Windrush Communications are corporate pirates!
Past Actions and Current NewsThis week four activists had charges pressed against them for an action in December against Windrush Communications Ltd. The four were charged with `aggravated trespass.' [action photos | action reports 1, 2]. The activists were seeking to provide Windrush Communications with a legal briefing outlining how Windrush's role in organising the Iraq Procurement Conferences is (and continues to be) illegal; when the people in the Windrush offices refused to receive the briefing, the building was occupied.
The Iraq Procurement Conferences are contract-signing events where company and corporation executives get together with other officials to organise the privatisation of Iraq. This is the blurb on their web site: "Iraq Procurement is a global initiative focused on realising the enormous trade and investment potential of Iraq. Now established as the premier business summit for Iraq, the project brings together the key business leaders and decision makers devoted to the future development of the country."
One such conference was held in London last April, another has since been held in Jordan. The London conference was targetted by activists [feature | short report]. In the end though the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges against activists protesting the event.
In this case, as in the more recent one, the charges against activists were for `aggravated trespass.' Now in order for aggravated trespass to be proved the prosecution must show that activists were disrupting lawful business. That disruption took place cannot be in doubt, which only leaves the lawful part! Activists maintain that the activity they were disrupting was anything but lawful.
How are these companies acting unlawfully?We all recall the day that George W. Bush officially declared the war over. On that day the UK, US and other forces became an occupying power in the eyes of international law. This meant that their activity was constrained by the 1907 Hague Regulations.
The implications of the `occupation' status of Iraq are significant. Naomi Klein has said that occupying countries are bound by what she termed the 'house sitters rule', "housesitters, i.e. the occupiers, are allowed to eat the food in the fridge but are not entitled to sell the house and its contents and turn it into condinmiums." More information on this, including on the important concept of usufruct is given in this Guardian article.
The CPA are selling Iraq drenched in the flesh and blood of the its people, creating a capitalist free trade zone which is a Republican dream. Privatisation of Iraqi assets was illegal under the prewar constitution. In the Hague 1907 guidelines and the Geneva conventions, occupying Powers are forbidden to violate the country of occupation's constitution. The Privatisation of Iraq counts as pillage and article 47 of the Hague regulations to which both Britian and the US are signatories to, states : Pillage is formally forbidden.
Upcoming ActionsA week of action has been called against the corporate plunder of Iraq. From 1 to 6 April, activists will target Windrush Communications and other groups seeking to exploit Iraq's resources at the expense of its sovereignty.
Meetings to plan for the week of action are to be held every monday from 28th Februrary at 7.30pm. The meeting on the 28th will be at RampART, 15/17 RampART Street, E1. In addition the International Day of Action against the War on Terror is on the 19th of March for which actions are also planned.