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(en) SchNEWS 446, Friday 19th March, 2004 - WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER FULL OF PAZAZ... SchNEWS

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 19 Mar 2004 09:47:20 +0100 (CET)


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TOTAL PAZ TAKE
"I do not believe that this is the Third World War. Nor is it a
"war on terror". Nor is it a "war of civilisations." But our own
leaders are willfully leading us into a period of appalling
suffering because they will not address the cases of injustice in
the Islamic world." Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent.
It began with the bombing of Spanish commuter trains and the
deliberate slaughter of 200 people - one hundred hours later and
the government of Jose Maria Aznar had lost an election they were
predicted to win. Aznar had attempted to connect the bombings to
the Basque separatist group ETA, knowing that if the attack were
linked to al-Qa'ida, it would be seen as their revenge for Spain's
support of the war in Iraq. A war which 90% of the Spanish
population was against, yet Aznar had ignored this overwhelming
majority and gone to war anyway. As thousands packed the streets
of Madrid two days after the bombing, protesters demanded answers
as to who was really responsible, carrying a banner reading, 'Your
War, Our Corpses.' Aznar and the state-controlled corporate media
struggled to maintain their hold on the rebelling populace,
insisting that ETA was indeed responsible. But people just weren't
buying it, and the powers that be got scared. Several voting
centres were "mysteriously" damaged before the Sunday election,
with one even being set fire to on Saturday night. In the Basque
country, repression was intensified against the populace, with
riot police roving the streets in an attempt to keep people from
coming out onto the streets and voicing their belief that ETA was
not responsible for the bombings. One man from Pamplona who had
refused to display an anti-ETA sign in his shop window was
murdered by a local policeman. When the citizens of Pamplona
demonstrated against the murder, their march was brutally attacked
by police and one woman was killed. Despite all this, people
refused to listen to anymore lies. The surprising election results
seem to reflect their anger at a useless war and its consequences.

'Your War, Our Corpses'

One year on from the American occupation of Iraq and does the
world feel a safer place? In Iraq, one and a half thousand cluster
bombs litter the countryside while depleted uranium pollutes the
soil and air. 530 American soldiers and uncounted thousands of
Iraqis have died. The economy is a disaster; electricity and water
are sporadic. Sweeping new laws have also led to Iraq's
infrastructure being sold to Bush's corporate chums. There's a new
secret police force containing former members of Saddam's security
services and a bogus July 1st 'sovereignty transfer' planned that
will actually maintain the occupation. The US is also planning to
construct what will be the world's largest embassy in Iraq,
staffed by up to 3,000 people, while the military plans to
maintain permanent bases for as long as it wants.

But the occupation of Iraq cannot be seen in isolation from U.S.
designs in the region as a whole, in which Israel is a central
player. This role was perfectly described by the Israeli newspaper
Ha'artez, "Strengthening Israel helps the Western powers to
maintain equilibrium and stability in the Middle East. Israel is
to become the watchdog...if for any reason the Western powers
should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be
relied upon to punish one or several neighboring states whose
discourtesy to the West went beyond the bounds of the
permissible."

Today, Israelis are involved in training and advising US
occupation forces in Iraq. According to one report last year, "As
they prepared for war in Iraq, American military officers studied
Israel's use of helicopters, tanks and armored bulldozers to fight
in the claustrophobic quarters of Palestinian refugee camps."
Today Israel is carrying out repeated assaults on Palestinians,
including "targeted assassinations." Borrowing sentiments from the
U.S. 'war on terror,' their charming Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
said
"Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will
strike its enemies in every place and in every way." Meanwhile,
the illegal apartheid wall it is building continues to grow,
cutting off more Palestinians from one another, from their lands,
from their work, and from any hope of a future.

Gross Products

Across the world, inequality grows and with that, resentment and
anger. Millions upon millions are trying to survive under
conditions of unspeakable degradation. Nearly 4 billion people
earn less than $1,500 (US) a year, less than $5 a day. Yet
satisfying the entire world's need for food and sanitation would
cost just $13 billion. A huge sum? Well that figure is less than
one percent of the combined wealth of the world's 587
billionaires, who between them are worth more than the Gross
National Product of 170 countries.

In Europe and America, the danger is that, in order to try to
pre-empt the kind of hellish scenes witnessed in Madrid,
governments will crack down even harder on civil liberties.
Although Blair might find it difficult to actually find one of our
British 'civil liberties' that hasn't already been attacked.

What happened in Madrid was a crime against humanity, but other
such crimes go unreported day in, day out across out world. So
while politicians tell us that "terrorism is now the greatest
threat in the world today" ask them about the millions of innocent
people dying daily from war, filthy water, climate change,
environmental degradation, and preventable diseases.

As Robert Fisk points out, "If America's neo-conservatives believe
in the "war of civilisations", then so does al-Qa'ida...Civilians
are now to die in Europe as brutally as they have died in Bali and
Tunisia and Istanbul and - let us, for a moment, see the world
through another prism - as they have been torn to pieces by our
bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq."

* Bypass the corporate media: www.indymedia.org www.zmag.org

* Demos across the world to coincide with 1st anniversary of the
war in Iraq. www.stopthewar.org.uk

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Crap Arrest of the Week

For working for the wrong news agency...
Salah Hassan, a cameraman for the Al Jazeera news network, was
arrested by US troops at the site of a roadside bomb attack on a
US military convoy in Iraq last November.

US troops accused him of knowing in advance of the attack even
though his footage showed that he arrived at least half an hour
after the attack!

This heralded the beginning of 6 weeks of imprisonment, abuse and
torture. Salah was initially taken to the US military base at
Baghdad airport and held in a bathroom for 2 days. Next, he was
flown bound and hooded to Tikrit, and finally, Salah was moved to
Abu Ghraib, a massive Saddam-built prison currently holding 13,000
prisoners, where he spent his first night standing naked for 11
hours in the cold winter air. The following day, Salah was given
his prison issue clothes-a puke-stained set of red overalls. He
was then locked alone in a tiny cell. Meanwhile, Salah's employers
at Al Jazeera hired a top lawyer to defend him. At the trial,
Salah ended up being released for lack of evidence and dumped on a
roadside outside Baghdad. He is now back working for the news
network.

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COCA-KILA

On Monday morning, March 15, Coca-Cola union workers in Colombia
began a hunger strike in front of Coke bottling plants in
Barrancabermeja, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta,
Medellín, and Valledupar. Juan Carlos Galvis, vice president of
the local union in Barrancabermeja, has said, "If we lose the
fight against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our
jobs, and then our lives." Although this may seem like dramatic
language to some, he speaks from experience. This past August,
there was an assassination attempt against him, and just a few
months ago, in December, his brother-in-law was brutally murdered
in an incident that many human rights groups have linked to
anti-union thugs.

On September 9, 2003, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola's largest
Colombian bottler, closed the production lines at 11 of their 16
bottling plants and launched a new offensive against
union-affiliated workers in an effort to break support for
Sinaltrainal, the union Galvis belongs to that is fighting to
organise Coke workers. Coke FEMSA imprisoned workers by force in
factories or hotels and pressured them to renounce their
employment contracts in return for a measly payout. Since
September, more than 500 workers have pressured into "voluntarily
resigning" from their contracts. Most of the union leaders have
refused to resign and the company has escalated the pressure
against them. There have been numerous cases of assault by
mysteriously "unidentified" assailants, including the kidnapping
and torture of one union leader's 15-year-old son, as well as the
murder and attempted murder listed above. On February 25, the
Colombian Ministry of Social Protection (Labour) authorized
Coca-Cola FEMSA's plans to dismiss 91 workers - 70 percent of whom
are union leaders. Sinaltrainal hopes that the hunger strike will
draw international attention to the situation, but also fears for
the safety of the workers.

To keep up-to-date on the situation, www.killercoke.org/news.htm

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Inside SchNEWS

After recently being released after serving 27 years for actions
including robbing a bank and setting fire to the money to condemn
capitalism, Helen Woodson is back in jail. Last Thursday she
walked into a federal courthouse and allegedly covered security
apparatus in red paint before making a Christian inspired
eco/peace statement. She is also alleged to have sent four
threatening letters and made one threatening phone call. Send
letters to Helen D Woodson, #03231-045, c/o Bates County Jail, PO
Box 60, Butler, MO 64730, USA. More info: nukeresister@igc.org

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PET CEMETARY

After failing to build a primate vivisection lab at Cambridge
(SchNEWS 439), mad scientists are now trying a more subtle
approach by building an "animal housing facility" at Oxford
University, which will (surprise!) be doing some of the same
research that was going to be done at Cambridge. In a desperate
attempt to hoodwink the public, the new project has been
euphemistically called a research "hotel" in the planning
application. Some Hotel!-Where you get kept in solitary wire
cages, injected with drugs, deliberately brain damaged and then
killed. In response to this latest development, the campaign that
stopped the Cambridge lab has been resurrected to fight the new
proposals and started with a demo last Saturday. 0845 3307985
www.speakcampaigns.org.uk

A computer game has been released featuring an electro-shock
tested weasel and a rabbit deformed from cosmetic testing. The aim
of the game is to rescue animals from a laboratory by smashing up
security cameras and lab equipment and chain whipping policemen!
www.whiplashgame.com

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FUNK OFF!

Stephen Funk, conscientious objector (CO) to the Iraq war, was
freed this week from a US army clink after being locked up for 6
months. "In the face of this unjust war based on deception by our
leaders," he said, "I could not remain silent. I spoke out so that
others in the military would realize that they also have a choice
and a duty to resist immoral and illegitimate orders." Last
September, Stephen showed up to work for the army 47 days late,
clutching his CO papers in hand. He was accused of going AWOL,
although the initial, harsher accusation was "desertion" which
supporters claimed was an overreaction intended to scare other
soldiers into keeping their concerns under wraps and their guns on
display. Why so paranoid? Well, this week has seen a trickle of
other potential COs-two US army medics have applied, saying the
idea of killing is to them "revolting" as well as one sergeant who
has vowed not to fight in this "oil-driven war". Three more isn't
exactly a trend but, according to the Center for Conscience on
War, this small number of applicants is just the tip of the
objector-iceberg. They estimate that the number of military
personnel seeking CO status at the moment is several hundred at
"the bare minimum". Applying for CO status is hardly a walk in the
park either. After completing a 22-question form and attending
interviews, soldiers have to wait 6 months for applications to be
processed - by which time they're probably eating out of mess tins
anyway. According to the Center and their stats from previous
wars, COs waiting for their case to go through are often beaten,
harassed or threatened with court marshal. During the first Gulf
War, the US army received 111 applications from COs before
freezing the process and instead sending people to prison.
www.nisbco.org

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CATAKILLER

Around a dozen people walked calmly into the Caterpillar defence
plant in Shrewsbury at around midday on Tuesday, occupied various
areas within the complex, and shut it down for the entire
afternoon. Several protesters locked themselves onto factory
fixtures using bicycle locks. The action took place exactly one
year after peace activist Rachel Corrie, an American working with
the International Solidarity Movement against the Israeli
occupation of Palestine, was crushed to death under a
specially-designed armoured bulldozer manufactured by Caterpillar
as she attempted to peacefully stop it from bulldozing a
Palestinian home in Rafah. This city has now been virtually razed
to the ground by such bulldozers in the year since she was killed.
The demolitions are a violation of international law.

In a letter to friends and family in the US, Rachel described her
difficulty in trying to convey the larger picture,"The
assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are
atrocities - but in focusing on them I'm terrified of missing
their context. The vast majority of people here - even if they had
the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give
up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be
maybe the less nefarious of Sharon's possible goals), can't leave.
Because they can't even get into Israel to apply for visas, and
because their destination countries won't let them in (both our
country and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival
is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can't get out of, I think
that qualifies as genocide..."

Protesters at the Caterpillar plant tried to talk to workers about
Caterpillar's role in killing people but management closed the
plant and ordered the staff to leave after triggering the fire
alarm. All the protesters were later arrested and released at
around 11pm, bailed to return to face charges of attempted
burglary. Police also confiscated mobile phones and video footage
taken during the action. www.catdestroyshomes.org

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SchNEWS in brief

** Another two GM crops have been dropped from potential
commercialization in the UK. Both of Syngenta/Monasanto's sugar
beet varieties have been withdrawn from the national seed listing
process, leaving only three out of an original potential 58
varieties of GM crops.

** Leeds No Sweat public meeting next Monday (22) will hear
reports from Alice Nutter from Chumbawamba speaking about her
visit to Mexican trade unions organizing in sweatshops and from
Wendelin Huang, a trades union activist from the Chinese Labour
Federation. It's at the Adelphi Pub, 8pm, ohrm@thereason.net

Phantom Conservation Volunteers, 2nd Big Day Out this Sunday (21)
at a destination close to the South Downs Way. Help reclaim a
piece of land neglected by the landowner who has banned people
from the land for decades. Meet 11am, Brighton Station, bring
strong gardening gloves, picnic food, and drink to share. Site
location and transport details on the day: 07966 952018

** There's a refugee film night at the Sanctuary Café, Brighton
next Wednesday (24) 7.30pm

** Oil on the Warpath, meeting to discuss Petrol Addiction, energy
alternatives and resistance to big oil. Next Saturday (27) Quaker
Meeting House, Sheffield, 10am-6pm £5 donation. 0114 268 6216

** As well as a London to Aldermarston Atomic Weapons
Establishment march (last week's SchNEWS) there will also be a
youth march from Oxford, over the Easter weekend 07967 392229
www.youthstudentcnd.org.uk

** Day of Action against the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Meet midday,
27th March, outside Waitrose, to take part in the building of a
security wall between Brighton and Hove.

** SchWOOPS! The website for the Palestinain Olive Oil mentioned
in last week's SchNEWS is http://zaytoun.co.uk, orders from
cathi@gn.apc.org

** TV news reports in America that showed Bush getting a standing
ovation from potential voters have been exposed as fake. The US
government also admitted that it paid actors to pose as
journalists in video news releases sent to TV stations, as well as
preparing scripts to be used by news anchors. SchNEWS expects any
day now to be informed that Bush himself is merely an actor
(albeit a bad one) hired by Corporate America, the Oil Bosses and
the Military Industrial Complex to simply read the scripts they
prepare for him. Standing ovation anyone?
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5862.htm

** A recent article in the British Medical Journal reviewing
animal research said that there was "little evidence" that the
research has contributed to treating human disease. A separate
study published in New Scientist showed that studying mice brains
had delayed treatment for Multiple Sclerosis because mice have,
er, different brains!

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..and finally...

Some cheeky chappy has managed to carve "Tony Blair is a c***"
into the Commons table used by the Prime Minister! Now you might
have thought that the Conservatives being the opposition would
have agreed with these sentiments, but obviously not, as
Conservative MP Derek Conway criticized the "bright clown" and
proudly stated, "Furniture polishers were brought in straight away
and the message was removed shortly before the Prime Minister's
question session started." Such communal back slapping just shows
that all politicians are a bunch of ...

And across the Atlantic, a maintenance worker has been suspended
after he displayed a sign with the word "traitor" on a snowplow
while helping provide security for President Bush's motorcade in
Ohio. http://tinyurl.com/2h3df

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers that when Blair says "things can only
get ETA", you know that they're only getting worse... 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...

The SchNEWS at Ten Tour plans are being updated regularly as well.

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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.

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

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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 - going for £2!! Survival Handbook issues
151-200 - also at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out -
£7; Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. 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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