Home | Friday 14th June 2002 | Issue 359

PDF Version - Download and Distribute!

Story Links:
F.B.Lied | Bug Eyed | Crap Arrest of The Week | A MOX On You | Brighton Briefs | SchNEWS in brief| Genetix Round Up | Inside SchNEWS | West Papua | Golden Shower | ...and finally... |



After decades of harassing, framing, imprisoning, or “eliminating” anyone seen as a threat to the American status quo of big business, big brother, and big shopping malls, the FBI is finally getting a taste of long-overdue justice. In a landmark ruling reached on Tuesday (11th), a US jury found three FBI agents and three police officers guilty of violating the rights of Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney.

This tale of FBI lies and repression began on May 24th 1990, when Judi Bari, a Californian environmental activist, was nearly killed by a motion-triggered pipe bomb wrapped with nails that exploded directly under the driver’s seat of her car. Judi was maimed and disabled and Darryl Cherney, the passenger, was also injured. Upon arriving at the scene, the FBI and local police decided to help Bari and Cherney through this traumatic event by blatantly ignoring evidence of their victimisation, and deciding instead to arrest them for the bombing, telling the media that Bari and Cherney were violent Earth First! activists who had accidentally blown themselves up on the way to carry out some evil terrorist plot.

And just why did the FBI and local authorities want to ignore this attempt on Bari’s life and instead use the incidence as an opportunity to slag her off in the media? Because Bari and Cherney were fighting against commercial logging in an area where the timber industry has friends in high places. On the day of the bombing, Bari and Cherney had been driving through California on a speaking tour aimed at recruiting college students for Redwood Summer - a campaign of non-violent mass protests against intensive logging. She and Cherney were seen as such a massive threat to the corporate logging industry that in the two months prior to the bombing, both had received numerous death threats from timber industry supporters. They reported these threats to police, who told Bari “If you turn up dead, then we’ll investigate.”

But instead of investigating the bombing as attempted murder, the FBI and Oakland Police, tried to frame Judi and Darryl for the bombing, accusing them of knowingly transporting the bomb that nearly killed them. These sensational false charges made national headlines, and the FBI and their accomplices kept a two-month media smear campaign going with a series of false claims about physical evidence linking Judi to building the bomb. But after delaying formal charges for seven weeks, when it was finally time for the State to present evidence in court, surprise, surprise, the FBI and Oakland Police didn’t actually have any. The State announced it would not file charges, citing the lack of evidence. The Oakland Police closed their “investigation,” but the FBI continued theirs, using the pretext of “investigating” the bombing as a cover for spying on Earth First! activists, sending agents to create files on over 500 people who had nothing to do with the bombing.

A year after the bombing, when it was clear that the authorities were making no genuine effort to solve the case, Judi and Darryl filed a federal civil rights suit against the FBI and Oakland Police Department. The lawsuit was delayed from coming to trial for nearly 11 years by legal shenanigans aimed at wearing down Bari and Cherney. The FBI gained an immense advantage when Judi died of breast cancer in 1997, but Judi’s estate, Darryl Cherney, their legal team and supporters have kept the suit alive and have cleared every hurdle and won every appeal.

The trial that had taken 11 long years to come to court finally ended with a stunning vindication of Judi and Darryl, and a $4.4 million award of damages. A full 80% of the damages were for free speech violations, showing that the jury understood that the motivation for the false arrest and illegal searches was to interfere with Judi and Darryl’s political activism. “This case is not just about me or Darryl or Earth First!,” Judi once said,“This case is about the rights of all political activists to engage in dissent without having to fear the government’s secret police.” More details: www.judibari.org or www.sf.indymedia.org

Bug Eyed

This week England became Champions of the World. Not on the football pitch, but in the Nosey Parker Premier League thanks to plans to give a whole host of bureaucrats the power to spy on us. From NHS executives to your local council, the Department of Work and Pensions to the Department for Transport; from the Home Office to the Post Office all could be getting the same powers of surveillance as the police. This brilliant idea comes thanks to a proposed amendment to the Regulation of Investigator Powers (RIP) Act. If the order is approved by MPs next Tuesday and the Lords a week later, these organisations will be able to make telephone companies and internet service providers hand over detailed personal information on any of us - without a court order.

The RIP Act was passed two years ago and authorises the targeting of groups or individuals in order, as the Home Office puts it, “to obtain a picture of his life, activities and his associates”. It also authorises the bugging of homes and cars and the use of undercover agents. It covers the interception of pagers, mobile and satellite phones and e-mail, as well as private networks, including office switchboards.
Victims of surveillance cannot even appeal under the Human Rights Act, which supposedly enshrines the right to privacy because the RIP Act explicitly prevents such appeals. Your only chance to complain is to a tribunal - which of course meets in secret.

Not to be outdone and no doubt cheered-on by the British government, the European Parliament recently gave further powers to all EU governments to retain all communications data, monitor internet, phone and email traffic. European governments are now also able to force Internet service providers and phone companies to keep logs of their users’ communications for an as yet unspecified length of time. These records will allow investigators to build up a detailed picture of an individual’s movements online, including which websites they have visited, the nature of internet searches they have made, who they have e-mailed and when.

Since September 11th governments across the world have used the threat of terrorism to pass new laws to listen in on our every move. As Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, says, “This is the latest casualty in the war against terrorism as far as civil liberties are concerned. The problem with wanting to monitor a few people is that you end up having to keep data on everybody.” Ian Brown, Director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research added “which websites we visit or where we travel with a mobile phone in our pocket reveals a great deal of personal information. Accessing this information needs to be made more difficult, not opened up to this huge range of new enquirers. I look at this list and wonder not at who they’ve added, but if I can possibly think of anyone they’ve left out.”

* Statewatch: 020 8802 1882 www.statewatch.org

* For more on surveillance: http://tash.gn.apc.org/watched1.htm

* www.stand.org.uk, the campaigning group that fought against the original RIP Act, has been resurrected to fight the new powers.

Crap arrest of the Week

For Something or Other...
Last January, Cymru Goch (Socialist Wales) organised their popular “Stuff the Monarchy” republican festival. On the eve of the royal visit, law lecturer Tim Richards, chair of Cymru Goch, had his house raided by police at 7am on the pretext that Tim allegedly suggested people start spray-painting stencils of Cymru Goch’s Stuff the Monarchy poster. He was arrested for “threatening to cause criminal damage with a stencil”, which is pretty funny since they didn’t find any stencils and no-one has sprayed any stencils. He’s in court this Tuesday 9.45am at Rhondda Court, support welcomed Info: tim@iforbach.demon.co.uk

A MOX On You

On Tuesday, a British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) train transporting a nuclear flask collided with a lorry at a level crossing in Kent. The flask was on its way to Dungeness, where it was due to be filled with up to five tonnes of radioactive spent uranium flue rods before heading to Sellafield for reprocessing. The collision came in the same week as two BNFL boats arrived in Japan to pick up enough useable plutonium to create 50 nuclear bombs.

The plutonium is supposedly on its way back to Britain after BNFL were forced by Japanese anti-nuclear groups to admit falsifying data. Although Greenpeace is attempting to stop the plutonium shipment with a legal challenge in the UK. One of the ships will be acting as an armed escort and the other will be carrying plutonium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) that had originally been reprocessed at Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria by BNFL and transported to Japan in 1999 for use in their power plants. The return of this material will be in defiance of both international and UK law.

There is fear that they could be sitting ducks for ‘rogue states’ and ‘terrorists’ that could capture the plutonium and use it for weapons. Former government nuclear physicists, ex-MoD senior staff and authorities on international terrorism warn that the journey is too risky but there is too much money involved for BNFL and Blair to heed these warnings. Refusal to take back the plutonium would sabotage around £4bn of investment between Japan and BFNL. The new MOX plant at Sellafield cost $500 million to build and therefore needs this trade with its biggest potential customer Japan to justify its existence.

As journalist George Monbiot points out “this programme can sustain itself only until the public grasps the two unavoidable facts of nuclear power. The first is that there is, as yet, no safe means of disposing of the wastes it produces. The second is that even if one were found, the monitoring and safe management of these wastes requires 250,000 years of political and economic stability. No government on earth can guarantee five.” The route the return shipment will take if the legal challenge fails is still unknown, but whichever route it takes, a protest flotilla will be there to meet it. www.nuclearfreeflotilla.org

More info on nuclear transport see www.greenpeace.org

Brighton Briefs

  • Saturday 15th there’s an Iraq sanction-busting action outside the Peace Centre, Gardner St. noon-4pm which will move down to the seafront from 4pm-6pm. People can come and get involved in wrapping and sending parcels to the Red Crescent in Iraq. Bring things to send to Iraq. Parcels will be sent from the Ship St Post Office on Friday 21st at 1pm, in defiance of the sanctions on Iraq.
  • Sunday 16th June Marxist Forum on Kashmir. What is behind the Kashmir conflict? Starts 7pm at the Phoenix Brewery Community Centre, Phoenix Place, Brighton (on the small alley that runs down the left hand side of the Phoenix Gallery on Richmond Place).
  • Tune in this weekend to Radio 4A on the new frequency of 107.8FM also online at www.piratetv.net
  • Meeting to show opposition to Brighton’s bid to be European Capital of Culture, next Wednesday (19) 7.30pm Brighthelm Community Centre, North Road.
  • Chalk Circle squatted community centre in Hove opens its doors to all this Sunday from 2pm. There will be a raw food banquet and evening chill out from 4pm with assorted holistic fluff including massage, meditation and music and events running throughout the week. They are at Medina House on Hove seafront next to a café called Marrocco’s.

SchNEWS in brief

  • McDonalds has agreed to pay $10 million to vegetarian and Hindu groups who’d taken them to court after they had failed to tell customers that they used beef based flavouring in their french fries (sorry excuse for a chip).
  • Aldermaston International Disarmament Camp will take place 13th-18th June, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment near Reading, Berkshire. On Saturday (15th) there will be a carnival and march in Reading, and on Monday an action day against AWE Burghfield, Info: 07905-917532 or www.gn.apc.org/tp2000
  • Trade Justice March against international trade rules and practices, taking place in London next Wednesday (19th) 020-7404-0530 www.tradejusticemovement.org.uk
  • 56a Infoshop are running a month of freeschool events throughout June, from vegan baking to sex toy making, from haircutting to clay oven construction. Visit them at 56a Crampton Street, London SE17 www.eroding.org.uk/freeschool
  • 15th-22nd is the week of action in support of asylum seekers. Begins on the 15th with protest outside Harmondsworth Detention Centre near Heathrow 12-2pm. Info: 07960 309457. And ends on 22nd with a National Demonstration Against Attacks on Asylum Seekers 12 noon at Malet St, London W1. Transport from Brighton. Tickets £6 from The Peace Centre, Gardner St, Brighton www.barbedwirebritain.org.uk
  • Work has started on a 100 meter wide roundabout which is part of the A701 Edingburgh City bypass in Midlothian, Scotland. Campaigners would really appreciate any help. www.spokes.org.uk/naag

Genetix Round Up

  • Instead of the backbreaking, muscle straining exercise of pulling up or snapping GM crops, a group calling itself the Brassica Broadcasting Corporation simply scattered conventional seeds on the ground over the top of a recently planted GM crop trial. The conventional and GM plants have since been growing up together, sabotaging the oilseed rape trial at Alderminster, Warwickshire. This new-style midnight operation went completely undetected at first and has changed the density of the control crop, added crop debris to the herbicide resistant crop, and rendered the results dubious, if not invalid. The group can be interviewed by email: brassicabroadcast@hotmail.com
  • Last Saturday an estimated 250 people from across Scotland met at Wester Friarton Farm in Newport for a “Tea in the Field” protest. 70 anti-GM crop demonstrators trampled crops in the field. Four people were arrested during the trashing.
  • Victory for the Pink Castle! The Pink Castle had been occupying a field in Dorset since April because the field was due to be planted with GM crops. But now the farmer’s nephew says it is packing up because the Aventis trial has been written off and they now want to plant a non-GM commercial maize crop there. On June 15th-16th there’ll be a ‘tat down’ weekend. They’re going to need plenty of people power and vehicles – so please do go and help ‘em out. There’ll be a party on the Saturday evening. More info: 07773-640159 www.sayhi.to/thecastle

Inside SchNEWS

Wayne Heaton, an anti-fascist activist, has been sentenced to 18 months for violent disorder during the Burnley riots last summer. Wayne, who grew up in Burnley, was none too happy seeing the growth of support for the BNP in his home town. So when the police defended the BNP, Wayne like many locals stood up and fought. He’d love letters of support. Wayne Heaton - GK 7292, Wing G1 8, H.M. Prison, 2 Ribblestone Lane, Preston PR1 5AB.

West Papua

The tribal people of West Papua have been fighting from independence from Indonesia since it ‘absorbed’ their country in 1969. Since then 300,000 West Papuans have been killed at the hands of the Indonesian army. Last year Dortheys Hiyo Eluay the Papuan political leader was kidnapped and murdered by Indonesian Special Forces. Benny Wenda, the Secretary General of Koteka Tribal Assembly, an important representative of the people of West Papua has now been arrested and could be the next person to die at their hands if action is not taken to obtain his release. There is a call for international support, see www.westpapua.net

Golden Shower

While the TV news and the tabloids were stuffed with flag-waving God-bless-‘er sentiment over the Golden Jubilee weekend, another story was unfolding behind the scenes. In London, police nicked around 40 people before an anti-monarchy protest, even pulling some out of pubs, apparently to ‘prevent a breach of the peace’. A protester complained “The National Front are routinely allowed to march through sensitive areas - why not us? The cops tell us that we have to apply for permission to hold a protest - but what’s the use when they’ll never grant it in the first place?”

The police were understandably touchy though after an action by the London cell of the Biotic Baking Brigade. An operative calling herself Agent Royally Pissed Off launched a chocolate fudge cake at Prince Edward during a royal visit to Hackney. A press release was issued to press and public saying “We need resources not Royals”. Meanwhile police pulled out all the stops to block an alternative Jubilee free festival. The festival was for a different royal anniversary, 10 years since Castlemorton, the King of Free Parties (see SchNEWS 354). Despite police bringing in roadblocks, dogs and helicopters, the Feeling of Life party went off anyway and ran for 4 days with thousands attending at Steart Beach on Somerset’s sweeping Bridgewater Bay.

For info about this and other free parties/festivals that happened over the Jubilee weekend check out http://uk.indymedia.org

* The Queens Gallery in Buckingham Palace was renovated with rare rainforest woods despite Prince Philip being ex-president of the World Wildlife Fund and an outspoken opponent of unsustainable logging. More info from Greenpeace Forests campaigner Andy Tait 020 7865 8250.

...and finally...

We always thought that Devon was practically another country, but a suggestion by the Mayor of a small town in Devon looks set to send the South West back into another century. Mayor Richard Brown, who isn’t too impressed with the “vandalism, littering rowdyism, boy racing, and a nasty tendency to foul mouthed abuse” from the town’s youth, has suggested the use of pillory (stocks) to deal with this “nasty sub-species of human” (i.e. any one that’s younger than him). And it may appear that legally he’ll be allowed to do it, as the use of stocks has never been formally abolished. SchNEWS ain’t too sure if the kids of Devon really deserve this punishment, but we can think of quite a few politicians who could do with getting splattered with a mouldy tomato or two.

SchNEWS warns all bug eyed snoops that we won’t be spooked. Honest.

Cor-blimley-they’re-practically-giving-them-away book offer

SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £4.50 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.50 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £5.50 inc. postage
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage £4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.


SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!