmania, road protests in Ireland and much more.

SchNEWS 576,
16th Feb, 2007

HAVEN IT LARGE Protests contine and grow around the pathway of the new natural gas pipeline in Wales. Also corporations continue to get away with it, hunts getting away with it and more.

SchNEWS 575,
9th February, 2007

THE TIDE IS NIGH According to some wacky UN boffins climate change will, if we're ;ucky, only bring about the desertification of the rain forests and the death of all coral reefs. And if we're not lucky...Also war in Somalia and loads of party and protest dates and more.

SchNEWS 574,
2nd February, 2007

SOIL OF THE CENTURY A round up of allotment issues including why they're good and why the Olympics is bad. Also updates on Brian Haw and SOCPA generally, Faslane and more.

SchNEWS 573,
26th January, 2007
A look at what's ahead for SchNEWS in 2007 with a new office in Brighton's autonomous social centre. Also details of other social centres and alternative media news around the country and news on a protest squat near Oxford, Guantanamo Bay protests and more.

SchNEWS 572,
8th Dec, 2006

MARKET FORCES If you're disgusted about the British army still having 7,000 in Iraq, what do you think about there also being 50,000 private military and 'security' mercenaries there? Also a Faslane 365 updated on the week Tory Bliar announced support for replacing Trident and loads of other news.

SchNEWS 571,
1st Dec, 2006
GET ME OUT OF HERE Detained asylum seekers in Harmondsworth Detention Centre rioted this week after being denied access to TV news stories about an Inspectorate's report on conditions there. Also Israeli fruit and veg exporter blockaded, updates on Oaxaca Mexico and more.

SchNEWS 570,
24th Nov, 2006

Kiss Of Debt It’s Buy Nothing Day this Saturday (25th November), but with £1,300,000,000,000 of consumer debt in the UK, it would appear that the zombies in the malls aren’t listening. So here's a bit of info on debt and credit and all that. Also G20 protests in Australia, loads of protest and protest dates, Canadians take on the arms traders and Leonardo De Caprio.

SchNEWS 569,
17th Nov, 2006

Save The Wales Protesters occupy part of a gas pipeline site in Wales, stopping work and getting the media spotlight shone on the project. Also conscientious objection in Turkey, Shell still suck shocker, Yes Men at it again and more.

SchNEWS 568,
10th Nov, 2006

Goin' Under Last weekend was the International Day of Action Against Climate Change. Some of the biggest protests were in Australia where climate change is already painfully apparent. Also Israel's new boot boy, a Faslane update and more.

SchNEWS 567,
3rd Nov, 2006
3,500 police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters retook control of the Mexican city of Oaxaca on Sunday (29th) following five months of occupation by striking teachers and other activists. Also camping carry-on, pagan party poopers and more.

SchNEWS 566,
27th October, 2006
Hamas-ive Attack An update on the situation in the occupied territories of Palestine where the people suffer from the consequences of The Wests sanctions as well as the ongoing Israeli military presence. Also Hungary, Starbucks, Brian Haw and more.

SchNEWS 565,
20th October, 2006
Loch Around The Clock Faslane 365 gets off to a running start with lots of fun and games, notching up 76 arrests in 19 days. Also the effects of clearing peat lands for palm oil plantations on climate change, new opressive laws on UK and USA, gentrification continues in London and more.

SchNEWS 564,
13th October, 2006

SchNEWS digs the dirt on resistance to the GM / Biotech takeover. Also massive over policing of Parliament Square protest, anti Shell protests spread, asylum seekers homes raided by police and more.

SchNEWS 563,
6th October, 2006

I Did It My Zimbabwe Workers’ resistance in Zimbabwe has been on the rise recently, with street demos, trade union action and new forms of resistance such as the ‘Uhuru Street Soccer Battles’. Also Burma, SPEAK, SOCPA and Tesco news.

SchNEWS 562,
29th Sept, 2006

Making A Bomb Some detailed information on exactly who is benefiting from what the US administration is now calling The Long War. Also news on Faslane, Nestlé, Titnore and more.

SchNEWS 561,
22nd Sept, 2006

Dial M For Malignant - Evidence backing up the theory that mobile phone use is as damaging to health as smoking builds up while the government and big business carries on as usual. Also Aborigines win land rights in Australia, Alcoa face protests in Trinidad and more.

SchNEWS 560,
15th Sep, 2006

GATES-CRASHERS - SchNEWS gingerly dips a toe into the world of Linux, 'Free Open Source Software, Copyleft and the new world of information being built. Plus the return of the Ilisu Dam, Hunt Sabs have charges dismissed, Brian Hawe and more...


  Home | Friday 2nd February 2007 | Issue 578



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Story Links: Over A BarrelCrap Arrest Of The Week C'mon And Join The CongoHorse-shamThe Data Day Caravandalism | Positive SchNEWS | Poles Apart | SchNEWS Benefit Roast | ...and finally...



"By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? ...While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.” - Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton in 1999 speech to the Institute of Petroleum in London.

“The greatest strategic prize in world history” is how the Middle East’s reserves of oil have been described and since the British take-over of Mesopotamia’s oil fields in the aftermath of the First World War they have been the constant source of intrigue and violence. Now the conflict enters another phase as the ‘victors’ in the Iraq war prepare to divvy up the loot. It is proposed to bring Iraq’s oil reserves under foreign control for the first time in 35 years. But resistance to the rip-off is growing.

With Iraq tearing itself apart in increasing cycles of sectarian violence, the corporate sharks have scented blood in the water. A controversial Petroleum law which seeks to hand over the rights to Iraq’s oil reserves (estimated to be the world’s third largest) to the multinational oil giants has been passed through the Iraqi cabinet and will soon be placed before the entire Iraqi parliament. Under this law Iraq’s reserves would be allocated under Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). Revenues which could be used to rebuild Iraq - smashed under a decade long sanctions regime and then bombed and scarred from invasion - will instead be siphoned off into the pockets of Big Oil.


PSAs effectively allow oil companies to control the oil supply in return for the risk of exploration and the building of infrastructure. Normally they’re used in countries such as Azerbaijan where the state is incapable of developing its own industry. According to International Energy Agency figures, they are only used in respect of about 12% of world oil reserves, in countries where oilfields are small (and often offshore), production costs are high, and exploration prospects are uncertain. This is manifestly not the case in Iraq.

These stitch-up agreements amount to a system of long term contracts with foreign oil companies which maintain the facade of public ownership but in fact lock the country into deals and beyond the reach of Iraqi courts, public scrutiny or democratic control. Article 41 of the law says that any disputes between foreign companies and Iraqi authorities which cannot be resolved through negotiation are be resolved ‘through arbitration or the competent authority’. In practice this means through a secretive and remote international arbitration tribunal – overriding domestic law. Iraq will not have the power to intervene using its own judicial system. The PSAs will allow the oil companies colossal profit margins and the agreements stipulate that the terms cannot be re-negotiated for between 25 and 40 years – regardless of who the Iraqi people elect! As 70% of Iraq’s economy and 95% of its government’s income is based on oil this amounts to a de-facto ownership of the country by Big Oil. The deals also have the desirable side effect of allowing oil companies to ‘bank’ the reserves as assets and inflate their stock market value.

No other country with comparable oil reserves (e.g Kuwait or Saudi Arabia) has anything like a system of PSAs in place. They make sure that oil revenues are kept firmly within the state’s grasp. The idea of using PSAs in Iraq was hatched by the Future of Iraq project, the US State Department’s planning mechanism prior to the 2003 invasion. The plans were developed further under the auspices of the IMF along with the Coalition Provisional Authority. Along the way there has been no consultation whatsoever of the Iraqi people. In fact this car boot sale of Iraq’s future has been kept curiously quiet in the country itself, despite the fact that the government is aiming to sign the first deals with oil companies before the end of the year.


Trades unions within Iraq are doing their best to redress the balance. Despite the fact that unions are illegal (they were made illegal by Paul Bremer during the regime of the CPA), the oil workers have the trump card of being the only people who can keep the black gold flowing. In the south of the country particularly there has been more scope for union organisation. The General Union of Oil Employees ( represents 23,000 workers in the industry and has recently taken the initiative in founding the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq. They now represent over 100,000 and over the four years since the occupation they’ve notched up a series of victories over the coalition and its puppet government. Through strikes and the threat of stoppages, they've secured higher wages, the removal of Kellogg Brown&Root employees from oil installations and their replacement by Iraqi labour, and helped the development of other unions. They’ve been a constant thorn in the side of the Iraqi authorities and have had their funds seized and accounts frozen as well as assassination attempts.

Despite this they have constantly forced the authorities to the negotiating table. Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi, the leader of the Federation of Oil Unions’ says: “Those who spread the word that the oil sector will not improve except with foreign capital and production-sharing are dreaming. They must think again, since we know for certain that these plans do not serve the sons and daughters of Iraq.”

The Federation has announced it “will endeavour to to prevent exploitation by foreign companies and their flagrant interference in production and exports,” blaming the companies for “exploiting the current political vacuum and chaos in the country.” They claim that the Iraqi oil industry, far from needing external investment, is in fact being deliberately starved of funds to the tune of $4.5 billion this year, simply to worsen the country’s negotiating position as infrastructure slowly collapses. In fact the unions have been active in voluntarily maintaining infrastructure to fend off the need for external investment. They are also working on publicising these secretive deals and building resistance.

Control of the oil supply could be an issue around which Iraqi civil society unites. Admittedly the country is sliding to towards a huge sectarian stand-off and possibly civil war but the union movement allied with academics and other organs of civil society is reaching out to build alliances across boundaries. Support groups for the struggle have been set up in The UK, US and Italy. Ewa Jasiewicz, researcher and campaigner at PLATFORM said: “The law’s unfair, untransparent and undemocratic provisions reflect the influence and interests of external actors; namely the US and British governments and foreign oil companies. As a document it makes history and marks a milestone in a historical process that has been pushed through by war and occupation. It is the sell off and rip off of Iraq’s oil by foreign companies.”

More at: ** ** ** For more indepth info on the privatisation carve-up see the 'Crude Designs' report at

Youth suggests a new direction for Conservative party
click here for larger image


...for telling it like it is.

The keepin-it-real young hoodie who made a ‘firing gun’ gesture at David Cameron last week has ended up the one targeted.

Cuddly ‘Eton Messy’ Cameron had been on walkabout on a Manchester estate when the 17-year-old made the hand gesture as he walked past. Police swiftly arrested him, then raided his house and held him over the weekend for a few joints worth of weed. Well, no-one disses the Tory Krew!
District Judge Wendy Lloyd told the youngster she was “concerned” that he’d been kept in custody so long for such a small quantity of cannabis. She said: “That you have been dealt with differently causes me great concern.” This concern didn’t stop her from dishing out a £75 fine however...

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is now auditioning for the lead role in a local theatre production of “Taxi Driver”.


Actions to stop the forced removals of some forty-six Democratic Republic of Congo nationals spread across the UK this week. Despite a UN report that the human rights situation in DR Congo is actually deteriorating, the XL Airways ‘deportation express’ charter-flight left Stansted Airport at 9.39pm, on 26 February. Actions had kicked off when it became apparent that asylum seekers were being rounded up to be imprisoned in Tinsley House detention centre, Crawley, to await deportation.

Around 100 people held a noisy protest outside the Home Office Reporting Centre in Glasgow; No Borders Brighton dropped a banner outside the HQ of XL Airways, also in Crawley, highlighting their complicity and ‘XL-ent’ profits. Over 70 members of the DR Congolese community in Leeds, including groups from Huddersfiled and Kirklees, rallied outside their Home Office Reporting Centre and the African Community Association in the North East held a solidarity march in Middlesbrough. 60 more people gathered at the Home Office in London. When deportation day came, activists locked themselves to the gates of Tinsley House to try and stop the removals.

Despite the protests, the bulk of removals took place. While last minute legal action prevented two children and seven adults from being deported, thirty seven are now back in DR Congo fearing for their lives. Campaigners in Kinshasha are posting reports back to Indymedia and NCADC on their progress.

This is just the latest incident in a continual process of repatriating those fleeing warzones and persecution, with the Home Office claiming countries like DR Congo are 'safe' to return to.

For constant bulletins about threatened deportations see National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

* 3 March - Campaign To Stop Deportations to DR Congo meeting 3.30-5pm at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street. Manchester. M2 5NS

* 7 - Demonstrate outside Asylum and Immigration Tribunal office Manchester 10am- 12.30pm at 2 Piccadilly Plaza, Mosley Street, Manchester, M1 4AH

* 13 - Demonstrate outside Dallas Court enforcement unit 12-2pm. South Longworthy Road Salford Quays, Salford M50 2GF

* 13 - NCADC + Leeds No Borders Workshop: Setting Up an Anti-Deportation Campaign. 6.30-8.30pm at The Common Place, 23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds, LS2 7EQ. Email

* 17 - Sheffield Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers + NCADC Workshop 2.30-5pm. Refugee Employment and Education Programme, Alpha House, Carver Street, Sheffield Tel: 07913 701740 or e-mail

* No Borders UK


Crawley and Horsham Hunt is yet another bunch of law-what-law animal murderers. Their Feb 23 meet ended with a hound killed when it strayed on to the A4. Hunt monitors in Horsham faced intimidation and sabotage to one of their vehicles again (see SchNEWS 576) when a tyre was let down. As usual the rozzers seem unconcerned.

* The League Against Cruel Sports report on the Crawley and Horsham Hunt can be found at

* For more see


SchNEWS advises all readers to renew your passport before April – particularly those who have never held a UK adult’s passport. Later this month the sixty-nine new ‘ID interrogation centres’ will open around the country, and if you’re applying for your first passport you may be interviewed and made to fill out long, intrusive questionnaire forms, in a process taking 4-6 weeks. Once they have prised information out of you about addresses, education, family history and official numbers, this data will be cross referenced with bank details, police, credit, school records and more, and the interview will confirm it all matches up – and if it doesn’t match, the computer might say.. nooo.

All the juicy info will be held in a single file, part of the build-up to a nationwide 'one-stop' centralised ID database. The price of the cheapest passport renewal rose last October to £66, and if the ID card scheme comes in this could go over £93 to pay for the costs of the IT infrastructure for the total surveillance state.

* For more details see the “Take a hike, Tony” factsheet for those applying for their first passport at



The Traveller Site at Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex, is facing imminent eviction if the Council’s decision goes against them in July (See SchNEWS 519 & 548). One hundred families who live on the site have recently been facing protests against them by angry locals with local BNP activists prominent. One recent anti-Traveller demo was attended by 200 people.

The local villagers insist it’s nothing against the Traveller community but a desire to preserve greenbelt land from development but this is just the culmination of a five year siege on the Traveller community in the Essex region. Dale Farm residents are inviting people to volunteer as Human Rights Monitors for the expected eviction, which will no doubt be carried out by Constant and Co., yer ever-reliable gypsy-busters who have already bulldozed a number of other sites, forcing more and more families out on the road to search for hard-to-find places to park up. The Travellers are understandably nervous for their futures and could do with all support. Email


Positive SchNEWS

Two anti-vivisectionists were cleared of disorderly conduct by Blackpool Magistrates’ Court this week, prompting hopes that four similar cases will now be dropped. Keith Richardson and Dean Cain were arrested outside a Vodafone shop on 11 March 2006 as part of a series of 20 similar arrests between March and July of that year. Vodafone were targeted for their financial support of Oxford University which is building a new animal research facility. All arrestees were charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 for displaying graphic posters which could have allegedly caused ‘distress’. The pictures showed primate experiments that had already been carried out in Oxford, surely causing a little ‘distress’ to the animals in question.

Although the prosecution reckoned that the images were ‘insulting’ and likely to cause distress, the defendants argued they were using their freedom of expression to educate the public about animal experiments. Both men are now seeking advice on what legal action can be taken against the police for breaching their rights to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. * For more information on the campaign go to



The Rospuda Valley in the north east of Poland is a primeval forest and swamp land that’s home to many rare species including bison and lynx. It’s under immediate threat of being bulldozed into history. Apparently what’s needed is not a nice set of ‘green lungs’ for Europe, but “smooth and dense infrastructure”. i.e. roads. The Augustov bypass faced no rigorous appraisal procedure or public inquiry. Worse still there’s a decent alternative route and European regulations say if it means less environmental destruction it should be used instead. Failure to meet this requirement and the fact that politicians are planning to rip through a ‘Nature 2000’ heritage site could mean big EU fines. The government’s plans have steam-rollered on, however – presumably they’ll be happy to just pass any bill on to tax payers. The road must be built!

In response, and despite the rather nippy weather (-20c), an anti-road camp has been established and is thriving, but more help is needed now. And, taking opposition into the city, some autonomous groups have been busy picketing the HQ of Budimex, the company that’s picked up the juicy contract to build the road. Warsaw residents have started a daily action at the Ministry of the Environment and another big demo is promised for next Friday (9th) outside the polish embassy in London (47 Portland Place, W1N 3AG).4.30pm Start. Bring banners and make some noise. See for more.

* Another 25 acres of ancient woodland is due for the chop. Some Glamorgan councillors reckon that the ancient Pencoedtre nature site would look a lot better if it was covered in light industrial units and a few Barratt boxes. Dating from 1600 the wood (home to 71 different types of moss!) might be designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Rare wood sorrel and butterfly orchids are of little concern to the developers, however, who continue to press the planners for permission to trash. Find out more about this and other campaigns at


SchNEWS benefit vegan nut roast
this Sunday 4th. Bar from 1pm, food from 2pm. £4.50/£5 wiv cake. Followed at 6pm by a talk from Vincent McGrath, one of the Rossport 5, farmers jailed for trying to stop Shell building the refinery and pipeline in County Mayo, Ireland (See SchNEWS 564). He has written a book which will be available. Both at The Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. Members and their Guests welcome.


...and finally...

Nothing planned for 17th and 18th May? Why not pop along to the 2007 RUSI Air Power Conference? It’s a warmongering shin dig where delegates will learn about the benefits of rebranding the UK Air Force as ‘Agile, Adaptable and Capable’. Presumably the ‘Agile’ bit is designed to emphasise the sexiness of a ‘precision’ bombing operation, while the quick shift from supporting to attacking Saddam Hussein in a matter of months certainly offers proof of the armed forces ‘Adaptability’ - just a pity that all those helicopters that were designed to operate in colder climates and kill Russians and didn’t work so well in the sand!

The 'Capability' bit is harder to fathom unless, of course, you mean the capability to create civil war wherever they go! The conference organisers are predicting an “uncertain and difficult 21st century” (thanks to their efforts). The problems lie in the fact that despite “an increasing demand for the use of military power,” there remains a high level “public intolerance of collateral damage,” preventing UK plc from killing more people and bombing more countries. Darn! The battle for hearts and minds continues for a mere £779 a head, excluding accommodation. There’s more corporate perpetual war style brainwashing at


SchNEWS warns all readers - when you're burning the midnight oil, don't get on everyone's wick. Honest!


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