| Friday 27th July
2007 | Issue 598
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER FLYING IN THE FACE OF IT...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Airbusted
| Crap Arrest Of The Week | It's
the Pits | Cordon Brown | Koch
'n' Bullish | Party & Protest | Bamboo
- zled | Penalty Unfair | and
INJUNCTION TAKEN OUT AGAINST HEATHROW CAMP FOR CLIMATE ACTION
If you were in any doubt that the Camp for Climate Action is gonna have a big impact this year then check out Heathrow airport's reaction to having been chosen as the venue!
This year the camp will be at the world's busiest airport
which is a bigger source of CO2 emissions than most countries. Of
course it's sheer lunacy in this time of ecological crisis
but the aviation industry are pushing to almost double the airport's
capacity by increasing flights and building a third runway. The
battle to stop them will be one of the most important environmental
battles in Western Europe.
BAA (owners of the privatised Heathrow airport) are running scared
of the climate campaigners and have called on the services of protest-busting
corporate lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden (TLC - see SchNEWS
581) to get an injunction under the Protection from Harassment
Act. They want an exclusion zone not just around the airport and
its infrastructure but between junctions 3-6 of the M4 and 13-16
of the M25. The exclusion zone being applied for also covers the
Piccadilly line and the Heathrow Express. The injunction seeks,
first and foremost, to prevent any protest of any kind at, or in
the vicinity of, Heathrow Airport, and it is specifically aimed
at stopping the Climate Camp from happening.
If an 'interim' injunction is granted (and its already
been press-released by the Met) then police will be able to arrest
those pitching tents, or carrying 'wooden poles, pallets,
scaffold poles, bow saws, panel saws, fret saws, axes, screwdrivers
or wheelbarrows' for any reason at all. In fact they seem
to be taking this DIY culture thing pretty seriously. Also forbidden
in a frivolous afterthought are 'balloons'. Basically
an 'interim' injunction would enable those the police
consider to be protesters to be confined to a 'designated
Four named individuals have been served with the by-now familiar
black ringbinders of evidence that accompany TLC's attempts
to restrict protest activity. Crucially, although only four people
are named, they are deemed to represent certain groups - Plane Stupid,
AirportWatch, Heathrow Association for the Control of Airport Noise
(HACAN) and No Third Runway Action Group (NoTrag).
While Plane Stupid are a grass roots direct action group (and more
power to their elbow) of the kind that TLC specialises in bullying
on behalf of corporate clients and the police, the others are broad-based
umbrella groups featuring such subversives as Greenpeace, the RSPB
(membership inc. Bill Bryson and the Queen) and Council for the
Preservation of Rural England. And while we at SchNEWS would be
more than happy to see her madge hauled off in the back of a paddywagon
- we suspect that the enforcement of this bit of PFI martial law
is going to be a little more selective.
In total the organisations affected number some five million members.
That's quite a chunk and let's hope that this time TLC
has bitten off more than he can chew. Greenpeace have assembled
a legal team to fight the injunction, including a QC from Cherie
Blair's chambers. In an effort to bolster the injunction it
is claimed that it is being taken out on behalf of all of Heathrow's
contractors, employees and even passengers. So it looks as if Court
Number 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice is going to be a little
crowded on Wednesday 1st August.
Despite the attempted legal crackdown, campaigners are still going
ahead with the camp come what may. Leo Murray, named in the writ
as the organiser of Plane Stupid, told SchNEWS, "This provides
an enormous campaign opportunity - to illustrate the bullying tactics
of BAA, the diversity of opposition to expansion and as a publicity
outlet for the Camp for Climate Action. It will become abundantly
clear that they've made a terrible mistake. The camp is doubtless
going to go ahead regardless of rain, injunctions, or any other
external influences, and BAA engaging a conscienceless legal mercenary
to persecute a handful of people who are only tangentially connected
to the Climate Camp - and implicate literally millions more - is
not going to alter this. In fact, I would guess it is very likely
to mean more people come to the camp than would otherwise have done".
Alex Harvey press spokesperson for the Climate Camp said: "We're
not only adamant but confident that the camp will go ahead. This
year's camp has a massive profile - we're here,
we're going to do this thing and it's going to be fantastic".
For more about some of the groups involved see:
Plane Stupid - www.planestupid.com
HACAN ClearSkies - www.hacan.org.uk
No Third Runway Action Group - www.notrag.org
Airport Watch - www.airportwatch.org.uk
The Camp for Climate Action
August 14 - 21 Eight days of low-impact living, debates, learning skills, and high-impact direct action tackling the root causes of climate change. Email firstname.lastname@example.org web www.climatecamp.org.uk.
forget two other camps in the coming months...
Smash EDO Summer Action Camp
August 27-30 - Direct Action against the War machine! Workshops
on effective campaigning, actions and more fun'n'games
against EDO MBM, the Brighton factory who make bomb parts
used in Iraq, Palestine and everywhere else. Call 07875708873
or see www.smashedo.org.uk
Gatwick No Border Camp
September 19-24. This camp is to highlight the planned asylum
seeker detention centre near Gatwick, and strengthen the fight
against the system of immigration controls where people are
locked up, forcibly deported or made to go underground, because
they have crossed the border. A space to share info, skills,
knowledge and experiences, and to plan actions. Email email@example.com
and see http://noborders.org.uk
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For desserting on a bike....
It was a case of getting seriously unjust desserts for one Plane Stupid activist last week. On Sunday 8th, cycling along a cycle path close to Heathrow in West London, she was randomly stopped and searched by police for no apparent reason. Although not carrying anything apart from a recipe for avocado ice cream and a cycle map, she was arrested under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and held, along with another campaigner, for over thirty hours before being bailed on charges of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Must have been the threat of green ice cream.
IT'S THE PITS
The Wiradjuri Aboriginal nation in central New South Wales are fighting the existence of a toxic gold mine on their sacred sites and land at Lake Cowal, one of many communities suffering the the destruction caused by multinational mining companies. Elders from the indigenous nation and their supporters occupied the Australian head office of the world's biggest gold mining company, Barrick Gold, in Perth on 11th July, in the latest incident in a long running battle.
Elders Neville "Chappy" Williams, Ron Gardner and 35
others were at the office to confront the company after the Wiradjuri
people pinned an eviction notice to the front gate of Barrick's
mine, as well as ask questions about the mining deed signed by Barrick
and a group supposedly representing the traditional peoples, and
other legal documents including the inventory of artefacts taken
by Barrick when the mine was built.
The elders claim that the mine has been put up on land containing
burials, thousands of artefacts, scarred trees and other evidence
of long-term occupation of the land, but Barrick are refusing to
disclose what has been collected during their works. The mine disturbs
a massive amount of earth, leaving a 325 metre deep pit nearly a
kilometre square in area.
Despite the worst drought ever in Australia this year, the mining
company has taken 3,650 million litres of groundwater for the mining
process, killing thousands of trees. Cyanide, a highly deadly chemical,
is used to leach the gold before seeping back into the ground.
* For more see www.savelakecowal.org
New Prime Minister, same old repression. This Wednesday (25th) Gordon Brown announced a raft of new civil liberty-curbing powers for the state - with plans to double detention without charge, the creation of a new 'unified border force' and additional electronic passport controls.
With little press reaction, UK plc appointed its first Minister
of Security, former Navy Admiral Sir Alan West. At the same time
came the announcement that the navy will be building two new supersized
aircraft carriers capable of carrying 3,000 crew and 100 fighter
planes to help the UK 'project' its power abroad -
just what we always wanted; and a real bargain at £4bn!
Disappointed that last time they were only able to secure the evidence-less
lock up of anyone they deem a 'suspected terrorist'
for just four weeks, new plans are afoot to increase that limit
to 56 days. Cops clearly reckon an extra few days of sleep deprivation
and other 'soft' torture techniques will get the confessions
just not quite ready to be coughed up by day 27.
The new unified border force will come with a new style uniform
(Darkside black) complete with machine gun accessories. Entrances
and exits from the UK will be electronically tracked by 2009, and
all visas will be biometric from next year. Neo Labour will be making
this latest attack on Muslim and other minority ethnic communities
sweeter by persuading community groups to look the other way as
they pick up £70m in funding to build 'interfaith links'.
They'll be needing to sort out relations as 4,000 foreign
prisoners will be getting the boot by Christmas and all foreign
nationals staying in the UK for more than six months will required
to have biometric identification by the end of 2008. And if that's
not enough, Gordo promises another security review later in the
'summer' - plus ca change at No.10?
A nondescript large industrial unit in Lenton, Nottingham had its anonymity taken away by local Disarm DSEI / anti-arms trade protesters on Tuesday when they descended on Heckler and Koch's UK headquarters.
H&K are the world's second largest maker of pistols and
machine-guns for soldiers and death squads across the world, including
Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Burma/Myanmar.
Their weapons are in use in over 90 countries, including by British
police, and the company has evaded EU arms controls to sell weapons
to war-zones in Sudan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone. Over
half a million people are killed worldwide by small-arms annually.
A productive bit of research led a couple of intrepid investigators
to buzz the company and ask "Excuse me, is this the Nottingham
Small Arms Factory?" Although they didn't get a response
as such, their suspicions were confirmed when armed police turned
up minutes later and detained them for 45 minutes under the Terrorism
The subsequent demo made it clear that gun merchants are not welcome
in the city (which, by the way, has the highest gun crime rate in
the UK). The peaceful protest obviously hit a raw nerve as the forty
or so people in attendance attracted an almost equal number of cops,
including members of the (London-based political squad) Forward
Local rag, the Nottingham Evening Post, showed just how weak its
commitment to reporting is when they pulled the story from page
2 after being told by a police press officer that it would be 'irresponsible'
for the media to publish the arms company's address (...yes,
so obviously it's: NSAF Ltd, Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane,
Nottingham NG7 2PX). See http://disarmdsei.evey.org
* Three campaigners from Brighton were found guilty last week for
their parts in a blockade of the EDO MBM arms factory
a year ago (those parts largely being placed in barrels filled with
concrete - see SchNEWS 552). They were
sentenced to the not-so-heavy punishment of 12 months conditional
discharge. While the judgement must've been something of a
bonus for prosecutors and police who have already seen over 40 arrested
protesters win their cases and go free, this sentence has at least
still seen those accused go free - unpunished so long as they are
not caught being naughty again for a year. And they're all
lodging appeals in any event.
And they weren't the only losers in the case - EDO
company director Peter Davies has resigned since his first appearance
in the case back in March, making him the fifth director to quit
since the campaign and awkward cross-examinations in court began.
PARTY & PROTEST
JULY 27 - Critical Mass - cycling protest held on the last Friday of every month, typically at 5.30pm. In ten cities across Britain - see www.schnews.org.uk/pap/index.htm#crit-mass
28 - Close Campsfield Demonstration. Give support to the detainees imprisoned inside. Bring musical instruments or saucepans to make a cheerful noise. 12-2pm. (also on the last Saturday of every month) www.closecampsfield.org.uk
AUGUST - 9-12 - Northern Green Gathering - on an organic farm at Ackworth near Pontefract in West Yorks. The site is well drained, and has not flooded during the recent bad weather. Adults £60, Children 5-16 £15, Vehicles £15. www.nggonline.org.uk
10-13 - AR2007 International Animal Rights Gathering 2007, Appelscha, northern Netherlands. Next to a forest with camping. The day before (9th), there will be an Animal Rights march through Amsterdam, focusing on fur and vivisection targets. Sleeping places are arranged in Amsterdam, after the march everyone will move on to the gathering site... www.ar2007.info
A survivor of the Nagasaki A-bomb had the indignity of being
arrested for a non-violent protest outside the British nuclear
base, Faslane, this week. Part of the year-long rolling campaign
to obstruct the place and highlight the stupidity of the decision
to renew Trident and generally continue to nuclear it all up (See
SchNEWS 583, 563).
Masahiko Moriguchi, who was seven years old when the genocidal
mega-bomb fell, was arrested along with nine other peace campaigners
on Wednesday afternoon when a Japanese delegation, supported by
around 100 others, successfully shut down the bomb factory with
a 'Bamboo Blockade'.
Police moved in to break up the demo, arresting and then dearresting
four elderly women and a young man who had been singing peace
songs at the gate. Three Japanese men and one Finnish women were
detained after holding up cops with a bamboo arm lock which took
over an hour to cut through.
Mr Moriguchi said: "The Faslane 365 campaign is encouraging
the epoch-making first step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons
by calling on Britain to renounce Trident."
His son Shinya said: "The UK's decision on whether
to renew the Trident system is not only a British matter, but
will influence proliferation and insecurity around the world.
I wish the UK to make a wise and rational decision and pioneer
the road to nuclear abolition, which would make this world safer."
Since the railways were privatised, ticket prices unsurprisingy went up, largely filling the pockets of investors instead of improving the service. Not content with clobbering the ticketless with a £10 fine, recently all networks upped the 'penalty' to a full twenny quid. South West Trains issued a memo to its 'revenue enforcement' officers saying that they must always presume someone traveling without a ticket is guilty and to sting them for a score regardless of the excuse. But what if you arrived at the station, your train's about to leave and there's a big queue for tickets?
The penalty fares rules state that if there were "no facilities
available to issue the appropriate ticket" you can't
get done. One barrister, Richard Colbey, says this means that
there must have been someone ready to sell you a ticket and if
that person (or machine) is serving a queue then the facilities
to buy aren't actually available. That's paragraph
7.4 of the penalty fares rules, by the way. To fine you the train
company has to sue you through the county court and so far none
have done so. Happy traveling!
Quelle surprise as boffins prove that barely having a brain is no barrier to being a bureaucrat!
A team of researchers at Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille have been shocked by scans of one Frenchman's brain which showed just a huge fluid-filled area where brain tissue should normally be. Despite this, the 44-year-old stunned them by using his ultra thin layer of grey matter to score 75 in an IQ test and hold down a marriage, two kids and a job in the civil service.
"What I find amazing to this day," said brain specialist
Dr Max Muenke, "is how the brain can deal with something
which you think should not be compatible with life." - We
had no idea Max had as bad an opinion about working for the government
as we do...
And perhaps that last time you tried to deal with 'the system'
and thought you'd been lumbered with a small minded bureaucrat,
maybe you were right (and it's not just that you filled
out the form wrong / were caught blatantly trying on a new fiddle)
SchNEWS warns all readers - don't expect a soft landing at Heathrow next month. Honest!
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