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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 143, Friday 14th November 1997



Today three editors of Green Anarchist (GA) Noel Molland (24), Steve Booth (38) and Saxon Burchnall-Wood (24), are starting a three year sentence convicted of `conspiracy to incite criminal damage'- simply for reporting on direct action in the pages of their organ. A fourth man, Simon Russell, editor of the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALF SG) newsletter, was found not guilty.

After a trial ( nicknamed `GANDALF'- GA aND ALF) lasting nearly three months and costing £2 million the jury took an incredible four days before delivering a verdict that has sent shock waves through the world of alternative press.

"This ludicrous sentence is just trying to scare us into silence, but the last thing the defendants would want is for people to stop taking part or writing about direct action. As far as we're concerned, it's business as usual."
- Jo Makepeace, SchNEWS

The trial was the culmination of Operation Washington which, according to police, had been running for two years, , and at its height involved 60 cops. Throughout the course of 1995/6, 55 raids were made across the UK, with people getting their doors kicked in for such trivial reasons as buying a GA t-shirt mail order and writing to one of the defendants while he was on remand!

From the very beginning the trial quickly degenerated into a farce:

  • One defendant, Paul Rogers, was severed from the current trial when his barrister resigned rather than call a secret state witness
  • The extensive use of Public Interest Immunity orders meant that many documents couldn't be shown to jury or defence
  • Judge Selwood, an ex major general in the army, at one point described Green Anarchist as "the most contemptuous document I have ever seen in my entire career ".
  • At one stage Sgt Gunner, one of the Operation Washington team was sent on a week long all expenses paid `fact finding' trip to Italy, because he believed that someone in Italy had receieved a letter from a defendant that was relevant to the investiagtion!
  • One of the defendants was accused of the `crime' of putting a report about the Justice Department on the internet. In fact it was North American ALF SG co-ordinator Darren Thurston who did and the court agreed legal aid to fly him in from Vancouver, Canada. However on arrival at Heathrow, he was immediately deported as an `undesirable alien' on advice from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police! (that country's equivalent of the Special Branch)
And as one defendant pointed out to SchNEWS: "It's no co-incidence that Portsmouth was chosen- a highly conservative military dependant area with the second highest conviction rate in the country."


The case has highlighted the whole issue of Britain's conspiracy laws which according to StateWatch are "the most repressive in Europe." According to the prosecution, even just reporting the facts about animal liberation or eco-defence actions constitutes incitement, let alone printing opinions in favour of these. As you can imagine many believe the conspiracy/incitement laws to be a bit of a `catch all', with its heavy penalties making it a useful tool in surpressing direct action after the failure of the Criminal Justice Act.

The implications could affect the whole of the alternative media - during the trial magazines such as the Lancaster Bomber, and early issues of Do or Die - the journal of Earth First! were held up as material likely to incite.

As the statement of solidarity - signed by over 300 groups and individuals pointed out "It is vital that the press - alternative, independent, radical, liberal and establishment - unite to defend the basic freedoms under attack in this case: freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It is not for the police to determine the limits of our discussions........ It is not the reporting of direct action which incites further direct action; environmental degradation, animal abuse, economic injustice, attacks on freedom, weapons exports, nuclear weapons, lack of democratic process - these, among many others, are the inciting factors."

What Now?

All three are immediately to appeal their convictions; meanwhile the CPS are attempting to bring Paul Rogers to trial next year, while Robin Webb who was acquited last December is facing an appeal by the Crown Prosecution to prosecute later this month.

Prison address: Write to the 3 `guilty' men at: HMP WINCHESTER, Romsey Rd, Winchester, SO22 5DS. As we went to press, the 3 hadn't been issued numbers, but the prison told us mail would still get to them. - contact Green Anarchist BM 1715, London WC1N 3XX for more details .

Barry Horne

Barry Horne, animal rights campaigner fingered for the attacks GA supposedly `incited', was found guilty on Wednesday of 15 out of 16 charges of arson and recklessness which could endanger life. After the trial, which included "basically a two-day course in making firebombs " , the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts despite not a single witness being able to identify him as the perpetrator. The charges all relate to the 1994 campaign by the Animal Rights Militia when various animal abusers' premises on the Isle of Wight were attacked, causing £3m damage. Barry gave a clenched-fist salute before he was led away; sentencing is on Dec. 5th.


Crap Arrest of the Week

For dressing up! Two girls was arrested for looking like prostitutes on TheIr way home from a Halloween party where they had gone as a "tarts". The cops arrested them both for soliciting and they spent the night in a cell. However, they were released without charge the following morning, when police checked their records and realised one of them had previously been nicked at Newbury!


South London Tree Camp

Local people have set up a camp at Canbury Gardens in Kingston to protect 76 poplar trees. The trees, that were originally planted to obscure the view of a power station, will be cut as part of a plush housing development, to allow residents a better view of the park. Permission has been given by the Liberal Democrat MP Alan MacMillan. He has been forced into admitting his "conflict of interests", by sitting on the Environment Committee that has given the development permission, and living on the affected street which will "benefit" from the enhanced view of the Thames - contact 0181 2873118 or 0181 5461827.


SchNEWS @ Home

Please - send us dates if you can at least three weeks in advance...

  • The Shoreham Protester has been relaunched, and is now a fortnightly in depth low-down on the activities of animal rights actvisits in the area. Copies (enclose SAE + donation) to PCAAS, 3 Bolney Rd., Brighton, BN2 4PP
  • 30th Nov International No-Phone day, visit instead
  • FREE BONDAGE EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE: Peter Jones Ltd. (suppliers of police equipment) Lower Monk St, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Tel: 01873 852742
  • Talking of cops if you'd like to hear Chief Inspector Martin Bailey squirming on Radio 5 Live last Sunday, and not answering questions about banned gigs/meetings in Brighton, send us a 15 min tape + SAE
  • International Genetics Conference in Blackpool on 5-7 Dec 01772 892255 or e-mail: l.smith@uclan.ac.uk
  • Anti-Mcdonalds activists who chained themselves to the Mcgates in Penzance had cars driven at them, threatened with an iron bar and were told by one mother that they were "causing children to starve" because her baby couldn't get to his burger !
  • Also a benefit gig for the McLibel Campaign on Weds 26th Nov at the Garage, 20 Highbury Corner, London N5. Bands Radical Dance Faction, Tofu Love Frogs and Citizen Fish Starts 8pm £5/4
  • And if you want a bit of culture, there's an acoustic evening the next day (27th) with Turkish and Mexican musicians at Pembury Tavern, 90 Amhurst Rd., Hackney Starts at 8.30 pm £3/2 it's a benefit for Contraflow mag and the Autonomous Refuge Centre in Hackney. Both these gigs are part of the Public Service Announcement `no issue is single' events programme
  • Sat 29th Nov The Network of Socialist Alliances are holding a conference "There is no one issuewhich defines Alliances, other than a commitment to end the free market economy and to promote socialist campaigns".Ring 01922 644705
  • Supporters ofthe L'pool Dockers, are calling on activists to target Drake International, the recruitment firm who employ the scabs. (Ar ay, mate, dats well ow ov ordah, dat is) So get yer CLAWS out (Campaign Linking Against Work Slavery) and make a date on Dec 5th @ 12.30 - 2pm to visit Drake @, Charles House, 5 Regent St SW1, near Piccadilly tube station or your local branch. Info: CLAWS c/o BM-CRL, London WC1N 3XX
  • "L'auto, c'est la mort" sang French activists (funnily enuff) on Nov 1st at the first RTS in, er, France for Lyon's Day of the Dead. "L'auto, ca pue, ca tue et ca pollue" (The car, it stinks, it kills and pollutes)


SchNEWS Away

  • In PAKISTAN, male and female TV news readers can no longer be seen on screen together, if new media directives are implemented by PM Nawaz Sharif. In adverts, female models are prohibited from blowing bubble gum or licking ice cream cones. They cannot be shown lathering their cheeks in soap commercials, or washing their hair in shampoo ads
  • SAN FRANSCISCO's mayor wants a heat-seeking helicopter to hunt for squatters and homeless people in Oakland, US. While his request for a $100,000 thermal imaging system is hold, Food Not Bombs demonstrated on Monday night in Golden Gate Park, carrying a figure of Mayor Brown dressed as a clown while calling on the City to end its zero tolerence sweeps of homeless `encapments'
  • The owner of a supermarket in Oporto, PORTUGAL, who turned to the police for help after a robbery, was surprised to find himself face to face with the culprit - the copper behind the desk at the local station! The officer is now under investigation for robbery of over £1.5 million
  • A reader of Republican News writes from FRANCE: "What's all the fuss about the Adams-Blair handshake - they're lucky it didn't all take place in my country. The president of Sinn Fein might have actually kissed Tony Blair "
  • Keep abreast of world events with the Housmans Peace Diary and WORLD Peace Directory 1998. A fully revised edition lists 2000 national and international organisations. £6.95 but discounts are available for bulk orders. Contact Housmans , 5 Caledonian Rd , London NI 9DX
  • Inspired by SchNEWS, activists in Austin, TEXAS , have started their own thang. Good Luck to `The Left Wing Flyer' (bad name, dudes) which is `For Doing Good Things and Fighting Bad Stuff!" (yeeha!). Round em up on: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/6897/


The + Files

The Ecological Design Association is a non-profit making charity that links designers of all disciplines in a global network to encourage the practice of ecological design for sustainable living - aimed at all designers,. Membership includes directory, newsletter, reference library, networking and local groups. Info: SAE to EDA, The British School, Slad Rd, Glos GL5 1QW


Mince the Quorn

Mindful of the `token' Anti-Hunting Bill getting its reading on the 28th, the blood-junkies of Britain have announced a massive `show' hunt in Leicestershire on the 27th- a joint meet of the `Big 3" foxhunts: Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir. Seeing as each often musters 150+ inbreeds each, you can imagine the size of the chinless cavalry which this event will attract. Contact HSA on 01273 622827 to arrange transport.


We Need You...

We're organising a Training Day for Weds 26th Nov at 12 noon.Get the low down on writing, desk top publishing and databasing your favourite weekly rag. Ring the office and book your place now. We also need someone to cycle/jog/skateboard round town on Friday afternoons dropping SchNEWS off at various shops, pubs and cafes. If you're up for it ring the office on 685913


Inside SchNEWS

John Wesley-Davies (a.k.a. Inverness John) is being held on remand for non-appearance for Manchester Airport related offences. Please send new books, letters, Postal Orders, phone cards or stamps to him. John Welsey-Davies CH4 539, HMP Walton, Hornby Rd. Liverpool L9 3DF.

A 48 hour hunger strike by framed prisoners and their supporters , has been organised by Action Against Injustice(AAI) on Nov 27th-29th . Victoria Sq. Birmingham, near Criminal Cases Review Commission. HQ. Help to highlight individual campaigns and level of corruption in the justice system. Further info contact : Chris Moore , AAI PO Box 858 , London E9 5HU

Rafael Ballarin is on remand awaiting trial, for allegedly stabbing a neo nazi skinhead after being savagely attacked in Madrid. The police turned the story around saying Ballarin attacked a "innocent group of students". Letters of support to Rafael Ballerian Bergua, Centro Penitenciario Madrid1, Av. Los Poblados s/n. Carabanchel (Madrid) Spain.


International No-Shop Day!

"Tell Santa to chill out and give us all a break from the Xmas Hype" It's here again - a symbolic day of witty and thought provoking events to challange the unsustainable excesses of consumer culture. This year the event is expected to have snowballed. On Sat 29th Nov no-shoppers around the country (and all around the world) will be taking their "enough is enough" message to the public. Last year street theatre, spoof products and send ups of advertising corporations were commonplace. More info: ENOUGH on 0161 226 6668 One World Centre, 6 Mount St., Manchester, M2 5NS. Email: ethicon@mcr1.poptel.org.uk Web: http://envirolink.org/issues/enough/

And, in a similar vein, the last week in April has been designated `Turn off TV Week'. More info from White Dot (anti-TV campaign/ newsletter): PO box 2116, Hove BN3 3LR.


and finally...

Those lamenting the factionalism of some radical movements in Britain might like to look to Berlin, where a battle has erupted between anarcho-sausage lovers and animal lib groups behind a recent spate of property attacks on butchers. A comminiqué put out by a group calling itself `Autonomous Action to Save the Bockwurst"* shows that Berlin's anarchists do not tolerate bourgeois interlopers in their community; "go back where you come from. Prenzlauer Berg is not a playground for fanatical esoterics who call themselves leftwing." These anarchos don't tolerate posh resteraunts too well either; a few years ago they threw bags of manure at diners in an attack that, in contrast to the anti-meat trade sabotage, seems to have been class motivated. Someone go open an upmarket meat restaurent and let the radical factions unite in opposition.

* Bockwurst: n. Type of German sausage. - SchNEWS VocabWatch


Are WE Next?

This week's disclaimer has been replaced for this important announcement to the Police Forces of the U.K. Instead, SchNEWS issues this Copper Challenge... " Comeanaveagoifyathinkyerardenuff!!!"


Remember to Write to a Prisoner not an MP.
A Special hello to all you reading this inside!!!

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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
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Last updated 24 November 1997
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)