Saturday, 23 July 2011


From SchNEWS
Mexico's drug war claimed another life in Ciudad Juarez, the border city that is officially the world's most violent city. In a city with an an average death toll of eight murders a day, this is shocking but not surprising. The victim was 19 year old Lucero Aguilar, an activist for MORENO, a left-wing youth movement. A former drug dealer himself, Lucero had quit the bloody business and dedicated himself to rescuing other youths in the poorest neighbourhoods from getting sucked in by the promises of money and power (and a short lifespan) offered by the cartels.
Lucero was ambushed in the local football field, where gunmen shot him in the back. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. It's highly unlikely that his killing will ever be investigated, or that his killers will be brought to justice. In Juarez, like most of Mexico, the narcos (gangsters) operate with complete impunity- if his killers weren't actually policemen, they will have collaborated with the police and city authorities.
Friends from his neighbourhood said, 'He was a man of his word, he cared for the kids, and he worked because he loved his neighbourhood'
It is believed that his killing was meant to be a warning to Juarez's peace activists and community organisers, who have been getting more visible and confident since the arrival of the Peace Caravan back in June (see SchNEWS 775). Lucero's death is another reminder of just how cheap life is in Juarez, and how vulnerable activists are in Mexico.
* More Moreno (for Spanish readers) at

Saturday, 16 July 2011


From SchNEWS

Michael Lyons served as a medical assistant submariner for six years before he was expelled from the navy for thinking and feeling. He was due to begin a two-week rifle course at HMS Excellent, a shore base in Portsmouth, last September but refused pre-deployment, asking instead to be put to a non-combat role.

In court he confirmed he had all his physical and mental faculties, and his objections to orders rose from personal convictions not madness. Well we've got a live one. 'My initial objections started with Afghanistan and I wanted to investigate the reasons why we were at war. At the time WikiLeaks came along and mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan. The reports said there had been some civilian casualties that nobody knew about and they were being covered up,' he said.
Lyons had already been told he couldn't treat Afghan civilians, which added to his uneasiness about going to war. Apparently medics cannot have such scruples but just be good at putting up and shutting up - and learning how to shoot people. To put more froth in the juice the appeal as an conscientious objector status 'probably' failed due to him being an atheist rather than an ordinary God fearing good little boy. Lyons was ordered to see a Chaplain despite his anti-religious convictions, after which the Chaplain stated it was a political, rather than a moral objection.

Without the defence that he was refusing on religious grounds, this conscientious person was found guilty of disobeying a lawful order at his court martial in Plymouth on Tuesday (5th).

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Charities fund horrific experiments

4 leading medical research charities are accused of using money donated by the public to fund horrific animal experiments.
A major new report by Animal Aid describes how charity-funded medical researchers have deliberately damaged monkeys' brains with toxic chemicals, and slowly and systematically destroyed dogs' hearts. Other researchers, according to Victims of Charity, have tormented mice in water mazes, injected them with cancerous tissue, or used animals who had been subjected to special breeding programmes that left them weakened, disease-prone and mentally deranged.

 The 4 charities are Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson's UK and the Alzheimer's Society. Their collective joint annual income currently exceeds £800m.

 'What all 4 charities have in common,' says the Animal Aid report, 'is a determination to conceal the nature and extent of the animal suffering for which they are responsible.'

Animal Aid is calling on the public to withhold all financial support until they pledge to end their funding of animal experiments. This includes donations, legacies and charity shop purchases. The boycott campaign will be backed by a series of national newspaper advertisements, as well as by campaign postcards that the public is being asked to fill out and send to the Chief Executives of the 4 organisations. Reinforcing the boycott message are on-the-record statements by several anti-vivisectionists who themselves are afflicted by serious medical conditions. Their message, in relation to the animal experiments funded by the charities, is: 'Not in my name'.

While descriptions of animal suffering form a vital part of the new Animal Aid report, Victims of Charity also challenges the claim that the suffering is justified because the experiments produce significant health benefits for people.

Researched and written by hospital doctor and medical lecturer Adrian Stallwood, and by veterinary surgeon Andre Menache, the authors examine past and contemporary accounts of experimental procedures written by the experimenters themselves. They also assess scientific reviews in leading specialist journals. They conclude that animal-based research into cancer, dementia, heart disease and Parkinson's has been a 'wasteful and futile quest' - one that has failed to advance the cause of human medicine.

They call on the charities to end their funding of animal research in favour of non-animal methods that are directly relevant to people. These include the use of donated human tissue and organs, microdosing, computer modelling and imaging technologies.

Corporate influence on food production

Vandana Shiva - "Corporate influence on food production in India, and large, chemical monoculture farms, is causing a severe food insecurity crisis."