| Friday 27th April
2007 | Issue 585
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER TOO CLOVER BY HALF...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Tara
Tara Tara | Don't be a shellfish | Crap
Arrest of the Week | ISticky Carmel Fudge
| Party & Protest | Bae-ing
For Blood | Bean There Done That | ...and
11th HOUR AS IRELAND FACES MONUMENTAL CATASTROPHE
"The proposed M3 motorway has been described by archaeologists
as the worst case of state-sponsored vandalism ever inflicted on
Irish cultural heritage." - Roadblock.
The biggest anti-road direct action protest ever in Ireland may be about to happen at the Hill of Tara, north west of Dublin, if attempts to have the area protected on archaeological grounds, and other legal efforts fail. The entire area is a large archaeological complex containing at least 160 sites covering a timespan from 3600BC through to bronze and medieval ages. It was once the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and the country's political and spiritual capital until the 12th century. Yet it is imminently threatened, after a nine year battle to stop the development, by a motorway which would pass within one kilometre of its centre, and through the Tara Skryne Valley, scattered with hundreds of monuments whose relationship with the central complex is only just beginning to be understood. Like Stonehenge, the main edifice is surrounded by a large acreage of associated mounds, burial chambers and ancient building works.
The Irish govt have given the green light to the M3 motorway and are so determined to avoid the past problems of nuisance neolithic artefacts or human remains being dug up during earth works and threatening the developments, that new heritage laws have been enacted. Now under the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004, government ministers have sole discretion in deciding whether archaeological sites in Ireland are to be preserved or demolished - affecting Tara, and all future development sites.
Work started late last year, and since January a construction compound was set up and earth moving equipment brought in. On 4 January, protesters occupied digging equipment near Dunshaughlin to hold up work, as earth moving had begun - being passed off as 'excavations'. Last month a 1,300 year old underground building near Roestown was destroyed, just one of the major archaeological sites on the proposed route, containing beads, carved bones and an ancient gaming board. The destruction was rushed through by the National Roads Authority (NRA) to avoid an injunction being placed under the National Monuments Act which would have stopped work. The NRA claim that this sort of site was 'relatively common' in Ireland. Campaigners were refused permission to have an independent archaeologist inspect the site. Mysteriously, a section of land at Lismullen is surrounded by fencing and 24 hour security - it is believed that something important may have been dug up which they don't want the public to find out about
At the moment, with the affected land still largely intact, campaigners
are trying to raise funds to pay for an independent archaeological
team to go over the 38 known important sites along the route. Campaigners
say that Irish archaeologists won't do it because they are
all too deeply in the pockets of the NRA, and have an eye towards
the future work they will get signing off other historic sites to
oblivion. It is also claimed that government-lackey archaeologists
are not digging at sufficient depth considering the layers of burial
going back through the ages, and it is estimated that a proper excavation
of the area concerned would take a decade. In June this year World
Monuments Watch, an international body with enough clout to save
many of the threatened sites at which they have intervened, will
give a decision about whether to put Tara in their top 100 'most
endangered sites' list, which would put further weight behind
efforts to protect it. Tara is also being made a big issue in the
forthcoming Irish general election this year, but campaigners told
SchNEWS that this is amounting to the main political parties trying
to gain pre-election kudos by appearing to oppose it. Whether any
of them could be trusted once in power is another matter.
Since the Summer Solstice in 2006, there has been a permanent
vigil, fire and camp at Tara, with regular events including the
upcoming Beltane on 1 May, and a large gathering open to all celebrating
the first anniversary on 21 June. The vigil is on the north side
of the Hill of Tara, past Rath Grainne: just follow the ditch/road
north from the parking area. Rope, tarpaulin and all usual camp
tat is needed. For more see www.savetara.com
or call site mobile on 00353 (0) 86 175 8557.
In late December large trees were felled and earth moved on the northern slope of Skryne at Rath Lugh, and what began as daily demos has turned into an ongoing protest site there. When the direct action campaign kicks off, Skryne Valley will be the frontline - an area not only of
archaeological importance but also featuring
ancient woodland between Rath Lugh and Blundelstown. Mass destruction through the valley could be imminent; SchNEWS will give bulletins as and when people are needed to help protect it. For directions to this camp contact the vigil mobile.
* For updates about the protest see http://tarawatch.org
* To donate to the appeal for funding archaeological work see http://tarawatch.org/?p=342
* To read about the history of the Hill of Tara see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_of_Tara
DON'T BE A SHELLFISH
THE PRIZE IS RIGHT FOR ANTI-SHELL ACTIVIST, AS PROTESTS CONTINUE...
"Ireland should not negotiate away its environment for the sake of a few jobs..." - Dr Owens Wiwa, brother of executed Nigerian poet Ken Saro Wiwa
A farmer who was one of the 'Rossport 5', imprisoned
at the behest of Shell in 2005 (SchNEWS
505), has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environment Prize,
seen by some as the 'Nobel' of the environmentalists' world. Willie
Corduff, from Mayo in west Ireland, picked up the award plus a $125,000
cash prize in San Francisco last Monday (for details of the five
other winners see www.goldmanprize.org).
Willie has been fighting Shell's plans to build an on-shore
refinery next to his home for seven years and is strongly involved
in the local 'Shell-to-Sea' campaign. The campaign had
initial success in delaying the project through demonstrations and
blockades of the site but since October last year the gloves have
been off (See SchNEWS 564).
Police and private security routinely use violence and intimidation
to force vehicles past demonstrators and into the site.
Builders are in the process of stripping the land of acres of peat from this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in preparation for the refinery. A High Court ruling last week stated that the original route of the pipeline was now "defunct" (hadn't it always been?), ordering Shell to pay the £1 million cost of the hearing, and forcing them back to the drawing board. That ruling, and Willie's Goldman award, have completely vindicated the position of the five who went to jail. Not that this makes any difference to the state's ongoing campaign of harassment of those who oppose Shell.
There have been a number of break-ins to the site, most recently last Friday when a group of women hopped over a fence and spent the next nine hours evading security. The next day saw a mass trespass on the site, resulting in six arrests. All were later released without charge.
Accusations of phone-tapping of activists have been made recently
against Shell, not that a mega-corporate giant would surely ever
think of such a thing... after all they prefer their opponents swinging
from the end of an executioner's rope (see
SchNEWS 49). Shell's Dublin HQ in Leeson Street has been
the site of regular protests and was temporarily occupied on 27
March. Dublin Shell-to-Sea have called for another day of action
chez oil barons from 7.30am (gulp!) today (27th).
* See www.indymedia.ie
* The Rossport Solidarity Camp 3rd Summer Gathering will
be held on the June bank holiday weekend (1-4) - a community festival
of resistance with music, workshops, kids events and more. See www.shelltosea.com
*For loads of footage of over-reactive cops protecting their local
community from, well, the local community, search for 'Shell to
Sea' at www.youtube.com
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For being stuffed...
Police sank to a new low this week with the arrest of three cuddly soft toys outside Faslane Nuclear Submarine base.
The toys were there to show solidarity with their owners, a Lothian-based peace group taking part in the actions against Trident. Cops eventually realised they weren't just strange little hairy people refusing to talk and de-arrested the toys, who were placed on a roundabout outside the base to continue their protest.
This being Scotland, it soon began to rain and as the demonstrators
attempted to rescue their furry friends from a soaking, police swiftly
moved in again, insisting that the toys be searched one by one before
they could return to their distraught owners. At this point, the
suspects all went limp and had to be manhandled into the police
vans for a once-over. We wish we were making this up but assure
you we are not. See www.faslane365.org
Benefit gig for SchNEWS/SchMOVIES
May 4th, featuring the new 2007 SchMovies, live music from Boyley and the Don Bradmanss plus a DJ from 8pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd, Brighton £3/2.50 conc/donation
STICKY CARMEL FUDGE
It looks like the UK HQ of Carmel-Agrexco, the half-Israeli state owned company which makes its loot importing most of its goods from illegal West Bank Settlements, is all set to become an occupied territory of its own following the latest legal development in the attempted clampdown on protest there.
The cases against three protesters from London and Brighton, arrested
after locking on at the Agrexco distribution centre as part of a
Valentine's blockade in February (SchNEWS
576), have now been dropped by the Met Police.
The three had been arrested on suspicion of 'obstructing the highway'- even though cops on the scene were helpfully told by protesters that the road they were on was private, and not a highway under the definition in the Highways Act. At the police station, to cover this embarrassing possibility, they were arrested a second time on suspicion of Aggravated Trespass for obstructing an 'adjoining land' to a 'lawful business' (insert your own bile filled joke here).
Last Saturday DS Kofi of Uxbridge Police Station confirmed to a solicitor of one of the protesters, that the road outside the Agrexco UK plant is indeed a private road and not a public highway, so therefore no-one blocking it in future can be arrested under suspicion of 'obstructing the highway'. The owner of the road is believed to be a private company not connected to Agrexco.
Copper Kofi (hold the sugar) also confirmed that no witnesses had come forward from Agrexco UK to give evidence that the company had been adversely affected by the protest - so the possible Aggravated Trespass 'on adjoining land' charge could not be continued either.
It seems that Agrexco's staff have come over a little shy since February 2005, when seven blockaders won an important case at Uxbridge Magistrates Court during which Agrexco UK boss Amos Or was cross-examined about the company's complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories for several hours. Funny that. They can't want any more PR slip ups like that one, when Amos Or admitted under oath that the UK company imports 70% of its produce from West Bank settlements ruled illegal under international law by the International Court of Justice.
The latest clarification of the law by Uxbridge police leaves open the possibility that they will have no powers in future to arrest demonstrators who peacefully blockade Agrexco UK, unless the company are prepared to give evidence against protesters in court that their business was disrupted - and lately they've taken to issuing press releases claiming no disruption is caused (despite originally claiming £100,000 in the 2005 case - make your minds up guys!).
Seems like legally then, it's open season on Agrexco and
an arrest-free zone - which means that blockaders can really
start making a permanent nuisance of themselves... For more see
- May 1st - Space Hijackers May Day: Suited and Booted
- a party in the heart of the Corporate Financial Centres of London
- get an outfit sorted, bring music, drinks and cakes. Location
will posted on www.spacehijackers.org
closer to the date. After there's a party in the city at
- 1st - London May Day Demonstration. Assemble
Clerkenwell Green, Off Farringdon Rd, London, EC1 (nearest tube
Farringdon) at 12noon, move off at 1pm to Trafalgar Square for
Rally. / Join the Autonomous Workers Block -
meet 12pm behind the red and black flags. Check out www.spacehijackers.org
for more. /Demonstration in solidarity with Asylum Seekers
& Refugees. Bring whistles, drums and your voices.
12noon at Clerkenwell Green. Call 0207 837 1688 or email: email@example.com
- 5th - Public meeting and film showing of 'Omar Deghayes: the Search for Justice' with panel discussion. 4-6pm at Gladstone Park Primary School, Sherrick Green Rd, NW10 1LB (tube: Dollis Hill). By the London Guantánamo Campaign. Call 07809 757176 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- 5th - Mayday - Nottingham - supporting asylum
seekers in their right to work. At Brewhouse Yard near Nottingham
Castle, 12.30pm. A march and afterwards stalls, speakers and a
International Music Festival. Email email@example.com web
- 5 - Mayday - Edinburgh - assemble East Market
St, 11.30am, march at 12 noon, rally in Princes Street Gardens,
1pm. With speakers including Craig Murray (former UK ambassador
cum whistle-blower on Uzbekistan), stalls & music see www.mayday.org.uk
BAE-ING FOR BLOOD
Five protesters were arrested after breaking in to corrupt UK defence giant BAE System's Filton facility near Bristol, yesterday (26th). Instead of being given some kind of ingenuity award for evading the military-strength 24-hour security at the base - where advanced research and development into 'next generation' weapons (Make it so, Number One?) is carried out - they were detained and held for intensive questioning under suspicion of burglary, although what they were supposed to have taken, other than the piss, is unclear.
The protesters had earlier even announced that they planned to occupy the site to protest against the politically-inspired end of the Serious Fraud Office's investigation into the dodgy bribe-laden 'Al Yamamah' arms deal between BAE and Saudi Arabia back in 1986. The plug was pulled on the grounds that continuing it would not have been 'in the wider public interest' - or indeed BAE's as they attempted to cling onto a big juicy order to supply Typhoon jets to..er, Saudi Arabia.
A statement from the protesters summed it up: "We're going
to fight the arms trade until it
disappears. We're going to keep on laughing at the myth that any
corporation will act responsibly."
* More about disarming the arms trade at www.caat.org.uk
M For Media Malarkey - the SchNEWS
Alternative Media Conference May 11-13th - A
coming together of independent media with discussions, screenings,
stalls, workshops. Starting Friday evening till Sunday afternoon.
Please contact well beforehand if you need accommodation.
At the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd, Brighton. For more and
updates see www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies/malarkey-intro.htm
BEAN THERE, DONE THAT
17 April 2007, Kingston upon Hull. Vibrant young shoots of protest
have sprouted, fertilized by the plans to grow mutant GM spuds in
Britain again (See ScHNEWS
583). In a meticulously planned explosion of direct action,
150 anti-GM freaks, armed with shovels and organic spuds to plant,
descended as one... on the wrong field! The theory ran that seeding
the field with an uncontrolled number of non- GM spuds would invalidate
the trial, but unfortunately the ground in question belonged to
another farmer and was already sprouting a crop of entirely conventional
OK, on the face of it a mistake of laughable proportions but the fact that this many people were willing to risk arrest to take part in GM direct action sends a clear message to BASF - the company behind the trials - that opposition to mutant food is as strong as ever.
Protestors blamed the government for not giving an accurate location for the trial. In the past, six figure grid references for crops have been given - pin-pointing trials to within 100m. This time, to muddy the waters the crop was only located within a 1km square. Sadly the last-ditch guesswork didn't pay off.
A spokespud for the campaign put a brave face on the fiasco telling
ScHNEWS, "While it is regrettable that the wrong site and farmer
were targeted, we would also like to make it clear to the government
and to industry that people will continue to disrupt the planting
of GM crops despite the difficulties faced by this lack of full
disclosure." For more see www.mutatoes.org
An exciting breakthrough in the race to deliver a full information spectrum data-dominated sci-fi world of the future, as SchNEWS learnt this week of one San Francisco-based Microsoft-in-the-head researcher, Gordon Bell, who is busy digitally recording every aspect of his entire life. Wearing a camera that automatically snaps pictures and a sound recorder that permanently rolls, 'doesn't ring a' Bell has also been saving everything else he possibly can on to computers, including (or so the 71-year-old claims) 50,000 family photographs, 100,000 emails and every medical record, certificate or document he can find.
The system he's working on for Microsoft would help people easily
record and recall their entire past - or perhaps police, government
or corporations for that matter. "Our focus is to try to make
it as useful as possible," Bell says. Indeed. But on the plus
side, "using computers to remember will free our minds for
more creative thinking". All this stupidity reminds me of that
story of the <ERROR, FILE NOT FOUND, IF PROBLEM PERSITS CONTACT
YOUR HARDWARE PROVIDER>
SchNEWS warns all readers -.this might be a whole new Eire for the protest movement. Honest!
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