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Issue: 1982

Dated: 07 Jan 2006

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Immigrants tortured in Greece as MI6 watched

The British foreign office has been forced to admit that a senior MI6 officer was present at the interrogation of Pakistani immigrants who were illegally seized in Greece. The 28 men were abducted from their homes then beaten and psychologically tortured.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Government has millions of workers' pensions in its sights

Battles over pensions are unavoidable in the coming months if workers are not to suffer huge blows to their living standards.

Eyewitnesses to the devastating effects of the Asian earthquake

A delegation from Sheffield, including several Respect members, recently visited Pakistan and Kashmir, a region of south Asia occupied by India, Pakistan and China.

Three victories for council housing fight

New Labour’s plans to privatise council housing suffered a series of major setbacks in the run-up to Christmas. Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaigns run by council tenants and trade unionists fought off attempts to privatise housing in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, Waverley in Surrey and Edinburgh.

Bosses forced to retreat at Irish Ferries

Following the magnificent walkouts and protests in Ireland last December, Irish Ferries workers, who were occupying two ships in Welsh ports for 21 days, forced a stunning climbdown from the company.

Army Base Repair Organisation job cuts protest

Campaigners are stepping up efforts to save jobs at the Army Base Repair Organisation (Abro) workshops at Donnington in Telford.

Magistrate’s courts see first strike in 800 years

Thousands of members of the PCS and Prospect civil service workers’ unions working in magistrate’s courts across England and Wales, held a national strike on 20 December.

Safety concerns were central to tube strike

London Underground bosses were given a bloody nose when thousands of stations and revenue staff in the RMT union walked out on New Year’s Eve to defend the deal we’d won for a shorter working week.

Virgin Cross Country

More than 300 guards in the RMT union on Virgin Cross Country struck on New Year’s day and are set to be out again each Sunday in a dispute over the erosion of Sunday pay rates.

Railworkers round-up

The threat of strikes by over 500 conductors on Central Trains over Christmas and New Year forced the company to improve compensation for bank holiday working.

Huddersfield College

The strike by 19 caretakers at Huddersfield Technical College has entered its tenth week and has reached a critical point.

Reports round-up

Huge protests over NHS cuts Over 2,000 people marched through the streets of Penrith in Cumbria on Thursday 15 December in protest at plans for bed closures at seven cottage hospitals.

Pensions at British Gas

The GMB union has won significant concessions over pensions following the strike before Christmas by 6,000 British Gas engineers.

Gate Gourmet staff continue their fight

The sacked Gate Gourmet workers are continuing their battle for reinstatement. They picketed and campaigned over the holidays, despite the bosses’ insistence that they sign compromise agreements by the end of the year.

Terminal 5

Around 1,000 construction workers at the Heathrow airport terminal 5 site struck for two days before Christmas.

Education workers

Teachers in over 30 schools remain locked in dispute over the loss of pay for many staff under the introduction of a new allowance payments system.

College lecturers

Unions at City and Islington College, north London, have called a rally to defend education to coincide with the visit of education secretary Ruth Kelly on Tuesday 24 January.

Tony’s cafe occupation

Protesters reoccupied Tony’s cafe in Broadway Market, Hackney, east London on 26 December and, despite developers having removed part of the roof, have been occupying it ever since. They have been repairing the building during the occupation.

Nanotechnology: holy grail or grey goo?

Capitalism, forever in search of updated means of production, has seized upon nanotechnology as a panacea for its present ills and invested huge amounts in research programmes. Nanotechnology is the control of the properties of matter by defining shape and size at the nanometre scale—billionths of a metre. Nanoscience is the study of physical phenomena at atomic and molecular scales.

Documents reveal New Labour’s torture shame

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan turned campaigner against torture and human rights abuses, has defied a foreign office order to hand over documents that expose the British government’s complicity with torture.

How the internet bloggers broke the story

The Times, the Scotsman, the BBC, the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, ABC News, Al Jazeera, the Los Angeles Times, the Sydney Morning Herald... these are just a few of the mainstream publications that have now covered the release of Craig Murray’s documents.

UAF activists plan to humiliate Nazi leader in Leeds again

Anti-fascist campaigners and trade union activists across the Yorkshire and Humberside region are planning a protest outside Leeds Crown Court later this month to coincide with the trial of Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP).

March for Omar Deghayes

Supporters of Omar Deghayes and six other British detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay have called a demonstration to demand that the US authorities release them and shut down its network of secret detention centres.

Protests over CIA flights

Protesters gathered outside three major Scottish airports before Christmas to make their voices heard against the US’s extraordinary rendition of "terror suspects".

No justice in military families inquiry ruling

Justice Andrew Collins dealt a blow to campaigners from Military Families Against the War in late December.

Who says?

"This work has been especially difficult in Iraq — more difficult than we expected. Now there are only two options before our country — victory or defeat." George Bush

Victories for council housing

After eight housing ballot victories in the run up to Christmas, it is now time to focus our attention on building for the Defend Council Housing lobby of parliament on 8 February.


Election result shocks Bolivia

Evo Morales, the leader of the left wing MAS party, was elected as the new president of Bolivia in December. His victory is a reflection of the mass movement against neo-liberalism that has shaken the country in recent years. Valerie Mealla writes from Bolivia

Protests shake up WTO in Hong Kong

The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) ministerial meeting in Hong Kong before Christmas saw massive protests each day that the delegates met, with thousands joining every day.

Services in the developing world under further attack from WTO

The WTO did not deliver everything the most powerful governments wanted. Many factors held them back. As well as the protests, these included splits between the US and the EU, splits within the EU and splits between the poorest countries and rising powers such as China, Brazil and India.

Sudanese refugees slaughtered by police in Egypt

Egyptian police killed at least 27 Sudanese refugees, including 12 children, when they stormed a protest camp outside the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cairo.


A seasonal double whammy for Bush

For news junkies like me the Christmas break is the purest hell, an information black hole from which nothing emerges but the queen’s speech or some stupid Today programme poll.


1956 a year of revolt and revolution

There are years when everything changes at once. Conflicts built up over a decade or more suddenly explode and the entire political landscape is transformed. For the British left, 1956 was one of those years.

A race to the bottom

At the end of last year we witnessed an appalling upsurge of racist violence in Sydney, Australia. In Britain, last year brought the racist murder of Anthony Walker on Merseyside.

Marek Edelman — star of resistance among Nazi horror

‘All night we walked through the sewers, sometimes crawling, passageways booby-trapped with hand grenades let gas into the mains, in a sewer where water reached our lips, we waited 48 hours to get out. Finally two trucks halted at the trapdoor. In broad daylight with almost no cover, the trapdoor opened and one after another, with the stunned crowd looking on, armed Jews appeared from the depths of a black hole."


Winning sexual freedom for gays in the movies

There have been gay films since the very first movies were made — and their history has often been connected with broader social and political struggles.

Brokeback Mountain

Back in 1960s Iran, a favourite pastime was mountaineering. At the time, going up to the mountains was viewed by many as a revolutionary act.

Reviews round-up

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What We Think

US forces are digging in for a long stay in Iraq

While George Bush was announcing an end to US efforts to "rebuild" Iraq’s oil industry and basic services this week, contracts were being awarded to build a $1 billion US embassy complex in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.

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Australia’s racist shame In the worst racist attacks seen in Australia for decades, a mainly white crowd viciously attacked Lebanese or Muslim people in a riot that developed at Cronulla beach in Sydney on Sunday 11 December last year.

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events

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