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The weekly newsletter from Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

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SchNEWS 583, 13th April, 2007SPUD-U-HATE “BASF state the trials are designed to test whether potatoes can be genetically modified to be resistant to blight. However, given the historical context, it seems more likely their function is to test if the UK public is still resistant to GM.” - plus climate change protestors storm Ratcliffe Power Station, more SOCPA shenanigans, Les Tanneries community squat in Dijon under eviction and more...

SchNEWS 582, 30th March, 2007SILI-CON JOB Is there such a thing as a fair-trade iPod or computer? No. SchNEWS looks at the electronic sweatshops in east Asia and the environmental problems caused by the hi-tech consumerism. Plus, update on Ungdomhuset evition in Denmark, M1 widening and more...

SchNEWS 581, 23rd March, 2007 PUTTING ON THE WRITS A look at the increasing use of the protection from Harassment Act against protesters. Also the real cost of gold, a faslane update and more.

SchNEWS 580,
16th March, 2007
The IDs of MarchThe NO2ID campaign is organising a national day of action on March 26th to raise awareness of Neo Labour’s database state. Also protests against upgrading of Trident, hungerstrikes against Dow Chemicals in Bhopal, riots at Campsfield detention centre and more.

SchNEWS 579, 10th March, 2007
DANISH PASTING The eviction of the Ungdomshuset building in Copenhagen sparked massive protests and riots this week. Also victory for Native American Indians and more.

SchNEWS 578,
2nd March, 2007

OVER A BARREL Oil companies are trying to complete a plan to take control of Iraq's oil but the unions are fighting back. Also refugees are returned to the war torn Congo, forests are threatened in Poland and Wales and more.

SchNEWS 577,
23rd Feb, 2007

FOREST GRUMP We have a closer look at the the pop star supported mega million pound carbon trading industry so see just what its chances are of saving the world. Also tree protests in Tasmania, road protests in Ireland and much more.

SchNEWS 576,
16th Feb, 2007

HAVEN IT LARGE Protests contine and grow around the pathway of the new natural gas pipeline in Wales. Also corporations continue to get away with it, hunts getting away with it and more.

SchNEWS 575,
9th February, 2007

THE TIDE IS NIGH According to some wacky UN boffins climate change will, if we're ;ucky, only bring about the desertification of the rain forests and the death of all coral reefs. And if we're not lucky...Also war in Somalia and loads of party and protest dates and more.

SchNEWS 574,
2nd February, 2007

SOIL OF THE CENTURY A round up of allotment issues including why they're good and why the Olympics is bad. Also updates on Brian Haw and SOCPA generally, Faslane and more.

SchNEWS 573,
26th January, 2007
A look at what's ahead for SchNEWS in 2007 with a new office in Brighton's autonomous social centre. Also details of other social centres and alternative media news around the country and news on a protest squat near Oxford, Guantanamo Bay protests and more.

SchNEWS 572,
8th Dec, 2006

MARKET FORCES If you're disgusted about the British army still having 7,000 in Iraq, what do you think about there also being 50,000 private military and 'security' mercenaries there? Also a Faslane 365 updated on the week Tory Bliar announced support for replacing Trident and loads of other news.

SchNEWS 571,
1st Dec, 2006
GET ME OUT OF HERE Detained asylum seekers in Harmondsworth Detention Centre rioted this week after being denied access to TV news stories about an Inspectorate's report on conditions there. Also Israeli fruit and veg exporter blockaded, updates on Oaxaca Mexico and more.

SchNEWS 570,
24th Nov, 2006

Kiss Of Debt It’s Buy Nothing Day this Saturday (25th November), but with £1,300,000,000,000 of consumer debt in the UK, it would appear that the zombies in the malls aren’t listening. So here's a bit of info on debt and credit and all that. Also G20 protests in Australia, loads of protest and protest dates, Canadians take on the arms traders and Leonardo De Caprio.

SchNEWS 569,
17th Nov, 2006

Save The Wales Protesters occupy part of a gas pipeline site in Wales, stopping work and getting the media spotlight shone on the project. Also conscientious objection in Turkey, Shell still suck shocker, Yes Men at it again and more.

SchNEWS 568,
10th Nov, 2006

Goin' Under Last weekend was the International Day of Action Against Climate Change. Some of the biggest protests were in Australia where climate change is already painfully apparent. Also Israel's new boot boy, a Faslane update and more.



wall in palestine
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Home | Friday 19th April 2007 | Issue 584



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Story Links: Rubber Stamped Derail the Gatwick Express Creepy-Crawleys It's All Academic Return of the Mumia Won't Bow Down Party & Protest | ...and finally...



Last Friday, one of the seventeen strong Brighton delegation to Palestine was shot by the Israeli Defence Force. Tom was hit with a rubber bullet (a rubber bullet in IDF terminology is a steel bullet coated in rubber). Fortunately the shot, ricocheting off his arm, was not lethal.

The Brightonians were part of an international presence at the ongoing community-led demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall being built through the West Bank town of Bil’in (see SchNEWS 566, SchNEWS 544).This demo was during Palestinian Prisoner’s week, to highlight the plight of thousands of Palestinians held under ‘administrative detention’, with some activists walking inside a mock cage. As the demo was 200 metres from the wall it was met with a hail of tear-gas followed up with rubber bullets. Although the combination of Palestinian villagers, Israeli anarchists and Cowley Club regulars tried to force the demo through, they were driven back by Israeli army jeeps, who entered the village. In all sixteen protesters were shot and injured by the IDF. A medic from the Palestinian Red Crescent was shot in the stomach, and another local man was shot in the groin. A French activist was shot by a tear gas canister at close range and sustained severe burns.

Tom, after being treated by the Red Crescent ambulance, told SchNEWS. “This violent attack by the Israeli Army on peaceful unarmed demonstrators is unbelievable. The people of this village have had their land stolen, their olive trees uprooted, and their livelihoods devastated. By daring to protest against this injustice they are met with aggression and violence. This has made me more determined than ever to support them, and other people in Palestine, in their struggle for their land, their country, and their freedom.”
In the same week fourteen other protesters had been injured by the IDF whilst demonstrating for children’s rights. The Israeli army lost no time in showing where their concern for children lays by shooting seven of them. In Bethlehem, a further 10 people were injured in anti wall protests.


Despite this repression activists still disrupted Israeli plans for settlement expansion and the continued walling in of Palestinian lives. In the face of IDF violence, in Bethlehem protesters succeeded in destroying foundations to the wall and a watchtower and in Bil’in a group of activists succeeded in cutting down 20 metres of an Israeli settlement fence. A video of the action is available at the Anarchists Against the Wall website (

The Tubas region of the Jordan Valley is almost all entirely controlled by Israel. The region spreads from Tubas town, in the northern hills of the Israeli occupied West Bank, over to the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley. Most of the Tubas locals were farmers, travelling from the town to their land in the Valley, but to get there they need to get past an Army checkpoint which requires Jordan Valley residents’ ID – which they don’t have – effectively putting a choke-hold on their livelihoods. 95% of the land and 98% of the water there has been taken from the Palestinians since 1967 who often have no choice but to work in the Israeli settlements.

In Palestinian villages the people have lost nearly all their land and many have had their houses demolished. With Israeli-imposed restrictions there is very little health care, education is limited, there are no phone lines or public transport, often there is no electricity, and much of the water supply is contaminated by waste from Israeli settlements. All aspects of Palestinian economic life and independence are ruthlessly strangled.

In the Jordan Valley, a major fruit producing region, there are areas where Palestinians are not even allowed new buildings in their villages. In the village of Fayasal the Israelis kicked up a stink amongst the locals when they put a demolition order on the village’s toilets.

The Brighton delegation is looking into building a tent school (the village has been barred from building one out of bricks and mortar). The nearby village of Al Jiflic already has a tent school thanks to local tenacity and the support of internationals, and partly as a result of this Al Jiflic has now obtained permission to build a more permanent school.

Just because the media seem to have been taking a break from reporting on Palestine does not mean that either Palestinians have stopped resisting or that people have stopped taking action there. In fact, in the absence of major Palestinian armed attacks, the place of non-violent resistance is stronger than ever and, as the above examples show, are capable of achieving real results.
There is currently (18-20 April) a conference in Bil’in on non-violence organised by the International Solidarity Movement building on grass roots and global non-violent direct action against Israeli aggression.

* See for details.
* For more on the Brighton-Tubas delegation see the excellent blog
* The ISM are continuing their campaign with 'Freedom Summer 2007: confronting apartheid', from June 21st to August 15th. June marks the 40th anniversary of the military Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. For more see


Certain they're just not locking up enough foreign migrants, the Home Office – soon to be split into the far more sinister sounding Justice and Security departments – are planning to build yet another detention centre, this time handily located away from prying eyes, actually inside Gatwick airport’s fenced boundaries (See SchNEWS 538).

It’s all necessary to keep up the government’s racist migration policy of locking up everybody and then dealing with each case once they are safely in detention. So much easier to then stick ‘em on a one-way plane outta here, you see.

The whole immigration system is orientated to the removal of migrants, whether they seek asylum or not. Of the 2,966 places currently available in the Immigration Detention Estate, 2,065 are in ‘Removal Centres’ (privately-run prisons in all but name) with a further 588 places in Removal Prisons (managed by the Prison Service). This means seven out of the current ten immigration detention centres are run by private companies - good reliable firms like the notorious Group4 – a sweet little earner, if you can keep costs to a minimum, of course.

Decent conditions and humane treatment are the first things to suffer in the corporate economy drives - various reports have described the utterly racist regime in place in the detention centres.

Detainees are routinely abused and beaten up. Those who dare to complain or protest are quickly transferred to other detention centres or deported. This has even forced inmates into hunger strikes and full-scale rebellions in some of these Gulags, such as last December’s riot at Harmondsworth (SchNEWS 571).

The new centre, recently given approval from Crawley City Council, will have places for over 400 more migrants.


No Borders is organising a national day of action this Saturday (21 April) in Crawley to protest against the new detention centre and say ‘no to all detention centres!’ Meet at Jubilee Field in Three Bridges, 12 noon. Come out of Three Bridges station and turn left into East Ave. After 2 minutes walk, the park is on the right. For more info email For transport from London call 07983 274568. People travelling from Brighton are meeting outside Brighton Station at 10.30am. Groups of 4 people can get special discount tickets for £17.80 return (let us do the maths, people: that is £4.45 each!) Email or phone 07880 523231 for more info.


Protesters have scored a major victory against Labour school privatisation policies in Brent. The backer of a proposed new City Academy, Andrew Rosenfield, withdrew his bid to sponsor a proposed new Academy on community sports grounds near London’s newest over-budget white (city) vanity elephant, Wembley stadium.

In late March, residents, parents and teachers took matters into their own hands by camping out and occupying the site of the proposed academy - Wembley Park Sports Ground, Brent.

With little more than tents and their presence as weapons, they pledged to continue their occupation until the plans for the academy were withdrawn. And just one week after their camp began, the main sponsor withdrew his bid. The social benefactor in question, Andrew Rosenfield, who by sheer coincidence has also bankrolled the Labour Party to the tune of a cool million quid, lives as a tax exile in Geneva and has presumably decided to turn his capital towards somewhat easier profits.

Brent Council have now roped in ARK, a group of hedge fund speculators, to try and salvage the academy proposal. ARK includes the Lib Dems’ largest financial contributor, Peter Marshall.

Although it may seem strange for residents and educators to be protesting against the building of a new school, they are not without their reasons. The proposed school will be one of Neo-Labour’s flagship academy schools. These new institutions are, in reality, a form of stealth privatisation. Corporate sponsors agree to pay ‘up to’ £2 million towards the cost of constructing a new school (in reality very little of this money is ever actually paid) in return for seats on the educational board, promises of knighthoods and the agreement of the government to pay for all of the running costs.

A local teacher, Jean Roberts, said “As far as we know this is the first occupation opposing an academy. We’ve been amazed by the tremendous level of support coming from the local people. We oppose the idea of academies because they are schools being run by a private individual using tax payers’ money.”

These City Academies (of which the government plan to build more than 400 across the country) are undemocratic institutions. Corporate sponsors (including such child development specialists as Dixons Stores) have the majority on governing boards and can make decisions concerning the schools’ ‘visions’. This has important implications for the future of British schooling. It’s no coincidence that over half of the academies count ‘business and enterprise’ as their speciality. Less commercially useful subjects like philosophy or history presumably will be pushed to the back of the class.

It won’t come as a great surprise that a major reason for politicians’ love of academies is the chance to mutually grease a few more oily palms. They can and do sit on the boards of companies that manage them: former education minister Lord Filkin is a director of Serco, which manages schools, and former education secretary Charles Clarke is a non-executive director of LJ Group - now heavily involved in the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

The Brent protesters have shown that the power of community organisation can upset the corporatisation of the education apple cart. Academies are equally unpopular amongst teachers and parents alike and by working togeffer mebbe they can learn the government proper.

* More off-curriculum reading at the Anti Acadamies Alliance website:


Mumia Abu Jamal is a black American activist who has been on death row since 1982 for the alleged murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Despite getting a mention in SchNEWS as far back as issue 27 (see also SchNEWS 34, 228), in the years since, numerous appeals to present forensic and ballistic evidence and eyewitness testimonies to his innocence have all been blocked by the courts and he remains in jail, with stays of execution forced partly by mass public protests and support.

The (former) Black Panther was earning a few quid taxi driving, when he spotted his brother getting beaten by a cop, as was the custom at the time (not that it’s changed much since). Abu-Jamal got out to help but was shot in the stomach by another policeman before he reached the scene, and suffered a near-fatal wound. In the melee, the cop beating Abu-Jamal’s brother was also fatally shot - but by a man who in no way resembled Abu-Jamal (who’s quite distinctive with long flowing dreadlocks), as attested by many of the nearby witnesses.

Having pulled through from his injuries, Mumia was charged with murder, closely related to the fact that, as a journalist, he had been highlighting the state’s harassment of the radical black ecological group MOVE. The fit up included police intimidation of witnesses, vital evidence not being examined, and a biased judge, famed for sentencing more men to death than any other in America.

Despite all the evidence proving his innocence, Mumia remains inside and a legal campaign has fought several attempts to execute him. For more see and

* A UK rally for Mumia is scheduled for 5 May at University of London Union, Room 3C & D, Malet Street, London WC1. Russell Square or Goodge Street Tube. See


"For having stood up to and resisted unlawful and inhuman treatment in prison, and retained some basic human integrity and humanity in the process, I probably shall now remain imprisoned far beyond what even a reactionary judge deemed an appropriate period of time all those years ago. Hell will freeze over, however, before I surrender that part of myself that had the courage and integrity to fight back and resist when resistance often seemed futile." - from Tear Down The Walls by John Bowden (available from Leeds ABC, PO Box 53, Leeds LS8 4WP. Email: Web:

John Bowden is an anarchist in prision since the 1980s. A long-term prison resister, he has spent most of his life behind bars, including 25 years of a 'Life' sentence for a drunken murder which he himself described as "a senseless, almost gratuitous killing", which "reflected the extent of my brutalisation after
years of brutalising treatment in state institutions.". In the time since he has written extensively and eloquently about his own experiences and the conditions of others - including an article about racism in prisons published in SchNEWS 528.

With the two older men prosecuted for the same incident now released, and after being moved to 'open' conditions last year, let out for fortnightly home-leaves, the indications were that John might be released on licence this June. But it appears that a right-wing parole office, Matt Stillman, has been attempting to block John's release. His March 12th report highlighted visits to John by the prisoner support group the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), which he attempts to smear with the terrorism brush as being made up “primarily of eco-terrorists or paramilitary members involved in what they see as battles against political systems and principles.”

With John's parole hearing due in the next two weeks, letters to Matt Stillman (Fax: 01382 360510, The Parole board of England & Wales, Grenadier House, 99-105 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2DD) and its chairman ( are needed to help pressure them into a non-reactionary decision. Write to John Bowden, 6729, HM Prison Castle Huntly, Longforgan, Dundee DD2 5HL, Scotland (enclosing a few stamps if possible). * See

* CORRECTION: They say never apologise, but a rushed research error led to a horrendous case of mistaken identity in the paper / pdf version - John Bowden was never in the Angry Brigade! Sorry to all concerned - the person responsible will be made to suffer.

Party & Protest

  • APRIL - 26 - Blockade of Faslane to commemorate Chernobyl Day. speakers in the morning and a die-in in the afternoon. Transport from Edinburgh: bus leaving Waterloo Place (east end of Princes Street) at 4am, with the return leaving Faslane at 5pm the same day. To book places (£10/£6 conc. paid on the bus) please contact or call 0131 554 9977. Transport from Glasgow: email For general news and info see
  • 26 - World Day for Animals in Laboratories - Leicestershire Vigil outside the gates of Hillcrest Ltd (formerly Harlan UK) - animal breeders for the vivisection industry at Dodgeford Lane, Belton, Leicestershire, which could be described as a ‘factory farm for dogs’ which are destined to suffer in needless experiments. See full report at: Food, and travel from Nottingham with Veggies. For more info call Loughborough Animal Concern 07981 789481
  • 28 - Jubilee Debt Campaign Annual Conference: Debt & Power - breaking the chains of economic slavery. A day of discussion, debate and workshops. 11am-5.30pm at South Camden Community School. Booking essential at:
  • MAY - 1 - Space Hijackers May Day protest: Suited and Booted. Advance warning of a party right in the heart of the Corporate Financial Centres of London. Bring instruments and radios, hidden in briefcases/suitcases, and drinks, cakes and smiles to share. More details coming soon, but for now, spread the word and get an outfit sorted (a city worker disguise). For details see:
  • 1 – Or for a more conservative London May Day Demonstration, assemble Clerkenwell Green, EC1 at 12 noon, moving off at 1pm to Trafalgar Square for the rally.


...and finally...

Bush has been made to look a bit of a dick this week (although it was admittedly probably below gun control issues on the agenda), as it was revealed that his big spending PR campaign to convince young people to abstain from sex has been, er, a massive flop. While he lamely talks of spending a few million here and there to ask people not to own guns illegally or shoot each other up with them, he has been aroused enough to pump a throbbing $1 billion of federal money into posters, adverts and edutainment films promoting ‘abstinence’.

Research has now been uncovered showing that the stiff talking to has made bugger all difference. In surveys carried out for (presumably non-sexual) Congress and the health department, both the control groups of teens and the abstinence-educated groups displayed exactly the same behaviour. Rampantly ignoring the government’s attempts to ‘cool’ celibacy (perhaps Bush confused it with celebrity), around 45% of the groups admitted having sex in the past year, a quarter having three partners or more in that time and on average they were all losing their virginity at 14.9 years. It seems young Americans are happy screwing each other as their president screws the world, whilst the voters just continue to suffer from electile dysfunction...


SchNEWS warns all readers - duck the bullets, but not the issues. Honest!


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