Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! It's yer well and truly damned
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 266, FRIDAY
14th JULY, 2000
If someone came up to you and asked if you could lend them two hundred million quid you'd probably want to check them out a bit before handing over the cash.
So what would you say to them if you found out they'd been recently raided by the FBI, are currently on trial in Lesotho on bribery charges (or would be if one of their key witnesses hadn't legged it); had been found guilty by the Health and Safety Executive on numerous occasions, causing the death and serious injury of workers and getting a record £1.2 million fine after part of the tunnel on the rail link to Heathrow airport collapsed; were involved in the Pergau Dam scandal of the early nineties, where aid was given to Malaysia on the understanding that Malaysia brought weapons from British companies. In the eighties they built a dam in Sri Lanka that turned out to have an irreparable leak. And just for good measure were last year named as one of the UK's top twenty polluting companies.
Now, if someone came cap in hand and you'd heard about this you'd probably tell them to get stuffed. But not it seems if you're the government and the cash happens to be the taxpayers, and the company happens to be Balfour Beatty. The £200 million in question will be given to Balfour Beatty to help them build the Ilisu Dam in Turkey. This dam is set to destroy 52 Kurdish villages and 15 towns including the ancient town of Hasankeyf . 25,000 people are facing forceful eviction (see SchNews 259).
Of course not everyone is best pleased with this. Yesterday a cross section of MP's expressed astonishment at plans to hand over cash to a scheme which infringes human rights, threatens peace in the region and contravenes international standards.
But just why would New Labour want to get their hands dirty with such a dodgy company? Nothing to do with one of its executives, Martin Print, being seconded to the Department of Trade and Industry's 'Innovation unit'. Nothing to do with two other staff members, Colin Ostler and Alastair Kennedy, accompanying the construction minister on jaunts to Jordan, Eqypt and the Philippines..
Nothing to do with Balfour Beatty's political lobbyist being GJW Government Relations, which employs people like Karl Milner, formerly an advisor to Chancellor Gordon Brown, and Roger Sharp who previously worked in Labour'zs 'business unit'. GJW is also one of Labour's most loyal sponsors, and has regularly booked tables at the party's 'gala fund-raising dinners'.
No, it is nothing to do with any of this - it is because of the companies honesty, integrity, exemplary safety record....
* Campaigners against the Ilisu are promising a re-run of this years Balfour Beatty's AGM which had to be abandoned after rebel shareholders invaded the stage. They are inviting people to buy shares in the company so they too can join in the fun at the next AGM. They need one thousand people by mid-August, so rush your £2 (cheques etc to be made payable to The Ilisu Dam Campaign) with your name and address and they will do the rest. Ilisu Dam Campaign, Box 210, 266 Banbury Rd., Oxford, OX2 7DL
* It makes SchNews proud to be British, knowing that despite our recent sporting failures, there is still one area where this country excels. Of the 54 firms the World Bank has barred from involvement in its projects for violating its fraud and corruprtion guidelines, no less than 36 are British.
* Balfour Beatty are one of a consortium of companies wanting to buy parts of the London Underground
* Last month Turkey was found guilty of the murder and torture of prisoners and fined £25,000 by the Court of Human Rights.
For stumblng! A Coventry City supporter who stumbled over the kerb outside Villa Park was arrested by a copper who accused him of being drunk (well, he had necked a whole two pints). He then spent the whole of the game in the communal dungeon under one of the grounds stands, before being released without charge. To make matters worse Coventry finally won at Villa Park for the first time in 51 years.
* If you're got a company that needs a bit of free publicity, why not buy a local footie club and rename it. The boss of Total Network Solutions bought Llansantffraid FC and changed their name to, er Total Network Solutions. Last season the team won the League of Wales and this week played in the European Champions League, and hey presto - the companies name is splashed all over the papers. Anyone for Skychester United?
The Luton based Exodus Collective and their new found friend Lord Howland, are set to make history with the first ever legal free-party on July 29th. You can stop rubbing your eyes in disbelief, it's all true. Lord Howland, whose golf course has seen many an Exodus party without his permission in the past, speaks quite fondly of the Collective, "I did initially have a problem with Exodus, but we have established a link. It seems sensible to go forward together rather than fighting each other. Their achievements are very impressive, and they are very good people to deal with." From now on, the Collective can use a site agreed with the Lord at no cost to hold free-parties. Even the police and the council have seen the light. The council have recognised that a non-profit making community event shouldn't require a license in the same way that a pay party does. The police have even agreed that Exodus polices itself better without the boys in blue, and are happy to let them run their own show! If all goes well (and it stops raining every bloody day) the Collective will hold mini festivals every month from March to August, culminating in the Free The Spirit Festival in August. For more on Exodus check out www.squall.co.uk/
* Exodus will be coming to Brighton soon to launch the new SchNEWS/Squall book.
* If you're looking for a party in Brighton this weekend call the Underground Sound Party line call 0207 6445601
* Looking for something to do this weekend? Then go to our website and click on party and protest. The list is updated every week and this weekend you'll be spoilt for choice with twenty one events to choose from!
"Mr President , you have your finger on the Star Wars button. We urge
you to take it off and make the world a safer place"
It was one hell of an expensive firework display - a Minute 11 missile was fired from southern California ,while another missile was launched 4,500 miles away with the intention of intercepting the said hardware. In a weird case of "what happened next " the billion dollar US phallic symbol shot off in the wrong direction at 16,000 mph. Do'h.
Watching all this in sheer disbelief were eight members of Greenpeace , on board the Arctic Sunrise. The activists celebrated with bottles of beer when the startling news reached them that the missiles had simply missed. Welcome to Star Wars II
In 1983 Ronald Reagan had a vision. A vision of his country being protected by a complex array of 'Star Wars' technology. $60 billion were poured into trying to make this fantasy vision a dangerous reality but to no avail. The programmes were scaled back as the Cold War ended but the arms manufacturers kept the vision alive and waited for their next opportunity. This arrived on the back of the new 'rogue states' theory and the US determination to control outer space - militarily.
Now the US are preparing to spend at least another $60 billion on a 'limited National Missile Defence shield' and have been working hard to convince the world it is needed and will work. Who cares if this is in breach of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and could spark a new nuclear arms race.
* Last weekend two hundred protestors dressed variously as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia gathered outside the Fylingdales Radar Station in protest at US plans for a National Missile Defence system. Contact Yorkshire CND on 01274 730795
*Last year saw the eviction of the Peace Camp at Menwith Hill SpyBase in Yorkshire. Protesters are now banned from the site at night time,but there is a regular protest every third Saturday at 6pm . Telephone 01943 466825 for directions.
*Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, 8 Park Row, Otley, W.Yorkshire, LS21 1HQ Tel 01943 466405 www.gn.apc.org.cndyorks/caab
Did you know. . .An 'independent' British nuclear-powered Trident submarine is out on patrol, submerged, ready, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year ready to fire sixteen nuclear-armed missiles. Each of these 7,400 km-range missiles has three warheads. And it costs us £1.5 billion every year for the next 30 years, at least.
Each warhead has seven times the explosive power of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Hiroshima bomb killed about 140,000 men, women and children.
Did you know. . .An 'independent' British nuclear-powered Trident submarine is out on patrol, submerged, ready, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year ready to fire sixteen nuclear-armed missiles. Each of these 7,400 km-range missiles has three warheads. And it costs us £1.5 billion every year for the next 30 years, at least. Each warhead has seven times the explosive power of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Hiroshima bomb killed about 140,000 men, women and children.
SchNEWS in brief
Over the past 25 years 30,000 badgers have been culled in order to prove that they transmit bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to cattle. Some badgers do have TB but rather than looking elsewhere for the solution to the problem the government have proposed to cull up to a further 20,000 badgers over the next 5 years , at a cost of £34 million. Professor John Bourne who will lead the trial opposed the culling in the TB Forum and admitted that "we don't know if culling badgers makes things better.. it could make things a lot worse". Badger Groups around the country are organising protests against the killings. Contact The National Federation of Badger Groups Tel: 01989 567995 www.greengate.org.uk/badger/ggbadger.htm
* Vegetarians are exposing themselves to health risks by shunning red meat, according to Professor Robert Pickard director of the British Nutrition Foundation. Or at least that's what he told people attending a seminar organised by the ..Meat and Livestock Commission.
* A cinema advert advocating vegetarianism has been banned by an advertising watchdog. The advert made by Viva was due to be shown before 'Chicken Run' , but was banned because it was deemed to be too frightening for children.
* A Parisian chef served up a complaining customer a beer mat marinated in wine and coated in batter, saying it was veal. Apparently the customer did complain - but about the vegetables and not the marinated mat!
On Tuesday the Cambridge 2 (see SchNews 242) were finally released after serving nearly 7 months of their 4 and 5 year sentences. John Brock and Ruth Wyner were jailed after police discovered that heroin was being peddled at the homeless shelter, the Wintercomfort centre, they managed. Ruth and John, it is acknowleged , were never connected to any drug selling or misuse.
After the police raid at the centre in May 98, 8 people were prosecuted for selling heroin. Soon after John and Ruth were arrested for failing to tell the police the names of drug users and for "allowing their premises to be used for drug dealing." Firstly how can somebody who works with drug addicts remain credible if they are going to grass up people who come to them for help, and secondly anybody found out by staff to be selling drugs on the premises were immediately banned for life.
This case might have more to do with the fact that Ruth had been planning to open up a new project for the homeless, which unlike Wintercomfort, would not just be a day centre, but a hostel where each client would have their own room and be able to use the education facilities and so gain some self respect. This new project, in Elizabeth Way, Cambridge where real estate is worth a fortune, was given planning permission by the council in March 98 but the police objected. Two months later John and Ruth were taken out of the equation. SchNews wonders if this site will now be used for luxury flats leaving the homeless in Cambridge out in the cold. www.cambridge2-justice.org
Genetic Engineering Network (GEN) learnt this week that anti-GM activists have been up to their usual tricks, destroying 90% of a Farm Scale Trial of oilseed Rape in Hemel Hempstead. This last action, combined with others in recent weeks, is a further setback for the GM industry who may now have insufficent data to make results of trials scientifically viable. Two rallies against GM crops are due to take place this Sunday (16th). They will be at Nether Compton in Dorset - 01749 860689, and Gadebridge Park in Hemel Hempstead 01442 248657. See Party and Protest on the SchNEWS website for more info.
Where would like to go for your holidays? David Trimble, Northern Irelands First Minister, reckons you should hang out with that lovely bunch of bigoted xenophobes the Orange Order as they march through nationalist areas over the summer months. Trimble has hailed the marches as "the largest folk festivals in western Europe". Two different sets of tourists, after visiting the province last week, have experienced Orange "hospitality" first hand. Robert and Carla Steiner from the U.S.A. were driving around Belfast when they came across a loyalist roadblock. "We didn't stop in time and they started shouting at us" said Mr Steiner. "One of them called me a 'fenian bastard'. We are not even catholic, we are Jewish" .Meanwhile in Amargh at another roadblock , Lars Holleufer and Ole Jorgensen were held up and threatened with violence by "angry men in orange sashes, waving umbrellas and flags".
And there was SchNEWS thinking that folk festivals was when people sat around in fields playing music, growing beards and being nice to each other.
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Last updated 14th July 2000