The implementation and running of the system is likely to be taken
up by Schlumberger Sema, a company which is already conducting trials
with the Passport Agency to produce biometric ID cards. Schlumberger,
who have been bought by Atos Origin, say that their best of
breed solutions can help your company achieve a smart and robust
level of security. Sounds great.
Schlumberger have a history of ever-so-slightly-less-than-popular
schemes, extracting tax payers money to make a quick buck and at
someone elses expense. Under the governments Benefit
Integrity Project people receiving benefits because of illness
or disability were asked to prove they couldnt work. Usually
it takes around an hour for a doctor to check someones illness
or disability. But Sema, who were often paid by the visit, managed
to rattle off check ups within a matter of minutes. As a result
thousands of people lost their benefits. The government eventually
scrapped the programme due to a serious error of judgement.
The company does have some experience in the spying game though.
Semas got the benefit of John Deutch, disgraced former Director
of the CIA, on its board. Deutch has a bit of a murky track record
in the Pentagon too, helping to oversee the US invasions of El Salvador,
Nicaragua and Grenada, which led to thousands of deaths during the
1980s. His experience with data secruitys not too hot either.
He was dismissed from the CIA for keeping 17,000 pages of, according
to the CIA, enormously sensitive material at the highest levels
of classification, on his home computer which was also used
by his children for school work and surfing the net.
A track record like that on the protection of sensitive data might
be problematic as Blunkett has justified the scheme on the basis
that our liberties will be strengthened if our identity is
protected from theft. Privacy Internationals Director,
Simon Davies, however, warned The technology gap between governments
and organised crime has now narrowed to such an extent that even
the most highly secure cards are available as blanks weeks after
their introduction. Criminals and terrorists can in reality move
more freely and more safely with several fake official
identities than they ever could in a country using multiple forms
of low-value ID such as a birth certificate.
But it might not just be criminals who are after our data. The
scheme will rely on computers being used with all our private information
by thousands of people, especially the Boys in Blue. The Police
Complaints Commission has admitted that there will always
be a few officers willing to risk their careers by obtaining data
improperly. And thats the police! We dont think
theres any danger of private companies misusing our information
to make a bit more money though.
Another important question: how do the Home Office hope to establish
an applicants true identity before issuing a new secure ID
card? With an existing form of ID? If these arent secure,
whats to stop a rapidly growing number of enemies using these
to get new fake ID?
The governments also got an appalling track-record on using
hi-tech private firms to deliver its services. In the Summer of
1999, half a million passport applications built up after Siemens
were contracted to introduce a new computer system for the Passport
Agency . Then there were the Criminal Records Bureau checks handled
in true piss-up-in-a-brewery style by SchNEWS favourites C(r)apita,
in which computer errors led to delays for new teachers
starting work (and an extra weeks holiday for some lucky kids).
Ten years ago no political party would have dared say they were
going to introduce ID cards. Now that Tony and his chums have found
us a whole range of new and dangerous foes, ID cards are on the
agenda. The Home Office promises that only a limited amount of information
will be stored on the cards but 10 years on, if Britain is the target
of a terrorist attack, ministers will undoubtedly call for an increase
in the amount of information held and the potential pre-emptive
uses of it. Just as terror suspects can now be detained for posing
a potential threat to security so you might be detained
in the future for being a potential crap arrest of the week
based on information gathered on your ID card.
* For more on the fight against ID cards www.privacyinternational.org
* The Register Idiots Guide to the UK ID Card. www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/05/complete_idcard_guide
* Theres an anti ID meeting happening on June 1st at the
Cowley Club, 12 London Rd., Brighton 5.30pm
Crap Arrest of the Week
For having a laugh
A woman in Germany was fined for enjoying herself, after a neighbour
complained she made too much noise when she had friends round for
the night. The neighbour reckoned she was a serial-laugher, frequently
laughing late into the night. It is against the law in Germany
to make noise after 10pm. he said.
The woman says she only had some colleagues round for a drink on
one evening, and the first she knew of the problem was when the
police called. A few days later a fine arrived in the post. It
was laughable, she said.
DONT D9 IT!
Caterpillar are commonly associated with boots and construction
equipment, but one thing the company are less keen to shout about
is their D9 Bulldozers, which have become the weapon of choice of
the Israeli army for demolishing homes in the Occupied Territories.
Last Wednesday the Caterpillar Out Of Palestine collective arrived
at Caterpillar Financial Services (UK) Ltd near Solihull to give
the Homewrecker of the Year Award as recognition
for its outstanding contribution to the fields of home demolition,
collective punishment, land theft and ethnic cleansing. But
overcome with shyness, nobody came out of the building to accept
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency recently reported that
131 civilian homes had been destroyed in Gaza in the first ten days
of May alone thanks to this kind of bulldozer. Families and communities
have been dismantled because of this. Of 14,852 people made
homeless since October 2000 by Israeli Defence Force house demolition,
two-thirds are from Rafah. They clear a 100 meter wide strip
along the border with Egypt and they want to increase it to 500
meters which will make thousands more people homeless.
Khaider Hasuna who had his house demolished on Wednesday said They
started demolishing the room that we were sitting in. My wife and
I were screaming and our children were terrified. We took the children
and went out to the yard. I saw a tank about twenty meters from
my house. The tank began to open fire on the house. On the
same day 3,000 demonstrators who marched down Rafahs main
street towards Israeli lines to protest against the demolitions
were fired at by a helicopter. At least 10 Palestinians were killed
and 60 wounded.
The bulldozers are also used in the building of Israels Apartheid
wall, splitting Palestine into a series of ghettos separating
hundreds of thousands from their lands. www.rafahkid.net
* Read the Amnesty International report www.amnesty.org
* To find out about demos against the demolitions 020 7700 6192
SchNEWS in brief
- John Jordan will be talking about the book We are Everywhere
this Saturday (22) at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd 5.30pm. Each
chapter is written by people across the world on the front lines
of resistance to capitalism and economic globalization
- On Thursday (27) Ewa Jasiewicz will be talking at the
Cowley Club about her time in Iraq a Resistance and Solidarity
in occupied Iraq - whats going on and what can we do from
here? 6pm. www.cowleyclub.org.uk
- Indymedia Cinema is showing Development Flows
from the Barrel of a Gun, produced by Indian activists,
on the state violence faced by indigenous people when they protests
against development projects, Thursday (27), 9pm The
Other Cinema, 11 Rupert Street, London. £6.50/£4.50
020 7734 1506
- The Use Your Loaf Centre for Social Solidarity has a
Workday THIS Sunday (23) from 12pm. Help do up and repair the
building, but bring old clothes. Youll get a free meal out
of it! The Centre also needs cooks to help out at the Friday night
café and the South London Radical History Group are meeting
at the centre next Thursday (27) 8pm. 227 Deptford High St, London
07984 588807 email@example.com
- Faslane Peace Camp celebrates 22 years resisting UKs
nukes! Theyve planned a week of activities from the 7-13
June, workshops on direct Action, stencil graffiti and more. Party
Saturday with sound system and bands. 01436 820 901 www.faslanepeacecamp.org.uk
- Sussex Universitys World Bank Recruitment Day was
cancelled at short notice due to planned demonstrations. The last
time they came to town their rep got a pie in their face, literally,
and the session was shut down as the seminar was occupied by demonstrators.
The University tried to keep this years visit under wraps,
but word got out and demonstrations were planned. A success story
you can Bank on!
- Brian Haw who has been protesting for 3 years in Parliament
Square against sanctions and the war in Iraq appeared in court
on Tuesday charged with assaulting a police officer and failing
to leave a security cordoned area. He is bailed to appear again
in court on 1st June, and would appreciate support. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Theres a BASS (Brighton Alliance of Sound Systems)
benefit techno party next Wednesday (26) @ The Volks Tavern Madeira
Drive. 10pm till late www.bass23.org
Greenpeace USA have been acquitted of all charges of conspiracy
and illegally boarding the ship under the obscure, rarely
used 1872 sailor-mongering law. In the last couple of
weeks over 80,000 people have e-mailed Bush and Attorney General
John Ashcroft to condemn this prosecution.
However, 36 Greenpeace activists may end up in court over protests
againt Exxon Mobil (ESSO), the worlds largest corporate producer
of global warming gases. Exxon are refusing to pay a $5 billion
damages cost over the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The activists who
peacefully entered Exxon Mobils headquarters in tiger suits
now face felony charges. Felony charges are serious charges
which include crimes such as rape and murder and in some cases lead
to the denial of voting rights www.greenpeaceusa.org/trial
Greenpeace UK Press Office 0207 865 8115.
Last year Adidas sponsored a series of Sports Training Days
in Edinburgh, but local kids were having none of it. After Adidas
Man came to visit, posing for photos with children kitted
out in Adidas gear, the kids got together with anti-sweatshop group
No Sweat, the Parent Teacher Council, TUC, Green Party and others,
pushing to ban brands from schools. They are producing leaflets
about sweatshops and human rights abuses in Far East factories by
the big brands, and now the campaign is spreading to other parts
of Scotland. A petition has been launched and No Sweat say Edinburgh
Council are reviewing the guidelines on sponsorship in schools.
Theres a new occupied social centre and creative space
opening in East London, with an opening day party this Friday (21).
Called The Rampart, the centre will have a cinema, internet
access, free shop, art gallery and theatre. People are urgently
needed to volunteer and run the centre. People are also invited
to organise events or run workshops.
Also needed are all kinds of tools, paints, fabrics, carpets, furniture,
cooking tat, cutlery, plates, bowls, any stereo, computer or video
equipment, locks, bolts and toilet roll, oh ... and a kitchen sink.
Also welcome is any stuff for the free shop - books, clothes etc.
The address of the hall is 7a Rampart Street which is off Commercial
Road and Canon Street (nearest tube Shadwell - bus routes 15, 100,
115) 07050 618445 email@example.com
The ban on genetically modified food, in the EU, which has been
in place for nearly six years, was lifted yesterday when the European
commission approved a type of genetically modified sweetcorn. This
will allow fresh and tinned genetically modified sweetcorn to be
imported into EU states for human consumption. Farmers are already
allowed to use the sweetcorn in animal feed.
The Commission voted in favour of the sweetcorn, which is marketed
as Bt-11 by the Swiss company Syngenta, after the governments of
member states failed to reach an agreement. Under new EU laws, the
sweetcorn must be labelled as genetically modified before it can
be sold in shops. Friends of the Earth has serious doubts about
the safety studies carried out on Syngentas Bt11. A report
by the Austrian Government gives a damning verdict of the safety
tests carried out by Syngenta, concluding that the safety of Bt11
is based on theoretical argument rather than evidence.
The commission is totally ignoring public opinion, in a survey
last winter 86% of the British public said they were against GM
food. Sue Mayer of Greenwatch UK said It shows how the commission
and Europe are being bullied by the US and the WTO, The European
Commission has ignored the people it represents and given in to
pressure from big business, the World Trade Organisation, the US,
Canada and Argentina. The EU wants to avoid more trade wars
with the US.
However the hostile public reception of GM foods means the ruling
will not mean GM sweetcorn will be sold in many British shops. I
dont know anyone who will even give it a trial because of
the consumer attitude to GM, said David Southwell of the British
Last Saturday anti-fascists stopped a meeting by David Irving,
the prominent holocaust denier and neo-nazi. Both the main and back-up
venues for the talk were occupied which forced Irving to slink off
back to London, but not before all his books and videos were destroyed.
His own unintentionally hilarious account of the failed meeting,
complete with references to Jews and homos and washing his hair
as thoroughly as I can. Because who can say that one of these
queer folks and thugs was not HIV-positive? He assigns blame
to everyone involved in organising the days events except
of course the great man himself. Although no longer the intellectual
arm of the neo-nazi resurgence that he once was, Irving seems to
be trying to cash in on popular revulsion with the war in Iraq.
However dont be deceived, Irving is still peddling the same
racist and anti-semitic doctrines as ever. A swift glance at a few
neo-nazi websites confirms the fact that he is still held in high
regard in those unsavoury circles. Irvings tour of the U.K
is now taking him up north to Halifax, see you there Davey!
Read Irvings account www.antifa.org.uk
For three years Buddha Snot sweets have been sold outside
a temple in Nara, Japan. This has been getting right up the monks
noses, so they tried to get them banned, but could only stop the
name being trademarked. The packet shows the Buddha picking his
nose . Also look out for Deer Dropping sweets. You can
rely on SchNEWS to keep it sweet and picknmix the best
stories for you
On Thursday there was a protest in Brighton against EDO MBM Technology
who make equipment for bombs and missiles. Protesters blocked the
road and climbed up onto the roof of the companys building -
five people were arrested.
SchNEWS warns all dopplegangers not to leave home without their
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £2.00 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
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Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £2.00 inc. postage
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book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p.
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
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In the UK you
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