Disarm DSEi 2003
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SchNEWS This Time Last Year

SchNEWS 420, 29th August, 2003
AGRI-VULTURES WTO's ministerial meeting in Cancun - the world's fat cats sustain environment- destroying, corporate agriculture. Also, Carbon reduction, Refugee action, DSEi arms fair looms and more...

SchNEWS 419, 22nd August, 2003
SHELTER SKELTER Yarl's Wood trial comes to an end with Group 4 coming out as a laughing stock. Also, America's centralised blackout, Burma update and a new primate research centre in Cambridge.

SchNEWS 418, 15th August, 2003
THIRST FOR PROFIT The WTO's "privatise everything" plan rumbles forward towards Cancun and a water supply near you... Also, oil pipeline protests in Thailand and anti-social behaviour order to be served on animal rights protester

SchNEWS 417, 8th August, 2003
MAI EYE! Corporate and governmental fat cats line up for another farcical round of trade talks to 'level the trading field'. Plus the Israeli "security wall" and an activist web site host jailed (eek!)

SchNEWS 416, 25th July, 2003
I'M AN AMERICAN, GET ME OUT OF HERE! US troops queue to get out of Iraq while US corporations queue to get in... Plus Chechenya, Organic school dinners, Coca-killer and more...

SchNEWS 415, 18th July, 2003
VISION CHIPS Real Freak Horrorshow Big Brother has landed. Plus, Sherwood Forest, Simon Shaw, Lockheed Martin and more...

SchNEWS 414, 11th July, 2003
GAM SHOW Massacre in Aceh, (Indonesia again pummels state wanting independence with British arms). Plus, Victory for Arundel, rest of country not so lucky..

SchNEWS 413, 4th July, 2003
POVERTY EXPRESS Multinational biotech companies, with full backing from Bush and his cronies, try to save the world by shoving GM leftovers down the throats of the worlds poor.

SchNEWS 410, 13th June, 2003
MENWITH BALLS The US spy base at Menwith Hill gets some overdure attention. Plus Martin Shaw update; Group4 have recruitment problems;

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...




Home | Friday 5th September 2003 | Issue 421


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Story Links:
MoD's and WRECKERS | Fluffy DSEi | Crap Arrest of the Week | Disarm DSEi | Bright Sparks | R.I.P. | HMP Woodhell | DSEi Diary | SchNEWS in Brief | Positive SchNEWS | ...and finally...



This weekend, thousands of terrorists from all over the world will be descending on the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands for the DSEI Arms Fair.

To greet them will be one million pounds worth of security – paid for by the taxpayer. Two thousand officers from the Met, 300 British Transport Police, City of London police officers, Ministry of Defence police, plain clothes detectives, security guards and specialists from the Met’s marine, dogs and horse units, have all been drafted in. Not to arrest those selling weapons of mass destruction but to protect those same, poor, arms dealers from demonstrators who’ve vowed to try and shut down this ‘trade in death.’

Welcome to the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi - pronounced dicey) Exhibition 2003, Europe’s biggest arms fair. Opening the fair will be Minister of War Geoff Hoon, while delegations from no less than sixty countries will have their accommodation and board paid for by the taxpayer while they shop for weapons. Somewhat astutely, a senior officer from the Met says they are anticipating a “major public order headache.”

The UK arms industry accounts for 20% of world weapon sales and after agriculture is the most heavily government subsided industry. Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) say that MoD spending on research and development has increased by 27% over the last year. Dr. Stuart Parkinson, SGR Director said: “Much of the MoD’s research and development is geared towards making weaponry, sometimes for export to regimes with bad human rights records. It would be much more ethical to use the scientific expertise to accelerate, for example, the development of environmentally-friendly technologies.”

At the first DSEi in 1999, two separate breaches of the International Landmines Act were uncovered by journalists. And in 2001, as planes were crashing into the World Trade Centre, 14 different Middle Eastern nations were shopping for weapons at the Excel Centre, side by side with the US, Israel, Australia and the UK. While thousands of other events around the world were cancelled out of respect for the dead, DSEi stayed open and arms dealers clocked up sales to Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US, Colombia, China and Russia.sales to Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US, Colombia, China and Russia.


Fluffy DSEi

Poor human rights record? There are two invitation lists to DSEi, the official MoD list, which this year includes feuding neighbours India and Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, and ‘axis of evil’ state Syria. Then there’s the organisers, Spearhead Ltd.’s, own secret list, over which the MoD has consultation but ultimately no control.

Spearhead have invited Afghanistan, Angola, Tanzania, and Israel. No cash for health and education? Well DSEi has something for everyone. The whole of next Thursday (11th) is dedicated to a conference called ‘Making Defence Affordable?’

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is stunned: “Following controversy about the UK licensing a £28million military air traffic control system to Tanzania, which it neither needs nor can afford, it is disturbing that Tanzania - one of the very poorest countries in the world - has been invited to buy yet more arms.” Martin Hogbin, of CAAT underlines the obvious hypocrisy at work at DSEi: “If the UK was serious about developing a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, we would not promote sales of more arms into the region.”

Companies exhibiting, alongside weapons giants Lockheed Martin and BAE, include Bulgarian small arms firm Arsenal Company which is reported to have sold £5-6 million of arms to Chad and Angola, as well as supplying arms to Sierra Leone in breach of the UN embargo. “Many of these companies have been fingered for shipping arms, sometimes illegally, into regions of terrible conflict like the Congo” says Hogbin. Others manufacture some of the most brutal and indiscriminate weapons in the world, including landmines and cluster bombs. At least two producers of depleted uranium shells will be exhibiting this year.

In a half-arsed attempt at political correctness, Spearhead have asked exhibitors not to display cluster bombs at DSEi! According to UNICEF, more than 1000 children have been injured by cluster bomblets and other unexploded weapons since the ‘end’ of the war in Iraq. Of course, cluster bombs can still be bought at DSEi, just not displayed, and like everything else on sale there they will not be subject to UK export controls.
In the run up to DSEi activist groups have been targeting exhibiting UK companies, such as Fluent in Sheffield and Cambridge Consultants. Two weeks ago Spearhead’s head office in New Malden was occupied, and on Monday protesters - bound together by arm tubes - blockaded the gates to the ExCel Centre for five hours, preventing tanks being delivered to the exhibition. Police used cutting equipment to remove the tubes and a number of people were arrested under charges of obstructing the highway.

The police have promised to treat demonstrators “in the same sort of way as the May Day riots” and have been issued blanket stop and search laws under the Terrorism Act 2000. That’s obviously because people protesting about weapons that kill and maim are just bloody terrorists that need to be stamped on – whereas those poor souls trying to earn an honest living by selling weapons that kill and maim – well, they need all the love, affection and money we can throw at ‘em.

Crap Arrest of the Week

For getting run over during an anti war sit down protest in Bristol.
“A red jeep type vehicle mounted the central reservation between the lanes of traffic and drove through the crowd, only narrowly avoiding hitting anyone” said a bystander. “Whilst we were all staring in disbelief a smaller car tried to follow, failed to mount the reservation and ploughed straight into the people sitting down.” One man who was knocked onto the bonnet of the car and driven along for 50 yards has now received a summons for ‘vehicle interference’!

Disarm DSEi

Become part of the “major public order headache” and help shut down the arms fair. Actions begin this Saturday (6) and go on all week with everything from critical mass bike rides and reclaim the streets to storming the centre to chatting to those nice arms dealers (dress smart for this one) For more on the events call 07817 652 029 or check out www.dsei.org

* Comedian Mark Thomas will be opening the Convergence Centre this Saturday 7pm followed by music from Cello Man. The Centre is at Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd., London E3 (Bromely-by-Bow tube).

* For indepth info about the arms trade and DESi contact Campaign Against Arms Trade 020 7281 0297 www.caat.org.uk

* The Legal, Defence and Monitoring Group will be holding legal workshops at the Convergence Centre this Sunday (7) 10:30pm-12noon and Monday (8) 4-5:30 pm. www2.phreak.co.uk/ldmg/index.php

* To keep up to date with the protests www.indymedia.org.uk

Bright Sparks

With the switch of a key the emergency electricity generator which had been supplying the London Underground for nearly 100 years was turned off by New Labour Transport Minister John Spellar. Seeboard Powerlink would now be in charge of operations and Spellar announced that this Private Finance Initiative scheme was a “good example of the public and private sectors working together to improve services for travellers in London.” That was last October, 11 months later people found out just how much the service had improved. Thousands of people on the Underground were plunged into darkness for 40 minutes, traffic lights failed, trains ground to a halt, lights went out in buildings…all thanks to a lack of emergency back-up and what the Mayor of London and unions blamed on cost cutting by the private companies. Meanwhile railway cowboys Balfour Beatty (see SchNEWS 356) and property company Circadian will shortly be developing the area around the old power station with luxury flats worth some £500 million thank-you-very-much.


30 year old Israfil Shiri, a destitute young Iranian man had been on a life support for five days before he died early Wednesday morning. Israfil had set himself on fire in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester, suffering burns to 80% of his body. He told his friends he would do it to prove that this government cares more about animals than people fleeing torture and persecution. In Iran, Israfil was in the military when he and his family were persecuted because he refused to follow orders that involved harming innocent people. He suffered from a complicated medical condition and since his application for asylum was rejected over a year ago, he has been refused any medical treatment, has been made homeless from his Salford council flat and has received no benefits or support. Reza Moradi of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees said, “Once you see you are facing deportation to jailers of the Islamic regime - you can’t have a solicitor, you have no house to live in, you can’t work, that is enough for people to commit suicide, or do something like this.” More info 0161-881-7352 mark.krantz@ntlworld.com

* There’s going to be a chained procession to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, re-opening after it was unfortunately burnt down last year (see SchNEWS 419). Meet 12 noon John Howard Memorial statue, St. Paul’s Square, Bedford on Sunday 28th September. 07786 517379 sady_campaign@yahoo.co.uk

* Group4, the jokers that run the centre have been running a job advert in a local paper “This job is so different. The satisfaction I get from helping people is great.” Er, locking people up who’ve haven’t committed any crime apart from wanting a better life is ‘satisfying’?

* People are needed to take part in ‘This Is Camp X-Ray’ a new art installation consisting of a fully operational, life-size replica of the U.S internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, that will appearing in Manchester city centre from Friday 10th October. www.uhc-collective.org.uk/

HMP Woodhell

On 16th July, six prisoners at HMP Woodhill’s Close Supervision Centre (CSC) A wing were refused exercise due to the hot weather. That night, four prisoners demonstrated their frustration by destroying their cells which resulted in a visit by the riot squad and a serious beating. In June, Glenn Wright, a prisoner on A-wing, wrote: “Who took the decision to add to our depression the daily rigours of isolation, and lack of healthy stimulation when this is contradictory to all medical remedies for depression known to mankind?”

Some of the prisoners at Woodhill CSC are under 24-hour CCTV watch and many are allowed only one hour’s exercise a day. Some cells are unlocked only in the presence of six prison officers in full riot gear and interviews with psychologists are overseen by six prison staff. Recently, complaints have been limited to one a week because it was considered that some prisoners were ‘abusing the privilege’?!

In February the Chief Inspector of Prisons published a report on conditions at the CSC at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes. Opened in 1998, this ‘jail within a jail’ was designed to house around 50 of the most potentially disruptive inmates, accused or convicted. One unit was closed, partly in response to a High Court ruling.

Even last year’s report showed that the basic needs of prisoners were being seriously neglected, in particular with regard to medical care, education and exercise, and expressed concern at the risk to the mental health of inmates. It concluded that “Control still dominated the system and personal development opportunities were relegated to the margins.”

It is no surprise then that violent demonstration, self-harm and suicide are serious problems at Woodhill. Glenn Wright identifies insomnia, disrupted relationships, bullying, boredom, enforced idleness, and the prospect of a long and meaningless sentence devoid of hopes and plans, as contributing factors to the problem. He says: “What I’m trying to say is through many months of isolation and oppressive conditions, uncertainty, lack of communication, support, I find it difficult to be quiet.”

For more information 0121 554 6947 www.mojuk.org.uk / Complain to Margaret Adams, Head of CSC, HMP
Woodhill, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK4 4DA

Send letters to Glen P Wright, RT3785 HU6 Close Supervision Centre, HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK4 4DA

* The parents of 26 year old Tony Hickmott, who is certified autistic, cared for their son at home until respite care stopped at 19 and they were told he would be better off in a residential home. He was then moved 300 miles to a home in Wales. When his parents complained about the standard of care he was eventually moved closer to home but was placed in one secure psychiatric unit after another and sectioned. Despite being told Tony was to be housed appropriately and close to home in Brighton, his parents now have restricted access to their son, currently in Canterbury, and are seriously concerned for his welfare. They are desperately in need of legal representation. If you can help call Pamela Hickmott on 01273 270713.

DSEi Diary

  • Friday to Tuesday - NVDA Training
  • Friday 5th - Press conference about protests
  • Saturday 6th - “No Arms Fair” Unity March
  • Sunday 7th - Start of “Disarm DSEi” conference
  • Monday 8th - Silent vigil at ExCel centre, day two of “Disarm DSEi” conference
  • Tuesday 9th - Protest at Custom House, “Fluffy DSEi” non-violent direct action, day one of “Disarm DSEi” film festival
  • Wednesday 10th - Day of direct action blockades, Reclaim the Streets party, Women in Black vigil, Critical Mass bikeride, various group actions, day 2 of film festival
  • Thursday 11th - Protest for “Delegate’s Dinner” at central London hotel, silent 9/11 vigil outside Custom House
  • Friday 12th - If you’re not nicked! Picnic!

SchNEWS in brief

  • Attempts to make the UK GM free could breach EU law. This emerged this week after the European Comission refused a plea by Upper Austria to pass a law banning GM crops in their region. Upper Austria wanted to protect their organic and traditional agriculture against risk of cross fertilisation but were told that they had no new scientific evidence. Greenpeace genetic engineering expert Thomas Fertil  says Austria may go to the European Court of Justice to appeal. This weekend Downing Street appointed ex-adviser to Monsanto, David Hall, as their communications advisor.
  • There’s a public meeting ‘The Fake Emergency: Mass-Media Propaganda in the so-called War on Terror’ on 11 September at the National Union of Journalists HQ, 308-312 Grays Inn Rd WC1X 8BP, (nearest tube Kings X) 6.30pm. Speakers include human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce call 020 7586 5892 estella24@tiscali.co.uk
  • For a list of places where our new(ish) book ‘Peace de Resistance’ is available from click onto www.schnews.org.uk/peacederesistance/distrolist.htm If you can think of anywhere else that might like to stock it (or copies of SchNEWS) get in touch with the office.
  • Check out Sounds like Freedom news and opinion from Jenin, Occupied Palestine. www.soundslikefreedom.org
  • Iraq expert Milan Rai is going on a speaking tour of the UK to plug his new book ‘Regime Unchanged’, starting this Saturday 6th at a CND Conference at Birmingham University and including a date in Brighton on the 11th. For details of the tour go to www.j-n-v.org
  • Four people who are using “lawful excuse” for disabling, or attempting to disable, planes and support equipment at Fairford Air Force base will hear the procedures for the trial on September 19th. It’s at Gloucester Crown Court and support is welcome. More info call 0117 9466885
  • Space Invaders is a play based on the events that took place at the Aspire Autonomous social centre in Leeds last November. There’s two showings on September 13th and 14th at Wrangthorne Church Hall, Hyde Park, Leeds 8pm. Donations on the door – bring yer own booze. For more listings visit Party & Protest www.schnews.org.uk/pap/

Positive SchNEWS

A group of activists and performers is planning to take a circus and funfair to Iraq in January 2004 to bring a little colour and playfulness to the children of Iraq who have been traumatised by the war and who are still without many basic amenities. To get the circus and performers to Iraq the group still needs to raise several thousand pounds. If you want to make a donation or help organise benefit gigs, cabarets, café nights, mass busks etc. please go to www.circus2iraq.org

...and finally...

Ahoy, me hearty! SchNEWS be wishin’ to tell ye, our landlubber friends, to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Ye will talkin like this on the 19th or be a scurvey dog. Ye’ll be wantin’ to look round ye website: www.thomasscott.net/yarr in order to be learnin’ about the day and how to be talkin’ like a pirate proper. This here international grass roots movement will be taking the world by storm or hook line and sinker...

Ahoy, me hearties. SchNEWS gives all landlubbers fair warning us swashbucklers will be walking the plank ’though there be a storm a-brewing ahead. Treasure, there be too. Aye!

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