Bayers decision to give up the GM ghost in India isnt
surprising because the writing has been on the wall for years. Like
almost everyone else, Indian people arent prepared to accept
GM foods and Bayer realised it had to stop flogging a dead horse.
Doreen Stabinsky Greenpeace
Genetic pirates Bayer Crop Science announced that they are stopping
trials of GM vegetables in India. The company has taken the radical
and innovative decision to concentrate on conventional plant breeding.
Bayer claimed that the decision was due to changes in our
global research strategy.
SchNEWS reckons that it might have had something to do with protests
at the end of September, when Greenpeace activists chained themselves
to the Mumbai headquarters of Bayer to demonstrate against the crop
trials. The activists spent 11 hours in chains, only releasing themselves
after arranging a meeting with truth-resistant Bayer management
wonks and an assurance that their questions would be answered.
This is Bayers third climbdown over GM crops in a year. In
March they announced it would not be commercialising GM maize in
the UK because its future was economically non-viable.
Three months later the company stopped all trials of GM oilseed
rape in Australia, effectively ending any chance of the crops
Bayers withdrawal from GM research is part of a global trend
of companies deciding that GM food wasnt such a good idea
after all. Everybody hates it and the firms are made to look like
twats when a bunch of hippies halt crop trials, and force them to
admit that the science is bollocks. Earlier this year, Monsanto
abandoned GM wheat research and trials of GM oilseed rape in Australia.
* Greenpeace Press Office: 020 7865 8255, Divya Raghunandan
* Greenpeace India: email@example.com
Dow N Out
The people of Bhopal know all about corporations lack of
respect for anything other than the pursuit of profit; in particular
Dow Chemicals who now own the infamous Union Carbide...
The 3rd December will be the 20th anniversary of the disaster at
the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal where four thousand people died
after an explosion and toxic gas leak at the pesticide factory.
Thousands more have been seriously ill or died since then.
Union Carbide was supposed to be responsible for cleaning up the
site, but 20 years on toxic waste is still stored unsafely, poisoning
the nearby towns water supply.
A recent BBC investigation uncovered levels of contamination 500
times higher than World Health Organisation recommended limits.
Local people who have to drink the water every day are exposed to
the chemicals and many suffer from liver and kidney damage.
Union Carbide says that when it handed the site back in 1998 it
found no evidence of groundwater contamination .
Perhaps they just didnt notice the thousands of tons of toxic
waste on the abandoned site, the pools of mercury lying on the ground,
skips full of poisonous material and bags of highly toxic chemical
waste. Rainwater washes these chemicals into puddles and streams
and eventually into the ground water.
The more than 570,000 victims of the disaster have only recently
started to receive compensation. From the 15th November, £188
million is being distributed to victims.
We never want to see another Bhopal, the survivors have
said from the beginning.
The 3rd of December is a Global Day of Action when trade unions,
community organizations and others will hold protests, events and
actions in cities in India, including Bhopal, and around the world.
Visit the campaign website to learn 20 things you can do to help
make Dow face responsibility for Bhopal: www.bhopal.net/gda/todo.htm
You Must Be Choking...
Drinking Coke is like drinking farmers blood in
India - Nandlal Master, of Lok Samiti and the National Alliance
of Peoples Movements
In India a pattern has emerged as a result of Coca-Colas
operations. Communities living around bottling facilities experience
severe water shortages and the little remaining groundwater, along
with the soil, is polluted by Coca-Colas practice of dumping
its wastewater into the nearby fields.
One of the worst examples was the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada,
South India (SchNEWS 360). The plant was
eventually shut down after an epic 600 day protest by more than
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are also angrily denying allegations that
their products manufactured in India contain toxins far above the
permitted levels in the developed world.
Indias Centre for Science and Environment announced research
in August which showed that Pepsis soft drink products had
36 times the level of pesticide residues permitted under EU regulations
and Coca-Colas had 30 times the level. The pesticides residues
can cause cancer and immune system breakdown. The same products
in the US dont have these added extras.
Unsurprisingly, Indian people are getting pissed off with Coca
Cola. And theyre organizing...
Between the 15-24th November theres a 250km march between
two Coke factories, to bring attention to the many problems created
by Coca-Cola in India. The march will end on 24th November with
a rally in Mehdiganj.
The demonstrators want the government to withdraw Coca-Colas
license to operate because of the damage to communities caused by
water shortages and pollution, and the determined Indians have got
the big corporations on the run...
Coca-Cola will pay for its crimes in India and internationally,
said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, a group that
helps coordinate the campaign internationally. We will take
this battle to where it hurts Coca-Cola the most - the US and the
EU, its largest markets. They have also joined forces with
the Colombian trade union, Sinaltrainal, who are fighting Coca-Cola
over its complicity in the murder, torture and intimidation of trade
union organizers in Colombia (SchNEWS 447).
* Amit Srivastava - amit@IndiaResource.org
Crap Arrest of the Week
For painting (bits of) the town red...
School teacher Reta Kaur, 59, is in court on Friday 19th for, writing
The Killing has Started! with red water-soluble paint
on two marble statues outside the USA Consulate in Melbourne, when
the bombing of Iraq started in March last year.
Reta offered to clean the paint off, but the police were having
none of it. She now faces a fine of almost $10,000, despite the
clean-up job requiring only two buckets of water and a rag.
You are going to remember this day for the rest of your
fucking life. Do you understand me, you fucking bastard?-
arresting officer reading Babar Ahmad his rights.
Babar Ahmad is a British citizen from Tooting, South London. In
December 2003 he was arrested by Anti-Terrorist Police who broke
into his house in a pre-dawn raid. He was brutally assaulted in
front of his wife and sustained over 50 injuries to his body, two
of which were life-threatening. During this attack Babar was placed
in the Muslim prayer position and asked, Where is your God
now? After six days of intensive investigation he was released
without charge. Babar then tried to prosecute the police for his
injuries, determined that no-one else should have to go through
what he and his family had gone through. An independent surgeon
conducted a full examination, detailing the 50 injuries, backed
up by photographs and the cops own CCTV footage.There
is clearly unequivocal evidence that he [Babar] was subjected to
a harrowing physical and psychological assault by police officers,
said the surgeons report. He was clearly badly beaten
up although in a reasonably controlled manner...aimed at inflicting
significant soft tissue trauma with pain, but not to cause any life-threatening
injuries. Babar was also able to give the names and numbers
of the officers involved. The Independent Police Complaints Commission
began considering the case, along with the Crown Prosecution Service
(CPS). But Babars stand for justice obviously wound somebody
up, because that was when the real trouble began...
All of a sudden the cops discovered they had enough evidence for
Babar to be re-arrested. On 5th August 2004, he was unceremoniously
nicked outside his workplace, and his sisters and mothers
homes were turned upside down by the boys in blue. Babar is once
again behind bars thanks to an extradition warrant from the US who
allege that he used the Internet to raise funds for terrorist activities.
Claims have also been made that a floppy disc was found in December
2003 with US naval battleship plans. But as Dr Adnan Siddiqui of
the Stop Political Terror Campaign said, Are we to believe
that the police massively cocked up in December and released al-Qaidas
naval operations commander on to the streets of Tooting? Babars
house had already been searched from top to bottom in December.
Samples of his DNA were sent across the world. If there had been
even a shred of suspicion about his activities this surely would
have come to light then. It took 9 months for the UK to create a
story with the USA to silence him once and for all. Its
also claimed that Babar was plotting something against the Empire
State Building. The evidence? Er, a 1970s travel
brochure of the building that his dad had visited in 1973.
In September, the CPS announced, unbelievably, that there was not
enough evidence to take any action against any of the officers
who beat Babar up.
Despite not being formally charged, Babars details were fed
by the cops to the press - ever hungry for a terrorists nailed
story; conveniently just 3 days before a conference was scheduled
to take place highlighting Babars case and the authorities
refusal to do anything about the officers who assaulted him.
Under the Extradition Agreement 2003, all the US needs to get someone
deported there is a statement of accusation, with no need to produce
evidence in court. So although Babar may appear in a British court
to hear the allegations against him, he will not be able to defend
himself and could be sent to the US to face charges. Other European
countries have refused to sign up to this agreement (and US citizens
cant be extradited to the UK under this new Treaty!).
Someone who can lie to the whole nation about Weapons of
Mass Destruction can lie about me.- Belmarsh terrorist
Along with Belmarsh, Woodhill Prison is also holding people under
the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, where for the past
three years, nine foreign nationals who have never been charged,
tried or even questioned have been held.
Join the demonstration on 28th Nov at Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes
* Send letters of support to Babar Ahmad MX5383, HMP Woodhill,
Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, MK4 4DA
SchNEWS in brief
- The US election was free and fair? We dont believe
it! - check out the stories at www.portland.indymedia.org
- According to the Red Cross at least 800 civilians have been
killed during the siege of Fallujah although this figure
is likely to be too low. The situation is grim; if
help does not reach people soon, the Red Cross say the children
who are trapped will most likely die. The US wont
let aid convoys in. www.dahrjamailiraq.com
- Swedish weapon manufacturers Aimpoint had their premises
attacked this week and kids dolls left to remind the staff of
how the red dot sighting technology used by US snipers is causing
terror in Falluja
- Stop the War Profiteers demo in Worthing
this Saturday (20) Meet 2pm in Montague Place, Worthing
- Talks at Brightons Cowley
Club next week. Monday (22) Marhaba European Tour with
a Palestinian refugee from the International Solidarity Movement,
an Israeli rebel, an activist from the new social movements in
Lebanon and a European activist with lots of direct experience
in the Middle East. 6.30 pm
- Thursday (25) Rough Guide to the UK Farming Crisis. Isnt
it globalisation and the corporate takeover of food that are to
blame for the mess? 6pm
- Friday (26) Talk by Café Libertad Cooperative, producers
of Zapatista coffee 6.30pm
- Last Friday there was an action against Nanotechnology Convergence
at the Royal Armouries in Leeds using stinkbombs and propaganda
to get the message across. Nanotechnology is poised to become
the next stage for corporate control of industrial manufacturing,
food, agriculture and health. www.etcgroup.org
- The London Hacklabs Collective are now open for business
every Saturday at the Freedom Press bookshop in Whitechapel www.hacklab.org.uk
- Benefit gig for Dissent this Saturday (20) half
day of electronica at Club 85, Whinbush Rd, Hitchin, Herts.
- Campsfield in Oxford has been holding immigration detainees
for 11 years. Demo next Saturday (27) 12 - 2pm 01865 558145 www.closecampsfield.org.uk
- The two protesters nicked at the Iraq Procurement Conference
in April (SchNEWS 473) have had their
case dropped by the CPS. The two want the case brought back to
court to make the point that the conference was illegal under
international law. Theyre in court on Tues (23); theres
a press conference weds 24th www.indymedia.org
- Thoughts go out to Simon, who had his head & legs stamped
on by the cops who came uninvited to a squat party in Brighton
last week. Any witnesses to this assault or other acts of
brutality by the boys in blue on the night, please contact the
SchNEWS office 01273 685913. Dont let em get away
with it. Together well crack it!!
As SchNEWS celebrated our official 10th anniversary on Wednesday,
weve also got to say happy 10th to Word Power Edinburghs
radical bookshop. Word Power supports trade unions and workers
struggles for fundamental social change our world-wide online
service is an alternative to corporate bookshops that refuse to
allow their workers to join trade unions. Unlike Amazon, recipient
of £1.6 million taxpayers money from the Scottish Executive,
we receive no state funding.
Party next Tuesday (23) 7.30pm, Assembly Rooms, George Street,
Edinburgh £5/3.50 0131 662 9112 www.word-power.co.uk
Bit of Agrexco
Seven people were nicked after blocking the gates to Agrexco ,
Israels national exporter of fruit and vegetables last Thursday
morning, as part of the International week of action against the
Apartheid wall. Agrexco which is based in Hayes, Middlesex was targeted
because it is 50% owned by the Israeli state government, which has
persisted in building the Apartheid Wall on Palestinian land, despite
a ruling by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, that
it was contrary to international law
The company claimed the disruption cost them up to £40,000.
Anarchist Book Fair
Yep, its that time of year again! Stock up on yer bedtime
reads & count the beards. ULU, Malet St, London 10am-7pm. Stalls,
workshops & the world premiere of the SchNEWS at 10 film (1pm)!
SchNEWS in plea
Full of Christmas spirit? Looking for a way to avoid the glassy
eyed crowds wandering the streets, trying to fill the void and their
shopping baskets? Then look no further. SchNEWS is looking for help
in putting together the nations favorite Blair-baiting weekly.
If you can donate some spare time please give the office a ring
or drop us an email at the address at the bottom of the page.
So, you wanna end poverty & suffering, but dont know
where to start? Well, thankfully, those selfless defenders of the
poor - the British Government - have teamed up with the Rough Guide
people to publish a handy book telling you how! Dont worry,
it doesnt need a life-changing shift of perspective either
- as the Rough Guide To A Better World spells it out, you can save
the poor by shopping. And if you find such talk hard to swallow
from the likes of bomb-happy Blair & co, well, theyve
roped in noted political experts Ronan from Boyzone & Fran Healy
from Travis to back them up. So there. Choose a holiday from a responsible
operator, open an ethical bank account, buy fair trade,
all the usual guff. There is so much interest in people wanting
to make a difference and we wanted to set out the easy ways to do
that says Gareth Thomas, the International Development minister.
Odd, but we cant seem to find the chapter pointing the way
to a better world by forcing regime change, flogging weapons systems
to tinpot dictators and shooting unarmed people in mosques. Must
be in there somewhere
SchNEWS warns all plod carrying out cruel social experiments
on party animals - Oi, up yer Khyber Pass... " Honest!
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