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(en) Britain, SchNEWS 483, Friday 4th February, 2005 WAKE UP! IT'S WHAT'S UNDER YER KILT... SchNEWS

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 4 Feb 2005 08:03:31 +0100 (CET)


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News about and of interest to anarchists
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GOBBILISATION ---- The G7 Finance Ministers meet this week, (4-5th Feb) in a swanky
London hotel to chat about how they're gonna run the global
economy. The G8 is the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan and er... Russia. Russia aren't really included in the
finance talks because they owe too much money, therefore it's the G7.
The G8 are like the executive committee of the system that sees economic
growth as the answer to everything. They control over half the votes in
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and basically exist to make life easier for transnational corporations.
It's unaccountable, un-transparent and unelected.

So how does what goes on in these meetings affect our lives? Many
of the stories you read about in SchNEWS or the corporate media
can be traced back to the dodgy influence of the G8. From Iraq to
PFI hospitals to the water revolts in Bolivia, the G8's pervasive
stink wafts through many bad news stories in recent years.

The G8/G7 don't actually make policies, they issue declarations.
At a meeting last October they discussed "the sustainability of
health-care spending in the major countries and ideas and policies
for reform of such spending." In the UK that will mean goodbye NHS
and hello privatisation.

Neo-Labour strongly opposed PFI when they were in opposition, but
their principles caved in when they got into power. Now everything
from schools to hospitals to roads are put under the PFI hammer.
This rampant privatisation is what the GATS (General Agreement on
Trade in Services) agreement is foisting upon governments across
the world. GATS came from the G8-dominated WTO talks in 2001. If
these international summits seem distant and abstract, the results
are neither, they are concrete and visible in hospitals and
schools in every part of the UK.

A study by a consultancy company which works for the Department of
Health shows that for every £200 million spent on PFI hospitals
the result will be a loss of a thousand doctors and nurses. The
first PFI hospitals also contain some 28% fewer beds than the
hospitals they replaced while many are heavily in debt and closing
wards and cutting back services.

But there is a deeper level of corporate infestation. The G8 make
noble sounding task forces and ask their mates to run them -
effectively asking the corporations to cure the diseases they
created. The Global Health Fund set up to combat HIV/AIDS was just
flogging big brand drugs and Mark Moody Stuart, former Chairman of
Shell, runs their G8 Renewable Taskforce. It's like having the
Children's Welfare Department jointly headed by Dr G Glitter and
Prof M Jackson.

Money Talks...

Blair is trying to use his presidency of the G8 to repair his
damaged reputation after Iraq and separate himself from Bush in
the eyes of the UK public, by talking about Africa and climate
change. This year they have invited China, India and Brazil to a
breakfast meeting in recognition of their growing influence but
they will have to wolf down their croissants sharpish and leave by
the tradesman's entrance before the business of business gets
underway. After his speech in Trafalgar Square to Make Poverty
History campaigners on Thursday, Nelson Mandela will stop in to
try and persuade G8 leaders to adopt Gordon Brown's Marshall Plan
for Africa.

What won't be in the headlines are the big financial issues like
the potential collapse of the dollar which has lost 30% relative
to other major currencies since 2002, due partly to the monkey in
the white house but mostly the instability of global capital
markets. And if the dollar goes then the bubble might really
burst.

The dollar is used as the world's reserve currency, which gives a
huge subsidy to the US economy. The Euro threatens this situation,
but the fact that OPEC sells oil only in US$ means that the
dollar's status is maintained. In 2000, in a deliberate attempt by
Saddam to strike back at the US, Iraq started selling its oil for
Euros. Could this explain the rush to get Western oil companies
into Iraq? The only other countries considering making the same
move are Iran and Venezuela, both of which the US have recently
rattled their sabres at. And they're not joking. The Pentagon have
recently been drafting a contingency plan for an invasion of Iran
by land from Iraq.

Say Cheese!

The G8 try and present themselves as a tight-knit bunch of mates,
but behind the scenes there is constant squabbling, deal-making
and deal-breaking. International summits are their family album,
Kodak moments where they hold hands and smile for the cameras of
the world's media. By presenting a show of unity they can enforce
their will over the rest of the world. To some of us it will be a
relief to know that behind closed doors there are long, tedious
arguments going on and seemingly endless wrangles over how to
achieve their goals. To create a kick-ass mobilisation against the
G8 this summer will be a major challenge and will demand that we
work together over the few months we have left. Diverse groups
will need to find ways to work together and resistance to the
summit itself will be a reflection of this diversity.

Many will want to stop the so-called world leaders and their
henchmen from meeting. For others, it is critical to de-legitimise
this bankrupt system by shattering the fake global unity the G8
promotes - especially in a rich state like the UK. Then there are
others who don't care about the G8 itself, only what we, as a
global movement, can do about expanding our own possibilities,
living together, if only temporarily, with 'no limits'.

All this will take people, time, money and more. It's time to get
involved!

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SO WHAT CAN I DO?

* Get in touch and involved with your local Dissent! Network
group - www.dissent.org.uk

* Donate and raise desperately needed money for leaflets, posters
and - importantly - convergence spaces. Send money to: Dissent.
Cooperative Bank, Sort Code 08-92-99, Account Number 6515 5518.

* Watch out for Corporate Watch briefing on the G8 in Scotland,
available on line at the end of March and as a map sometime in
April www.corporatewatch.org.uk

* TRAPESE have been touring about the UK since September doing
workshops and pub quizzes clueing people up about issues behind
the G8, and mobilising people to get to Scotland in July as well
boosting grassroots resistance in their own area. Only 21 weeks
til the summit, the clock is ticking. Time to get involved?
TRAPESE and Have I Got SchNEWS For You crew are planning a spring
tour. If you want to host an event contact roadshow@riseup.net
call 07904 452297 or the SchNEWS office. See www.trapese.org for
dates and more info.

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CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

For telling a joke

Did you hear the one about the pair arrested for telling a lawyer
joke? Two people waiting outside a US courthouse quipped: "How do
you tell when a lawyer is lying?"... "His lips are moving."
Unfortunately, a sour-faced lawyer wasn't laughing, and now they
face new charges for abusive and disorderly conduct.

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ARE YOU SERIOUS?

If any SchNEWS readers out there are thinking about stock market
investments, what about an animal lab? Worried about animal rights
protesters denting your profits? Don't be, there's £16 billion of
investment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and
Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, announced this week that
"investment terrorism" will become a serious criminal offence.

The Serious Organised Crime Bill is passing through parliament and
is being touted as a way to tackle 'economic terrorism'. Terrorist
tackling ministers are in quite a rush: of the 113 companies
recently pulling out of doing business with animal labs, over one
third did so in the last three months. Animal rights actions are
proving successful with the construction of a primate research
centre in Oxford being stopped and 100 contractors and suppliers
severing links with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Sarah Dixon of the Save the Newchurch Guinea Pig Campaign makes
the point that there isn't a need for a new law: "The offences
this legislation is trying to stop are already against the law. I
have no idea how far the legislation is going to go. At what point
does peaceful protest become economic sabotage?"

With the Public Order, Malicious Communications, Criminal Justice
and Terrorism Acts already in place, coppers are certainly going
to need some extra training to help them choose from such a wide
ranging menu of protest-stopping laws. Under an amendment to the
Bill it would be a criminal offence for more than two people to
'harass' someone with the intention of making a company break off
commercial links with an animal research company. So what will
happen to groups calling for boycotts of companies, or people
doing pickets outside McDonalds?

And if the law is found to be successful at stopping animal rights
campaigns, you can be sure it will be used against other
campaigns.

The Bill's even got a clause on "Behaviour in the vicinity of
Parliament" which is designed to prohibit anyone "spoiling the
visual aspect" of the Palace of Westminster. But this is no
opportunity to move on ugly politicians, it's mainly aimed at one
single demonstrator - Brian Haw. Brian's been camped outside
Westminster for 3 years protesting against US/UK policies on Iraq.
Now the powers-that-be are fed up with the embarrassment and want
him removed, as according to former Home Secretary, David
Blunkett, he is giving tourists a view of "dysfunctional
democracy" - Blunkett obviously reckons that protesting is dysfunc
tional - but this is the attitude we've come to expect of this
authoritarian Neo-Labour government. Blunkett admitted the law was
a "sledgehammer to crack a nut", the nut being Brian, who has
apparently caused total havoc with his one man protest.

We will let you decide what total havoc is and who the nuts are,
but the implications of the amendment are wider than one man. The
proposed rules will outlaw peaceful protest within a 1km radius of
Parliament and Downing St, including Trafalgar Square, without a
permit. Demonstrators could be banned from the area, fined up to
£2500 or face 3 months in prison for the organisation of illegal
protests.

* Support Brian Demo: next Monday (7th) 2-8pm in Parliament Square
(see www.parliament-square.org.uk)... or get a megaphone and pitch
a tent down next to Brian's.

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IN SHACKLES

While the government in this country is setting up a specific law
of economic sabotage against animal rights protesters, in the USA
they've already got the law - the controversial Federal Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Seven Activists face three years in jail each for participation in
an international campaign to close the notorious product testing
lab Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Specifically, these activists are alleged to have operated a
website that reported on and expressed ideological support for
protest activity against Huntingdon and its business affiliates.
For this they are charged with "terrorism". Even though they
themselves have not committed any actions against HLS - the US
authorities are attacking these seven people to try and silence a
growing movement against animal abuse.

If the authorities are successful in prosecuting these activists
it is likely they will go after other protesters, as the SHAC7
website says: "This case is intended to pave the way for further
silencing of activists involved in all issues. It is imperative
that the broader social justice movement stand behind these
activists in our communal defense of free speech, press, and
association." www.shac7.com

* The campaign against HLS continues: www.shac.net 08454 580630

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SchNEWS in brief

* Learn more about dodgy health effects of Tetra phone masts, used
by the police, this Saturday (5th) 10:30am, Institut Francais, 17
Queensbury Place, London. £3/£2

* Open day on waste including what to do with it, the Newhaven
Incinerator Campaign, compost and wormies. This Saturday (5th).
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre, 39-41 Surrey St, opp.
Brighton Station 12 noon

* Catch SchNEWS at Ten - the movie and a new film by those
Worthing troublemakers The Porkbolter at the first ever South
Coast Indymedia video night next Tuesday (8th) upstairs at The
Downview pub in Tarring Road, Worthing, directly opposite West
Worthing station. 7.45pm

* The president of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra,
Iraq will be talking next Tuesday (8th) at Room 3E, ULU, Malet
Street, London. 7.30pm www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk

* Brighton Defy ID meeting at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd next
Thursday (10th) 7pm

* Colombian Hip Hop band Zona Marginal are playing next Sat (12th)
7pm-12 midnight Parker Place Bar, 51 Parker St, Holborn, WC2 Entry
£5.

* Demonstrate against migrant and refugee detention centres which
hold people without trial, indefinitely. Meet outside
Harmondsworth Detention Centre, Feb 19th, 11.30am. Bring: Pots and
pans, musical instruments, balloons, kites, banners 020 8510 0465
www.barbedwirebritain.org.uk

* Nottingham Student Peace Conference - What's oil got to do with
it?; Living in the shadow of the "War on Terrror"; What are we
going to do about it? 2-7.30pm, next Sunday (13th), Portland
Building, University of Nottingham www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/~nspm

* Hats off to the squatters of Arbour Square police station in
Stepney East London, who have turned the old cop shop into a haven
for hard-up musicians and artists from Europe and South America.
They've won the first round of their eviction order thanks to the
police screwing up the serving of eviction notices.

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CHIPS WITH THAT?

Whatever will they think of next? Well, micro-chips the size of
sand grains with miniature antenna - which are embedded into
products allowing them (and therefore their user) to be tracked.
If this particular bit of big-brotherly love and attention doesn't
appeal to you then join CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket
Privacy Invasion and Numbering) in their boycott of Tesco, the
supermarket giant who are kindly offering these chips free with
their products.

This technology is called RFID - radio frequency identification
(see SchNEWS 415) - and if you have been shopping recently at
Tesco in Leicester or Sandhurst you may already have these
spychips in your house. CASPIAN say these two branches are part of
a trial which is about to be increased to ten Tesco stores across
Britain. The ethically challenged supermarket chain assure us they
don't intend on tracking products after purchase - but you have to
admit that people walking around with unknown amounts of traceable
devices on them could come in handy for a police state.
www.boycottTesco.com

* Colchester library is the first UK library to use RFID chips -
with another 30 to follow.

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Positive SchNEWS

Hot rocks found 1000 metres below an old cement works in Weardale,
County Durham could be used to provide hot water for an eco-
village, and surrounding houses. Scientists from the University of
Newcastle and PB Power have spent half a million pounds drilling a
big hole into the ground to investigate. They found the water was
46°C - hot enough for heating up to 4000 homes! There are also
plans to have wind and solar power supplying the homes, which, as
the chairman of the hot rocks task force said "could make Weardale
the first truly sustainable community in the British Isles".

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..and finally...

Sex, lies and...technology?

Start practising now - don't let your voice wobble when you're
talking to the folks down at the Department of Work and Pensions
(DWP) coz they may in future be using a lie detector on the phone
that can suggest you're fibbing about your claim. In yet another
Big Brother-esque addition to our lives, the DWP, which is trying
to crack down on benefit fraud but still expects people to live on
£55 a week, has admitted to looking into using 'voice-analysis
technology'. It indicates changes in your voice due to rising
stress levels and can suggest that you are lying so they can look
into your case. Dealing with the dole people - rising stress
levels? We don't see any connection there...

While the government is finding new and intrusive ways to get
people back to work in some fantasy job market in Britain, in
Germany a women faces cuts to her unemployment benefits because
she doesn't want to work in a brothel 'providing sexual services'.
Yep, under Germany's recent welfare reforms, any woman under 55
who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to
take any available job - including in the legal sex industry - or
lose her unemployment benefit. When the unemployed IT professional
looked into suing the jobcentre, she found out that it had not
broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who
turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from
the potential employer. When Blair bangs on about getting people
back to work to improve their quality of life, SchNEWS wonders
whether being forced to work in a job that sucks for little more
dosh than benefits isn't just another form of forced prostitution?

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers going to the G8 in Scotland...to have
brave hearts. 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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Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
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Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk

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