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WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! IT'S YER HANGIN TOUGH......SchNEWS
Published by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
12th August 2005, Issue 507
Nuke Kids On The Bloc
"US nuclear strategy is driven by a paranoid fear about the
county's 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 world's 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
Trouble was, 80% of the US population was against getting
In November 1940 the President told his subjects that
none of "America's sons" would fight in a foreign war, "unless
attacked". One year later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and
the US was at war.
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 didn't
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."
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
Throughout 1945 Japanese envoys were making overtures across
Europe: they would surrender if they could keep their Emperor.
July 18th 1945, the Emperor himself wrote a letter to the new
President, Harry Truman, which was, in Truman's words "looking for
But again the White House wasn't 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
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 we'd 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
Some argue that killing 100,000s of Japanese civilians was n
ecessary 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
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
The justification for both countries' nuclear defence
systems was the threat of the Soviet Union - that's gone, so who's
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 (NPT).
The NPT works like this: the bulk of the world's states promise
not to develop nuclear weapons and accept a regime of physical
inspections preventing military use of nuclear materials.
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.
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
conference's 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!)
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.
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
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
As journalist George Monbiot points out "If you have
oil, but aren't 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 won't happen.
If you don't 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
it's exceptional, "It can do no wrong. American nuclear weapons
are good nukes, they will be used to good ends; others' nukes are
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
Vidal's, '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
"When I'd 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 wouldn't 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
Anyway, long story short, I was in breach of bail 'cos
I couldn't leave Scotland as ordered without my car, as all my
keys and my boss's 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 that's OK then - let's get back to the privatised justice
business as usual...
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
High Court judges agreed with Brian's 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, he's exempt! So the law
specifically designed to 'deal' with him does not apply!
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 or
www.parliament-square.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.
2004 Tesco scraped a mere £1.6bn in profits - just £4.4m a day.
One in every eight pounds spent in Britain's 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.
all-consuming out-of-town amoeba has demanded higher and higher
work rates from staff, and especially casuals, in exchange for the
And they can do that, they think, because "they're 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.
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
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.
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:
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 in solitary).
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...Nice.
Hassan has previously had to go on hunger strike to fight for some
of these things - which the courts agreed to once he'd 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
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 Canada's 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
* 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 you'd 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-op's Late Shop wearing nothing more than
rucksacks, socks and hiking boots and left with crisps, drinks and
Outside, police were waiting to arrest them and take
them to Skipton nick, where last night they were still in
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 you'd like to join the nudists' fun see www.nakedwalk.org
SchNEWS warns all readers... to nuke on wood, and don't let
mushrooms cloud your judgement Honest!
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