Volume 2, Number 27
6 March 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) PSNI Release Death Drivers
2) The Water War Continues in Bolivia
3) Honor the Working Women of the World!
4) China Issues Human Rights Record of the United States
5) Cuba Support Group - Ireland
6) Who Will Carry the Can for Waste Debacle?
7) What's On
PSNI RELEASE DEATH DRIVERS
The RUC/PSNI tactics deployed in Ardoyne during the early hours of
Monday 28th February 2005 have been heavily criticised by the North
Belfast branch of the IRSP. At approximately 1:00am RUC land rovers
were in hot pursuit of a stolen Vauxhall Astra car that had been
speeding through the streets of Ardoyne. The car was rammed by one of
the land rovers at the junction of Etna Drive and Holmdene Gardens,
where it crashed into the front garden of an elderly resident asleep
in her bed.
The culprits, all male and in their twenties were stunned momentarily
by the impact and some were apprehended by the pursuing police, before
being promptly released at the scene. A spokesperson for the party
has claimed that the RUC/PSNI swamped the area with twelve to thirteen
land rovers in what can only be described as a fiasco and a PR stunt.
Residents were awoken from their sleep by the crashing of this stolen
vehicle that was being driven by these death drivers into the wall of
an elderly resident of Etna Drive. It had been carelessly rammed by
the RUC/PSNI who showed no regard for the safety of the residents of
this community. Anyone could have been hurt or seriously injured;
this car could quite easily have crashed through the front window of
this house. The death drivers that were in control of this stolen
vehicle were released by the RUC and advised to steal another car to
get them home. This is ludicrous and shows quite clearly the utter
contempt that these people have for the residents of this community.
An acceptable police force would not encourage this sort of behaviour.
It is also quite clear just how seriously they deem this type of
anti-social behaviour within republican communities. A member of the
RUC/PSNI gave chase on foot to two of the fleeing death drivers and
suffered a minor abrasion to his elbow. This was swiftly followed up
with the invasion of a further nine to ten jeeps in addition to the
already present three carelessly driving through the area with no
regard for the safety of others. An ambulance was also summoned for
the injured officer where he was taken to hospital. I have never saw
anything like it before in my life, it was just comical, a deliberate
PR stunt. We in North Belfast have suffered at the hands of these
thugs for years, which has had a catastrophic climax in recent weeks
when the community witnessed the tragic murder of local man Stephen
Montgomery by this ruthless death driving. Twelve jeeps were summoned
to the aid of a slightly cut officer when a week or so previous an
innocent man was able to bleed to death like a dog in the street.
Where were the RUC/PSNI then? They didn't have the decency to cordon
off the area around the man so that a proper and thorough
investigation could take place. This is exactly why the new PSNI are
not and will not be acceptable to the people of this area, while they
continue to exercise their right to double standards. No injuries
were sustained to members of the community during the operation,
although minor verbal hostilities were exchanged. A second car full
of death drivers was able to elude the police without being chased or
apprehended, after speeding along Etna Drive at immense speeds in
front of the parked land rovers. The IRSP seriously question this and
believe this sort of double standard policing is not acceptable to the
residents of republican North Belfast.
[Irish Republican Socialist Party, North Belfast, Statement]
THE WATER WAR CONTINUES IN BOLIVIA
The Spanish Transnational company Abengoa asks $25 million from the
In a complaint lodged with the International Center for Settlement of
Investment Related Disputes (ICSID), the transnational corporation
Abengoa is asking the Bolivian government for $25 million in damages
for breach of the 2002 Cochabamba water privatization contract by the
Bolivian government – a breach made under pressure from the
inhabitants of the region, who have established grass-roots management
of the water.
Summary of the facts
In October 1999, following the passage of Law No 2029, the Bolivian
government awarded a 40-year water concession, for the province of
Cochabamba, to the international consortium Agua del Tunai,
underwritten by International Water Limited (Bechtel and Edison),
Abengoa Servicios Urbanos and a group of Bolivian companies.
Immediately following the privatization of the Cochabamba water, the
Aguas del Tunari consortium raised the price of water 400% through a
monthly indexing of the rates in relation to the United States dollar.
This did not include installation costs billed to the customers
(meters, connections to water mains and sewerage and systems), which
came to several hundred dollars. For desperately poor people, it was
equivalent to a death sentence.
The concession accorded to the consortium a total, overreaching
monopoly, making it illegal for anyone to use water from natural
springs or wells in the areas where Agua de Tunari supplied water.
These factors prompted a substantial mobilization, over several
months, of the local population, both urban and rural, who demanded,
in essence, the cancellation of the contract with Agua del Tunari, the
amending of Law No 2029 and a rejection by the government of water
privatization. In spite of severe repression by the authorities (who
killed one adolescent and injured and arrested dozens of people), in
April 2000, the Bolivian government was obliged to break the contract
signed with the abovementioned transnational corporations.
The complaint to the ICSID is neither acceptable nor tolerable
The lodging of the compliant with the ICSID is neither acceptable nor
tolerable given that this institution is heavily influenced by the
private commercial sector and presided over by the president of the
Given the Herculean efforts of the World Bank in pushing for
privatization, including in the case in question, and given the bias
that characterizes its actions, it is reasonable to expect a decision
in favor of Abengoa. Moreover, the ICSID norms do not take account of
these concerning human rights and environment.
Further, the sum sought is disproportionate, for the consortium in
question has invested, according to its own estimates, only somewhere
between $.5 million and $2 million, and Abengoa owns only a 25% share
in the consortium.
It is also worth noting that the other members of the consortium
(Bechtel and Edison) accepted the arrangement proposed by the Bolivian
This case demonstrates yet again - if need be - the profit
driven motivation of transnational corporations. They have no interest
in the vital needs and development of countries and regions in which
they operate. It is intolerable that private interests should take
precedence over the basic rights of human beings such as the right to
life and its concomitant right to water, without which life is not
possible. Moreover, numerous United Nations resolutions reflect the
acknowledgement within the international community that human rights
take precedence over commercial interests.
Thus, the American Association of Jurists and the Europe - Third
World Centre maintain that litigation between governments and
transnational corporations should be resolved by the courts of the
country in question and, secondarily, by a permanent international
jurisdiction at such a time as it may come into being, which will rule
in accordance with existing international human rights standards.
The American Association of Jurists and the Europe - Third World
Center call upon the Bolivian government to reject the arbitration of
the ICSID and acknowledge the right to food and, in particular, to
water, and by so doing the right of its citizens to life, a right of
which it is the guarantor.
[Geneva, 1 March 2005, press release from the American Association of
Jurists and the Europe - Third World Centre]
HONOR THE WORKING WOMEN OF THE WORLD!
CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE AGAINST IMPERIALISM!
On the 95th commemoration of International Women's Day, created by
women engaged in the struggle for women's rights against monopoly
capitalism, we call on the women of the world to recognize and honor
the women who create the greater share of the profits of imperialist
globalization. Often unpaid or paid at less than subsistence level;
barely recognized in large sections of the world as human beings;
bought, sold, traded and enslaved, deprived of their rights and
freedoms, and oppressed, these women nevertheless bear the greater
burden for the survival of families, communities and even entire
nations economically and spiritually. They are the finest expression
of the nobility of the human spirit even as the conditions of
oppression and exploitation under which they live constitute the worst
expression of humanity's rapacity.
This International Women's Day comes in the midst of two wars of
aggression (in Afghanistan and Iraq) and threats of more (Iran, North
Korea and Syria) wars. It comes in the midst of the continuing
impoverishment of peoples - whether in the developed or undeveloped
countries - and the continuing enrichment of transnational
corporations and their shareholders. Truly, we live at a time when
monopoly capitalism is engaged in a rapacious re-casting of the world
after its own image. Power and profit are reserved for a few while
the rest of us have only a lifetime of wage-slavery, if not outright
slavery, and powerlessness to look forward to. As in the corporate
structure, the most hierarchical and most tyrannical organization
created by humankind, those who work the hardest and longest earn the
least while those who sit in air-conditioned rooms fatten themselves
on multimillion-dollar salaries and dividends.
The violence that this acute contradiction breeds in the world today
must be ended. We have seen the steady constriction of rights,
freedoms and public space for women the world over. We have seen
women suffer both collateral and enduring damage in wars launched by
imperialism. Women and children constitute 70% of collateral damage,
while enduring damage is done through the creation of the breeding
grounds for the traffic of women and children, religious
fundamentalism and violence against women. We have seen conditions
inimical to women legitimized ostensibly for "the good of the women" -
from capital's assault on the human body in prostitution to the
removal of overtime pay under the so-called "flex-time work." We have
seen gender oppression in the household transferred from the well-off
women of the First World to the women of the Third World, who have
been impoverished by the bloodsucking International Monetary
Fund/World Bank and the World Trade Organization. We have seen
women's knowledge of plants and medicines patented for the exclusive
use and control of transnational corporations. We have seen women's
bodies experimented on medically to generate profits in an
entertainment world that caters mainly to male fantasy. We have seen
women murdered when they choose to protest and speak out, whether at
home, in the workplace or in countries contending against
Time to end this. We call for women of the world, especially poor and
working women, to unite and finally shatter the conceptual link
between women and private property. Let us not wait another hundred
years for political, social and economic equality. Let us start by
reclaiming March 8 as the International Working Women's Day from the
cooption of the US and other imperialist states through United
Nation-sponsored and government-sponsored celebrations. We call on
the women of the world to strengthen and expand the women's
anti-imperialist front. Continue the struggle for women's liberation,
class emancipation and national liberation. Let us forge on in
CHINA ISSUES HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD OF THE UNITED STATES
People's Daily Online
3 March 2005
China issued the Human Rights Record of the US in 2004 Thursday in
response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004
issued by the US on Feb. 28.
Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the
Chinese report listed a multitude of cases to show that serious
violations of human rights exist on the homeland of the United States.
"In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark
side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal
shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community.
It is quite ironic that on Feb. 28 of this year, the State Department
of the United States once again posed as the 'the world human rights
police' and released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for
2004. As in previous years, the reports pointed fingers at human
rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions (including
China) but kept silent on the US misdeeds in this field. Therefore,
the world people have to probe the human rights record behind the
Statue of Liberty in the United States," said the report.
The report reviewed the human rights record of the United States in
2004 from six perspectives: Life, liberty and Security of Person;
Political Rights and Freedom; Economic, social and Cultural Rights;
Racial Discrimination; Rights of Women and Children; and Infringement
of Human Rights of Foreign Nationals.
This is the sixth consecutive year that the Information Office of the
State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to
answer the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued annually
by the State Department of the United States.
American citizens are threatened by rampant violent crimes and severe
infringement of civil rights by law enforcement departments. "Violent
crimes pose a serious threat to people's lives," said the record.
The record quoted the Department of Justice of the United States on
Nov. 29, 2004 as saying that in 2003 residents aged 12 and above in
the United States came across about 24 million cases of crimes,
including 1.38 million violent crimes like murders and robberies,
averaging 475 cases per 100,000 people.
"Police violence and infringement of human rights by law enforcement
agencies also constitute a serious problem," the record said.
Chinese citizen Zhao Yan was handcuffed and severely beaten on Jul.
21, 2004 while she was in the United States on a normal business trip.
She suffered injuries in many parts of her body and serious mental
harm, according to the record.
Boasted as "a paragon of democracy," the United States' democracy is
actually manipulated by the rich and malpractice, said the record.
Referring the elections in the United States are in fact a contest of
money, the record said, the presidential and Congressional elections
last year cost nearly four billion US dollars, some one billion US
dollars or one third more than that spent in the 2000 elections.
According to the U.S.' official website http://www.opensecrets.org/
the 2004 presidential election has been listed as the most expensive
campaign in the country's history, with the cost jumping to 1.7
billion US dollars from 1 billion US dollars in 2000.
Poverty, hunger and homelessness have been haunting the United States,
the world richest country, according to the record.
The report stressed the United States refuses to ratify the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and
took negative attitude to the economic, social and cultural rights of
According to the statistics released by the US Census Bureau in 2004,
the number of Americans in poverty has been climbing for three years.
It rose by 1.3 million year-on-year in 2003 to 35.9 million, the
Racial discrimination has been deeply rooted in the United States,
permeating into every aspects of society, said the record.
The record said that the coloured people are generally poor, with
living condition much worse than the white. According to a report of
The Guardian of Britain on Oct. 9, 2004, the average net assets of a
white family is 88,000 US dollars in 2002, 11 times of a family of
Latin American ancestry, or nearly 15 times of a family of African
Racial prejudice is ubiquitous in judicial fields, the record said.
The proportion for persons of coloured races being sentenced or being
imprisoned is notably higher than whites.
In accordance with a report published in Nov. 2004 by the US
Department of Justice, coloured races accounted for over 70 percent of
inmates in the United States.
The situation of American women and children was disturbing. The rates
of women and children physically or sexually victimized were high,
said the report.
According to FBI Crime Statistics, in 2003 the United States witnessed
93,233 cases of raping. Virtually 63.2 in every 100,000 women fell
victims. Statistics released by the US Labor Department in Jan. 2004
showed a woman who worked full time had the median earning of 81.1
percent of that for a man, according to the report.
In addition, according to the report, child poverty was a serious
problem. A story released from AP Washington on Oct. 12, 2004 said
that about 20 million children lived in "low-income working families"
- with barely enough money to cover basic needs.
Children were also victims of sex crimes. Every year about 400,000
children in the US were forced to engage in prostitution or other
sexual dealings on the streets.
The atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the infringement
of human rights of foreign nationals by the United States, said the
According to US media like the Newsweek and the Washington Post, as
early as several years ago, in US forces' prisons in Afghanistan,
interrogators used various kinds of torture tools for acquiring
confession, causing many deaths.
The International Committee of the Red Cross believed that abuse of
detained Iraqis in the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison was not a single
case and it was a systematic behavior, the report said.
The report pointed out that the United States frequently commits
wanton slaughters during external invasions and military attacks. A
survey on Iraqi civilian deaths, based on the natural death rate
before the war, estimates that the US-led invasion might have led to
100,000 more deaths in the country, with most victims being women and
Jointly designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins
University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in
Baghdad, the survey also finds that the majority of the additional,
unnatural deaths since the invasion were caused by violence, while air
strikes from the coalition forces were the main factor to blame for
the violence-caused deaths.
Despite tons of problems in its own human rights, the United States
continues to stick to its belligerent stance, wantonly trample on the
sovereignty of other countries, and constantly stage tragedies of
human rights infringement in the world, said the report.
At last, the report said that the United States should reflect on its
erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights
problems seriously instead of indulging itself in publishing the
"human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably.
CUBA SUPPORT GROUP - IRELAND
15 Merrion Square Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 8436448 087 6785842
News & Views
1) Cuban Authorities Reject New US Sanctions against the Island
2) Fidel Castro condemns the destruction of the US war on Iraq
3) Cuba elected to UN Human Rights panel
1) Cuban Authorities Reject New US Sanctions against the Island
Havana, Feb 25 (Prensa Latina) Cuban authorities rejected Friday the
new US sanctions against the Caribbean island and published a
statement expressing their stance toward the new US restrictive
The text of the statement, written by Cuban Food Import Company
ALIMPORT, which has signed agreements and developed businesses with US
food staples producing companies, says as follows:
In a press release of February 22, 2005, the US Department of Treasury
announced its interpretation of the term "cash in advance" established
in the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act promulgated
by the US Congress in 2000.
According to the aforementioned release, the Cuban payments must be
received prior to the Cuba-bound cargoes are loaded on board ships in
the US, a departure from the existing practice of payments against
documents, with transfer of title to the Cuban buyer upon receipt of
cash payments by the American exporter. It should be noted that no
delay has been reported in the implementation of the existing
This measure would represent an escalation designed to hinder the
American food and agricultural sales that are already subjected to
numerous restrictions impose by US.
From December 2001 to February 23, 2005, ALIMPORT had signed on a
total of 4.9 million tones, worth US $1.255 billion, with freight
costs included. Cuba's timely cash payments of US $1.06 billion
for these purchases have helped meet the Cuban people's basic food
basket needs and conveyed a desire to see a normalization of relations
between both countries in an atmosphere of peace and friendship.
Year-to-date, Cuba has imported nearly 90 million dollars worth of
American supplies, with an estimate $250 million in contracts that
will be implemented in the 2005 balance. These numbers could grow
significantly as additional contracts are formalized in the course of
Under this procedure, goods earmarked to the Cuban people could
apparently be liable to court-ordered seizures in the US to satisfy
legally groundless claims against the Republic of Cuba. The measure
also ignores the will if the US Congress when it authorized the sales
While the American suppliers are recognized for their quality products
and efficiency, to purchase from the US under the new measure would be
highly unreliable, for the direct food supplies to the Cuban
population, including its children, as well as the procurement of
input materials for other food items, would be placed at risk.
The US Treasury pronouncement places the American producers, carriers
and port operators in disadvantage and gives ground to competitors in
other foreign countries that are keen to develop the Cuban market.
ALIMPORT hereby reiterates its commitment to comply with its existing
contractual obligations and its readiness to make further purchases
from US businesses, subject to acceptable terms and conditions that
are consistent with the international business practices.
ALIMPORT ratifies its confidence in the American farmers,
businesspersons, shoppers, port operators, legislators and other
personalities who over the last three years have shown a will to
develop mutually advantageous trading relations with Cuba. ALIMPORT
renews its message of peace and friendship to the American people, as
well as its wishes for normalized relations between Cuba and the US.
ALIMPORT, February 25, 2005.
2) Fidel Castro condemns the destruction of the US war on Iraq
Fidel Castro called the US-led war in Iraq a "brutal bombing
spectacle," and criticised the Bush regime for its spending on the war
declaring that the billions of dollars being spent in Iraq "won't cure
AIDS won't cure any disease, won't cure anybody."
Meanwhile, Cuba exports thousands of doctors to countries in need.
"Mr. Bush put forth 15 billion dollars, and with that the world moved
on to the stage of the Iraq war, that brutal bombing spectacle. But
what is needed over there is a man, a revolutionary doctor who can
save lives. And that's what we have."
Castro also criticised several developed nations, especially those
who frequently voice concerns about human rights, for not doing more
in the field of health.
"All of Europe together couldn't pull together the 500 doctors and
health care workers we have over there," he said, referring to Cuban
teams of specialists working in Haiti.
Castro also advised those who continue to accuse Cuba of human rights
violations to focus on their own problems. "They'll have to shut their
mouths, or...start admitting that revolution can be just," he said
as he explained that socialism is certainly more humane than the
imperialism that is being imposed around the world.
3) Cuba elected to UN Human Rights panel
Cuba has been elected to a panel that will decide on the agenda for
the 2005 session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. The
role of the "Working Group on Situations" panel is to rule on
the admissibility of complaints to be heard by the full 53-member
commission when it meets in Geneva.
WHO WILL CARRY THE CAN FOR WASTE DEBACLE?
Friends of the Earth (Northern Ireland)
Contact: John Woods
Direct: 028 9023 3636
Mobile: 07712 843 213
Home: 028 9042 4109
Who will carry the can for waste debacle?
As a House of Commons Committee published a damning report on Northern
Ireland's waste management strategy Friends of the Earth demanded that
heads should roll in the Department of the Environment (DOE).
In its report the Committee described the Government's leadership role
as "a lamentable performance", quoting the fact that it had taken four
years to set up a waste management steering group and had achieved
only four of fifteen leadership targets.
While DOE claimed in a written submission "very substantial progress
has been achieved"  on the strategy, the MPs countered with their
opinion that "overall [progress] has been slight"
MPs further warned that because of Northern Ireland's failure to
reduce waste going to landfill, a requirement under European law, we
could be in line to pay a substantial share of fines of £180
million per annum.
Describing planning and procurement processes as "seriously behind
schedule" the Committee says that "the prospect of meeting the first
Landfill Directive target in 2010 looks bleak."
In a salvo aimed at Doe's Planning Service the Committee said it
was "deeply concerned at the continuing delays in dealing with
planning applications for waste management facilities". MPs said "We
were astonished to learn that it can take up to ten years to get
planning permission for waste management facilities."
Friends of the Earth gave evidence in to the Committee and are quoted
extensively in the final report. Director (Northern Ireland) John
Woods said today: "This report spells out what we all know - that
since the launch of Northern Ireland's Waste Strategy five years ago
the DOE has failed to deliver on its own targets and those required
under European law. It is now time for individual civil service
managers to be held to account for what can only be described as
"The DOE has the powers it needs, included planning powers, to
implement a successful strategy. As we head towards an ever growing
waste crisis it is time to clear out the dead wood and employ managers
who are up to the job."
Tuesday, 8 March 2005
Public Lectures - All Welcome
Belfast Trades Council
Present a Public Lecture
"From Alabama to Jerusalem: End Apartheid - Support Civil Rights"
By Lenni Brenner, the renowned American human rights activist, civil
rights and racial equality campaigner.
Tuesday, 8th March 2005, 7.30pm
Transport House, High Street, Belfast
Lenni will also speak at a public meeting at QUB on Tuesday 8th at
1.00pm, Room 307 Peter Frogatt Bld.
Lenni Brenner was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He became an
atheist at the age of 10 and a Marxist at 15. He has been involved
with the American Civil Rights Movement since the 1950s.
He was an anti-war activist from the first days of the Vietnam War,
speaking frequently at rallies in the Bay Area of San Francisco where
he was arrested several times. He met with Huey Newton, later founder
of the Black Panthers. Subsequently he worked with Kathy Cleaver and
In 1968 he co-founded the National Association for Irish Justice, the
American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
In the 90s he and Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael), the legendary
"Black Power" leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee, co-founded the Committee against Zionism and Racism. They
also published The Anti-War Activist.
Brenner is the author of 4 books, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators,
The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, Jews in
America Today, and The Lesser Evil, a study of the Democratic Party.
He has written over 100 articles for many publications, including the
Amsterdam News, the Anderson Valley Advertizer, the Atlanta
Constitution, CounterPunch, the Jewish Guardian, the Nation, the
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Middle
East International, the Journal of Palestine Studies, the New
Statesman of London, Al-Fajr in Jerusalem and Dublin’s United
In 2002 he edited 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.
It contains complete translations of many of the documents quoted in
Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall. In 2004 he
edited Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State:
Writings on Religion and Secularism.
Articles by Lenni Brenner
Jewish Friends of Palestine
Tuesday, 8 March
Rural Community Network are currently organising our second annual
event for International Women's Day for Tuesday, 8 March. This will
take place in Omagh (venue to be confirmed) and the theme is again
centred on diversity in rural areas. If you wish further info or
would like to participate please contact Marion Weir or Anna Clarke at
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