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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Newsletter

May 2003


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Peoples of Egypt, you will be told I have come to destroy your religion. Do not believe it. Reply that I have come to restore your rights. -- Napoleon Bonaparte, 1978

Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators. Your wealth has been stripped of you by unjust men ... The people of Baghdad shall flourish under institutions that are in consonance with their scared laws. ... The Arab race may rise once again to greatness. -- General FS Maude, British commander in Iraq, 1917

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast. And I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror. And we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. -- George W Bush, 17 March 2003


BVEJ

You may be reading this newsletter for the first time as a result of the BVEJ Experiment. To ensure you receive future copies please subscribe.

To participate in the BVEJ Experiment please visit the BVEJ home page and forward a copy of the BVEJ newsletter to everyone you know, ask the recipients to do the same. [BVEJ newsletter #0031 December 2002]

Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice was formed nearly three years ago as a response to the lack of any effective environmental group in the locality, sadly a situation as true today as it was then. Since then the personnel has changed, but we remain true to our founding principles (see links from home page), the only difference is we have gone international, but our roots remain in the Blackwater Valley.

The lack of any effective local environmental groups was not the only formative factor, the lack of any quality local press, we report what you don't read elsewhere. Our other guiding principle was the dismay at the failure of all existing groups to see the wider picture and the need to cooperate.

Locally we focus on Farnborough Airport, Farnborough town centre and exposing corruption in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Recently we have taken a closer look at what is happening in Aldershot.

Internationally we are part of the anti-globalisation movement. We highlight the ills of Big Business, as of late Iraq has been the focus of our attention.

Unlike traditional groups, we link together issues, we recognise social, human rights and other issues and link them together. A group fighting rainforest destruction may need our help because it is a British transnational that is carrying out the destruction.

Almost all our back issues are available on our web site, we are slowly slowly, adding more. We used to produce briefings and urgent actions, resources permitting, we may again in the future. We have finally got around to updating our on-line diary (the newsletter contains an edited version).

At the moment newsletter production is our main activity. Our editorial team put together easily digestible articles, often with links and references for more in-depth information.

Latest version of the newsletter usually appears on-line a few days after we have e-mailed out the the newsletter. We will post a notice on Indymedia UK when available.

We would like to be able to put out a hard copy of our newsletter but lack the resources.

We have recently added ourselves to the Yahoo list server. If you are getting multiple copies it is because you are on both the listserver and the manual list. Tell us and we will remove you from the manual list. The two will be for a time run in parallel, but we will eventually use the automated system only. Please ensure therefore you subscribe.

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Our material may be freely used and quoted provided it is not used out of context and full credit is given to BVEJ. Our material may not be used without our written consent by for-profit organisations.

Readers are welcome, indeed encouraged, to run off copies and pass around to their friends.

With war with Iraq looming ever closer, Farnborough Airport reaching a climax, it is important this newsletter reaches as wide an audience as possible. Please forward to everyone you know and encourage them do the same. To ensure you get future copies please subscribe.


Ooops

We must have been asleep when last month's newsletter was e-mailed out. The diary section was missing, but we did include it on the web page. And you can always check out our on-line diary (which lists more events than the newsletter).

We are also not sure if our Yahoo group mail server is working.


Local elections

Are the LibDems really pale blue Tories as they seem keen to see the Tories re-elected? Since last year, the LibDems could have made the Tories unelectable, instead they have done nothing. LibDems have never stood a chance in Knellwood. Last year they leafleted the ward, as result two Independents failed to get elected and two Tories got in. Have they learnt their lesson? It would appear not. They are once again leafleting Knellwood, and their candidate is going around canvassing, even though they have no chance of winning the seat, once again they seem determined to let in a Tory. They have suddenly taken an interest in the airport, their candidate appears to be calling for an independent safety study. Where was this call when the airfield was being pushed through by the Tories with LibDem backing? The LibDem candidate appears to be having difficulty understanding the various airfield issues. Maybe he should read what Keith Parkins has written and put on the net, as not only does he understand the various issues, he has made his analysis available to everyone else. Has the LibDem candidate ever bothered to attend the numerous council meetings dealing with the airport, or worked on behalf of the local community to oppose? As far as we know the answer is no.

The LibDem candidate in Knellwood is a typical LibDem party apparatchik, does nothing throughout the year, then expects to get elected clinging to the party coat-tails. He can find time to attend party committee meetings, but no time to help the community. He claims to want an 'independent' safety study for Farnborough Airport. Where was he or his party when the Tories were ramming through the airport with LibDem support? He did not attend any of the meetings dealing with the airport. Nor has he lifted a finger to stop any of the unwanted development in Knellwood or spoken out against the destruction of Farnborough town centre. No wonder the electorate don't vote, they are sick of me too carpet-baggers.

LibDem councillor John Starling who has been out leafleting in Knellwood to ensure a Tory win is little better. Retailers sought his help to stop the town centre destruction, they never heard from him again and he voted with the rest of the sheep for KPI-driven town centre redevelopment. Campaigners against the airfield found the same, he did nothing to help, even worse, he left the room whenever the airfield was discussed. Gutless Starling daren't say boo to the officials, but manages to baa with the rest of the sheep as the officials command. The height of Starling's achievements, according to a LibDem election leaflet, is that he managed to get a lady in North Camp a smaller wheelie-bin!

It's all so pathetic we don't know whether to laugh or cry. The sad thing is it is the community that suffers from this fourth rate representation.

Thank God a few campaigners, with proven track records of working with the community, are standing for election in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

We are a pleased to learn a couple of local campaigners are standing for election, Peter Sandy in Aldershot and Keith Parkins in Farnborough. Both have worked tirelessly for the community over the last few years. Another candidate who has been working in the background on several issues, including Manor Park and helping out Pavilion tenants, is Philip Thompson. If they get elected we will have at least three decent councillors in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. An added bonus is that Keith Parkins would kick out the odious Dibbs and Philip the equally odious Choudhary. At every opportunity Dibbs has backed TAG on Farnborough Airport and KPI in the destruction of Farnborough town centre.

Last year Keith Parkins almost got in in Knellwood. A vote for LibDems or Labour is a wasted vote and simply splits the vote and lets the Tories in.

Philip Thompson is standing in Aldershot. If he is elected we will be rid of Charles Choudhary, which has to be good news. King Arthur, aka Arthur Pendragon, is standing in Farnborough. We wish him luck, as he would bring much needed change to the council.

We'd like to be able to recommend the Green Party, but we can't. There have been plenty of environmental issues in the borough. Where have been the Greens? We only wish we knew. The Greens seem to have one able person, Caroline Lucas MEP, and no one else.

Retailers in North Camp don't see any party apparatchiks from one election to the next, then come election time they are infesting the streets like a plague of rats. Gerald Howarth MP even appears to make his token annual purchase.

Yes

No

LibDems are about as competent at running a successful campaign as a piss-up in a brewery. In Empress, John Wall (Tory) has fouled his nest by claiming credit for the town centre disaster. LibDems probably could not take this seat, but they could give the Tories a fright, by running on this one issue. In Knellwood, a pathetic minority seem determined to ensure Keith Parkins does not get elected. They'd rather see a Tory get in than a candidate who will show them all up as bloody useless. In Aldershot, Peter Sandy is battling away on his own. Where are his support workers? If he wins it will be despite the LibDems not because of.

LibDems don't even seem to know which election they are fighting. They have put out leaflets highlighting transport, education, health service, out on the streets in Farnborough they are highlighting the bus lane on the main Farnborough Road. None of which comes under Rushmoor!

The worst leaflet we have so far seen is what the Greens have put out in Guildford. It is not even an election leaflet, it's flyer for the Green Party, and pretty bad at that.

Elections on 1 May 2003.


May Day

The tradition of Mayday has always been about the celebration of life, a way of people uniting all over the world to celebrate their power and to reclaim public spaces. A day of defiance against authority. This year's action will see a pre-emptive strike against the real weapons of mass destruction: oil companies, the arms manufacturers, multinationals and banks.

In London on May 1st there will be a number of autonomous actions with the main meet ups at 2pm at LockHeed Martin - the biggest arms company in the world - Berkshire House, corner of High Holborn & Endell St, and 4pm at the headquarters of oil company Shell UK, The Strand.


War with Iraq

A British colonel laments to his "embedded" flock that "it is difficult to deliver aid in an area that is still an active battle zone". The logic of his own words mocks him. If Iraq was not a battle zone, if the British and the Americans were not defying international law, there would be no difficulty in delivering aid. -- John Pilger

All across Baghdad you hear the same thing, from Shia Muslim clerics to Sunni businessmen, that the Americans have come only for oil, and that soon - very soon - a guerrilla resistance must start. No doubt the Americans will claim that these attacks are 'remnants' of Saddam's regime or 'criminal elements'. But that will not be the case. -- Robert Fisk

What we're faced with today is not a choice between secularism and religion. We're facing an invasion and foreign rule. We have to work together to end it. -- Dr Wamid Omar Nadmi, political scientist, Baghdad University

Why did we invade Iraq? Was it links with terrorism, regime change, weapons of mass destruction or just to bleed the country dry?

Officially it was weapons of mass destruction, not only did Saddam possess these weapons but there was an imminent threat to surrounding countries, so we had to go in, we could not wait.

The UN weapons inspectors had asked for a few more weeks, but it was far too dangerous to delay.

Where are these weapons? US/UK were adamant he had them, they were certain of their location, but could not of course trust the UN with such sensitive information. So where are they?

The 'official' explanation is that Saddam was so devious that he spirited them away. Quite what he was saving them for has not been explained.

So desperate has the US become, that the Pentagon has dispatched an entire brigade - 3,000 troops - to the search and offered $200,000 bounties for any WMD uncovered. Local officers are authorised to make payments of $2,500 on the spot.

US intelligence is now leaking that it will take at least a year and need hundreds of inspectors, to uncover, not that Saddam had weapons, but the paperwork which will 'prove' that he intended to develop such weapons.

Iraq was a threat to the region, a threat to our friends and allies, even a threat to US/UK, or so we were told. The same regime that collapsed within three weeks of the start of the war. The only country in the region that has threatened its neighbours has been Turkey, which threatened to attack northern Iraq if Kurds tried to take what was rightfully theirs.

Like Afghanistan, Iraq is now descending into chaos. Having taught the world a lesson by bombing the shit out of Iraq, and seized its oil fields, US/UK are already withdrawing their forces.

Towns and cities are without clean water or power. Hospitals are performing amputations with anaesthetics or pain killers.

US/UK secured the oil fields, but not the towns and cities where looting has been taking place. One of the few buildings not to be looted was the Oil Ministry. Contracts to rebuild Iraq are being handed out to companies who are good friends of the Bush inner circle and the Republican Party.

Amnesty International has accused US-led forces of better 'preparation to protect the oil wells than to protect hospitals, water systems or civilians.' Ever since US forces rolled into central Baghdad, one of the sole public buildings untouched by looters has been the massive oil ministry, which is under round-the-clock surveillance and guarded by 50 US tanks, with sharpshooters positioned on the roof and in the windows. 'They came from the other side of the world. Do you believe they're going to do much for me? They've just come for the oil', said Salam Mohammad Hassan, a doctor who lives near the ministry. Just next-door, the Irrigation Ministry has been torched, with US soldiers apparently unable to do anything to help.

Out of the chaos are emerging the Islamists, poised to seize power.

A convicted criminal, who left Iraq in the 1950s when he was only 13, is being foisted onto the Iraqis as their new US puppet master. Iraqis don't even know who he is, cannot understand his Arabic accent.

US is planning to build four massive military bases in Iraq, one of which will be at Saddam International Airport, in order to control the Middle East.


Anti-war actions

As last month, too many anti-war actions taking place for us to list them all, so a few interesting highlights.

We are feeling lazy, so check out Indymedia for yourselves.


Richard Perle -- update

The resignation of Prince of Darkness Richard Perle as the chairman of the Defence Policy Board, curiously he did not resign from the board, has had widespread ramifications.

Removing Perle from a position of influence has encouraged critics to question the philosophy of the crypto-fascist Washington think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) which is driving US foreign and defence policy.

It was Perle who said it would be walkover in Iraq, the Americans welcomed as liberators. Experienced generals in the Pentagon were overruled by fellow crypto-fascist Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld.

Perle is not the only board member to have a finger in too many pies.

Board member and former CIA chief James Woolsey, is a senior executive at consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., which received $688 million in Pentagon contracts in 2002. He is also one of three principals in a venture-capital firm that has been soliciting investment in homeland security related firms. Woolsey has been earmarked as Information Minister in the new US/Iraq administration.

Another board member, retired Adm. David Jeremiah, sits on boards of five corporations that received more than $10 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2002. Retired Air Force Gen. Ronald Fogleman sits on the boards of five defence firms that received more than a billion dollars of defence contracts in 2002.

Perle's problems are by no means over. A leading Democrat has requested the Defense Department's Inspector General to investigate Perle's business dealings, called his resignation as Chairman, 'a small step in the right direction'. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote Rumsfeld that Perle's business dealings create 'the appearance that he is using public office for private gain, and [undermine] public confidence that important decisions of the department will be made on the merits.' Levin has called on Perle to resign from the board 'or make a commitment not to have any formal contact with [defense] officials on behalf of a client.'

Perle's efforts to get $100 million from Saudi princes for his company Trireme were described by one Saudi prince as attempted blackmail, to neutralize the US government attacks on Saudi Arabia as a supporter of terrorism.

Strange, there was little of Perle's recent escapades in the new, revamped, out-of-focus Daily Telegraph. Could that be because apart from being a close buddy of Telegraph proprietor Conrad Black, Perle also sits on the board of Hollinger International, which just happens to own the Telegraph?

The decision of Perle to sue Seymour Hersh in London for an article in the New Yorker exposing the various activities of Perle has been widely ridiculed, even by the servile US press. The one exception has been the New York Sun, which could not sing loudly enough the praises of Perle. The Sun, is owned, yes you've guessed it, by Conrad Black's media group, Hollinger International.

[BVEJ newsletter #0035 April 2003]


Media bias

I am still in shock and awe at being fired. There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming out from Baghdad. They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems ... overnight my successful NBC reporting career was turned to ashes. And why? Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television: that the US war timetable has fallen by the wayside. -- Peter Arnett

If the 'dirty digger' is the chief pimp, what words can be found to describe those hirelings who write for them? The Sun lives in the sewers and sometimes ascends to the gutter. All right-thinking people should eschew it and its cancerous racist pornographic propaganda. -- George Galloway MP

Seize the Day were clear winners of the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, until that is the BBC rigged the awards, they didn't like their anti-war message. Attending the awards ceremony, Theo Simon, lead singer, was stopped at the door and ordered to remove his Not in My Name, anti-war badge. George Michael during an appearance on BBC Top of the Pops, was ordered to remove an anti-war t-shirt. [BVEJ newsletter #0035 April 2003]

None of this should come as a surprise. Last autumn BBC journalists were told to play down the anti-war message. This February, BBC's director of News, Richard Sambrook, in an internal memo, told journalists to play down any anti-war message:

There is no question there is a majority public view which is against unilateral US action...[I]t is of course important that we have someone to articulate the Bush/Blair line - sometimes making us appear to be siding with govt. Not true in all cases... We may sometimes unwittingly be nobbled by anti war campaigners ... [this is] a growing concern ... we will pay a high price for getting this wrong.

To quote John Pilger:

That he regards principled objection to the killing of innocent people as 'extreme' while saying nothing about the murderous willingness of Blair and his apologists reflects the distortion of intellect and morality that pervades so much of BBC current affairs.

Peter Arnett is a highly respected Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, veteran of Vietnam and Afghanistan, but he committed a crime, a crime so terrible that NBC dismissed him on the spot, he told the truth about the war on Iraq. Peter Arnett came under enormous political pressure to toe the Bush/Blair neo-fascist line, he refused. For that refusal he was fired.

When NBC decided to fire Peter Arnett for the thought crime of plain speaking, it was undoubtedly responding both to pressure from the White House (which accused Arnett of 'pandering' to the Iraqis) and to the imperatives of its MSNBC ratings chase against the gung-ho, pro-war frothers of Fox News.

Peter Arnett now writes for the Daily Mirror. NBC is owned by General Electric, a prime military-industrial complex contractor.

Journalists of integrity, people like John Pilger and Robert Fisk, are so rare these days one can count them on one hand.

Only two UK papers are now worth reading for their coverage of the war: the Daily Mirror and the Independent.

Outside of these two UK sources one has to go to Indymedia, Common Dreams or Middle East sources.

Protesters have targeted the Murdoch press and the BBC, offices of both have been occupied.

Outside the offices of The Sun, protesters staged a bloodbath/die-in laying down amidst blood-soaked copies of the gutter paper. The action was to expose the Sun's attempts to cover up the bloodbath that has already occurred involving hundreds of innocent dead civilians as well as soldiers from both sides. Instead of reporting the cruelty of war, the Sun is selling the war as a patriot action entertainment story with personal attacks on well recognized anti-war activists like George Galloway MP.


More media bias

In a brave move, which could easily be seen by some as censoring the news, Sir Ray ordered that once war in Iraq was declared his newspapers would not carry any more anti-war stories...As editorial manager of eight of Sir Ray's titles, I am proud to say I totally agree with his decision. -- Gina Coles, editorial manager, South Hams Newspapers

So much for the right to know, free speech and all those other rights which our forefathers fought to establish and which Sir Ray Tindle seeks to demolish at the stroke of a pen. What makes his censorship better than the censorship of those he would seek to condemn? He merely confirms that freedom of the press really only belongs to those who own the press - the rest of us will be allowed to know only what they deem is suitable. Next stop tyranny? -- Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary

We will be on the look out for other companies issuing similar diktats and we will be urging our members to ignore them. -- Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Sir Ray Tindle (owner of over 100 local newspapers) ordered the editors of his papers to censor any dissenting views about the invasion of Iraq.

In Totnes, Devon, the Editor of the Totnes Times, Gina Coles, wrote a front page article (20 March 2003) in which she refered to Tindles demands as a 'brave move' and said she was proud to back him. Other titles in the South Hams group also carried the editorial.

Residents of Totnes were not amused and as well as boycotting the censored papers, they produced a one-off spoof copy of the Totnes Times, The Troubled Times, to provide a forum to highlight the issues being censored by the editors of newspapers owned by Tindle. Five thousand copies of the Troubled Times were printed and distributed in Totnes and other areas effected by the censorship of Tindle Newspapers.

On 23 April, a group visited the offices of the Totnes Times and delivered boycott statements signed by over 600 local people, saying that they will boycott the Totnes Times until censorship is stopped.

Tindle's move to silence peace protestors was roundly condemned by the National Union of Journalists, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, and many writers and journalists.

Surrey-based Tindle Newspapers is the 14th largest regional newspaper group in Britain with a strong presence in Wales and the West Country. Titles in the Tindle empire include: Monmouthsire Beacon, Cornish Times; Totnes Times; Ivybridge, South Brent & South Hams Gazette; Kingsbridge, Salcombe & South Hams Gazette; Mid Cornwall Advertiser; Mid Devon Advertiser; North Cornwall Advertiser; County Echo; Dartmouth Chronicle; Alton Herald; Biggin Hill News; Bordon Herald; Cambrian News; Farnham Herald; Haslemere Herald; Petersfield Herald; Pulman's Weekly News; Tavistock Times; Tenby Observer; The Exmoor Visitor; The Devon Heartland Visitor; The North Devon Visitor ...

Devon activists print own non-censored paper, UK Indymedia, 21 April 2003


Non-embedded journalists

Many journalists have come under fire, others have been detained and questioned for several hours, and some have been mistreated, beaten and humiliated by coalition forces. Furthermore, the information ministry in Baghdad has been bombed twice although, as everyone knows, it houses the offices of the international news media. -- Robert Ménard, secretary-general, Reporters Without Borders

Before the war with Iraq started, veteran BBC news reporter Kate Aidie, talking to Irish media, warned that the Pentagon would target any independent journalist working outside their control.

Every broadcast by the BBC of journalists outside the military carries a warning this is controlled and monitored by Iraq.

Independent journalist contemptuously call their embedded colleagues in-bed with the military.

Veteran ITN journalist was killed by British forces, even though their vehicle was clearly marked TV. One of the survivors was quite adamant that it was the British who fired the shots.

US/UK are using precision guided weapons, precise targeting, or so we are told. Twice they have targeted the Iraqi Information Ministry used by independent journalists. Journalists had left the building less than an hour before these strikes, which could have caused many casualties among the foreign journalists in Baghdad.

Reporters Without Borders have accused the US-British coalition forces of displaying 'proven contempt' for the work of the journalists trying to cover the war in Iraq and called on the coalition authorities to carry out an internal investigation into the treatment of the press and to publish the results.

A group of four non-embedded journalists - two Israelis (Dan Scemama and Boaz Bismuth) and two Portuguese (Luis Castro and Victor Silva) - accused the US military police of giving them 'the worst 48 hours in our lives' after arresting them on the night of 25 March while they were sleeping near a US unit between the towns of Karbala and Najaf. Although carrying press cards, they were threatened, mistreated and held in a jeep for 36 hours without being able to communicate with their news organisations or their families, who were consequently very worried.

'The US soldiers said we were terrorists and spies and treated us as such,' said Scemama, who works for the TV station Israel Channel One. They want all the journalists in Iraq to have one of their liaison officers with them to supervise the footage they are broadcasting. There is no doubt that this is why they treated us so cruelly,' he said. They claimed that the Americans were doing their utmost to ensure that no journalists were able to move about independently inside Iraq. Many journalists in Kuwait have also reported cases of non-embedded colleagues being questioned for several hours, threatened and sent back by the British or US military when they tried to cross the border into Iraq.

Al Jazeera cameraman Akil Abdel Reda, who was reported missing in the southern city of Basra, was questioned and detained for more than 12 hours by US forces. A spokesperson for Al Jazeera, an Arabic-language satellite news station based in Qatar, said he had been 'relatively well treated'. The spokesperson also said the station had notified the Pentagon before the start of the war about its team's presence in Baghdad. The cameraman and his crew had previously come under fire from British tanks on 28 March as they were filming food distribution by the Iraqi authorities in Basra.

US freelance journalist Phil Smucker, who works for the Christian Science Monitor of Boston and the Daily Telegraph of London, was forcibly returned from Iraq to Kuwait on 27 March by the US military, after having accused him of jeopardising the safety of a unit by being too specific in the information he gave in an interview for CNN on 26 March.

In the final push for Baghdad, the Al Jazeera office was hit by a US missile, killing a cameraman, the hotel used by journalists was fired upon by a US tank, killing a press photographer and injuring several others. Commenting on this action, a US military spokesman said the journalists should not be there.

In the north, a day before the push for Baghdad, a column of Kurds and US special forces was attacked by a US plane, several killed including the BBC interpreter, BBC journalist John Simpson was injured by flying shrapnel.

It is not all entirely one way. Arab TV station Al Jazeera was expelled from Baghdad (to be allowed back a few days later. Peace campaigner Jo Wilding who was filing her Iraq Diary on the net, was also expelled from Baghdad.


Cluster bombs

Cluster bombs are a terror weapon used for area denial.

Cluster bombs are not precisely targeted, they seed a wide area.

Cluster bombs do not all explode on impact, in excess of 10% lie dormant, waiting for a child to disturb them, then they explode.

Cluster bombs are being used by US/UK in Iraq in their humanitarian war of liberation.

[BVEJ newsletter #0019 December 2001


Post-war Iraq

Despite whimperings from Prime Sinister Blair, US corporations look set to single-handedly rebuild the health, education, transport and political systems of Iraq - with the UN and international aid agencies not getting a sniff of the £60 billion worth of contracts being dished out by the US government. As fat corporate cats lick their lips at the money to be made from building airports and modernising Iraqi telecommunications and oil wells, SchNEWS can reveal that this is indeed a war of liberation - liberating Iraq's resources from Iraqis and handing them over to caring US companies. -- SchNEWS

People will believe the US is there to loot the wealth of the Iraqi people and draw money from Iraq back to the US, benefiting US corporations. -- Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain

Post-war Iraq should be a UN protectorate, until such time as properly constituted elections can put Iraqis in charge. Not US placed Iraqi puppets, generals and business people who will loot the country on behalf of US corporations.

What right has the US to hand out contracts on behalf of Iraq to US corporations? Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, TRNC, is not recognised, apart from terror-state Turkey, as a legitimate regime. Contracts are not recognised. One reason why there has been zero investment in TRNC. The same should apply to post-war, illegally occupied Iraq.

If the US/UK have achieved one thing it is to re-ignite pan-Arab pride and nationalism as no other since Nasser has done. Saddam Hussein will go down in Arab history, not as brutal tyrant, but as a great Arab leader who stood up for Arab values against the evil West. Anti-US/UK hatred will have been stirred up to levels Osama bin Laden could only dream of achieving.


BP AGM

The BP AGM was targeted by Burning Planet and Rising Tide.

Around 200 campaigners held a noisy colourful and creative carnival outside British Petroleum's (BP) Annual General Meeting on at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Arriving shareholders were given hundreds of spoof annual reports highlighting BP's contribution to climate change catastrophes and exploitation of the land and indigenous communities.

The event was also crucial in revealing the complicity of oil companies in the attack on Iraq and other oil wars as they strive to fund, open and control new foreign oil markets.

Inside several protestors shouted objections and let off stink bombs before being ejected. Outside while police protected the entrances, banners adorned many walls and an alternative, humorous but serious, alternative AGM was held with music and poetry. The event was webstreamed live by Piratetv.net.

Report from BP Carnival Against Oil Wars and Climate Chaos, UK Indymedia, 25 April 2003


Xenotransplantation

After a 30 month battle, the animal rights group Uncaged have overturned a court order and won the right to publish over 1000 leaked pages of details on animal experiments.

The leaked documents relate to xenotransplantation, the use of animal organ transplants in humans. The company involved, Imutran, now part of Novartis, had claimed back in 1995 that it was on the verge of successful xenotransplants. But the documents, detailing work done at Huntingdon Death Sciences, reveal a different picture - pig hearts were transplanted into baboons, who all showed signs of organ rejection. The baboons then suffered spasms, vomiting, diarrhoea, grinding teeth and uncontrollable eye movements.

The research was sloppy, fraudulent and cruel - all with the backing of the Home Office inspectors whose job it was to regulate the experiments. At least 520 errors and omissions occurred in the research and Imutran made lots of false claims - so that they would be granted more licences by the Home Office. The Home Office then failed to prosecute for breaches in the law, instead sending letters of 'admonishment' and working with Imutran to underestimate the degree of suffering caused.


SARS

The government's slow reaction to SARS is worrying. Have no lessons been learnt from the foot and mouth epidemic?

Certain countries we are advised not to travel to. Travellers can come to the UK from those countries.

There are no thermal imaging devices at airports and other ports of entry. Even Toronto has nothing more significant than advisory leaflets.


Corrupted CDs

What has been the reaction of greedy global record companies to the pressure we are putting on retailers to remove corrupt CDs from their shelves. To say fair cop guys, we will only supply genuine CDs not the shit we have been recently dumping on you. Er no, not quite.

This is the response from EMI:

Note: For copyright protection this CD incorporates copy control technology. [...] Neither the CD manufacturer nor the CD distributor however makes any representation or warranty with respect to the nature and compatibility of such copy control technology with any audio-visual devices or equipment and shall not be held liable for any loss or damage arising from the use thereof with such devices or equipment. Except for defective product resulting from the manufacturing process and not otherwise disclaimed by this notice, no exchange, return or refund is permitted.

This seems to be a clear admission from EMI that their fake CDs are not up to the job, but any consequential damage caused or the failure to play, is your problems not theirs.

The retailers are caught in the middle, as the following from on-line retailer CD-WOW shows:

The copy control technology would indeed seem to be something that Record Companies (and EMI) in particular, plan to use more in the future.
Even though they have now conceded to label their discs accordingly, they are not eager for us to advertise such a thing on our site. We have been consulting them over this again more recently however, and we are hopeful that we will be able to make this clear to customers in the future.
We appreciate that it will damage customer confidence if they are not sure about the compatibility of the item they are buying, and hope we can guard against this.

This is not acceptable, as UKCDR say: 'This pressure is highly anti-competitive because copy-controlled CDs, with all their problems, are clearly of less value to consumers.'

When you buy what you think is a CD ask if it is a CD. If it fails to conform to the Philips CD standard, it is not a CD and cannot legally be sold as a CD. If the retailer tries to sell it to you as a CD the retailer is committing a criminal offence.

In what can only be seen as poetic justice, radio stations are not playing corrupted CDs, not so much out of choice, but because the copy protection won't let them play them. At one radio station, an entire batch of EMI CDs would not play. A case of can't play, won't play.

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


Recycling

As Keith Parkins (Knellwood, Independent) has highlighted in his election leaflet, our recycling efforts in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor are abysmal, and the only reason we reach the levels we do is because of targets imposed by central government (not that we are anywhere near meeting them).

A year ago Tory cabinet member for the environment Roland Dibbs was bemoaning the fact we were obliged to take on extra wheelie bins for recycling and the cost to the local taxpayer. A year later he was claiming the credit for having improved the Borough's abysmal recycling efforts!

Only half the Borough has a second blue wheelie bin for recycling, for the other half of the Borough, delivery of a second wheelie bin appears to have been postponed indefinitely.

For the record our recycling effort are around 13-14%, marginally better than the UK average of 12%. The target set by central government is 22% by 2004, and 33% by 2006.

We only have to look to Europe to see just how bad we are at recycling.

        England         12%
        Spain           27%
        Finland         33%
        Denmark         39%
        Holland         47%
        Germany         48%
        Belgium         52%
        Austria         64%

What you can do apart from kicking out Dibbs and ensuring that environmental campaigner Keith Parkins is elected and minimising your waste (waste is growing in the UK at 3% per annum, faster than GDP), is to support the Municipal Recycling Bill 2003 (more info from Camilla Freeman at FoE, camillaf@foe.co.uk).

Paul Hawken, Amory B Lovins & L Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism, Earthscan, 1999

Ernst von Wiezsacker, Amory B Lovins & L Hunter Lovins, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use, Earthscan, 1997


Public open space

The quality of our public and semi-public open space determines the health of the local community.

The Victorians had many faults, the near-slave factory conditions, cramped back-to-back houses, but they did also have vision. They built our railways, some of our finest bridges, grandiose railway stations, but above all they bequeathed to us a legacy of public parks.

Today there are few towns that seem to care about our public open space. There are exceptions. In Bristol a square has been built on top of a car park.

We have to go abroad to see civic pride in public space. In Stockholm, for example, or many of the Swedish and Scandinavian towns and cities. Or travel to Puerto de la Cruz, an old colonial town and popular holiday resort on the north coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Here there are a large number of very attractive tree-shaded squares. Even if we go to the bus station, public space, albeit rather stark, has been built on top of the bus station (estacion de guagua).

Return now to the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. What was already a pretty unappealing town centre is seeing its public space steadily eroded. The two monstrosities being erected have stolen public space, taken what little greenery there was in the town, and lost daylight which lightened up a depressing town centre. The little park next to the town centre, the only green area in the town centre and a favourite lunchtime spot for office workers has lost a chunk of its green space to an unwanted skate board park. Knellwood House has lost an important urban woodland to a greedy developer, even Canterbury Road has lost some of its attractive grass verge to feed this grotty development. The adjacent King George V Park is under threat that some of the land will be sold off. Over in Aldershot, Manor Park has been lost to development. Aldershot was already down on its entitlement to urban green space.


Farnborough town centre

What did KPI mouthpiece Simon Rutter measure the monstrosity being erected on the old Post Office site with, his dick?

The dangerous tower crane that is on the old Post Office site is having to be dismantled and rebuilt. The reason why is that KPI are incapable of measuring the height of their own buildings. The tower crane is not high enough for the roof. It is having to be dismantled to enable it to be re-erected to a greater height.

Rebecca Chard must be the most gullible hack on the Farnborough News. KPI feed her crap and she spreads it across the front page of the News. According to the gullible Chard, KPI are proving to be a success in the town centre. Dream on sweetheart, in Rutter's wet dreams maybe.

This is like George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. Do they think we are not capable of observing what goes on in our own town centre. Many things have been said about Rutter and KPI, but 'success' is not a word that crosses our mind, unless we are talking about successful destruction of a once thriving town centre.

KPI's 'success' is to force retailers out of town and out of business, to make misery the lives of people who live in the town centre, to threaten the residents of Firgrove Court with eviction and destruction of their homes.

The two monstrosities slowly taking shape may get filled, but only because KPI are playing musical chairs with other peoples' businesses and forcing retailers to relocate.

Rebecca Chard, Shops work on schedule, Farnborough News, 18 April 2003


Farnborough Airfield Consultation Committee

Blatantly lying to the inaugural meeting of the iligit Rushmoor airfield consultation committee, John 'the binman' Edwards, claimed the iligit committee was compliant with government guidelines.

Er, not quite. Here's what the guidelines have to say

The Purpose of Consultation: ...The aim should be to provide an effective forum for the discussion of all matters concerning the development or operation of the aerodrome, which have an impact on people living and working in the surrounding area. Consultation should be seen as a positive and interactive process through which the concerns of interested parties can be taken into account .... It should be seen as a means of keeping all interested parties adequately informed of matters affecting them ....
Representation: Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act specifies the categories or organisations which should be consulted ... An appropriately representative committee is therefore likely to include members from all these groups in balanced proportions ... Committee should seek to achieve a comprehensive input to their deliberations by ensuring fair representation of the full range of local interests and by seeing that members are given an equal opportunity to express their views ...
Officers: To maintain the confidence of the general public in the independence of the committee, it is highly desirable to appoint a chairman and secretary who are not closely linked with any sectional interest. Where this proves to be impossible, rotation of these offices between the main interests represented should be considered.

Compare the guidelines with the iligit committee, that all but excludes the local community, that Rushmoor, in collusion with TAG, have foisted on the local community. [BVEJ newsletters passim]

The purpose of section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act is consultation (under which a committee should be established by TAG, as airport operator), but what we have here is not consultation, as those who need to be consulted are being deliberate excluded, as they have been throughout the entire planning process.

A useful comparison is between the iligit Rushmoor committee and the committee which has been established for the London City Airport.

The next meeting of the iligit Rushmoor committee, is at 2pm 17 July 2003, at the BAE Systems site. It is important we pack this meeting to show our disapproval and to call for TAG to set up a legitimate committee with proper community representation.

In the interim we have to keep pushing for the iligit Rushmoor committee to be wound up, and TAG forced to establish a legitimate committee fully compliant with section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act.

Conatact

        Andrew Lloyd (Rushmoor)         alloyd@rushmoor.gov.uk
        Graham Wood (TAG)               grahamw@tagfarnborough.com
        Victoria Noakes (DfT)           Victoria.Noakes@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Hospice sponsored by merchants of death

In what has to be seen as an act of crass insensitivity and hypocrisy, Farnham-based Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice has obtained sponsorship from Merchants of Death, BAE Systems.

Two years ago, Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice held a fund-raising concert in Farnborough in King George V Park, local residents were denied the use of their park for the day by heavy-handed private security guards. The main sponsors for the concert were TAG Aviation, and their logo was prominently displayed either side of the stage.

Hidden behind offshore bank accounts, TAG have their roots in Saudi arms-dealing of the 1980s. Early this year they obtained planning consent for a business airport at Farnborough. The airport, a key component of globalisation, was officially opened five days before planning consent was granted. Local people pay the price - noise, pollution, and especially the risk of a crash. Residential Farnborough lies immediately at the end of the runway. Planning consent was rammed through against strong local opposition. Planning consent was pushed through without an independent safety study.

Sponsorship of the concert by TAG heavily backfired as local residents leafleted the concert with 'who the sponsors are' leaflets. Concert-goers were appalled to learn who the sponsors were.

Lessons have not been learnt. This year the main sponsors TAG have been joined by merchants of death BAE Systems. It is difficult to comprehend that a hospice at any time, let alone in the aftermath of war with Iraq, could display such crass insensitivity and hypocrisy in their choice of sponsors. We can only hope they show better sensitivity towards their patients.

Merchants of Death, BAE Systems, the UK's largest arms company, are in the business of killing people.

Once again a massive own goal for the hospice and their sponsors.

Campaigners will again be leafleting the concert to let the concert-goers know who the sponsors are.

Concert in the Park, George V Park, Farnborough, evening Saturday 5 July 2003. Gatesopen at 5pm.

Hospice community fundraiser Claire Walker who is responsible for the event will undoubtedly be delighted to hear your opinions on her choice of sponsors.

        Claire Walker   01252 729433

As part of their Site Unseen tour, CAAT are targeting BAE Systems. On 23 April they were in Farnborough at the BAE Systems HQ alongside Farnborough Airport (12 noon), in Camberley outside BAE offices in the afternoon (4.30), and in the evening (7.30) a public meeting will be held at the Friends Meeting House in Farnham.

On 29 April, CAAT will be targeting BAE Systems at their AGM in London.


Aldershot

Ever desperate for publicity to try and show he's doing something Rushmoor council official John Edwards was in the local paper taking personal responsibility for keeping the streets clean (maybe that's why the streets are so dirty and strewn with litter).

Fine, thought Aldershot campaigner Peter Sandy, let's put it to the test. He put in a call for some bins for the streets, only to be told by Edward's office, nothing to do with John. Okay said Peter, I'll have to get back to the paper and tell them Honest John was telling porkies. Edwards couldn't get the bins in quick enough.

Got a problem with rubbish? Put in a call to John 'the binman' Edwards, and he'll be round quick as a flash to clean it up.

        John 'the binman' Edwards       jedwards@rushmoor.gov.uk

The problem with yobs on the streets is gone, that's the official line from Rushmoor. The reality is they are running riot.

In Aldershot, and yes, Pavilion again, a spree of broken windows, trashed cars. When local residents tried to stop their cars being trashed, they were badly beaten up by the yobs.

Pavilion know who the yobs are, and where they live, but do nothing to get them kicked off the estates. The Police know who the yobs are, but seem powerless to act.


Snippets


Diary


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BVEJ News May 2003

Published by Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice
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