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 Americas 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 years
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 mornings 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
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 its 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 www.cadu.org.uk
- 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
Crap Arrest of the Week
For supplying drugs...
Thats 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.
Im a Zapatista....Get Me Out of Here!
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 governments 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 tolerated.
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 Justice.
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 groups 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 Houses 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:
Inside 2: School's Out
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
whod 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 Sheeps
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 Pinochets 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
whod 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 wont 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, doesnt it? Cept
its 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 dont suppose the irony of
an armed battle on a peace campus was lost on anyone
at the radio station. www.rfpi.org
SchNEWS In Brief
- What a load of HuttonRead all about the man behind
the report www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/01/284545.html
- 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 UKs
new generation of nuclear weapons.
- The Met Police spent nearly four and half million quid policing
last years 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 Bushs
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.leedsarc.org.uk
- 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 Davids
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 Davids 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 MAM and see the world
After a demonstration against the royal jubilee in 2002, members
of MAM (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 MAM demonstrators may just
decide to buy their own bus after winning £3500 each in compensation
for their right royal time.
SchNEWS warns all readers were done and dusted... Honest!
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
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Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £3.70 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
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and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
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can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
- SchNEWS Of
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more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7
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In the UK you
can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS
of the World for just £15 inc p&p.
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