SchNEWS 715, 26th March 2010
A Twist of Fete - In what is fast becoming a summer tradition, yet another gathering has fallen victim to party-pooping police tactics. The UK’s last free open-air festival has been cancelled under police pressure. Strawberry Fair, in Cambridge, viewed by many as the starting gun for the festival season, has been stopped in its tracks after 37 straight years.

SchNEWS 714, 19th March 2010
Tit Top - Well blimey. Against all the odds it looks like Titnore Woods has been saved from the developers’ evil clutches. The decision made by Worthing Council’s planning committee to reject the development plans for the new housing estate on the ancient woodland site on Monday (15th) had everyone shouting with joy and dancing in the public gallery. 

SchNEWS 713, 12th March 2010
Sussex, Lies and Videotape - Following last week’s ‘Stop The Cuts’ demonstration and occupation of the senior management’s offices six Sussex University students had been suspended and excluded from campus. The six had been ‘positively identified’ following Sussex Police’s thuggish altercations on campus....

SchNEWS 712, 5th March 2010
School of Hard Knocks - Students at Sussex University came into violent conflict with riot cops on Wednesday (3rd) as they occupied the executive nerve centre of their university. Several weeks in the planning by Stop the Cuts campaign, around 80 students rushed the ‘fortified’ Sussex House building with a supporting demo outside of around 300 people, all in protest against the proposed cuts to university funding...

SchNEWS 711, 26th February 2010
Greek Fire - Greece has once again been rocked by protests, strikes and civil unrest as Eurozone austerity measures kick in... plus, far-right losers the SDL are seen off the streets of Edinburgh, Colombian riot police attack protesting workers demanding better conditions at BP owned oil company, Tree hugging tramps declare war on Tesco, Protests are called as more Gaza defendants are banged up, and more...

SchNEWS 710, 19th February 2010
Gaza Defendants Hammered - As Judge-mental Dennis hands down vicious sentences to London Gaza protesters.... plus, 700 activists converge on Aldermaston nuclear facility for mass blockade, Irish Shell protester jailed for seven months, after last week's illegal eviction activists re-establish migrant solidarity centre, Cameron's cuddly conservatives promise a crackdown on travellers and squatters, and more...

SchNEWS 709, 12th February 2010
Slung Out On Yer Frontier - SchNEWS asks you and whose gendarmerie? As French cops crackdown on migrant welfare centre... plus, activists take on companies importing goods from illegally occupied Palestinian territories, Iranian anti-regime campaigner Bita Ghaedi goes into the fourth week of hunger strike in her fight against deportation, Turkish anti-militarists set to stand trial for “alienating people from military service” and “praising crime and criminals”, and more...

SchNEWS 708, 5th February 2010
Eyewitness Afghanistan - From Kemp Town to Kabul, as SchNEWS interviews Al Jazeera journalist Medyan Dairieh about his take on the war... plus, Honduras' 'return to democracy' sees the coup leaders holding on to power and upping the repression, Kingsnorth Climate Campers win in the High Court against unlawful police stop and searches, No Borders and SoS Soutien open an autonomous safe space in Calais, and more...

SchNEWS 707, 29th January 2010
Lanarky in Action - As the National Eviction Team move in on Mainshill Solidarity Camp... plus, they finally get around to putting a price on Blair's head, the English Defence League embark on a racist rampage through Stoke, French police evict a night shelter and destroy the makeshift camp erected by migrants in protest, a coalition of No Borders activists and local nimbys help derail plans for a new deportation centre in Crawley, and more...

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Home | Friday 2nd April 2010 | Issue 716



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Story Links : Eire We Go Again | Down To The Wire | Sand Storms | Out To Launch | No Expense Bared | More Than Fair | Hard Copy From Honduras | Ukba Go Channel Hopping | All's Well That Nz Well | Story To Tel | Un-irving



The Irish state’s determined persecution of protesters against Shell’s experimental pipeline started to unravel last week as 25 of the 27 standing trial had their cases withdrawn or dismissed.

They did however manage to stitch up campaigner Niall Harnett, who received three five-month sentences after being roughed up by Gardai in a court building. In a farcical turn of events, after failing in the prosecution of a Gardai for assault, they then prosecuted Niall.
The prosecution managed to convince the judge that Niall assaulted three Gardai at once, including an inspector and a sergeant and that no less than seven Gardai managed to cram into the space between the doors with Niall to witness this extraordinary event. Niall stated in court, “I am not prepared to apologise for standing up to them, because they are bullies.” Niall has lodged an appeal, but if unsuccessful he will serve five months as the sentences run concurrently.

This legal farce follows a year of sinister Rossport related incidents with elements worthy of the most gratuitously paranoid potboiler (see SchNEWS 673). First news arrived that one of the security guards who worked for Shell had been shot dead in Bolivia and that he was part of a terrorist group that aimed to start a civil war there. Within weeks it became clear that he was not alone, that in fact several security guards from the Shell compound had travelled to Bolivia with him where some were arrested and others are wanted for questioning.

The environmental prize winner Willie Corduff was beaten by masked men while conducing a peaceful overnight sit in at the Shell compound. Then Pat O’Donnel’s boat was boarded and sunk by more masked men, an event the Gardai failed to investigate for weeks. Finally, as Shell’s pipe lying ship the Solitaire arrived off the coast two Irish Navy gun boats were deployed alongside a Air Force spotter plane, 300 Gardai and 200 Shell private security. All to watch, surround and repress no more than one hundred Shell to Sea campaigners. Rumours abounded of unmarked military jeeps and the place was crawling with secret police men. A huge media smear campaign swung into action seeking to paint the Shell to Sea campaigners as crazed terrorists despite the facts showing such types were on the other side.

Following the court victories over 100 supporters showed up outside the gates of Castlerea Prison to protest the continuing imprisonment of Shell to Sea colleague Pat O’Donnell, serving seven months in prison on trumped-up chances following months of state-sponsored harassment (see SchNEWS 710). Pat’s ordeal has continued in prison. He has been refused a transfer to Loughan House, where a more open regime applies and visiting Pat at Castlerea Prison has been difficult for his family.

Despite the scale of official repression of the campaign, it has achieved major victories with the experimental pipeline delayed by 10 years from 2003 to 2013. In what has become known as the Great Oil & Gas Giveaway, the terms of energy exploration licenses have been changed so that energy companies now pay no royalties and very little tax.

Millions have been spent on a huge PR offensive to win hearts and minds of key opinion makers. Paid hacks have poured out slanders about those who continue to resist Shell, while the few journalists who have dared question such stories have been targeted for abuse.

* See and

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'...Then they came for the illegal downloaders, but I wasn't an illegal downloader so I did nothing...' Oh hang on – yes I am.

Next week, April 6th, the British parliament votes on the Digital Economy Bill. Don't expect much news coverage of this because on this same day Brown will formally dissolve parliament before the election, and due to arcane rules this bill can be nodded through in the 'wash up' on this day without having to go to a debate. It just may be a swansong for the people that brought you the Terrorism Act and a record amount of other draconian legislation during 13 lucky years of Neo-Labour.

This Bill features a section which targets illegal downloading, pandering to big media corporations who are moaning about losing revenue because of it. Internet service providers (ISPs) will be legally obliged to divulge the details of copyright infringers and ordered to block access to websites which allow infringements – eg – bit-torrent sites or online file repositories like Rapidshare. ISPs also face large fines for failing to act against P2P downloaders. Users who have received multiple copyright infringement letters can be temporarily suspended. Public Wi-Fi outlets may fall foul if somebody illegally downloads using their network, and this free service may become less common.

This part of the DE Bill is being supported by UK Music - led by has-been musician Feargal Sharkey - who supposedly represents the interests of the entire music industry. But in reality, when it comes to music, it's media corporations rather than artists who have most vested interests in the crack-down on illegal downloading. Especially the majority of smaller selling, less well known artists.

Free Software leader Richard Stallman claims that due to the way the record industry operates, smaller artists don't get paid adequately, and he advocates other ways to pay them – including allowing people to directly pay the artist a donation, having downloaded the music for free. The corporate-controlled record industry is well known to be on the slide, and many musicians are now bypassing the mainstream system and distributing their works on websites, often for free, and asking for donations. If you were to directly pay an independent artist £1 for a track, it'd be more than they would get if you bought the single.

But while media corporations support the Bill, other internet corporations are not happy about it. These include those who make their money from the internet itself, including Yahoo, Google, Facebook and others. And ISP companies like BT and Talk Talk don't like it, because the onus is on them to do the policing, and anyway they make money from internet traffic no matter what it is. One survey shows that 96% of 18 to 24-year-olds have illegally downloaded music on their music player, and a hefty proportion of web traffic is downloads.

There has been a campaign against the Bill, led by the Open Rights Group, who have organised several demos and a petition of over 12,000 demanding a real debate. Last Wednesday (24th March), 300 demonstrated outside parliament, then yesterday, April 1st, ORG held another 'flashmob' demo of 35 people where they delivered 'disconnection' notices to the three major party headquarters, followed by a demo outside the London offices of UK Music.

ORG told SchNEWS today that it's not a fore-gone conclusion that the Bill will be passed, and urged a continued campaign to lobby MPs to not vote for it. (See Another group, 38 Degrees, have been raising cash they will use for full-page newspaper ads to be run on April 6th (See

But whether or not the tried n' tested 'n' often failed methods of mainstream protest work, don't go thinking that the golden age of downloading is over just yet. Last year a similar law was introduced in France, known as Hadopi, with a similar raft of legislation. And guess what the result is – illegal file sharing has gone up anyway. Though they have yet to disconnect peer-to-peer (P2P) users as they now legally can, a recent report suggests that P2P is down but most of these users have gone on to illegal media streaming sites and getting stuff from download sites like Rapidshare (both of which aren't illegal in Hadopi laws). This example shows that legislation will always be playing catch-up to internet use, and file sharing will no doubt remain a moving target for law makers. (See

New Zealand also introduced something similar in early 2009 with Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act – but this was section was repealed after lobbying from ISPs and an international internet campaign, New Zealand Internet Blackout (See


It could be that countries like France, NZ, Japan and Britain introducing such laws are just rehearsals for a bigger, international trade law, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). While it is still some distance from becoming finalised, meetings began in 2007 led by the US, the European Commission and Japan, with other countries joining in later. The only information we have about the private talks are documents which have been leaked.

It builds on the TRIPS agreement (See SchNEWS 420) which is about regulating and enforcing copyright, patents, trademarks and other so-called 'intellectual property'. The pretext is to cut down on the global trade of 'counterfeit' goods, including unlicensed generic medicines and illegal file sharing. Like TRIPS and other US / European neo-liberal efforts to control the world, the idea is to roll ACTA out to countries like Russia, China and Brazil, dragging them into line with US-based copyright laws. Representatives on the advisory committees reads like a who's who of media, pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations - is if there was any doubt about whose interest ACTA serves.

A major emphasis with ACTA is an clampdown on copyright-enfringing internet activity akin to the DE Bill, including forcing ISPs to provide information about suspected illegal downloaders without a warrant and making it easier for the record industry to shut down bit-torrent sites such as Pirate Bay. Another part of ACTA could see searches of laptops, music players and phones at international borders for illegal media files, leading to fines and possibly devices being confiscated. The US lobby in ACTA hopes to see new rules which will make DRM*-breaking software – and DRM-cracked media files – illegal, causing a great increase in DRM-usage by media and computer corporations. * (DRM: Digital Restrictions Management - measures to prevent copying or control use of files, disks and devices – see

As well as this, ACTA also targets 'counterfeit' medicine - in other words giving drug monopolies more power over companies who make unlicensed generic drugs, which will affect health standards in many countries.

Round 8 of the ACTA talks will be this month, April 12th-16th in Wellington New Zealand. A counter-conference will be held on April 10th (See

* See also

Keywords: internet, neo-liberalism
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Grassroots groups from across the world will take part in a fortnight of protests against BP’s plans to move into Canada’s tar sands, home to indigenous First Nations people. Until now BP have been the only major oil company to have eschewed tar sands extraction. With profits at risk, BP have been ditching the ‘Beyond Petroleum’ sham, and have acquired a half share in the tar sands development in Alberta. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day there, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil and causing the mass deforestation of desperately needed carbon sinks.

The immediate human impact is catastrophic for local First Nations communities, with toxic tailing ponds leaking poisons into the local water supply and disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

The BP Fortnight of Shame, called by the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action, kicked off on the annual Fossil Fools day on April 1st with a convergence at the Huntington Lane protest site against an open-cast coal mine (see SchNEWS 714,

Having already stopped felling on the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for a month, this weekend’s plan is to help establish a permanent base on site, including a ramble over the proposed surface mine site, banner drops, and campaign planning.

Actions on Fossil Fools Day included the disabling of RBS cashpoints in Brighton with stickers reading ‘Investing in tar sands is OUT OF ORDER’ and the delivery of a hoax BP ad campaign to their HQ. Posing as representatives of a PR company, climate campaigners delivered 22,000 new logos – one for every BP logo in the UK – of a ‘Back to Black’ ad campaign. Boxes of ‘Back to Black’ were planted on their doorstep and a matching sign was d-locked onto the building in protest at the Canadian tar sands project.

On April 10th there is to be a Party at the Pumps protest with events culminating at the BP AGM on April 15th. Other actions are to take place from Brighton to Scotland.

* For local events visit and see

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The Free Gaza Movement (FGM) has bought 1200 tonne cargo ship to add to its siege-breaking fleet. The boat was bought at auction after it had been impounded when an International Transport Federation (ITF) inspection found the owners had been exploiting their Lithuanian crew – not paying their wages and humiliating them.

ITF Inspector and union organiser Ken Fleming said, ‘We are pleased to announce that this vessel which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine.’

The FGM have renamed the boat “The Rachel Corrie” after the Palestinian solidarity activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 as she tried to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes (see SchNEWS 397). A civil action case against the state of Israel over Corrie’s death, brought about by her parents, opened last month (See

“The Rachel Corrie” will join three other ships in taking humanitarian aid to Gaza in a flotilla setting off in May. The new ship will carry 500 tons of cement, as well as medicines, medical equipment and educational materials.

* See

** April 20th: A Night of Comedy Music and Magic for Palestine. Ivor Dembina, Jeremy Hardy, Ian Saville, Maureen Younger & Music by The Amigans. At the Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LQ, Doors open 7pm, show at 8pm. £6/£8, with all proceeds to The International Solidarity Movement, The Russell Tribunal on Palestine and The Lajee Centre in Bethlehem.

Keywords: free gaza, gaza, palestine, rachel corrie
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In the first trial of the MP expense scandal scapegoats, the swindlers tossed to the public by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer were able to avoid the embarrassment of appearing at Southwark Crown Court this Tuesday.

With their legal fees covered by legal aid (though they could be asked to pay it back in part if they are eventually tried and found guilty), their top-dollar silks argued with judge Geoffrey Rivlin that their criminal embezzlements are exempt from scrutiny in the courts under the terms of the Bill of Rights of 1689, which says, “The freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

The legal shenanigans will now take place in the High Court from May 4th-6th, meaning the swindling pond scum could be sitting in the dock on Election Day, May 6th.
Outside a Peoples Court launched a creative audio-visual protest with banners, placards, costumes, street theatre, sing-a-longs, and a 70W radio mic sound system.


Keywords: neo labour, politicians
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After police conniving led to the cancellation of Strawberry Fair (see SchNEWS 715), fuming Cambridgeshire party lovers are planning to push ahead with plans for a fightback festival. There is a call out for people to assemble on Midsummer Common on June 5th with “instruments, sound systems, your family, mates and a fuck off attitude.”

* See SchNEWS Party and Protest ( ) for more.

Keywords: festivals, police
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Honduras has been a deadly country for journalists this year (see SchNEWS 712) with two more slain last week. Local radio journalists Bayardo Mairena and Manuel Juarez were ambushed and shot dead in cold-blood from close range in eastern Honduras.

Five journalists were gunned down in the last month, making it the second most dangerous place for journos in the Western Hemisphere, after Mexico. Although some of these murders have been attributed to organised crime, others targeted those reporting on opposition to the government of Porfirio Lobo.

The Honduran media continue to be on the end of post-coup repression. There is concern about recent threats against the staff of Radio Uno, a privately-owned opposition station in San Pedro Sula. Despite being in the army’s sights since last June’s coup d’état, it continues to take risks by covering human rights violations.

The Lobo government has signalled where its loyalties lie, appointing retired army general Romeo Vásquez Velásquez as head of the national telecommunications company Hondutel. This man played a key role in last year’s coup which saw repeated attacks on opposition media by the military.

* See

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Protesters staged a demo outside the Brighton UK Border Agency in solidarity with Calais migrants on Wednesday (31st March). The protest highlighted the Agency’s collusion with the French authorities in the harassment of migrants sleeping rough in Calais (see SchNEWS 712). 

The UKBA has in the past year stepped up pressure on the French to make Calais a migrant free zone and has set up shop in the port. Migrants are routinely arrested, have their squats raided and possessions destroyed to this end.

The demo also protested the collusion of authorities either side of the channel in joint charter flights, which deport large numbers of Afghan migrants, many of whom haven’t had a chance to complete the asylum process.

Fifteen protesters stood outside the entrance handing out leaflets, informing passers by on the situation in Calais with requisite banner in tow.

An info day is to be held in the Cowley Club, Brighton on May 15th. Look out for a week of action across Europe coming up in June.

* See

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With the trial of the EDO Decommissioners rapidly approaching (see, activists can take heart from news from New Zealand where a teacher, a farmer and a Dominican friar mounted the first successful “for the greater good” defence in the country’s history.

Adrian Leason, Sam Land and Father Peter Murnane freely admitted cutting their way through the fences of a government spybase near Blenheim and slashing the inflatable plastic dome covering a satellite dish with sickles.

But it took a jury just two hours to acquit the Waihopai Ploughshares three, after they accepted the defence that they believed what they were doing would prevent human suffering. Wellington lawyer John Miller said, “If you believe someone’s in grave danger of suffering and you prick a balloon, that seems quite reasonable.” Well, quite. And if you take a hammer to a factory...

* See

Keywords: direct action, edo decommissioners, new zealand, ploughshares
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This week Brighton-based direct action group Smash EDO went truly international, speaking in Tel Aviv with Bernadine Dohrn, an ex-member of the Weather Underground.

At a public meeting of Israeli anti-occupation activists, the groups discussed actions of active solidarity, particularly the decommissioning of EDO that took place during last year’s Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza (See SchNEWS 663).

The two groups shared common ground in resistance to US arms giant ITT, talking about anti-arms trade actions spanning several decades - and employing a wide variety of tactics - as well as the future of anti-occupation campaigning.

Smash EDO showed videos of its demos against Brighton’s bomb factory - EDO/ITT - with Tel Aviv activists being particularly struck by the campaign’s strategies for resisting police repression and FIT tactics.

* For an audio recording of the meeting see

* For info about ITT and corporate complicity in Palestine see and

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Brighton doesn’t tolerate fascist rhetoric now or ever (see SchNEWS 454). That was the message David Irving’s ‘unwelcoming committee’ presented to the far-right holocaust denier and his henchmen last Saturday (27th March).

The deluded historian planned to give a talk to the troops in the city but was met by the concerted resistance of around twenty anti-fascists all unwilling to tolerate his warped dogma.
The group informed the owner of the venue where the talk was due to take place about the true nature of Irving’s ramblings. He was genuinely startled by this and immediately asked Irving and his mob to pack up and and be gone. They only did this after fearlessly calling the boys in blue and refusing to leave without a police escort.

Having finally sent them packing, the meet-and-greet group patrolled some of Brighton’s hotspots most likely to be potential fallback venues (sounds like a pub crawl then) but were content with the clean air of a job done.

The following day David Irving’s online action report alleged the anti-fascist presence were in fact hired heavies. Now there’s a thought...

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SchNEWS warns all readers, don't Bolivia a word of it. Honest.



REPORTS FROM THE VERGE - Smash EDO/ITT Anthology 2005-2009 - A new collection of twelve SchMOVIES covering the Smash EDO/ITT's campaign efforts to shut down the Brighton based bomb factory since the company sought its draconian injunction against protesters in 2005.

UNCERTIFIED - OUT NOW on DVD- SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008 - Films on this DVD include... The saga of On The verge – the film they tried to ban, the Newhaven anti-incinerator campaign, Forgive us our trespasses - as squatters take over an abandoned Brighton church, Titnore Woods update, protests against BNP festival and more... To view some of these films click here

ON THE VERGE - The Smash EDO Campaign Film - is out on DVD. The film police tried to ban - the account of the four year campaign to close down a weapons parts manufacturer in Brighton, EDO-MBM. 90 minutes, £6 including p&p (profits to Smash EDO)

TAKE THREE - SchMOVIES Collection DVD 2007 featuring thirteen short direct action films produced by SchMOVIES in 2007, covering Hill Of Tara Protests, Smash EDO, Naked Bike Ride, The No Borders Camp at Gatwick, Class War plus many others. £6 including p&p.

V For Video Activist - the SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection - twelve short films produced by SchMOVIES in 2006. only £6 including p&p.

SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2005 - all the best films produced by SchMOVIES in 2005. Running out of copies but still available for £6 including p&p.

SchNEWS Books

SchNEWS At Ten - A Decade of Party & Protest - 300 pages, £5 inc p&p (within UK)

Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401, 300 pages, £5 inc p&p

SchNEWS of the World - issues 300 - 250, 300 pages,£4 inc p&p.

SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001 - SchNEWS and Squall back to back again - issues 251-300, 300 pages, £4 inc p&p.

SchQUALL - SchNEWS and Squall back to back - issues 201-250 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Survival Guide - issues 151-200 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Annual - issues 101-150 - Sold out - Sorry

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These books are mostly collections of 50 issues of SchNEWS from each year, containing an extra 200-odd pages of extra articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. SchNEWS At Ten is a ten-year round-up, containing a lot of new articles.

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