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The weekly newsletter from Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

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BACK ISSUES

SchNEWS 580,
16th March, 2007
The IDs of MarchThe NO2ID campaign is organising a national day of action on March 26th to raise awareness of Neo Labour’s database state. Also protests against upgrading of Trident, hungerstrikes against Dow Chemicals in Bhopal, riots at Campsfield detention centre and more.

SchNEWS 579, 10th March, 2007
DANISH PASTING The eviction of the Ungdomshuset building in Copenhagen sparked massive protests and riots this week. Also victory for Native American Indians and more.

SchNEWS 578,
2nd March, 2007

OVER A BARREL Oil companies are trying to complete a plan to take control of Iraq's oil but the unions are fighting back. Also refugees are returned to the war torn Congo, forests are threatened in Poland and Wales and more.

SchNEWS 577,
23rd Feb, 2007

FOREST GRUMP We have a closer look at the the pop star supported mega million pound carbon trading industry so see just what its chances are of saving the world. Also tree protests in Tasmania, road protests in Ireland and much more.

SchNEWS 576,
16th Feb, 2007

HAVEN IT LARGE Protests contine and grow around the pathway of the new natural gas pipeline in Wales. Also corporations continue to get away with it, hunts getting away with it and more.

SchNEWS 575,
9th February, 2007

THE TIDE IS NIGH According to some wacky UN boffins climate change will, if we're ;ucky, only bring about the desertification of the rain forests and the death of all coral reefs. And if we're not lucky...Also war in Somalia and loads of party and protest dates and more.

SchNEWS 574,
2nd February, 2007

SOIL OF THE CENTURY A round up of allotment issues including why they're good and why the Olympics is bad. Also updates on Brian Haw and SOCPA generally, Faslane and more.

SchNEWS 573,
26th January, 2007
ON THE SOCIAL
A look at what's ahead for SchNEWS in 2007 with a new office in Brighton's autonomous social centre. Also details of other social centres and alternative media news around the country and news on a protest squat near Oxford, Guantanamo Bay protests and more.

SchNEWS 572,
8th Dec, 2006

MARKET FORCES If you're disgusted about the British army still having 7,000 in Iraq, what do you think about there also being 50,000 private military and 'security' mercenaries there? Also a Faslane 365 updated on the week Tory Bliar announced support for replacing Trident and loads of other news.

SchNEWS 571,
1st Dec, 2006
GET ME OUT OF HERE Detained asylum seekers in Harmondsworth Detention Centre rioted this week after being denied access to TV news stories about an Inspectorate's report on conditions there. Also Israeli fruit and veg exporter blockaded, updates on Oaxaca Mexico and more.

SchNEWS 570,
24th Nov, 2006

Kiss Of Debt It’s Buy Nothing Day this Saturday (25th November), but with £1,300,000,000,000 of consumer debt in the UK, it would appear that the zombies in the malls aren’t listening. So here's a bit of info on debt and credit and all that. Also G20 protests in Australia, loads of protest and protest dates, Canadians take on the arms traders and Leonardo De Caprio.

SchNEWS 569,
17th Nov, 2006

Save The Wales Protesters occupy part of a gas pipeline site in Wales, stopping work and getting the media spotlight shone on the project. Also conscientious objection in Turkey, Shell still suck shocker, Yes Men at it again and more.

SchNEWS 568,
10th Nov, 2006

Goin' Under Last weekend was the International Day of Action Against Climate Change. Some of the biggest protests were in Australia where climate change is already painfully apparent. Also Israel's new boot boy, a Faslane update and more.

SchNEWS 567,
3rd Nov, 2006
TACO HELL
3,500 police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters retook control of the Mexican city of Oaxaca on Sunday (29th) following five months of occupation by striking teachers and other activists. Also camping carry-on, pagan party poopers and more.

SchNEWS 566,
27th October, 2006
Hamas-ive Attack An update on the situation in the occupied territories of Palestine where the people suffer from the consequences of The Wests sanctions as well as the ongoing Israeli military presence. Also Hungary, Starbucks, Brian Haw and more.

SchNEWS 565,
20th October, 2006
Loch Around The Clock Faslane 365 gets off to a running start with lots of fun and games, notching up 76 arrests in 19 days. Also the effects of clearing peat lands for palm oil plantations on climate change, new opressive laws on UK and USA, gentrification continues in London and more.

 

 
"The public are just perps i haven't nicked yet" - 2007 AD with Judgemends to Dredd
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Home | Friday 23rd March 2007 | Issue 581

WAKE UP!! IT'S YER WELCOME TO THE INCLUSION ZONE...

SchNEWS

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Story Links: Putting On The WritsIn Gold BloodStrip Showroom Bunch Of CnutsTrunk Call OutSchNEWS in Brief | Positive SchNEWS | ...and finally...

PUTTING ON THE WRITS

Cross(ly) examining the dodgy legal world of protest exclusion injunctions

“The whole point of the injunctions is to use the veneer of combating extremism to crackdown on legitimate protest. These injunctions have no impact on those committed to illegal courses of action, they’re a way of cracking down on the most effective protest movement in the UK” - Dr Max Gastone

Last week the mainstream press and civil liberties organisations took a belated interest in the human rights abuses conducted under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA). An injunction under the act has been used on environmental protestors in Oxfordshire trying to stop the dumping of toxic ash into Radley Lakes (see SchNEWS 573 and www.saveradleylakes.org.uk). It not only bans peaceful protest at the site, but also stops anybody from filming within a mile. When the censure hit press photographer Adrian Arbib, ordered to stop filming by masked security guards, and Channel 4 News couldn’t show footage, the implications for freedom of speech finally seemed to register among the Guardianistas.

Ironically, last week was also show-down time for the flagship injunction against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC see SchNEWS 411). This was the first injunction served on protestors under the PHA, setting the tone for the twenty odd which have followed. After four years of legal wrangling, largely caused by Huntingdon Life Sciences’ (HLS) legal team (Judge Holland wryly commented that the 36 ringbinders of evidence presented was “excessive by, say, about 30” - one of the more vicious aspects of the PHA injunctions has been their use to load costs on to unrepresented defendants by wasting court time). HLS did however secure an order against SHAC, and anybody ‘acting in concert’ with them (at an estimated cost of over a million quid). The order maintains an exclusion zone around the Cambridgeshire HQ. But activist lay attorney-at-law Dr Max Gastone fought a valiant rearguard action by appearing as an unpaid representative for all the unnamed protestors affected by the injunction. Crucially HLS failed to prevent the use of amplified sound during demos (the biggest sticking point for them) and SHAC now have the right to hold a national demo every three months inside the exclusion zone.

Despite this, the injunction still stands; a crucial plank in UK Plc’s attack on civil liberties and the right to demonstrate. Injunction-wielding lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden, or TLC as he probably doesn’t call himself (see SchNEWS 509), is the man behind the exclusion zones surrounding vivisection labs and arms factories. He’s made his living from introducing what amounts to PFI martial law around some of Babylon’s more noxious manifestations, pleading over twenty injunctions, banging up activists and attempting to seize their homes along the way. By twisting the Protection from Harassment Act, originally presented as protecting vulnerable people from stalkers (and which he helped draft by the way; now there’s an eye for an opportunity), into a charter for corporate repression he’s made a tidy pile.

Not content with having written the law, TLC’s legal chicanery has become notorious. Stunts include: being warned for re-writing judgements in his favour to secure disclosure from the police; amending particulars of claim (i.e. allegations made against individuals) days before going to court and deluging the court with irrelevant material. This might just be incompetence but it has the knock-on effect of upping the costs of the action meaning that anyone contesting the injunction runs the risk of bankruptcy. Judges have even forced him at times to employ barristers to sort out his messes!

CAUGHT IN THE NETCU

Although supposedly a private lawyer working on behalf of private companies, TLC has had access to swathes of information supposedly restricted for police use. He gets a surprising number of people’s names and addresses, mobile phone numbers and previous convictions. At least one activist’s personal directory stolen from his home has ended up in TLC’s possession. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising as he works hand in glove with the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordinating Unit (NETCU).

NETCU is the bastard child of such renowned organisations as the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI), the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and Special Branch. They make few bones about their status as political police. Their job is effectively to ensure that protest stays safely ineffective. As their website says, “We support the business and academic sectors, providing a centralised source of information, advice, guidance and liaison on strategies to withstand domestic extremist attacks.” Domestic extremism as defined by NETCU means any from of protest outside the law. And as was shown with last week’s lengthy prison sentences handed out to Mark and Suzanne Taylor and Teresa Portwine for office occupations and demos (see SchNEWS 580), when it comes to protesting against animal abuse in UK labs there’s precious little left that isn’t against the law.

Where TLC ends and NETCU begins isn’t all that clear – with TLC revealing in one court case that he helps draft the head of NETCU’s public statements in a classic Neo-Labour public-private partnership.

Busy Tim also finds time to be a director of Inquire, an organisation dedicated to surveillance and tracing of individuals for corporate clients.

HARASS BANDITS

But unfortunately for TLC and NETCU things are slowly becoming unstuck: the collapse of the injunction at EDO MBM (SchNEWS 531), amid revelations of the unorthodox attitude to legal disclosure, was followed by the utter failure of the injunction by Harrod’s to prevent anti-fur protests. More recently, an attempt to bang up the principal spokesmen of the SPEAK campaign, Mel Broughton and Robert Cogswell (campaigning to prevent the building of a university primate research lab), under contempt of court charges failed. It was this which led to Oxford Uni realising that the stress of it all was perhaps getting a bit much for our hapless hero and wisely decided to engage the services of a different firm.

But TLC remains as devious as ever and, still working for lucrative clients Huntingdon Life Sciences, also recently attempted to seize the property of Donald Curry. Donald had been one of those originally named on the first injunction who didn’t enter a defence. Like Lynn Sawyer (see SchNEWS 471) this meant the vivisection company were able to get a costs order against him. Unlike with Lynn however, the costs order was never enforced... until Donald got sent to prison. Only then did TLC pounce with an attempt to seize his house, force its sale and leave his wife and three kids homeless.

Despite the difficulties of organising legal support for a category A prisoners, self-taught animal rights lawyers (legal beagles?) sprang into action and were able to prove that TLC’s handling of the service of the injunction was so flawed that not only was the costs order against Donald’s house dropped but the whole injunction against him was set aside! The sticking point in Donald’s case, as ever, was accurate disclosure of TLCs relationship with the police – something he is charmingly coy about. No wonder his clients are leaving in droves.

But other, perhaps more competent, firms are now stepping into the breach and SchNEWS reckons we haven’t seen the back of the Harassment Act by a long way...

* 27th April: March against the Money Men – a demo against the financial backers of HLS. Central London – location to be confirmed. www.shac.net

IN GOLD BLOOD

SchNEWS knows already that gold comes at a steep price. As well as carving up large swathes of eastern Europe (See SchNEWS 553-554), corporations are also busy tearing up land elsewhere in search of nice shiny profits - places like Siria Valley in Honduras.

To maximise returns from the San Martin gold mine, the largest in the country, Canadian company (wait for it..) 'Goldcorp’ (!) use open cast mining techniques: whole mountainsides are blown apart by dynamite. An average of 18 tonnes of waste rock is produced to get enough gold for one ring! It may be an ego-boost to its wearer but all that’s left in Honduras is a huge scar in the landscape - lush forest making way for rubble and bare rock.

While the mine is allowed to use 220 gallons of water per minute, farmers nearby are abandoning their fields and struggling to take care of cattle because of water shortages. The mine pumps water from 12 wells for free and mixes it with cyanide to chemically extract the gold. Residents are forced to buy water by the bucket – the risk of contamination means they can no longer trust the village well. And there’s good reason to be worried: dangerous levels of lead and arsenic have been found in the blood of local villagers.

Then there are the accidents: one such ecological disaster happened when a dam collapsed at the Omai gold mine in Guyan 10 years ago. 3.2 billion litres of cyanide-laden rock poured into Essequibo River killing all aquatic life in a four mile radius.

For those in power in Honduras, a meagre 1% of profits in taxes makes mining attractive, regardless of the fact that the state lacks the capacity to regulate or control the industry in any meaningful way. But local communities are polarized over mining. Anyone daring to oppose it is told: “Mining is the only way forward! Mining IS development!”

One woman points out that you can easily tell who got one of the few jobs offered by the mine: they have a big house, nice car and access to healthcare. In a country where the gap between rich and poor was already massive, mining has contributed to a further widening of it.

Meanwhile Goldcorp pocketed a record breaking £200 million in 2006, almost doubling its income on the previous year. Sister company Glamis picked up a sweet £25m loan from the World Bank for its Guatemalan operation – one that has seen environments destroyed and activists murdered. And we haven’t even mentioned the mining industry’s complicity in child labour, hazardous working conditions, human rights abuses and forced displacement of communities.

* It’s not just Latin Americans getting done over by the mining corporations, check out: www.foei.org/mining/activities.html for a world map of mining campaigns. Plus www.minesandcommunites.org and www.miningwatch.ca both have a rich seam of info.

* CAFOD suggests actions you can take, such as picketing your local jewelers: www.cafod.org.uk/get_involved/campaigning/unearth_justice

STRIP SHOWROOM

The sheer climate-killing folly of gas guzzling 4X4s was stripped bare in Hereford last week - well if it wasn’t, at least a few SUVs were. It seems the ‘Discovery’ of a Land Rover dealership flogging their wares to middle-class school-running Mum’s angered local ‘Defenders’ of the environment who arrived to chuck paint stripper over 14 of the nearest offending vehicles, leaving a trail of destruction and slogans to boot. The action was carried out in the name of the Earth Liberation Front, who presumable are a bunch of real ‘Freelanders’... For more on international anti 4X4 action see www.4x4network.org

BUNCH OF CNUTS

The year long ‘rolling’ demo at Faslane Naval Base continues (see SchNEWS 565)... Tworecent examples of escapades followed last week’s govern-mental green light to renew Trident. On Saturday (17) fifteen Spaniards from the AA-MOC group blockaded the main gate and caused a right bloody mess by dousing themselves in red paint, symbolising the loss of blood that nuclear weapons cause. Bemused cops were so hesitant to get their hands dirty they all donned fetching white jumpsuits before arresting the activists.
Then, on Monday, it was turn of anti-nuclear Nordic warriors as twelve people from York dressed in full Viking kit successfully blockaded both base entrances, completely shutting down the place for half an hour before they too were nicked.

Rauðúlfr the Fearsome (well, that’s Richard Lane’s Viking name according to www.thequarter.org/Media/VikingName.php) said “The Vikings slaughtered tens of thousands of people but they did so over half a millennium. Trident could do the same in a minute.”

As the half way point of the 365-day effort approaches, our Faslane365in365-ometer (See SchNEWS 574) is lying discarded and useless on the floor of the SchNEWS newsroom as up til now there has been an impressive 599 arrests made (converted into a mere 22 prosecutions). Breaking the 1000 barrier is looking ever more likely...

* As if a reminder that being nuclear leads to environmental destruction and affects people across boundaries and for generations were needed, April sees the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The accident lead to the deaths of 9,000 people, caused cancer in thousands and affected millions across Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (see SchNEWS 495). Join the Chernobyl Day events at Faslane - Thursday 26th April - when activists and supporters from environmental groups and networks will be holding a series of events. The build up includes...

Nonviolent action training day: Saturday 31st March, 10.30am-4pm, Lamb’s House, Burgess Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6RD.

Prop and banner making day - all day from 10.30am Wednesday also at Lamb’s House. Bring materials, fall-out suits and costumes to decorate!Buses to Faslane then leave Edinburgh at 4am for Chernobyl Day (26) - for more info or to book places email: environmentalists@faslane365.org or phone 0131 554 9977

Faslane demos: To find out how to sign up for your 48 hrs of anti-nuclear dooty, see www.faslane365.org or phone 0845 45 88 365

* The next blockade and protest at Aldermaston has been called by Trident Ploughshares for Tuesday 10th April (just after Easter weekend). Take yer mates and help keep up the pressure!

TRUNK CALL OUT

Salisbury’s Secret Garden protest continues (see SchNEWS 579). Activists are still trying to save the park adjacent to the garden following a forceful eviction of protesters protecting the 300-year-old ground from the Council’s bulldozers. Officials wielding a possession order claimed that locals and activists were a possible danger. Increased militancy is a real problem, argued the legal documents, especially if demonstrators call out for reinforcements by sending out a ‘rallying cry’ which would result in damage to precious Council property. Arghhhhh!

Council workers promptly felled a 130-year-old sweet chestnut on 15th March. The protesters delayed the work by 4-5 hours on the actual chopping day and by over three weeks since direct action began. There are still trees left and the fight continues... Call: 07790 418023 / email: savethesecretgarden@hotmail.co.ukspacerspacerspacer

SchNEWS in brief

  • The six hunger strikers in Bhopal (see SchNEWS 580) gave up their fasts after 14 days when the State govt agreed to most of their demands in one of biggest successes since the disaster in 1984 – getting the state govt to reveal soil and ground water contamination around the accident site, provide safe water in the affected area, more medicines and staff at the hospital, and other community support. See www.bhopal.net
  • The sheriff can’t be happy as Nottingham was hit with the debut edition of “The Sparrow” newletter this month. Produced by members of the local Anarchist Federation it dishes the dirt on the council, Nottingham’s radical history and more. Get it online at www.afed.org.uk/nottingham/nottingham_sparrow_1.pdf
  • MARCH: 24 - Big Protest against the 150 mile Welsh gas pipeline (See SchNEWS 576). A march through the affected village of Trebanos, near Brecon, followed by a rally at Trebanos RFC clubhouse. Meet 2pm at the Lidl Carpark in Pontardawe to leave from the bottom of Glynmeirch Road at 2.30pm. For more check: www.safehavenpembs.co.uk & www.risingtide.org.uk/bristol/pipeline The protest camp is under threat of eviction - see www.fightthepipe.co.uk, call site mob 07903 152822
  • 31 - planning for this year’s August camp and screening of the new Reclaim Power: Voices from the Camp for Climate Action film about last summer at Drax. 6pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd, Brighton. www.climatecamp.org.uk / email southcoast@climatecamp.org.uk
  • UK Zapatista Solidarity Network gathering, Talks and films on Sat 31st, 10-6pm and Sun 1st April, 10 -4pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. www.cowleyclub.org.uk

** For full Party & Protest listings, see www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm

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Positive SchNEWS

The Vortex may have fallen (SchNEWS 579) but some of London’s elite S.Q.U.A.T Team have found themselves a new communal home. The long-dormant old Good Food Cafe in Camberwell has been turned into a vibrant open space for people to meet, eat and perhaps conspire. A collective of South London malcontents, young and old, have reclaimed this space from dereliction - and yuppie ‘development’ - and would welcome support. Suits have been seen sniffing around and licking their chops. A host of events are planned – films on Wednesdays; every friday from today (23rd) will see a home-cooked food night; Sunday (25th) they’ll be serving up a cooked breakfast followed by painting and maintenance in the building. So get down to 192 Warham Street, Camberwell, SE5 or for more info ring the Centre on: 07982 469755.

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...and finally...

One (reformed) nugget of news that cheered us up this week was that those failing clowns at McDonald’s have finally joined the ranks of those protesting. The exploitation-to-obesity burger bandits are apparently (processed) cheesed off by the definition of McJob in the Oxford English Dictionary and are planning a campaign to have it changed. The OED claims a McJob is: “An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector,” but Lorraine Homer from McDonald’s said the firm felt the definition was “out of date and inaccurate”. We agree – with their fading popularity amongst the obese masses and recent store closures, they should definitely drop the “expansion” part... Of course, it’s a bit rich moaning about definitions in any case, considering they market their food as tasty and healthy. (Big Muck ‘n’ Lies please)

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