Nuke Kids On The Bloc
US nuclear strategy is driven by a paranoid fear about
the countys vulnerability to weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
pressure from the military-industrial complex for raising defence
spending and creating new uses for nuclear weapons and the United
States aspiration to remain the worlds sole superpower
with an unparalleled nuclear might. - Praful Bidwai, co-founder
of the Movement in India for Nuclear Disarmament
Last weekend was the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- and what better way for the world to commemorate than by ignoring
global treaties and building more weapons of mass destruction.
A total war strategy in the name of global domination
with any peaceful alternatives ignored. Sound familiar? The American
- Japanese war (1941-1945) witnessed the slaughter of 100,000s of
people and many of these deaths were perfectly avoidable, especially
those at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Gung-ho US politicians and military
types were just as concerned with Soviet expansion as they were
by any threat posed by Japan. The White House knew it needed to
act to curb Soviet ambitions in Europe, and war would provide an
ideal opportunity to block in Russia from East and West. Trouble
was, 80% of the US population was against getting involved. In November
1940 the President told his subjects that none of Americas
sons would fight in a foreign war, unless attacked.
One year later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the US was
US military commanders had had a pretty good idea of what Japanese
forces were up to, as by October 1940 American spies had cracked
many of the codes used by the Japanese fleet. Japan had attacked
China and was seeking access to oil in Southeast Asia, but was still
willing to negotiate a way forward with the US that didnt
involve war. The White House was not interested. It refused to meet
Japanese Ambassadors and instead handed them an ultimatum designed
to humiliate them and force the Japanese to abide by US foreign
policy requirements. The agreement was meant to kick things
over as Secretary of State Cordell Hull admitted later. We
had no serious thought that Japan would accept. Renowned American
political commentator, essayist and novelist Gore Vidal says, Received
Opinion has it that the US was taken by surprise. Roosevelt was
not - but apparently the unaware military commanders at Pearl Harbor
were, and 3,000 men were killed in a single strike.
Throughout 1945 Japanese envoys were making overtures across Europe:
they would surrender if they could keep their Emperor. On July 18th
1945, the Emperor himself wrote a letter to the new President, Harry
Truman, which was, in Trumans words looking for peace.
But again the White House wasnt interested. They wanted to
intimidate Stalin, show the world that they had a new all powerful
weapon and use Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a testing ground.
Walter Brown, special assistant to Secretary of State James Byrnes
at the time of the bombings wrote in his diary in August 1945, Truman
wanted to drop the bomb, but why? To frighten Stalin, a suitable
enemy for the US as it was about to metamorphose into a national
security state at perpetual war for perpetual
peace. The Japanese had been surrendering since the
destruction of Tokyo by US bombers in May 1945. If wed
been told that the war could have been concluded by then,
argues Gore Vidal, I would have gone to work for the impeachment
of a President who had wasted so many lives and destroyed so many
cities in his power game with the Soviet Union, which led to half
a century of unnecessary Cold War. Some argue that killing
100,000s of Japanese civilians was necessary to end a world war,
but instead it started a cold war - a world gripped with the fear
that if the superpower leaders would be mad enough to drop the nukes
once they could be mad enough to do it again.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Fast forward 60 years and the US and UK governments are still at
it. UK Plc is spending hundreds of millions of pounds at Aldermaston
on a refit of the production line for nuclear warheads. A £12bn
replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system has already been
agreed. Washington is also planning to modify existing bomb designs
to make bunker-busters and is pushing ahead with Star
Wars (see SchNEWS 494).But why do we need nukes? The justification
for both countries nuclear defence systems was the threat
of the Soviet Union - thats gone, so whos going to nuke
us now? Fear not! The War on Terror will provide all
the justification necessary.
Blair and Bush must have been too busy on the moral high ground
to notice that by increasing stocks of nukes we are breaking international
obligations, notably the commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty
The NPT works like this: the bulk of the worlds states promise
not to develop nuclear weapons and accept a regime of physical inspections
preventing military use of nuclear materials. In return, the five
existing nuclear weapon states will initiate negotiations to eliminate
them, and in the meantime, transfer no nuclear material/technology
to non-nuclear weapon states. But at the NPT Review Conference in
May, the US, led by John Bolton under-secretary for
arms control (someone had a good laugh over that one) - refused
to even allow the other nations to draw up an agenda for discussion
beforehand, which meant that 15 of the conferences 20 working
days were spent in wrangling over procedural points, principally
the drafting of an agenda! (and you thought anarchists could never
agree anything in meetings!) Two weeks ago, George Bush and the
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a new nuclear treaty.
India is one of three states which possess nuclear weapons and refuses
to sign the NPT. The treaty says it should be denied access to civil
nuclear materials. But on July 18th, Bush announced that as
a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should
acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states.
Four months before the meeting, the US lifted its South Asian arms
embargo by selling Pakistan a fleet of F-16 aircraft, capable of
a carrying a wide range of missiles, creating a need across the
border in India for an anti-missile system - which US companies
were only too happy to provide. This nuclear hypocrisy has not been
lost on Iran, who the US is threatening because of their alleged
plans to build a bomb. Meanwhile, the US opens diplomatic relationships
with North Korea, another member of the Axis of Evil.
Why the difference in approach? As journalist George Monbiot points
out If you have oil, but arent developing a bomb (Iraq),
you get invaded. If you have oil but are developing a bomb (Iran)
you get threatened with invasion, but it probably wont happen.
If you dont have oil, but do have the bomb, the US representative
will fly to your country and open negotiations (North Korea).Achin
Vanaik, professor of political science at Delhi University argues
that the US thinks its exceptional, It can do no wrong.
American nuclear weapons are good nukes, they will be used to good
ends; others nukes are bad.
60 years after America dropped some of those good nukes
on two Japanese cities the world remains vulnerable to mass destruction
from more than 30,000 nuclear weapons still in place, four thousand
of them on hair-trigger alert. We can only guess the threats posed
by climate change and environmental collapse, but we know from Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, the price paid for nuclear war.
* Find out more about why the US wanted war with Japan in Gore
Vidals, Dreaming War Clairview 2003
* The Hiroshima/Nagaski cover up www.alternet.org/story/23915
Crap Arrests of the Week
For Being Friends....
As told to SchNEWS: I went up to the G8 protests with three
friends....we were trying to find a quiet spot as far away from
the Stirling site as possible. We found a lovely derelict farm,
belonging to a friend of a friend of a friend. We put our tents
up and twenty minutes later 11 van loads of Met police arrived,
7 of them Armed Response Units....They asked us if we knew each
other and when we said yes they hauled us out of our
cars, handcuffed us, threw us into a cell for 30 hours and finally
charged us the next day.
When Id finally been to court and released on bail
(conditions to leave Scotland directly with an escort and not to
deviate from a set route etc.) and the police returned my possessions
to me, my car keys were missing. It turned out that the Met had
stolen all of our cars and sent them to a scrap yard, which wouldnt
release them without a £200 payment. The cars had been legally
parked and even the Scottish police were shocked that the Met had
stolen them illegally. Anyway, long story short, I was in breach
of bail cos I couldnt leave Scotland as ordered without
my car, as all my keys and my bosss house, business and safe
keys were on the keyring...and it all went downhill from there!!
* For more about G8 arrests see: www.g8legalsupport.info
GAOL OF THE MONTH
Global Solutions Limited (GSL - the artists formerly known as Group
4) have recently been fined half a million dollars for abusing immigration
detainees in Australia. Back in the UK, The Use of Unlawful
Force Against Immigration Detainees report found that in the
35 cases it documented the police decided to take no further action
in 65% of the allegations reported to them, including one case in
which the detention centre operator has agreed to pay compensation
to the victim. This year GSL have agreed to compensate a number
of (ex) detainees for ill-treatment yet none of the assault cases
resulted in any arrests let alone criminal prosecutions. A BBC Asylum
Undercover programme captured GSL guards abusing inmates with
GSL guards boasting of assaulting detainees and saying how much
they enjoyed it.
Tim Hall, a spokesman for the company, says GSL apologises unreservedly
for the way detainees under its care were treated. Well thats
OK then lets get back to the privatised justice business
On August 1st sections of the Serious Organised Crime and Police
Act came into force (SchNEWS 497). This
Act amends previous harassment and trespass legislation as well
as banning all unauthorized protests within about half
a mile around Parliament without advance permission from the police.
The sections of the act which limit protest were specifically aimed
at Brian Haw who has been protesting against British policy on Iraq
since 2nd June 2001, but it seems that the government have well
and truly cocked up. High Court judges agreed with Brians
lawyers that the law does not apply to Brian because police authorization
is only necessary for demonstrations that start after
1 August and since his protest started before then, hes exempt!
So the law specifically designed to deal with him does
People have been openly defying this law and on 1st August, the
day the law came into force, 200 people demonstrated in Parliament
Square and there were five arrests; then on 7th August, over 100
people protested, with another five arrests.
Check out www.parliamentprotest.org.uk
for more information.
GROCER & GROSSER
Poor cash-strapped family grocers Tesco are facing a wave of protests
after trying to squeeze more work out of their staff. In 2004 Tesco
scraped a mere £1.6bn in profits - just £4.4m a day.
One in every eight pounds spent in Britains shops is spent
in one of their charming village stores, but they want the other
seven. (See SchNEWS 493 for plenty more about Tesco). Clearly they
need more money, so they are on a productivity-raising drive. The
all-consuming out-of-town amoeba has demanded higher and higher
work rates from staff, and especially casuals, in exchange for the
same pay. And they can do that, they think, because theyre
only temps - if we break one we can just get another.
At a distribution warehouse in Greenhill, Dublin, the number of
(heavy) boxes (of crap) that staff were ordered to move went from
750 up to 800, 900 and then a back-aching 1,000 a day. If casual
agency staff fail to meet the bosses skyrocketing expectations,
they can be sacked.
Tesco have been using two agencies, Jobs and Grafton, to provide
them with cheap, mostly Polish labour. Temps also get less money
than the workers lucky enough to have a contract.
After speaking out two of the Polish agency workers, Zbyszek Bukala
and Radek Sawicki, were effectively sacked. On 28th of July twelve
pissed-off Poles with bad backs picketed the warehouse demanding
the return of the fired workers, the end of the 1000-a-day targets,
and contracts for anyone who worked longer than 3 months for Tesco.
Other workers inside temporarily downed tools in solidarity.
They appealed for solidarity demos, and last Thursday there were
pickets outside Tescos in Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds,
Oxford and London. Leeds picketers reported some shoppers saying,
Thanks for doing this, I hate Tescos! and I must
find somewhere else to shop. One shopper joined the picket.
Some of the picketers were Polish and had their own stories to tell
about exploitative bosses and dodgy agencies.
The story bounced around the internet and came to Poland, where
there was lots of interest. Similar disputes have happened in other
European countries recently. Solidarity protests are planned around
It is estimated that there are over 50,000 Polish workers in Ireland.
Many were hired through temping agencies to provide cheap labour
after Poland joined the EU. Firms like Tesco know they can treat
migrant labour worse than locals because they may not know their
rights or even speak English. Tesco has expanded massively into
former-Communist countries like Poland, putting many small farmers
out of business and contributing to unemployment, already at around
40% in many rural areas - which then sends unemployed young people
to countries like Ireland looking for work. Policy researcher Dominic
Eagleton has commented that the growth of supermarkets in
developing countries is really undermining the fight against poverty.
* For detailed info on Tesco see profile by Corporate Watch at
* Follow the story and find out how to get involved by doing a
search for the word Tesco on Irish Indymedia: www.indymedia.ie
or have a look at The Workers Initiative website: www.ip.hardcore.lt
Canada not as bad as America, right? Well, just ask Hassan
Almrei and Mohammad Mahjoub (and a number of others) what they think.
Both have been held, without charge, for over four years in solitary
confinement (just pause a moment to register that four years
They are Syrian refugees, held by the Canadian authorities under
secret evidence, for what, nobody knows (even its own
leaked internal documents acknowledge the government does not have
enough scraps of so-called evidence to lay any criminal charges),
and threatened with return to Syria and likely torture. Living in
9ft by 12ft cells for practically 24h a day with no human contact,
recreation, exercise, education programmes, limited books and lack
of basic comforts such as heating or shoes
Hassan has previously had to go on hunger strike to fight for some
of these things which the courts agreed to once hed
suffered long enough to actually get into court. Hassan began his
current hunger strike over 40 days ago to demand an hour of fresh
air and exercise in the concrete outdoor box which serves as the
yard at Metro West Detention Centre. He is described
by guards as a nonviolent person, a friendly individual who can
be trusted. Hence, it should be no problem to let him out for an
hour. But until his hunger strike, he usually got about five minutes
of fresh air, if that. This has been increased to the standard 20
minutes since he has been on hunger strike (what can properly be
read as the authorities attempting to cover their arses as Hassan
prepares to go to court once again).
Mahjoub is also currently on hunger strike to protest as his similar
conditions and the denial of visitor access to his two young children.
Both Hassan and Mahjoub have a community of support on the outside,
willing to vouch for, pay bail and even supervise them if necessary,
but the Canadians seem to want them to be unnecessarily incarcerated
and are dragging out any hope of bail hearings for as long as possible.
* For more on Canadas secret trials and details of how to
write letters of support etc www.homesnotbombs.ca
SchNEWS in brief
- A Freedom to Protest Conference to protest this law and other
measures used to intimidate activists is happening on 23 October
at The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk
- Peace Camp to highlight Brighton bombers EDO (SchNEWS 492) 13-19th
Wild Park, Brighton - following from the demo this Saturday Churchill
Square 12 noon www.smashedo.org.uk
- International tour of 20 children from Balata Refugee Camp,
Occupied Palestine performing traditional Palestinian dance (dabke)
and creative dramatic drama. (16) Meadowside St. Pauls Church
Hall, 114 Nethergate, Dundee 01382 908070 (19) Swansea YMCA ,
1 The Kingsway 01792 361 005 (20) Exeter John Stocker School Buddle
Lane, Dabke Workshop (21) Totnes Woodlands Leisure Park, near
Totnes. (23) London St. George's Theatre; 49 Tufnel Park Road.
For more info on the tour www.balatacamp.net
(from the Yorkshire Post 9th Aug)
It was the last thing youd expect in a quiet Dales village
on a Monday lunchtime. But three naked ramblers yesterday stocked
up on some bare essentials at a shop in Gargrave. Two men and a
woman walked into the Co-ops Late Shop wearing nothing more
than rucksacks, socks and hiking boots and left with crisps, drinks
and chocolate. Outside, police were waiting to arrest them and take
them to Skipton nick, where last night they were still in custody.The
cheeky trio are believed to be the so-called naked rambler, ex-
Royal Marine Stephen Gough, 46, from Hampshire; his girlfriend Melanie
Roberts, 33; and an un-named male librarian.They set out in June
intending to walk the 874-mile length of Britain to raise awareness
and make nudity more acceptable to the public.
If youd like to join the nudists fun see www.nakedwalk.org
SchNEWS warns all readers... to nuke on wood, and dont
let mushrooms cloud your judgement Honest!
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