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Social Justice E-Zine #24


When I dare to be powerful; to use my strength in the service of
my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am
afraid.  --Audre Lorde

                       SOCIAL JUSTICE #24
                        January 12, 1997
                           Kim Goforth
                           Ray Goforth





   Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE.  The
name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people
everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government,
economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental
protection, and human rights.
   Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. Feel free to make copies
and share with friends (or enemies).  Think of this as a regular
magazine without the recycling.  If there's nothing you want to
read in this issue, just hit delete.
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conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:


Some of our other projects:

Feminist Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2995
Human Rights in China: http://members.tripod.com/~hric/zhu.html
Political Economy: http://members.tripod.com/~political_economy
Progressive Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2915
SJ #24 Web: http://members.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html


          by Ray Goforth

United Press International reports that the country of Burma
(also known as Myanmar) has made owning, using, importing or
borrowing a modem or fax machine without government authorization
a crime, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Burma's military government ("State Law and Order Restoration
Committee") has promulgated "The Computer Science Development
Law" which empowers the Ministry of Communications, Posts and
Telegraphs to specify what exactly can be restricted, UPI

The government-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reports that
the 15 year sentence is prescribed for anyone who sets up a link
with a computer network without the prior permission of the
Ministry of Communications, or who uses computer network and
information technology "for undermining state security, law and
order, national unity, national economy and national culture, or
who obtains or transmits state secrets."

One foreigner has already fallen prey to the new law.  In July of
1996, Leo Nichols died in prison after he was sentenced to a
lengthy term for illegal possession of fax machines.

The new Computer Science Development Law is but the latest in a
long series of repressive measures utilized by the SLORC.  Human
Rights NGO's have documented the use of forced labor on public
works projects and the SLORC is widely believed to control a
substantial portion of the world's heroin trade.  Myanmar's
democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi has not been
allowed to take office and remains under house arrest.

The United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Human
Slavery has domumentation on forced labor in Myanmar and the use
of prisoners to lay railway lines, including the famous railway
given the name of Ye-Tavoy. Children, because of their
agility and small size, had been used to prepare the bricks. The
documentation denounces the connivance of foreign investors who
financed tourist projects exploiting the forced labour of

Given the seeming imperviousness to global criticism demonstrated
by the SLORC, many human rights activists are calling for an
economic boycott modelled upon those launched against the South
African apartheid regime.

The Daily newspaper reports that two cities in California (Santa
Monica and San Francisco) and the state of Massachusetts are now
refusing to do government business with companies profiting from
SLORC repression.  Harvard University cancelled its dining hall
contract (worth $1 million dollars USA) with PepsiCo because of
its activities in Myanmar.  The University of California at
Berkeley student government voted to end the sale of PepsiCo
products on the campus.  Computer industry giants Motorola and
Hewlett Packard have ceased doing business in Myanmar while
Mitsubishi, Texaco and Unocal continue their operations.


              From: LAURENCE.H@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
              January 5th, 1997

Sorry for not writing reports lately but I'm sick for more than a
week already.  It's very cold and I've been too much on the
streets. So I'm lying in bed away from the computer and the
office. Today is the first day I went out because we block the
city in cars.

The police has prevented us to march for a week and few times
they intervened against peaceful demonstrators who were only
walking around like prisoners or walking on sidewalks or zebra
crossings. Students continued their rallies as well using similar
strategies against the order to ban the marches. One day they
were running all around in different directions and police was
chasing after them. The free walk was only allowed on New Year's
day when half a million people gathered for the eve on central
streets of Belgrade and many more on squares and streets of other
towns in Serbia. Imagine no one was wounded and not a single
thing was broken and damaged. Never before (and never again I'm
afraid) so many people gathered in such good spirit to celebrate
their liberation from fear, from state oppression, from media
lies. All generations, sexes, nationalities, professions, sexual
orientations. So first conclusion is that no people are more or
less violent or more or less peaceful than another. It is just a
matter of historical circumstances, ideologies or manipulation.

So today a new strategy was launched against government's ban on
protests and police interventions. People were invited to come to
the square in cars and try a drive instead of walk through the
streets. Although many feared the success of such action, it
proved to be very good and useful. All the streets and crossroads
leading to the center were blocked much before the start of
demonstration and for many hours later. The police was paralyzed
and disappeared which finally enabled the march of those who
don't have cars but wanted to express their protest. So again we
showed there is no way force can beat the nonviolence and that
united and well organized and motivated people can invent
hundreds of ways for their civil resistance. It is Christmas time
in Serbia now so these action will continue for sure but we are
waiting for Milosevic's response after the holidays.

Patriarch and Holy Sinod (government) of Serbian Orthodox Church
finally issued the statement in which they openly and very
critically accused Serbian authorities. Not just that Church
blamed them for election fraud but for many other policies since
Second World War. The long awaited declaration of the Church came
in very direct, decisive and engaged way. After the letter of
many army officers and such radical denounce of the Church,
Milosevic is more and more alone, although he still has control
of police, secret state security police and mafia which are the
most powerful pillars of Milosevic's system of ruling. But the
way state media responds to the protests shows big panic in
Milosevic's circles. Today on state radio Serbian Orthodox Church
was denounced as bigger enemy to Serbian people than American
State Secretary Cristopher!!!  Need I to explain the absurdity of
this statement.

Another action which amuses us every day and encourages to
continue. Every night from 19h30 to 20h00 (state news time) all
over the city people come to their windows and balconies and make
unresistable noise with whistles, kitchen equipment,
loudspeakers, chainsaws and drills... So it becomes impossible
that anyone follows the lies on state news because of the noise.
For those who come from outside of Belgrade, we all look mad and
lunatic but we are having lot of fun.  With this action,
demonstrations happen all over and not only on central streets
and all those who didn't know or didn't want to know about it
finally know what is happening. With all these actions Belgrade
seems the most interesting place in the world to be right now.
Other towns in Serbia are maybe not that active and interesting
but it is important that protests and marches continue there as
well (Nis, Kraljevo, Valjevo, Pirot...). They also keep police

The results of severe beatings by police which happened last week
are that one died and one is still in life danger, 58 wounded. We
are all fine although some of our friends (activists in trade
unions and independent journalists) were hurt. Unfortunately OSCE
did not reach the consensus and only a suggestion was sent to
Milosevic to accept the results of local elections of 17th of
November.  Therefore all the other pressure from outside on
Milosevic's regime is needed.  Only it has to be directed against
Milosevic and the criminals on power and not against the people.

Bojan Aleksov
January 5th, 1997. Belgrade - 47th day of protest


       JANUARY 3, 1997

Amnesty International strongly condemns the execution yesterday
of eight men in Libya. The eight people, six senior army officers
and two civilians, were executed in the morning of 2 January

"These executions are an outrage" Amnesty International said
today. "From the moment of their arrest more than three years ago
their case has been shrouded in secrecy. They have been held in
unknown locations all that time, completely cut off from their
families and the outside world, and every trial hearing has been
held in camera."

The six army officers were identified as Colonel Miftah Qarrum
al-Wirfalli, Colonel Mostafa Abu al-Qassim Mas'ud al-Kikli,
Lieutenant-Colonel Sa'ad Saleh Farag, Major Khalil Salam Mohammad
al-Jidiq, Major Mostafa Ihbayl al-Firjani and Major Ramadhan
al-'Ayhuri. The two civilians were Dr Sa'ad Misbah al-'Amin
al-Zubaydi and Sulayman Ghayth Miftah.

The men were reportedly charged with "passing defence secrets to
foreign states [the United States of America]" and membership of
"a banned organization linked to agents of foreign governments".
This organization is the National Front for the Salvation of
Libya -NFSL, the main Libyan opposition group operating in exile.

The Court acquitted six other army officers, including
Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad al-Ghul and Flight-Captain Sadeq
Shaqluf, and two civilians. 

The people involved in this case were among dozens arrested and
detained in the aftermath of a rebellion by army units around the
city of Misrata in October 1993. Three of those executed gave
televised "confessions," reportedly as a result of torture, to
being American "spies" in early March 1994. They said they had
been recruited as American Intelligence agents by members of the
NFSL. Trial before the lower military court reportedly took
place at the end of 1995. Amnesty International has also received
reports that the Supreme Military Court's verdict was given and
video-taped about a month ago, but was not made public until 1
January 1997 when the Libyan television announced the news of the
death sentences. Espionage is punishable by death in Libya and so
is mere membership of an opposition group.

"The blanket of secrecy heightens our fears that the basic human
rights of these individuals were disregarded from the outset."
Amnesty International said. The organization had repeatedly
requested information about their legal status and whereabouts
and sent urgent appeals after reports were received that they had
been tortured, and then sentenced to death. To date no response
has been received from the Libyan authorities.

Amnesty International,
1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ, United Kingdom
(Tel +44-71-413-5500, Fax +44-71-956-1157)



St. Paul - Eighteen months after the St. Paul Jobs Initiative was
defeated after being outspent 10-1, the St. Paul City Council
approved a living wage resolution. The policy, adopted in early
January 1997, requires that companies which received economic
development subsidies to create or retain jobs must pay a living
wage. The wage is defined as 100% of the federal poverty level
for a household of four if health coverage is provided; 110% of
the poverty level if not. In addition, at least 60% of all newly
created jobs must go to city residents. 

"We have come a long way in the last year-and-a-half on this,"
says Progressive Minnesota co-chair M.J. Maynes. "Members of
Progressive Minnesota, along with our allies in ACORN, UFCW, Jobs
Now, MAPA, AFSCME, HERE, the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly,
and members of the City Council can take satisfaction in this
important first step toward a more progressive city policy and a
more equitable future for St. Paul."

The policy emerged out of a joint task force created by the City
Councils of St. Paul and Minneapolis to develop living wage
policies. The task force was created as a result of a living wage
initiative that Minnesota ACORN and the New Party placed on the
ballot in November 1995. While the measure lost, it generated
substantial support despite a huge corporate campaign against it.

St. Paul is now one of a handful of American cities that have
attached wage conditions to the receipt of public subsidies or
government contracts. Minneapolis is expected to consider a
similar policy over the next several months. The New Party,
ACORN, and labor unions are involved in similar campaigns in
Chicago, Boston, Houston, Milwaukee, and Madison.

For more information contact:

Gary Shiff


Adam Glickman, Communications Director           
New Party
227 West 40th St. Suite 1303                     
NY, NY 10018, USA
fax: 212-302-5344
web site: http://www.newparty.org/



Top government officials in Ukraine have warned Western
negotiators that Chernobyl will not be closed by the year 2000,
if the West fails to provide related credits by June of next

The ultimatum was given by the Ukrainians during two days of
talks with representatives of the G7 and the European Union.
Officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development EBRD) also attended the discussions, which took place
in the town of Slavutich where the Chernobyl workforce lives.

The Ukrainian delegation spelled out its position:  that the
closure of Chernobyl - envisaged under last December's G7-Ukraine
memorandum of understanding - would not take place by the year
2000, if Ukraine did not receive credits to bring on stream new
nuclear units.  The Ukrainians want to start operating two
additional nuclear blocks - Khmelnitski-2 and Rovno-4
- to compensate for a loss of generating capacity at Chernobyl. 
The Western delegates were told that the credits were "a
mandatory condition" for Chernobyl's closure.

The Ukrainians say the work needed to bring the two units into
service will require credits totalling US$ 940 million - or
US$ 1200 million, taking into account the cost of loading new
fuel.  The G7 representatives reportedly promised to work towards
a speeding-up of credit approval procedures. Last month, the EBRD
announced the signing of an agreement, under which Ukraine is to
receive a grant worth about US$ 150 million for decommissioning
and safety work, linked to the closure of Chernobyl by the year

The Slavutich meeting resulted in an agreement to set up a joint 
expert group, dealing with future strategies for Chernobyl's
destroyed fourth reactor.  The Ukrain an side rejected
recommendations by a group of international experts, calling
for the removal of the remaining nuclear material from the
Sarcophagus to be postponed long-term.  NucNet recently reported
on a Russian proposal to President Leonid Kuchma for the
structure to be converted into a concrete monolith with the
fuel debris left inside. The Ukrainians want the so-called
fuel-containing matter (FCM) to be removed as soon as possible,
and say that in the New Year they will issue the terms of 
reference for a feasibility study into the work.

The leading G7 negotiator, Claude Mandil, of France, said it
was still not clear what steps would have to be taken regarding
the Sarcophagus, but added: "We do understand the necessity of
taking concrete decisions in the near term."

Source: Ukrainian Nuclear Society

For more information contact:

Vladimir Sliviak
International Nuclear Campaigner
Socio-Ecological Union


For those who have inquired:  We (Ray and Kim Goforth) spent
several years doing progressive political organizing work in
southern California.  We moved to Seattle, Washington, USA in
1988 where we took positions with different social service
agencies. In 1995, we both completed undergraduate degrees in
political-economy at The Evergreen State College.  We are
currently law students at the University of Washington.  Kim's
area of interest is women's and children's advocacy.  Ray's is
sustainable development and human rights.