482, 28th January, 2005
480, 14th January, 2005
479, 7th January, 2005
478, 17th December, 2004
478, 17th December, 2004
477, 10th December, 2004
476, 3rd December, 2004
475, 25th November, 2004
474, 19th November, 2004
473, 12th November, 2004
472, 5th November, 2004
471, 29th October, 2004
470, 22nd October, 2004
469, 15th October, 2004
468, 8th October, 2004
467, 24th September, 2004
466, 3rd September, 2004
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For telling a joke
Did you hear the one about the pair arrested for telling a lawyer joke? Two people waiting outside a US courthouse quipped: How do you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving. Unfortunately, a sour-faced lawyer wasnt laughing, and now they face new charges for abusive and disorderly conduct.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
If any SchNEWS readers out there are thinking about stock market
investments, what about an animal lab? Worried about animal rights
protesters denting your profits? Dont be, theres £16
billion of investment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries
and Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, announced this week that
investment terrorism will become a serious criminal
The Serious Organised Crime Bill is passing through parliament
and is being touted as a way to tackle economic terrorism.
Terrorist tackling ministers are in quite a rush: of the 113 companies
recently pulling out of doing business with animal labs, over one
third did so in the last three months. Animal rights actions are
proving successful with the construction of a primate research centre
in Oxford being stopped and 100 contractors and suppliers severing
links with Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Sarah Dixon of the Save the Newchurch Guinea Pig Campaign makes
the point that there isnt a need for a new law: The
offences this legislation is trying to stop are already against
the law. I have no idea how far the legislation is going to go.
At what point does peaceful protest become economic sabotage?
With the Public Order, Malicious Communications, Criminal Justice
and Terrorism Acts already in place, coppers are certainly going
to need some extra training to help them choose from such a wide
ranging menu of protest-stopping laws. Under an amendment to the
Bill it would be a criminal offence for more than two people to
harass someone with the intention of making a company
break off commercial links with an animal research company. So what
will happen to groups calling for boycotts of companies, or people
doing pickets outside McDonalds?
And if the law is found to be successful at stopping animal rights
campaigns, you can be sure it will be used against other campaigns.
The Bills even got a clause on Behaviour in the vicinity
of Parliament which is designed to prohibit anyone spoiling
the visual aspect of the Palace of Westminster. But this is
no opportunity to move on ugly politicians, its mainly aimed
at one single demonstrator Brian Haw. Brians been camped
outside Westminster for 3 years protesting against US/UK policies
on Iraq. Now the powers-that-be are fed up with the embarrassment
and want him removed, as according to former Home Secretary, David
Blunkett, he is giving tourists a view of dysfunctional democracy
Blunkett obviously reckons that protesting is dysfunctional
but this is the attitude weve come to expect of this
authoritarian Neo-Labour government. Blunkett admitted the law was
a sledgehammer to crack a nut, the nut being Brian,
who has apparently caused total havoc with his one man protest.
We will let you decide what total havoc is and who the nuts are,
but the implications of the amendment are wider than one man. The
proposed rules will outlaw peaceful protest within a 1km radius
of Parliament and Downing St, including Trafalgar Square, without
a permit. Demonstrators could be banned from the area, fined up
to £2500 or face 3 months in prison for the organisation of
* Support Brian Demo: next Monday (7th) 2-8pm in Parliament
Square (see www.parliament-square.org.uk)
or get a megaphone and pitch a tent down next to Brians.
While the government in this country is setting up a specific law
of economic sabotage against animal rights protesters, in the USA
theyve already got the law - the controversial Federal Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Seven Activists face three years in jail each for participation
in an international campaign to close the notorious product testing
lab Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Specifically, these activists are alleged to have operated a website
that reported on and expressed ideological support for protest activity
against Huntingdon and its business affiliates. For this they are
charged with terrorism. Even though they themselves
have not committed any actions against HLS the US authorities
are attacking these seven people to try and silence a growing movement
against animal abuse.
If the authorities are successful in prosecuting these activists
it is likely they will go after other protesters, as the SHAC7 website
says: This case is intended to pave the way for further silencing
of activists involved in all issues. It is imperative that the broader
social justice movement stand behind these activists in our communal
defense of free speech, press, and association. www.shac7.com
* The campaign against HLS continues: www.shac.net 08454 580630
SchNEWS in brief
CHIPS WITH THAT?
Whatever will they think of next? Well, micro-chips the size of
sand grains with miniature antenna which are embedded into
products allowing them (and therefore their user) to be tracked.
If this particular bit of big-brotherly love and attention doesnt
appeal to you then join CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy
Invasion and Numbering) in their boycott of Tesco, the supermarket
giant who are kindly offering these chips free with their products.
This technology is called RFID - radio frequency identification
(see SchNEWS 415) - and if you have been shopping recently at Tesco
in Leicester or Sandhurst you may already have these spychips in
your house. CASPIAN say these two branches are part of a trial which
is about to be increased to ten Tesco stores across Britain. The
ethically challenged supermarket chain assure us they dont
intend on tracking products after purchase - but you have to admit
that people walking around with unknown amounts of traceable devices
on them could come in handy for a police state. www.boycottTesco.com
* Colchester library is the first UK library to use RFID chips with another 30 to follow.
Hot rocks found 1000 metres below an old cement works in Weardale, County Durham could be used to provide hot water for an eco- village, and surrounding houses. Scientists from the University of Newcastle and PB Power have spent half a million pounds drilling a big hole into the ground to investigate. They found the water was 46°C - hot enough for heating up to 4000 homes! There are also plans to have wind and solar power supplying the homes, which, as the chairman of the hot rocks task force said could make Weardale the first truly sustainable community in the British Isles.
Sex, lies and
Start practising now - dont let your voice wobble when youre
talking to the folks down at the Department of Work and Pensions
(DWP) coz they may in future be using a lie detector on the phone
that can suggest youre fibbing about your claim. In yet another
Big Brother-esque addition to our lives, the DWP, which is trying
to crack down on benefit fraud but still expects people to live
on £55 a week, has admitted to looking into using voice-analysis
technology. It indicates changes in your voice due to rising
stress levels and can suggest that you are lying so they can look
into your case. Dealing with the dole people - rising stress levels?
We dont see any connection there...
While the government is finding new and intrusive ways to get people back to work in some fantasy job market in Britain, in Germany a women faces cuts to her unemployment benefits because she doesnt want to work in a brothel providing sexual services. Yep, under Germanys recent welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take any available job including in the legal sex industry or lose her unemployment benefit. When the unemployed IT professional looked into suing the jobcentre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer. When Blair bangs on about getting people back to work to improve their quality of life, SchNEWS wonders whether being forced to work in a job that sucks for little more dosh than benefits isnt just another form of forced prostitution?
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