back to the SchNEWS Home PageSunrise Celebration - 16-21 June, festival in South Somerset
subscribe to receive SchNEWS every week by emailView any SchNEWS back issuesFind out about SchNEWSSearch for contacts and linksVarious guides on how to do direct action etcDetails of previous hot topicsexternal link to Brighton ABC prisoner support site
The weekly newsletter frmo Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

SchNEWS This Time Last Year


SchNEWS 547
9th June, 2006

PRICKS AND MORTAR Locals set up a protest camp near Worthing, West Sussex to stop the building of a new Tesco and hundreds of houses on an ancient woodland. Also more protest camp updates, protests and repression in Egypt and the World Naked Bike Ride...

SchNEWS 546,
2nd June, 2006

BREAK THE ICE - The battle to fight climate change begins... This summer there will be a climate change camp. Plus - Iran and nuclear energy, protest camp protects trees in Titnore Woods, Worthing, and sweat-shop made football kit dominates World Cup...

SchNEWS 545, 26th May, 2006
SNATCH-22 - In the face of racist lies by the Home Office and media about asylum seekers we look at life for refugees in the UK. Plus Brian Haw's camp at Parliament Square is raided by police, protests against Shell pipeline in Ireland and more...

SchNEWS 544, 19th May, 2006
WALL OF SHAME - Palestinians defend land from Israeli occupation, and suffer the effects of the removal of US and EU aid. Plus - Glaxo-SmithKline get injunction to silence animal rights protesters, Bono has us seeing red and more...

SchNEWS 543, 12th May, 2006
FLOWER POWER - In Texcoco, (near Mexico city) a flower market was the flashpoint for a bloody showdown between the state and a local community hell-bent on self-rule and autonomy.

SchNEWS 542, 5th May, 2006
DOVER AND OUT - The exporting of live animals starts again as the EU ban ends. Plus - Bolivia renationalises gas supplies, Guantanamo prisoners do guerilla gardening, UK MayDay 2006 Roundup and more...

SchNEWS 541, 28th April, 2006
ONE GOOSE-STEP BEYOND - The far-right in Britain were defeated on the streets - so now they are trying to move into ''politics'. Plus - update from Nepal, Brighton activist reports from Palestine and more...

SchNEWS 540, 21st April, 2006
NEPAL OR NOTHING - SchNEWS writer in Nepal give account of civil unrest as the Nepalese population strike and protest to remove a parasitic, psychopath who calls himself the king.

SchNEWS 539,
7th April, 2006

CO-OP bank are revealed to be not the safe ethical invester they are supposed to be - a follow up report on the Co-Op

SchNEWS 538,
31st March, 2006

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? A look at the causes and effects of UK and EU asylum policy. Also ID cards update, America calling the kettle black, protests continue in France and more.

SchNEWS 537, 24th March, 2006 GAUL TO ARMS New neo-liberal employment laws in France bring millions into the streets and riots break out. Also Anti-Shell protests step up in Ireland, another EDO victory, Schengen's birthday and more.

SchNEWS 536, 17th March, 2006 WATER TORTURE Water companies continue to cream off profits while claiming they're doing all the can to plug leaks, and it's the same the world over. Also, animal testing, deforestation in Tasmania, Shepton Mallet evicted and more.

SchNEWS 535, 10th March, 2006 PIGS MIGHT LIE Charges against 8 more Anti EDO activists are dropped. Woo Hoo! Also an update on the situation in Barcelona and lots more.

SchNEWS 534, 4th March, 2006
YOU'RE HAVING A L.A.R.R-F - Last rites for Parliament under new Bill? The proposed Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill aims to do away with Parliament! Also, more British troops in Afghanistan, Pro Test dummies, EDO victory demo report, and to name but a few.

SchNEWS 533, 24th Feb, 2006
MoD PLC Neo Labour have quit hiding behind PFI and PPP and started with all out privatisation, starting with the MoD!!! Also anti Tesco protest camp, anti shell protest, peat extraction company targeted and more.

SchNEWS 532, 17th Feb, 2006
LATIN SWINGERS A round up of the political situation in Latin America. Also local market under threatr in London, NCADC funding crisis, Faslane update, Congo's forgotten war and more.

SchNEWS 531, 10th Feb, 2006
MISSILE DEFIANCE EDO MBM's attempt to get an injunction that would have made any meaningful protest against them illegal has fallen apart. Also, censorship in USA, squatters attacked by police in Barcelona and more.

SchNEWS 530, 3rd February, 2006
CHARITY BALLS The Government are pushing for yet more privatisation, but this time they're flogging them to charities, how could anyone complain about that? Also Hamas' victory in Palestine, GM cotton in Mali, Argentinian workers fight back and more.

SchNEWS 529, 27th January, 2006
A swimming pool is squatted in Bristol as part of a fight to protect public spaces. Also road protest camps continue, anti-ASBO protest news, ID Cards, winter Olympics and more.

SchNEWS 528, 20th January, 2006 JAILHOUSE SHOCK An article sent to SchNEWS by long term prisoner John Bowden about racist abuse by prison guards. And more...

SchNEWS 527, 13th January, 2006 HACKED OFF Locals in Hackney fight gentrification by squatting a cafe that's being threatened with demolition. Also a look at Tory Bliar's "Respect Agenda" and more.

Minister - here's the pesticide resistant crop. A species which can eat it is in the pipeline.
Click here for a larger image

Home | Friday 16th June 2006 | Issue 548



PDF Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!

Story Links: Food For Thought | Crap Arrest Of The Week | Squatever You Like | Faslane Tat Down | SchNEWS In Brief | We Kid You Not | Chemical Imbalance | ...and finally...


Corporations like to gloat that one of the great achievements of capitalism has been its ability to feed 6 billion of us. Back in the heady 60s the world’s agriculture underwent the so-called “Green Revolution”- a massive expansion in the use and abuse of fertilisers, pesticides and mechanised, petrol fuelled intensive agriculture designed to meet the problem of global population growth. Arguably any economic system profiting from the abundance of cheap oil at the time would have been able to produce a similar miracle, using thousands of oil calories to produce just one food calorie, but agribusiness wants to force the model onto the most vulnerable parts of the developing world and are proposing to deal with global hunger using a not so subtle blend of biotechnology and genetic modification. (see SchNEWS 96-547).

This week the US government, various banks and fertilizer producers are gathering at the African Fertilizer Summit in Nigeria, a hard-sell shindig which promises a profit boosting end to African starvation. All corporate sponsors donating $25,000 get an advert on the Summit’s website, but if they fork our $100,000 they get a whole page in the summit’s literature, together with a “Special Booth” in Summit Exhibit Hall. Bargain! The fact that so many corporations are interested in such an event just goes to show that they are intent in foisting their outmoded, energy intensive, environmentally damaging and yet extremely profitable farming practices; if Africa gets inundated with pesticides and GM crops there’s some real cash to be made.

Ironically, traditional small-scale agricultural cultivation techniques of manuring fields and rotating crops are extremely energy efficient. But despite being used for millennia, traditional cultivation techniques are to go out window. Take the element nitrogen, for example - crops love it. You can introduce it into the soil in the form of chemical fertiliser and it’ll work for a few years even in soil totally unsuitable for your crop, or alternatively you can ensure a good dose for your veggies by rotating them with beans. Crop rotation prevents diseases in plants by breaking the up the natural life cycle of pests, but moving them around is an expensive business; the sort of thing that really eats away at your profits.

The agribusiness solution to this problem is to spray everything with a cocktail of dodgy chemicals, killing off any pests and, unfortunately, their natural predators in the process. Should this spray-fest kill off the plants too, then its time to genetically modify the veggies and make them resistant to the effects of highly profitable and potent chemicals like Monsanto’s nasty herbicide, Roundup. Plants aren’t that keen on these chemicals and reject much of what is sprayed on them which then washes away into groundwater causing nitrate contamination of underground sources of drinking water. Up to half of all UK fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residues when they reach the supermarket shelves.

On smaller scale farms, nutrients are recycled from farm animals to crop as manures, but monopoly control of the meat industry by a handful of companies means that cattle, pigs and chickens are being bred in factory conditions hundreds of miles away from farms, making such recycling an impossibility. Pork, beef and chicken companies have, in part, been responding to the growth of the fast food industry. Back in 1983 when Chicken McNuggets were launched, most chicken was sold whole, but now 90% is sold chopped into pieces, cutlets or nuggets. In an attempt to drive down costs so any old McCrap can be sold for less than a dollar, sheds are built to house 25,000 or more birds, pumping them up with growth hormones and antibiotics, so much so that fat content in chicken is up 50% in less than half a century!

As for agribusiness ending poverty - In the UK 200,000 farms disappeared between 1966 and 1995. 17,000 farm workers left the land in 2003, alone. Despite this, there are plenty of backhanders for big business, as each year, under the Common Agricultural Policy budget, the government gives away £3billion of subsidies, 80% of which goes to agribusiness. These transnational corporations operate in different parts of the food system, which means they can take a loss in one area, providing a profit is made in another, forcing local companies into a price war they can not sustain, killing off the competition and reinforcing their monopoly.

Agribusinesses also control and own more parts of the food chain. Cargill is one of three major traders of grain, the second largest animal feed producer and one of the largest meat producers in the world. Livestock farmers find that they are buying feed from the same companies to which they are selling their meat. “In a subsistence food system the family controls food from seed to plate”, says food researcher, David Hefferman, “in the emerging monopoly food system, a few food companies are gaining control of the world’s food system by controlling it from seed to shelf”.

Together with agribusinesses like Cargill, biotechnology companies are still making a packet. Advanta is one of the world’s leading seed breeding, production and marketing organisations, making it one of the five largest seed organisations in world. Seven years ago Advanta was in debt, as the public reaction to genetically modified seeds lead to a 30% decrease in sales. Despite a limited GM moratorium in Europe and a ban on terminator seed technology (which produces sterile seeds, so farmers have to buy new seeds every year), 21 countries are still growing GM crops on 90 million hectares, an 11% increase on 2004.


In order to give people a step up on the farming ladder, number of ‘County Farms’ were bought by English councils to help people take up farming, and worked a bit like starter homes for people trying to get on to the property ladder. But these are being flogged off at quite a rate. In a recent protest activists squatted Balham Hill Farm in Somerset against proposals to sell the place off to the highest bidder at auction (see SchNEWS 540), but earlier this week (12th June) bailiffs evicted the farm. Even the successful farm shop the squatters set up with its 1,000 customers would have been unable to pay the annual £30,000 interest charges needed to buy the farm that Council bosses and local Liberal Democrats want £425,000 for. In a partial victory to the activists, the farm is now due to go to tender rather than be sold at auction which means that it will be sold whole and could still be used agriculturally. The sell off is part of a wider plan to break land up to build industrial parks and those much needed conference centres. “Really it’s the whole policy that’s the problem, because the South Somerset Council are selling off 45 farms as the tenancies expire”, one activist told SchNEWS, “with the price of land and buildings farming is out of our reach now more than ever.”

But some rural communities are beginning to create their own solutions - there are now nearly 300 farmers markets in the UK, compared to virtually none forty years ago and more and more people are becoming aware that agro-related illnesses like Mad Cows Disease are not the independent problems like the scientists presume, but symptoms of poorly functioning and designed food production system.

Check out for the latest on GM crop growing and biotechnology and the Land is Ours for a bit of history and details on recent campaigns -


Which wasn’t ‘officially’ an arrest...

Last week at the Yorkshire International Business Convention in Harrogate, Lindis Percy from the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) was waiting for George Bush Snr, the headline speaker at the event. Hiding away among the press, Lindis quietly stepped out, holding an upside down US flag with the words “Bush Off Please” written on it. After Bush rolled up in his four limos with CIA outriders, Lindis got close enough to Bush to shout “Your son is doing terrible things to the world”, to which he replied “I’m proud of what my son has done”. She was then ‘escorted’ away by several North Yorkshire Rozzers, including two officers from the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU). As they nicked and searched her, she was told that she still had not officially been arrested, but rather taken away “to prevent a breach of the peace”. Lindis was then kept in Harrogate Police Station for three hours under the instruction of a ‘higher authority’ until Papa Bush had left, after which she was released without charge.

SchNEWS - Fight Truth Decay
Squeeze here for a larger image

Yer favourite weekly newssheet will be at this weekend’s Sunrise Celebration with SchMOVIES and other films, info stalls and talks on a range of actions, including the Smash EDO campaign and the latest news from Scottish Zapatista solidarity groups. We will also be relentlessly flogging SchNEWS merchandise like the new SchMOVIES 2005 DVD and all our old annuals we can’t get rid of.


In Bristol a group of artists and performers squatted a warehouse to put on an art exhibition and a cabaret show. The event was DiY, with everyone encouraged to contribute, which transformed the space into a surreal mish-mash of sculptures, paintings and performances.

Last Thursday (8th June), an angry looking sergeant walked through the doors bellowing “right you lot… you’ve got half an hour. Get out!” He became upset when people started talking about things like laws and rights and so more police were called. Three cars, two vans and five police on horses.

Eventually it turned out that the ‘reason’ for the eviction was illegal electricity extraction. The squatters promised to pay the bill from when they had entered the building and taken meter readings. Things calmed down a bit and then suddenly the plod all jumped in their cars and on their horses and left.

Where did they go? To stand around an unexploded Second World-War bomb in a shopping centre, 11 metres beneath the ground! After police evacuated the whole shopping centre and hung around watching the army digging for a couple of days, the bomb turned out to be a piece of reinforced concrete. The police got their overtime and meanwhile the squatters had an unmolested cultural event and lots of fun. At last, a SchNEWS item with a happy ending.


Faslane Peace Camp, situated outside the gates of the Faslane Naval Base and its Trident nuclear submarines, has been a permanent protest camp since 1982, but is now to close down. The decision was made last weekend during the 24th birthday gathering, with closure planned for 25th birthday in June 2007. Activists reckon that the static camp is no longer the best tactic – mainly because of police surveillance and problems with residents - with plans to move towards a range of actions, some open, some not, linking up with the broader movement of other anti-authoritarian and peace groups. But the process of clearing the site, and discussing how to move forward will take the following year. The first event will be a clean-up bonfire on June 23rd, and then an ‘Independence From The Peace Camp’ weekend of clearing with discussions over the weekend of July 1-4th 2006. This will all culminate in a 25th birthday weekend gathering of tatting down and organising from June 9th 2007.

* For updates see

SchNEWS In Brief

  • Cleaning staff at Shannon airport in the west of Ireland have reported seeing a man in shackles on board a US aircraft. The US military have been using this airport since at least the first Gulf war in 1990 as a stop-off and refueling point , despite Ireland’s official position of neutrality.
  • The bulldozing of Britain’s biggest Travellers’ village at Dale Farm (See SchNEWS 540) will be raised over the next two weeks at hearings in Washington by the Helsinki Commission and by the a United Nations meeting in Vancouver. At both events members will hear that Gypsies and Travellers are the most marginalized minority group in the UK and suffer constant harassment and discrimination and how Basildon council plans to spend nearly £3 million trashing the homes of 86 families. There’ll be a rally on 1st August in Basildon from 11am, calling for the £3m destruction of the Farm to be halted. for more info.


It’s back to skool for the latest thought crime initiatives in Crackdown Britain. Why even bother waiting for people to commit crime before taking their fingerprints? Let’s face it, with another 1,000 criminal offences created in the last six years and thousands more on the way, courtesy of the democracy busting Legislatory And Regulatory Reform Bill (see SchNEWS 534), pretty soon everyone’s going to be part of the criminal classes. And with this explosion in the numbers of criminals it makes sense to get ‘em early.

At Primrose Hill primary school in north London they’ve been taking pupils’ fingerprints - without parents consent - for a security system used in the school library. The Micro Librarian Systems’ Junior Librarian has been marketed in the UK since 2002 and is estimated to have fingerprinted hundreds of thousands of British children.

Meanwhile an addition to the national curriculum from Scottish Special Branch will see officers encouraging teachers to grass on pupils who they think may be bunking off for a bit of crafty jihad behind the bike sheds. Christian and far right organisations need not fear though, because the newly established unit will only focus on ‘ethnic religious groupings’. Teachers are being asked to help cops “identify any activities that could be considered to be extremist”, which might include “a kid who has gone back to their parents’ home in Pakistan and has returned with anti-Western feeling or stronger religious faith than they had shown before”.

Where better than school to brain-wash the most impressionable part of the population into seeing political supervision and bio-metric identity verification as just another everyday feature of life in the UK?


The twenty one year battle continues to bring justice for the victims of the catastrophic chemical spill which afflicted the Indian city of Bhopal in 1984, exposing half a million to highly toxic gasses. The current death toll is 20,000, with 120,000 still suffering the effects. The company responsible was Union Carbide – now part of Dow Chemicals – and they have been trying to wash their hands of the problem ever since.

Yet while Dow are ducking and diving from a safe distance in the US, those in Bhopal still live with the aftermath of the accident, which was never cleaned up, in their backyard. The site of the abandoned pesticides factory still oozes a cocktail of carcinogenic and mutagenic toxins, which leach from the 5,000 tonnes of waste chemicals chucked into pits.

Naturally the $48 billion company Dow thinks somebody else, anybody else, should pay for the clean up. When nobody warmed to the idea that gas survivors’ meagre compensation should be used for this purpose they suggested that maybe the Indian taxpayer should cough up instead. When that didn’t work, along came Cherokee Investment Partners.

Cherokee makes its money by helping businesses avoid bills for cleaning up the environmental messes left by the world’s biggest polluters. On its website, the company promises those saddled with a polluted land problem that they will be able to evade all financial and legal responsibility for any contamination. With a service like that, business is booming as polluters line up for shareholder friendly advice.

So how do Cherokee do it? Well there’s the usual array of backhanders which encourage politicians to grant the company contracts in the first place. Then they buy up toxic land on the cheap, rake in public-funded subsidies and do whatever it takes (like just burning the nasties or chuck them into landfill) so it’s ready to be used for yuppie loft apartments or golf courses and sold on for a huge profit. This ‘vulture capitalism’ has made Cherokee into a multi-billion dollar multinational enterprise and they’re coming soon to a cesspit near you.

Such pioneering work in setting dirty, hazardous industries free to pollute without compunction has won Cherokee many influential friends, but as their primary business is private, no one’s really sure who exactly is investing in them. That is, until oily Chief Executive Officer, Tom Darden got into Bhopal. Tommy boy presents himself as a ‘green philanthropist’ and is a member of the same Anglican sect as the Bushes. Darden combines this with his mission, as director of Crown’s Financial Ministries (CFM), to “teach God’s financial principles to 300 million people by September 15, 2015”, in order that they can reach “True Financial Freedom™” (no we don’t make this stuff up, and no we don’t know what’s with the date). CFM is an evangelical Christian organisation teaching financial principles based on the Bible, using Crown Biblical Financial Studies “to train people to handle God’s money.”

When Bhopal survivors questioned Cherokee’s interest in the lethal site, Darden piously accused them of making money from it. One careless email later and the membership of his posse was laid bare: on the ‘cc’ list were officials from Tata, Citibank and the US State dept., all major players in a corporate committee, the US-India CEO forum, which is pressuring India to open its economy to profit hungry US investors. The same committee has urged a quick resolution of ‘the Bhopal issue’ to make India more attractive to US investors. Surprise, surprise - also lurking on the ‘cc’ list was one other member of the US-India CEO forum: The Dow Chemical Company.

Last week survivors held a demo in Bhopal to protest at the collusion between P S Dubey, the dodgy chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board and Cherokee; and also last week a Bhopal activist disrupted and commandeered a presentation featuring Dubey and Darden at Duke Universirty, North Carolina, to confront the suits with the reality on the ground in Bhopal.

For more see

...and finally...

Inspired no doubt by recent events at Titnore Woods (see SchNEWS 547), Hollywood’s A-list are jumping on the direct action bandwagon and taking to the trees. Rent-a-mob super-stars aiming to protect a community farm slated for demolition included the more than heroic Joan “voice of a generation” Baez, Martin “West Wing nut” Sheen and the half-woman/half fish star of the ‘iconic’ 80s film Splash, Darryl Hannah. The slappable Leonardo diCaprio and Danny Glover (star of Lethal Weapon 9), were also in tow. The stars, together with the hundreds of non-famous people who actually farmed there, had been occupying a 40 foot tall walnut tree in a bid to block the bulldozers.

This being Hollywood, the A-list agitators were empowered by a soundtrack of conch blowing “Aztec” dancers hired to give proceedings an ‘ethnic’ feel. Heartstrings were mercilessly tugged in the closing scenes as Joan Baez belted out “We shall Overcome..some day”. A brave Darryl Hannah, who had overcome vertigo for the demo, was lowered from the tree and with literally no visible external signs of irony gave the Black Panther clenched fist salute as she was gently lowered from the tree and led away to a chat show.


SchNEWS warns all readers don’t get A-list celebs to yer protest camp - get A-list anarchists instead. Honest.


Download free short films produced by SchNEWS, or order a copy of the new SchMOVIES 2005 DVD only £6 incl. p&p. Click Here for more info

SchNEWS Annuals

OUT NOW!!! 'SCHNEWS AT TEN' - A Decade of Party & Protest - £9 inc p&p

  • Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401. £7 inc p&p
  • SchNEWS of the World - isues 300 - 250. £4 inc p&p.
  • SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001. £4 inc p&p.
  • The SchQUALL book Sold out - Sorry
  • SchNEWS Survival Guide Sold out - Sorry
  • SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 and a whole lot more £2.00 inc. p&p

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.


SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913

@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!