This Time Last Year
419, 22nd August, 2003
SHELTER SKELTER Yarl's Wood trial comes to an end with Group
4 coming out as a laughing stock. Also, America's centralised blackout,
Burma update and a new primate research centre in Cambridge.
418, 15th August, 2003
THIRST FOR PROFIT The WTO's "privatise everything"
plan rumbles forward towards Cancun and a water supply near you... Also,
oil pipeline protests in Thailand and anti-social behaviour order to
be served on animal rights protester
417, 8th August, 2003
MAI EYE! Corporate and governmental fat cats line up for another
farcical round of trade talks to 'level the trading field'. Plus the
Israeli "security wall" and an activist web site host jailed
416, 25th July, 2003
I'M AN AMERICAN, GET ME OUT OF HERE! US troops queue to
get out of Iraq while US corporations queue to get in... Plus Chechenya,
Organic school dinners, Coca-killer and more...
415, 18th July, 2003
VISION CHIPS Real Freak Horrorshow Big Brother has landed. Plus,
Sherwood Forest, Simon Shaw, Lockheed Martin and more...
414, 11th July, 2003
GAM SHOW Massacre in Aceh, (Indonesia again pummels state wanting
independence with British arms). Plus, Victory for Arundel, rest of
country not so lucky..
413, 4th July, 2003
POVERTY EXPRESS Multinational biotech companies, with full backing
from Bush and his cronies, try to save the world by shoving GM leftovers
down the throats of the worlds poor.
410, 13th June, 2003
MENWITH BALLS The US spy base at Menwith Hill gets some overdure
attention. Plus Martin Shaw update; Group4 have recruitment problems;
6th June, 2003
MY HAMSTER Another G8 summit; more meaningless declarations from
'our' 'great' 'leaders', more kids on the streets fighting for a better
world and more police repression.
30th May, 2003
Get Yer Rocks Off! America "liberate" Iraq but
keep their hands firmly on the Congo and their resources. Blunkett's
trying to push through yet more "justice bill" laws and so
23rd May, 2003
Bob the Bilderberg
£lite take young politicians under their wing for... sensible
16th May, 2003
Repression in Palestine increases as international observers are
9th May, 2003
SHAKY FOUNDATIONS Blair he goes again, PFI-vatising the country's
health, education and transport infrastructure...
402/3, 2nd May, 2003
BOMBS 'R' US Mayday takes on Lockheed Martin, 24 hour weapons of
mass destruction delivery service...
401, 25th April, 2003
less popular than they thought they would be...
400, 11th April, 2003
AID 'N' A BET military spending skyrockets, international aid evaporates
and millions in Africa face starvation. Coincidence?
399, 4th April, 2003
PERLES OF WISDOM US carve-up of 'rebuilding' contracts.
397/8, 28th March, 2003
MASS DUST-RUCTION The 'humanitarian' war underway, we report the
protests the media ignore so well...
396, 14th March, 2003
RUNWAY TERROR Anit-terrorism protestors treated like terrorists...
395, 7th March, 2003
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONNAIRE?
A look at how America are trying to buy votes at the UN Security
394, 28th February, 2003
With all the hot air about deposing Saddam, we check out what the
U.S. has done for Afghanistan so far.
393, 21st February, 2003
Reports from anti-war demos around the world
392, 14th February, 2003
IRAQ AND RUIN
War mongering and anti war actions continue
391, 7th February, 2003
WASTE OF SPACE
390, 7th February, 2003
Holocaust hypocrisy in the British Press.
389, 24th January, 2003
INS AND OUT
Terrorism gets blamed on refugees?
388, 17th January, 2003
Direct Action Stations
Protest - can it make a difference?
387, 10th January, 2003
Oily Drums of War
George and Tony's oily war plan rumbles on
386, Winter Solstice, 2002
Chompin' at the Bit Noam Chomsky gives his views on the 'war on
terror' and North America
385, 13th December, 2002
Wide-Boys UK government struck by road-building frenzy
384, 6th December, 2002
Kissinger of Death - America assigns known terrorist to investigate
383, 29th November, 2002
Gone to the Dogs - Police still suppressing sabs while hunt thugs
get away with gbh...
| Friday 29th August
2003 | Issue 420
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER
TRIPS OFF THE TONGUE...
AGRI-VULTURES | Trips
Down Memory Lane | Crap Arrest of the
Week | Positive SchNEWS
| Refuse Council
| A Bit DSEi
| SchNEWS in Brief | ...and
Battle lines being drawn, accusations flying, corporations spewing
propaganda, humanity threatened it seems alls going
according to plan for the WTO Ministerial Meeting that begins in
less than two weeks in Cancun, Mexico.
With the arrival of angry peasants, slimey fat cats and disillusioned
Majority World leaders, the meeting seems destined to fail to achieve
anything. So whats new? Well, while Western governments seem
drunk with corporate-sponsored ideas of investment agreements
and trade liberalisation, thousands of activists, peasants, workers
and even Majority World governments can be heard shouting biocolonialism,
food sovereignty and piss off with your subsidies.
66 out of the WTOs 112 Majority World member countries are
now defiantly opposed to discussing any new trade agreements with
Agriculture and patents have emerged as major stumbling blocks for
any negotiations in Cancun. A few decades ago, the US threatened
to leave the General Agreements on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) if it
couldnt protect its agriculture from foreign competition.
But by the 1980s US big business had outgrown its markets and there
was a crisis of overproduction so hey presto! the US pushed
for the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) which would supposedly correct
and prevent restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets.
So what happened? The US and the EU kept subsidising their farmers
and protecting their markets with tariffs while Majority World governments
were forced to scrap any such protective measures. And in rolled
all the cheap, subsidised Western agricultural imports, destroying
thousands of Majority World farmers. In the US, Dubya pushed through
the Farm Security Act of 2001 which gave $170 billion over 10 years
to mainly corporate farmers in the US while throughout the West
prohibitive tariffs were raised against agricultural imports from
the Majority World. Correcting distortions in the world agricultural
Thanks to subsidies EU sugar processors receive a guaranteed price
three times that on the world market. The EU is the worlds
biggest exporter of white sugar as export prices are only a quarter
of production costs. In 2001 the EU exported thousands of tonnes
of white sugar to Algeria and Nigeria which are both natural export
markets for African producers like Mozambique. The only problem
is poor Mozambique cant compete with subsidised EU sugar.
Similarly, in Mexico thousands of campesinos have failed to compete
with floods of subsidised US corn and have been forced into poverty,
sweatshops or dangerous US border-crossing in search of work. The
distortion never ends.
Trips Down Memory Lane
Americans taking out a patent on basmati rice is like Indians
taking out a patent on fat Bon Jovi fans with mullets
comedian Rob Newman
Patents are another favourite Western tool to distort world trade.
They thought theyd trip up the Majority World with some more
confusing initials: TRIPS, the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights, a protectionist WTO agreement fiercely
contested by Majority World governments. TRIPS was aggressively
campaigned for by the US - it guarantees protection of patents for
a minimum of 20 years and according to watchdog writer Aziz Choudry
its the ideal means to make all WTO member countries
comply with a standard set of laws which legally protect the technological
monopoly of transnational corporations
which own most patents.
TRIPS goes hand in hand with WTO attempts to liberalise agricultural
trade and expand multinational corporations control over food
and biodiversity. In order to enforce this, the US throws its weight
around saying that countries that fail to adopt patent protecting
laws are engaging in unfair trading practice and may
be subject to trade sanctions. Funnily enough, Western corporations
plundering the biodiversity and indigenous knowledge of the Majority
World doesnt qualify as unfair in the WTO dictionary. In a
new twist of biocolonialism, seedy seed corporations
like Monsanto are nicking the innovations of small farmers and indigenous
peoples, patenting the seeds and forcing those same small farmers
to buy back the seeds.
Asia produces over 90 per cent of the worlds rice and these
rice sales make up to half of Asias farm incomes. There are
more than 140,000 different varieties of rice that small farmers
in Asia have collectively cultivated over generations without needing
to perform any patent-theft. The continent consumes a third of the
worlds agricultural seed but accounts for less than a quarter
of the $30 billion annual commercial seed market. So corporate fat
cats rub their grubby hands Asia is a potential market!
The seedy corporations aim is simple: most seed patents are owned
by just six seed corporations which coincidentally also happen to
be the worlds largest pesticide corporations. Through patents,
seed companies can stop farmers from sharing or saving seed, control
what pesticides they use and can even claim ownership over the harvest.
Bloody marvellous! Land custodians become slaves and corporations
become the new colonial masters.
In India, basmati rice exports were worth over $400 million in 1998-99.
Then RiceTec Inc, a Texas-based corporation, waltzes in and wins
a US patent on basmati rice. This corporate theft seriously endangers
the livelihoods of thousands of Asian farmers. The US is complaining
about bootleg music cassettes in Thailand while simultaneously robbing
our farmers knowledge and heritage, said one irate Thai
So is the WTO meeting gonna put an end to Western protectionism
and patents on life? Course not. The EU recently muttered something
about major reform of its agricultural policy and then proceeded
to pump millions more into agricultural subsidies. Obviously the
corporate farming and agri-business lobby is too powerful for our
leaders to overcome. But then distant leaders arent
gonna change things, people at the grassroots are, with ideas and
action. Ideas such as food sovereignty and sustainable
agriculture are growing in a world of profit-driven, corporate
controlled agriculture. This is what floods of Thai and Indian protesters
have been demanding in the streets of South Asia. This is what 100
000 campesinos screamed for when they marched through Mexico City
in January. These ideas are also being planted in soils all over
One example is MASIPAG, a community-managed rice and veggie project
in the Philippines. Nearly 600 farmer-bred lines and 75 varieties
of rice are grown and are further improved by more than 10 000 small
scale farmers. Another example is the New Agriculture
Movement in Bangladesh where farmers cultivate hundreds of different
rice varieties using innovative indigenous methods and succeed in
getting bumper harvests. In a world of industrial agriculture, sustainable
agriculture is both a real possibility and a vital alternative:
local farmers empower themselves by controlling land and decision-making
power; small scale, indigenous practices are privileged; crop rotation
encouraged and fertiliser and pesticides avoided.
But in order for local, sustainable agriculture to be empowered
we need a sustained growth of people power to fight institutions
like the WTO which are drunk with myths of environment-destroying,
corporate controlled agriculture. Cancun anyone?
Crap Arrest of the Week
For spitting a plum stone onto a road
Yiannis Tassos, a Greek farmer, was driving near the northern city
of Serres, happily munching on some plums that he grew. After spitting
a plum stone out of his window he was stopped by an over zealous
traffic cop (over zealous cops in Greece never.) Even after
apologising three times for this offence the cop fined
him £55, deducted three points from his license and he has
to go to court in October charged with littering. Sounds plum stupid
Everyone except the flat earth society knows climate change is
happening, so instead of more doom and gloom facts and figures we
thought wed include a few positive stories of people getting
off their backsides and making a difference
Two wind turbines are to be installed at the University of East
Anglia (UEA), which will generate more than enough power for the
whole campus, with the surplus being sold back to the National Grid.
This is part of a broader project, Cred, (The Community Carbon Reduction
Project) set up at UEA to reach the governments target of
reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, but in half the time.
The UEA is running courses and meetings open to the whole community
offering support and advice about DIY low impact energy - such as
how to make solar cells that you strap to your roof to provide hot
water. Cred 01603 592836 www.cred-uk.org
Meanwhile, Nidderdale High School and Community College in Pateley
Bridge, North Yorkshire is the third and largest school in the UK
to install its own wind turbine. The turbine generates enough clean,
sustainable energy to provide 15-20% of the schools needs
- as well as dropping the fuel bill.
A turbine at Cassop Primary School in County Durham has been in
operation since 1999 and provides twice the schools electricity,
with surplus going back to the Grid, and the school is also setting
up an environment centre. Furthermore, Catchgate School in County
Durham powers itself completely with its own turbine. If a few schools
can do it - what about the rest of us! These projects show that
climate change can be tackled in a grass-roots, community way, and
that these systems need to become commonplace.
Climate change campaigners Rising Tide have just launched a CD ROM
manual on how to turn your home into a low energy ecohouse. It contains
a virtual tour of their own low energy showhouse, articles, briefings
on all aspects of eco-design. Some of this material is already on
the web at www.theyellowhouse.info.
The CD costs £12.50 (cheques payable to the Climate Outreach
and Information Network) from 16 B Cherwell St., Oxford OX4 4BL.
To receive Rising Tides informative monthly newsletter send
a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Last Thursday Daniel Blackburn became the first person to drive
from Lands End to John OGroats fuelled by vegetable
* This Saturday (30th) MERCi Manchesters only Centre for Sustainable
Living is having an Open Day. 12-3pm, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick
Street, Ancoats. Solar powered DJ workshop, gardeners corner, scrap
art workshop, bike maintenance workshops & nature walk, and
stuff for kids. 0161 273 1736 or www.bridge-5.org/
Asylum seekers have been camped outside Refugee Council HQ in London
since the beginning of the month protesting against Section 55 of
the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act which says if you dont
claim asylum as soon as you arrive in Britain you wont receive
any help whatsoever from the state.
The refugees from such safe places as the Congo, Liberia,
Palestine and Sudan, were evicted from their rooms because they
didnt apply for asylum in a reasonable and practical
time even though many applied within one or two days of arriving.
We stayed together and slept outside the Refugee Council.
They told us it was illegal for them to help us, even though Refugee
Councils duty is to represent and care for refugees. We were
left with no food, no mats or blankets, no information about our
cases, and no medical care. We got cardboard to sleep on. Local
people urged Social Services to give temporary housing to some of
us who were sick. Local Mosques and churches particularly helped
with emergency floor space.
The Refugee Council hasnt been as accommodating, with security
staff hassling refugees and asking the local council to remove gifts
given by well-wishers! Not surprising really as the Refugee Council
has received £60 million to implement Section 55! We
are denied all we need to rebuild our lives. We are fleeing persecution,
war, genocide, torture, ill treatment, and discrimination. We are
stamped like animals, labelled, treated with mistrust so that no
one believes anything we say. You are not treated as a person, but
as a number. When we go to Refugee Council they dont ask our
names but say, Are you Section 55?
Other refugees and sympathisers can join the protests 6-8pm every
day Bellefields Rd, behind Refugee Council in Brixton, SW9.
* In late July judges ruled that applying Section 55 is inhumane
and degrading treatment and violates the Human Rights Convention.
On Wednesday the government lost its appeal against the decision
although the judges said they could see no reason why the new regulations
could not work effectively once a few changes had been made.
* Help scrap the inhuman Section 55 email@example.com
Legal Action for Women 020 7482 2496
* Four asylum seekers inside after the Yarlswood trails (see last
weeks SchNEWS) would love to receive letters of support. They are
Henry Momadou KW6755, Behar Limani EM9849 and Aliane Ahmed HE5354
all at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, PO Box 757, Du Cane Road, Acton, London,
W12 0AE and Naseem Mostaffa HF5951, HMP Lindholme, Bawtry Road,
Hatfield, Woodhouse, Doncaster, DN7 6EE.
A Bit DSEi
London is preparing for Europes largest arms fair, Defence
Systems Equipment international (DSEi) with British tax payers
financing the protection of arms dealers wholl be busy shopping
for weapons, fighter aircraft, bombs and landmines.
Police have confirmed that 1,600 uniformed officers will be protecting
the arms dealers every day from 6-12 September. Policing will cost
£1m and at no cost to the exhibitors.
The government already subsidises the arms business with a generous
£763m a year, allowing the export of weapons to countries
with records of sustained human rights abuses, such as Turkey and
Indonesia, and often encourages arms supplies to both sides in areas
of conflict, such as India and Pakistan.
* For more information on transport or if you are organising transport
yourself and need to fill some empty seats contact www.dsei.org
or call 07817 652029
* Theres a picket outside Spearhead Exhibitions, the organisers
of DSEi, next Wednesday (3) 12 noon at their HQ in Apex Tower, New
Malden, Surrey near New Malden train station 020 7607 3616 firstname.lastname@example.org
* CND are having a free festie peace party on 14 September with
everything from the Wangos music stage to the Big Sexy Festy
Party and, of course, SchNEWS. Its at Victoria Park,
London noon till 7.30pm 0207 700 2393 www.cnduk.org
SchNEWS in brief
- The Bilston Glen Anti Bypass Site outside Edinburgh needs
more visitors. To entice you theyve organised a Budefest
for 6-8th Sept promising 3 days of riotous punk and on 27-28 September
theres a work/action weekend. The planned road will destroy
a local wood and is a private project backed by companies such
as Biotech, famous for cloning sheep. For directions call 07986
632 429 email@example.com
- The legal battle continues against £38 million Barnstaple
Western Bypass and Downstream Bridge scheme funded by Devon
County Council. The road will wreck a wildlife-rich area made
famous in Tarka the Otter and is in contravention of European
legislation on nature conservation, specifically the Birds Directive.
To keep up to date with developments 01769 550909, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yesterday morning people from Rising Tide occupied the offices
of the Export Credits Guarantee Department Offices to protest
against their likely funding of the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline. For
more about the project get a copy of Oil be Damned.
Just send a VHS-sized SAE to London Rising Tide, c/o 62 Fieldgate
Street, London E1 1ES email@example.com
- Schwoops the new squatted social centre we mentioned
last week is in Newtown, New South Wales Australia and not
- The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior is due to arrive
in Iceland in two weeks to join local groups in protest against
resumed whale hunting which the Icelandic government tries to
justify on scientific grounds. Tel. 0207 8658100 www.greenpeace.org
- Donations of radical books, fanzines, videos etc in any language
are wanted for a new social centre being set up in Prilep,
Macedonia. Send stuff to Goran, Tocila 2, E1 2/6, 7500 Prilep,
Macedonia or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more info
- Is Small Beautiful? A one-day conference is held next
Wednesday (3) with discussions on everything from bio and nano
technology, corporate power to can globalization be good
for you? Its at Regents College Conference Centre,
Regents Park, London (Baker Street tube) 9.30am - 5pm Tickets
are £30 to book call 0800 389 1624
- Twenty demonstrators were injured in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
on Tuesday when protests escalated against the governments
efforts to secure a £637m loan from the International Monetary
Fund. The loan comes with demands for the privatisation of drinking
water facilities and wage-freezes for doctors and teachers.
The BBC Radio 4s infamous Today programme has signed up the
former Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short
to report on the coming World Trade Organisation talks in Mexico.
Short is no friend of the protester declaring at the failed WTO
talks in Seattle, four years ago: [They are] misguided, white,
middle-class activists. At Genoa she reckoned that the
money people spend coming from the rich world to protest on behalf
of the poor could be directed into doing more in the developing
world. And at Doha she came out with the corker that the
demonstrators demands are very similar to those of Bin Ladens
al-Qaida network. SchNEWS cant wait to hear what short
snappy sound bites shell come up with to call the hundreds
of thousands of poor peasant and urban protesters who are planning
to demonstrate against the WTO. No doubt itll be traditionally
SchNEWS warns all readers not to take any bad trips. Honest!
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