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(en) SchNEWS Issue 394, Friday 28th February, 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 28 Feb 2003 08:44:49 +0100 (CET)

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

In the week that George W. presents his 'vision' for a post-war Iraq, a
vision that he has already refused to contribute to financially, SchNEWS
reckons it's appropriate to look at Afghanistan one year on.  Just how has
bombing and killing civilians improved the situation for the Afghan people?

The Wanted posters that litter the country, dropped by US planes, give us a
clue.  America's most wanted are Osama bin Laden, former Taliban leader
Mullah Omar, and former Prime Minister and hardline Pashtun warlord
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Little change there then.  Hekmatyar continues to rally
support among the Pashtun communities, probably due to the oversight that
neglected to allow them proper representation in the Transitional Government
headed up by US puppet Hamid Karzai. Karzai's credibility plummets as he
turns to the US for his own security, and his power has yet to extend beyond
Kabul.  Someone obviously forgot to read the bit in Security Council
Resolution 1378 stating that both the transitional and the pursuant
democratic governments should be 'broad-based, multi-ethnic, and fully
representative of all Afghan people.'

With their usual 'go for the symptom if you can't get the cause' way of
looking at things, the US have been bombing the Pashtun communities in the
South and East of the country. If the man's too slippery, go for the people
who may, just possibly, one day in the future, support him.  In January, US,
Norwegian and Danish fighter planes conducted a massive bombing raid close
to Spin Boldak, a refugee village near the Pakistan border that houses
65,000 men, women and children, reportedly killing hundreds of civilians.
Accurate numbers were not available as the area was sealed off by troops and
access denied even to the Red Cross.  This is in direct contravention of UN
Resolution 1379 - which underlines the importance of 'full, safe and
unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and goods, and the delivery of
humanitarian assistance to all children affected by armed conflict.'
Earlier this month, 17 civilians, mostly women and children were killed in
bombing raids designed to wipe out a handful of rebel fighters in the
Baghran district to the South.


US forces continue to use outlawed weapons in these attacks, such as uranium
bombs and the innocuously named Daisy Cutter, a bomb the size of a VW beetle
which incinerates everything within a 600 metre radius and whose shock waves
can be felt miles away. Findings by the Uranium Medical Research Centre
(UMRC) point out that uranium poisoning is already causing severe health
problems throughout Afghanistan "The UMRC field team was shocked by the
breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without
exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill."  Yet again the
US shows its middle finger to resolution number 1379 that calls upon all
parties to respect conditions of 'Prohibition or Restriction' on the use of
weapons which have 'Indiscriminate Effects.'

And to add insult to mass destruction, George W. 'forgot' to include any
humanitarian and reconstruction funds in his 2003 budget.  Yet another
unfortunate oversight hurriedly rescued by Congress who managed to rustle up
$300 million for the cause.  How many times did Bush pledge not to walk away
from the Afghan people? $300million might seem like a lot, but it
constitutes a small proportion of the $4billion total pledged at the Tokyo
donor's conference to help rebuild Afghanistan.  Compared to the $3 billion
that Israel receives in US foreign aid every year, $300m figure suddenly
loses its impact.  Israel has been given $240 billion since 1973, much of it
used for the purchase and manufacture of weapons, plus additional funds, not
counted as foreign aid, for special projects such as $180 million for the
development and manufacture of the Arrow missile project.  Weapons now make
up 50% of Israel's manufactured exports.  Contrary to the norm, Israel is
not required to use this injection of funds to buy American goods, in fact
American defence contractors are often forced to buy Israeli goods, and it
has the power to block the sale of US military equipment to Middle Eastern
countries.  In common with other states that have earned the "rogue nation"
label, Israel has the capacity to manufacture nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons and maintains a stockpile of nuclear weapons, yet has not
signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow any independent
inspection of its facilities.

Israel are now demanding an additional $3-4 billion for the next 3 to 5
years to help them cope with the continuing Palestinian uprising and the
consequences of a US war in Iraq. Perhaps George W. should see someone about
his blurred 'vision' before he makes more of a spectacle of himself.

More info: Uranium contamination - www.URMC.net; Daisy cutters -
www.robearly.com/911/DaisyCutter.html; Israeli foreign aid -

It's a Fairford Cop, Guv

Last Sunday around 500 people met for a day of direct action at Fairford, a
US military base in Gloucestershire.  Fairford is the biggest bomber base in
Europe and houses US stealth bombers that will drop depleted uranium bombs
on Iraq.  After gathering at the main entrance of the base, someone
announced that they were weapons inspectors and wanted to inspect the base.
A peace activist told SchNEWS, "We tied ropes to the top of the front gate
and started pulling on them and shaking the gate. To everyone's surprise,
including the cops, it collapsed on one side and swung open after a few
minutes. There was a pause while everyone on the outside watched the
horrified expressions on the faces of the police on the other side and then
everyone rushed in." While being part of a huge crowd on the streets is an
important show of dissent, "direct action allows us to slow down or stop the
war machine" as one protestor told SchNEWS, "The best thing was that it was
cool to see different types of people working together and not letting each
other get beaten up by the police and fighting back." www.gwi.org.uk

* Since last Friday Italian protesters have been stopping and delaying US
army "trains of death" (weapons, vehicles and personnel)

* Last Saturday around 10,000 people marched on the US air base in
Rhein-Main, Germany with 2,000 of them blockading entrances to the base.
Meanwhile on the Sunday 10,000 who marched to a military base in Cologne
were met by armed soldiers. Security at all military bases in Germany is now
being stepped up.

* Belgian cops took several hours freeing/arresting 11 Activists who chained
themselves to transport trains heading to the port in Antwerp where military
equipment is on its way to Turkey and the Gulf.

* Rolls Royce, Derby producers of nuclear fuel components for Trident
missiles was closed for a day last week after activists chained themselves
to the gates 0796 003003

* 5 scientists in Antarctica made a banner and held a demo against the war
on Iraq, which goes to show how global the anti-war movement has become!



For handing out leaflets
In Minneapolis, eight antiwar protestors handing out leaflets on the
pavement were suddenly outnumbered by police demanding they leave, Kathryn
Gilje and Lisa Zaragoza pointed out the charge of soliciting wasn't valid as
they weren't selling, just distributing political literature, so the pair
were arrested for trespass!



The looming war in Iraq has nothing to do with oil. Or so Bush Jnr sponsored
by the oil industry would try to have us believe. But, according to City
analysts Deutsche Bank, the oil corporation Esso exert a "huge political
weight" over Bush and "may find itself in pole position in a changed-regime

Making this link Greenpeace shut down 119 Esso petrol stations on Monday by
locking petrol pumps together and removing handles from electricity
switches. Esso's head office was also shut down when a container blocked the
entrance. Greenpeace have published a report showing how oil is fuelling the
drive to war and the role Esso has played.
More info: Greenpeace UK: 020 7865 8255 www.greenpeace.org.uk

There'll be more action against the War-Oil-Climate Change cabal with a
Kyoto March - 2 Years after Bush dumped the Kyoto agreement. It leaves on
20th March 7am from the Esso HQ in Leatherhead for a 20 mile walk to the US
Embassy. But you can meet it at a Rally at the Imperial War Museum, 3.30pm
and an End of the World Party, 5.30pm at the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square,
London. 020 88553327  www.campaignagainstclimatechange .net

Tony Blair's Best Pals, BP will be welcomed to their Annual General Meeting
by a Carnival Against Oil Wars and Climate Chaos on the 24th April at the
Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London. London@risingtide.org.uk

* Air pollution in the UK kills 10 times more people than road accidents
every year. 24,000 deaths are caused by "peak" air pollution episodes.
Another 4,000 lung cancer deaths a year are caused by air pollution, and an
increase in heart diseases. National Society for Clean Air 01273-878770

* March 17th - 22nd: Towards Car-Free Cities III, Prague, Czech Republic. A
conference "promoting alternatives to car dependence and car culture." If
you want to go see www.carbusters.org/conference

* This week the Government unveiled its Energy White Paper, which has
produced a lot of hot air even before it's chucked on the fire. The
Government announced it wants to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 60% by
2050. But they haven't said how this would be achieved and the target of
producing 20% of energy from renewable sources energy by 2020 is now an
"aspiration"! And while claiming no more nuclear power stations will be
built in the near future they haven't ruled it out as a long term option.


Positive SchNEWS

The award winning community organisation  the Arts Factory have submitted a
planning application to develop a wind farm close to their Rhondda base. The
eight turbine wind farm will generate enough electricity to meet the needs
of over 6000 households (20% in the Rhondda) and over 3300 local people have
signed a petition in support of the project.

The Power Factory will provide a long term income to the Arts Factory,
providing jobs for at least 20 people, not just greasing the turbines, but
jobs providing desperately needed services in the community, such as
nursery, community and youth workers.

There will be a series of road shows at community events in Rhondda to
promote the project.
More info: The Arts Factory - 01443 757954 www.artsfactory.co.uk


SchNEWS in Brief

Nestlé, the company who tell mums in the third world that powered milk
formula is better for kids than breast milk, have scrapped plans to sponsor
a new teenage book prize after seven leading writers said that they "do not
wish to be associated" with Nestlés prize "in any way". Info on the worlds
longest consumer boycott - Baby Milk Action 01223 464420
www.babymilkaction.org ** The trial of the 13 asylum seekers facing charges
relating to the fire at Yarlswood Detention Centre in February last year,
starts 23rd April. Most of the defendants have been released on bail but are
denied the right to work and benefits. The Justice for Yarlswood Campaign
are trying to raise funds to get them to the trial in Bedford and provide
them with accommodation (otherwise they will be put up in Wormwood
Scrubs!).Cheques payable to 'Stop Arbitrary Detentions At Yarl's Wood',
marked 'Defendants' Trial Support' on the back. Campaign For Justice In The
Yarl's Wood Trial, PO Box 304, Bedford, MK42 9WX 07786-517379,
ginn_emma@hotmail.com ** Home secretary David Blunkett whose asylum policies
are leaving people in the UK destitute, while his government threatens to
bomb countries and create more refugees is visiting the Marriot Hotel,
College Green, Bristol, next Thurs (6th). A demo has been organised meet
6.30pm ** Last week Spanish cops raided the offices of Egunkaria, the only
exclusively Basque newspaper, and arrested its editor and nine senior staff
under anti-terror laws. The Judge claimed the paper had links to the Basque
separatist organisation ETA and imprisoned five and fined the others at
least £8,000 www.euskalinfo.org.uk ** If you're interested in organising
another MayDay event this year there's a meeting this Sunday (2nd) 11am
onwards (lunch provided) @LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 (Whitechapel
tube)londonmayday@yahoo.co.uk www.ourmayday.org.uk



A Piece of Peace, benefit night for a peace compilation CD this Saturday,
7pm, Ray Tindle Centre, Upper Gardener Street, Brighton £4. ** Anti-war
picket of Labour party conference this Saturday outside Floral Hall,
Southport, Merseyside. 9-11am 0151 708 7764 merseyside@stopwar.org.uk **
Cycle for Peace this Saturday 11:30am at the gates of Abney Park cemetery,
Stamford Hill, London  N16 07787 523907 hstwc@hotmail.com ** Performance of
the play "Lysistrata", an Ancient Greek comedy of a women's "sex strike" in
order to stop their menfolk from going to war. 10.30am, Parliament Square,
London and 800 other readings in 42 countries. More readings are planned
during the day, with a rehearsed reading at Pleasance Theatre, Caledonian
Road, 7.30pm. £5 entry - proceeds to the War Child charity.
www.lysistrataproject.com ** The small peace camp outside Fylindales in
Yorkshire are looking for more people. 01274 730795 or
neil@yorkshirecnd.org.uk ** Peace camp on the grass of the Peace Gardens
near the Town Hall, Manchester, March 8th after the anti war demo in the
City. 0161 881 0450 ros_arnold@hotmail.com ** Stop the warmongers.
Demonstration at the Jane's Defence Weekly conference 10th March, Royal
Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, 10 St James Street,
London SW1 8am, bring whistles, banners, flags, drums etc.
www.disobedience.org.uk ** Human shields in Iraq have now taken up their
positions to defend important civilian infrastructures. Donations are
urgently needed send cheque/money order made out to Human Shield Action c/o
Christine Strickland, 97, Retford Road, Romford, UK, RM3 9ND Info 0207 572
1125 ** Tell Cherie Blair: No War! email her at cheriebooth@matrixlaw.co.uk



* Paul Kelleher, the man who knocked the head off a statue of former PM
Margaret Thatcher as a protest against the ills of the world's political
system, has been jailed for three months. On the day of the attack Mr
Kelleher arranged a babysitter for his son and bought a cricket bat. He
smuggled the bat into the Guildhall under his coat, but when he hit the
statue the bat "pinged off". So he picked up a metal crowd barrier and
finished the job. He then waited for the cops to turn up and when he was
being arrested told them he thought the statue "looked better this way". The
statue (a snip at £150,000) can be repaired for £10,000, but sadly,
according to the judge, "will never look the same".
There's an online petition for clemency at:
www.petitiononline.com/pkvsmt/petition.html If anyone has his prison address
can they tell us, so we can send him SchNEWS each week.

* Barbara Smedema is in prison for disabling an American communications dish
at the military airport of Volkel in the Netherlands. The damage has been
estimated at 500,000 Euros. Barbara said "We do not have the illusion that
we can stop the warmachine in this way but we need to show hope and
confidence that the world can be different." Write to: Barbara Smedema, P.I.
Ter Peel, Patersweg 4, 5977 NM Evertsoord.



Old Kent Road already has three supermarkets, but no decent community
facilities. So guess what is gonna be built? Yep, a Wal-Mart/ASDA
superstore! Traffic, pollution and respiratory disease are at an all time
high along this stretch of road, which also, ironically, has the lowest car
ownership in London. The Ossory Road Yard has been squatted since September
as a community space with children's weekends, discussion groups, workshops
and an anti-war forum. They want to build a kid's adventure playground,
cultivate the land and create a genuinely community-run space. They have
been served an eviction notice and expect bailiffs to arrive some time in
Ossory Road Social Centre: 07769 791387 ossoryrd@breathe.com
To read 'Nine reasons why not to shop at Asda' see



You know the scenario -  soldiers leaving to go off to war being interviewed
by the media and saying things like  "It's a job we have to do" or "We're
professional people and we're going to fight for our country". Well when 26
reservists - from all walks of civilian life - were leaving for the Gulf
from the Territorial Army base in Dundee the media were invited along, but
this time instead of smiling for the cameras and saying it was their
patriotic duty to go and fight they angrily condemned the stance taken by
the Bush / Blair axis.
Gary McIntosh, a medic who had been called up, became tearful when saying
goodbye to his three-year-old daughter. "How do I say 'Daddy's got to go
away, I don't know when I'll be back", he said. "I don't understand why we
have to go. This is about Bush wanting to finish off what his father started
and us Brits are getting dragged into it because of Blair. I don't really
see why I have to be parted from my family for that."  All highly
embarrassing for their commanding officers.


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


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?

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
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This week's SchNEWS: http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news393.htm

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
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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
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