Home | 28th June 1996 | Issue 79Death Burger



Would You Like Lies With That, Sir?

The longest civil case in British legal history, The McLibel Trial, celebrates its second birthday today. It's a war of words between the $26 billion a year corporation and two unemployed activists from London Greenpeace. The defendants, Dave Morris, a former postman, and Helen Steel, a gardener, are defending themselves without legal representation.

The McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest food retail outlet, and spends over $1.5 billion on advertising and promotions every year. But behind the slick image is the reality- profiteering from the exploitation of people, animals and the environment and the creation of a junk culture.

In contrast, London Greenpeace is a small, independent collective, active since the early 70's. In 1985 it launched a general anti-McDonald's campaign, producing the Fact sheet which is now the subject of the libel action. Best summed up by its inventive chapter headings: "McDollar, McGreedy, McCancer, McMurder, McRipoff, McTorture, and McGarbage", it accused McD's of underpaying its staff, destroying rain forests, torturing animals, corrupting children, and exploiting the third world. Charged with "wrecking the planet for the sake of a fast buck", McD's sought to suppress the leaflet, and intimidate its authors into silence. This has backfired spectacularly, as over 1.5 million "What's Wrong With McDonald's" leaflets have been handed out to the public in the UK alone. After 28 pre-trial hearings, the trial began in June 1994.

McDonald's have brought their big guns into the witness box - over a dozen executives from Chicago and the UK, up to the level of President. They've been forced to make many admissions and a great deal of secret information has been unearthed. This has provided a unique insight into how multinational corporations- who dominate the world's economy- achieve and maintain their power. The shit has hit MuckDonald's very hard. They are desperately backtracking members of the U.S. McD's board of directors have flown to the UK to negotiate a settlement. The defendants refused to accept their terms which included an apology! The defendants will accept only if McCheesy apologises to those threatened with legal action in the past and pay an agreed sum to a third party for the inconvenience caused to the defendants.

No expense is being spared by McD's in pursuing its case. One of its many witnesses from the USA, David Kouchoukous, an environmental consultant, told the court that McD's uses only 13.6 square miles of timber land a year to supply its wor1d-wide business. Paul Preston, president of McD's British subsidiary, told the court that he didn't consider his business's basic rate of pay of 3.10 an hour to be low. He declined to reveal his own salary.


'McSpotlight' is an online library and campaigning tool, which makes available across the globe. 1,700 separate files containing everything that McDonald's don't want the public to know. It was accessed over a million times on the libel-free internet in its first month!


Ronald McGenocide and his churns are claiming damages and costs from the jobless duo. Most of these costs (estimated at over 35m) will have to be borne by McDonald's anyway, as the defendants have no money. Court costs how ever, will have to be met by the taxpayer. According to the Lord Chancellor's department, the daily cost of providing a judge, courtroom, ushers, stenographers and all the other paraphernalia of a High Court action is 7,600. Assuming the case takes 300 days in court, that means the total bill to be picked up by the taxpayer will be nearly 2.5 million. Even if McD's can prove that it has been libelled, will the company really get anything for its pains apart from (battery) egg all over its face?

Children are a major influence on household food purchases - an 'advertiser's dream' in the words of one big retailer. Most of McD's advertising is specifically aimed at 2 to 8 year olds to encourage children to ask their parents to take them there. Geoffrey Guiliano, a Ronald McDonald actor in the 1980's, quit and publicly apologised to kids everywhere. It is not just in the high street that McD's are trying to get their claws into the young. Hard-up schools are resorting to free educational packs from McD's to teach children maths, geography and English. The packs, have abundant references to the hamburger giant and have been denounced by parents as a "frightening intrusion", and that vulnerable children being brainwashed.


Ray Kroc, a humble milkshake salesman, persuaded brothers Mac and Dick McDonald to sell their company name to him in 1953. The first store of the McDonald's Corporation opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. McDonald's now has over 20,000 stores in 90 countries. The company claims it serves 2 million people a day and that a new store opens somewhere in the world every seven hours. The happiest part of this little tale is that Kroc is long dead.


"Do you know where in England McDonald's restaurants are?"
A typical extract of 'geography." McFact Pack.

"I knew of cases where employees in my store worked as much as 26 hours in a row... Every time you were seen not smiling you were called to the corner and told to smile." - Siamak Allmi, McDonald's Training Squad, Colchester (UK), 1985 - 1987

"When you see the golden arches, you're probably on the road to the pearly gates." - Dr. William Castelli, Heart Specialist.

The company has tried to deal with London Greenpeace in some very suspect ways. Sid Nicholson, McDonald's UK Vice President, formerly in charge of Personnel and Security, joined McDonald's in 1983. Prior to this he had spent 31 years in the police force, firstly in South Africa, and then in the Met, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent. Nicholson further accepted that McD's hired two detective agencies to infiltrate London Greenpeace, that the company's agents had stolen letters and that spies remained in the group after writs were served on the defendants in order to monitor their response. At one London Greenpeace meeting there were seven private detectives and three genuine activists!

To cut a two year story short, McDonalds are scum and deserve all manner of damage to be rained down upon them. The verdict is due in February 97, so there's plenty of time to take some quick dry cement down to their toilets!



* Go to watch the case support the defendants:

"The best free entertainment in London" according to Auberon Waugh. Court 35 High Court of Justice, Strand, London 10:30am-1pm and 2-4:30pm most weekdays.

* Phone/fax McLibel Support Campaign on (0171) 713 1269, or write to them: c/o 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.

* Boycott McDonalds and all Burger Chains and stop, or reduce, your meat and dairy intake.

* Imaginative direct action against McDonalds. Occupy their stores and keep giving out the "What's Wrong With McD's" leaflets... (available for 15 per 1000: ring 0115 958 5666)

* Put downtrodden employees onto the McDonald's Workers Support Group, c/0 10a Bradbury St. London N16. (0181 533 7111)

* Protest against McDonald's packaging and litter - join OPERATON SEND-IT-BACK 0115 958 5666



A festival due to be held on the 1st July at Dunaad Hill, Argyll, by Lochgilphead is under threat. So what's new? This one has been granted an order by the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), and will prohibit New Travellers celebrating at the historic monument. Police fear that large hordes of people would result in serious disruption to the local community. The monument is the site of public right of access, but apparently the owners of the adjacent land have withheld permission. We must speak with one voice, we must keep our party spirit ... "Day by day the ancient forests fall prey to the chainsaws for the money-men, while the gutrock of the Earth is robbed of the oil and metals that are its very substance" said Andrew Connell, spokesperson for the Gathering. For more info contact 01324 861627.


The Brighton Evening Argus is up for sale. SchNEWS felt that this warranted a re-opening of communications with them: "We have so enjoyed our rapport that we at Justice'? would hate to see the Argus fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, we would like to put in a bid at this early stage for your consideration on behalf of Justice? We bid 1p. I'm sure you appreciate this is a fine offer considering the economic circumstances and the quality of the product. Furthermore, we would be happy to retrain any journalists in news reporting following your inevitable downsizing." The Argus refused to comment. Ring them with your bids: (01273) 544544. Back in the world of real media.

Happy Birthday 56A Bookshop!

They have been distributing radical books and info for FIVE continuous years from their squat in Crampton Street, London. They provide a space for people to pursue projects, an archive of alternative info and a quiet place for people to chill and read. Infoshops are common in Europe, America and Australia

* Belated Happy Birthday to the Guilfin crew - on the case for SEVEN years!

* Check out your local Free Information Network sheet for what's 'appening near you. Justice? are putting together a list of regular FINs - send s.a.e. for a copy (mark your envelope FlNquiry)

* Cothrom/Justice - our Scottish sister paper - are still doing their bit. Contact them with stamps for your copy. Solidarity Centre, 3 Royal Exchange Court, Glasgow, G1 3PA


London's subterranean shuttlers have found industrial action to be a breath of fresh air. They've been getting a bit (King's) Cross about being taken for a ride instead of providing them. Tube drivers can be made to work up to six successive Sundays, often travelling unpaid to start work at remote depots. Drivers can spend five hours driving continuously, shunting round and around, back and forth. They aren't paid for their meal breaks. Overwork causes a high rate of stress related illnesses, family problems, divorces and low morale among drivers.

Over 3,500 people are killed each year in road accidents. Cars in the UK take up an area twice the size of Birmingham. Air pollution allegedly causes 11,000 early deaths each year in the U.K. Our homes and countryside are being destroyed by a mad road building programme. The present 24 million cars in the UK could rise to 35 million by 2025. Makes sense to back up our train drivers, doesn't it? Three more strikes are planned for next month (July 3rd, 8th and 16th) - support them by having a lie in and skipping work or college on strike days, that's the ticket! If you must travel use a bike or take the bus. Turn up to any picket line, pledge your support and lets link the anti-car and tube strike issues. Support the tube workers and strengthen the anti-car movement, or else it may go off the rails completely.

RTS Street Party '96

* FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE! July 13th will see the masses partying for a car-free London. Kid's area, art, magic, street theatre, instant beach, and a prize for the best fancy dress! Call 0181 281 4621 for details. Tube workers most welcome!


York crew have been up to lots of good lately. Europe's most bicycle friendly city is host to regular Shell actions, Critical Masses and McDonald's hits. This month a Planning For Real Day discussed the practicalities of a bender/permaculture community at a demolition site in Naburn, in the South of the city. G'wan!

* Write and let us know if your town/city deserves to be Town of the Month.


It's two years since a meeting in the Prince Albert pub by a bunch of local itinerants formed the humble beginnings of the Justice? collective, which produces SchNEWS. What's happened since has surpassed all expectations and stretched and surprised all those involved. There's a special meeting this Wednesday (July 3rd) for the many hundreds - of activists (read: people who act) who have been involved along the way. It's at the Unemployed Centre, off Carlton Hill (behind Amex) in Kemp Town. Come old, come new. If you miss it, don't forget Justice? (685913) meet there every fortnight.

Conscious Cinema
Featuring films on. The Courthouse, CJ's, Bingo Hall Direct Action Conference & the world-famous (!) Squatter's Estate Agency.


39 arrests including lots of Druids at Stonehenge after soaraway Solstice seekers get carted away under the CJA

*** An RAC survey says motorists will spend an average of two weeks a year in traffic jams by the year 2005. Derek Elsom, professor of Climatology at Oxford Brookes University, predicts in his new book that the number of motor vehicles will reach one billion by the year 2030.

*** NEWBURY UPDATE (01635 45544): Yesterday saw an attempt to set up a new security compound at Newbury, but a tricky troupe of trespassers with tripods saved the day. The cosmic head gardener of the Go-Tan Digger community, one of three nicked, has been sent down for 7 days for breaking bail. Write to DOUG HOWSE, BICESTER PRISON, OXFORDSHIRE. Reliance Security hands over to Pinkerton's (0181 539 4448) on July 22nd. The Highways Agency said they would have to bring in even more security than before, this being "the cost of democracy." Meanwhile, contractors Costain have seen their share prices fall by half. Yip! On phoning the Costain Offices (0171 705 8444) and singing "You're Goin' Down, You're Goin' Down!" in a childish football manner, a Costain spokesman replied: "Bollocks."

*** "Criminal Justice", a wicked play by the Banner Theatre company about the CJA, is playing the Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth on Sunday 7th July. 5/4 concs. 01705 863911

*** Help wanted for a play on squatting to be performed in November (ish) If you can act or offer any theatre skills contact Paul on 685 913

***A cautious Nice One to Brighton Council (wot?!) who have tentatively given the Dance Parade the go-ahead, providing they agree to push the date back until the first or second week in September

*** Simon Fairlie, one of the Tinkers Bubble Collective has written a book entitled 'Low Impact Development', out in July, published by John Carpenter, and available from specialist bookshops.

*** ON THE RECORD: There are government plans afoot (oh no, not more government plans!) to disclose details of the criminal records of individuals. Superficially it may sound like getting a record will be a great way defeating the Job Seekers Allowance, but it also has serious repercussions for civil liberties. John Wadham of Liberty is not best pleased: "There is no connection between what people have done in the job being applied for .It would be a gross violation of their right to privacy and would seriously damage their chance to build a life having served their sentence."

And Finally

SchNEWS Glossary of the '90s is back! We wanna hear the best ones from all you Dime Bars, Kettle Watchers, Energy Vampires, Blaggers, Blatters, and Woad Protestors. But first, here's a few we came up with in the wee small hours of this morning..

FUN MUMMY Emerges from crypt to have laugh on actions, but does nothing ostensibly useful.MEDIA GATEAU Over-empowered media- tartMONBIOTISM A gratuitous and self-seeking media circus (sorry, George!?). See Media Gateau.BLAGGABLE BUM Minute quantity of communal Class B stimulant, requested by Fun Mummy during a Monbiotism.

Any more for any more?!!


SchNEWS is compiled in a state of advanced torpor. We recommend it is read in the same state, and that all vegetative corpses who read it stay within the law. One day, we will wake to find it's all been a bad dream, and that crappy laws weren't invented to be broken after all.

Subscribe! Keep SchNEWS free! Just send 1st class stamps (eg 20 for 20 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?) Mark 'Original' if you plan to copy: SchNEWS c/o on-the-fiddle PO Box 2600 Brighton East Sussex BN2 2DX. SchNEWS is free to prisoners tel/fax: (01273) 685913. email: justice@intermedia.co.uk e-SchNEWS: http://www.cbuzz.co.uk

Next Justice? meeting: Henry Law 'The Price of Vacant land is Unemployment' - Land right & use @ Brighton Unemployed Centre off Canton Hill behind Amex

A speedy recovery to Andre, the 17 yr old Russian student stabbed by tabloid-inspired 'patriots'. Get Well soon.


SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

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