Home | Friday 5th July 2002 | Issue 363

WAKE UP! It’s yer locked up in the office...
PDF Version - Download and Distribute!

Story Links:
IDENTITY CRISIS | Internal Struggle | Crap Arrest Of The Week| SchNEWS In Brief | Party Animals? | Piqueteros Picked Off | Positive SchNEWS | Inside SchNEWS | ...and finally... |



“Since Labour came to power they have introduced draconian surveillance laws on email, the recent anti-terrorism legislation, new proposals to extend data-sharing between government departments and the “Snooper’s Charter”, abandoned two weeks ago. A worrying trend is emerging” - Karen Bartlett, Charter 88.

ID cards are back on the agenda – or as the government would like us to call them ‘Entitlement Cards’, which must mean the government and police are entitled to find out everything about you whenever they like.

On your funky new card will be your fingerprints, digital photo, name, address and an ID number. To make sure people are who they claim to be, the cards will probably incorporate a chip containing the “biometric” - a fingerprint, retina or hand scan of the holder. The card and the finger are placed into a reader, and the person is “validated”.

The government argue that it won’t be compulsory to carry a card but as it would be required for just about everything then not carrying it will be a major hassle.

Neo-Labour says the cards are needed in the fight against crime, terrorism, illegal immigration and dog fouling. Privacy International on the other hand reckon they will actually make some of these things worse. For the past 12 years the Big Brother busting watchdog has studied the world-wide implications of ID cards and concluded that they have no effect on the reduction of crime or fraud, and instead introduce additional problems of discrimination, criminal false identity and administrative chaos!

Their survey also found claims of abuse in virtually every country with the question of who is targeted for ID checks left largely to the discretion of the police. And what happens if your card is lost or stolen? In nearly all countries with ID cards this causes immense problems with services and benefits being denied. So with all these problems and costs estimated to be up to £3 billion why the hell does the government want to carry on with this IDiocy?

Well Privacy International believes that the proposal has little to do with the government’s stated objectives of reducing crime but part of a broader objective outlined in the Cabinet Office report “Privacy & Data Sharing”. As Mark Littlewood from Liberty points out “Any form of ID card scheme would require a national database storing vast amounts of sensitive information on every one of us. You would have to be supremely uncynical or incredibly naïve to believe that the database will only be deployed in catching the guilty.”

* For more on why ID cards are such a great idea see www.privacyinternational.org

* A report by the NACRO has found that CCTV only has a limited effect in cutting crime, and that other measures such as better street lighting, could be up to four times more effective. A Home Office evaluation of 24 CCTV schemes across the country showed that in four cases crime rates had risen significantly and in seven there was no effect at all. Yet this didn’t stop Lord Falconer, the Home Office minister contradicting his own department’s evidence and say “What the research indicates is that in every area there is a statistical reduction in crime.” Now SchNEWS isn’t surprised to hear politicians spin out lies, but we think that saying a success rate of marginally more than 50% is a total success really takes the piss.

* 11th September is International Day Against Video Surveillance. www.notbored.org

So in the lead up to Johannesburg we get BASD pushing partnerships like the Energy and BiodiversityInitiative, the Global Mining Initiative, and the Responsible Care program. But as Corporate Europe Observatory point out “These projects are largely an attempt to improve the corporate members’ tarnished images. They are also a reaction to pressure by campaign and community groups or as a move to pre-empt binding regulation.” For example, the Responsible Care program, long criticised as greenwash by campaign groups and academics, was established by the chemical industry after the Bhopal disaster where a Union Carbide plant leaked poisonous gas killing 4,000 people instantly and injuring tens of thousands more (see SchNEWS 238). The move effectively killed off efforts to toughen regulations.

We get sustainable mining reports funded by er... mining companies, among them notorious companies such as Rio Tinto and Freeport McMoran.

We get the European Union pushing the World Trade Organisation’s so called ‘Doha Development Agenda’ (SchNEWS 332) agreed back in November last year, with claims that it will benefit the world’s poorest countries and so contribute to ´sustainable development´. Forget the fact that corporate globalisation has increased poverty and environmental degradation around the world.

We get the UN, working with some of the world’s most notorious human rights and environment abusers.

We get warnings from BASD that anyone who dares calls for tougher regulations on corporations must be part of the lunatic fringe.

And we get thousands of delegates being wined and dined and put up in posh Sheraton hotels, nextdoor to the black shanty towns of Alexandra and Soweto.

In fact we’re sick of it. - As Corporate Europe Observatory tell us “The world’s leaders need to start listening to the demands by civil society groups and ordinary people, that business can not be allowed to continue as usual. Unless a dramatic U-turn in policy and approach is made soon, Johannesburg risks becoming little more than a propaganda circus.” Or as Jens from ASEED puts it “The World Summit promises to be a shambles but will no doubt be promoted as a success…the immense amount of money and time could have been spent on something a lot more useful.”

Internal Struggle

“Internment is clearly intended to deter political activity and dissent by foreigners in the UK. It intimidates the prisoners, their families, associates and indeed, entire communities - who are left wondering who will be next.” - Campaign Against Criminalising Communities.

Seven people have been interned (that’s a sanitised way of saying banged up in prison without charge, something that isn’t supposed to happen in democracies) in the UK thanks to the Anti-Terrorism Crime & Security Act 2001. We are not allowed to know who they are, they are not allowed to know what they are accused of - and have not been charged with any crime. The government does not have to offer any reasons to the prisoners or the public.

All of the prisoners are being held in maximum-security prisons with severe restrictions on space, sunlight, and visitors, described by lawyer Gareth Peirce as “concrete coffins”. For those who have already been subjected to torture and imprisonment in their own countries, it will feel like a home from home.
From the 17th to the 20th of July the Home Office will present secret evidence to keep the unnamed seven locked up without charge and still without giving them a chance to defend themselves in court. Anonymous, voiceless and unaware of what crime they are supposed to have committed, they could be sentenced in their
absence to years in prison.

This treatment can be inflicted only on foreign nationals who are in danger in their own countries and so cannot be deported. It ignores not only the centuries old right to Habeas Corpus*, but also the Human Rights Act 2000 and international law like the European Convention on Human Rights. The government justifies this racist and illegal behaviour by claiming the UK is currently under a state of emergency, about to be blown up any second by terrorists.

Similar abuses were perpetrated in the past against black and Irish people in Britain, with similar justifications, and we have since learned that surprise, surprise many of those interned were innocent. In Northern Ireland in August 1971, in an attempt to crush the IRA, the Army raided homes and abducted hundreds of Catholics, who were interned without trial. All were subjected to brutal treatment and ‘ringleaders’ were singled out, isolated and systematically tortured. In all 924 people were interned and the
vast majority released without charge (see SchNEWS 331).

The same treatment is being directed at Muslims in Britain and the USA today. In America 325 Muslims have been interned since Sept 11th and only one has been charged with terrorism.

The Campaign Against Criminalising Communities have called for a protest on Wednesday, 17th at 9am at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, 15-25 Field House, Breams Building, off Chancery Lane (nearest tube: Chancery Lane) 020-7586-5892 www.cacc.org.uk

* SchNEWS Vocab Watch: Habeas Corpus – the right to Habeas Corpus is the right not be imprisoned without appearing before a court.

Crap Arrest of the Week

For returning a library book late.
12-year-old Marisa Gohr must appear in an American court next Tuesday after failing to return one of the books she borrowed for a research project on dolphins. Her mum went to the original trial and told the court the book had now been taken back and a $9 fine paid. But that wasn’t good enough for the Judge who wants to see Marisa because its her who’s named on the court summons.

SchNEWS in Brief

  • Help! SchNEWS is always on the hunt for some people to help with the mail out on a Friday, but we’re desperate for some volunteers over the next couple of weeks. Wanna DTP a copy? Give us a call for details
  • La Vielle Vallette a French squatted eco-village is facing eviction at the end of month, and they desperately need help. There’s plenty of space and even empty houses. The village is in the South of France near Nimes-Ales. Tel: 00 334 66 25 32 62 http://collectif.valette.free.fr
  • The Future of Freedom – have your say about the anarchist mag Saturday 6th 3pm at Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High St, London. 020-7247-9249
  • The Bristolian, Bristol’s excellent weekly free paper is celebrating it’s 50th issue. They’re now trying to increase their circulation to an amazing 20,000. Check ‘em out, send an SAE to Box 3, Green Leaf bookshop, 82 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB. www.bristolian.org.uk
  • A Dutch Judge has ordered Netherlands Indymedia to remove links on their site to German magazine ‘Radikal’ which contains articles suggesting ways protesters might stop the transport of nuclear waste in Germany. They face a fine if they do not comply www.statewatch.org/news/2002/may/03dutch.htm
  • Cultureshop the online independent video store are looking for new political, social, independent videos to distribute on their site. If you have any contact them: ben@videonetwork.org
  • Demonstration this Sat (6th) 1:30pm outside Lewes Prison in protest at restrictions on visiting times. Transport from St Peter’s Church in Brighton at 12:30pm.
  • A new 4-lane bypass is being built between Bilston and Penicuik, in Scotland, 8 miles south of Edinburgh This will involve the destruction of woods in Bilston and will also destroy sites of local historical interest. Construction has already begun, but it’s not too late to show opposition: 07753 808709 spikesayswoof@ihateclowns.com
  • Gaelic language campaigners have been painting road signs in the Highlands with snappy slogans such as ‘Ceartas dhan Ghàidhlig’ (Justice for Gaelic) to protest at the authorities refusal to recognise the language. According to the powers that be Gaelic language signs are ‘dangerous’ to road-safety! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Iomairtean_Gaidhlig/
  • Just 2 hours before a High Court Judge in London was due to decide whether to allow a dangerous cargo of nuclear waste to be shipped back to the UK from Japan, the ships in defiance set sail anyway. The two ships are now travelling half the way around the world with enough plutonium to make 50 nuclear bombs. www.greenpeace.org.uk
  • Survivors of the Bhopal disaster in India, (where poisonous gas from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory has so far killed more than 20,000, and at least 150,000 continue to suffer serious health effects, see SchNEWS 238), last week set up a permanent picket in New Delhi calling for the fair distribution of the compensation funds that Union Carbide have been ordered to pay. Find out more at Bhopal Express a film exploring the story of the disaster is showing 14th July, Duke of York’s cinema, Preston Circus, Brighton, 2pm.
  • Last week activists helped free 34 asylum seekers from the infamous Australian Concentration Camp, the Woomera detention centre, using a car to drag down fences. Next Wednesday (10th) there’s a solidarity picket/fast outside Australia House in London. 5-9pm no food or drink apart from water. info@chilout.org.uk
  • God Save the Guillotine 7 incher out now by LSDS on Scrap Records www.dirtysquatters.com

Party Animals?

Despite the best efforts of the cops backed up with roadblocks and the trusty old Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994), free parties just won’t go away. Usually low key attracting a few hundred with no one taking much notice, over the past few months some have become festival size. The problem of trying to put on anything (ask the Welsh Green Gathering lot, SchNEWS 354) is you’ve got to jump through a million licensing hoops, or like Glastonbury forced to work with corporate cock suckers like Mean Fiddler.

Take Stonehenge where for the past few summers people have tried to sort out a festival afterwards – last year the MoD pulled out at the last minute, this year there were rumours that farmers who were up for renting their land were warned off by the cops. So instead of free festivals being at least a bit planned, and stuff like provision of toilets and wood for fires, it becomes a game of cat and mouse with the cops, with the result that parties end up on sites that aren’t always suited. One local complained to SchNEWS about the festival in Steart over the Jubilee weekend “Over ten thousand of you arrived at a nature reserve and birdlife sanctuary - at the height of the wading birds nesting season. For three days, you terrorised the local inhabitants, and destroyed the nests and the fledglings.” Guilfin responded “The site wasn’t the one chosen, confusion abounded, a few rigs took to the previously used beach, then everybody else followed. It’s not on to use somewhere like that, but if you’re not aware of its sensitivity, and the police are chasing down convoys, then it’s not surprising someone made a snap decision to take the site. What we need is places to party safely and responsibly. Dancing shouldn’t be an outlaw activity.”

So beyond the roadblocks the parties continue. Here’s one report from someone outside The Great Wall of Glasto plc: “Several thousand people in a field, dancing to underground music from sound systems to live bands, taking whatever drugs they want as the party continues 24 hours a day, and making new connections outside capitalism’s reign of terror. Sound idyllic? This was the scene at Smeatharpe, a former airbase some twenty miles from Glastonbury last weekend. Worlds apart? Well actually maybe not.
Smeatharpe should be the ideal spot for a free party. It’s in the middle of nowhere. The neighbouring farmer had no problem with the party as long as people showed him the basic respect of not using the fences for firewood (it’s lambing season at the moment) or trashing his crops. Not so tricky really, but that, unfortunately, is what happened, as well as kids burning a car left behind 10 years ago and sending a smoke signal of filth over the surrounding countryside.

Free parties and festivals are great cos they rely on the people there to sort out everything themselves – there’s no gap between organisers who sort out infrastructure and the punters. Everyone’s on the same vibe - in theory. No one will look after your land for you, toilets and bins won’t be provided. So it’s best to take a shovel (or even a trowel if you’re hitching), clear your rubbish and take it with you, and if there are people who don’t know the score, let them benefit from your experience. Free events are a great opportunity for our culture to make the connections between free space and the environment we live in. Let’s create the world we want to live in – all of us, together.”

* Saturday 13th July Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Stonehenge, George Hotel, Amesbury 10am. 0117 9542273 www.greenleaf.demon.co.uk

* For more information about the Steart festival see www.squall.co.uk/squall.cfm?sq=2002061403&ct=9

* For free party hotlines, reports and pictures www.guilfin.net

Piqueteros Picked Off

Last Thursday Dario Santillan and Maximiliano Costeki from the piqueteros (unemployed workers’ movements) of Argentina became the latest casualties in the country’s economic meltdown (SchNEWS 350) after taking part in a roadblock to demand food and jobs.

Two cops have been arrested and 100 more suspended, but while the government have blamed the police, it is the government who have been busy telling the piqueteros that their road blocking tactics will no longer be tolerated. This resulted in two people dead, 60 injured, four of them severely, and more than 150 arrested.
Dario was a 21 year old, who worked every day in a factory making bricks for a new community hall. He lived on land taken a few months ago, on a vacant farm.

On Wednesday 50,000 people gathered at the Plaza de Mayo in heavy rain to denounce the murders and state repression with banners such as ‘Maxi, Dario, always present, your comrades won’t forget you’. http://argentina.indymedia.org/features/english/

Positive SchNEWS

The newly elected President of Costa Rica, Dr. Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, has decided that he likes his country the way it is - with pristine coastlines, fragile coral reef systems and lush rainforests. He’s banned all offshore oil explorations and large scale mining and vowed to ensure its “absolute protection” from the greedy claws of the oil and mining companies who are clambering to destroy it. Pachecho is continuing a Costa Rican tradition of making unconventional decisions as Costa Ricans take pride in being the only Central American nation without an army, and one of the most peaceful countries in the region. You can bet he will have to fight every inch as pressure is already mounting on him from the oil guzzling US. You can write and urge him to hold firm at presidente@casapres.go.cr or visit www.elaw.org/campaigns/info.asp?id=495

Inside SchNEWS

5 anti-fascist activists have all been sentenced to 9 months in prison for affray. They were arrested when they tried to stop fascists from selling papers in Bristol. Letters of support appreciated to Michael Davison JN4124, John Whinfrau JN4123, Malachi Nicholls JN4126 via the Prisoner Support Group, Bradford Art and Resource Centre, 17-21 Chapel St, Bradford, BD1 5DT. Please write your name and address on the envelope otherwise they won’t be accepted at the prisons.

and finally...

Anarchist librarians in America are fighting to ensure that the US doesn’t become a nation of illiterates. Under the new USA Patriot Act, the FBI has been given rights to snoop on people’s reading habits, under the pretence of fighting terrorism. SchNEWS can’t help but wonder though whether the Act is just a ploy to bring everyone down to the same level of ignorance as George W.

Librarians around the USA are vowing to do all they can to make sure that people’s reading habitats are kept secret. In the meantime they’d advise everybody to return that flying for beginners book as soon as possible. www.infoshop.org/library2/stories.php?topic=2

SchNEWS warns all readers to beware of unidentified flying entitlements.

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

SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00 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!