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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 143, Friday 14th November 1997
THREE PEOPLE IMPRISONED FOR WRITING ABOUT DIRECT ACTION
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
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:
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."
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, 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.
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.
Please - send us dates if you can at least three weeks in advance...
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
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'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
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.
"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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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!!!
Last updated 24 November 1997
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