Home | Friday 30th January 2009 | Issue 664
WAKE UP!! ITS YER SHOE GAZING...
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Story Links : Mner Mner... | Iceland Meltdown | Bolivian It Up | Inside Guantanamo | Exclusive: Omar Deghayes Speaks To Schnews | Big It Up | Outfoxed | Upping The Auntie | Bayer 'eck | Tas-mania | ...and Finally...
Last November, the 88 workers of Indugraf - a graphics printing company in Buenos Aires, Argentina - turned up to work only to find the workshop gates locked. A small sign informed them that they would receive telegrams with further information. The management arrived soon after to inform them that they’d been fired.
The workers reconvened outside the gates on December 9th, having been told to expect more news on this date, with many showing up in their work clothes expecting to resume their positions. With the gates still locked and no sign of the owners, the workers held an assembly to decide their next move. The next day (10th) they took over the factory.
In the time leading up to the seizure the workers had been paid irregularly if at all and were owed four months pay. What’s more they had seen a considerable decline in their working conditions. With the closure it also became apparent that the company had not been paying the workers’ pension, union and social security contributions for two years, despite subtracting them from wages. The owners - Carlos Martinez - meanwhile had a list of creditors that they’d been avoiding for some time. Despite this, the workers say that there had been no appreciable downturn in production and they’d been as busy as ever.
Under the name of the 10th of December cooperative, the group set up in the workshop and, aware of their precarious legal position, went straight to the Ministry of Work to lodge their claim. The Ministry recognised both their complaints and their claim but has yet to take any action at all.
Not so the Justice Department however. By December 30th they had already issued an eviction order giving the workers until the 25th of January to clear out. The workers however, were already camped inside the premises to prevent any action to reclaim it by the owners or the police.
Accompanied by more than 50 supporters, mostly neighbourhood youths, and hooked up to water and electricity by a neighbour, they spent Christmas and New Year in the workshop. Since then they’ve been holding regular marches, assemblies and cultural events to whip up support.
After instigating eviction proceedings, the owners reported that the cooperative was looting the building and the group soon started suffering police harassment. An assembly of 400 people in front of the building following a march was met by 200 cops and then, on January 22nd, the police raided the premises. They issued a notice that only the seven people they found inside would be permitted to enter the building and posted a guard on the door. Since then the remaining workers have been camped outside.
Fortunately the 10th of December are not on their own in this struggle. Following the economic crisis of 2001, a huge workers-co-op movement sprang up in Argentina (see SchNEWS 350 – Taking The Peso) and, despite facing enormous problems, it is still going strong. Employing some 13,000 people, there are currently around 150 re-occupied workplaces, from balloon factories to health clinics.
Many, like the iconic BAUEN Hotel which reopened with 30 workers and now employs more than 160, have grown into profitable businesses. Although some have slid into more traditional hierarchical management structures, most still operate on their original principles - equal pay for all and all-important decisions taken by one-person-one-vote assemblies. More than that, the co-ops have been reinvesting in the community. A number of them use their buildings as community and cultural centres while co-ops have also built a health clinics in neighbouring barrios. Two of the largest, Zanon and BAUEN, put on regular community rock concerts and theatre productions.
Since their formation the co-ops have formed a broad solidarity network based on mutual aid and cooperation among recuperated businesses and other worker organisations. They have organised under the name MNER - the Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas (national movement of recuperated businesses), an organisation which is providing support and legal advice to the 10th of December co-op. MNER has also established a fund to help starting co-ops.
The two-sided response to the 10th of December from the authorities – considering their claim on one hand while issuing eviction orders on the other – is typical of the deep ambivalence the government has shown towards the movement since its inception. While refusing to provide any sort of practical help, like low-interest loans or subsidies, they have, for the most part, not been shutting the co-ops down. Instead they’ve left most of them in a precarious legal limbo.
Despite a campaign from MNER there has been no ‘national law of expropriation’ and each co-op has its legal status examined individually. Some have been granted permanent rights to the business – full expropriation - while some have no legal status at all. The majority however have temporary rights, which usually last for between two and five years but can be changed at any moment. A number of businesses, including the BAUEN, have faced down eviction notices.
So far the 10th of December have avoided eviction, despite the passing of the notice deadline. The new co-op has a lot going against it; they are being delayed legally as Martinez has still not held a creditors meeting or filed for bankruptcy, while on the ground they are being prevented from getting the company up and running by problems with the machines, none of which work after apparently being sabotaged by the owners. But, on the other hand they have community backing and the support and experience of 150 worker-run businesses behind them.
With banks and businesses failing left right and centre back here in Britain - with more to come as the Credit Crunch becomes the Free Market Freefall, perhaps the Argentinians are offering an instructive model for exploited workers here to seize the reigns of power and take the con out of the economy...
The Icelandic people sensationally booted out their government on Monday (26th) after the country was left ravaged by the collapse of their privatised financial system last October. The Icelandic government has been under mounting pressure since late last year with thousands of people gathering outside parliament demanding that the government resign.
This quickly bloomed into weekly mass riots with cops being rushed to hospital and 14-hour noise demos eventually forcing the disgraced elite to flee. This is the first Government casualty of the global financial crisis.
On Tuesday, the Icelandic president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson called on Ingibjorg Gisladottir, leader of the ‘Social Democratic Alliance’ party, to form a coalition with the Left-Green movement. Gisladottir - foreign minister in the previous government - has now appointed Johanna Sigurdardottir, the social affairs minister, as the interim prime minister until new elections are held in May.
Since the Icelandic conservative government came to power eighteen years ago it has followed seriously dumb ambitions that were way out of its economy’s league. It started off by handing over its three banks to government cronies, who in turn egged on the nation to borrow up to seven times its GDP - which eventually caused a complete financial meltdown (see SchNEWS 657). Iceland is looking more and more like (free market get rich quick capitalist theory) neo-liberalism gone bonkers in microcosm.
The case of Iceland also demonstrates the fact that it usually takes a full-on systematic collapse before people get it together and say enough is enough. Yesterday’s IMF annual report predicted that the UK economy will soon take a 2.8% nose dive. On hearing about the UK’s rough financial state one flushed Icelander exclaimed, “The Brits should take a leaf out of our book and throw out their government!” Now there’s an idea.
* See: www.savingiceland.org and http://aftaka.org/tag/english
* Bjork is collaborating with Icelandic venture capital firm Audur Capital in a 100-million-krona (about £575,000) fund that seeks to boost Iceland’s ravaged economy by way of investing in green technology. SchNEWS’s response has been an “Oh So Quiet” cynical for the chances of greener capitalism to save the day...
BOLIVIAN IT UP
After years of political wrangling and fierce opposition from the resource-rich breakaway provinces of the East, Bolivians finally passed a new constitution last Sunday (25th). The process had pitted President Evo Morales and his party, MAS (Movimiento a Socialismo - movement towards socialism), against autonomist movements keen to cling onto their wealth, a dispute that spilled over into violence which saw over 30 Morales supporters murdered (see SchNEWS 647).
The document enshrines the rights of the indigenous majority and gives indigenous municipalities a bigger say in the governing of their lands and the management of natural resources. It has also officially separated church from state with Catholicism no longer the official religion. Water, health care and telephone access have been declared human rights, and new purchases of land in the nation will be regulated by the government and limited to 5,000 or 10,000 hectares.
The compromises made in the negotiation process have received some criticism from social movements. Of especial concern is the replacement of the clause that stated that public services and natural resources would be administered by public or community entities. The final text now allows this to be done by ‘mixed companies’ – public/private partnerships.
Nevertheless it’s still a big step up from the original 200 year old Spanish colonial constitution which didn’t even recognise the existence of an indigenous population...
“You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.” What the Executive Orders do include:
- Moazzam Begg, British ex-Guantanamo detainee quoting Malcolm X.
Within his first week of office Obama has taken significant steps to undo some of the damage caused by his predecessor, issuing three Executive Orders: one to close Guantanamo within a year, one to review existing detainee policies and a third to close CIA run detention centres (otherwise known as ‘secret prisons’ or ‘black sites’) and curtail the use of torture. But the orders still leave many legal black holes open, which could leave much of the extensive network of renditions and detention centres unscathed.
The first directive is aimed at removing detainees from Guantanamo either to their place of residence or a country which will accept them. If refused entry, the US will review whether they can be put on trial. In the mean time, military commissions against those currently facing prosecution have been halted and the Geneva Convention reinstated, ending the use of torture inside Guantanamo.
The second order is to set out a review of policy options for apprehension, detention, trial, transfer or release of detainees, which has to be completed in 180 days. The last order commissions a review of the military’s interrogation guidelines, requires all departments and agencies to provide the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees and orders CIA prisons to be closed.
An additional a presidential memorandum has also been issued to review the detention of Ali Saleh Hahlah al-Marri – the only ‘enemy combatant’ to be detained on US soil. He is currently being held in South Carolina.
What the Executive Orders exclude:
No mention is made of detention centres at US military bases such as Bagram in Afghanistan, which currently holds 600 hundred detainees, neither about prisoners held by foreign forces or private military companies.
Reprieve, an organisation of human rights lawyers, say the US holds one hundred times the number of prisoners currently held in Guantanamo, in both CIA and military prisons across the world. The status of ‘proxy detention’ is also hazy. A joint statement issued by campaigners says, “the Executive Order leaves open the possibility for the CIA to use detention facilities on a short-term or transitory basis, or to use foreign-controlled facilities to detain and interrogate individuals
The orders also do not include an end to rendition flights - covert transportation of detainees to places where they are tortured to obtain information - nor do they clearly outline how detainees will be returned safely. If released back to their country of origin some face torture and death. Moazzam Begg says Guantanamo was “like the Hilton” compared to other places in which he was incarcerated.
There is also no mention of redress for the prisoners that have been falsely accused, taken from their homes, families and livelihoods and abused for years, or whether those responsible will be held accountable – beginning with those at the very top. It is beyond doubt that international law and human rights have been totally violated on many counts.
In Guantanamo alone, over 800 people have been detained, 500+ released without a single charge brought against them and only 38 granted a trial at all (all which have now been put on hold – and these were dodgy military courts in any event). The overwhelming majority of detainees in Guantanamo were picked up by bounty hunters and sold to US forces for a reward.
The names, fates, and whereabouts of all individuals the US has secretly detained are still unknown.
Of course, everything cannot be achieved all at once. Rectifying eight years of the Bush administration cannot be achieved overnight, even if you are Obama. But there is a danger that in the wash of excitement over closing Guantanamo everything else will be forgotten. The campaign is far from over.
This week, taking Obama’s lead, the EU has entered negotiations about allowing some foreign national detainees entry. However they have yet to obtain full details of the detainees’ cases from the US, have yet to decide how to deal with evidence obtained through torture (the foundation of most cases) and still have to haggle through the varying judicial systems and asylum and refugee regulations of each country.
To clear the minefield, the EU is expected to set up a ‘clearing house’ in collaboration with the US – allotting inmates to countries who will take them. It is likely that deals will be struck between governments to bypass the inconvenience of the judicial process and the embarrassment if detainees are found not guilty.
Britain has refused to take any foreign nationals. So far 13 detainees with British status have been returned. David Miliband in a statement earlier this week says the UK has “done its bit’’. At least four detainees with British links still remain in Guantanamo: Binyam Mohamed, Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Belbacha and Saaid Farhi.
* ‘Two Sides – One Story: Guantanamo from both sides of the wire’ - a speaking tour is currently crossing the country bringing together ex-detainees including Moazzam Begg and an ex-prison guard at Guantanamo. 11th Jan – 4th Feb. See www.cageprisoners.com
For more info see www.reprieve.org.uk
EXCLUSIVE: OMAR DEGHAYES SPEAKS TO SCHNEWS
This week spoke to former Guantánamo detainee, Omar Deghayes, now back in England after finally being released in March 2008. Omar spent six years in prison camps, one at Bagram and the rest at Guantánamo. He was never charged with a crime, had no trial, and his release was spurred on by a Brighton-based campaign, Save Omar (www.save-omar.org.uk). Omar was visiting Afghanistan in 2001, and went to Pakistan when the US bombing started - there he was handed to the US by bounty hunters, as was the case for many Guantánamo detainees. The physical results of his maltreatment and torture include being blinded in one eye by pepper spray.
First of all can you give us your reaction to the latest developments – the closures and the banning of torturous practices?
Obama’s saying these good things about closing Guantánamo Bay and not only Guantánamo Bay also the other secret detention centres. But the thing is these are promises and we have to wait until we see people going home to their countries and their families... It’s been seven years... what’s going to happen to those people now?... he didn’t say whether he’s going to bring them to trial in the States ... Are they going to have a fair hearing in front of a jury? Are they going to get years of further imprisonment without anything, on the flimsy evidence that they have, that they’ve been tampering with for seven years? These are the questions he needs to answer. And lastly who is responsible for ruining those peoples lives? ... What they went through, their families, their youngsters, their children that grew up under those conditions? Who’s going to face those crimes that were committed? Who’s going to address those things and put them right? Obama didn’t address any of those things.
They’ve got 26,000 people detained in the war on terror, do you think they will really be able to address each one of those cases – to try or release every single one of them?
What kind of evidence are they going to present after seven years of this kind of treatment? I think the only fair thing is to release those people and accept that it’s because of the stupidity of the administration – that they weren’t able to bring the public into it and taking things properly through the courts. I don’t want to be too negative because his [Obama’s] intentions are right and those promises are very good but unless we see it happening and unless we see people going back to their families, only then things will improve.
They’re talking about returning a lot of the detainees to their own countries – do you think they can guarantee their safety if they do that or will they face further persecution when they get there?
I think certain people can’t go back to their countries... there are about 40 people in prison there, which, returning them to their countries is a complete danger they will be faced with, not certainly but probably death and if not they will be imprisoned and tortured. There’s some Chinese and Indians and others, many people who fled their countries in the first place, that’s why they were in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they fled their countries for safe-havens with the Taliban government. The Taliban government at the time gave refuge to anyone without asking for papers of residency, passports, all those things. Lots of these people were picked up from Pakistan and Afghanistan, because they fled their countries in opposition to those governments. Now returning them back to those governments, it’s a real danger to their lives, especially if they haven’t been charged with anything, they haven’t done anything against the Americans or anybody else as we know it, as the law recognises. So I think it’s very unfair to return many of them back to their countries.
They’ve not actually banned the practice of rendition yet – do you think they’ll carry on with that or will it be reviewed too?
This is a question I think should be put to Obama, what about renditions? Are you going to continue doing the same things like with Ibn al Sheikh al Libi, where he went to Egypt to be tortured and then information was taken away from him which led to the war in Iraq, false information that the Americans withdrew but the Iraq war still continued for years after that. Many people were sent to Morocco like Mohammed Binyam, the last British resident who was sent there where he was tortured, a blade was put to his private part. And many others like Hassan Attash who was sent to Jordan to be tortured. So I think that question would be something to put to Obama himself to answer, to say is the CIA stopping those practices, will they close those secret prisons down?
They’ve banned a lot of the ‘interrogation techniques’ – the torturing techniques – but they’re still using ‘aggressive techniques’ – ‘no touch’ stuff like music torture – do you think it’s important we carry on working against these things as well?
People have died in Guantánamo Bay in front of our eyes in the conditions, people were driven to death, people were beaten up in Bagram until they died. Moazzam Begg who is with me now, witnessed it himself in Bagram. In other places too, I’ve witnessed myself four dying in Guantánamo. Hundreds of detainees died in those detention centres according to The New York Times in 2005. Thomas Friedman claimed that... hundreds of detainees died under detention and all of them, he claimed, died of heart attacks. This is not only grossly immoral but it’s politically stupid. Not only that, I mean many things, abusing people sexually, I’m speaking about very serious things, like people losing parts of their body, sight and limbs, kidneys, failures, because of conditions there.
And sometimes it's the subtle engineering of the prison itself, how it’s been engineered like the very high powered air-conditioners, the food they give, the lights that will cause damage to a person’s brains – 24 hours of light for six years, day and night, glaring light inside the cell. What is this intended to do? This is intended to deflect peoples' thinking on such things. ...They torture in a way that’s very subtle and very clever, that looking at it first sight you wouldn’t recognise it, unless you speak to people there, unless you know what really does go on, on the blocks. That’s why they have a policy of not keeping anyone more than six months ... special guards come in and then as soon as they recognise what goes on they move them out and replacement guards come in, that’s the system that works there.
In terms of what happened to you – who do you hold responsible for it and what action would you like to be taken against them?
Who’s responsible? I have no doubts that it’s Bush, Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld, because they signed papers in July 2002... saying that they can commit torture. And many advisers to the system have now come out and spoken about those presidential papers being signed, some of them signed by the Minister of Defence, Rumsfeld, who himself approved the many techniques that were used against us. So I have no doubt in mind who is responsible and who should be held accountable. But saying that, making people accountable for their actions is not revenge and retribution. The reason is... that those things that happened to us should not happen to any other people – they should not happen again. The only way you can do that is to make people who did it accountable in one way or another, so that other people will not take those same footsteps, will not follow them in their ugly actions.
Like here, even in the UK, because of what happened in Guantánamo Bay, the Blair Government set up a similar system where you had control orders and people were put under detention, were put under house arrest with all sorts of conditions and rules without any trials and without any lawyers. Governments all over the world started to do similar things, as long as you are Muslim and you come from the Middle East then it seems that they think it’s fair play to do anything they like and that’s sad. I think other countries, including the UK should close those places because Obama has promised to close his extra-legal places... we have about eighteen people [in the UK] under control orders without any trials, without any fair system. That’s the reason for bringing people to account, the only reason is this rather than revenge, retribution - that’s not the motive.
Last of all, how much can we trust that this new administration is making a break with the policies of the last one - can we believe that this is really coming to an end?
... I’m happy for any change and I think he [Obama] is making the right sounds. But looking at his actions, I just heard a couple of days ago they bombarded the Pakistan border and killed many civilians. This does make us sit down and think, is he a lot better than Bush? Are they not counted, these twenty people who died in Pakistan? Are they not human beings? Are they just civilians who had nothing to do with this war on terror? I think all these things should be addressed before we can judge Obama.
The Save Omar Campaign, which helped return Omar Deghayes from Guantanamo, is transforming into the Brighton Against Guantanamo campaign and needs more volunteers - contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
They will be showing a film Taxi to the Dark Side at the Friends Meeting House, Brighton, Wednesday 11th Jan, 8-10pm. For more see www.save-omar.org.uk
BIG IT UP
The boycott on Israeli goods and Carmel Agrexco (See SchNEWS 649) seems to be working. Whilst the boycott has been going for some time, the latest Israeli military outrage has swelled the numbers of consumers voting with their trolleys and their action is starting to bite.
According to this week’s guest publication, the ever-riveting International Supermarket News, Israeli farmers have been telling of unsold food going rotten in warehouses as supermarkets can’t shift the stuff. Israeli goods include potatoes, avocados, chillies, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, dates, melons, sharon fruit, oranges, pomegranates, sweetcorn, radishes and fresh herbs.
To help keep the pressure up, the BIG (Boycott Israeli Goods – geddit!) Campaign are holding a demo on Feb 7th at the Carmel Agrexco HQ at Swallowfield Way, Hayes, Middlesex.
They’ll be there to highlight the fact that a vast number of flowers - grown in Israel and the Occupied Territories but often packaged and labelled as though from Holland – are flogged in the name of Valentine’s Day each year. Lorries will be leaving the depot stuffed with blooms for ill-informed lovers around the country – if you can’t make the demo why not take the campaign to your local supermarket and let shoppers know what it means to say it with flowers...
* For demo details see www.bigcampaign.org
** Nationwide protests continue....! On 24th Jan till queues in a Leeds M & S store were brought to a standstill as activists held up, leafleted customers, and sparked debate about the issues surrounding profiteering from the occupation of the West Bank. The protesters were stopped and searched by the police but no arrests were made.
On 27th Jan, three protestors were arrested in a Tesco in Swansea for filling a shopping trolley with Israeli goods and covering it in goats blood. Ms Murphy, a grandmother-of-four, has been charged with theft and will have to appear in court. An undercurrents video report of the protest is now available on http://undercurrentsvideo.blogspot.com/2009/01/israeli-goods-seized-in-tescos-and.html
Hunt saboteurs in the south were busy last week as a day trip was organised to the New Forest. After rising levels of abuse from supporters of the New Forest Fox Hounds, including car tyres being slashed, local sabs decided this wasn’t sporting and so made a call out for help.
As the Hunt were just about to set off for the day, police met fifty sabs appearing out of Land Rovers and other dodgy motors. Police, expecting trouble, issued a Section 60 notice (Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994) to get sabs to remove scarves. Unbelievably in-shape cops with quite expensive looking camera equipment spent the day chasing people and physically making people remove face scarves.
The day ended successfully as no foxes were killed and the force of numbers showed the hunt and its supporters that sabs and their equipment are not fair game.
Amazingly no arrests were made except one unlucky soul who was served with an 80 quid fine for improper use of a middle finger and one swervy but sober driver had his time wasted when he was breathalysed.
* See www.huntsabs.org.uk
UPPING THE AUNTIE
In the latest twist to the Propaganda war, the BBC have refused to air the Disaster Emergencies Committee’s Gaza appeal. The humanitarian appeal for cash to rebuild the shattered homes and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip was knocked back on the grounds that the beeb must ‘retain their impartiality’. They’ve got caught out this time though. Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 have all agreed to show the joint appeal put out by such dangerous loony-left groups (not!) as Oxfam, Save the Children, Help the Aged and the British Red Cross. This has left the BBC high and dry, trying to defend a stance that’s even more pro-Israeli than the government’s - a pretty difficult task by itself.
On Monday 26th a Stop the War protest outside the BBC in London managed to storm their offices. Unseen by the vanload of Plod stationed nearby, twenty people managed to get inside the lobby, demanding to see the Director General. He was unavailable for comment. Things got even sillier when a BBC camera crew were thrown out by BBC security for trying to report it.
* On the Gaza march last Saturday, the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) were blocked by Fitwatch activists, as well as many other people supporting them to join in obstructing police cameras. The crowd blocked cop photographers all day and rendered their “intelligence” gathering operation largely useless. Police reacted by targeting two Fitwatch activists who were nicked and held till Monday when the police tried to have them remanded (but failed). They now face charges of obstructing police and assault / Section 4 (threatening behaviour). For more info on resisting police intrusion see www.fitwatch.blogspot.com
* In the face of zero mainstream press coverage, Maria Gallestegui is into the third week of her hunger strike at Parliament Square in solidarity with the people of Gaza (See SchNEWS 662). This week she staged a one-woman protest inside the gates of Downing St – which is legal because she’d registered her intentions with the police prior to the event in accordance with SOCPA laws (remember that one for next time eh). Standing outside the door of No.10 as cabinet members came and went, she demanded, in her own words "they they lift the blockade... (bring) an end to the arms sale to Israel... and (hold) a war crimes tribunal". Hear her commentary at www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2009/01//420495.mp4
* Sussex University students are claiming victory after a week of occupying a lecture theatre (See SchNEWS 663) - they have reached a mutual agreement with university management to support Palestinians in their plight. The elated group say they are ‘reviving the role of educational institutions in effecting local and international social change’. The university has agreed to review its ethical investment policy, create new scholarships for Palestinians and pass surplus educational materials to universities in Palestine. See http://sussexoccupation.blogspot.com
* On other campus protests continue: In Bradford on Jan 27th 80 students occupied the boardroom of their university following a rally on campus, calling for the university to take measures in solidarity with Gaza including a boycott of Israeli goods. For more student actions see www.indymedia.org.uk
Despite the incarceration of the so-called leaders of SHAC (See SchNEWS 663), the campaign against animal testers Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) continues. Customers of HLS have been targeted as protesters made their presence known to Bayer in both Uxbridge and Cambridge, where they caused delivery failures as Bayer staff ran to lock the doors. On the same day a visit to Xerox in Uxbridge was made and workers were made aware of their employer’s ties to HLS as they made their way to the pub. PDP couriers, Barclays and Bristol Meyers Squibb were also targeted and actions also took place in solidarity with SHAC in New York.
The campaign continues to target the Bank of England, bankrollers of HLS - the next demo at the Bank of England in central London is on Feb 27th, 12 noon.
* See www.shac.net
On Saturday, January 20th, a small group of protesters held a demo outside of the Australian Embassy in London, during which two 40-foot trees were scaled and a banner unfurled between them, calling on the Australian government to halt the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s old growth forest. The action was held in solidarity with the eviction of Camp Florentine in Tazzy two weeks ago, which has been protecting the Upper Florentine Valley for two years now. With 240,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive temperate rainforest available for logging in Tasmania, including the world’s tallest hardwood trees at over 90m high, this struggle has seen some of the most innovative and daring tree top defending from across the globe. Since the recent eviction there have been thirty arrests, two marches en mass into the valley and two huge monopoles erected (on the same day as the UK protest) raising two huge fingers at the villains of the piece – Gunns Ltd and Forestry Tasmania.
Dogged and continual direct action against the rampant destruction of Tasmania’s old growth and high conservation value forests will need to continue to save this beautiful, ancient ecosystem from being pulped to oblivion by these eco-cidal maniacs...
* See www.huon.org and www.stillwildstillthreatened.org
At last, a public memorial to be proud of. A giant fibreglass and copper statue of the shoe thrown at Dubya Bush during the best press conference ever has been unveiled in Tikrit - the hometown of Saddam Hussein. The boot may not yet be on the other foot, but at least the sole of the Iraqi people has not been completely trampled flat yet...
SchNEWS warns all would-be shoe chuckers - try and get the tongue in cheek. Honest!