SchNEWS This Time Last Year

SchNEWS 408/409, 6th June, 2003
G8 MY HAMSTER Another G8 summit; more meaningless declarations from 'our' 'great' 'leaders', more kids on the streets fighting for a better world and more police repression.

SchNEWS 407,
30th May, 2003

Get Yer Rocks Off! America "liberate" Iraq but keep their hands firmly on the Congo and their resources. Blunkett's trying to push through yet more "justice bill" laws and so much more!

SchNEWS 406,
23rd May, 2003

Bob the Bilderberg
Global £lite take young politicians under their wing for... sensible policy(?!)

SchNEWS 405,
16th May, 2003

Repression in Palestine increases as international observers are targetted.

SchNEWS 404,
9th May, 2003

Blair he goes again, PFI-vatising the country's health, education and transport infrastructure...

SchNEWS 402/3, 2nd May, 2003
Mayday takes on Lockheed Martin, 24 hour weapons of mass destruction delivery service...

SchNEWS 401, 25th April, 2003
US occupiers less popular than they thought they would be...

SchNEWS 400, 11th April, 2003
military spending skyrockets, international aid evaporates and millions in Africa face starvation. Coincidence?

SchNEWS 399, 4th April, 2003
US carve-up of 'rebuilding' contracts.

SchNEWS 397/8, 28th March, 2003
The 'humanitarian' war underway, we report the protests the media ignore so well...

SchNEWS 396, 14th March, 2003
Anit-terrorism protestors treated like terrorists...

SchNEWS 395, 7th March, 2003
A look at how America are trying to buy votes at the UN Security Council

SchNEWS 394, 28th February, 2003
With all the hot air about deposing Saddam, we check out what the U.S. has done for Afghanistan so far.

SchNEWS 393, 21st February, 2003
Reports from anti-war demos around the world

SchNEWS 392, 14th February, 2003
War mongering and anti war actions continue

SchNEWS 391, 7th February, 2003
Star Wars

SchNEWS 390, 7th February, 2003
Holocaust hypocrisy in the British Press.

SchNEWS 389, 24th January, 2003
Terrorism gets blamed on refugees?

SchNEWS 388, 17th January, 2003
Direct Action Stations
Protest - can it make a difference?

SchNEWS 387, 10th January, 2003
Oily Drums of War
George and Tony's oily war plan rumbles on

SchNEWS 386, Winter Solstice, 2002
Chompin' at the Bit
Noam Chomsky gives his views on the 'war on terror' and North America

SchNEWS 385, 13th December, 2002
UK government struck by road-building frenzy

SchNEWS 384, 6th December, 2002
Kissinger of Death
- America assigns known terrorist to investigate 9/11

SchNEWS 383, 29th November, 2002
Gone to the Dogs
- Police still suppressing sabs while hunt thugs get away with gbh...

SchNEWS 382, 22nd November, 2002
Firebranded - the Fire Brigade Union were planning an eight day strike over Neo Labour’s refusal to pay them a decent wage...

SchNEWS 381, 15th November, 2002
Florence of Arabia
- European Social Forum meeting in Florence - another example of the growing movement against Bush and Blair’s war plans that is sweeping the US and Europe.

SchNEWS 380, 8th November, 2002
Assault and Pepper
- Police brutality in Brighton

SchNEWS 379, 1st November, 2002
Putin the Boot In
- Chechen rebels attack in Moscow...

SchNEWS 378, 25th October, 2002
Tricky Treaty
- the EU Nice Treaty is here bringing enlargement and GATS - the green light to a neo-liberal Europe. Plus - Romanys under eviction, McDonalds day, Sangatte and more...

SchNEWS 377, 18th October, 2002
Sari Sight
- why Australia isn't such an innocent bystander in the Bali bombing. Also - Bougainville, Ukrainian nuclear protester murdered, Sizewell and more…

SchNEWS 376, 11th October, 2002
- Bush's self interested, pre-emptive National Security Strategy comes out as anti-war activity steps up. Also - Brazilian elections; US dock strike and more...

SchNEWS 375, 4th October, 2002
Acres And Pain
- comparing the two marches in London last week - Stop The War and Countryside Alliance. Also - cannabis cafes, polish road protests, Stop The War actions and more...

SchNEWS 373/4, 27th September, 2002
Weapons Of Mass Deception
- what is this war all about? Oil. Plus special report from Palestine, Stop The War listings, Unocal in Burma, Porton Down and more...

SchNEWS 372, 13th September, 2002
Silent But Deadly - a critical look at the US on the anniversary of September 11. Also - Xenotransplantation, Brighton Peace Centre, Lappersfort, Reclaim The Future and more...

SchNEWS 371, 6th September, 2002
Summit Rotten - report from Johannesburg Earth Summit. Plus - the new Criminal Records Bureau, latest from Chiapas, Meanwhile Gardens and more...

SchNEWS 370, 30th August, 2002
Apocalypse Soon - the suits are going to Johannesburg, as the global environment goes south. Plus - GM in Africa and Dorset, Bhopal and Union Carbide, Countryside Alliance...

  Home | Friday 13th June 2003 | Issue 410

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Story Links:
Menwith Balls | Independence from America | SchNEWS Double Whammy | Crap Arrest of the Week | Rope Burns | Group4 Analysis | SchNEWS in Brief | TB or not TB | Positive SchNEWS | Bechtel Basics | Inside SchNEWS | ...and finally...



“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.”- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four.

It’s the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. The Big Brother of all global spy installations, it’s gigantic golf balls listening in on our every word. The Menwith Hill spy base near Harrogate in North Yorkshire, is run by America’s National Security Agency (NSA), part of their global network of spy bases, which monitors the world’s communications and relays information back to NSA HQ at Fort Meade in Maryland, USA.

One of Menwith’s spying systems is called Echelon which as one report put it “has sifted the private international messages, telegrams, and telephone calls of citizens, corporations or governments to select information of political, military or economic value to the United States.” (see SchNEWS 379). Meanwhile Britain’s very own GCHQ staff filter through ‘key word’ information, then pass any juicy segments onto the likes of MI5, Special Branch and Scotland Yard. It’s believed that Menwith is capable of tapping two million telephone calls an hour.

Since 1951, the giant NSA base has occupied land in a “secret relationship” between the US Air Force and the Ministry of Defence. It employs more than 1,800 staff, the majority from America, and the ever-expanding spy station covers over 560 acres of land, surrounded by a security fence topped with razor wire, watched by CCTV cameras and patrolled by Ministry of Defence Police.

Journalist Duncan Campbell who has spent years monitoring Menwith said “Although it is impossible for analysts to listen to all but a small fraction of the billions of telephone calls, and other signals which might contain ‘significant’ information, a network of monitoring stations in Britain and elsewhere is able to tap all international and some domestic communications circuits, and sift out messages which sound interesting. Computers automatically analyse every telex message or data signal, and can also identify calls to, say, a target telephone number in London, no matter from which country they originate.”

Menwith played a crucial role in both Gulf wars and even won an award for its work during the first one. It is also central to plans for the “Star Wars” National Missile Defence programme which is part of America’s plans for “Full Spectrum Dominance”, giving the US control of space itself. Washington says the missile defence system is designed to protect the US from the potential new threat of missiles fired by “rogue” states such as North Korea, Iran and er, Iraq. However US bases in Britain will be used not for the defence of Britain, or even of continental Europe, but just for the good ‘ole US of A!

For more on Menwith contact the Campaign for Accountability American Bases: 01943-466405 or Yorkshire CND;



If you’ve had enough of those nosey neighbours then get along to the Independence from America Day/Gatecrashers Ball at Menwith on 4th of July. There will be bands, soundsystems and speakers including comedian Mark Thomas. Recommended dress is tuxedo or ball gown – and er, ladders. Why the party clobber? Coz in Mark Thomas’s words: “Menwith is a key part of the US war machine in Britain. In the absence of the non-violent zen revolution I feel the least we can do is occupy it for a party for the day.”

* Transport is being organised across the country. Phone Manchester CND - 0161 834 8283. Brighton get your tickets from Community Base, Queens Road for £10.

* Fairford Peacewatchers are also organising a party for Independence from America and a Gatecrashers Stroll. It’ll be on July 4th at Fairford airbase, where planes are loaded with B-52 bombs to drop on Iraqis. Meet up at the main car park at the top of the main street in Fairford town Gloucestershire 3pm onwards 07932 628269

* Also at Lakenheath, Suffolk, home to 30 US Illegal Nuclear Weapons, there will be a Peacemaker’s Ball. Put on a party mask and wear your best tuxedo or ball gown. Bring food, a bottle of bubbly, party poppers, ladders, Banners, Puppets, Music, Drums, People etc. More info:


A double dose of SchNEWS events on Monday 16th June:


Over the last year an incredible wave of social protest and action has engulfed Argentina. In the midst of a severe economic crisis people are improving their own lives without bosses and politicians: over 200 factories are under workers control, over 300 cooperatives have been formed by unemployed people, countless neighbourhood associations formed and many other autonomous popular initiatives. Two women from the Piqueteras (Unemployed Worker Movement) along with a full length puppet show are touring the UK about these inspiring grassroots organisations for global economic justice and social change.
6pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. Free.

More info on the tour and other dates -

With comedian and activist Mark Thomas and a speaker from SchNEWS. There will be a discussion on resisting the war plans of the New American Empire.
8pm at the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton. Free.

Crap Arrest of the Week

For having a stall!
An animal rights campaigner who set up a stall in Pride Hill, Shrewsbury is possibly the first person to have been successfully prosecuted for putting up a stall. A magistrate ruled that David Crouch had used the highway in an unreasonable manner for a number of hours over the busy lunch time period, found him guilty of ‘wilfully obstructing free passage’ and gave him a six-month conditional discharge with £150 costs. He’s planning to appeal.

For performing poetry!
In another clamp down on the use of ‘public’ spaces, a poet in William Shakespeare’s own Stratford-upon-Avon, was arrested for performing in a public space without a licence. A licence would have set him back £52. Poor old Willy must be turning in his grave.

Rope Burns

The British activist Martin Shaw, who was seriously injured when police cut his ropes during a climbing action against the G8 summit, is still in hospital in Lausanne. He is now out of intensive care having undergone operations for two broken vertebrae, a broken pelvis, ankle and foot, but looks likely to remain bed bound for at least another six weeks. At some point he will require further surgery to remove the bolts holding his ankle and foot together. SchNEWS has also received graphic descriptions of the state of his genitals, but we’re much too squeamish to pass it on. Just think aubergines.

Martin, along with the woman activist that climbed with him and another six who participated in the action, has been charged with blocking traffic on a motorway. Shaw says: “There seems to be a desire from the Swiss government to forget about this whole event. No charges have been brought against the police who cut the rope or those who set up the operation, but we are working to mount a legal case against the police and the Swiss government.”

The support group helping Martin are in the process of finding a lawyer to bring a civil compensation claim, and criminal charges against the Swiss police. A UK bank account has been set up to receive donations to help with costs. Donations by bank transfer can be paid to Dr. J Bonnet, HSBC Bangor, 274 High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1RU. Sort code: 40 09 03 Account number: 61666517.

Anybody who has any photo/video evidence, please send unedited copies to his support group:

Messages to Martin:, or write to him: Martin Shaw Room 226, 14th Floor, CHUV, Rue de Bugon 46, 1011 Lausanne Switzerland. UK based support group, contact 07931 562732.

* Guy Smallman, a photographer covering the G8 summit protests for Images Sans Frontieres had his left calf torn off after a German copper took aim and fired a succession of concussion grenades right at Guy. One witness has suggested that police were unhappy about him taking pictures of their actions before and during the build-up to the attack.

The MK3A2 offensive hand grenade otherwise known as a concussion grenade, and fast becoming the weapon of choice for riot police worldwide, is a military weapon designed to produce casualties during close combat while minimizing danger to ‘friendly personnel’.

The NUJ’s National Freelance Organiser John Toner said: “Once again police have seized the opportunity…to target a working journalist. We are making a strong protest to the Swiss government which apparently invited in the police of a foreign power to attack a demonstration.”

Group4 Analysis

Group4 the ‘security’ firm who managed to burn down Yarlswood Detention Centre last February, are now trying to recruit staff for the Centre, which is due to reopen in September. After failing to recruit enough Custody Officers at their first open day, their second open day on Thursday was again disrupted by protesters, who informed applicants what the job really involved - the arbitrary and indefinite detention of men, women and children who have not been accused of any crime.

* National demonstration against Haslar removals centre, Next Sunday 22, meet at 4pm at Haslar, Dolphin Way, Gosport, Portsmouth. Bring drums and noisy things, so the detainees can hear you! Transport from Brighton, tickets from Community Base, Queens Road or Cowley Club, London Road.

SchNEWS in brief

  • Terra Audio a new squatted social centre has opened in Brighton. Punk Bands on Friday night (13th) at 10.30pm; Sunday (15th) - Evian report back and footage, riot flicks and practical positive stuff, doors open 6pm. At the ex-Territorial Army barracks, Lewes Road. Info 07786413028.
  • The Bilston Free Festival, 13th-16th June includes an Edinburgh Punks Picnic, Osama Laden Bin skip café, free dance party every night, tonnes of bands, storytelling, fire and circus show. Bilston camp is 8 miles south of Edinburgh and has been set up to stop the construction of a privately financed road 07986 632429.
  • Mad Pride have organised a Midsummer Petefest (Sat 21st) as a tribute to Pete Shaughnessy who tragically killed himself before Christmas. Pete was the inspiration behind Mad Pride, Reclaim Bedlam, Southwark Mind and Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Mental Health Support Group, and changed the British mental health scene forever. At The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner, London. Music from Alternative TV, Nikki Sudden, The Fish Brothers, Ceramic Hobs, Melanie Clifford & Caesar Reel 7-11pm Tickets £5 07985 780385
  • Next Saturday (21) Prof. Allyson Pollock will be speaking at ‘The NHS reform: public health or private profit?’ at Cafe Diplo, The French Institute 17, Queensberry Place, London. 11am. Info 0709 234 8726
  • Banner Theatre go on tour with their new show ‘Migrant Voices’, based on in-depth interviews with Iraqi Kurdish refugees and asylum seekers living in Britain. Starting Sat 14th 3.30pm, Central Library Theatre, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. Mon 16th 1pm, also at Birmingham Central Library. Tue 17th 1.30pm, Armthorpe Community Centre, Church Street, Armthorpe, Doncaster. Wed 18th 8pm, St George’s Hall, Exeter. Thu 19th 8pm, Main Hall, University of Plymouth. Sat 21st 2pm, Main Hall, Sandwell College, Smethwick. Info 0121 440 0460
  • SPEAC (Stop Primate Experiments At Cambridge) Launch party for a new animal rights campaign in Cambridge, 5th July at the Chesterton Working Mens Club, 172 High Street, Chesterton, 7.30- 11pm
  • The government has backed down on the use of Indonesian timber in the building of the new Home Office after the site was occupied by Greenpeace for two days last week. Greenpeace claim that the timber was illegally logged though the Home Office have denied this.
  • Fed up with the Newtown Festival being turned into an army recruitment fair, peace activists in Wrexham, who’d been refused a stall at this year’s festival turned up anyway, and as well as setting up their own stall, managed to ‘landmine’ the whole area surrounding the army stalls, anyone approaching was told to keep well clear.
  • More help is needed with the SchNEWS mailout on Friday afternoons, give the office a call if you can help.

TB or not TB

Over the past 25 years over 30,000 badgers have been gassed or shot in an attempt by the government to try and prove a link between the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and badgers. Despite spending £7 million a year on the research, no link has been found and bTB has spread to new areas of the UK. According to animal welfare groups the reality is that bTB is spread from cow to cow, on the farm and in the marketplace, and the increase in infection is due to poor standards in animal health due to intensive farming practices. Very little effort has so far been put into looking into cattle to cattle transfer of the disease. Last month, the controversial badger cull began again in North Devon after a three month closed season. The Coalition of Badger Action Groups is co-ordinating actions against the cull, but it really is a race against time with traps being set at the moment. So if you can spare some time why not get down there and take some direct action.

* Some good news for badgers: The badgers of Saltdean, who escaped death thanks to wide scale protests last year, have now been promised new homes in artificial setts in nearby gardens.
* 21st June is National Badger Day. 020 7498 3220,

Positive SchNEWS

Question: How do you turn a vegetable into a dangerous pollutant?
Answer: Simple, just put it in the bin!
As much as 40 per cent of what households throw away in their bins is compostable, and yet the UK currently composts just 3 per cent of its total waste. So instead of being put in a compost bin and being turned into organic fertiliser for the garden, it gets thrown into landfill sites where it produces methane, a potent ‘greenhouse’ gas and ‘leachate’, a liquid pollutant that can contaminate ground water supplies. To get you all in on the composting habit, the Centre for Alternative Technology have just produced ‘How to Make Soil and Save Earth’ by Allan Shepherd For copies call 01654 705980

Bechtel Basics

Early last Thursday morning, several hundred peaceful protesters blocked the entrances to Bechtel headquarters in San Francisco in protest at the corporation’s involvement in the war against Iraq. Police, who outnumbered protesters, made numerous arrests and eventually got the building opened around lunchtime, by which time many employees had been told to take the day off.

Bechtel have got one of biggest rebuilding contracts in Iraq. Worth $680 million over 18 months, it includes rebuilding and repairing everything from electrical grids to water and sewage systems. The contract was, naturally, granted in backroom deals without open and transparent bidding processes, and the content remains hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Corporate Watch say that “details of the contract have not been publicly disclosed to American taxpayers, who will be paying the majority of the bill. While there is no doubt that Bechtel has experience in these areas, it is an experience from which the people of Iraq should be spared.”

To read Corporate Watch’s report on Bechtel’s dodgy dealings see:

Inside SchNEWS

The 10 people who are appearing in court next Friday (20th) on charges of criminal damage at RAF Fairford, will be pleading “lawful excuse” based on the fact that the war on Iraq was illegal, making their actions, or attempted actions, legal. This is the first time a UK court will have to make a ruling as to whether the war was legal or illegal. Support on the day would be appreciated, meet 10am Gloucester Crown Court, Kimbrose Way, Gloucester.

...and finally...

You’d have thought there would be enough bullshit within the confines of the White House without America having to import any more of the stuff, especially from as far away as India. But that is what is happening. Authorities in New Delhi are planning to send all of their cows’ dung and urine to the States to be made into compost and bio-pesticide, because it seems that, despite there being no shortage of cows in the U.S., Indian cow dung has a much higher organic content. Proof, if we needed any, that even the Yanks bullshit is a bit iffy.

We warn all eavesdroppers on SchNEWS we just whisper sweet nothings down the phone. Honest!

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