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 handovers 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 Iraqis 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 doesnt seem that bothered by the Iraqi debt. John
Snow, the US Treasury Secretary recently said, The people
of Iraq shouldnt be saddled with those debts incurred through
the regime of the dictator. Is this a new angle on US foreign
policy? Maybe Johns about to announce the cancellation of
the Iraqs 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 coalitions latest figures, $1.3bn
has gone walkabout.
Being investigated by Ronald Reagans Commission on Organized
Crime for alleged links to gambling and prostitution, didnt
stop Richard Armitage becoming Deputy Secretary of State in 2000.
Now hes 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 Saddams former palace. Ever honest
Armitage admitted he might have to rob from Peter in my fiefdom
to pay Paul.
HAND (OVER) RELIEF
And all thats 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
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 Irans 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
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 isnt
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 countrys assets
off, lock stock and barrel. The Middle Easts 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 isnt 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
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
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, whove been developing GM crops
at Jealotts 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 dont 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 dont 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 Sainsburys continue
to sell milk from GM fed cows. 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.
- Its 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 Sainsburys Barnstaple
store, while inside stickers were placed on dairy products informing
the public about GM animal feed.
More info about the campaign against Sainsburys: www.geneticsaction.org.uk
or call 01803 840098.
Sainsburys 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 Finlands only
GM tree trial were torn up or chopped down causing about 1.5 million
Euros worth of damage.
* Theres 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
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, its 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! Theyve 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
*Theres 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: email@example.com
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
- 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 youd 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) theres 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
WOOD FOR CHOP
This Saturday (10) theres a Save Titnore Woods
demo in Montague Street (near Woolworths), 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 Worthings 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
SMALL TIME CRIMINAL
Steve Kurtz, who featured in crap arrest of the week
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. Kurtzs 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/
Readers may be aware its 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 its 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 youre feeling
flush, a donation or better still a regular standing order really
helps keep SchNEWS free.
SchNEWS warns all readers... money doesnt grow on trees
- it grows on Bushes. Honest!
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £2.00 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £2.00 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p.
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
the direct action frontline. £3 inc p&p. You can order
the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748
- SchNEWS Of
The World issues 301 - 350. 300
more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £5
+ £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop
or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
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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