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(en) UK, SchNEWS Issue 451 - Friday 30th April

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 30 Apr 2004 09:09:01 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

"The European Investment Bank admits there are problems but wants
to keep them under the carpet. We should look under that carpet, take
a solid stand and ask for a thorough investigation into the flawed
aspects of the bank's governance." - Magda Stoczkiewicz, Bankwatch Network
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are well known to
SchNEWS readers, but the European Investment Bank (EIB)? Never
heard of it mate. But with an annual budget of 33 billion Euros it
dishes out more loans than the World Bank. Supposedly to develop
Europe's poorer regions and 'promote social cohesion', in an
environment of 'openness and transparency'. Fine words, but just
how well are they doing?

Not too good, according to a recent highly critical report by
Spanish MEP Monica Ridruejo. She has, among other things,
condemned the Bank for lending mainly to richer countries and for
its unwillingness to disclose information. The bank and its group
of rightwing MEP supporters, meanwhile, disagree and reckon that
it deserves a slap on the back and so have rewritten Ridruejo's
report so fundamentally that she has voted against it and refused
to be associated with it anymore. One MEP wanted to delete 28 out
of 32 paragraphs, while another Olle who claimed he was all for
transparency, asked for deletion of roughly half of all the
paragraphs including those asking for... more transparency on the
EIB and its management!

The bank didn't just stop at removing criticisms in the report; it
changed the emphasis by replacing words and even turned
condemnation into congratulations! Where Rudruejo 'condemned' the
bank's lending policy, the bank 'noted interest in these
activities' and in another part of the report even 'welcomed' the
EIB's approach! But this isn't really just about a difference of
opinion between politicians and bureaucrats and a bank trying to
hide behind a wall of secrecy and report nobbling. There's some
reason for the bank's shyness.


Money Go Round

The EIB prides itself on its major role in implementing European
environmental policies and is committed to ensure that projects
reduce the impact on the environment wherever possible. Although
this aim is of
'great importance', its perhaps not so well reflected in the fact
that they have just one full-time environmental review expert to
evaluate more than 300 projects approved each year.

Perhaps this evaluator was just too busy, that they just couldn't
make the time to get over to Bulgaria. There the bank has given 40
million Euros to help turn a road into a motorway between Bulgaria
and Greece. Forced expulsion of local villagers and more pollution
was just one consequence of the motorway. The 18km section between
Dupnitza and Daskalovo crosses a mountain range with natural
habitats, a biological corridor for large mammals, including
endangered populations of bears and wolves. The plans for the
motorway however include no passages for such animals: no bridges
or viaducts over the road,even no tunnels.

Whilst a fair proportion of the Euro projects involve road
building, especially in Eastern Europe, the bank isn't shy to lend
cash outside Europe. Sepon copper and gold mine owned by Oxiana
Ltd of Australia, is located in a region of biodiversity in the
south of Laos. Waste from the mine has already threatened the
endangered species in a nearby river, local forests have been
destroyed and indigenous people have been relocated without proper
land compensation. Environmental concerns aside, the Laos
government isn't exactly embracing human rights. Amnesty
International has condemned the government, which stands to make
the most out of this project, for jailing dissidents and torturing
people in police custody. The EIB's website is strangely silent on
the issue of human rights.

Naturally, the bank's involved in oil. In July 2000 they approved
loans to build 300 oil wells and a pipeline between Chad and
Cameroon. These loans were justified, in part, by the idea that
the money from oil would find its way into the pockets of the
poor. Yeah, right. The Bank Watch Network, though, are sceptical
that the two governments will get round to setting up systems to
distribute profits fairly and put in place environmental
safeguards while a Friends of the Earth report said the project is
likely to lead to "an ecological and humanitarian disaster." In
fact before a drop of oil had even flowed through the pipes the
Chad Government blew millions of oil-related money on arms to
fight its civil war!

Although they are reluctant to tell us, the salaries of senior
management at the bank are a not-to-be-sniffed-at 200,000 euros a
year (that's more than £ 133k). The bank's a little more schtum
about the salaries of its Directors, although at an average of one
day a month the hours aren't bad. Perhaps they'll be at the movies
or watching the box having just agreed a loan of up to 12 billion
Euros to the European film industry to help it compete with
Hollywood and put more crap on the telly.

A recent investigation into whom these murky directors are, has
found that many have not declared their interests in
multinationals. The airport building bank forgot to mention that
one of its directors owns shares in Air France. Whilst the bank
involves itself in lending to the Copper Mining industry in
Zambia, SchNEWS encourages its readers to draw no conclusion from
the fact that one its British directors is the chairman of Zambia
Copper Investments Limited. Nor is any suggestion made as to the
reasons why he forgot to mention this fact.

The bank's a public organization: in effect all European residents
are its shareholders, but it has shown contempt for scrutiny and
the people it's supposed to serve and help. www.bankwatch.org

* The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which
dishes out billions of pounds worth of loans to central European
and Asian countries has also come under fire with claims that up
20 per cent of its loans are used for corrupt purposes. It's also
the bank that supports things like the controversial Baku-Ceyhan
pipeline with campaigners arguing that public money should not be
used to subsidise schemes that create social and environmental
problems and line the pockets of corporations (in this case BP).
01865 200 550 www.bakuceyhan.org.uk

* As the Bank and the IMF met this week in Washington, symbolic
hunger strikes took place to commemorate the people forgotten by
the Bank, such as those evicted from their lands to make way for
Bank financed dam projects. Over the past sixty years, the Bank
has supported projects that, in the name of development, have led
to the displacement of tens of millions of people.

* The World Bank is supporting the water privatization in Ghana
despite the environmental award winning Ghanian Rudolf
Amenga-Etego, pointing out that in a country where about 70% of
the people have no access to clean water, privatization would be
disastrous. Some Ghanaians already spend 20% of their income on
drinking water. www.goldmanprize.org


Crap Arrest of the Week

For looking suspicious!
Last Sunday the Bangladesh government arrested nearly 15,000
people in the capital Dhaka, in a bid to foil any agitation by the
country's opposition party. Under laws designed to arrest anyone
looking suspicious they mainly nicked people mostly aged between
15 and 30 years, most of whom were not even remotely connected
with politics! Some had arrived in the capital for job interviews,
some to consult doctors or give examinations, while others were
just visitors. Freshly released after two days of ordeal inside
jail, one youth from the old part of Dhaka, complained "I was
forced to keep standing in a dark and dingy room crammed with over
1,000 people. I could not even sleep for a moment."


Le Pen Lizard

Last weekend was supposed to be a joyous occasion for the British
National Party, with their guest of honour a French Neo-Nazi and
the commemoration of the patron saint of England, St George. The
problem was that wherever they went they were met by anti-fascist
protesters who were out to spoil their party with the odd rotten
egg or two. In a pathetic show of fascist solidarity showing how
they really love foreigners who hate foreigners, they invited over
that lovely multicultural bastion of tolerance Jean Marie le Pen,
leader of the French Front Nationale, who famously called the
World War II Holocaust a "detail" of history.

The visit of Le Pen wasn't exactly a euphoric welcome. Running
scared from anti-fascist protesters the BNP had arranged to meet
the press in a car park of Stockport Office World, and then be
directed to a secret location for a press conference, but then it
all went wrong when an anti-fascist campaigner shouted at the BNP
press officer and a scuffle broke out. Flyers were handed out by
the BNP directing people to the press conference and, er, gave the
flyers to anti-fascists! So there was a mad dash to a hotel in
Altrincham. Here anti-fascists assembled and when Le Pen and
Griffin left they were well and truly rattled, with their car
blockaded and everytime the police cleared one lot another would
jump in the way, the contents of rubbish bags, eggs and rotten veg
were thrown at their car and the driver had to use his windscreen
wipers to clear the debris, until one of those unfortunately
'fell' off! Oh and one of the BNP thugs got a bloodied head after
a pensioner hit him with a walking stick. And to round it all off
no arrests were made! They then escaped to a marquee in Shropshire
for a fundraising dinner, but here the police were more prepared
and had set up an exclusion zone so unfortunately the evening
passed without major incident.

The Bigoted Narrow-minded Party are also rather keen on
celebrating St George's Day, 'cos after all isn't he the crusading
true English gentleman who saved the fair damsel in distress from
the evil dragon in true fairy tale style? Well... no. St George
was in fact a dark skinned person from the Middle East who lived
around 300AD - yes, that's right, not a true white Aryan. He was
born in eastern Turkey and later joined the Roman Army. When they
started persecuting Christians, he gave all his possessions to the
poor, then confessed to being a Christian and refused to offer
sacrifices to the Roman Gods. For this he was persecuted and
eventually killed. The bit about the dragon seems to have been
invented about 1100AD and probably represents the driving out of
pagans from England. But SchNEWS doubts if many BNP supporters
really know the true story of St George - we're sure they won't
let it get in the way of a good old bit of bigotry.

The BNPs St George's day rallies were also disrupted, in Wickford,
Essex where they were prevented from assembling at the station,
and in Bermondsey a National Front demo was confronted and failed
to have their St George's day march and were forced to sneak away.
The weekend also saw numerous other anti-fascist events including:
A march through Southall commemorating the 25th anniversary of the
murder by the police of anti-Nazi protester Blair Peach on a demo
to stop the NF back in 1979 and a weekend of leafleting in Leeds
and Bradford.

To read more about the protests against Le Pen's visit see


Positive SchNEWS

The Talamh Life Centre is hosting a free "festival of
environmental science and art" during May 8th - 9th in Coalburn,
near Glasgow, where you can learn anything from making biodisel to
chainsaw sculpture as well as there being activities for kids.
Talamh was first set up in 1993 and has evolved into a housing
co-operative with fifty acres of land that now teaches sustainable
woodland skills and organic gardening. 01555 820073

Don't forget the annual Cannabis March & Festival happening next
Saturday (8 May) in Brockwell Park, Brixton. The march starts at
12pm from Kennington Park and ends up at the festie, which is free
but costs £100,000 to put on. The Brighton Alliance of Sound
Systems (BASS) will be there to entertain. So - donations in the
buckets please and if you can help with stewarding email.
marchstewards@yahoo.com 07931 243 855

* More festie information on our website.


Le Pen and Paper

It was quite odd how the right wing press have reacted to the
visit by Le Pen and his support for the BNP. After all the Front
Nationale and the BNP are both nationalist parties whose main
platform is that illegal immigrants are flooding the country and
our way of life is under threat. Pretty much the same as what the
Daily Mail, Sun and Express have been saying for years. (see
SchNEWS 313).

For example the Express is not averse to whipping up racist
anti-immigration sentiment with sentiments such as these: "Unless
the flood is curbed it will lead to chaos, public disorder and the
growth of repugnant far-rightwing political thugs." And their
proprietor, Richard Desmond recently at a meeting impersonated
Hitler and said that "All Germans were Nazis" while editor Peter
Hill declared that "Immigration is a national disaster...our
country cannot cope." But in a strange display of logic the
editorial in the Express said about Le Pen "The people of Britain,
do not want his type over here, preaching hatred and bile (sic)."
As for Hill...well he's married to a woman from Somalia!

But then again we don't really need foreigners, let alone the BNP
to preach hatred when we've already got the Express, Herr Desmond,
The Sun, Daily Mail, David Blunkett, Tony Blair, the Tories,
Neo-Labour, Michael Howard...

* Every Sunday in May (12-5pm) the Museum of Immigration and
Diversity is showing an exhibition created by primary
schoolchildren from many backgrounds living in Tower Hamlets that
challenges visitors to discover the true stories of British
immigration and settlement. The Museum is at 19 Princelet Street,
London and entrance is free. 020 7247 5352

* Think fascists have a right to freedom of speech? Get a copy of
'The 43 Group' by Morris Beckman an excellent account of how
Jewish ex-servicemen fought Oswald Mosley fascist party, literally
kicking them off the streets of East London in the 1940's. Copies
available from www.activedistribution.org/

* 'Migrant Voices' is a play by Banner Theatre based on in-depth
interviews with Iraqi Kurdish refugees and asylum seekers living
in Salford, and shows some of the harsh realities behind the media
myths about asylum seekers and draws the link between refugees
living in Britain and British intervention in Third World
countries. Catch it next Saturday (8 May) East Oxford Community
Centre (44b Princes Street, just off Cowley Road) Tickets £5/£3
concessions and all proceeds go to the Campaign to Close
Campsfield. For tickets email timothy.flatman@balliol.ox.ac.uk


SchNEWS In Brief

* Two people were nicked for aggravated trespass for demonstrating
inside the Iraqi Procurement Conference on Tuesday where big
business rubbed shoulders with top brass in Iraq to see if they
could get a piece of the occupation pie. The charge will be
challenged by the two on the grounds that the conference itself is
unlawful as it is based on Occupation Orders which have forced a
free market economy on the people of Iraq in violation of
international law www.theirpayday.org

* Next Friday (7) is the official launch and party for 'Growing
our Futures', from 4pm, an Education for Sustainable Development
project at Reading International Solidarity Centre 0118 958 6692

* The Beyond TV Tour 'The Medicine Show' is 'a fusion of music,
carnival performance, subversion, strange books, anti-consumer
merchandising and funny films' happening 13th May - Birmingham
Custard Factory Theatre opp. Medicine Bar (19) Bolton CattleMarket
Pub 8pm (22) Glasgow Le chateaux. If you can offer them any more
dates in the north 016 1226 6814 www.beyondtv.org/

* London Rising Tide will be holding An Exhibition of Resistance
to BP and Big Oil, London in June and are having a public meeting
next Saturday (8) to help plan events. It's happening at the
Tufnell Park occupied social centre, 156-158 Fortess Road 07969
786770 www.londonrisingtide.org.uk

* 58 Albion St, in Glasgow will be opening for a month from Mayday
as a social space, with the aim of a permanent autonomous space in
the City www.glasgow-autonomy.org/


SchNEWS Fundraiser

Celebrate the arrival of spring with an anarchic mix of live
music, techno DJs and the RaggaDubDisco.


* Aliens In The Whitehouse - live and dirty drum n bass
* Crowzone - live dubby hip-hop punk
* Nikki and Shindig DJs - techno
* The RaggaDubDisco

Wednesday 5th May, 9.30-late.
At The Volks, Madeira Drive, Brighton.


..and finally...

Reckon you're a radical sort of person who'll do almost anything
to show off your disapproval of our oil dependant culture? Well
forget Critical Mass bike rides, its time to strip off for the
World Naked Bike Ride coming to a City near you on the 12th June.
This is sure to slow traffic down to a snails pace as drivers
strain their necks for a peek at your pecker.

Little is known about the first people to ride bicycles naked as
early fashions were extremely cumbersome and dangerous for the
rider. The latest fad started in Zaragoza in Spain three years ago
with the slogan 'Stop the dependence on oil! Down with the
pollution! Down with textile industry! - and of course, down with
those pants. When 250 took their kit off they decided to make it
an international event. So be as 'bare as you dare' but remember a
word of warning from the website "naked riders must take special
care to protect their vulnerable bodies while riding."

There's a Pedal Powered Music System workshop happening on the
15-16th May in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. To book a place call
01491 682106


SchNEWS warns all readers we have no dress code so if yer wanna
help distribute or put together the naked truth each week give us
a call or e-mail. Honest!



What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and

The SchNEWS at Ten Tour plans are being updated regularly as
well. Check them at www.schnews.org.uk/extras/tour.htm



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