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(en) Britain, SchNEWS 478, Friday 17th December, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:07:58 +0100 (CET)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER DUTY FREE... SchNEWS
FAT CATS TAX LAX --- "We don't pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes." Leona
Helmsley, wealthy widow of a New York property tycoon *
--- SchNEWS reckons it's time to point out the bleedin' obvious - it's
always Christmas time for the super-rich and the multinational
corporations. Under Neo Labour those with the most cash have doubled
their money. A report on inequality from the Office for National
Statistics shows that the top 1% increased their share of national
wealth from 20% to 23% in the first six years of the Labour government.
The top ten per cent of Britain now owns an incredible 54% of the wealth.

Meanwhile Chief Executive (CEO) pay is out of control. In the UK
it rose 25 per cent a year from 1983 to 2002 - no matter how a
company was performing. If a CEO remained in post for seven years,
he (and it is always a he) could expect to see his salary double -
twice. CEOs now pocket around 50 times as much as ordinary
employees. In fact, a new paper from business school academics
reckon that "corporate managers are somewhat like landed
aristocracy in the 19th century, or political elites of the Third
World" with their pay far outstripping their contribution to the
company or the country.

Office cleaner Abdul Durrant stood up at HSBC annual general
meeting in June and asked if cleaners at the bank's Canary Wharf
headquarters could be paid more than £5 an hour. It was not, he
said, enough to live on. HSBC Bank chief executive William
Aldinger didn't answer - and why should he care. He has a £37
million three-year package to live on, as well as free dental and
medical treatment for life.

Not that you'll read about this in the corporate media where it's
divide and rule. You skint? Then blame those poorer than you. So
The Sun runs another 'Shop a Skiver' campaign but forgets to
nominate its owner Rupert Murdoch. In 1999 The Economist reported
that Murdoch had made £1.4 billion in profits over the previous 11
years but had paid no corporation tax. After an examination of
what was available of the accounts, it reckoned Murdoch would
normally have expected to pay enough tax to "build seven new
hospitals, 50 secondary schools or 300 primary schools".

Or what about Richard Desmond, owner of Express Newspapers, who
paid himself £46.2m last year. Yet his papers run a relentless
campaign against asylum seekers and how they are bleeding the
country dry.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group is based in the Caribbean - yet
since privatisation, Virgin Trains have received £1.57 billion in
public subsidies. That's taxpayers' money, for someone who pays
hardly any tax, for a service that is crap.

TREASURY TAX DODGE

Corporation tax under Labour has now reached an all time low. When
corporation tax falls, guess who the burden falls on - yep, the
'little people'. Minutes of an Inland Revenue meeting revealed the
agency was going soft on multinational tax returns for fear of
driving investment away from the UK. They might be a bit late - a
1997 report by accountant Deloitte and Touche put the figure for
legal avoidance alone at a staggering £85 billion a year. That's
more than is annually spent on the National Health Service. A
leading accountancy expert, Professor Prem Sikka reckons that
billions are lost by multinationals basing themselves in tax
havens. No one really knows the figures, because the Professor
says "the Treasury refused to undertake detailed research to get
accurate estimates. It is dodging the issue."

So, what does Chancellor Gordon Brown do? In his last budget
speech, he promised to deal with tax cheats, and then announced
40,500 jobs would go at the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise!
The Inland Revenue has already faced massive redundancies in the
nineties which journalist Nick Davies said had meant government's
efforts to catch tax avoiders had "collapsed in a heap of
mismanagement and staff cuts." It avoids rubbing the corporations
and the super-rich up the wrong way by refusing to release its
figures on enforcement.

So while we hear about how the government is trying to crack down
on benefit cheats - such as people washing up one night a week in
a restaurant for a few extra quid to supplement their crap dole
money - they refuse to go after fat cats like Murdoch.

When you hear about another fraud hotline or politicians bleating
that we can't afford decent pensions, wages, new hospitals,
schools, social housing etc., remember it's the business tax
dodgers and corporate scroungers that are to blame. Britain is the
fourth richest country in the world - the only belt tightening
should be round the corporate cowboys' necks!

* Helmsley eventually went to prison for tax evasion!

MATHS WITH JARVIS

Jarvis, the cash strapped corporation that bit off more Private
Finance Initiatives than they could chew, can't be allowed to go
bankrupt despite debts of £240 million. Who says? The banks that
lent them the money in the first place!

The bankers, principally Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, are
worried that if Jarvis go down the pan, they would be forced to
take over many of the firms' projects, including schools,
hospitals and road programmes which Jarvis are running under the
joke privatisation-by-the back-door-Initiative.

The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust in north London is one Jarvis
PFI hospital project where work recently stopped. They say that
the banks are ultimately responsible for ensuring the
multi-million-pound facility is completed.

Next month, the Crown Prosecution Service will decide whether to
press charges against Network Rail and Jarvis for alleged health
and safety breaches following the Potters Bar rail crash** over
two years ago, in which seven people died and dozens more were
injured.

Looks like they will get away with financial incompetence, will
they get away with murder as well?

** Senior executives at Jarvis were given £1 million pound bonuses
during the year of the crash

*** Polyp's new book "The Complete if Ordinary People Behaved
Like..." is out now, you can order your copy from
www.ethicalconsumer.org

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CORPORATE MADNESS

In legal terms, a Corporation is considered a "person". But what
sort of person, we wonder. The World Health Organisation have a
checklist they use to determine personality types, called the
ICD-10 index. Using this index to reveal the Corporate "person", a
clear character-type emerges - that of a psychopath.

Yes folks, the bogeyman your mum told you too worry about when you
were young is alive and kicking in company board rooms across the
globe. From a callous disregard for others to an inability to feel
guilt, the personality of the Corporate Rulers of the World is
identical to that of an axe-wielding maniac. And they call us
trouble makers! www.thecorporation.com

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CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

Girl, 10, Cuffed for Scissors in School

Anyone can be a terrorist or murderer these days you know. Even a
ten year old school girl. At an elementary school in Philadelphia,
a girl was cuffed then taken to a police station. The reason? A
pair of scissors were discovered in her school bag, breaking the
school's strict no weapons policy. The cops decided as she hadn't
threatened anyone with the 8-inch blades she had not committed a
crime and let her go but she's still waiting to hear whether
she'll be expelled to a special disciplinary school. The girl,
reported to have "cried and cried" with "no idea what she did
wrong"

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DEPORT BLUNKETT

More Christmas cheer for asylum seekers - the Home Office has
chosen Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and North London (where there
are around 600 asylum seekers facing deportation) to turn
unremovable asylum seekers into legal slaves. An unremovable
asylum seeker is someone who can't be deported because of
circumstances beyond their control such as being stateless, ill or
their country is too dangerous to return to. The government thinks
these bogus layabouts are having an easy ride here, sponging two
thirds of what has been calculated as the minimum needed to live
on, and decided that they must do compulsory unpaid community work
in return for the generous accommodation and benefits they
receive. If they do not obey they will face destitution. Sound
humane so far?

Late additions to the legislation allow the home secretary to
decide whether performance of community work merits "hard case
support" (which mainly consists of otherwise unletable
accommodation). So if you've fled war, rape, torture or just a bit
of light starvation, you might be left homeless if you can't clean
our streets properly!

Local authorities, trade unions and the voluntary sector are being
strongly encouraged by the Home Office to 'express interest' in
running these schemes. They will be paid for providing compulsory
work (usually a punishment reserved for convicted criminals) for
failed asylum seekers. The asylum seekers will not be paid for the
work they will be forced to do.

The ever benevolent great leader and his third reich, sorry, third
way warriors have also wisely decided to look after the children
of failed asylum seekers, presumably because they'll be either at
work or homeless. Since December 1st, local authorities have been
told to 'take into care' children of failed asylum seekers who do
not agree to leave the UK voluntarily. Heartwarming Christmas
stuff from that family loving, caring, sharing, Christian values
duo, Tony 'blind' Blair and David 'good riddance' Blunkett.
www.noii.org.uk

* 'You Are Being Lied To About Asylum Seekers' is an excellent
leaflet pointing out the truths behind the lies that the media &
government feed the public about asylum seekers. If you would like
to order copies to distribute contact: BCM Box 7750, London WC1N
3XX or email youarebeingliedto@lycos.com

* Yesterday, law lords ruled that locking up foreigners without
trial under anti-terror legislation breaks European human rights
powers. A Home Office spokeswoman said it was now a matter for
parliament to decide whether detention without trial continues.
www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4100481.stm

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Positive SchNEWS

Tired of slappin' on the nicotine patches every January? Well why
not make your New Years resolution to design and build your own
eco house? The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) are
offering lots of inspiring residential courses. All courses
include accommodation and meals at CAT where you can explore
Europe's leading eco centre. To check out and book your place on
courses like windpower, solar water heating, self build, organic
gardening and blacksmithing tel. 01654 705981 courses@cat.org.uk

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EDO-NISM

Six anti-arms trade activists were fined £1,500 between them this
week at Brighton magistrates. Five more are up on trial in
Janurary for the same action at the EDO arms company last may.
Smash EDO! are having an xmas noise party at the company gates
next Thursday (23rd) at 4pm. Phone 07891 405923 or have a look at
www.smashedo.bpec.org

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Inside SchNEWS

Anti-water privatisation activist Matthews Ndlovu has been
sentenced to two years in prison or pay a R25000 (£2,300) fine.
The Gauteng Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) has appealed for funds
to secure his release.

In September 2003, residents of Phiri, Soweto, South Africa
supported by the APF, resisted the installation of pre-paid water
meters in the township by destroying the infrastructure that had
been laid to allow these meters to be installed. During this
resistance, a number of activists, including Matthews, were
arrested. More and more, Capitalist South Africa is failing to
deliver. What were in 1994 considered to be basic rights now need
to be "earned". The State call this blackmail "good citizenship" -
do what we tell you and all will be fine. In the spirit of the
initial optimism of the dawn of the "Rainbow Nation" ten years
ago, Matthews and his comrades are openly defying the
commodification of life's basics. The State are keen to crush this
quickly and quietly so an international show of solidarity, such
as coming up with his bail money, would sweat some brows in the
South African corridors of power.

Matthews is only £2,300 away from escaping a 2 years in prison,
and we in the rich world have a real chance to help. If a dozen
squats/social centres/bands do a benefit each, this guy could be
walking free. Donation details are on www.sa.indymedia.org

More information on the struggle against privatization and
Matthew's progress can be found at www.apf.org.za

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GOOD RIDDANCE

Before he resigned (wahey!) David Blunkett finally admitted that
the dangerous "armed anarchists" who were searched by police under
anti-terror legislation at RAF Fairford, last year were not armed
with "cugels and swords" but with a kite.

The idea that peace demonstrators had arrived at a demo tooled-up
with cudgels and swords seemed ridiculous to everyone except
Blunkett and the police.

Asked how many times stop and search powers were used by police in
the vicinity of Fairford during, Blunkett replied that 2,254
stop-searches had been conducted. Asked whether swords were found,
Blunkett replied that a range of items had been seized. "Contrary
to my understanding at the time, I now understand that these did
not include swords". www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/12/302807.html

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NANONSENSE

Nanotechnology is the science of building stuff atom by atom.
Sounds useful, but like all technology what it gets used for
depends on who has the money to fund it. Given the way that every
other technological advance gets used for profit and power, it's
not surprising that there are already groups protesting against
this new technology.

One Nanotech conference has already been disrupted by a group of
angels (the taking direct action kind rather than dancing on the
head of a pin kind) who presented representatives of nanotech
industries with a "Can of Worms" award. Over in France protestors
occupied the construction site for the - Minatec Nanotech centre -
set to be the largest centre for Nanotechnologies in Europe

Others at ETC group have written an alarming report about how
unlabelled nanotech is already finding its way into food. "Down on
the Farm: The Impact of Nano-Scale Technologies on Food and
Agriculture" Check it out at www.etcgroup.org
www.angelsagainstnanotech.blogspot.com

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SchNEWS in brief

* Don't think the London bid for the Olympics is a great idea?
There are guided walks on East London's Bow Backs Rivers before
the Olympics bulldozers arrive - see the area they plan to build
on this Saturday (18th). For other dates and info on the campaign
to block the bid www.nolondon2012.org

* 'Only thousands dead as tanks and bombers bring Christmas joy to
town' writes the Porkbolter. 100,000 Iraqi's dead since the
beginning of the war on Iraq - the same number as the population
of Worthing. Read the town's excellent Xmas edition on what an
attack on Fallujah would mean to a town in Britain.
www.eco-action/porkbolter

* The Bristolian, Bristol's fortnightly political scandal sheet,
has reached its 100th issue, copies can be found in over 150
outlets in Bristol or by mail order - £10 for 20 issues from The
Bristolian, Box 3, Greenleaf Bookshop, 82 Colston Street, Bristol
BS1 5BB.

* London Disarm DSEi meeting and Christmas drinks 7pm, 20th Dec,
details email: meeting@dsei.org

* All adverts promoting jailed former Black Panther Mumia Abu
Jamal have been banned on Chicago's public transport. A policeman
was spotted tearing down an advert for Mumia's book "We Want
Freedom: A life in the Black Panther Party" - according to Viacom,
who manage the advertising space "the Chicago Transit Authority
can no longer accept any more advertisements on this author"
www.southendpress.org/books/freedomPR4.shtml

* The New Squatters' Handbook is out and is £2 including postage
from Advisory Service for Squatters, 2 St Pauls Road, London, N1
2QN.

* The Little Squatters' Handbook is a great colour story picture
book for kids all about squatting. £4.40, cheques payable to A.
Wood, from Little Squatters Handbook, c/o PO Box 2474, London, N8.
Profits will go to the Advisory Service for Squatters.

* The ID Cards Bill is likely to receive its second reading before
Christmas, and the Defy ID Network is encouraging people to get on
to the streets around this time to raise awareness of the issues.
Sample leaflets can be downloaded from their website, along with
ideas for action. There's also a planned day of action on 28th
January. www.defy-id.org.uk

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..and finally...

You might think that spending $10 billion a year might get you
some results. Not if you're the US military! The first trial of
the "Son of Star Wars" missile defence system has failed. The
interceptor missile apparently failed to take off due to an
"unknown anomaly". The record of the missile defence system is
pretty poor - only five out of eight target missiles have been
successfully intercepted in previous trials. This recent one had
to be postponed four times because of bad weather, and on one
occasion had to be stopped because of a radio transmitter failure.

George W Bush had wanted to see the system up and running by the
end of this year but he probably won't get to see the system
running in his presidency.

SchNEWS reckons that if the system does ever get the go-ahead then
the US military will be praying no-one launches a missile at the
US in bad weather and has phoned up in advance to make sure all
their radio transmitters are working. Then they'll have roughly
50% chance of shooting it down.

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Disclaimer

"Never forget the true meaning of Christmas is all about giving"
said the Minister for Humbug yesterday. He added: "If you work in
the retail sector this means giving up your holiday and, for the
rest of you, it means giving as much of your dosh to shops as
possible. As for me, I simply don't give a festive fig." (Stolen
from this month's Porkbolter).

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INFORMATION FOR ACTION - IF YOU LIKE IT PASS IT ON...

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
more...

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HOW TO UN/SUBSCRIBE TO SCHNEWS-L

To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
there, or send a message to webmaster@schnews.org.uk with subject
UNSUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

To subscribe, go to the website or email webmaster@schnews.org.uk
with subject SUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

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SchNEWS At Ten It costs £9 inc. p&p per book, further
details as below.

PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £7 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!
SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £4!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - a snip at £2; Survival Handbook issues
151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - sold out;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

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

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is
post-free to prisoners.

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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk

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