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Issue 169, Friday 29th May 1998


"It now seems that direct actions of this kind are the only way left for people to put this genie back in the bottle."

Last Saturday saw the UK's first occupation against the growing of genetically engineered crops (GE). The occupation, in Kirby Bedon near Norwich, Norfolk, promises to last a month and is on a field previously used to test GE sugar beet. We say 'used to' cos the sugar beet was mysteriously trashed a few weeks previous.

The idea of the occupation is to transform the land into a working alternative to industrial agriculture, with organic gardens, compost toilets and an information centre.

Genetic engineering basically means taking genes out of one thing and splicing them into another. You can pick'n'mix genes with everything from bacteria, viruses, plants and animals. Over 3,000 GE foodstuffs are poised to enter the food chain around the world despite the fact that we don't know what effects eating them will have on our bodies - or on those of future generations.

On March 3rd an American cotton seed company and the US Dept of Agriculture announced they had received a patent on a technique that genetically disables a seed's capacity to germinate when planted again. So far only cotton and tobacco seeds have responded to the new technique, but in time it could mean that farmers would no longer be able to save their own seed - and instead have to buy seed each year from the massive agribusiness companies. The company in question (Monsanto) has now been bought in by leaders in the frankenstein technology. Massive agribusiness companies like Monsanto say this is all needed to help feed the world, and is of course nothing to do with profit. They could be right. If they can patent umbiliacal blood, why not sperm, then we will all have to pay to produce more job slaves and if we don't... there will be a smaller world to feed!

There are currently 332 GE test sites in the UK, but resistance is blooming - with around a dozen sites trashed in the past year. One of the occupants, Chris Cooper from Action Against Genetic Engineering, explained: "By seizing this land, our aim is to establish a working demonstration of the alternatives to the genetic engineering of crops... The action is a protest against genetic engineering and the companies responsible. It is certainly not an attack on farmers... who are losing even more of their freedoms to the big seed and chemical corporations."

Join the camp! The site is located near the sewage works near Kirby Bedon, approx. ten minutes drive from Norwich with buses from the city centre running nearby. They can be contacted on: 0831 332520 or 0961 517324. Web: www.dmac.co.uk/gen.html

  • To find out where your nearest GE site is check out www.foe.co.uk or call the Biotechnology Unit, Floor 2/G9 Department of the Environment, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria St., London SW1E 6OE 0171 890 5275. Don't take no for an answer - they are required by law to provide this information to the public.
  • For an in depth look at genetics get a copy of New Internationalist issue 293 (August '97) PO Box 79, Hertford, SG14 1AQ Tel: 01992 822899



For getting yer kit off! Cast your minds back a year and a half ago, when people stripped off at the World Food Summit in Italy, to draw attention to " the naked truth about genetic engineering". They had thought the matter dropped but now are in court in july charged with 'obscene acts'



Yet another new housing development is being proposed on contaminated land, this time an old $hell depot in Wokingham. The depot was used for storing aviation fuel, petrol, diesel, and paraffin and is acknowledged by $hell and the council to be contaminated by Hydrocarbons and Lindane (a petrol additive). A report in 1994 commissioned by Shell recommended restoration of the site for industrial use, this was ok'd by Wokingham District Council. But a second report has since been commissioned on behalf of Persimmon Homes who now want the site for property development, but unfortunately for Persimmon the report has "Identified significant hydrocarbon contamination over most of the site", and says, "further works would be needed in order to reduce contamination to levels acceptable for residential development." The report also says that contamination could have "migrated off site" but more tests are needed. One local man claims it has indeed 'migrated off site', to his back garden via a pipe line installed by Shell in 1961. He is now gathering enough evidence to sue Shell for the illnesses he now suffers from (including Radiation Poisoning!) After getting nowhere with doctors or Health Authorities he had to go to Germany to find out what was wrong with him, and was told his body contained fatal levels of Urainium and Plutonium There is more to this story, to be continued when we have more space...
  • Reading Road Busters are begining actions on the site this Monday 1st June at 2pm at Wokinham Rd, Earley Tel: 0118 986 6362



A new twist of the screw is being attempted by Staffordshire Police, in charge of policing protestors on the route of Britains first pay road in Birmingham. On Thursday they called a press conference, and in another attempt to persuade the press and public that all activists are terrorists, started with a video of the squatted cottage evicted recently. As the camera zoomed in on the various defences, a top-cop kept up a running commentary, accusing the people who had lived in the house of booby trapping it "This was a dangerously unsafe building that could have collapsed and killed either a protester or anyone else who might have gone into it. We felt it highlighted the risks and dangers that arise as a direct result of what is termed a peaceful protest". They were also shown footage of other evictions. According to an activist who attended, Mr. Plod then delighted the assembled meeja whores with the news that if anyone, be they a protester, a bailiff, or the police was injured during the eviction, all of those on site would be arrested and charged with "conspiricy to commit murder".

The old bill then spent the rest of the day nailing the following notice to the trees at the site.

"This land or building is being unlawfully occupied by tresspassers in order to prevent a proposed road scheme. It is believed that tunnels, shafts, fortifications and other devices, capable of causing harm to people, are being constructed on the land... By your presence as a tresspasser on this land... you can be assumed to be personally aware that such tunnels, shafts, fortifications... are being constructed. If you were not previously aware, by virtue of having read this notice, you are now. Although the role of the Police in dealing with peaceful and lawful protest is one of complete impartiality, the service does have a duty to maintain the Queens Peace and to protect life and property. You should be aware that any digging or tunneling... are bound to be highly dangerous... such works create an environment in which people can be asphyxiated, not to mention being a fertile breeding ground for disease. You should be aware that... a major criminal enquiry would be conducted by the police. Any person shown to have carried out such works or to have incited, conspired towards or aided and abetted such works, would be liable to arrest and prosecution..."
  • No Birmingham Relief Road Camapign 07970 301978
  • Every day in the UK 25 people die prematurely from air pollution - 20% of this pollution is caused by traffic (Source New Scientist) and 15 die on the roads. (Government road accident stastic figures)



30 activists paid a quick visit to the Europol Headquarters in The Hague last Sunday. They attached two large banners to the entrance of the building and spraypainted slogans on the walls. They also covered the front of the building with posters and replaced the Europol logos on three large garden boards by the word 'Gestapo' in gothic letters - all of which took just four minutes! When the action was finished, the The Hague city police started a hunt for the activists, eventually catching eight people, locking them up for 20 hours, and charging them with suspicion of membership in a criminal organisation.

"Who is waiting for a powerful, uncontrollable policeforce in an undemocratic Europe? Probably the political and economical elites, that want to protect their interests in a Europe which is marked by growing social contrasts, growing poverty, pauperization and civil protests."
From the group's statement

This is what they don't like about those decent Eurocops:

  • There is no parliament that controls Europol. National parliaments have nothing to say about it, and the European Parliament only receive a vague annual report afterwards.
  • There is no judge that controls Europol. Europol controls itself. Citizens for example cannot go to a judge when they feel badly treated by Europol.
  • Europol officers do not have to testify in front of a judge. In this way, no-one can confirm whether an investigation is carried out correctly.
  • Europol police officers have the same status as embassy personal: they cannot be prosecuted if they break the law.
  • Europol members can store data about someone's political ideas, sexual disposition, ethnicity and lots of other things of which Europol thinks may ever be of use.
  • Europol can store data of people they suspect maybe doing something wrong in the future.
  • All this information is being exchanged among European countries. But Europol also exchanges information with police forces from non-European countries. Also countries that violate human rights. Information gathered in torture chambers from befriended police forces can and will be used by Europol.
Before you know you will be registered in the Europol databanks as a "threat to the state"!

  • For more info on dodgy Europol plans see the brilliant Statewatch magazine: PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW.
  • Also see: www.dsl.nl/eurodusnie



2000 indigenous people from 30 Zapatista communities marched on the 11th of May to demand the release of their comrades who are hold in custody after the eviction of the autonomous municipality Tierra y Libertad on May 1st. 300 police, backed by the Mexican army smashed up buildings, terrified the inhabitants and arrested 53 people. Women were beaten when they tried to defend their sons and husbands. This is the second municipality to be attacked in this way. Foreign observers are becoming more central to the struggle as civilian Zapatista organisations try to find a peaceful solution; much to the annoyance of Mexican authorities who are deporting 80 Italians for breaking visa restrictions. Contact: Chiapas Link, Box 19, 82 Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5BB.



  • Benefit gig for the Anarchist Teapot and Kate Evans Book launch with P.A.I.N., Headmix Collective and others at the Concorde, Thursday June 4th, 9pm, £4/3

  • Barking Students who occupied their uni's finance department (SchNEWS 168) are carrying on their protest and are about to serve the University management an injunction as we go to press

  • If there are any builders out there, the protesters at crystal palace (South London) are in need of scaffolding, concrete mix, sand and aggregate. The camp's been set up to stop a £56 million 20 screen multiplex cinema complex with 1,000 car parking spaces being built in the park. 0181 761 7826

  • The National March Against Vivisection and Cruelty-Free Exhibition takes place on Sat 6th June, and is this year in SHEFFIELD. The Rage '98 marquee opens 11am-5pm, with a carnival march kicking off at 1pm. Coach from Kings Cross and transport from many other areas arranged - call 0114 2530020

  • Apparently discussion is afoot about reintroducing the beaver into SCOTLAND - a move which would bring about other ecological restoration. Send for a consultation document to Design and Publications Section, Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby, Redgorton, Perth, PH1 3EW or write to Scott Porter, 31 Bernard St, Edinburgh, EH6 6SH (before 17th July) telling him what a great idea the restoration proposal is.

  • Take note: RevolutionFest, scheduled for 4th July is off, no new date has been set as yet

  • EUROSATORY 1998, protest against the arms fair in Le Bourget, near Paris June 1-3. Contact European Network Against Arms Trade, c/o Pesthuisalaan 39, 1954 RH Amsterdam, Netherlands. Tel: +31 (0) 20 61 64 684.



Two weeks ago New York City's Mayor, Rudolph "Zero Tolerance" Guiliani issued an emergency decree to eliminate all the city's 741Green Thumb community gardens. In one of the most highly populated cities on the planet, space is at a premium and these vital green oases sandwiched between high rises, just ain't profitable enough.

"Which type of worm do you want in the Neighbourhood?" ask the flyposters featuring a picture of an earth worm ... and a property developer. The decree comes in response to community garden protesters disrupting the Department of Citywide Administrative Services auction in late March and reduces ALL community gardens to squatting status, like the Chico Mendez Mural Garden in Manhattan's Lower East Side, which was bulldozed the day before New Year's Eve (the garden was defended using tripod techniques lifted from a photo in the SchNEWSround).

Gardeners from the Lower East Side, the Upper West Side, Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx united as The New York City Coalition For The Preservation of Gardens, mobilising thousands in defence of the 20-year-old gardens and demanding their preservation as vital ecological treasures for generations to come. "These gardens are more than open space, they are the pride and soul of the people and the neighbourhood."

  • NYC's only anarchist bookshop, Blackout, will keep you updated on www.panix.com/~blackout/outrageous.html
  • Faxjam Mayor Rudolph (Sieg Heil) Giuliani, City Hall, New York, NY 10007 Tel: +1 212 788 3000 Fax: +1 212 406 3587



Did you know? Eighty five years ago those peaceful protesters The Suffragettes set fire to the Royal Academy and Emily Davison sacrificed herself under the hooves of the King's racehorse.



His Grace the Duke of Northumberland is not only raking it in at Syon House with the Butterfly House, he's also getting his 40% tax break on the property. He's also claiming land exemption on a castle. To rattle his cage, visit: Syon House, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 8JF 0181 560 0881 or Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NQ 01665 510 777



"While out with my baby daughter (then aged just six weeks) and a family friend, I was attacked by 15 drunken students...I was hit over the head with a bottle or glass, punched, kicked, and cut with a knife. I was chased 150 yards and received a number of substantial injuries including a broken nose, broken and damaged cheek, broken ribs, a number of open wounds to my head, face and hands, and cuts and bruises covering my entire body, but in the course of the struggle, to stop myself being stabbed, I managed to gain possession of the knife produced by one of the attackers and five of the students were injured with it...Despite the fact that every single independent witness formed the clear view that I was the person being attacked I was the only person arrested. After spending over a year on remand, and following a trail characterized by...every dirty trick in the book I was convicted on 2 of the 5 counts of GBH and received a sentence of 12 years imprisonment.

"My own 20 odd year history of revolutionary anarchism frequently brought me to the attention of the police and I maintained a high Special Branch profile for many years. It may be no co-incidence that the Special branch Detective Inspector involved in my arrest in Dover in 1980 on an explosives charge was in charge of the police station in Sheffield which dealt with my prosecution 14 years later. Following the Pomona Incident (the attack took place outside the Pomona Pub) they really pulled out all the stops to secure my conviction and a lengthy prison sentence."

On Monday 8th June Mark Barnsley, will have been in prison for 4 years and has called for an anniversary day of action on Monday 8th June. He will be hunger-striking for 72 hours from Saturday till Tuesday, while supporters will gather outside Sheffield Crown Prosecution Service offices (Greenfield House, 32 Scotland St) @ 10am.

Drop him a line WA2897, HMP Full Sutton, York, Y04 1PS or Support Group, PO Box 567, Sheffield, S5 OYS



The Low Pay Comission reckons the minimum wage should be a pocket bulging £3.60 an hour! The bosses union the CBI say the level is workable - but failed to mention anything about it being liveable. For a 38 hour week this would mean £137 - just over £7,000 a year before tax. Take away rent, gas, electric, phone, water rates, and luxuries like food...and you'll be left with... Mind you, the figure goes down to £3.20 an hour if you're aged between 18-21 - and forget it if you're on the New Deal. SchNEWS didn't have the time to dig much dirt on the list of trade union big-wigs and academics who come up with these figures but we do know one commissioner is Stephanie Monk, of Granada Plc, the people who sacked the Hillingdon Hospital Workers for refusing to take a pay cut. What we want to know is just how much a week do these people live on?

Disclaimer: SchNEWS warns all readers not to turn into a mad scientist and start sticking tomatos and scorpions, fish faces and bananas together. People will only look at you strangely and your're never get a girlfiend/boyfiend. Honest.


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Last updated 29 May 1998
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