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 Snoopers Charter, abandoned two weeks
ago. A worrying trend is emerging - Karen Bartlett, Charter
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 wont 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 governments 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 didnt stop Lord Falconer, the
Home Office minister contradicting his own departments evidence
and say What the research indicates is that in every area
there is a statistical reduction in crime. Now SchNEWS isnt
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.
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 Organisations
so called Doha Development Agenda (SchNEWS 332) agreed
back in November last year, with claims that it will benefit the
worlds 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 worlds 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 were sick of it. - As Corporate Europe Observatory
tell us The worlds 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.
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
Seven people have been interned (thats a sanitised way of
saying banged up in prison without charge, something that isnt
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
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 wasnt good enough for the Judge who wants to see Marisa
because its her whos named on the court summons.
- Help! SchNEWS is always on the hunt for some people to
help with the mail out on a Friday, but were 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.
Theres plenty of space and even empty houses. The village
is in the South of France near Nimes-Ales. Tel: 00 334 66 25 32
- 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, Bristols excellent weekly free
paper is celebrating its 50th issue. Theyre 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
- 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: email@example.com
- Demonstration this Sat (6th) 1:30pm outside Lewes Prison
in protest at restrictions on visiting times. Transport from St
Peters 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 its not too late to show opposition: 07753 808709
- 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.
- Survivors of the Bhopal disaster in India, (where poisonous
gas from Union Carbides 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 Yorks 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) theres
a solidarity picket/fast outside Australia House in London. 5-9pm
no food or drink apart from water. firstname.lastname@example.org
- God Save the Guillotine 7 incher out now by LSDS on Scrap
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 wont 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 youve got to jump through a million licensing hoops, or
like Glastonbury forced to work with corporate cock suckers like
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 arent 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 wasnt the one chosen, confusion abounded, a few rigs
took to the previously used beach, then everybody else followed.
Its not on to use somewhere like that, but if youre
not aware of its sensitivity, and the police are chasing down convoys,
then its not surprising someone made a snap decision to take
the site. What we need is places to party safely and responsibly.
Dancing shouldnt be an outlaw activity.
So beyond the roadblocks the parties continue. Heres 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 capitalisms
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. Its
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 (its 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 theres no gap
between organisers who sort out infrastructure and the punters.
Everyones on the same vibe - in theory. No one will look after
your land for you, toilets and bins wont be provided. So its
best to take a shovel (or even a trowel if youre hitching),
clear your rubbish and take it with you, and if there are people
who dont 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. Lets
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
Last Thursday Dario Santillan and Maximiliano Costeki from the
piqueteros (unemployed workers movements) of Argentina became
the latest casualties in the countrys 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 wont forget
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. Hes 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
or visit www.elaw.org/campaigns/info.asp?id=495
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 wont be accepted at the prisons.
Anarchist librarians in America are fighting to ensure that the
US doesnt become a nation of illiterates. Under the new USA
Patriot Act, the FBI has been given rights to snoop on peoples
reading habits, under the pretence of fighting terrorism. SchNEWS
cant help but wonder though whether the Act is just a ploy
to bring everyone down to the same level of ignorance as George
Librarians around the USA are vowing to do all they can to make
sure that peoples reading habitats are kept secret. In the
meantime theyd 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.
issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage.
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SchNEWS and SQUALLs 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.
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