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Home | 27th January 1995 | Issue 7Morrisey

Justice? Brighton's Campaign in Defiance of the Criminal Injustice Act

SchNEWS

Right to Protest safe with the police - Shock!

Hollow victory for animal rights activists?

Protests against live animal exports continued this week round the country. Action is again being stepped up at Shoreham after the Port Authority said that live exports would continue even after the contract was up on a day to day basis. In Brightlingsea the owner of the wharf was apparently so fed up that he's going to sell up, although some campaigners are taking this with a pinch of salt. Even if it is sold it could be bought by a large contractor who transport more animals more often.

Schnews rang round the various police authorities asking them about police tactics and whether or not they have been or would be using the Criminal Justice Act against the protestors:

Brighton police told us it doesn't apply, while Essex said they'd use if it was necessary. Plymouth reassured us that there was no need and that "we have the democratic right to demonstrate and that right would never be taken away".

Maybe they are unaware of the new powers the CJA gives them to stop gatherings of more than 20 people, to arrest anyone who 'disobeys an officer' who has reason to believe you are intending to go to a demonstration, or to use 'aggravated trespass' for anyone protesting on private land.

The CJA isn't just aimed at squatters, travellers and ravers but everyone who steps out of line. At the moment Hunt Sabs are getting it - it could you next.

Our rather concussed roving reporter, fresh from the Shoreham battlefield was told by someone at East Sussex Police that she was a 'naive missy' when asking about police policy and some officers lack of numbers on jackets. She was told "You've got a very funny idea of how the police force works" before the phone was hung up!

Is this how they work? One Shoreham demonstrator was separated from his 13 year old daughter when the police moved in with batons failing to section off the crowd. His daughter terrified by the actions of the police and surrounded by people she didn't know ran to a phone box and called the police for advice... The next day her father received a call from his local Social Services, telling him that he was likely to have his daughter taken into care if he couldn't look after her better than that!

In Brightlingsea Essex Police are having trouble keeping their numbers on. Apparently they are only held on by velcro, this being used to stop people grabbing them by the lapels and swinging them around by their shoulders!

SMALL WORLD SEARCH IS ON

Small World, producers of the underground video news journal UNDERCURRENTS, have renamed their Rapid Response Unit the "Camcorder Action Network".

Small World are looking for any active camcorders round the country. This is an opportunity to film your campaign. Training is offered to anyone who has their own camcorder, and also lots of advice with selling your footage to national news networks.

Anyone on a long term campaign could also use the editing suite to make a film for the next undercurrents. Phone Paul or Corrie 071 272 3255.

HIGH LEVEL CRANE OCCUPATION AGAINST M77

The No M11 Campaign this week occupied a large crane in Hemel Hempstead unfurling a "Wimpey Out of Pollok. No M77". Wimpey have taken the contract out for the M77 which will destroy part of the Pollok Estate . Glasgow. the largest urban green space in Europe. They promise this will be the first of many actions against Wimpey and that we will not be intimidated by the CJA. Up at the No M65 Cosmic Tree Village in Lancashire, the evictions have been thrown out of court, as the contractors haven't bought all the land, which protesters are on with the landowners' permission. It now goes back to the High Court.

Results from the CJA Arrestometer

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT
Hunt Sabs 95

Travellers 11

Road Protestors 7
Tree Defenders 2
Squatters 0
(squatting sections apply from Mar)

Remember: If you're gonna do it - do it Justice?

dates

WED 2nd Feb Maidstone Magistrates. 2 hunt sabs on trial for "ag trespass"

THUR 3rd Feb Bristol Solidarity action for Cardiff Bay Barrage. phone Tania 0374 953160.

Legal Defence and Monitoring Group Benefit. Schwartzeneggar/Ugly Beat/Scum of Toytown. Spin Chats Palace, 42 Brooksbys Walk, Hackney

FRI 4th Feb Black and White Unite Anti-Racist March 12pm Churchill Square, Brighton.

SUN 5th Feb Shoreham Defence Meeting 2pm @ Brighton Unemployed Centre

SAT 11th Feb National Demo against the CJA @ Victoria Square, Birmingham 021 4495452 (followed by allnighter with Zion Train, Test Dept., acid + deep house, spacious dub, chill out space and cinema. 7conc/8)

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McDonalds in the Dock

Whilst the Criminal Justice Act seeks to criminalise dissent, other ways of silencing protest are threats of legal action and financial ruin. Crap food giants McDonalds has consistently silenced critics with legal writs, but when two unemployed supporters of LONDON Greenpeace refused to back down a David v Goliath battle began which looks set to become of the longest libel trials ever.

The libel is alleged to have occurred in 1989/90 when the defendants Helen Steel and Dave Morris are said to have distributed the "What's Wrong with McDonalds" leaflet. In a highly contentious move Helen and Dave were denied their right to trial by jury (McDonalds argued that the issues were 'too complex' to allow their assessment by a jury). The case is being heard by a single judge. Without legal aid in libel cases, the defendants are forced to conduct their own defence against McDonalds team of top lawyers. This involves not Just speaking in court, but organisation and administration regarding witnesses (170) and approx. 30,000 pages of documentation. The legal system is complex and remote from the average person. The defendants have had to learn as they have gone along - and learn fast!

THE TRIAL SO FAR

Helen and Dave believe that free speech itself is on trial in the McLibel case - the right of individuals to voice criticisms of powerful business interests. That is why they are determined to fight on, despite overwhelming odds.

GEMS FROM THE COURTROOM.

In Japan McDonald's faced a "fundamental challenge of establishing beef as a common food." Their President Den Fujita, stated "the reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years.If we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blonde."

******

McDonald's claim that their food could be eaten as part of a balanced diet was, according to Dr. Lobstein, "meaningless". He said "you could eat a role of sellotape as part of a balanced diet...

McDonald's tends to take the basic food ingredients and add fat, salt and sugar, so encouraging their customers to eat a worse diet"

******

A McDonald's representative responsible for the nutrition's guides currently available, when asked what 'nutritious' means, said: "Foods that contain nutrients." Asked if there was any food he knew of that is not nutritious, said "I do not know if you would call it food or not, but you could put up an argument for black coffee or black tea or mineral water" Asked about Coca Cola he replied "Coca Cola has a good source of energy, no question of that." He wass then asked if he thought it was nutritious, to which he stated "Yes, it can be." The senior Vice-President of Marketing, USA, had a similar view on what 'nutritious' meant. He also thought Coca Cola was nutritious, he said that it was "providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet"

Even Professor Wheelock McDonalds' consultant on nutrition, defined the word nutritious to mean "contains nutrients." He then accepted that all foods have nutrients. When asked to define junk food he said it was "whatever a person doesn't like" (In his case semolina). With disbelief mounting in the courtroom, Richard Rampton (McDonalds Q.C.) intervened to say that McDonald's was not objecting to the description of their food as 'junk food.'

******

Behind The Arches (an authorised book by McDonald's, 1987), said McDonald's "aimed virtually all its advertising at children and young families" and that he stated "we could teach the children that the hamburger was something good."

******

Dr Tim Lobstein co-ordinator of the Food Commission concluded that there were sections of the population eating a very unbalanced diet and he was particularly concerned by the diets of school children , and also by the expansion of McDonald's promotions in schools and hospitals.

******

McDonald's Annual Report records that in 1993 world-wide expenditure for advertising and promotions totalled $1.4 billion, about 6% of sales.

Paul Preston, McDonald's UK President claimed that the character Ronald McDonald was intended not to "sell food" to children, but to promote the "McDonalds experience".

It was revealed in court that Geoffrey Guiliano, the main Ronald McDonalds actor in the 1980's had quit and publicly apologised, stating "I brainwashed youngsters into doing wrong. I want to say sorry to children everywhere for selling out to concerns who make millions by murdering animals".

******

"Ronald loves McDonalds and McDonald's food. And so do children because they love Ronald. Remember, children exert a phenomenal influence when it comes to restaurant selection. This means that you should do everything you can to appeal to children's love for Ronald and McDonald's." (From the corporation's official and confidential 'operations manual).

******

Workers in the burger chains are paid low wages. McDonald's do not pay overtime rates even when employees work very long hours. Pressure to keep profits high and wage costs low result in understaffing, so staff have to work harder and faster and as a consequence, accidents , particularly burns, are common.

Paul Preston McDonald's UK president, said he did not consider the current starting wage of 3.10 an hour for crew members to be low pay. However, when asked he refused to reveal his own salary.

******

The McDonald's senior vice present ;"I can see [the dumping of waste] to be a benefit, otherwise you will end up with lots of vast, empty gravel pits all over the country.." Asked if he was asserting it was an environmental benefit to dump waste in landfill sites, he stated. "It could be yes, it is certainly not a problem."

Paul Preston asserted that Styrofoam packaging is less environmentally damaging than using plates, knives and forks. He also said that one million customers each bought a soft drink, he would not expect more than l50 cups to end up as litter. Photographs were then put to Mr. Preston, which showed 27 pieces of McDonalds litter in one stretch of pavement alone.

******

Dr. Neville Gregory, McDonald's expert witness on the rearing and slaughter of animals, said that chickens used to make chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches were crammed into sheds, with less than the size of an A4 sheet of paper per bird and no access today light. 44% of the chickens had leg abnormalities and other health problems occurred. Chicks rejected by the company were dumped into dust-bin sized containers and gassed.

At age 6-7 weeks birds were transported to the slaughter house, where they were hung upside down before being electrically stunned in water. He said that the company "had a very real feeling that animals should be kept and slaughtered in the most humane way possible." He thought battery cages were "petty comfortable"- lets put him in one, then.

******

The trial is now in its 7th month and is set to continue till the end of the year.

McDonald's have not only failed to shut their critics up, they have made everyone angrier still. This April is the Corporation's 40th Anniversary. The campaign are asking for people to make it a highly memorable occasion. Please support and prepare for world-wide protests.

If you wish to help in any way, ring the McLibel office 0l7l 713 1269 (staffed daily).

"We must not tolerate the truth being silenced by censorship or legal thuggery. In the face of mass defiance, McDonalds will be helpless and their efforts will have backfired. Other corporations will then get the message not to follow in their footsteps, and it will be a victory for all movements for justice."

All information from McLibel Support Campaigns 'Trial News" (Jan. 1995 issue).

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