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(en) SchNEWS 414, Friday 11th July 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 11 Jul 2003 07:39:53 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

STOP PRESS! SchNEWS TOWERS IN RENT RISE SHOCKER!! (see '...and finally...')
On May 19th, the Indonesian government declared martial law in Aceh, the
resource-rich province in North Sumatra, and since then has been busy doing
what it does best: bombing, massacring, beating, torturing and raping
terrified civilians.

Despite the fact that the majority of Acehnese want independence the Jakarta
government has just announced that supporters and members of the Aceh
independence movement (GAM) will be charged with treason. On Wednesday June
21st, members of GAM were gunned down. There is a news blackout and Human
Rights activists are in grave danger.

The Indonesian government has been at war in Aceh for 27 years with more
than 5,000 civilian deaths since the
conflict began.

The imposition of martial law followed the cessation of hostilities
agreement on December 9th 2002 - the only real glimpse of peace the
traumatised Acehnese nation has had.

And guess who's providing the sophisticated weaponry the US-trained local
military (TNI) are deploying against defenceless villagers? Yep, those
heroes of the war against terror, Tony and George.

Scorpion tanks, Hawk aircraft (both British made), OV-10 Bronco
counter-insurgency planes and F-16 fighter planes (from the US) are among
the 'sophisticated' weaponry being used to 'shock and awe' (not to mention
totally destroy) them pesky peasants right now.

All this despite the fact that the duplicitous Blair government came to
power in 1997 pledging 'not to permit sale of arms to regimes that might use
them for internal repression.'

With Robin Cook at the Foreign office, the fledgling Labour government sold
16 hawk jets to Indonesia in 1997 claiming the deal had been agreed by the
previous Tory government and couldn't be blocked for 'legal reasons'.

They didn't seem to feel the need to make any excuses however in 2002 when
they announced a 20-fold increase in arms sales to Indonesia since 2000 -
from 2m to nearly 41m! And last week, while the Indonesian government was
deploying Scorpion tanks and Hawk jets against the civilian population in
Aceh, the British government announced that it intended to increase arms
sales to Indonesia yet further.

Goodies being packaged up for export include components for military
training aircraft, rocket launchers, tanks and armoured personnel carriers.
It seems British arms exporters are expanding outward from their
'traditional' market in the Middle East and establishing a nice little niche
for themselves in Asia.

Last year the Foreign Office declared there was "no evidence" that any
British military equipment had ever been used for counter-insurgency or
repression in Indonesia. Yeah right! Here's a few well-documented instances:
1975 - Indonesia used UK armoured vehicles in invasion of East Timor; 1998 -
Scorpions used on the streets of Jakarta to put down civilian unrest; 1999 -
Hawk aircraft used over Dili, capital of East Timor... the list goes on.

Last week Foreign Officer minister Mike O'Brien responded to the
international outcry over the current use of British weaponry in Aceh by
promising "an investigation". Nothing for the brutal TNI to fear there then,
because the British government doesn't want to do anything that would upset
its lucrative arms trade with Indonesia.


But of course the war against Aceh - like the alarmingly similar war
Indonesia waged against East Timor - is not just about independence.

Nor is the predatory interest of the US and UK limited to selling military
hardware. Aceh, like East Timor, is extremely rich in resources (as is the
whole area) and Exxon-Mobil control most of their oil and gas fields.

Incredibly, Exxon-Mobil provides the TNI with "economic and material
support" in exchange for their forceful protection of its vast plant and
refinery in Aceh. If Aceh got independence the Acehnese would also get
control of the oil and gas fields ... you get the picture. The GAM and
Washington-based International Labour Rights Fund accuse Exxon of complicity
in TNI murder, kidnapping and rape of Acehnese civilians.

Comparisons with East Timor are inevitable. East Timor finally became an
independent country on May 20th 2002 - but not until a third of the entire
population had lost their lives in the struggle against the Indonesian
occupation which started in 1975.

Jakarta's violent oppression of East Timor was encouraged and backed by
consecutive US administrations, with Clinton in 1998 describing the
murderous President Suharto as "our kind of guy." It was felt that American
oil company interests were better catered for by the U.S. backed Indonesian
government than an independent East Timor.

As in Aceh, US and UK military hardware was used to oppress the East
Timorese population for the best part of 26 years. Even after the 1999
UN-run referendum returned an overwhelming vote in favour of independence,
the TNI went on revenge rampages slaughtering civilians and destroying
buildings. Another example of the flagrant disregard of the UN by the US and
the UK.

Tapol - the Indonesian Human Rights Campaign - together with the Campaign
against the Arms Trade and 90 other Human rights organisations around the
world are calling for an international arms embargo on Indonesia and an
immediate end to military operations in Aceh. 020 8771 2904

. One of the world's biggest arms fairs sponsored by the UK government is
taking place in London from the 9-12th September. Countries from around the
world, including ones on Amnesty International's human rights abusers list,
will be there to see if they can get there hands on some weapons of mass
destruction. Also shopping at the arms fair will be some of the poorest
countries from Asia and Africa, spending money on war instead of education,
development and medicine. Disarm DSEi is co-ordinating a week long festival
of action, protest and resistance. To find out how you can get involved 0781
7652029 www.dsei.org


Activists at the Arundel protest camp at Tortington Common have scored a
massive victory. Government support for the proposed Arundel by-pass has
been axed, as have equally destructive road schemes in Worthing and
Chichester. Direct Action works!



For going home
At least nine Bushmen have been served with court orders for 'illegally'
entering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, their ancestral land
for the past twenty thousand years. Their whole village was forcibly evicted
from their land in February 2002. They were banned from hunting and
gathering and their water pump destroyed. If found guilty of returning home
they could face jail. http://www.survival-international.org/tc%20bushmen.htm



500 demonstrators arrived at NSA Menwith Hill last Friday for an
Independence from America party against US military presence in the UK at
the Gatecrasher's Ball. Menwith Hill, America's leading spy base outside the
US, played a crucial role in both Gulf wars. It's also central to plans for
the "Star Wars" National Missile Defence programme.

Dressed in costumes, ball gowns, masks and top hat and tails, demonstrators
took part in a public reading of a new Declaration of Independence from
America. Mark Thomas, looking rather fetching in frock and feather boa,
introduced the line up of speakers, musicians and poets and gave a rousing
speech himself. He told SchNEWS it was like a Reclaim the Streets party in
the countryside.

Everything was going swimmingly until the police added some special
party-pooping touches of their own. Organisers from the Campaign for the
Accountability of American Bases with full police liaison had planned a walk
around the base, stopping at various points to give information about
activities at Menwith Hill. The police, in their wisdom, had decided to head
up the walk with horses that were inadequately trained and kept rearing up,
backing into protestors, and generally causing havoc. One of the protestors
said "On the day the police unilaterally changed all the carefully
negotiated agreements. The police were responsible for any conflict that
happened and it was quite unnecessary that so many police and police horses
were drafted in. There could have been serious injuries because of the
incompetent policing." After first refusing to withdraw the horses, the
police eventually replaced them with others, but the guided tour had to be
cut short.

. There are weekly witness and protests outside the main entrance to Menwith
Hill every Tuesday evening (7-9 pm). Campaign for the Accountability of
American Bases, 8 Park Row, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1HQ 01943 46640

. During independence demos at the US military base in RAF Welford,
Berkshire one man climbed a radio mast and hung a 50 foot long
'Independence Now' banner. Peter Burt, from Berkshire Citizens Inspection
Agency remained up the mast for three hours until a Ministry of Defence
Police climbing team arrived. He decided to come down and was released
without charge. Peter said: "Independence Day is a wonderful occasion to
highlight the extent to which the US government's foreign policy is based
around the use of military force. Welford is just one of around 750 US
military bases worldwide which the US armed forces use to enforce their
'global reach'."


SchNEWS in Brief

'Africa - grassroots struggles for social justice and development' public
meeting this Saturday (12) at the Unity Centre, 2-4 Ravenstone St., Balham,
London SW12 9SS 4-8pm. Have you ever heard people talking about the
anti-globalisation and anti-war movements? Do you think that has got
anything to do with Africa and Africans? More details 07890 738997 e-mail
nkexplo@yahoo.co.uk ** Brighton Peace Festival on Hove Lawns this Sunday
(13) 12-6pm - it's free and SchNEWS will be there with our new book! **
Brightons premier pirate station Radio 4A is back on your airwaves this
weekend 101.4 FM Details of streams at radio4a.org.uk ** There's a London
Anarchist Youth Network Conference on 25th to 27th July near central London
More http://anarchistyouth.net ** Demonstrate at the Fairford air tattoo
next Saturday (19) The air show is where western military powers get the
chance to flaunt their power, and arms companies advertise their wares. This
year the B52 bombers, that were used for the 'Shock & Awe' bombing of Iraq,
will be returning to Fairford, this time to 'entertain' the British people,
along with the notorious B2 Stealth Bomber and many others.
http://www.fairfordpeacewatch.com ** Anyone who thinks Britain is a
reluctant partner to the United States in bombing, stealing and lying their
way around the world to keep up corporate profits should get hold of Mark
Curtis's Web of Deceit (Vintage 7.99). The book shows in great detail how
Blair's warmongering and disregard for international law is nothing new -
there are chapters on Britain's wars in Malaya, Kenya, Iraq and loads more
places where the British state has been up to its tricks. Well worth getting
hold of - the author's got a website at www.markcurtis.info. ** There's a
benefit for the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh on 20 July at the Wheatsheaf,
207-209 Balgreen Road, Gorgie, Edinburgh. There's workshops from 2-6pm on
zine making, stenciling, releasing and distributing your own records as well
as a tape swap box - make amix tape, and swap it for someone else's. Bands
from 7pm Admission 5 xlordsummerislex
@deathwishinc.net ** Queer Mutiny II is a free DIY non-corporate alternative
to Pride in the Park in London 26th July. Meet 11:30am Parliament Square to
join the Pride march, then go to Hyde Park for DJs, politics and
pirate-themed fun www.queeruption.com** There's a Radical Bookfair and Film
Festival at the Bradford 1in12 Club, Albion Street, from the 1-3 August.
Entertainments include books, films (naturally), snail racing, and a
hardcore punk all-dayer on Sunday. 01274 734160 www.re-pressed.org.uk**
"Can we stop the next war?" - general discussion of the anti-war movement
and what to do next. Brighthelm Centre, Brighton, Tuesday 15th 7pm FREE


How was it for you, Darling?

Traffic levels in Britain have increased by 80% over the last 20 years. But
that's obviously not enough for Neo-Labour whose latest U-turn - this time
on their promise to get people out of their cars and onto public transport -
was revealed on Wednesday. Construction companies such as Balfour Beatty
(now facing prosecution over the Hatfield rail crash) will be fainting with
excitement over Alistair Darling's announcement that 7 billion is to be
spent on concreting over the countryside in a major road-building scheme.
More on this in next week's SchNEWS.

. Last Saturday, activists from London Rising Tide staged a protest at the
British Museum, which is currently hosting a BP-sponsored exhibition. Posing
as BP representatives they handed out spoof reports and leaflets and
displayed a "BP Sponsors Climate Chaos" banner to raise public awareness of
BP's planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline and other global activities. London Rising
Tide 020 7377 9088



A 50 year old nurse who admitted attacking a US military plane with a
hatchet walked free from court last Thursday after a stunning victory. Mary
Kelly argued that she had attacked the plane at Shannon Airport in County
Clare but had done so lawfully to prevent greater crimes from being
committed against the Iraqi people. After five hours the jury failed to
reach a verdict although they did find her guilty of the much less serious
charge of trespass. The Director of Public Prosecutions must now decide
whether to seek a retrial. www.indymedia.org

. Sylvia Boyes has been jailed for 3 months after being charged with
criminal damage to Menwith Hill after an anti-war trident ploughshares
action in February. Send letters of support to Sylvia Boyes, HMP Low Newton,
Brasside, Durham DH1 5SD

. If you are writing to any of the prisoners detained after the Greece EU
Summit protests (see SchNEWS 413) you must also put their names in Greek
letters. The Greek translation of Simon Chapman, whose 30th birthday is on
the 24th July, is .

. Benefit gigs until all the Greek prisoners are set free will take place at
the Eton Mission Social Club in London every Friday, 91 Eastway Hackney Wick
(next to the church, Wick Rd end). This week cafe, projections and Serum
Sound System, 8pm - 6am. More details: 0208 986 7966.


SchNEWS Annual 2003
Wednesday 23 July 8.30pm
with Mark Thomas and Rob Newman
at The Old Market,
Upper Market Street, Hove.
Tickets 10 from box office (01273 736 222)


...and finally...

For the past nine years SchNEWS has been very fortunate to get free office
space from the band The Levellers - and a big thank you to them. But that's
about to change. We need to find about 300 a month by next month or find
somewhere else to live.

Despite a readership of over 60,000 SchNEWS still relies mainly on goodwill,
thin air, lots of biscuits and one or two people's deep pockets. So can you
help out? Anyone got 3,600 stuck behind the sofa to cover us for a year?
Are there enough people out there up for making a regular standing order
(Branch: The Co-operative Bank, P.O. Box 101, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester,
M60 4EP; Account Name: Justice; Account no. 50084500; Sort Code: 089025).
We need to know very soon so we can decide, literally, our next move.
Remember SchNEWS is run on a shoestring by volunteers and our computers
would get wet if we had to write it from under a cardboard box.

. Don't forget the SchNEWS comedy book launch night coming up on the 23rd
July with Mark Thomas and Rob Newman. It's at the Old Market, Upper Market
St., Hove and tickets are 10 from their box office 01273 736222. Peace de
Resistance is available from the office for a tenner.

. If you're going to any events and want to hand out SchNEWS, give us a
shout and we'll bung some in the post. If you can help distribute our new
book 'Peace de Resistance' also get in touch.


SchNEWS warns all benefactors wishing to keep us in the style the readers
are accustomed to; after our book launch we'll be floating SchNEWS. So, in
shorts invest in yer planets future. Honest.

NEW BOOK!!!! PEACE DE RESISTANCE IS NOW OUT. It costs 8 plus 1.70 p&p per
book, further details as below...

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for 6!! 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 - 6; Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain 3.
Add 1.70 p&p for each book, 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.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

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