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(en) SchNEWS 462, Friday 9th July, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 9 Jul 2004 08:41:47 +0200 (CEST)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER BLAIR RICH PROJECT... SchNEWS
IRAQ-ING UP THE PROFITS
"Desperately needed jobs have gone to Americans, Europeans and
South Asians; roads are crowded with trucks shipping in supplies
produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even
supplied with emergency generators. As a result, the
reconstruction is seen not as a recovery from war but as an
extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion of a different
sort." - Naomi Klein, journalist

Human Rights activist Ewa Jasiewicz and film maker Pennie Quinton,
will be appearing in court soon, charged with 'Aggravated
Trespass', following their protest against the Iraq Procurement
Conference in London this April. Ewa, Pennie and others have been
drawing attention to the fact that the corporate handover of Iraq
to the multinationals is about more than just oil. The handover's
making millions for the members of a cartel of multinationals,
dominated by the backers of George Bush. At the same time as
millions of reconstruction dollars have gone missing, millions of
Iraqi's still live without electricity and water.

The old regime has left Iraq in serious debt. "The Paris Club" of
creditor nations is owed $160bn, largely money borrowed by Saddam
for his war against Iran, while other debts are reparations
payments owed to countries he attacked. These payments, enforced
by the UN Compensation Commission, have already cost Iraq $1.64bn
since last April: more than its combined health and education
budgets. On 23rd June, as the UN called for $259m to meet a
shortfall in humanitarian relief, the Compensation Commission also
announced that it would take another $600m in reparations this
year.

But the US doesn't seem that bothered by the Iraqi debt. John
Snow, the US Treasury Secretary recently said, "The people of Iraq
shouldn't be saddled with those debts incurred through the regime
of the dictator." Is this a new angle on US foreign policy? Maybe
John's about to announce the cancellation of the Iraq's debt -
mostly owed to non-US companies - so Bush Inc can concentrate on
the fat reconstruction contracts to boost its re-election coffers.

The Halliburton Corporation has been pretty coy about total value
of its Iraq contracts, although the Pentagon has confirmed that an
initial $90m was agreed to be paid to the Corporation before the
fall of Saddam Hussein. Former Halliburton boss, Vice President
Dick Cheney, has denied any wrongdoing. He says that he severed
contact with the corporation when he got into the White House in
2000, but a French Press Agency report claims that a leaked
Pentagon e-mail confirms Dick had a hand in huge Halliburton
government contracts for Iraq, whilst in office and coordinating
the war effort.

Up to the corporate-handover, White House Inc. had spent just 2%
of the $18.4bn it had obtained from Congress for the 'urgent'
reconstruction of Iraq. While Bush might be saving for a big spend
at election time, some cash has just plain disappeared. Last
October, Christian Aid revealed that $4bn of oil revenues were
unaccounted for and even according to the coalition's latest
figures, $1.3bn has gone walkabout.

Being investigated by Ronald Reagan's Commission on Organized
Crime for alleged links to gambling and prostitution, didn't stop
Richard Armitage becoming Deputy Secretary of State in 2000. Now
he's helping oversee the State Department as it nicks $184m,
earmarked for drinking water projects, to boost the budget for a
lavish new US Embassy in Saddam's former palace. Ever honest
Armitage admitted he might have to "rob from Peter in my fiefdom
to pay Paul."

HAND (OVER) RELIEF

And all that's before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have
been let loose in Iraq with a long-term IMF structural adjustment
program in return for debt reduction. Rapid privatisation and an
opening up of the Iraqi economy for foreign investors is the name
of the game, leading to increased unemployment and Iraqi public
assets falling into the hands of a "coalition" of foreign
multinationals.

As soon as big business gets hold of the bargain-priced publicly
owned companies up for grabs, they will shed jobs to make a quick
profit. Already the Coalition Provisional Authority is making Iraq
a great place to do business. Last September it signed Order 30 on
Salaries and Employment Conditions, cancelling government subsides
for public sector workers which had helped them pay for housing
and living costs. The Authority has set the minimum wage at 69,000
Dinar ($40) per month, which is, according to Ewa Jasiewicz, less
than half of the recommended salary of a sweatshop worker in one
of neighbouring Iran's Free Trade Zones.

Antonia Juhasz of the International Forum on Globalisation, says
that the Bush administration is "using the military invasion and
occupation of Iraq to advance a corporate globalization agenda
that is illegal under international law, has not been chosen by
the Iraqi people and may ultimately prove to be even more
devastating than twelve years of economic sanctions, two U.S.-led
wars and one occupation."

One thing the new Authority sees eye-to-eye with the Saddam regime
over is draconian Trade Union Laws. Under the new boss, workers in
the state oil industry are forbidden from organising a union, and
harassment of union organisers is commonplace. But people are
still joining workers groups, and as journalist David Bacon, who
travelled to Iraq with US Labor Against the War said, "the thing
that was really heartening was that under the most difficult
conditions that you can imagine, workers were not waiting one
minute before they started organising themselves." Unemployment is
still very high (30%), and the reconstruction process isn't
exactly the job frenzy it was supposed to be - having created only
15,000 of the 250,000 jobs promised.

Saddam was always heading for trouble, running one of the only
state owned oil companies in the world and refusing to let Western
oil companies in on the game. Remember two years ago when the US
sponsored a coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (at the time the
main supplier of oil to the US - see SchNEWS 345)? He had promised
to use oil profits to pay for a minimum wage, rather than let all
the money go abroad to the oil companies. But this is about more
than just oil. They are flogging the whole country's assets off,
lock stock and barrel. The Middle East's got a lot of state owned
assets which western corporations are ready to buy up cheap. The
pretext offered by terrorism to make a profit through invasion and
economic colonisation isn't worrying business friendly Saudi
Arabia. But no doubt Iran and Syria with their state owned water
companies, electricity plants and telecom systems are getting
worried by cash-hungry Halliburton and friends.

More info: www.jubileeiraq.org www.iraqitradeunions.org
www.occupationwatch.org www.bellaciao.org

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Crap Arrest Of Ther Week

For nicking Seaweed!

Three men have been arrested in Eastbourne for 'stealing' seaweed
from the beach - organic food for their hungry turtles. After
being tailed for three miles by two police cars and a motorbike,
they were finally apprehended while the police went off to search
for other 'criminals'. The three were locked up for seven hours
and searched their premises to examine the 'rare' fauna. After
extensive forensic analysis this 'rare' fauna proved to be... sea
cabbage. Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it!

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DEADLY SYNGENTA

Syngenta, the last big company developing genetically modified
(GM) crops in Britain, are closing its GM research laboratories.
This is yet another victory for campaigners, having seen off the
other two big GM players - Monsanto, who have quit Britain, and
Bayer, who suffered from sustained campaigning, reducing both
their GM operations. Syngenta, who've been developing GM crops at
Jealott's Hill, Berkshire, have clearly had enough of having work
destroyed - as despite infra red cameras, barbed wire fences and
security patrols, potato and wheat GM trials have been destroyed
in the last few years.

Syngenta are now set to move their GM research efforts to the USA,
a reflection that the public in Europe don't want GM food. As Pete
Riley of the Five Year Freeze anti-GM pressure group, said: "If
you produce things that people do not want to buy you cannot
expect to stay in business long."

But GM crops from the USA and elsewhere continue to pour into
Europe, mostly as animal feed. Unlike humans, farm animals don't
get much choice what they eat, so the GM industry has been
offloading unwanted products on them. But resistance is growing. A
couple of weeks ago, Greenpeace held up a ship carrying GM animal
feed for two days, forcing it to drop anchor off the coast of
Wales.

Many supermarkets, due to consumer pressure, will no longer sell
meat or dairy products fed on GM produce, but Sainsbury's continue
to sell milk from GM fed cow's. In response to this, national
campaigns have started to act. Last week its five biggest
distribution centers were blockaded, with a variety of tactics-
setting up scaffold tripods, chaining people together through
steel tubes or locking on with D-locks to gates. At the blockade
in Birmingham according to one report "The police inspector
praised the protesters for the speed at which they deployed the
tripods and lock-on tubes." - It's rare that you get complements
from the police for the quality of your actions!

The campaign has united farmers and anti-genetics campaigners who
both realize that they are fighting the same battle against the
monopoly of the supermarkets who shaft both farmers and consumers.
The following day, tractors blockaded Sainsbury's Barnstaple
store, while inside stickers were placed on dairy products
informing the public about GM animal feed.

More info about the campaign against Sainsbury's:
www.geneticsaction.org.uk or call 01803 840098.

Sainsbury's have a free phone "Customer care line" so you can tell
them what you think of their GM policy: 0800 636262

* The first ever trashing of a GM crop in Finland has occurred.
All 400 genetically modified birch trees of Finland's only GM tree
trial were torn up or chopped down causing about 1.5 million Euros
worth of damage.

* There's a new Corporate Watch publication 'A Rough Guide to the
UK Farming Crisis'. For copies call 01865 791 391 or read it at
www.corporatewatch.org.uk/agriculture/agriculture.htm

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WOZA MATTER?

Anyone remember that Zimbabwe place with that dictator Mugabe who
was chasing away all those white farmers? Used to be front page
news in the corporate media until they moved on to Iraq. So has
all the repression ended then? No, it's actually increased with
Zimbabweans living in an unofficial state of emergency. So is it
the revolutionary Robert Mugabe and his party fighting against
greedy white farmers? Not exactly. Ruling party Zanu PF ministers
and fat cats are grabbing all the best farms. And perhaps the
corporate media forgot to tell you that for every white farmer
killed about 20 black opposition supporters are murdered too.

So what does the resistance look like? Well, the resistance has
taken all sorts of guises, but by far the most revolutionary and
fun are the grassroots groups. One such group is WOZA (Women Of
Zimbabwe Arise), a network of community women that is
action-focused while maintaining a healthy distrust of
hierarchies. The ghetto women who built the network had had enough
of seeing people given positions of power and then abusing them,
so they nurtured a network with a spontaneous spirit and a
decentralised structure. No membership cards are necessary to be
part of WOZA, all you need according to Jenni Williams, one of the
fiery WOZA founders, are "two of these" - two breasts! They've
organised an avalanche of direct action against the Mugabe regime,
from demonstrations against repressive security laws to actions
against inflation. Recently, members organised an action on World
Refugee Day to protest against Zimbabweans forced into being
refugees by a violent state. 33 were arrested in the southern city
of Bulawayo with a dozen more women adamantly making their way to
the police station, arguing that they should be arrested in
solidarity with their comrades! Slowly but surely grassroots
groups like WOZA are spinning webs of freedom with their
irresistible ideas of participatory democracy, free speech and
love.

*There's a talk on 'Grassroots Resistance in Zimbabwe' by a
visiting Zimbabwean troublemaker on the 12th at 7pm above the
George pub, the Strand, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, Ldn;
and (with a film) on the 22nd at 6.30pm at the Cowley Club, 12a
London Road, Brighton.

*For more radical Zimbabwe info check out: www.wozazimbabwe.com
www.zvakwana.org or www.kubatana.net

* Wanna donate any radical films or literature, organise a benefit
gig, or visit the Zimbabwe struggle? Contact Samm:
detidhodhi@hotmail.com

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SchNEWS in brief

** The Earth First summer gathering is happening from 4th to 9th
August in the East Midlands "to share skills and ideas on direct
action for people and planet". Call 0845 3550111
www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk

** Stanmer Organics are having an Open Day on Sunday (11) 11am-4pm
01273 565755 www.stanmerorganics.org.uk

** Next Monday (19), Iris, an Israeli conscientious objector, will
be talking about the environment and direct action and a Radical
info shop in Tel Aviv 6.30 at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road,
Brighton, 01273 696104 www.cowleyclub.org.uk

** RampART is a squatted social centre at 15-17 Rampart Street,
London, E1 2LA (off Commercial Road - Whitechapel tube or Shadwell
DLR). Events include 'Visions of another world IV' European
Creative Forum. 1pm-1am this Saturday (10) and free cinema every
Wednesday. If you'd like to do an event contact them
www.rampart.co.nr

** Visit the ex grand banks squatted social centre is at 156-158
Fortess Road, Tufnell Park, London, NW5. Events include Wombles
meetings every Tuesday, 7:30pm with talks on active movements and
ongoing projects, anti-copyright cinema every Friday, from 7:30pm.
This Sunday (11) there's a free Radio skill sharing workshop and
on Thursday (15) Casualisation & Dole Resistance: discussion on
fighting the benefits regime/films/café. 7.30pm 07956 975490
www.wombles.org.uk

** Sportswear company, Sergio Tacchini, is withdrawing from Burma
thanks to a boycott campaign launched a few weeks ago after that
activists received evidence that it manufactured clothes in
military-run Burma. 0207 3244710 www.burmacampaign.org.uk

** There are plans for electronic tagging of asylum seekers in
Scotland from September. Reliance Monitoring Services, criticised
for releasing prisoners in error, will take on the controversial
contract.

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PAYNEFUL TIMES

Epping Forest in North London has been home to thousands of
Romanies over the centuries. It once contained many camping
places - now closed by bye-laws. Now, Harry Smith, one of the last
Roma living the traditional life on the margins of the forest, is
threatened with eviction from his own land by Epping Forest
district council. "We own this land - and they want to push us off
it", says Harry, who has lived for l4 years on the land he bought
at Paynes Lane, Lower Nazeing.

The neo-fascist British National Party, which has just won 3 seats
on Epping Forest district council, pledged to expel all Romanies
from the area.

Planning permission has been refused by John Prescott and an
injunction to leave will be enforced on 23 August, according to
the council. On the 22 August there will be a rally at Paynes Lane
for direct action opposition to the BNP. For details
ustiben.5@ntlworld.com

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WOOD FOR CHOP

This Saturday (10) there's a 'Save Titnore Woods' demo in Montague
Street (near Woolworth's), Worthing, at 2pm. Developers want to
widen Titnore Lane and build 850 houses in this area at the
expense of 200 trees many of which are over 150 years old. Despite
massive protests Worthing council is expected to approve the West
Durrington development project by the end of July. As the
Pork-Bolter Worthing's radical newssheet says "The council is
trying to pretend it is no big deal that a gang of greedy property
developers are going to be allowed to tarmac over the last green
lung in Worthing borough...They also claim that they are powerless
to act, when what they really mean is they lack the guts to take
up a fight against powerful vested interests on behalf of the
people they claim to represent,".
www.protectourwoodland.fsnet.co.uk

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SMALL TIME CRIMINAL

Steve Kurtz, who featured in 'crap arrest of the week' (SchNEWS
456/457) has had the charges against him of bioterrorism dropped.
He now faces charges of theft for using $256 of bacteria belonging
to Pittsburgh Uni for a Critical Art Ensemble biotechnology
education program. The US District Attorney is attempting to cast
the issue as one of public safety by repeatedly alluding to
dangerous and biohazardous material even though scientists
universally regard the two types of bacteria in question as safe.
Kurtz himself has exhaustedly alluded to their interesting shapes
and colours. Many worry that the case could set a dangerous
precedent by silencing a group of artists for work that stimulates
vital public debate. Kurtz's home was raided by the Joint
Terrorism Task Force after he called an ambulance for his wife who
had suffered a heart attack. www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense/

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..and finally...

Readers may be aware it's our tenth birthday in November... As
well as putting out SchNEWS we are busy getting our book - SchNEWS
At Ten - ready for then AND trying to organise a big event in
London. Unfortunately, cos of a lack of writers, and the fact that
we want to make this book our best it's all hands on decks, so for
the next month or so SchNEWS will be going fortnightly. We will
still be updating the party and protest section on our website
every week and beavering away in the office.

If you fancy yerself as a writer, want to help DTP, can help with
printing on a Friday morning or help with the mailout get in
touch! We also rely on you to keep us in biscuits so if you're
feeling flush, a donation or better still a regular standing order
really helps keep SchNEWS free.

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers... money doesn't grow on trees - it
grows on Bushes. Honest!

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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

------------------------------------------------------------------

PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 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 £6.50!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - SOLD OUT; Survival Handbook issues 151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out - £8.50;
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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@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!
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