We are the market leader in obtaining ground breaking
injunctions on behalf of individuals and corporations who have been
the subject of harassment by direct action protests groups.
Law Firm Lawson-Cruttendens website
I dont have a problem with people coming here to
protest - its a democracy David Jones Managing Director
EDO/MBM 8th March 2004
We felt that after the blatant illegality of the war in
Iraq that it was time that discontent over the way that the arms
trade fuels conflict around the world was brought back to the factory
floor- SMASH EDO leaflet
You what? A company which proudly boasts of its expertise in the
delivery of laser guided bombs is complaining about noise, damage
and harassment. Can it be the cases that people thick skinned enough
to make money from the slaughter of Iraqi civilians are genuinely
upset about a demonstration on their own doorstep? Surely this must
be joke. But no, oblivious to irony, Brightons favourite warmongers
EDO/MBM Technologies Ltd are seeking an injunction under the Prevention
of Harassment Act 1997 to restrain anti-war activists from protesting
outside their HQ and factory on Home Farm Rd, Moulsecoomb Brighton.
Thirteen individuals and two organisations SMASH EDO and BOMBS OUT
OF BRIGHTON are named on the summons to the High Court on April
An unholy trinity consisting of an international arms dealer, an
ex-military solicitor and Sussex Police are conspiring to make protest
virtually illegal in a large area of Brighton.
Heres how it works. After a year long campaign involving
rooftop protests, road blockades, noise demos and weekly vigils
all aimed at drawing attention to what EDO were actually doing inside
their anonymous green building, EDO were persuaded by Sussex Police
to enlist the services of lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden. Cruttendens
specialty is the use of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
(originally framed to protect the public from stalkers) to protect
those with deep pockets and guilty secrets. Money changes hands,
an exclusion zone is created and a form of martial law
Cruttenden (or TLC as he is affectionately known) is infamous among
animal rights activists (see SchNEWS 471),
having managed to gain draconian anti-protest injunctions against
SPEAC and SHAC on behalf of Oxford University and Huntingdon Life
Sciences. One activist involved in the legal battles told SchNEWS
The reason the police and corporations are so keen on these
injunctions is that an interim injunction with the full
force of the law behind it can be granted at an early stage with
the court requiring a very low standard of proof. The police then
use the injunctions as a tool for arrest, search and general harassment.
Injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act, unlike civil
injunctions, create powers of arrest, which explains why Sussex
Police are so keen on getting one. The proposed exclusion zone would
effectively make any protesters, including for example the local
Quakers, at the factory liable to arrest.
If the interim injunction against Smash Edo is granted (and judging
by past cases theres no reason it wont be) activists
will only be able to protest for two and a half hours on Thursday
afternoons, providing there are less than ten of them and they make
no artificial or musical noise or use anything to amplify
sound. Although the injunction singles out SMASH EDO its scope
broadens to anyone acting as an agent or in concert
with them basically including everyone whose opinion runs counter
to the arms trade.
BANGERS n SMASH EDO
People in the animal liberation movement have often warned that
powers used against them are certain to be used elsewhere. The message
is clear. When a campaign becomes successful and starts to challenge
the capitalist status quo it gets made illegal. These injunctions
favour the rich and powerful and have the potential to be used against
anyone fighting a corporation. Anyone who is challenging a local
phone-mast or bypass or is involved in union activity should beware.
SMASH EDO arent being targeted because theyre an extremist
minority (in fact their attitude to the Iraq war puts them in the
majority in Brighton); or because of allegations of criminal damage!
And home demos! Theyre being targeted because theyre
bringing unwelcome attention to and obstructing the profits of a
major defence contractor.
The British economy is peculiarly skewed towards arms production.
The worlds fifth largest economy is its second biggest arms
producer. The UK government heavily subsidises arms production (each
job in the defence industry is calculated to be underwritten to
the tune of £14,000pa). SMASH EDO are directly challenging
the logic of taking resources from the community here to subsidise
the bombing of communities elsewhere.
EDO/MBMs parent company the gigantic US EDO Corp is a classic example
of the revolving door between the British state and defence corporations.
Its board of directors includes Sir Robert Walmsley ex Chief Procurement
Officer for the MOD (he retired in 2003). Busy Sir Bob also finds
time to be a director of US arms firm General Dynamics who were
awarded a £2bn contract to build radios for the British Army
in his last two years at the MOD. In another astounding co-incidence,
shortly before Sir Bob joined EDO UK as Chairman of the Board they
got a £1.2 m contract for components for the ill-fated Eurofighter
project. Its hardly surprising that, with friends like these,
EDO can rely on police protection. In fact Sussex Police have spent
over £30,000 protecting EDO so far.
SMASH EDO activists are determined to fight the injunction. Lorna
Marcham, one of those named on the summons said We need attention
drawn to the perversion of the law that is taking place with these
injunctions and we will need funds to fight the court battle if
we dont receive legal aid. We are the first non-animal rights
group to be targeted in this way and it is clear that if this injunction
is granted it will be another nail in the coffin of peaceful dissent
in this country. Its us now but it could be you soon.
* Monday 11TH April Public meeting, Brighthelm Centre, North Rd
* Wed 13TH APRIL Mass Demonstration 2pm - for the right of freedom
of speech and freedom of assembly outside EDO/MBMs HQ in Brighton
at 2pm and Rally, 5.30pm Churchill Square, Brighton
* Thur 14TH 9am Supporters Rally outside High Court www.smashedo.bpec.org
Thursday was the start of the trial of Lindis Percy, who is charged
with obstructing the highway 30 times! Since 18th May last
year she has been arrested in three out of every four weeks at Menwith
Hill Spy Base. Menwith Hill (see SchNEWS 410)
is the worlds largest spy base and its getting bigger.
The secretive and unaccountable base is also central to the US star
There has been a long running campaign of weekly vigils against
the base, often veteran campaigners Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow,
were there alone in the freezing winter. This week they were joined
by people from Sheffield and Rotherham including a samba contingent
from Rhythms of Resistance Sheffield, after about an hour Lindis
was again arrested for allegedly blocking the road, marking her
The trial is expected to last till 14th April.
* Weekly vigils at Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, every Tuesday
6-8pm. Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases 01943 466405
On Monday 18th American lawyers will be putting the case against
Babar Ahmad whos facing extradition to the US for terrorism
Babar was nicked under the anti-terrorism laws by riot cops who
burst into his home one early morning in December 2003 (see SchNEWS
474). After six days of intensive investigation he was released
without charge. This wasnt good enough for the Yanks who thanks
to an Extradition Agreement got him rearrested, and he has been
in prison ever since. So why not charge him in the UK? Well, thanks
to the Treaty, all the US needs to get someone deported there is
a statement of accusation - no need to produce any of that silly,
time wasting evidence in court. So although Babar may appear in
a British court to hear the allegations against him, he will not
be able to defend himself and could be sent to the US to face charges
and up to 50 years in jail.
There will be a demo outside in support of Babar 10am-2pm Bow Street
Magistrates Court, Covent Garden, London WC2 07915 063 564 www.freebabarahmad.com
If youre one of the British Gas (BG) customers in the UK
who have seen your bill soar by almost a fifth over the past year,
dont worry youre not alone. Since their gas supply
was privatised, Bolivians fork out 12 times more for their own gas
than the multinationals pay. No wonder BG profits are up by 65%!
Back in October 2003, President Sánchez de Lozada was forced
to seek early retirement in Miami after he faced protests against
the plans of BG and others to pump Bolivian gas through Chile to
the US. Unable to resist getting their grubby hands back on the
£3billion worth of Bolivian gas reserves, BG are looking to
make sure they keep up their profit return of £10 for every
£1 invested in the country.
Early last month the government kept the tax paid by gas companies
at 18%, well short of the 50% that people are demanding. Campesinos
responded by forcing the shutdown of four oilfields and shut down
access to seven of Bolivias nine regions. Responding to the
protests, parliament imposed an immediate tax of 32%, meaning that
gas companies will have to pay £1bn well above the £250m
currently collected. A real victory for the protest movement.
Whether a government which has already broken loads of promises
in its shift to the neoliberal right will cave into BGs thirst
for profit is another matter. First, they took our silver,
then they took our tin, they took everything, says one of
the demonstrators, Carmelo Colque, The oil and gas is all
weve got left. We Bolivians have woken up, we wont let
them have it.
Worst ASBOs Ever!
Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) have been the buzzword of
recent years well as far as Neo-Labour social control freakery
goes. ASBOs seem to have become the cure-all political tool of choice
for those in power. Forget attempting to identify and tackle the
social causes of such behaviour - lets ASBO the bastards
and no awkward standard of proof required either. It
is an act of judgement or evaluation for the agencies concerned,
as Lord Steyn puts it in the Home Offices own ASBO Guide.
But as Matt Foot from ASBO Concern pointed out Many ASBOs
are being used against vulnerable people with complex problems.
The order does nothing for such problems as it can only ban behaviour
- often non-criminal behaviour such as hanging around in groups.
And they arent working. An increasing number, more than 40%,
are breached and result in people being imprisoned.
Take for example the recent case of Melvyn Drage, threatened with
an ASBO for putting anti-war leaflets through his neighbours
doors. Yes, the 48 year old graduate was shocked when Manchester
council officials decreed his delivery of 50 Communist Party leaflets
to local flats (once, mind you not repeatedly at strange
hours of the morning or anything) was threatening the peace
of local tenants, by suggesting to them that the war in Iraq may
not be just about freedom and democracy, but possibly power and
oil money too fancy! We assume that during the forthcoming
general election, all party activists and canvas will be ASBOd
rigorously, and we at SchNEWS are expecting our own orders to arrive
shortly, seeing as though we distribute all kinds of information
likely to seen, in the governments words, as behaviour
harassment, alarm or distress to Joe & Josephine Public.
Then again, just some of our clothes and haircuts could cause distress
to some law-abiding citizens
Anyway heres some of our favourite ridicul - ASBOs..
- For using the word grass: Zach Tutin, the
13-year-old who was served an order banning him from using the
word grass anywhere in England or Wales for six years.
- For showing tattoos: Nathan Wadley, a 16-year-old banned
from showing his tattoos, wearing a single golf glove, or wearing
a balaclava in public, anywhere in the country. He was also forbidden
from congregating in public places in groups of more than three
- For Wearing a Bra: Lacking the decorum expected of her
by neighbours, one young Scot has been banned from answering the
front door in her underwear. The 27-year-old also faces the threat
of jail if she is seen in her garden or windows in just knickers
and a bra.
- For being sarcastic: 87 year old Alexander Muat was forbidden
from, amongst other things, being sarcastic to his neighbours!
- For protesting: Heather Nicholson, a 38-year-old animal
rights activist serving a five-year order banning her from going
within 500 metres of a number of the countrys largest animal
research laboratories. The ASBO also prevents her from contacting
the owners, shareholders or employees of any of these companies.
Then there are the two protesters and a baby prevented from holding
a banner and handing out leaflets outside Reed Exhibitions, the
organiser of DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International)
the worlds largest arms fair. Police were eventually forced
to apply for and subsequently issue a temporary ASBO to order
their dispersal and ban them from Richmond for 24 hours. Not to
mention David Edwards - a political protester who has campaigned
for many years over issues such as health and safety to Rugby
council, who was served an interim order, deemed to have breached
it, and sent to prison. www.statewatch.org/asbo/ASBOwatch.html
* To contact ASBO Concern email MattF@fishersolicitors.com
SchNEWS in brief
- Public meeting this Saturday (9) for people opposed to plans
to massively expand Shoreham Airport 2pm at Lancing Parish
Halls, South Street, West Sussex.
- London Hacklabs Collective invites you to a day of discussions
and workshops on patent laws and the way corporations are trying
to take control of information. This Saturday (9) Ramparts Social
Centre, 15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. 3.30pm onwards. www.hacklab.org.uk
- Cancel the ExCeL arms fair. Musical protest outside the
ExCeL Centre the next two Sundays (9 and 16th) next to Custom
House DLR 1-4pm 07817 652029 www.dsei.org
- There will be a five day peace camp at RAF Brize Norton starting
on 21st April. The base, which is near Oxford, is the largest
air base in the UK, and a main gateway for the transport of British
soldiers to Basra. 0117 946685 Nabataat@yahoo.co.uk
- National day of action 16th April against Caterpillar,
who supply bulldozers to the Israeli army. Meet Hopwood Service
Station Junction 2 M42. Drive to Caterpillar at Hockley Heath,
rally for Palestine in Central Birmingham 2.30-4pm 020 7700 6192
- Last Friday around eighty crazily-dressed corporate pirates
turned up at the offices of Windrush International to celebrate
a pro-pillage party. Windrush are part of the corporate
rush to exploit the wealth of occupied Iraq. They organize Iraqi
Procuremnet Conferences where the assets of Iraq are stripped
and brought by corporations and the right of Iraqis to decide
their own economic policy is sold to the highest bidder. www.corporatepirates.gzzzt.net
- In March, the UKs first major womens film festival
was launched. As the festival pointed out, its appalling
that only 7% of feature film directors are female, but the festival
foolishly chose for the closing night bash, a stair filled venue,
meaning disabled film producer Liz Crow, whose film was screened
earlier the same day was excluded! As a result a group of disabled
filmmakers and artists decided to hold a very public party on
the pavement outside. Check out a video of the protest www.danda.org.uk/pages/BEVProtestVids.htm
- Global Week of Action for Trade Justice with hundreds
of events are already planned in 70 countries with thousands of
organisations involved. 10th - 16th April www.april2005.org
Fed up of the slimy critters destroying your garden? Well, Rob
Hopkins, from Ireland has come up with a novel idea. After
many a torch lit evening collecting bucket after bucket of our slimy
friends, I wondered what I could do with them. The solution is gloriously
simple. Simply pop them in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for five minutes,
not so long that they cook, but just long enough that they adopt
the texture of a wine gum. Then simply slip a sharpened knife under
the skin, and it peels off beautifully, like peeling a lychee. The
resultant pelt is waterproof, flexible and tough. After
a few weeks drying and peeling, I had a large enough collection
to make my first pair of trousers, sewing them together with a tough
twine. Now my slugskin strides are the talk of permaculture
gatherings around the land, and I have started work on a matching
SchNEWS warns all edocases if youre gonna be this edocentric
you need your edo examining...Honest!
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