[alternet-l] THE ALTERNET NEWS - ISSUE # 96

Joanne Doyle joanne at gn.apc.org
Mon Aug 18 18:02:28 BST 2003


This issue:


The AlterNet News is the GreenNet e-newsletter that carries brief news 
items, campaign updates, a diary of key forthcoming events and 
announcements. News comes from our contacts all over the web, but most of 
the AlterNet News will come from the GreenNet community.

Please don't send news to the AlterNet address. Send items for inclusion, 
including a web link if possible, to actnow at gn.apc.org. Items may need to 
be edited. Plain text e-mail is preferred.

Back issues are on-line at:
--> www.gn.apc.org/news/alternet/index.html



Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF have launched a website that calls 
on people to join the campaign to increase the amount of energy supplied by 
wind power in the UK:


Yorkshire CND has re-launched its website. The new site is easier to 
navigate and includes new features such as an order page for campaign 
materials, more info on our campaigns, a competition, local group info and 
much more:

--> www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk



The scientific review into GM crops was published at the beginning of this 
month. The review was the largest examination undertaken of the science of 
the effects of GM technology on human health and the environment.

The review panel, led by Professor Sir David King, the government's chief 
scientific adviser, consisted of 25 scientists from government, academia, 
the biotechnology industry and environmental groups.

"The report concludes that the public's refusal to eat GM food means that 
there is
little economic value in the current generation of GM crops, and that
continuing public opposition would also affect their long-term future."

Read various excerpts from the mainstream media, commenting on the report:
--> www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,1011697,00.html

Check out the FARM website for their comments on the scientific review:
--> www.farm.org.uk/FM_Content.aspx?ID=122

It is too early to tell if the public's views are to be accommodated, or 
whether they will significantly determine policy. If you have any 
information about how the government is responding to public views, or 
comments in general, please email them to me and I will add to the next 



This month the UK greens reach their 30th anniversary. Red Pepper celebrates:

"Against the odds the Green Party is 30 years old. For those of us on the 
inside, getting past 1981 looked doubtful and it was perhaps both a 
surprise and a relief to reach the 1990s. The British political system has 
traditionally been unforgiving to new parties. But the party has survived, 
is growing and is making an electoral impact: it has seven MSPs, two MEPs 
and numerous councillors. Most important of all, it is now a party of the left.

Left politics need to be both practical and utopian. On a practical level, 
our interventions need to work on a day-to-day level and point to a society 
beyond capitalism. To cynics, the history of the British left may seem to 
be one of defeats, but on the issues of defending public services, opposing 
US hegemony and striking blows for justice the arguments have been won not 
by Blair but by us.

As for utopian politics, capitalism is frankly cancerous. It can only 
survive by constant blind accumulation. We have a highly sophisticated 
economic system that essentially puts living things second. Ultimately, it 
has to go. The Greens – with their critique of conventional economics – are 
closer perhaps to Marx than many others on the left. Their enthusiasm for a 
society that really is different is at worst naive, at best a source of 
real revolutionary energy. And this is an energy that is increasingly 

In full, here:
--> www.redpepper.org.uk/Aug2003/x-Aug2003-keynote.html

Other links:
--> www.greenparty.org.uk/



A very comprehensive report on privacy conditions around the world has just 
been published, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Public Management, Home 
Affairs, Posts
and Telecommunications. The report shows the latest status of the privacy 
situation and Privacy Enhancing Technologies in the International community 
at the beginning of 2003.

"Privacy is a foundation of democracy, thus, privacy has important 
substantial effects on every part of electronic government that we are 
heading toward. Then we, law makers to technologists to businesses, all 
will be asked to ensure privacy protection is embedded in it."

Download the report on Europe here:

You can also read about the US and Canada here:
--> http://joi.ito.com/joiwiki/PrivacyReport



An international coalition of civil liberties groups and consumer rights
campaigners (CODE) urged the European Union to reject the proposed 
Intellectual property Enforcement Directive.  The coalition warns that the 
proposed Directive threatens civil liberties.  The proposal requires EU 
Member States to criminalize all violations of any intellectual property 
right that can be tied to any commercial purpose, with penalties to include 

"'If this proposal becomes a reality, major companies from abroad can use
'intellectual property' regulations to gain control over the lives of
ordinary European citizens and threaten digital freedoms', said Andy
Müller-Maguhn, a board member of European Digital Rights and speaker for
the Chaos Computer Club. 'Under this proposal, a person's individual
liberty to use his own property is replaced with a limited license that can
be revoked or its terms changed at any time and for any reason', added the
German civil rights activist."

More information here:
--> www.fipr.org/copyright/draft-ipr-enforce.html

Read the CODE letter to the EU here:
--> www.ipjustice.org/codeletter.shtml



The recent Down To Earth (DTE) factsheet looks at the future for Indonesia 
and its relationship with IMF in light of the upcoming end to Indonesia's 
economic reform programme with the IMF in sight this December.

"IMF's attempts to save Indonesia from economic crisis have failed. It is 
not only because of the Indonesian government's mismanagement of the crisis 
that these failures have occurred, rather the main reason is due to the 
IMF's somewhat generic recipe of raising taxes, cutting public expenditure 
and raising interest rates which have had the effect of extending and 
deepening the economic crisis in Indonesia.

Other studies have also documented the negative impact of IMF policies. 
First, IMF pressure to increase exports by a policy of deregulation and 
liberalisation has resulted in states with a weak manufacturing economic 
base exploiting natural resources such as mining and forestry. Second, 
budget-tightening policies have resulted in the cutting of subsidies in the 
food, education and health sectors. This in turn has increased social costs 
and has brought trauma to the poorest groups, as has occurred in Zimbabwe, 
Ghana, Jamaica, Latin America. The involvement of the IMF also has an 
impact on a state's sovereignty. The IMF makes a lot of interventions in 
the processes of economic and political decision-making, placing an 
emphasis on the need for a state to prioritize economic stability in order 
to  gain market confidence."

Email DTE for the factsheet in full:

Email --> dte at gn.apc.org



"Why are alternative viewpoints branded as "conspiracy theories"? Is it the 
lack of evidence? Certainly not, because there are lots of evidence for all 
these three premises and, compared with evidence for the official version, 
these proofs are quite convincing. Convincing enough at least to lead to 
further questions and investigations. So these alternative viewpoints are 
not made worthless by logic or rationality, but by definition, by a 
medieval banishing as "outrageous", by a kind of new inquisition defining 
every non-believer as "unpatriotic", "anti-american", "undemocratic" and 
lately even as a "terrorist". This mechanism of declaring certain 
viewpoints a taboo in public opinion is at the core of the media 
manipulation - in addition with the trombone-orchestra of the corporate 
media repeating the "truth" over and over again.

The argument, that information from the Internet is not reliable, doesn't 
hit anymore, since 9-11 has showed that the so called quality media do not 
have any reliability either. Sure the internet contains a lot of weird 
stuff - but you should be aware of it when you browse, and not fooled by 
claim of non-partisanship, objectivity and the "embedded" but nevertheless 
holy truth."

Read the full article:

--> www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/15416/1.html


AMINA LAWAL UPDATE - A letter from BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights, Lagos, 

"Dear friends,

Thank you for forwarding this and being concerned to check before rushing 
ahead. Do please circulate this response to all those you know might have 
received the erroneous petition (and anyone else who might be 

The petitions currently being circulated (one is posted below) are WRONG in 
fact again. Amina's appeal hearing at the Katsina State Sharia Court of 
Appeal had been postponed and is to be heard on August 27. Her case has not 
yet been heard in the Katsina State Sharia Court of Appeal. Therefore, it 
has not reached the Supreme Court - nor even the Federal Sharia Court of 
Appeal. In addition, implementation of any sentence is stayed until the 
final results of any appeals.

This kind of petition is damaging for Amina Lawal's defence and cases like 
hers. It is particularly damaging for trying to rally public opinion in her 
defence. As I write, we have just been in meeting in Abuja (Nigeria's 
capital) on Sharia Penal and Family Law in Nigeria, in which most of us 
defending Amina and others in similar situations (including BAOBAB, WRAPA, 
the Nigerian Human Rights Commission and several of the lawyers) were 
facing directly some of the religious right wing 
conservative/traditionalists. From many quarters - in this meeting and 
outside - the reception is extremely hostile of our message that women's 
and other human rights can and should be respected in sharia (has often 
been the case in sharia's diversity in time and space as well as in fiqh - 
Muslim jurisprudence), and, that Muslim laws and international human rights 
are not necessarily mutually incompatible."

Read the statement by Amnesty International:
--> http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR440262003?open&of=ENG-NGA



Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) criticised the major
jump in spending by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on research and
development over the last year. Office of Science and Technology statistics 
show that spending by the MoD on R&D rose to £2.61
billion, an increase of 27%.

"This huge jump has brought this spending back up, in real terms, to the 
levels of the 1990s. Military sources now account for one third of the
total public spending on scientific research and technological development
in the UK.

SGR believes that scientific and technological expertise should be directed
towards peaceful and sustainable ends, and hence that the MoD budget should
be being cut not increased.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, Director of SGR said: 'Much of the MoD's research and
development is geared towards making weaponry, sometimes for export to
regimes with bad human rights records. It would be much more ethical to use
the scientific expertise to accelerate, for example, the development of
environmentally-friendly technologies.'"

--> stuartp at sgr.org.uk



The Health and Safety Commission (HSE)have recently published a the major 
incident investigation report following into accidents at BP Grangemouth, 
Scotland. Friends of the Earth Scotland comment on the report:

"BP claim that the lessons of these accidents will be learnt in all their 
operations. If that is the case, why are they negotiating a standstill 
agreement to prevent new environmental regulation affecting their planned 
oil pipeline in Turkey and Azerbaijan? Double standards appear to be in 
operation here.

Here in Scotland, where regulators don't have their hands completely tied 
by corporate interests, there's more incentive for BP to improve its 
practices. But we know that companies become complacent about safety and 
history repeats itself. Will BP remember these lessons in five or ten years 
time? Given the HSE's findings one must question whether BP's plans to keep 
reducing staffing levels will be anything other than bad news for 
employees, the surrounding community and the environment."

Read the full comment here:

--> www.foe-scotland.org.uk/press/press_index.html



The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award

To celebrate the Golden Jubilee, this award recognises and rewards 
excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. 
The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award is given in recognition of outstanding 
achievement by groups who volunteer their own time to enhance and improve 
the quality of life and opportunity of others.

If you know a group of volunteers who:
· Regularly devote their time to helping others in the community
· Improve the quality of life and opportunity for others
· Provide an outstanding service

Nominate them!  The deadline is 15th September.

Further details:
--> www.goldenjubileeaward.gov.uk



Oxford Research Group (O.R.G.) is an independent team of researchers and 
support staff established in 1982 to develop effective methods for people 
to bring about positive change on issues of global and local security.

They are looking for a new Senior Researcher and Programme Coordinator and 
an Executive Director.

The deadline for both positions is September 10th and interviews will take 
place on the 17th September.

Further information via email:
--> org at oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk

More about O.R.G. at their website (unfortunately, job specs not online as 
of 18th August):
--> www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/



"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some 
blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. 
Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a 
spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson




Sunday 31st
8pm til midnight, upstairs at The Garage, Highbury
& Islington tube, Holloway Road, London N1
Spare Change Publishing presents: an evening of spoken word railing against,
among other things, the occupation of Palestine.


Friday 5th
DSEi - ExCel, London (Defence Systems & Equipment International 
exhibition): LONDON Mass March. Actions until 12th September. Contact 
Campaign Against Arms Trade, 11 Goodwin St, London N4 3HQ. Tel: 020 7281 
0297 Fax: 020 7281 4369.
Email: enquiries at caat.demon.co.uk

Friday - Sunday: 12, 13 & 14th
Dragon Camp - The Council of All Beings

This three day experiential camp is based on the Deep Ecology 'Council Of 
All Beings' workshop. It will be held at a seven-acre permaculture 
smallholding near Shropshire with lots of wildlife. The cost for the event 
including food and camping, is expected to be around £40 - £45

The aim of the camp is to strengthen our connection with the 
more-than-human world and allow nature and animal spirits to dialogue with 
us. We will use shamanic techniques to deepen the experience and enhance 
our connection with the more-than-human world and ourselves. The camp is 
intensive and participants will be expected to be involved in all aspects 
of the camp; sharing our work and joining every session is essential to the 
process we will create.

Experienced practitioners will lead the workshop, and we will build a space 
of safety and growth, but participants are expected to have basic 
experience in energy work and shamanic techniques.

Dragon is running a London workshop on 23rd August for those who would like 
to gain this experience.

The camp is limited to 35 people so advance booking is essential. Because 
of the intensive nature of the camp, we can only accommodate children if we 
can arrange joint childcare with parents beforehand.

Full details are posted on the Dragon Website:
--> www.dragonnetwork.org
Or e-mail: adrian at gn.apc.org

Saturday 13th
Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) Conference & Annual General 
Meeting 2003
Nuclear Weapons: Issues for UK Policy

Cost: Non-members £19 waged/ £13 unwaged. Discounts of up to 55% are
available to SGR members. Refreshments are included. For further details &
to register, see http://www.sgr.org.uk/conferences.html
Email: info at sgr.org.uk  Tel: 07771 883696

Saturday 20th
Peace One Day - The Celebration 2003 @ Brixton Academy, London
Doors at 7pm, show 8pm to 3am.  Tickets are £25 each (subject to booking
fee). All proceeds from the night go to Peace One Day.

Tickets online here:
--> www.gigsandtours.com/index.asp?link=peace+one+day&site=peaceoneday

Sunday 21
United Nations International Day of Peace. Events worldwide. See:
--> www.peaceoneday.org


More Diary Dates on GreenNet:
--> www.gn.apc.org/calendar/calindex.shtml

Please add your events to the calendar here:
--> www.gn.apc.org/calendar/add.shtml


The AlterNet News is edited by Joanne Doyle for GreenNet:
---> www.gn.apc.org

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