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(en) SchNEWS 393, Friday 21st February, 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 21 Feb 2003 08:02:32 +0100 (CET)

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

FOR CORRESPONDENCE USE schnews@brighton.co.uk  THANK YOU.

This week's SchNEWS:

SchNEWS Of The World is now ONLINE! You don't get the whiff
of freshly printed pages in yer hand, but you can now read
nearly all the book on www.schnews.org.uk (and the pics are
in colour!). Sorry it's only the serious articles, none of
the satire/subverts/cartoons are there (yet). If you really
need that printed copy however - order one from us for £7
plus £1.50 p&p (see details on our website). ISBN
09529748-6-X, 300 pages, issues 301-350.

Friday 21st FEBRUARY 2003, Issue 393



"The fracturing of the Western alliance over Iraq and the
huge anti-war demonstrations around the world this weekend
are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the
planet: the United States and world public opinion." - New
York Times, February 2003.

The biggest anti-war movement the world has ever seen has
only a few weeks left to stop the first world war of the
21st century. Bush and his corporate backers are intent on
re-carving the map of the Middle East to ensure US dominance
over world oil supplies for decades ahead. If they get their
way, the peoples of the Middle East, from Palestine to
Kurdistan, will face more war, more poverty, and more
repression so that the unsustainable gas-guzzling of
countries like the United States and Britain can continue
for a few more years.

But Britain is the weak link in the attack plans. Tony Blair
is acting like Bush's shiny-suited lawyer, desperately
digging up pseudo-legal and very pseudo-moral justifications
for an invasion of Iraq. But unfortunately for US interests,
Blair has very little support in Britain for his actions and
if he is toppled it would be a major blow to Bush. While
Blair represents the corporations, the millions who took to
the streets of cities across the world last week represent
the majority of world opinion. In Britain, the majority of
people oppose Blair's war, and oppose it actively - the
London march was the biggest in British history and actions
and protests are taking place across the country.

Weapons of Mass Dissent

But marches on their own are not enough. We need to do more.
In the words of one of Saturday's speakers, we need to "turn
up the heat". Civil disobedience on a vast scale, involving
thousands of new activists in direct action, is the only
reasonable response to Blair's war plans. We need to target
high profile government events, the Labour Party's Swansea
conference on the 28th of February for instance, and stop
them from taking place. Government ministers should be
harassed wherever they go. We need to be ready to stage mass
walk-outs and stay-aways from work, blockade city centres if
war starts, and culminate our actions in the already-planned
massive occupation of Whitehall. We need to make sure that
the police don't have a veto on what sort of protests we are
going to carry out. In short, we need to stop business as
usual for the government of this country until it is forced
to listen to the people and dump the warmongers.

The anti-war movement is incredibly united around the need
for action - there is little room for Judean People's Front
style bickering - and people are determined to be listened
to. A typical example of the new unity that is taking root
in the anti-war movement is Brighton-based group Sussex
Action for Peace. The group includes direct action veterans,
left wing activists, local union organisers and dozens of
individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. Meetings are
large and practical, organising everything from stalls to
banner drops in shopping centres to non-violent direct
action training sessions to crèches. People understand that
we are not going to affect this war if we stand around
slagging off each other's diverse tactics. They understand
that direct action goes hand in hand with leafleting the
high street - that the people breaking into air bases and
the people putting posters through letterboxes are in this

Groups like Sussex Action for Peace exist up and down the
country, so if the bombs start to drop, phone in sick and
join in the mass civil disobedience planned across the
country. To find out what's happening in your area see

Statutes of Liberty?
All demonstrations in Manhattan have been banned since
September 11th, and unsurprisingly, a New York judge made no
exception for the February 15th anti-war march planned in
the city, citing supposed "security" fears. Still, half a
million people turned out to voice their opinion on Bush and
his quest to rule the world. The cops allowed a rally, but
then helpfully closed off streets so that people couldn't
get to it. At one point, 200 baton-wielding police attacked
a group of 100 protestors. The provocation? Not staying on
the pavement. The police claim there were only 50 arrests,
but other sources, including the National Lawyers Guild,
reckon that as many as 400 people were handcuffed and locked
in freezing buses all day before being released without
charge. Lawyers were not allowed access to their clients for
up to 12 hours, during which police interrogated arrestees
and asked them about their political affiliations.
Congratulations Mr. Bush, Saddam would have been proud!

And yet despite all this, many New Yorkers still managed to
make the most of the day, including our personal favourites,
GLAMericans for Peace, who held signs bearing such
only-in-America slogans as "Makeup Not War", "Baby, I AM the
Bomb", and "War in Iraq is Wack". SchNEWS now reckons that
Americans may actually have a sense of humour after all
after reading about one sign addressed to Mr. Bush and
painted with the message, "Eat Another Pretzel, Asshole."


Crap Arrest of the Week
For looking for your girlfriend!
A Brighton man who got separated from his loved one at
Saturday's anti-war demo made the grave mistake of trying to
take a short cut across London to find her. He was accosted
by the police who told him he would have to go the long way
round. Unfortunately, when he told them to fuck off it
became a very long way round. He was arrested and held in
the cells all weekend for causing "Harassment, Alarm or
Distress to a Police Officer", but how the hell do they
think his girlfriend felt?


War Briefs

** If you think you were cold at London's anti-war march.
this Valentine's Day, 150 people braved temperatures
of -35°c in Ottawa, Canada at a 5 hour mass sit-down outside
the Ottawa War department.

Fairford airbase in Gloustershire is the biggest bomber base
in Europe and can house US Stealth bombers which will drop
depleted uranium bombs on Iraq. On Monday, a peace camp set
up outside the base. They need tat, food and more people;
it's at Kempsford, just south of the base. This Sunday
(23rd) there's a 'No Basis for War, No Bases for War' action
against the base. Meet noon in Fairford village. Camp
Mobiles 07905 131020 or 07947 614941 www.gwi.org.uk

WAR Against War meeting for folks who live or work in West
London to discuss local action against the war. Mon 24th
7.30pm, West 12 Bar (Basement), 74 Askew Road, London W12.

Special meeting of Worthing Against War, Tues 25th, 7.45pm,
upstairs at The Downview, West Worthing.

Weds 26th 'Question Time' style debate on the War. 7-9pm at
the Brighthelm Centre, North Rd, Brighton

Also on 26th, Sussex Action for Peace get involved benefit
night. £3. Bands and DJ's, 9pm-2am at the Hanbury Ballroom,

The war-mongering 'Christian' Tony Blair is due to attend
the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Thurs
27th, 3pm, Canterbury Cathedral. An anti-war demo is
planned, meet 1.30pm, The Burgate, Canterbury.
mobilisekent@hotmail.com 07950 610257.

Fri 28th is the Labour Party Welsh Conference. An anti-war
demo is planned. Meet 12 noon at the Guildhall, Swansea.

ARROW Resistance Gathering to organise non-violent direct
action against war, 1st March, 10.30am-5pm, 62 Fieldgate
Street, London E1. www.j-n-v.org

And finally. In North Carolina, the owner of a restaurant
has renamed his French fries "freedom fries" in protest over
France's disgusting anti-war policy towards Iraq. "It's our
way of showing our patriotic pride," says the owner.


Bolivia is in the grip of a massive urban uprising after
high school students and the working class of La Paz and El
Alto erupted in the streets on February the 12th. In the
capital city of La Paz, high school students attacked the
Presidential Palace with stones as crowds burned the
headquarters of the major neo-liberal parties, a private
television station, and various government buildings. In El
Alto, rioters burned and looted the water company and the
power company and later on occupied the Coke and Pepsi
bottling plants. All of this happened after the military
opened fired on a group of police who were marching to the
Presidential Palace to protest tax increases that would
reduce their already low wages. The unpopular tax increases
were an attempt by the repressive de Lozado regime to follow
IMF directives to reduce the government deficit. But tax
increases are just the tip of the iceberg. Coca is also on
de Lozado's black list, but Coca growers and indigenous
Indians have been blockading roads since January to protest
against the criminalisation of coca growing and the unequal
distribution of land. The de Lozado regime has also provoked
opposition because of its support for the neo-liberal Free
Trade Area of the Americas and its complicity in the US's
dirty War on Drugs.

Finally, on February the 12th, the people of Bolivia had had
enough. After a day of riots, most of the working class
neighbourhoods in El Alto and La Paz had blockaded their
areas and groups of several hundred were meeting in the
carnage of their streets to discuss tactics. Unfortunately,
military tanks, tear gas and snipers quickly dispersed a 10
000-strong demonstration held in La Paz the following day.
By early afternoon, eight were dead and ten wounded. But the
anger still rages in the streets as protestors continue to
blockade roads, chanting the anti-de Lozado slogan 'Gringo
go home' (as the President reputedly has the annoying
tendency of talking with a North American accent when
speaking Spanish)

Parallels have been drawn with Argentina's social rebellion,
but in Bolivia the rebellion is (unfortunately) under the
control of the political party MAS (Movement Towards
Socialism.) But perhaps it is too soon to express cynicism.
The MAS, together with the peasants' trade unions, has
formed the Joint Chiefs of the People to spearhead the
rebellion and has called for a mass blockade in the rural
areas. Under this unbearable pressure, de Lozado has
withdrawn the tax increases and dissolved his entire cabine
but the rebellious Bolivians aren't through with him yet.


"The Pharmaceuticals lobby is running the show in
Washington," said a development activist at talks in Geneva
last Monday, where unelected President Bush, apparently
under the influence of drugs (companies), blocked a World
Trade Organisation ruling that would have allowed developing
countries access to drugs at affordable prices.
After the long battle between drugs companies and the South
African government last year, it was decided that
governments of poorer countries could ignore international
patent laws in order to prevent further deaths from curable
diseases (SchNEWS 290 & 328). The drug companies see this as
a massive threat to their profits and with a little help
from their friends in high places they're trying to stop the
deal going through.


The government is in breach of the European Convention on
Human Rights - and that's official.

Mr Justice Collins pulled no punches when he handed down a
ruling in the High Court recently on the draconian Section
55 of the 2002 Asylum Bill. He said there was "a real risk"
of death or injury for refugees who, under Section 55, are
refused support because they didn't apply for asylum the
minute they arrived in the UK. He went on to state that
Section 55 violates asylum seekers' human rights.

The test case was brought on behalf of 6 asylum seekers but
there are 150 more just like it in the pipeline! Justice
Collins ordered that previous decisions made by the Home
Office in respect to the 6 "must be quashed and
re-considered" and that they should be given emergency

Keir Starmer QC, representing the asylum seekers, told the
court how one Iraqi man had been forced to spend nights in a
telephone box due to Section 55. Starmer emphasized that the
hardships victims of this brutal new legislation are forced
to endure - no money, no food, no home - substantially lower
their ability to effectively pursue their asylum
applications due to rapid physical and mental deterioration.

Liza Schuster, an expert on asylum from LSE commented: "What
does the government expect people to do - patiently starve
to death?" Er, yes.

Even though today's ruling means that the Home Office now
has a duty to ensure people who apply for asylum are not
left without food or shelter, Blunkett ain't having it. He
was outside immediately after the hearing ended, telling the
Press: "We will be appealing against this decision, with the
Attorney General taking the appeal on behalf of the

* Don't let the lunatics take over Asylum! Find out what you
can do at 0121 554 6947 www.ncadc.org.uk
* Monday 24th there will another pre-trial hearing for those
accused of taking part in the disturbance at Yarl's Wood
detention centre. Meet 9am Harrow Crown Court. 07867-690332.
* Stop the War on Asylum Seekers Public Meeting. Hanover
Room, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton. 3rd March,
* There's leafleting of Saltdean this Sunday in defence of
refugees who may be housed there soon (see SchNEWS 390).
Meet 12 noon at the Saltdean Tavern (next to the Lido).


Positive SchNEWS
If the revolution is gonna be televised then make sure
you're the one with the videocam and get yerself down to the
Indymedia camcorder guerillas' weekend. Featuring screenings
of radical underground films and workshops by the filmmakers
giving practical and technical inspiration to activists.
7th-9th March mainly at Glasgow Film Theatre, with a party
to celebrate the launch of Indymedia Scotland on the
Saturday. For the workshops (£10/£20) and party (£3/£5),
book with the Glasgow Media Access Centre, Camcorder
Guerillas, 34 Albion St, Glasgow. 0141 553 2620. For the
screenings ring 0141 332 8128


Next time you tuck into your prawn and mayo sandwich, spare
a thought for the other fish that never made it to your
stomach. For every 1kg of prawns caught, 10-20kg of
'bycatch' is caught. These are then discarded overboard dead
or dying. 150,000 sea turtles are killed by prawn trawlers
every year. Prawn trawling is also thought to be the
greatest threat to seahorses. This luxury product and other
factory fishing methods are destroying the world's
fisheries, undermining the sustainable use of the oceans.


Reports commissioned by Greenpeace over a year ago reveal
that a terrorist attack on a nuclear power station in the UK
could release 25 times as much radiation as was released by
the Chernobyl disaster. The reports, which conclude
Britain's nuclear plants are "almost totally ill-prepared"
for an airborne terrorist attack, also estimate that such an
attack could kill between 1.1- 3.6 million people. So what
do you think Greenpeace and the UK government want to do
with this information? Sit on it, of course. Both Greenpeace
and Neo Labour have actively sought to suppress any
publishing of the findings, supposedly because of their
"seriously alarming nature".

So while the government babbles on about a possible ricin
attack or deploys tanks to Heathrow, there might actually be
something much worse round the corner that no one is
bothering to tell you about.
Maybe this has to do with Tony Blair's love of nuclear
power. He had recently proposed to build six new nuclear
power stations, but luckily for us, other ministers stood up
to him and rejected the plan. But like a spoilt brat who
didn't get his way, he is now insisting that if he can't
have what he wants, green energy backers can't either. Blair
is now insisting that a newly proposed target of producing
20% of Britain's power from renewable energy sources by 2020
also be scrapped!

* Greenpeace is mounting a legal challenge to the £650m bail
out package the Government gave British Energy (who run the
old Magnox nuclear power stations). If the suit is
successful, British Energy would go bankrupt and perhaps
have to shut all of their power stations.


Inside SchNEWS
A protester from Shannon airport was this week found guilty
of spray painting a US airplane which was at the base last
September. The punishment was a 1,000 euro fine and a six
month suspended prison sentence. The protester is
appealing-donations to the appeal fund would be greatly
appreciated: Cheques payable to Eoin Dubsky, Whitewalls,
Ballymoney, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

* Five catholic workers who were arrested doing a
ploughshares action at Shannon airport at the beginning of
the month are still on remand. Letters of support can be
sent to them c/o Br. Anthony, Glenstal Abbey, Murroe, Co.
Limerick. http://slack.redbrick.dcu.ie


...and finally...

All Coked up
A South African businessman has accused Cricket World Cup
organisers of assault after he was thrown out of Saturday's
match between Australia and India - for drinking a can of

The World Cup organising committee, in an effort to protect
the interests of official sponsors like Pepsi, has placed
arch-rivals Coca Cola on the list of items that are banned
at all World Cup matches.

"Within minutes of opening our cans, we were accosted by
security officials and told to stop drinking," said Arthur
Williamson, the hassled Coke drinker. "They also demanded
that we surrender any remaining unopened Cokes in our
possession." When he refused, he and his family were chucked
out! Nothing like the "Real thing", eh?!


SchNEWS warns all politicians flirting with danger, Make
Out, Not War. Honest!


SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £7!! Past books
are goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - nearly sold
out - £5; SchNEWS annual issues 101-150 - going for £3!!
Survival Handbook issues 151-200 - also at £3; SchQUALL
issues 201-250 - almost sold out - £7; Yearbook 2001 issues
251-300 - bargain £5. Add £1.50 p&p for each book, cheques
to Justice? Honest!

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of
contacts, comedy
etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop or

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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

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