Weekly News Review

11th April, 2003

Commission in water privatisation drive

 Leaked documents and an exchange of e-mails have revealed that the European Union has asked 72 countries to open up their markets to private water companies. The requests came after a period of intense cooperation and consultation between water companies and trade representatives of the Commission, leading up to the most recent round of World Trade Organization negotiations in 2001. Full report at here 

EU Council makes concessions to anti-secrecy group

Statewatch's openness case has led to a landmark decision in which the Council has agreed to keep copies of all documents and to list them in "Outcomes" (the Council's minutes) Read the details at here

EU-USA agreements pose further threat to civil liberties

Two agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance are currently being negotiated in secret by representatives of the European union and United states. Proposals include

- extradition to USA to apply to any suspected offences bringing just a one year sentence - no reference to the International Criminal Court or to Special Courts (Military Tribunals) - data protection sidelined again: "A broad, categorical, or systematic application of data protection principles to refuse cooperation is.. precluded"

- FBI and other US agencies to operate in EU in joint investigation teams with full powers of search, surveillance and arrest

Comment plus full text of the draft agreements can be found at  here

Britain 'fast-tracks' Roma back to discrimination

"Members of one of the most socially deprived communities in Europe, the Roma, are being deported in large numbers and at huge expense, even though in a year's time, when their home countries become EU members, they will be able to legally reside in the UK." Read the rest at here

New fears from depleted uranium...
New fears have arisen over the long-term damage that can result from

use of depleted uranium in the coalition attacks on Iraq. Details at this website

...and the rest

Soldiers now fighting in Iraq are being exposed to battlefield hazards that have been associated with the 'Gulf War Syndrome' that afflicts a quarter-million veterans of the 1991 war, according to a former Central Command Army officer in Operation Desert Storm. Read all about it here


How the Rich Go to War

They Send the Poor to Fight

When it comes to making war in the Bush administration, the rich call the shots, while the working class and the poor dodge the bullets or get killed. As Paul Atwood, a former Vietnam vet and researcher at the University of Massachusetts, said this morning, the men who are running this war have long been referred to as "chicken hawks." Read the year's least surprising story here

Postwar Iraq: A showcase for privatisation?

"Earlier this week, U.S. military officials came up with a solution to the chaos surrounding the distribution of water to civilians in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr: They are providing water free to locals with tanker trucks, who are being allowed to sell the precious liquid for a “reasonable” fee. “This provides them with an incentive to hustle and to work,” an Army commander told a reporter for the New York Daily News."  Bomb them, invade them, then screw them, here