Socialist Worker

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Issue No. 1899

DEFENCE secretary Geoff Hoon has launched a staggering attack on press freedom. He says that "embedded" journalists, who report from within army units in Iraq and other war zones, will only be protected if they say what the government wants them to say.

The journalists' NUJ union called for a meeting with Geoff Hoon to discuss the problems faced by journalists in Iraq. At the meeting Hoon issued this chilling threat: "The journalists knew they had to write the truth in return for the protection they were given. If they write rubbish they might find themselves less well looked after."

Hoon was asked whether he could urge the US to be more careful. He replied, "I don't think it is a matter for us to say to them, 'You should not do that'." During last year's invasion the US troops butchered ten out of the 17 journalists killed. Two of them were killed when a US tank shelled the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad where many journalists were staying.

British ITV News correspondent Terry Lloyd was killed by US troops on the southern Iraq warfront. Lloyd's television news crew cameraman Daniel Demoustier, who was injured in the incident, said US tanks opened fire on the ITN team after it came into contact with a group of Iraqi soldiers who appeared to be seeking to surrender. Lloyd's crew was one of the first non-"embedded" news teams to enter southern Iraq.

In this week

115 years ago - 1889

THE Second International, a gathering of socialist parties, proclaimed 1 May as a day for coordinated workers' struggles for the eight-hour day. The call built on battles by workers in the US who had struck together on 1 May 1886 for shorter hours. During that strike the police set up a bombing which they falsely blamed on anarchists. Five were sentenced to death.

Moore's gift to US troops

BOOKS FOR Soldiers is a US website dedicated to "supporting our men and women in uniform" by sending second-hand books and DVDs out to Iraq. The people running the site may not be over the moon about one recent donation. Radical filmmaker Michael Moore has offered to send a DVD of his film Bowling for Columbine, or his book Dude, Where's my Country? to any soldier who wants one.

'Cure' that made it worse

THE WORLD Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund was hailed as a major breakthrough for the environment. The fund pays to create plantations in developing countries which are supposed to soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing global warming. But now campaigners have attacked the fund as a sham. Eucalyptus plantations in the Brazilian Amazon have wrecked vast swathes of the rainforest by upsetting the delicate ecological system.

The fast growing eucalyptus has dried up rivers in the region and destroyed the diversity of the rainforest. Those employed in the new plantations have complained of "slave-like conditions".

No easy life at college

A NEW report into university life should dispel any remaining myths about students living a life of leisure. The report by the Times Higher Educational Supplement revealed that a typical "full time" student works 15 hours a week and one in ten has to work over 21 hours each week.

Most are left with less than £40 a week after paying for housing-even less than the stingy benefits received by the unemployed. And 8 percent are left with less than £9.50 a week to cover the costs of food, travel, textbooks and clothing. Combining working with studying means that social activities are squeezed out-driving up levels of stress among students.

The number forced to stay at home while studying has rocketed-rising to a quarter of the student population. Most expect to accumulate debts of between £8,000 and £20,000 while studying-a figure that is certain to rise when the government imposes top-up fees of up to £3,000 a year.

The three biggest concerns of students were achieving high enough grades, finding a job after graduation and their level of debt.

Police fear crayon

TWO WEEKS ago a 19 year old black rap artist was walking home from a London train station, five minutes away from his home. He was stopped and searched by the police, who accused him of acting strangely. The police stop and search thousands of innocent people each year-and black people are four times more likely to be searched.

What the police did not realise on this occasion was that they had stopped the son of Darcus Howe-a longstanding anti-racist campaigner and journalist. Howe used his column in the New Statesman to explain how, 35 years ago, he was on the receiving end of exactly the same treatment at the hands of the police. The police threatened to charge Howe's son with "intent to do criminal damage" because he was carrying a crayon. Two days after the incident, the police returned and demanded that Howe provide evidence that his son lived with him.

They had received a report of two black men attempting to steal a car and had arrested Howe's son-holding him for five hours before releasing him without charge.

Who says?

"Are you looking forward to being run by Nazis? They're all Nazis."

Richard Desmond owner of the Express asks Telegraph executive Jeremy Deedes what he thinks about the Telegraph's prospective German buyers in a mock German accent

"Don't you tell me to sit down, you miserable little piece of shit. After three years dealing with a bunch of crooks I'm starting to enjoy this."

Richard Desmond responds after Deedes becomes upset with his comments

"Do you want to come outside and sort it out then?"

Richard Desmond, He then ordered his executives to sing Deutschland Uber Alles and goosestepped around the room making Seig Heil Nazi salutes

"It is good that it was from Desmond and not a person to be taken seriously."

Official of Axel Springer the German company bidding for the Telegraph

"We don't get involved in private disagreements."

Tory Party official commenting on Desmond's outburst after the Express switched its support from Labour to the Tories last week

"I have always been a socialist. Like the Express readers, we have all gone out there, made something for ourselves."

Richard Desmond who made his wealth through pornography and whose paper witch-hunts asylum seekers

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    Inside the System
    Sat 1 May 2004, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1899
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