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(en) SchNEWS 432, Friday 28th, November, 2003 - PLAIN TEXT

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 28 Nov 2003 11:16:56 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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MIAMI LICE "It is sometimes easy to forget, in the midst of a furious crowd,
that all our liberties were acquired not through polite
representation, but by means of insurrection and protest." - George Monbiot
While George Bush was telling us Brits how his country values its
"civil rights" and "freedom" people demonstrating against the Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meeting in Miami were
experiencing something a little different.
Thousands of militarised police, in full riot gear, armed with
everything from tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags,
electrified shields, tanks, water cannons, automatic and
semi-automatic weapons, were busy violently arresting peaceful
demonstrators, in some cases with tazers, in others at gun point.
Busses filled with union members were prevented from joining
permitted marches; human rights activists had guns pointed at
their heads at military-style checkpoints. Embedded journalists
similar to those used in Iraq meant any independent ones were
attacked, arrested and had cameras stolen.

Over 270 were nicked - 50 of them while holding a peaceful vigil
outside the jail in solidarity with those inside! Those in prison
reported sexual assaults and beatings with two men locked in
small, dog-kennel size cages and sprayed with freezing water and
pepper spray.

125 were injured, and a Centre looking after those injured was
itself attacked by the robocops. One doctor remarked, "I've worked
in emergency rooms, but this is really some of the worst onslaught
of injuries I have ever seen."

For months beforehand, Police Chief John Timoney had portrayed
protestors as terrorists and the gathering in Miami as a siege of
the city. To cope with these 'terrorists' the Miami police had
managed to get $8.5 million earmarked for Iraq, to spend on
"non-lethal" weapons. New laws meant that groups of seven or more
people were forbidden to stop on the pavement for longer than 29
minutes without a permit. The City Council decided not to
criminalize puppets but did ban materials such as stilts "more
than three quarters inch in its thickest dimension" and
"containers of any kind." All coconuts were removed from palm
trees in case they were used as weapons!

Ed Hale, resident and singer for the rock group Transcendence
complained that "Downtown Miami seemed like a third world
dictatorship. What we saw tells us a lot about the system that
brings together corporations and governments in an Enron-esque
marriage of corruption. A virtual army of 2,500 police used every
brutal and sneaky tactic in the book to defend the corporate
profit interests that are at stake in the FTAA against diverse
demonstrators whose only crime was telling the truth about the
global corporate takeover."

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz however disagreed describing the police
presence as "a model for homeland defense." But then Miami, in the
state of Florida, is the home of George's brother Jeb Bush who so
helpfully fiddled the election result to make his brother
president in the first place.



While Bush has waxed lyrical that the FTAA is "a free-trade system
that links all of the Americas" and "the brilliant new dawn of a
splendid new world" others have called it "NAFTA on steroids."
NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement (see SchNEWS 200)
signed between Mexico, Canada and the States was another one of
those free trade deals that we were told would benefit everyone.
Except that the only people it has benefited has been surprise,
surprise multinational corporations. Just check out Chapter 11 of
NAFTA which allows corporations to sue if they think certain
environmental laws are stopping them making a profit!

So why do people let them get away with this? As Kevin Danaher
from Global Exchange put it "If you're going to only have the
elite, the billionaires, making the policy, how are you going to
keep everyone else away from that table? Shoot 'em. . The U.S. is
the mother country of protectionism. (It) wouldn't have a computer
industry or an airline industry or a railroad industry or an auto
industry if it wasn't for (this protectionism). The free market
ideology is this bullshit that they put out there to pry open
Third World countries and to keep people here stupid and think,
"Oh, get the government out of the way. Let capital decide how the
world will be run." Well, duh. If you let capital decide how the
world is going to run, they'll cut down every tree, they'll kill
every fish, they'll push our wages down to zero, they'll pollute
the shit out of everything, because all they care about is making

In the end the business community didn't get their way and FTAA
finished a day early with the Washington Post reporting that
"corporate lobbyists... fumed at the outcome." Not surprising
really when all they'd agreed to was to continue talks in the

As one of those journalists who refused to be 'embedded' Jeremy
Scahill from Democracy Now! said "In the times in which we live,
this is what democracy looks like. Thousands of soldiers, calling
themselves police, deployed in US cities to protect the power
brokers from the masses." But with several cities sending law
enforcement observers to the protests to study what some are now
referring to as the "Miami Model" anyone who tries to exercise
their 'civil rights' and 'freedom' in the Land of the Free better
be ready to be beaten to a pulp.

* For more on the protests www.ftaaimc.org www.zmag.org

* Read 'Shafted: Free Trade and America's Working Poor' where
farmers, fishermen, garment workers etc. describe the ruin that
free trade agreements have unleashed on them. To order copies

* The FBI has been busy collecting information on anti war
demonstrations and has asked agencies for any suspicious activity
to be reported to its counterterrorism squads. "It's obvious that
there are individuals capable of violence at these events." one
F.B.I. official said. Yep, just take a look at the Miami

* Some 10,000 demonstrated last weekend outside America's very own
terrorist training camp - the Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the
Americas, where Latin American militias learn 'counterinsurgency'
techniques. www.soaw.org

* Cops and 'welfare officers' were out and about during last
Thursdays massive anti Bush rally in London hoping to catch
schoolkids having the cheek to go truant and protest. Today's
schoolkids - tomorrow's terrorists.

* Yesterday's Queens Speech included the Civil Contingency Bill -
giving the police unprecedented powers in a state of emergency.
With the cops liberal use of the Terrorism Acts to stop and search
anyone they don't like the look of, this will no doubt be another
law protestors can look forward too finding out about in more


Crap Arrests Of The Week

For not Keeping off the Grass.
A man on the anti-Bush Critical Mass tried to get round a copper
blocking his way by stepping off the path onto the grass of St
James Park. For this heinous crime he was jumped on by two police,
handcuffed and carted away for causing a Breach of the Peace. This
arrest was apparently to protect the grass who felt intimidated by
his actions and had nothing to do with a US motorcade driving up
the Mall that the police were trying to prevent protestors seeing.

For interfering with the Queen's Bush!
After the Bush demo two cheeky protesters decided to leave their
giant pretzel placard in a tree facing Buckingham Palace, for
which they were surrounded by a dozen police, held for ages
searched and threatened with arrest for climbing up one of the
Queen's trees!


Outside SchNEWS

Fantastic News! Simon Chapman and the rest of the Thessaloniki 7
were released on 26 Nov at 4pm Greek time. Their hunger strike has
ended after between 49 and 66 days. Given their extremely frail
health condition they will stay in hospital for at least another
5-7 days to recover. The 7 were released without bail and under
the following conditions: They are not to leave Greece before the
trial, and the 3 Greeks should present themselves to a police
station twice a month. The Council of Judges ruled for their
release after the District Attorney in Athens ordered doctors to
force feed the hunger strikers. That move turned turned public
opinion against the state. People were outraged at a decision that
reeked of totalitarianism. The media started putting pressure on
the government, and even members of the governing PASOK party came
out to demand the release of the 7. The solidarity movement in
Greece also put great pressure on the government, with lots of
occupations, demonstrations, actions and publicity. Also, once
word got out that the prisoners only had a week to live even the
mainstream media began to take an interest. The coverage of this
issue compared to that of the "plane spotters" (remember them?)
was virtually non-existent despite overwhelming evidence that they
had been. The Greek authorities and justice system have been made
to look totally ridiculous, with clear video and photographic
evidence being widely circulated. 28 European parliament members
called for the prisoners' release and Amnesty International have
called for an independent inquiry.

Indymedia Athens stated: "This is a victory of the struggle for
dignity and freedom by the 5 hunger strikers, of the other 2
prisoners, but as well the thousands of people that stood up for
them all over the world! It is an outright defeat for the Greek
state-repression complex, and for the global "anti-terror"
mechanisms. Our passion for freedom was stronger than their



So you thought we lived in a democracy, where local opinion and
due process count? Well, Deputy PM John Prescott has overruled a
public inquiry, which rejected the building of a primate brain
vivisection lab in Cambridge, and in his wisdom has given it the
go-ahead. Of course this has absolutely nothing to with the fact
that the lab was backed by biotech entrepreneur Lord Sainsbury who
happens to be the Science Minister and a multi-million pound donor
to the Neo-Labour Party.

The primate lab will supposedly investigate brain disorders in
humans, but the science is highly questionable and the practice
extremely cruel. Monkeys will be deliberately brain damaged for
use as "models" of human disease, but all this will tell us is how
brain damaged monkeys behave. There are other more direct ways to
study brain disease such as MRI scans, computerized modeling,
cellular research and clinical observation but these are short of
funds, while vivisection is given massive government funding. As
the inspector at the Public Enquiry said: "It would be a stronger
argument to say that it is nationally important [for Cambridge
University] to catch up on alternative forms of research to that
employing animals."

Stop Primate Experiments at Cambridge 0845 330 7985


SchNEWS in Brief

* Tom Hurdnall, an International Solidarity Movement volunteer was
shot by the IOF leaving him brain dead and on a life support
machine. After waiting 5 months for some recompense from the
Israeli government for expenses incurred, Tom's family finally
received a cheque. Thing was, the cheque bounced! If they're that
skint maybe they should stop building that wall. That'll save them
a few quid.

* Colombia Solidarity Campaign have organized a Conference next
Saturday (6th) 'Resist the Multinational Empire - The Coca Cola
Boycott.' It's at SOAS, Russell Sq., London Tel: 07743 743O41

* Looking for a Christmas present for your nan? The 5th Manchester
Radical Bookfair is taking place 6th December, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a
Beswick Street, Ancoats. www.radicalbookfair.org.uk/

* Are you an office temp fed up with being exploited by
profit-making agency scum? Then get along to a meeting to discuss
establishing a workers co-op for temps next Friday (5th) 7.30pm at
the Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, 84B Whitechapel High Street,
London E1

* 'The Fourth World War' - the untold story of the current global
conflict across five continents - is showing next Wednesday 3rd
9pm at the Other Cinema, 11 Rupert Street, London W1 £7/5 020 7437
0757 www.indymedia.org.uk

* Mark Curtis will be talking about his new book 'Web of Deceit'
next Thursday 4th, 6pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road,
Brighton. The book tells how Blair's warmongering and disregard
for international law is nothing new - with chapters on Britain's
wars in Malaya, Kenya, Iraq and elsewhere. Free.

* A Glasgow Anarchist Dayschool is happening on 13th December at
Annexe, 9a Stewartville St, Partick. For more info

* Two peace protesters have been found guilty of helping to break
open the gates of RAF Fairford, the base US planes used to bomb
the people of Iraq. They were ordered to pay the MoD £500
compensation and were given a 2 year conditional discharge.

* There's going to be another Aspire Squatted Social Space
happening from 5-14th December in Leeds. For location and events
nearer the time www.a-spire.org.uk

* London Rising Tide recently had a busy day haranguing BP bosses,
trashing the company's 'we care about the environment' greenwash.
Outside the Royal Albert Hall a 'new' think-tank, the Foundation
for the Advancement of Big Oil, told people attending the
conference: "Who needs human rights - all we need is rights to
OIL!" If you want to get involved in actions during next months
governmental Climate Change Conference in Milan call Rising Tide
on 01865 241 097 www.risingtide.org.uk/

* Actions continue against Bayer Crop Science who are desperate
for GM food to be grown in Britain. After a noise demo outside
their offices in Newbury a fortnight ago, last week 35 people paid
a visit to their HQ in Cambridge. To get involved -

* London Earth First! is holding a meeting to discuss Bayer next
Monday 1st at the Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, 84B Whitechapel
High Street, London E1 7pm

* Entwoods Forest protest camp was celebrating this week after
plans to destroy it so hotels could be built there were thrown out
by the Dutch high court. Activists intend to stay in the forest
for the moment as the company involved, Efteling, has not yet
decided what to do. www.groenfront.nl



The European Social Forum ended in Paris last Saturday. It was a
meeting point for thousands that had mobilised all over Europe in
the past year in anti-capitalist demos, anti-EU demos and the
worldwide anti-war demos.

There were talks on the struggles against privatisation, GATS, and
freedom of movement. The ESF also provided the platform to call
for Europe-wide anti-war demonstrations in March and
demonstrations in May against the new European constitution.

But the ESF was also rife with friction. Some were suspicious
about the organisers and felt that groups such as the CGT trade
union and communist parties wanted to use the anti-capitalist
movement for parliamentary power and reformism. These suspicions
were compounded by the fact the ESF received money from local
councils and the state. All the plenary meetings were mass
meetings with 'experts' enlightening the crowd. The young
anti-capitalist movement, inspired by ideas of autonomy and
non-heirarchical participation, saw the arthritic hand of the old
left trying to seize its momentum.

In response to the old left's domination of the ESF alternative
spaces sprang up. The Libertarian Social Forum, organised by
anarchist groups and unions, ran parallel to the ESF and offered a
range of workshops. However, it was too isolated from the ESF,
exclusive, and there were rarely any translations! The most
inspiring space was 'GLAD', an autonomous space within the ESF.
Self-determination and participation were put into practice with
workshops, collective kitchens and direct action. This lifted GLAD
above the rest of the ESF.

Disobedience even seeped into the demonstration on Saturday where
amidst the 80,000 protesters there was an unnerving presence of
flag-waving old left parties. The presence of the repressive Parti
Socialiste was too much for some, who showered them with plastic
bottles till they skulked off. The week culminated in fireworks as
300 met on Saturday night in front of a prison united under the
joyous theme of 'Lets burn down all the prisons'.

After a week of friction between mass meetings and self-organised
workshops, between elitist organisation and transparent
self-management, between talk and action, between State support
and autonomy, GLAD shows the radical possibilities of the ESF.
See: www.fse-esf.org

*Guess what? The ESF comes to London next year and has been
hijacked by the Socialist Workers' Party, Globalise Resistance and
the Mayor of London. Grassroots activists have formed a
'Democratise the ESF' group and are urging activists, community
groups, unions etc, to attend the ESF Process meetings in
December. Contact: democratise_the_esf@lists.riseup.net


...and finally...

Callers ringing up Miami cop shop to complain about police tactics
during the Trade Area of the Americas demonstrations were dealt
with in the sympathetic manner we'd expect from a tin pot
dictatorship. One man was transferred four times before speaking
to a cop who was clearly annoyed with people calling in to
complain. "First of all, where are you from?" When the caller
replied North Carolina, the cop asked what North Carolina had to
do with Miami. When the caller said that he had participated in
the demonstrations and was calling to lodge a complaint he was
then asked if he paid Miami taxes. When the caller replied no, he
was told "Then what makes you think anybody in Miami gives a
flying fuck what you have to say?!" and cut off!



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