| Friday 21st September
2007 | Issue 603
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER COUNTING THE COST...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Iraq
And A Hard Place | Crap Arrest Of The Week
| Party & Protest | We're
All Going To Wemb-er-ley | Disassembly Line
| Big Shout Out | Selfish
Shell Schemes On The Sea Shore | Dressed
To Oppress | All Along The Watchtower | Naval
Gazing | Norway To Behave | and
AND A HARD PLACE
AS MEGA DEATH TOLL
FROM OCCUPATION PASSES A MILLION
A single death
is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. - Josef
And how proud Old Joe
would have been of our Soviet-style self censorship! Heres
one that slipped past the headlines - the death toll in Iraq has
now passed the one million mark. Thats the astronomical toll
of pain and suffering inflicted by the coalition invasion
and occupation. Yet somehow that news was lost in all the bluff
and hype of the surge, as US Generals attempt to project
a through-the-looking-glass version of Iraq where a triumph for
democracy is always just around the corner.
Opinion Research Business
(ORB), BBC Newsnights chosen pollsters, conducted a survey
of 1,500 Iraqi households in August in which people were asked if
anyone in the household had died as a result of the conflict since
2003*. This is the usual method for assessing the number of deaths
in a warzone, and has been used in Darfur and the former Yugoslavia.
ORB concludes Given that from the 2005 census there are a
total of 4,050,597 households, this data suggests a total of 1,220,580
deaths since the invasion in 2003. Calculating the affect from the
margin of error we believe that the range is a minimum of 733,158
to a maximum of 1,446,063.
such as those conducted by Iraq Body Count**, which rely on deaths
being recorded in at least two media sources, typically offer a
statistic of around 20% of actual fatalities. In sheer numbers,
what is happening in Iraq has now surpassed the horrors of the massacres
in Rwanda and is in the same order of magnitude as the great crimes
of the twentieth century. And the government response to this is...
nothing. The same cynical silence which greeted last years
Lancet report estimating Iraqi deaths at around 600,000.
DOGMAS OF WAR
These figures should
be provoking howls of outrage from the liberal press at the bloody
mess into which the Iraqi people have been hurled by Bush and the
UK government. But as the number of deaths reaches the limits of
human imagining, the sheer scale of the carnage prevents understanding.
Perhaps the mainstream press over here have given this survey so
little attention because the real implication of its horrific contents
is that our leaders are out and out war criminals. Not just technical
war criminals, who merely went to war illegally, but out and out
bloody-handed tyrants who put Milosevic et al in the shade.
The poll also questioned
the surviving relatives on the way in which their loved ones were
killed. It broke down as 48% gunshot wounds, 20% car bomb, 9% aerial
bombardment, 6% accidents and 6% another blast/ordnance. This poll
didnt attempt to apportion blame for individual deaths but
the earlier Lancet poll showed that 56% of deaths were directly
attributable to Coalition forces i.e. that 350,000 were identifiably
killed by US or UK armed forces. Theres no reason to think
that that proportion has changed and, with the surge,
theres every reason to think it has gone up.
How then is the Coalition
accomplishing this carnage? The fact that deaths by shooting are
so prevalent demonstrates the close-up nature of the coalition/insurgency
conflict. For the past four years, the American military has sent
around 1,000 patrols each day into hostile neighbourhoods, looking
to capture or kill insurgents. (Since February 2007, this has increased
to nearly 5,000 patrols a day, if Iraqi troops participating in
the American surge are included).
These patrols are operating
in areas where anyone could be an insurgent. If you were patrolling
downtown Baghdad, would you take any chances? Their orders are to
break down doors, shoot at anything suspicious, and throw grenades
into rooms or homes where there is any chance of resistance. If
they encounter tangible resistance, they call in artillery and/or
air power rather than try to invade a building. If a patrol is ambushed
or comes under attack from a roadside bomb, soldiers rely on their
superior fire-power to extricate themselves from the situation.
According to US military statistics, these patrols currently result
in around 3,000 firefights every month, an average of just under
100 per day. The US army is currently firing more bullets than can
be manufactured - with that amount of lead flying around, such high
levels of civilian casualties seem not implausible but inevitable.
As Coalition troops find
it harder to operate on the ground in Iraq, the US are massively
expanding their aerial attack capacity. There was a fivefold increase
in the amount of munitions dropped on the country in the first six
months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. Squadrons of
attack planes have been added to the in-country fleet. The air reconnaissance
arm has almost doubled since last year, with the powerful B1-B bomber
recalled to action over the country. The stage is set for an increase
in civilian casualties as notoriously indiscriminate US air power
is unleashed on the Iraqi people. Air Force planes have struck factories
producing makeshift bombs, weapons caches uncovered by ground troops
and, in one instance, several houses insurgents were using
as fire positions.
Iraq has already become
a testing ground for a new breed of remote control or robot aircraft.
The MQ-9 Reaper, already being deployed, is a pilotless
aircraft, capable of carrying four Hellfire missiles, plus two 500lb
bombs. It is possible that in our lifetime we will be able
to run a war without ever leaving the US, said one colonel
in the US Air Force. Hey presto! Remote controlled genocide. More
endless news stories about Maddie anyone?
** See www.iraqbodycount.org
'NOT ONE MORE DEATH'
- central London demonstration on 8 October - assemble Trafalgar
Square, 1pm. See www.stopwar.org.uk
ARREST OF THE WEEK
For letting it all
Bestival (aka Arrestival),
held on the Isle of Wight last weekend is a commercial theme-park
masquerading as a hippy festival. You are welcomed by police dogs
as you walk through the gates - all under the banner of Increase
One group of festie-goers
came out of the sauna in the nude and walked around the site for
a bit hardly unheard-of behaviour at a festival but
came up against some aggressive boys from Showsec Security, who
demanded they cover up because children might see it.
After going back to the
sauna to get their clothes, one reveller told the uptight goons,
c'mon on its just a body - which led to him being
chased across the festival site by a load of security, after which
he was assaulted, handed to police and then arrested for indecent
exposure (meanwhile real criminals were fleecing punters tents).
Once off site, he was given a fixed penalty notice for causing
harassment, alarm and distress.
If he doesnt pay
hell end up in court - but police will have to find someone
distressed by the display of genitalia to make it stand
up in court...
- 22 - World Car
Free Day (we live in hope). For details see
- 22 - National Demo
against detention and deportation
- Crawley Town Centre to Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre,
Gatwick. Assemble 12pm at Memorial Gardens, College Road, Crawley,
West Sussex RH10
- 23 - Manor Garden
Allotments Demolition Day
- March & Rally against plans to bulldoze site for the London
olympics (See SchNEWS 575). This
is not regeneration - its obliteration. Meet 2pm at
Hackney Town Hall, Mare St, to finish at The Old Baths, 80 Eastway
London E9. See www.lifeisland.org/?p=219
- 23 - U-Turn for
Maya Evans and John Catt for Mass Civil Disobedience outside Neo
Labours conference in Bournemouth. Meet 1pm at the bandstand,
in the Lower Gardens, Bournemouth, between the pier and The
23 Big Name
Comedy Benefit gig to raise money to help pay court costs
to get the Serious Fraud Office to reopen the investigation into
bribery by BAE Systems in its arms dealings with Saudi Arabia.
With Mark Thomas, Russell Brand, Omid Djalili, Simon Amstell and
others. Hammersmith Apollo, London, for tickets Ticketmaster (0870
606 3400) or Ticketzone (0870 011 26 26) www.markthomasinfo.com
We need a person to help do our website on a weekly basis
(It's not essential that you're in Brighton). SchNEWS
is a low opportunities unemployer. Contact the office
- 26-30 - Open House
More than 70 roots music events from traditional Irish, to bluegrass,
blues and country at venues in Belfast, about half are free events.
Tel: 028 90246609 www.openhousefestival.com
- 27 - Big Brother
is Watching You: The Surveillance Society - ID Cards and the
Surveillance State - and How To Fight It... 7pm at Marchmont Community
Centre, Marchmont Street, London WC1. Free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 28 Critical
Mass - The peddle powered direct action where cyclists retake
the road en-masse. Held in cities around the world, usually on
the last Friday of the month at 5.30pm at a regular meeting point.
For the list of UK cities see www.schnews.org.uk/pap/index.htm#crit-mass
- 28-30 - Animal
Rights UK Gathering on land owned by a farm animal sanctuary
near Tonbridge, Kent including talks, discussions and workshops
on animal rights campaigning. Volunteers needed. www.veggies.org.uk/event.php?ref=1116.
- 7 - Stop
walk to mark the 6th anniversary of the 2001 invasion. Meet 10am,
St Ethelburgas Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, 78 Bishopsgate,
EC2N 4AG. Tel: 0845 458 2564 or visit www.voicesuk.org
- 9 - Stop Deporting
Anti-deportation, anti-immigration acts demonstration called by
UK Cameroon Support Network (CSN). 12-2pm at UK Immigration Service,
Sandford House, 41 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3RJ.
* For full listings updated
weekly see www.schnews.org.uk/pap
ALL GOING TO WEMB-ER-LEY
LESSONS IN DIRECT
ACTION FROM LONDON TEACHERS
who set up camp on a community sports ground in Wembley to prevent
the building of a neo-Labour City Academy (see SchNEWS
584), have taken things to the trees. The group (mainly composed
of teachers) have been occupying the site for the past six months.
In response to the potential eviction threat they have seized the
high ground. Expertly built platforms, apparently inspired by a
visit to Thailand, now give protesters a vantage point on Brent
Despite massive investment,
pupils test results in city academies have shown little or
no improvement. The proposed site is used extensively by a local
community which was promised by their local councillors that the
land would not be used for the new high tech, corporate sponsored
school. A nursery, community hall and three local businesses face
the axe if the building goes ahead. The Academy would cost around
£30 million of public money, but would be under control by
its corporate sponsors. Whilst there are three successful schools
already in the area, South Brent desperately needs more school places
with 3,000 kids having to travel out of the local area to get to
SchNEWS spoke to one
tree-sitter: Were in sight of the town hall, were
not going to let them build this school were taking
direct action because theyve not engaged in consultation.
We know wed win a consultation because weve got the
local people behind us. Were inspired by the M11
campaign (See also SchNEWS issue 3)
and were going to be taking more direct action.
* See www.tentcityoccupation.co.uk
In Nordhausen, Germany,
135 workers at Bike Systems GmbH have been occupying their factory.
Theyve been on strike against the closure of their workplace
following their employer filing for bankruptcy last month. Undeterred,
the workers are aiming to produce nearly 2,000 of their own Strike
bikes in October. Now the factory is self-managed, Zanon style
(see SchNEWS 477), and all production
and distribution is carried out by the workers in co-operation with
the Free Workers Union.
The factory, which was
owned by Biria AG, had been hassled by the European Union to repay
£3m in state aid and grants it had received from the German
authorities. In late 2005 and facing financial, a majority stake
in the company was bought up by Texan investment company Lone Star.
Despite making a nice profit from the purchase and latter sale of
the company to rival bike manufacturers MIFA, Texan investors will
not will be repaying a penny back to the Eurocrats with whats
left of Biria picking up the tab. Nice little earner!
More info: www.strike-bike.de
(in English, German, Spanish and Dutch).
Two companies planning
to explore for oil in Peruvian rainforest inhabited by uncontacted
tribes have revealed their sensitive plans to communicate
with them using megaphones, if their oil crews feel under threat
of being attacked.
It is hoped that the
uncontacted tribes, who have been previously deaf to appeals, will
be overcome by the amplified voices and leave their own personal
Eden and join in with the hurly-burly of global capitalism. The
plans have been labelled farcical by Perus national
Indian organisation, AIDESEP. No one knows the languages the
Indians speak, and they are likely to view oil crews as hostile
In the past, oil company
workers in the Amazon region have been killed by isolated Indians.
Despite this critical risk to their own workers, and the equal danger
of spreading fatal diseases to the Indians, the companies - Barrett
Resources of the US and Repsol YPF of Spain - have refused to suspend
Amongst the phrases Barretts
workers are expected to say to their potential attackers are, How
many days (moons or suns) have you walked for?, We are
people just like you, Is something disturbing you?
and We havent come here to look for women, we have our
own women in our own village- and, presumably, Which
do you prefer: Coke or Pepsi?
* See www.survival-international.org
SHELL SCHEMES ON THE SEA SHORE
Last Friday a national
day of action was held at the proposed gas refinery site in Rossport,
County Mayo, Ireland. Hundreds of people from around Ireland
joined forces with the local community clearly demonstrating their
opposition to the development. The state mobilized and the protesters
numbers were equaled by a team of hundreds of over zealous cops.
The day began with a sit down protest outside the refinery gates,
but after an hour or so it evolved into a site occupation as the
gates were kicked in and around 100 folk entered the site. They
were met by security, some carrying iron bars. Fortunately protester
numbers were high enough to dissuade the hired goons from taking
the violent option.
A second fence (erected
the previous day) was scaled by most of those that had entered the
site and machines were occupied and work brought to a standstill.
Shortly after, large numbers of police entered the site and forcibly
evicted those inside. Violence perpetrated by police included one
of the senior officers present taking a running kick at a well known
campaigner while he was held down on the ground. Protesters then
held a sit-down protest on the site and were eventually removed
one by one by the police.
As is standard practice
at Bellanaboy protests there were very few arrests. Shell dont
want the publicity of protest court cases and the police seem happy
to use violence as a substitute for detention and those that were
arrested have been released without charge. Protests continued outside
as demonstrators attempted to block trucks. But the huge numbers
of police and their aggression towards protesters made successful
blockading difficult - a significant number of protesters sustained
injuries but fortunately no one was seriously hurt. The mainstream
media made much of rumors that one cop had suffered a broken nose,
however, he was spotted mid afternoon, uninjured, going to the pub!
Although work wasnt
entirely stopped for the day the message to Shell and their government
backers was clear - there remains massive local and national opposition
to the development. Meanwhile solidarity actions occurred across
Europe including, Madrid, Berlin, Belfast, Reading, London, Brighton,
Bristol, Leeds and various locations across Ireland. Follow up national
days of actions have been called for the 12th of October and 9th
Things arent looking
great for Shell on the legal front either as they continue to face
massive opposition to their plans to build a gas refinery and high
pressure gas pipeline in County Mayo, Ireland. At present, although
construction of the proposed refinery site is ongoing, Shell have
still not been given full permission to operate the plant, nor do
they have an agreed pipeline route. In addition, there are significant
structural deficiencies with both the concrete and steel used so
far in construction, and engineers have still not been able to design
the pressure reduction valve - an essential component of the project.
Shell are currently waiting
for the Environmental Protection Agencys decision (expected
later this month) on whether they should grant an Integrated Pollution
Prevention and Control (IPPC) license for the refinery. Considering
the extent to which the government has facilitated the project so
far and the questionable independence of the EPA (its Director
appeared in an early promotional video for the project in her capacity
as a member of the Irish business and employers group) it is almost
certain that the license will be granted.
However, Shell were
dealt a severe blow last month when An Taisce (the Irish National
Trust) joined the campaign against the plant. They have publicly
stated that the local reservoir, which provides the drinking water
for over 10,000 people, will have to be closed as a source of drinking
water if the refinery goes into operation. They maintain that on
these grounds alone the IPCC license should not be granted, and
if it is, they have vowed to take the matter to the European courts.
BAD EIRE DAY
Meanwhile, over the past
few days, Shell have announced a shortlist of three potential pipeline
routes for the project (they were forced to change their original
route due to massive resistance, including that of the Rossport
5 who were jailed for refusing Shell access to their land
see SchNEWS 595). However, Shells
hope that altering the route would bypass opposition appears misguided.
Environmental groups are angered that all possible routes are within
designated environmentally sensitive areas under EU habitats directives.
In addition, several people on the new routes have already stated
in the local press that they will go to prison rather than allow
the building of the pipeline on their land. So, it looks likely
that Shell to Sea cases will continue to clog up the
Last week saw several
cases were brought before Judge Mary Devins. In contrast to her
response to the last Shell to Sea cases she dealt with,
where she dubiously jailed three local fishermen, she was noticeably
more balanced in her approach - although this may largely be due
to her having little choice after the total failure of the police
to fabricate coherent prosecution cases! She dismissed one case
against a prominent protester charged by police for obstruction
after hearing several police statements that not only contradicted
each other but also the police video. Another case bought by the
police, against the local Shell to Sea spokesperson,
was adjourned after the Judge claimed there was not enough evidence
to reach a verdict.
Bizarrely, instead of
throwing the case out, the judge asked for more witnesses to be
found. Five protesters who had taken part in a lock-on at the proposed
site were found guilty of one charge out of three and sentenced
to 100 hours community service. Judge Devins also announced in court
that she had received hate mail relating to Shell to Sea
cases, leading one barrister to ask her to stand down because a
reasonable person might assume that this could prejudice her
decisions. She refused and stating that shes as independent
as they come. Sceptics remain unconvinced considering her husbands
position in the Fianna Fail government who back the project!
* See www.shelltosea.com
While the paparazzi have
been out perving at London Fashion Week, much less coverage was
given to a report highlighting the even darker side to fashion than
the exploitation of young models; the use of sweatshops, labour
abuses and a wall of PR spin.
Despite over a decade
of public awareness, NGO work and consumer boycott campaigns,
the corporations selling the masses the clothes on their backs (we
shop entirely at charity shops and knit our own of course) show
few signs of cleaning up their act. Nearly all the big names on
the High Street are slammed in a new War On Want report into the
continued use of sweatshops, minimal labour standards and other
The standard industry
tactic has been to push Codes of Conduct (voluntary,
of course) and then to largely ignore them. Then when later, after
a long and difficult investigation hampered by a lack of transparency
and fear amongst the workforce, a particular factory is exposed
as paying slave wages and denying workers their rights, they just
pass it off as (yet another) isolated incident, more the fault of
some subcontractor they have no power over (Chapter 7, the Joy of
In case youre a
dedicated follower of fashion crimes, the dirty dozen brands singled
out for being even worse than everyone else were: Bhs, Diesel, House
of Fraser, Kookai, Matalan, MK One, Moss Bros, Mothercare, Peacocks/Bon
Marche, River Island, Rohan Designs and Ted Baker.
For the full report see
ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
...AT THE GATWICK
NO BORDERS PROTEST CAMP
The UK No Border Camp
is up and running this week after police attempts to shut down the
gathering. Activists have spent the week preparing the infrastructure
for a four-day camp, part of the campaign against the building of
the new Brook House detention centre at Gatwick. The new prison
will be the second one at the airport and, in response, the camp
has organised this convergence to to try and stop the building
of the new detention centre, and to gather ideas for how to build
up the fight against the system of migration controls. Therell
be four days of workshops, protests and debate.
Various actions have
already been announced, including an international demonstration
on Saturday 22nd from Crawley to Tinsley House, the existing immigration
prison. No Borders are organising coaches from London for those
wanting to go to the demo. If youre going from Brighton then
meet up for the 10am train at Brighton station.
The camp was forced to
change location after hassle from the cops led to the sites
landowner pulling out from renting his land. One of the camp organisers,
Ian Bros, said: Every time I phoned him, there would have
been yet another police visit. They were consistently trying to
paint a nasty picture of the potential camp participants but their
priority seemed to be putting pressure on him to sign an agreement
with the police to let them on his land during the camp, which he
refused to do at our request.
The Gatwick Area No
Border Camp will be held between 20 and 23 September near the
village of Balcombe, West Sussex. Its the first of its kind
in the UK, with other No Border camps taking place in the Ukraine
in mid August and more planned in the Americas for November. They
are an opportunity to share ideas, experiences and plot the downfall
for more info or ring the camp on 07949790570
For map see http://noborders.org.uk/Static/CampHowToGetThere
Is it really a whole
year since the rolling 365-day blockade of Faslane Naval Base began?
(See SchNEWS 565, 581
for background.) On October 1st over a thousand people are expected
to join in on one final Big Blockade to round off the
Faslane365 actions against Trident, Britains own nuclear weapon
of mass destruction. Entertainment for the day include Leon Rosselson
and the omnipresent Seize the Day, a full choir and
a host of Scottish MPs joining the throngs out to block all the
entrances and generally make nuisances of themselves. With the current
action count standing at 952, it will take one final big push on
everyones part to get over that magic 1,000... So cmon
all, you can do it!
A Faslane 365 steering
group spokesperson said We will join together to mark the
end of this years campaigning, and to make clear our determination
to keep up pressure on the Scottish and UK governments to get rid
of Trident and to take the lead in moving the world towards the
total elimination of nuclear weapons, in accordance with the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and the wishes of the majority.
* See www.faslane365.org
Another killer ship has
joined four of its partners-in-crime in Davy Jones locker.
On August 30th, a group
calling itself Agenda 21* claimed responsibility for sinking the
whaling vessel Willassen Senior in Norways northern
port of Svolvaer.
Valves were opened on
the ship and it quickly took on water and sunk, putting it permanently
out of harms way (and providing marine life with a new home, ironically
enough). There were no injuries.
Norway has slaughtered
almost 600 Minke whales in the last year. The Mayor of Svolvaer
in rather alarmist tones described the sabotage as a terrorist attack
on Norway itself!
Agenda 21 said The
sinking of the whaler and the silencing of its deadly harpoon is
dedicated to the memory of the yangtze river dolphin who because
of humankinds greed will never again grace the waters of our
blue planet. The turn of our wrenches is a rational response to
a world where tens of thousands of species disappear every year.
The Willassen Senior
is the fifth whaling ship to be scuttled in Norway since the 1990s.
It should be noted that some of these Norwegian whalers dock at
Scottish ports sometimes... a whole new type of hunt to sabotage
(minus the running through ploughed-up fields).
For footage of the ship
killing a whale, and photos of it sunk, go to www.seashepherd.org/news/media_070902_2.html
* Agenda 21 refers
to the Rio Earth Summit pledge to dedicate the 21st century to saving
the environment way back in 1992.
Long distance lorry drivers,
athletes and students... all benefiting from the kick-up-the-arse
in a can that is Red Bull (well according to the side of the can
anyway). Curiously not mentioned are a recent addition to the customer
base - US troops in Iraq. Around 140,000 tins of the tooth-rotting
stuff are shipped into the country every month and being poured
down the throats of heavily armed teenage US infantry. Frightened
by the hoodies down the road as you peer through yer
net curtains?....Now imagine them wired to the tits on Relentless
and driving an armoured Humvee...
SchNEWS warns all occupying
forces - involuntary surges may lead to premature evacuation...
Download free short films
produced by SchNEWS, or order a copy of 'V For Video Activist,
the new SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection only £6 incl.
here for more info
OUT NOW!!! 'SCHNEWS
AT TEN' - A Decade of Party & Protest - £5 inc p&p
Peace de Resistance -
issues 351-401. £5 inc p&p
SchNEWS of the World
- issues 300 - 250. £4 inc p&p.
SchNEWS and SQUALLs
YEARBOOK 2001. £4 inc p&p.
The SchQUALL book Sold
out - Sorry
SchNEWS Survival Guide
Sold out - Sorry
SchNEWS Annual issues
Sold out - Sorry
(US Postage £6.00
for individual books, £13 for above offer).
.Subscribe to SchNEWS:
Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable
to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS
supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals"
if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.
In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts,