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(en) SchNEWS 244, Friday 21st January 2000

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Sun, 6 Feb 2000 06:43:25 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E



Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action

Issue 244, Friday 21st JAnuary 2000



"The prime minister is backing a project that would be a disaster
for the environment, a tragedy for local people, and a threat to
Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth

SchNEWS ain't having a Turkish ** but the planned Ilisu Dam, in
South-East Turkey could well be "the biggest corruption scandal
in western Europe" (George Monbiot).

The hydro-electric dam will flood 52 Kurdish villages and 15
towns. One of these is Hasankeyef, one of the most ancient
settlements in the world. It is the only town in the region to
survive the middle ages, protected so tightly by planning laws
that hotels are not even allowed to be built for the hoards of
visiting tourists. The Kurds regard this city as their cultural
heartland and see this  project as a political tool to continue to
ethnically cleanse them from Turkey. One angry Kurd
commented "By destroying Hasankeyf, they hope to eliminate our

About 16,000 Kurds are expected to lose their homes and land
without compensation, and another 20,000 will have their lives
disrupted. At least 19 Kurdish villages in the reservoir area have
already been cleared at gunpoint and then burnt. Disagreeing
with the dam's construction has been outlawed. Surprise,
surprise, there is no resettlement package for the dispossessed.

There is also the added fear that Turkey will have the means to
cut off the water supply to Syria and Iraq once the dam is built.
This issue has already been identified as a potential cause of war
in the region. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former secretary-general of
the UN has stated that, "The next war in the Middle East will be
fought over water, not politics."

Top cabinet ministers, including Robin Cook, Stephen Byers and
fat controller John Prescott, have advised against the dam. Even
those environmentally challenged people at the World Bank are
refusing to have anything to do with the project. The Bank admits
that the plan violates the UN Convention drawn up to prevent
border disputes and wars between states that share water
resources. If it violates World Bank 'ethical' policy (?!), just who is
prepared to get involved.and why?!

Balfour Beatty and Tony Blair..... come on down!!!
Balfour Beatty have become the New chums of the Labour crew.
One of its executives was seconded to the Dept of Trade and
Industry's "innovation unit", while Sir Malcolm Bates, architect of
the Private Finance Initiative (see SchNEWS 219), and one of
Blair's heroes, was chosen as the ideal man to chair London
Transport. Until his appointment, he was a director of BICC - the
parent company of Balfour Beatty. Oooh.. what nasty tangled
webs they weave!

Who's Balfour Beatty? They are the lovely company that built
roads like the A30 in Devon. They also played a  part in the
Pergau Dam fiasco in Malaysia, which never worked but gave the
government the opportunity to sell the Malaysians arms.
As for Tony Blair's involvement. issues such as Turkey's desire to
become part of the European Union, and the fear of losing
money gained by extensive arms sales to a Nato ally were clearly
too pressing for him to risk upsetting the Turkish Government.
Don't worry about the 20,000 people set to have their lives
disrupted, Tony, we're sure they'll manage somehow!
In order for the Ilisu dam to comply with European Law, the
government  needed to provide an environmental assessment of
the dam. The documents revealed the devastating environmental
impact of the dam and the expected human rights violations. But
all this now means nothing as the final environmental
assessment report will be prepared by  none other than. Balfour

Feeling outraged at these projects? Did you realise that you
have, and will be, actually helping to fund them?  Welcome to the
world of the Export Credit Guarantee Department.
This is a cheeky little scam that provides insurance for companies
operating abroad. If the host country doesn't pay, the agency,
meaning the taxpayers,  foot the bill. The Department then uses
its muscle, backed by the govt, to force the reluctant country to
reimburse it with interest effectively acting as a global debt
collector for British corporations.

The Department kindly refuses to take social, human or
environmental rights into account preferring to leave it up to the
host country. George Monbiot has described them as, "the
biggest threat to sustainability and social justice on earth.It
pursues it's money with ruthless determination, even when the
debts were incurred for projects crawling with corporate
corruption  It is responsible for 95% of the debt owed by
Southern countries to the British Government."
Want to hear more? This nasty, secretive little lot is at present
backing two nuclear power plants in China and supported the
Nathpa Dam in India. And it gets worse! British Aerospace's sale
of 40 Hawk jets to Indonesia was insured by the Department.

Another controversial dam is the one  on the Narmada River in
India, turning the valley into a series of reservoirs. It will affect the
lives of 25 million people who live in the  valley, and will
submerge and destroy 4,000 square kilometres of deciduous
woodland. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada
Movement) have been fighting against the proposed dams for the
past 14 years. Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize winning author
who was arrested last week for her part in the anti-dam
demonstrations, describes the effects of such developments in
her book 'The Greater Common Good', "Big Dams are
obsolete.They're undemocratic.There was a time when Big Dams
moved men to poetry. Not any longer. All over the world there is
a movement growing against Big Dams".

SchNews Vocab Watch
* Kurdish-Dam is not Cockney Rhyming Slang for Kurdistan.
Kurdistan is the area  Kurdish people have inhabited for over
4,000 yrs. It was carved up by French & British colonialists in a
1923 treaty after the collapse of the Ottoman empire to become
parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
** Turkish-Bath - Cockney Rhyming Slang for Laugh

* Kurdistan Solidarity Committee Trade Union Group,  Tel: 0171
250 1317

Thames Water, has decided in its wisdom to cut 1,000 jobs over
the next five years. Welsh Water 600 jobs. Severn-Trent Water
1,100 jobs. Are they skint or bastards? Apparently the latter.This
all arose due to regulators asking for bill reductions. One, namely
Mr Byatt, known affectionately in the trade as Water Wimp
violently responded by speaking through a spokesman saying
"There is nothing we can do." Water wanker! No wonder Ofwat
employed him. Poverty stricken Welsh Water make £35 profit on
every £100 bill.

"We will in no way sell our Mother Earth, to do so would be to
give up our work of collaborating with the spirits to protect the
heart of the world, which sustains and gives life to the rest of the
universe, it would be to go against our own origins, and those of
all existence."
Statement of the U’wa People, August 1998.

The U’wa of the Colombian cloud forest are in a life-and-death
struggle to protect their traditional culture and sacred homeland
from Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum’s proposed oil drill site. 200 of
the U’wa people are occupying the drilling site and thousands
more will join them at any sign of activity.  The U’wa’s opposition
to the oil project is so strong that they have vowed to commit
collective suicide if Occidental Petroleum and the Colombian
government proceed with the project on their ancestral lands.
Throughout Colombia, oil is linked with violence and terror.
The U’wa people’s struggle exploded into the public arena last
March with the murders in Colombia of three American
indigenous rights activists. One of them Terence Freitas was a
founder of the U’wa Defense Working Group and had devoted
the last two years of his life to supporting the tribe in their
campaign to stop Occidental’s oil project.

"...we ask that our brothers and sisters from other races and
cultures unite in the struggle that we are undertaking...we believe
that this struggle has to become a global crusade to defend life."
Statement of the U’wa people
One of  Occidential’s largest shareholders is Boston-based
financial giant Fidelity Investments. Fidelity have been given a
deadline of the 1st March to either convince Occidential to cancel
the project or show that they will not invest in genocide. Ironically,
Fidelity’s slogan is, "We help you invest responsibly."
There’s a day of action on 3rd February. Further info:

The capital of Ecuador has been brought to a standstill by
thousands of indigenous locals who are protesting against the
worsening economic situation in the country. The local currency,
the sucre has collapsed from being worth 7000 to the dollar, to
over 25,000 and many previously owned state companies have
been privatized in the pursuit of more profit. Indigenous people
make up over a fifth of the population of Ecuador, but are among
the most impoverished and repressed sections of society. The
President of Ecuador also recently announced the 'dollarisation'
of Ecuador's economy, meaning that the dollar would replace the

This was the final straw for millions who were fed up with the
country's neo-liberal policies, and lack of real democracy. So they
formed the confederation of the indigenous nationalities of
Ecuador -CONAIE. This operates as an alternative people's
parliament and believes in decentralizing power to the country's
21 regions. Mass protests are bringing the country to a standstill,
with protestors blocking roads and teaming up with striking oil
workers to try and cut off the country's fuel supplies. Over 45,000
cops and troops have been mobilized to confront the protestors
in the capital, but the Indians are refusing to leave or to negotiate
with the president, who they don't consider to be president
Info is still sketchy about just what is going on at the moment, but
check out www.coli_uni-sb.de/~pietsch/kosovo/

SchNEWS in brief
Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, a former Black Panther who has
previously been imprisoned for his struggle for the Black
community, is coming to the UK as part of the MayDay 2000
Festival. He plans to do a tour speaking of his life, struggles and
beliefs. If anyone is interested in arranging a venue or putting
Lorenzo up during his stay, contact MayDay 2000, London
WC1N 3XX, Tel: 020 8374 5027

** There will be a public meeting entitled "People and Protest"
discussing the war against capitalism with a slant on the Seattle
protests.  It's at 8pm on Thursday 3rd February at Middle Street
Primary School Hall, Middle Street, Brighton.

** The Museum of London is holding an unusually radical
exhibition called "Message to the Mayor: Don't Sterilise our City".
It plans to draw the Mayoral candidates' attentions to issues
regarding the state of the city including 'Keep Our Capital Messy'.
It runs from 11th Jan to 20th Feb. Tel: 0171 814 5500

** An inquest into the murder of Diarmuid O'Neill, shot and killed
by the Metropolitan Police during a raid on his home on 23rd
September 1996, begins at Kingston Crown Court on Jan 31st.
Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill Campaign, BM Box D. O'Neill,
London WC1N 3XX.

** The Smash Genetix 20, who were in court this week for a
proposed three week trial over alledgedly trashing an AgrEvo GM
maize site last year, were out of court after 1 1/2 days! After a
plea bargain, 11 were bound over to keep the peace for twelve
months. The remaining nine received either one year conditional
discharges, or œ200 fines.
** There's a meeting against the Terrorism Bill  Conway Hall, Red
Lion Square, Holborn, 26th January, 6:30pm ** Campaign
Against Arms Trade women's network are meeting on Saturday
29th 2-5 pm at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn to plan
an event for International Women's Day in March Tel 0171 281

Outrage! are calling for a  boycott of all Stagecoach bus and train
services, after the companies chairman Brian Souter gave more
than #500,000 through his charitable foundation to the Scottish
Schoolboards Association. The money will fund a T.V. and
advertising campaign against the repeal of section 28 in Scotland
- the law which prevents schools and teachers promoting
Brian Souter's a lovely bloke: New Labour supporter, committed
Christian, and rampant capitalist who has made his millions by
buying up bus and rail systems as they become privitised, with
operations in China, Brazil,  U.S., Canada, and New Zealand.

An example of just how the firm made it's millions can be seen in
Darlington, where a Monopolies and Mergers Commission report
called their activities "predatory, deplorable and against the
public interest". The 90-year-old municipal Darlington Transport
found that its drivers were poached and Stagecoach arrived two
minutes earlier at bus stops offering free trips. Darlington
Transport went bust, Stagecoach raised the fares and cashed in.

Since then they've been the subject of 8 other reports from
Monopolies & Mergers and 24 inquiries by the Office of Fair
Repeal of section 28 is supported by organisations like the
Children First and Childline and most of MPs in the new Scottish
parliament. But a spokesman for the Souter Foundation  reckons
that "this is about democracy." And moral decency perhaps as
well? Something Souter and his Stagecoach cronies know all

It's been a good week to boogie, first we heard the government
was gonna be gracious enough to allow us to dance on Sundays.
The Home Office Minister responsible for relaxing the 200 year
old Sunday Observance Act, obviously has the funk saying, "If
people want a bit of Sunday night fever, that's fine with me."

Better news was to come when Shane Collins, organiser of the
May Day Cannabis Festival at Clapham Common, faced getting
on down with a 6 months prison sentence and a #20,000 fine
because people danced at last year's event without a license. On
Thursday Shane was found not guilty and awarded court costs of
two travelcards. (It's estimated Lambeth Council spent #12,000).
He'll probably still be celebrating on the 6th May when the next
'Smokey Bear' festival will be held at Kennington Park.

* Boo! This years Ambient Picnic in Guildford has been cancelled
by the Guildford Philharmonic (they have a concert the night
before the Picnic and the Ambient organisers share the staging
costs). Apparently, last year the Philharmonic went over-budget,
and so have decided to have a "tribute-band" gig instead on the
Sunday to pay off the debt.

Plans for a Flame of Hope, lit by Sir Cliff Richard, that was to last
all year to remind the people of Birmingham of  Jesus Christ
,quickly burnt out after just a couple of weeks because someone
had forgotten to order enough gas!  Prior to lighting the flame on
New Year’s Eve, an excited Cliff said "It’s great to know that...a
Flame of Hope will burn throughout the Millennium year." When
SchNEWS spoke with Cliff this week, he told us, "The Church will
always be full of gas, even if the bottle isn’t." Never mind, Cliff,
you could always take a match to ‘Millennium Prayer’ instead!

The city of Davos has announced that it won’t tolerate planned
protests during the week in which the World Economic Forum will
meet at the Swiss winter resort (see Schnews 243.)  Thousands
of  policemen, private security guards and military will transform
this little place in the swiss mountains into a high security  area.
Anti-WTO-Koordination, a group based in Bern, has announced
its protest 'against this decision which is a clear violation of our
civil rights.'  Demos are still planned for 29 January. Meet at
Davos train station at 3 pm. www.reitschule.ch/reitschule/anti-wto
or e-mail them at fantasia39@hotmail.com.
...and finally...

Tourists are causing a lot of anxiety - and are costing money - to
a tiny village where signs keep disappearing. What do the signs
read? 'Welcome to Fucking, Austria.'
Pronounced 'fooking', the little hamlet of Fucking is named after
the man who founded the village in the 6th century. His name?
The town sign has been stolen seven times in the last few
months. With signs costing several hundred dollars apiece, much
of the tiny town’s budget is being spent replacing the signs, says
Siegfried Hoeppel, the Mayor of Fucking. He went on to express
his hope that further thefts will be avoided through the use of
increased concrete and ... bigger screws.

SchNEWS warns all readers that those dam politicians are
beavering away again so if you’ve got a reservoir of strength
bung a cork in their sluice gate causing a log-jam.



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