| Friday 7th December
2007 | Issue 613
WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! IT'S YER EVER UNFESTIVE...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Annapolis Men | Crap Arrest of the Week | The Day After Today
| A Night at the SchMOVIES! | Weld's Apart | Positive SchNEWS | Party and Protest | Soccer Shocker | Where Fuels Rush In... | It's a Fuels' Paradise | ...And Finally...
PALESTINE PEACE PLANS ATTEMPT TO INSTITUTIONALISE APARTHEID
As Mahmoud Abbas, the quisling ‘leader’ of the Palestinian Fatah administration, and Ehud Olmert were cosying up for the photo call with George Bush and Condaleeza Rice, thousands of ordinary Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem in protest at the Annapolis conference, which they saw as against the interest of the Palestinian people.
Fatah security forces responded violently to the protests. In Ramallah, security forces attacked demonstrators with clubs and detained hundreds of people. In Bethlehem, water cannons were used to disperse protesters and in Hebron, 37-year-old Hisham Al Barad’i was killed after security forces opened fire on a crowd of 2,500 people defying a ban on protests. Journalists at the demo were deliberately targeted to prevent news of the repression getting out. Those who saw the way dissenters against the Annapolis process were treated were left in no doubt of how ‘free’ any future Palestinian state resulting from it might be.
Tory Blair, revelling in his new role as the ‘peace envoy’ to the Middle-East, told the Israeli press just prior to the Conference that, “There won’t be a Palestinian state unless it is coherently governed and run” - what this means is that unless Palestinian leaders fulfil the same role as, for instance, the leaders of oppressive US-backed regimes in Egypt and Jordan, they cannot even rule over the ‘Bantustans’ (ghetto-like powerless ‘states’ formed in South Africa during Apartheid) that Israel may be willing to offer them.
Blair went on to say that “the creation of a Palestinian capacity for governing” is another integral step on the roadmap to a Palestinian state. What this means is that the US, Israel and their allies have, and will, take any steps necessary to ensure that those in power in Palestine will not oppose the creation of Palestinian ghettoes and will participate in the facade of a peace process.
Ariel Sharon’s ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ in Spring 2002 followed the explosion of Palestinian frustration and anger at the apartheid policies institutionalised by the Oslo peace process, the precursor to the Roadmap and Annapolis. During the operation, the Israeli military crushed Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian authority, destroyed the administration’s infrastructure and police stations and imprisoned its leaders. Since then the US and Israel have been plotting what a new Palestinian leadership would look like. After Arafat’s death the US ensured that Mahmoud Abbas would emerge as the leader of Fatah. When Hamas were democratically elected in 2006, the US and EU imposed sanctions to undermine them - causing great poverty to ordinary Palestinians many of whom did not receive their wages for up to a year. As the sanctions began to bite, the US funded Fatah security forces to the tune of $84 million. All of this resulted in the creation of a Palestinian administrative class, protected by a private militia, sitting in the West Bank representing the interests of the US, Israel and their allies - not those of the people of Palestine.
A broad coalition of Palestinian civil society groups, including campaigners, trade unions, prisoner and refugee organisations, called for a boycott of Annapolis or any international conference which does not adhere to a list of key principles: the right of return (to their original homes) for all refugee families, an end to the military occupation, the removal of all illegal Israeli settlements and the setting up of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. They also affirmed that negotiations should be on the basis that Israel did not continue to operate as a racist apartheid state where non-Jews are treated as second-class citizens.
A growing movement within Palestine recognises that Palestinian freedom will not come from processes like Oslo and Annapolis, which compromise with Israel’s apartheid occupation policies and benefit only an elite within Palestinian society. The Palestinian movement for boycott, divestment (from companies investing in Israel) and sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel – which aims to build an international solidarity movement to isolate the Israeli occupation – is growing momentum.
During November a conference on the growing boycott movement was held in Ramallah. It called on ordinary people across the globe to take action against those profiting from Israeli apartheid. Activists in many countries are beginning to answer that call. In London regular blockades and demos have been held throughout 2007 against Israeli exporter Carmel Agrexco (see SchNEWS 609). In New York, regular pickets have been held of Israeli businessman and settlement developer Lev Leviev’s diamond store and in Scotland a sustained campaign has been waged against the Israeli water company, Eden Springs, who source water from illegally occupied Palestinian territory.
* For boycott info: www.bdsmovement.net www.bigcampaign.org - www.stopthewall.org and www.palestinecampaign.org
** For more analysis of the ‘peace’ process see www.apartheidmasked.org
*** For alternative news and analysis see: www.electronicintifada.net - www.imemc.org
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For never tyring...
Last Saturday a “hunt monitor” (formerly
known as a hunt sab) was making her way
home from following a fox hunt when she
found herself being followed by a van of “hunt stewards” (formerly hunt thugs). She
mistakenly thought that calling the cops, who
happened to be in the area, would help her
continue on her journey without being stalked
and harassed. But, in the best hunt policing
tradition, she herself was arrested – accused
of taking the tiny dust cap from the valve of
the hunts vehicle’s wheel!. The woman was
taken into custody and released later that day
on bail. Police were seen doing a fi ngertip
search of the area for the missing cap!
THE DAY AFTER TODAY
This Saturday sees the latest attempt by Friends of the Earth and comrades to motivate society into tackling the imminent doom that is climate change. The Campaign against Climate Change, the latest mainstream vehicle, is meeting at Millbank near the House of Commons and marching past No 10 where they will deliver a letter. Whoopity doo! The focus of the march is on asking the UK government to pass a strong Climate Bill. The organisers believe “we cannot make meaningful reductions by our own individual efforts alone - these efforts will be wasted unless they are part of an overall plan coordinated by government.” The march will finish at the US embassy, to give “ a stronger hand to those working to achieve a global agreement that will establish a cap on the global total of emissions.” The National Climate March is part of a Global Day of Action with demonstrations and events in more than 50 countries demanding real action on climate from world leaders at the UN Climate Talks in Bali.
However, not all those on the demo agree that the buck stops with those in power. There will be another march leaving coincidentally at the same time and place billing itself as the “First Ever Vegan Climate March!” to celebrate all things meat and dairy free. Just over a year ago the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation reported that livestock production accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than all the world’s transport combined! (see SchNEWS 608). Head of the FAO’s Information Unit said that “livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.” Corporate control of meat and dairy production has forced millions of small farmers off the land as plots previously used to help households become self sufficient are turned over to the more profitable art of cattle rearing. So that’s one non government led change that everyone could make.
“We hope that The worlds first ever Vegan Climate March is the catalyst for this change”, say the organisers, Campaign for EcoVeganism, “We are urging veggies & vegans to be there and be part of history!!” Meet 12 noon on Millbank (Westminster tube) see www.campaigncc.org
A NIGHT At THE SchMOVIES!
At the Duke of York cinema, Brighton
Monday, December 10th at 6.30pm
Supporting 'The Iron Wall', a documentary made in the occupied territories and exposing the true situation in Israel and Palestine, is an hour of local SchMOVIES from this year. Films include the No Borders Camp, The Smash EDO campaign, Naked Bike Ride and the Save Omar Campaign.
* See: www.picturehouses.co.uk for details
Back in December 2004, Tasmanian logging company, Gunns Ltd, decided to sue activists attempting to stop them from trashing an ancient forest, home to the world’s tallest hardwood trees (see SchNEWS 536). Despite the company’s attempts to prevent demonstrations with an injunction, the direct action campaign has seen lock-ons, banner unfurlings and an occupation of Gunns’ Launceston office back in August (see SchNEWS 577). In a trial starting today at Hobart Magistrates Court, Gunns are suing two activists for 12,525 Australian dollars ‘costs’, from an action where the demonstrators climbed two cable loggers last August.
* For updates see www.huon.org/weldvalley
The long running battle (see SchNEWS 385) to block the proposed A303 Stonehenge tunnel/road was finally victorious as the scheme was officially scrapped this week (6th).
The Save Stonehenge campaign are obviously as delighted as everybody else who played their part in the resistance, including the Stonehenge Alliance, other environmental groups and individuals.
Read more at www.savestonehenge.org.uk
* The courts nailed a dangerous tearaway driver this week, found guilty of doing ninety in a sixty zone. The boys in blue weren’t so pleased as the culprit was Med Hughes, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police - a former chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers road safety committee!
PARTY & PROTEST
9 - International Animal Rights Day (on the 10th) will be marked by a dignified, candle-lit procession in support of Animal Rights. Meeting at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, London, from 2.30pm
9 - Book Launch: “The Guantanamo Files”: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison. Author Andy Worthington to give a short talk with discussion and book signing. Free. 7pm at Libra Aries Books, 9 The Broadway, Mill Rd, Cambridge CB1 3AH. Tel: 01223 412411. www.libra-aries-books.co.uk
10 - Demo against repression of Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. Bring things to make a noise. 1pm. Outside Mexican embassy, 16 George Street, London W1S 1LX. Tube: Oxford Circus. http://ukzapatistas.wordpress.com
11 - Save Titnore Woods! Protest outside South Downs National Park pre-inquiry meeting, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove. 1pm. www.protectourwoodland.co.uk
13 - RampArts film night, including a screening of The Humble Magnificent - ‘The bike is a humble yet magnificent form of transport plus a chance to chat about setting up a radical bike group and workshop space in London'. 8pm at London RampArt social centre, 15 -17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. Free/donation. firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.bicycology.org.uk/events/events.htm
SchNEWS Sports correspondents report...
“On the 18th of November, havıng made ıt to the quarter fınals, England were unceremonıously kıcked out of the World cup by a trıumphant Brazıl. A famaliar story but there were some things missing from the match – 22 of them to be exact as this was the Amputee World Cup, being played ın Antalya, Turkey. All participants must be amputees - one leg for players, one arm for goalies.
Sadly near total sılence greeted the team’s achıevement as only five people had turned out to support England, just one of whom felt suffıcıetly motıvated by natıonal prıde to scream a contorted ‘ComeOnMySon!’ at the approprıate moments.
There were strong showings from several African teams, notably Sierra Leone and Lıberıa. For many players thıs was theır fırst taste of ınternatıonal football. That they had made it this far was testament to the courage and spirit of players who had been mutilated during the civil war. Amputations were commonly used by Charles Taylor’s armed rebels to instill fear on the population.
One of Liberia’s star amputee footballers, Dennis Parker, has seen his fortune turn around through the game. He was dısfıgured whılst fıghtıng ın the country’s 14 year cıvıl war, and was reduced to beggıng on the streets of Freetown. Hıs fortunes changed when he joıned a group of angry war amputees storming Lıberıa’s government buıldıngs ın 2005. They fortıfıed the buıldıngs and squatted them untıl they recıeved a paltry 30 US Dollars each ın compensatıon from the government. The story of the amputees fıghtıng for recognıtıon spread and the Lıberıan Amputee Football Team was formed.
Meanwhıle, away from the stadıum on the nıght of the World Cup fınal, the nıght-long cheerıng, chantıng, fırecrackers and blastıng of car horns wasn’t for the beautıful game - but ınstead part of the Turkısh government’s mobılısatıon of ıts army as ıt prepares to send some 100,000 young conscrıpts over the border ınto Iraq. No doubt they hope to create many more amputees in a cynical attempt to streghten the squad for the next World Cup..." www.ampsoccer.org
WHERE FUELS RUSH IN...
This week the Peruvian government gave permission to oil companies Barrent Resources and Repsol-YPF to begin oil exploration in a remote part of the Amazon near the Peru-Ecudor border. The area is known to be home to uncontacted tribes and recently photographic evidence of these tribes was published around the world. In an attempt to justify the exploration, the chairman of Peruperto - the government body responsible - stated that the photos “prove nothing”. However, both the oil companies, many outside experts and even other departments of the Peruvian government have all recognised the tribes’ existence.
The oil companies invoked ridicule and outrage earlier in the year when they outlined their planned response if an oil crew was attacked while encroaching on the tribes' territory. Workers were trained to shout phrases such as, ‘Is something disturbing you?’ and ‘We haven’t come here to look for women, we have our own women in our own village.’ Survival’s director Stephen Corry said this week, ‘The Peruvian government’s decision to allow oil companies to enter this part of the Amazon could spell disaster for these Indians. The government must understand that it is their land, that they have the right to live there as they wish, and that no drilling should take place there. If that doesn’t happen, something really will be disturbing them: the threat of extinction.’ This is just the most recent example of invasion by oil and gas companies into uncontacted tribes’ land. In total, there are an estimated 15 uncontacted tribes in Peru and all are threatened by companies stealing resources from their land. www.survival-international.org
IT'S A FUELS' PARADISE
Organisers of the Biofuel Investment seminar at the Climate Investment World Conference in London were forced to switch venue at the last minute in response to a small demo by climate change protesters on Weds 28th.
At first glance, this response to a handful of protesters holding a banner outside seems a little excessive, but maybe they feared a repeat of the chaos unleashed by activists during the Bio Fuels Expo & Conference in Nottingham last month. Then, a large demo was held outside as, inside the conference, BP Biofuels’ Europe & Africa Director Oliver Mace got a tasty surprise during his speech when activists stormed the stage and pied him. At the same time, in Middlesborough, protesters locked onto the entrances to D1 oil refinery and stopped work for the day.
Increasingly climate change protesters are targeting the biofuels industry as it tries to establish itself as a major source of ‘green’ energy. The main arguments against biofuel are simple - huge increases in biofuel production involve massive areas of land, which is taken out of local control by the usual villains. It generally either involves the loss of agricultural land, replacing food production with fuel crops, or the loss of virgin rainforest or wetland, destroying essential ‘carbon sinks’ - at present a third of all green house gas emissions are the result of the loss of living carbon sinks.
Basic economic logic dictates that producers will grow what is most profitable. “The superior purchasing power of drivers in the rich world means that they will snatch food from peoples’ mouths”, says a Mr G. Monbiot, “run your car on virgin biofuel and other people will starve.” Already biofuel production is exacerbating the current trend of price increases in basic grains - in the past year the cost of rice has risen by a fifth , maize by half and the cost of wheat has doubled.
With such major social and ecological ramifications, the industry’s attempts to paint itself as green defy logic. A sustainable society can only be created by an end to a world system based on economic growth. Attempts to stop climate change must involve less consumption, not simply more consumption of different products.
* To highlight some of the possibilities for recycled biofuel, a team of intrepid adventurers are currently driving from Britain to Mali - powered by fuel made with waste chocolate. While it’s a bit of a gimmick - SchNEWS doesn’t see a lot of chocolate going to waste in the obese snack-happy Western world - and a way to generate a bit of green publicity as an excuse for the trip of a lifetime, fair play to 'em: its an all DIY affair with the truck being salvaged from the scrap yard and repaired. Loaded on the truck are a small biodiesel processing unit, old fridges and computers to be donated on their travels. For more see www.BioTruck.co.uk
We’d like to give Wayne Mitchell of Indiana, USA a ‘crap’ escape of the week award - but unfortunately his escape was too good and he got clean away.
In Clark County Jail for a probation-violation warrant, but out on a work crew clearing roadside trash, he decided he taken enough shit from ‘the man’. He went for a ‘comfort’ break and clogged up the toilet, causing it to overflow. As he burst out in a panic, distracted guards rounded up inmates to do the dirty work
Mitchell then headed for the jail van to ‘get some towels’ but just kept on going - before strolling into a nearby car dealership, asking for a test drive and calmly heading off into the sunset. He must have felt so flushed with his success...
SchNEWS warns all readers - in the current climate, it's time to step up the action. Honest!
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