BACK ISSUES

SchNEWS 703, 11th December 2009
SchNEWS Guide to Copenhagen - Due to too many people being away (probably) burning babylon, being sick or generally too lazy, there is no print issue this week. But we didn't want you not gettin' any of yer regular fix and wanted to give you the lowdown on going to Copenhagen, so have patched together this 'blink and you'll miss it' Climate Conference special edition for the web only (where special means er, compact.)

SchNEWS 702, 4th December 2009
If You're Not Swiss-ed Off... - Ten years after Seattle, thousands congregate in Geneva to resist world trade organisation meeting... plus, 25 years after the Bhopal disaster and still no justice for the victims, protests in Wales over biomass plant at Port Talbot, Sussex students protest at staff cuts, Lithuanian national is imprisoned over London G20 protests, we gloat as the capitalist edifice of Dubai crumbles, and more...

SchNEWS 701, 27th November 2009
Buy Buy Cruel World - SchNEWS hopes the anti-consumerist message will finally gain purchase with international 'Buy Nothing Day' tomorrow... plus, the Target Barclays campaign is launched, opposing their investment in the arms trade, protest camp against opencast coal mine in Scotland is under threat of eviction, protest camp by the sacked Vesta workers on the Isle Of Wight is evicted, and more...

SchNEWS 700, 20th November 2009
Good Cop Bad Cop - Things are hotting up for the COP15 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen next month... plus, despite being out of the news, the plight of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka continues to be dire, protesters disrupt the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Edinburgh, the state clampdown on animal rights protesters continues as four are raided and arrested, the far-right march in Glasgow – and again are outnumbered, but next month move to Nottingham, and more...

SchNEWS 699, 13th November 2009
Mexican Wave - Around 200,000 workers, teachers, students, unionists, farmers and social campaigners shut Mexican cities down on Wednesday (12th) in a national strike... plus, importer of Israeli produce grown on occupied Palestinian territories sees sustained protests, ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan is arrested over his opposition to the war, protests against the NATO meeting in Edinburgh begin as anti-militarist convergence space is opened, and more...

SchNEWS 698, 6th November 2009
Post Apocalypse - British postal workers are on strike as looming privatisation brings in a round of lay-offs, wage cuts and higher work demands... plus, racist far-right march in Leeds and London - where violence breaks out between far-right groups, Brighton film-maker has his charges dropped, fox hunting monitors are violently attacked by hunt supporters in Sussex, harsh repression continues to be dealt out to refugees at Calais, and more...

SchNEWS 697, 30th October 2009
A Liberal Helping? - SchNEWS looks critically at the Guardian's expose of a police spotter card for so-called 'domestic extremists'... plus, it's been another hot week for climate protesters in Britain as high-emissions coal power is targeted, a round-up of Halloween direct action protests in Britain against the arms industry and animal testing, Britain is deporting refugees back into the dangerous warzones they fled - and a group sent back to Iraq have found themselves being sent back to Britain, and more....

SchNEWS 696, 23rd October 2009
Sooty and Swoop - Over a thousand swoopers descended on Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station over the weekend - Britain's 3rd largest carbon emitter - with the aim of shutting the whole place down... plus, Britain’s newest anti-arms campaign, Target Brimar, staged their inaugural demo on Saturday, a counter demo of around 600 anti-racists ensured the English Defence League in Wales came a cropper in Swansea on Saturday, two protesters convicted during the Smash EDO Carnival Against the Arms Trade have had their convictions quashed by an appeal court, and more...

SchNEWS 695, 16th October 2009
La La La Bomba - SchNEWS looks to mexico, where butane is in the eye of the bomb-holder... plus, cosmetics company Lush release hunt saboteur soap, the Mainshill protest camp is attacked by machinery drivers, London community workers gets big pay-out after stop and search arrest, the anti-muslim racists English Defence League march in Manchester, but are still outnumbered, and more...

Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Sunday 20th December 2009 | Issue 704

WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! IT'S YER NOT MUCH COP...

SchNEWS

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Story Links : Not A Hopenhagen | Tar Very Much | No Oil For War | Nazi Pieces Of Work | Back In Feline-ment | The Livni Daylights | Ahava Go Heroes | And Finally

NOT A HOPENHAGEN

AS WORLD LEADERS DITHER INSIDE, SchNEWS LOOKS TO THE THOUSANDS OF DISSENTERS OUTSIDE

In the end there was no deal on the table in Copenhagen (see SchNEWS 700) and COP 15 was the big global cop-out we expected.
 

The rich countries, the biggest polluters and the ones who have clawed their way to pre-eminence on the back of one hundred and fifty years of carbon emissions are simply not going to compromise enough. Contrast the rapidity with which the global financial system was rescued last year with the bureaucratic bog-down that happened in Denmark. Capitalism must be maintained at all costs – life on earth is not so urgent.

Having no real deal suits the dominant powers very well - they can afford to hang on until the poorer nations buckle (suggestions that the World Bank should administer the Climate Fund gives you an idea what sort of deals have been proposed). It’s full-scale carbon trading and business as usual or nothing for the richest nations. Despite half-hearted last ditch attempts to salvage something to save media face, the volutary ‘accord’ arm-twisted through at the last moment is virtually meaningless.

So much for what was (or wasn’t) going on inside the fortress-like Bella centre to the south of the city. If the delegates of countries like the Maldives (which will literally disappear if sea levels continue to rise) can’t get themselves heard – what hope did the protests have? Accredited delegates at the main conference on Wednesday who attempted to leave and join the People’s Assembly outside the gates got the same rough treatment as those already assembled there.

The message from the authorities in Copenhagen was clear, there is no place for dissenting voices, however inept political attempts to save the world prove. For the climate activists who arrived in Copenhagen the story was one of stop-n-searches and mass arrests. New legislation passed by the Danish government allowed for preemptive arrests of anyone. Countering protest in the city was effectively given a police state mandate.

Intentions became apparent with the arrests of around 750 people forming the anti-capitalist block in the middle of the main march. In a coordinated swoop (described by one arrestee as ‘incredibly slick’) police sealed off the roads with vehicles. They then charged the crowd with batons drawn before forcing protesters to sit in rows, hands cuffed behind their backs with cable ties. Some were there for hours sat in the road in sub-zero temperatures.

Others were taken to a pre-prepared detention facility in the Valby area of the city. Here the police had built wire cages – a human containment facility. One activist told SchNEWS, “They’re around the size of a shipping containers, built of wire. Only 2 ½ metres high with bare concrete floors – roll mats to sleep on. They put ten or fifteen of us in each cage.”

In cases where angry activists kicked off inside the cages – some pulling benches off the walls – police fought back with pepper spray and batons. All in all not a pleasant experience of ‘liberal’ Denmark to take home from the summit-hopping city break.

In fact pepper spray and batons were much in attendance all week – when not charging crowds or spraying those assembled too close to the conference venue gates, cops continued to arrest anyone they wanted left right and centre, taking whole groups en ma sse. There was a constant flow of reports from the twittersphere of rough treatment and baton-beatings from many of those detained.

And, let loose to be as proactive as they liked, it was no surprise when on the morning of the 16th police arrived at all the convergence centres for a mass stop and search. All part of the intimidation service, along with complementary repeat van stop-n-searches for anyone unlucky enough to be driving.

Wednesday’s ‘Hit the Production’ day of direct action at the dock was typical, with riot cops moving in to arrest 270 before anything had actually happened.

While many of the arrestees were later released, a fair few were deported for minor public order offenses and others were bailed until 4th January.

As the dust settles, it’s clear that Copenhagen was no Seattle or Genoa. Despite the respectable mobilisation of local and international activists, they were no match for the scale of the lockdown, cops given carte blanche to allow world leaders to fail the world unhindered. One thing the big build up and hype does seem to have achieved is that the authorities were obviously extremely worried - and fear just breeds aggression on their part.

But the protesters presence alone stole some of the media spotlight and reminded a global audience that when conventional political solutions fail, as they inevitably will on current course, there are other options. How long before the visible effects of climate change convince enough of the public to make the cause truly mass? The longer the politicians dither away the earth’s future, the sooner that day comes.

*If this conference has been notable for one thing other than pre-emptive repression, its the sheer amount of content produced by activist media. You could drown in it. A full round up of events is beyond the meagre space of SchNEWS - just some of the minute by minute timelines, reports, pictures, footage, a million twitters and links are all available at http://icop15.org - Go on, gorge yerself...

** List and links to reports of many other climate actions from around the world at www.indymedia.dk/articles/1928

TOP COP TIP OF THE WEEK

It is very common for activists to get compensation from the police in Denmark. If you are arrested and released without charge you can apply and you can automatically receive compensation (and quite quickly, unlike in Britain).

This does not apply for the preventative arrests they have been using, but if you think you have been unfairly treated you still stand a fair chance of receiving compensation.

Contact: Copenhagen Legal Support:
Retshjælpen Rusk, Baggesensgade 6, basement – Nørrebro. Phone: 0045 28255320
E-mail: retshjaelprusk@hotmail.com
 

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TAR VERY MUCH

Some decided to keep it local in the fight against climate change last week. The Camp for Climate Action were active from their base at Trafalgar Square, established after the Climate Wave. Over Monday and Tuesday activists from the UK Tar Sands Network and the Camp for Climate Action pulled off a direct action and protest combo outside (and on top of) the Canadian High Commission in Pall Mall.

On Monday activists protested outside the entrance to Canada House before blockading the Pall Mall end of Trafalgar Square with banners reading “Shut Down the Tar Sands”
Day two, three activists scaled the side of the Canadian High Commission and cut lose the Canadian flag, dunking it in crude oil, before locking and glueing themselves to an upper floor balcony.

Over the last few years Canada has managed to fix its squeaky clean image with an industrial sized dose of oil from Alberta’s tar sands. For those who don’t already know (see SchNEWS 644), Canada’s Tar Sands represent the world’s latest and greatest threat to the climate.

Underneath layers of pristine, biodiverse, boreal forest (which locks carbon away from the atmosphere), underneath the permafrost (which, when melted is a huge source of climate-warming methane) and mixed in with the soil and sand, are deposits of oil almost equal in size to Saudi Arabia’s. Because the oil is so ‘dirty’ (mixed with debris) its costly to extract - taking around one barrel of oil to extract six from the sands. It needs a huge amount of water as well, which runs off the site and pollutes Canada’s lakes and groundwater.

These sands have become Canada’s largest industrial project and, dollar for dollar, a good contender for world’s most polluting industry.

Canada’s dirty tricks to protect the tar sands by scuppering any deal at Copenhagen have caused the country’s negotiators to win the ‘Fossil Award’ given out by environment campaigners at Copenhagen. Join the climate activists and indigenous communities fighting back.

* See tarsandsinfocus.wordpress.com/about

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NO OIL FOR WAR

The first of the long-planned major sell-offs of Iraqi oil fields took place last weekend. The auction of Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) in Baghdad has long been fantasised about by Bush, Cheney and the rest of the neoconservative gang that we can now safely call ‘former regime loyalists’.

It didn’t exactly go as planned for the Americans though. In a bidding war that Iraqi officials insisted was ‘not political,’ virtually everywhere except the USA scored rights to share the profits (sorry development) of some of Iraq’s major oilfields.

Rights to explore/exploit Iraq’s biggest oilfields went first to China and Russia, with European oil corporations having to compete with Asian companies. SchNEWS’ perennial favourite Shell managed to get its grubby fingers round some of Iraq’s oil pumps by partnering up with Petronas, a Malaysian corp.

Meanwhile US oil corporations won virtually nothing. Neither Chevron nor ConnocoPhilips, both of which had been lobbying heavily, won anything. Exxon was the only US corporation to buy the rights to any large oilfield.

Its not just that the US corporations were sidelined. The main winners were national corporations - Gazprom (Russia’s nationalised oiligarchy), the China National Petroleum Corporation, Norwegian Statoil, Malaysia’s Petronas, France’s Total and Angola’s Sonangol.

After several years of marching behind ‘No War For Oil’ banners and statements from former US politicians that the war was ‘mostly about oil’, this seems like pretty weak stuff. The Americans spent some $2trillion on the war. There’s also the small matter of the million of lives lost. But the Iraqi government has been desperate to play the nationalist card and to let US corporations in would be politically disastrous; European and Asian corporations are a little more palatable to Iraqis.

Yet these deals between Iraqi politicians and oil execs totally ignore the wishes of the Iraqi people, unions and oil workers. Sami Ramadani, British-based spokesman for the Iraqi General Union of Oil Employees, had this to say, “The barometer of public opinion is the oil union. They think that these contracts with the corporations will give Iraqis a very poor deal. The corporations want to use cheaper imported labour, like from Dubai and Kuwait. Our oil is very close to the surface, we don’t need outside investments to pump the oil out. Why do we need these guys except to steal a maximum proportion of profits?

As well as this, no actual oil law has been agreed on, leaving open the possibility of legal challenges. And let’s not forget there is always strike action.

Ever since the invasion, the US has faced the same problem in Iraq: they’ve never had any real power over the country. Bombing the shit out of somewhere isn’t the same as controlling it. In fact (cue all of the lessons of the war on terror) bombing the shit out of somewhere is likely to make it much less controllable. The Americans invaded Iraq, destroyed its Baathist state and forced ‘democracy’ on them. The government that Iraqis elected is nationalist and, in the last few years, has done some very clever political manoeuvring to limit US influence in their country. Just before last year’s US elections Iraqi PM Nuri al Maliki sweet-talked Obama - basically handing him a vote winning ‘get out of Iraq free’ card just before he got elected.

Added to their problem is that US corporations shot themselves in the foot by being just too damn greedy. The Iraqi government (we can use the word without inverted commas these days) had insisted on no more than a $2 per barrel profit for corporate Production Sharing Agreements. The Americans weren’t happy about this and set their side of the deal much higher, only to find that they’d been out-bid by the Angolans.

With violence on the increase, an increasingly authoritarian president with a tight grip on power and their natural resources divied up between foreign corporations, things aren’t looking much improved for the average Iraqi.

But with nothing to show for their trillion dollar foreign adventure but over a million dead and a shattered international reputation, things haven’t quite gone the way the Americans wanted either. - oh well, at least W. and friends can be content that a slew of US corporations got in a few years of unregulated looting with their war, and while the causalities mounted, managed to suck a vast amount of American taxpayer cash straight into their pockets as profits into the bargain. Never mis-under-estimate the scale of what happened in Iraq...

Keywords: iraq, oil, war on terror
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NAZI PIECES OF WORK

A prominent member of the EDL was charged with soliciting murder and using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred on Thursday (17th).

The charges against ‘Wigan Mike’, aka Michael Heaton, stem from his stint as an administrator of the to-the-right-of Mussolini-on-a-bad-day website Aryan Strike Force. Together with his administrator in crime, Trevor Hannington, Heaton spent his time encouraging other far right nutjobs to murder Jews.

Hannington is also accused of terrorism offences having been caught in possession of a complete set of How-to guides to terrorism and having posted instructions on how to make a flame thrower out of a water pistol (with some sticky-back plastic no doubt) on a website.

Although Heaton allegedly broke ties with Aryan Strike Force last year, he has been recently spotted at EDL demos in Manchester, Birmingham, Wrexham and Leeds. While we’re not going to condone banging people up for possessing books or writing things (no matter how vile), the case is another blow to those who want to portray the EDL as a non-racist group with legitimate concerns.

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BACK IN FELINE-MENT

The Black Cat community centre in Bath is on to its second life after being evicted on Wednesday (16th) and promptly re-squatted on Thursday (17th).

The centre was first squatted three months ago and has since been used as a library, cafe and freeshop, and for film nights and benefit gigs raising money for local causes.

After the eviction, local activists and residents decided to take immediate action to save Bath’s only autonomous social space. One of the new squatters said, “The work that the original Black Cat squatters put into the social centre was so inspiring, and such a benefit to the community that we felt that we had to act, and re-open the social centre to the community for as long as possible.

If all has gone to plan then the Black Cat Mark II should already be open, with all of its previous uses and events up and running. For more info call 07794 774938

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THE LIVNI DAYLIGHTS

Christmas came early (or Eid came late, or Hannukah arrived bang on time) for activists seeking justice for last year’s massacres in Gaza when an arrest warrant on charges of war crimes was put out for for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister at the time.

The UK government was quick to act - David Milliband immediately phoned up Livni to apologise that occasionally British courts act independently and do strange things like try to prosecute criminals.

There’s some confusion about what happened next. Media sources in the UK say that Livni cancelled her trip to Britain after she heard about her arrest warrant and that the sources who informed the lawyers they had spotted her in the country were mistaken.

However, Arabic news sources say that she was in the country but had to be whisked away to a secret Mossad safe house to escape arrest.

The Israeli government was furious (always a good sign), growling that the cosy British-Israeli relationship was being put in jeopardy. The Israeli state also blustered that Britain’s role in the peace process would be put at risk. This brings two questions to mind - first, what role in the peace process? And second, what peace process? Do they mean that Tony Blair will have to give up his job as ‘Quartet Envoy?’ And if he did, would anyone (except Blair’s accountant) notice?

Back in the UK, human rights lawyers are concerned that Britain might try and change the law to avoid any future ‘embarrassments’ for their allies. Meanwhile, scores of Israeli army officers and politicians have been warned not to travel to countries with ‘universal jurisdiction’. The warrant against Tzipi Livni, although never served, must have scared the shit out of some of the shadier characters at the Israeli embassy.

Keywords: gaza, israel, tzipi livni
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AHAVA GO HEROES

Two activists shut down the Covent Garden branch of Israeli cosmetics company Ahava on Saturday by locking on to a concrete block inside the shop. The activists were finally removed by a police cutting team at 4.30pm, by which time the shop crew had given up on the day and gone home.

Ahava sells products made from Dead Sea mud and minerals. It has a production facility on the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem and extracts the mud for its products from a site close to the settlement of Kibbutz Kalia in the occupied West Bank.

* See www.bigcampaign.org

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AND FINALLY

Scrooge security guards at Yarl’s Wood detention centre got embroiled in a Santa stand off this week as they tried to prevent a Father Christmas from delivering presents to the immigrant children detained inside.

Having obviously decided the kids inside were on the naughty list (why else would we lock up innocent children after all?) the security guards refused to let Santa through the perimeter fence. When the spurned St Nick began calmly blessing his sack of gifts the irate guards called the police.

The Father Christmas in question, the Rev Canon James Rosenthal, is an Anglican expert on St Nick - the patron saint of children and the imprisoned. The Rev said, “St Nick has never been turned away from anywhere before.” He obviously never tried to get into Britain without papers then.

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers, you've had enough bad news to keep you going til mid-January. Honest.

 

SchMOVIES

REPORTS FROM THE VERGE - Smash EDO/ITT Anthology 2005-2009 - A new collection of twelve SchMOVIES covering the Smash EDO/ITT's campaign efforts to shut down the Brighton based bomb factory since the company sought its draconian injunction against protesters in 2005.

UNCERTIFIED - OUT NOW on DVD- SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008 - Films on this DVD include... The saga of On The verge – the film they tried to ban, the Newhaven anti-incinerator campaign, Forgive us our trespasses - as squatters take over an abandoned Brighton church, Titnore Woods update, protests against BNP festival and more... To view some of these films click here

ON THE VERGE - The Smash EDO Campaign Film - is out on DVD. The film police tried to ban - the account of the four year campaign to close down a weapons parts manufacturer in Brighton, EDO-MBM. 90 minutes, £6 including p&p (profits to Smash EDO)

TAKE THREE - SchMOVIES Collection DVD 2007 featuring thirteen short direct action films produced by SchMOVIES in 2007, covering Hill Of Tara Protests, Smash EDO, Naked Bike Ride, The No Borders Camp at Gatwick, Class War plus many others. £6 including p&p.

V For Video Activist - the SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection - twelve short films produced by SchMOVIES in 2006. only £6 including p&p.

SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2005 - all the best films produced by SchMOVIES in 2005. Running out of copies but still available for £6 including p&p.

SchNEWS Books

SchNEWS At Ten - A Decade of Party & Protest - 300 pages, £5 inc p&p (within UK)

Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401, 300 pages, £5 inc p&p

SchNEWS of the World - issues 300 - 250, 300 pages,£4 inc p&p.

SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001 - SchNEWS and Squall back to back again - issues 251-300, 300 pages, £4 inc p&p.

SchQUALL - SchNEWS and Squall back to back - issues 201-250 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Survival Guide - issues 151-200 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Annual - issues 101-150 - Sold out - Sorry

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These books are mostly collections of 50 issues of SchNEWS from each year, containing an extra 200-odd pages of extra articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. SchNEWS At Ten is a ten-year round-up, containing a lot of new articles.

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