All electricity produced at Karahnjukar is contracted to a massive
Alcoa aluminium smelter (being built by Bechtel, due to be operational
in 2007) which itself will pollute and ruin Reydarfjordur, a pristine
eastern fjord. A Reykjavik court recently ruled that Alcoas
planning permission for this monstrosity isnt valid, but that
probably wont stop them as they immediately appealed to the
- allegedly - rigged High Court.
Karahnjukar wont benefit Icelanders at all: none of the electricity
is destined for the national grid and cos theres little unemployment
in the region no Icelanders gonna want a nice healthy job
at the smelter thanks.
Yet the cost to the nation is enormous: independent experts say
the economy is at risk (see IRN report), it has cost $1 billion
so far and is likely to cost more - the electricity for Alcoa is
for a price linked to the changing prices of Aluminium on London
in other words no guarantee itll ever make
The environment suffers more by the day. Theyve already blown
part of Dimmugljufur - Icelands Grand Canyon - to smithereens,
and if they fill up the reservoir (scheduled 2007), 65.5 square
kilometres of pristine wilderness will be completely submerged.
This land includes birthing grounds for the majority of Icelands
reindeer and Ramsar protected nesting sites for endangered
species such as pink-footed geese, and Gyrfalcon. Sixty waterfalls
will be lost as will a range of sediment ledges - judged completely
unique in the world by scientists studying global warming - which
record 10,000 years of geological and climate change. And this vast
projected reservoir would extend right onto the glacier itself,
which is breaking up because of global warming. Wouldnt giant
icebergs trucking up to the dam be a bit - er - dangerous? Yep.
And it gets worse - the dam is being built over a seismic fault!
In 2003, Landsvirkjuns chief, Fridrik Sophusson, was asked
what would happen if there was an earthquake under the dam. It
would burst, he smiled calmly. A catastrophic wall of
water would annihilate everyone in Egilsstadir [the nearest town]
and all the neighbouring farms would be swept away. Icelandic
Tsunami anyone? It wont happen, he added smugly.
Yet in August 2004 there were continuous earthquakes at Karahnjukar
for several days.
Environmentalists also warned that silt residues left by changing
water levels round the projected reservoir would dry to a fine dust
which the wind would carry onto local farmland. This was dismissed,
yet last summer silt left in the wake of unexpected surges in the
newly diverted glacial river produced just such devastating dust
But none of this makes any difference: while everyone else in the
developed world is busy dismantling dams, Icelands
rulers just cant get enough. There are plans to dam every
major glacial river in the country. Rio Tinto Zinc are reportedly
salivating over the chance to devastate the North of the country,
while Alcan and Century (whove already got smelters near Reykjavik)
are keen to expand their deathly shadow in the south.
Ironically, the government- via its tourist board - still invites
visitors to enjoy the unspoilt pure natural beauty its
hell-bent on destroying! So how do they get away with it? Well,
Iceland has a tiny population (290,000) and power is concentrated
in the hands of a few very wealthy families who control politics,
industry and the media. Scientists, journalists, anyone who asks
questions is swiftly discredited and then sacked.
But its not all bad news and you can even help. A really
vigorous and up-for-it grass-roots environmental movement is emerging,
determined to stop Icelandic nature being pimped to the highest
bidder. Its a David v. Goliath battle and the call is out
for international support.
If you are up for peacefully showing your solidarity with some
of the most fantastic nature on our planet, check out www.killingiceland.org
and joining the protest camp summer 2005.
* An Icelandic activist will be showing films and doing Q&A
at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton next Thursday (10th)
6.30 - 8pm www.irn.org/programs/europe/030530.karahnjukar.pdf
Crap Arrest of
For acting like a baby
In one of the smallest cases of civil disobedience,
four Bangladeshi kids have appeared in court this week accused of
looting and causing criminal damage. The potty four
- whose ages range from three months to two years - were released
on bail after a brief hearing. The magistrate commented that he
was a bit surprised to see the kids in court and, in
a fit of rationality, promptly suspended the four cops whod
brought the evidence against them.
The case stems from an ongoing land dispute with a neighbour and
is likely to be found: false and fabricated Wahhhh!
In India tribal Adivasi people are once again facing massive repression
as they try to stop a $1.4 billion monster strip-mine and refinery
that promises to displace up to 20,000 people from their ancestral
homes, destroying their livelihoods and culture, contaminating food
and water sources and obliterating their spiritual sites. Still,
who cares about that, whats at stake is the right for us in
the West to be able to drink our fizz from a can.
The battle has been raging in the Kashipur region of Orissa, on
the east coast of India for the past twelve years. Behind the scheme
are Uktal Aluminium International, an alliance between the Indian
firm Indal and the Canadian mining giant Alcan, who want to get
their hands on one of the worlds richest deposits of bauxite
- the raw material for aluminium.
A few years back plans had to be shelved after three villagers
were killed by police. One company pulled out but Alcan didnt
care, they just bought their shares. Then in November politicians
decided that the Alcan mining project was to be launched at any
cost and all opposition was to be suppressed. A leaked cabinet document
concluded that tribal areas cannot afford to remain backward
for the sake of so-called environmental protection. Six days
later, and the police launched a brutal charge on 400 Adivasis,
mostly women, who had gathered to try and stop an armed police station
being built. 16 people were seriously injured. Since then, platoons
of armed police with orders to fire have sealed off the area and
banned journalists. Eighteen activists of PSSP, the umbrella organization
of Adivasis that is spearheading the struggle have been arrested
and are now in jail without access to bail.
Village teacher Bhagawan Majhi has been fighting the project ever
since he was a teenager, and was suspended from his job because
of it. He says that most Adivasis just want to be left alone and
that strip-mining would desecrate the Baphlimali Hill that is sacred
to their tribe. Of course government officials (who will no doubt
be getting plenty of backhanders) and Alcan (who of course arent
just thinking about their profits) reckon they are doing this cos
they care about the plight of the poor tribal people. They are promising
jobs, schools and a health clinic, which, of course, they will need
more than ever as Alcan poison their land. Majhi says, Our
village will vanish. What will we do with schools when our homes
and rivers will no longer be there? Land is the foundation of our
lives. Land gives us food. We are farmers.
Joan Kuyek, head of MiningWatch Canada, also isnt impressed:
Mineral development does not bring with it economic benefit
for tribal people. Unsurprisingly the only lasting legacy
will be poisoned streams and tonnes of caustic soda used for
disposing of red mud, a by-product of bauxite refining.
* Urgent solidarity action is being asked by the people of Adivasi
* To find out more http://india.indymedia.org
* To find out what happens to tribal people who are displaced www.indiaresource.org/issues/globalization/2004/sterlite.html
SchNEWS in brief
- Late Monday night, a defunct Skoda was dumped at the main gate
of Sainsburys depot in Merseyside. Two people locked
themselves to it while two others locked on to the side gate.
The blockade lasted over 2 hours, costing Sainsburys about
£300,000. This was part of a national campaign to force
Sainsburys to stop selling stuff from animals fed on GM
feed. This action followed a similar one in Bristol last week.
- No rules for the rich - how tax avoidance is wrecking
the global economy. Talk this Saturday (5) with John Christensen
of the Tax Justice Network and former economic adviser to the
tax haven island of Jersey 10.30 am, French Institute, 17 Queensbury
Place, South Kensington, London. email@example.com
- Theres an anti-mobile phone mast demo outside Brighton
Town Hall at 3:45 next Thursday (10) www.queensparkmastaction.co.uk
- Watching them watching us! A Public Meeting to launch
strategies of resistance to Scotland Yards campaign of politically
motivated harassment, intimidation and surveillance. Next Saturday
(12) 2pm, London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street,
- Commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield,
Bristols Kebele Kultural Projekt will be showing Operation
Solstice plus the opening night of an exhibition of photos
of the Stonehenge Free Festival that runs until 7 April. 0117
939 9469 www.kebele.org
- Shakedown 05 is a very big one-off non-profit DIY
probably one of the biggest and best parties
that Nottingham has ever seen, to raise awareness of some global
issues such as world poverty, climate change and world leading
institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and the G8 . next
Saturday (12th) £5 07910 428 896 www.m12.org.uk
- Protest the meeting of the G8 Environment and Development
Ministers in Derby, 17th March. Critical Mass 10am, Derby
train station. Street Party - 12 noon, Assembly Rooms. Benefit
Gig - 7pm, The Mist, Normanton Road. Plus anti-G8 Frolics. www.dissent.org.uk
- Pots and Pans Noise Demo on the 15th to welcome the G8
International Energy and Environment Ministers Roundtable. Meet
12 noon at The Brewery, 52 Chiswell St, London. 0845 458 8923
- ARCH are launching a legal challenge to the Governments
plans to put the personal details of every child onto a national
database (SchNEWS 452). ARCH urgently
needs donations to pay court costs - cheques payable to Action
on Rights for Children, 62 Wallwood Road, London E11 1AZ,
or via website www.archrights.org.uk
- Anti-ID card demo outside Brighton Town Hall 3:30pm Thurs
10th. There will also be an Anti-ID card public meeting on March
24th at Brightons Friends Meeting house.
- Find out how taxpayers money is funding the corporate
takeover of the worlds water and hear from grassroots
campaigners who are fighting back. Cardiff 16th, Shrewsbury 17th,
Nottingham 18th, Edinburgh 19th, Rochester 20th, Cambridge 21st,
London 22nd. 020 7737 6215 email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fundraiser Collective, at The Volks, Madeira Parade,
Brighton. Club night every Wednesday raising money for different
causes each month. Weds 9th, all female DJs playing hip hop, breaks,
DnB, techno and jungle. Weds 16th Country and Bluegrass night,
funds to Dissent! and a womens refuge. www.funraiser.org.uk
AT TEN MOVIE OUT SOON (HONEST!)
Screening at the Ocean Rooms, Brighton Weds 9th March as
part of an eclectic night of music, visual theatre films,
DJs, and loads more from Idiot Savant. Los Albertos playing
live. 8pm-late £5/4.50
* The SchMOVIE will also be playing at the Big Bath Book
Swop, at The Bell Hotel, Walcot, nr Bath. 12-6pm www.wiffle.bathfringe.co.uk
The Tasmanian logging company Gunns are trying that age old tactic
of silencing your critics by trying to sue them. They are seeking
A$6 million from 20 individuals and groups for conspiracy
to injure Gunns by unlawful means, in other words for protesting
and taking direct action. This approach may well backfire on Gunns
as over 600 people attended a rally against the charges and more
than 7000 people have taken part in a letter writing campaign, and
as the McLibel campaign showed using financial muscle to
bully someone can sometimes backfire spectacularly. www.gunns20.org
Animal Rights activist, Sarah Gisborne, has been sentenced to six
and a half years for conspiracy to cause criminal damage
to eight cars in connection to the campaign against vivisectors
HLS. Write to: Sarah Gisborne LT5393, HMP Holloway, Parkhurst Road,
London, N7 0NU.
* Five anti-war activists barricaded themselves into the Irish
Embassy in London for almost three hours on Wednesday in solidarity
with the five Irish anti-war saboteurs on trial that day in Dublin.
All were arrested. www.warontrial.com
Wind Up Windrush
Last week four anti-war activists were arrested
for disrupting the supposed lawful activity of corporate
pirates Windrush Communications Ltd, by occupying the entrance to
their offices. Windrush organize Iraq Procurement Conferences
where Iraqs public assets are sold off to private companies.
A week of action is planned against the corporate plunder of Iraq
from 1-6th April - starting with a Pro-Plunder Party on April 1st
outside the offices of Windrush Communications in Old St, London.
More info: www.corporatepirates.gzzzt.net 07931337890
Paparazzi who turned up to witness a confrontation between fashion
designer Serpica Nero and anti-precarity activists got more than
they bargained for at this years Milan Fashion Week. Models, all
wearing anti-precarity* slogans, paraded the catwalk, cheered on
by the anarchists who had turned up to oppose the show. What next?
Hand-woven, hemp balaclavas?
Anarchists, highlighting increasing precarity in our lives, had
already stormed the catwalk at a previous Prada show, and threatened
the same at Neros . Journos gathered at Neros
Marquee on the night of her show as police blocked the bridge leading
to the marquee. As the activists approached, cops were surprised
to see it led by none other than Nero herself, flanked by a posse
of models. Waving her official papers allowing the gathering, the
cops had to let the self-styled fashion designer through,
with all her crusty mates. Dont look for it in next months
Hello, though. You probably wont find any Nero underpants
in Primark (or anywhere else), either.
SCHNEWS VOCAB WATCH : PRECARITY -
a (take a deep breath now) condition of life without predictability
or security, generally with regards to an individuals material or
psychological welfare. Precarity increases in late-capitalism as
nations shift from manufactory to service and information based
economies. Or like casualisation with knobs on. Precarity
is the new buzz for anarchists in-the-know, cool cos no one else
knows what the fuck youre talking about. See www.indymedia.org.uk
for photos of the fashion show.
SchNEWS warns all readers with frozen features and feeling like
ice - its heartwarming to print and be damned. And, anyway,
theres lies, damn lies and statistics... Honest!
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