EU-US PNR: Council to ignore parliament and go ahead with deal

Question for Euro-candidates:

Are you in favour of letting big business carry on poisoning me and my kids?

 

People considering voting in the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament can now quiz candidates online about their position on the new EU chemicals policy proposal (REACH). Voters can take part in the online action at www.chemicalreaction.org, a joint project from the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace, now available in 11 languages covering 13 countries of the EU. Further countries (for instance Slovakia and Slovenia) should be added by 21 May. Candidates for election to the European Parliament are being urged to sign a ‘Safer Chemicals’ pledge and their responses should enable voters to make their choice in the elections being held in twenty-five countries from 10 to 13 June.


REACH (Regulation, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) is Europe’s biggest reform of environmental law and environmentalists hope that it will end the global contamination of humans, animals and the environment by hazardous chemicals. Corporate has, not surprisingly, already led to a serious weakening of the original proposal put forward by the European Commission. The new Parliament will have the chance to reverse this.


Anja Leetz, campaigner for Chemical Reaction, stated:   “93% of citizens believe chemical contamination affects their health.  (The other 7% are either barking mad or lying – Ed.)  Election candidates should use this chance to show that they take these concerns seriously. The REACH legislation will affect us all and the health of future generations. MEPs must deliver a high level of public health and environmental protection, and ignore the flawed arguments of powerful chemical producers who only think of their profit margins. A mother whose child suffers from allergies or asthma expects to be able to buy safe products that do not contain hazardous chemicals.”


The online action is being matched with a pledge sent to candidates for signing by national environmental groups in all 25 EU countries. The pledge asks MEP candidates, if elected, if they would vote for:

·         the identification and mandatory substitution of all chemicals of

‘very high concern’;

·         the public's right to know, on request, what dangerous chemicals are

present in consumer products and for ‘danger’ labelling when chemicals

of ‘very high concern’ are present;

·         chemicals in imported products to be subject to the same rules as for

those in EU-made products.



For more on the campaign for an effective REACH go to

http://www.chemicalreaction.org/

http://www.eeb.org/activities/chemicals/main.htm

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/safer_chemicals/

http://www.eu.greenpeace.org/issues/chem.html



Commission wants simultaneous ratification of the Constitution



The European Commission has admitted it is worried about the chances of ratification of the proposed Constitution in all twenty-five member states and has called for a simultaneous process across the EU. Read all about it







here


 

The Council of the European Union (representing the 25 EU governments) is planning to ignore the views of the European Parliament and go ahead with the EU-US Passenger Names Record "deal", making data collected by EU member state authorities freely available to US agencies. In its final session last week, the parliament voted for a third time against the "deal" - this time with the biggest majority against. Read the full story here See also here for later developments.


Pro-Palestinian list to run for  European Parliament

 

The green, white, red and black of Palestine will be on display at next month's European Elections, when a pro-Palestinian party will seek election in France. Read about it

here



Key excerpts from the report by General Taguba on the torture of Iraqi detainees are now available on line here  The failure of Bush’s attempt to con us into putting this behaviour down to the inevitable presence of a few bad apples will hopefully enable people to relearn what many discovered as a result of Vietnam: if you teach your children that your country has a special place in the world, that foreigners are objects at best of pity or contempt, and that there are two ways to do things – the American (or British, or Muslim, or whoever) way and wrong; if you then teach these children to kill; and if next you put them under stress and in fear by sending them to war, and to war against people they have been told are evil; then they will commit atrocities. Vietnam has been forgotten, of course, though not by the Vietnamese or by the American soldiers that served there, none of whom will be surprised by these pictures. If Americans were wondering, as we have been told, why they aren’t loved, these pictures might give them a clue. They will certainly have guaranteed the creation of a generation prepared to do anything to defeat them and their Israeli proxies. This is unfortunate, because the message of these pictures is not “anti-American”, it is anti-war. If the clean, fair, Geneva Convention wars of the Blairite and neocon fantasy world were possible then war would still be at most a last resort. They aren’t. To support a war and complain about atrocities in that war is dishonest or stupid.  That is why looking at Tony Blair and listening to his lies increasingly makes it difficult not to lose your lunch.  If you supported this war, you too are a torturer.

 

Star Wars: A George Bush fantasy for the 21st Century

A new pamphlet published this week by Scottish CND reveals US plans to spend an estimated $100,000 million by the year 2025 putting exotic new weapons, nuclear warheads and spacecraft to allow the US to hit any target on the earth within seconds.

With articles by Tony Benn, Bruce Kent, Neil Mackay and others the pamphlet links the current situation in Iraq with long-term US strategic plans to dominate space. The authors argue that current revelations of abuse and torture in Abu Ghraib prison and growing use of private security contractors in Iraq is only part of a much bigger picture.

 

An ongoing “Reveloution in Military Affairs” since the end of the Cold War has led to increasing reliance on private security firms as well as turning US military attention to the stars. Current US military trends show greater dependence on satellites to provide intelligence, to guide cruise missiles and eventually as platforms for new weapons systems and the use of overwhelming fire-power to ‘shock and awe’ opponents.

 

The authors also argue that Britain’s support for Star Wars is already costing Scotland jobs and harming its economic potential. Despite the fact that there is little direct contract work on related programmes and no Scottish military facilities are likely to be involved in the early stages of the programme, the increase in the US military budget has massively skewed UK corporate investment decisions away from Britain, including Scotland, towards the US.

 

Read more about the pamphlet Star Wars: Space – the next target for US invasion here

 

Acquittal of the Bogotá Three



The acquittal in Bogotá, Colombia of three Irishmen falsely accused of terrorism is an embarrassing setback for the Colombian government. It is also compelling evidence of the deep duplicity of the British government and its Unionist allies in Ireland. Similarly, it underlines the dishonesty of much of the international news media, whose coverage overwhelmingly presumed the three men's guilt. To read an interview with Caitriona Ruane, co-ordinator of the campaign to release the three, go here