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(en) SchNEWS Issue 440 - Friday 6th February

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 6 Feb 2004 08:17:49 +0100 (CET)

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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"This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass
destruction - yet we are using weapons of mass destruction
ourselves. Such double-standards are repellent." - Professor and
former US colonel Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's
depleted uranium project.
This week a former soldier won a landmark ruling, becoming the
first veteran to win a war pension appeal after suffering Depleted
Uranium (DU) poisoning. Kenny Duncan took the Ministry of Defence
to the Pension Appeal Tribunal Service over his claim that he had
suffered poisoning during active service in Iraq during the first
Gulf War. Part of his job was to move Iraqi tanks destroyed by DU
shells and the tribunal accepted that he was poisoned from
inhaling DU dust from the burnt-out tanks. All 3 of Kenny's
children also have health problems since being born post-Gulf War.

It's 13 years since the first Gulf War and no health tests for
depleted uranium have been made available to former servicemen. A
representative fighting for the veterans said, "Mr Blair talks
about social justice but he still refuses to give servicemen a
public inquiry and depleted uranium tests." Rae Street from
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium told SchNEWS, "This is a
landmark case, it justifies our and many other groups' and
individuals' struggle for a ban on 'Depleted' Uranium munitions."

Veterans of the first Gulf War believe that DU exposure has played
a role in leaving more than 5,000 of them chronically ill and
almost 600 dead. But it's not just soldiers who face a health time
bomb. Professor Rokke said the Americans have unleashed a toxic
disaster in the Middle East that will eclipse the Agent Orange
tragedy of the Vietnam War. "Uranium dust is so fine that it acts
like a gas, seeping through the tiny pores of protective masks. It
contaminates air, water and soil for all eternity."



DU is a highly toxic heavy metal derived from nuclear bomb and
fuel waste and is classified as a "weapon of mass and
indiscriminate destruction" by the United Nations. DU emerged in
the seventies as America's Cold War weapon of choice - cheap,
abundant and devastatingly effective for armor-piercing bullets,
cluster bomb fragments that penetrate armor and anti-personnel
mines, casing for bombs, shielding on tanks, counter weights and
ground penetrator missiles. On contact, DU pulverizes into
aerosol-like dust that can travel 26 miles and remains radioactive
for 4.5 billion years.

If DU is inhaled, it can attack the body causing cancers, chronic
illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects - none
of which will be apparent for at least five years. In last year's
conflict, between 1,100 and 2,200 tonnes of the stuff were fired
at Iraq - a figure that eclipses the 375 tonnes used in the 1991
Gulf War. But unlike that largely desert-based conflict, most of
the rounds fired last spring were in heavily residential areas.
Readings taken from destroyed Iraqi tanks in Basra are so high in
DU that a British army survey team had to wear white, full-body
radiation suits, face masks, and gloves. Meanwhile, with nothing
to warn them against it, Iraqi children use the tanks to play on.
A study undertaken in November by the Uranium Medical Research
Committee showed that readings taken from destroyed Iraqi tanks in
Basra had radiation levels 2,500 times higher than normal. After
the bombing of Baghdad, witnesses living next to the airport
reported that 3,000 civilians were incinerated by one morning's
attack from aerial bursts of thermobaric and fuel air bombs. The
area has now been landscaped by the US forces and Iraqi
contractors, preventing a thorough examination.

Jo Wilding, a British human rights observer in Baghdad, has also
visited the area and documented a catalogue of miscarriages, hair
loss, and horrific eye, skin and respiratory problems. In the row
of houses closest to the airport fence, every single household
reported some kind of skin or breathing problem. Yet just as the
British government refuse to believe any soldiers are suffering
from Gulf War Syndrome, they, along with America, are also
refusing to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry
out systematic monitoring tests for uranium contamination in Iraq.

Dr Jawad Al Ali, a renowned Iraqi cancer specialist says that,
"The rate of cancer here has multiplied 15 times since the last
Gulf war. DU is the cause of these cancers but it's difficult to
prove. There are three times more DU in the air than is present
naturally. Water and food are the key contaminated sources, and
also the 're-suspension of particles' - i.e the re-release of DU
into the air through strong winds or the digging up of DU.
Children in particular are susceptible. They have a much higher
absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish
their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and
leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most, however,
cancer of the lymphoma, which can develop anywhere on the body and
has rarely been seen before the age of 12, is now also common."

While Professor Doug Rokke says that use of DU is a "war crime",
another professor, Malcolm Hooper, who advises the British
Government on Gulf health issues, said he is not surprised by the
radiation levels. "Really these things are dirty bombs. Exactly
the sort of device that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair
keep talking about being in the hands of terrorists."

The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium 0161 273 8293

* This week, three Vietnamese who say they and their families
became ill from the Agent Orange defoliant used by the United
States in the war nearly 30 years ago filed the first lawsuit
against makers of the product. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were
among more than 20 firms named in the lawsuit. American Vietnam
veterans have already sued the makers and in 1984, Dow and
Monsanto agreed to pay $180 million to them. Vietnam estimates
that about three million of its people suffer from diseases linked
to the chemical.



For supplying drugs...
That's not a crap arrest of the week we hear you shout! But this
one is the crappiest of crap arrests. 15-yr-old Brandon Kivi, a
pupil at Caney Creek High School, Texas, was questioned by the
cops after his school reported him for... lending his girlfriend
his asthma inhaler when she was having an attack!! Although both
pupils use the same type of inhaler, the school reckoned this was
supplying drugs and therefore a violation of its zero-tolerance
anti-drug policy. No charges were brought, but the school still
expelled Kivi, who, along with his girlfriend, will be home
educated from now on.



Mexican armed forces attacked the Zapatista community of Nuevo San
Rafael two weeks ago, burning down 23 homes and violently evicting
the indigenous Chol inhabitants. The attack took place in the
remote Montes Azules jungle area of Chiapas. This eviction (that
the authorities describe as "voluntary") contradicts declarations
of the government of Chiapas and the environmental authorities who
said that there would be no evictions in Montes Azules.

The resource-rich area has long been coveted by multinationals. So
the government's helping them press forward with the Plan Puebla
Panama, which aims to "develop" southern Mexico and Central
America, exploiting natural resources, biodiversity and
hydro-electricity by driving peasants off their land and into
sweatshops. The "war of low intensity" against Zapatista
autonomous communities amounts to blatant repression of locals to
let multinationals get their grubby hands on the regions'
resources. The Secretary of the Government of Chiapas, claiming to
be worried about conservation, promises more evictions, declaring
that land 'invasions' (by indigenous people!) will not be

The fate of the inhabitants of Nuevo San Rafael is unknown; the
army is preventing reporters and human rights observers from
entering the area. Local indigenous leader, Josué Jiménez Cruz,
has been arrested, and is apparently being held in prison.

According to a local human rights centre, 40 Marine and Police
officers remain in the village. The community is being held
incommunicado and the right to travel freely in the Montes Azules
region has been suspended. The inhabitants of this community are
indigenous Choles; refugees who had to flee from Calvario in the
north of Chiapas two years ago due to threats and violence by a
paramilitary group known in true Orwellian style as 'Peace and

Two years ago, 'Peace and Justice' destroyed a cooperative shop
and a Zapatista health centre in Calvario and then turfed the
Choles off their land, relieving the local government of its
"responsibilities". Not surprising since one of the group's
leaders, Carlos Torres Lopez, is also the municipal president of
Tila, Chiapas. He has used his position to funnel government
resources to the paramilitary organization. During the August
state elections, the group patrolled polling stations in the
northern part of Chiapas, using violence and intimidation to
influence the elections.

Meanwhile, it seems that a new wave of repression and evictions is
starting against Zapatista communities throughout the region. In
the north of Chiapas, the Zapatista committee of good government
has denounced a state of siege from the military. The situation
remains tense at the threatened Zapatista community of Morelia,
and further north in the state of Morelos repression continues
against the autonomous community of Tlanepantla. One thing is
certain, the Zapatistas will not give up their autonomy, won with
their own blood, easily. "A SHADOW of death is being raised in the
heart of our land, of our mother, of our forest. A cloud of
soldiers, paramilitaries, plans and projects is coming once again
to threaten us, to rob us of our dream and to evict our indigenous
communities.... But we are not going to permit eviction, nor the
relocation of our communities, we are going to defend them with
everything we have in our hands." International solidarity
activity is vital: ring the Mexican Embassy in London on 0207 499
8586 (open 9am-6pm) and organise your solidarity actions!! Chiapas
Indymedia: http://chiapas.mediosindependientes.org/



Will Saunders, a former astronomer at the Edinburgh Royal
Observatory, now best known for his re-decorating of the Sydney
Opera House, has been sentenced to nine months of weekend
detention by a New South Wales District Court judge. Saunders and
accomplice Dave Burgess were convicted of malicious damage after
painting "No War" on the Opera House's highest sail in protest
against the invasion of Iraq. The pair were ordered to cough up
for the turps needed to scrub the statement off the sail as well
as to pay £48,685 into opera house coffers. An Aussie resident of
4 years, Saunders risked deportation back to England for his
handywork, but is not bitter. "I did what I believed I had to do
at the time." $40,000 has already been raised to pay off the
fines. To donate: www.stopwarcoalition.org



Twenty-seven people who stood trial last week for 'crossing the
line' and trespassing into the infamous US-military-run terrorist
training camp at Fort Benning, Georgia, have received sentences
ranging from 12 months probation up to six months in prison, with
fines up to $1,500. They were part of a 10,000 strong group who'd
gathered at Fort Benning last November to protest against the
training camp behind the gates of the WHISC (Western Hemisphere
Institute for Security Cooperation or Wolf Hiding In Sheep's

Readers may recognise the WHISC from its previous name, the School
Of The Americas - an establishment which teaches terrorist tactics
to paramilitaries and features among its satisfied customers the
likes of Generals Galtieri, Noriega and Pinochet's secret police.
One of those sentenced, Kathy Kelly, a 3-time Nobel Peace Prize
nominee and co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness said, "Prison
will not deter us, we intend to close this school and to change
the foreign policy that this school represents." (To support the
prisoners www.soaw.org)

Fort Benning is not the only place where the US government trains
paramilitary forces to put down indigenous resistance in countries
who'd rather not be 'developed'. These 'Schools of the Americas'
go by the name ILEA (International Law Enforcement Academy) and
branches have been established in Budapest, Bangkok, Botswana, and
now in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Now for regular SchNEWS readers, it won't be a surprise that when
it comes to the US messing with Latin America, training up
paramilitaries is barely the tip of the iceberg. They have funded
and armed a long litany of proxy wars and puppet regimes over
decades, all in the name of controlling regimes, stopping the evil
spread of communism, and securing resources. But back to the
school news...

The ILEA in Costa Rica is ironically located on the campus of the
University Of Peace (UPAZ). Sounds nice, doesn't it? 'Cept it's
not all peace and happiness there. A recent email told us that
while this uni does have legitimate courses about, er, peace, a
witness has also observed a "constant military training presence
on the campus".

Scholars of peace studies will be interested to observe how UPAZ
recently dealt with the eviction of radio station RFPI, which had
been broadcasting on the campus for sixteen years: it sent in
machete-wielding guards to sever the wires! When UPAZ told the
radio station to stop in July 2003, station staff barricaded
themselves into the studio and continued broadcasting their
short-wave service reaching a wide area of Latin America. Security
took five months to shut them down. What, you ask, was the station
broadcasting? "Peace, justice and the environment were our
concerns," says station manager James Latham. Apparently the radio
station regularly criticised US militarism and neo-liberal
globalisation, so UPAZ gave them a lesson in conflict management.
We don't suppose the irony of an armed battle on a 'peace' campus
was lost on anyone at the radio station. www.rfpi.org



* What a load of Hutton-Read all about the man behind the report
* Last week we told you of plans by PR company Strategic
Management Partners to re-brand Brighton. A source close to
SchNEWS wrote to the PR company and asked them to spell out in
plain English exactly what this means. Their reply:
"'Multi-channel forums' means linking into existing partnerships
which operate face to face and online. My reference to
'conventional branding' is the use of 'destination branding' and
'PR gurus' who are brought in to apply traditional 'spin'
techniques at high cost and low return." Got that?
* On Monday morning, protestors blockaded entrances to Lockheed
Martin headquarters in London to draw attention to the role of
this multinational corporation in the development of the UK's new
generation of nuclear weapons.
* The Met Police spent nearly four and half million quid policing
last year's DSEI Arms Fair (SchNEWS 421), with over 1,600 coppers
protecting the death dealers every day. Another 'fair' is planned
for 2005 and the Met are now asking the organizers themselves to
foot the policing bill. With a £4.5 million price tag, the arms
dealers will have to fork out even more than the £4.1m that was
spent on the policing of Bush's visit to England last November if
they want to carry on with business as usual. www.dsei.org
* The Rabble Rouser is a newsletter from Leeds produced by Action
for Radical Change. For copies email leedsarc@riseup.net or visit
* The Centre for Alternative Technology wants your used stamps,
which help raise money for their various environmental projects.
01654 704953 Jo.Withers@cat.org.uk



The fight against a proposed 2-mile stretch of bypass in
Blackwood, near Newport, South Wales, is still going on. It is now
estimated that over 1,000 trees are set to be destroyed in St
David's Wood, Blackwood, a number that far exceeds original
reports that only 250 trees were in danger. The companies Costain
(who many will remember from Newbury) and Tarmac seem determined
to plow ahead with the road, and protestors desperately need help
if they are to continue defending the woodland. 100 trees were
destroyed on January 29th, but the destruction stopped when two
protesters (the ONLY two protestors at the time) locked on and
stopped the bulldozers. A base camp has now been set up amongst
the trees, with about 15 people and Section 6 notices squatting
notices in place. More people are needed! The site, St David's
Wood, is 5 minutes from Blackwood town centre. If going by
train/bus, from Cardiff Station bus number 26 from bay C1. Once
there call 07811 948764 or 07708 420446.

* The Nine Ladies anti-quarry camp are still expecting to be
evicted any day now. More people and climbing equipment needed.
Contact 07005942212 for details.



Join M'AM and see the world
After a demonstration against the royal jubilee in 2002, members
of M'AM (Movement Against the Monarchy) retired to a local
hostelry for a well-earned drink. While on their second pint, riot
cops surrounded the pub, preventing anybody leaving. When more
reinforcements arrived, the coppers nicked all 23 protesters
inside for breach of the peace and then commandeered a No 11 bus
to take the anti-monarchists on a 2 ½ hour tour of different
police stations across London. They were all released without
charge 7 hours later, and so, decided to sue the cops. This week,
the M'AM demonstrators may just decide to buy their own bus after
winning £3500 each in compensation for their right royal time.



SchNEWS warns all readers we're done and dusted... Honest!



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