| Friday 14th March
2008 | Issue 624|
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER BLAH, BLAH, BLARNEY...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Fort for a Day | No Time for Losers
| Carry on Campesina | Carmel Creamed | Swear By It | Brewers Troop | Nippon it in the Bud | D U, Jimmy | Sorry, Darling | ...And Finally...
FORT FOR A DAY
AS PROTESTERS DIG FOR VICTORY TO SAVE THE HILL OF TARA
The intense battle between protesters and the M3 Motorway, carving it’s way through the archaeological heritage landscape surrounding the ancient Hill of Tara (see SchNEWS 597) in County Meath, Ireland continues... having gone underground – literally.
Protesters at the direct action camp on top of the Rath Lugh National Monument, using tactics reminiscent of Britain in the mid-nineties, have built a network of tunnels into the hillside to stop or hamper any construction work. This week, with one archaeologist warning that the whole hill and the fort on it is unstable and under threat of collapse if construction goes ahead, one brave woman has sealed herself in a tunnel, chaining herself by the neck to a jack which could bring down the tunnel if she is forcibly removed.
Yesterday (13th) there was a dawn raid on the camp only four hours before an injunction brought by protesters to stop the work was due to be heard (unsurprisingly it was later rejected in any event). During the raid, clueless construction workers acted like police, throwing their weight around, while dismantling the camp.
Protesters inside the tunnel network are vulnerable and need legal observers to protect them, the bulldozers are continuing to work on top of them, knowing full well that the ground is mainly sand and silt. One said, “The eviction is blatantly not being done with any care or proper training to remove the tunnel inhabitants” - and they’d welcome any advice or visits from tunnel veterans of the 90’s to help them deal with the situation.
For Whom The Toll Sells
This part of the M3 route is where Halliburton (Dick ‘the Puppetmaster’ Cheney’s warmongering company) are planning to build the tolls for the motorway. The construction workers are using compulsory purchase orders to access the area, where they’ve already started to cut into the esker foundations of the hill (an esker being a not-so-solid sounding ridge made of small rocks, silt and sand left behind by a ancient glacial river).This will result in lowering the water table, preventing water reaching the roots of the forest situated on top of the monument, gradually destroying hundreds of ancient oak and beech trees.
The National Roads Authority and the Irish Government are choosing to ignore the fact that Rath Lugh is protected under the National Monuments Act 2004 and are continuing to break EU Laws left, right and centre.
Further along the route, concrete flyovers are going up and tarmac is being laid at Soldiers Hill for the massive three acre interchange. Developers have plans for the surrounding area which will include shopping centres, hotel complexes and the usual Starbuckery and McShite everywhere!!
People are desperately needed to go to Tara now, to build a new direct action camp. Activists are meeting at Holyhead ferry port between 12-1pm on Saturday 15th March – and money may be available to contribute towards tickets – which are only £50 rail & sail or £30 booked in advance. If folk want to come, get in touch with SchNEWS.
* For updates and info on how to get to Tara see www.tarataratara.net www.tarawatch.org & www.savetara.com
* See the ‘Skulduggery’ SchMOVIE about Tara at www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies
* SIAC: If you can’t come to Ireland and are still up for action here in the UK, SIAC are an Irish company (South Ireland Asphalt Company) who have a 5% stake in the construction of the M3 at Tara and are also involved in the construction of the onshore gas refinery terminal at Rossport co Mayo (See SchNEWS 603 and below). Activists are planning a week of solidarity action against SIAC, starting on Paddy’s day, Monday 17th March. SIAC have operations throughout the UK and Ireland in many fields ranging from construction to pharmaceutical research - so there are plenty of ways to make your objections felt.
How about contacting Howell James, Managing Director, SIAC Construction (UK) Ltd, Bond’s Mill, The Counting House (we kid you not), Stonehouse, Glos, GL10 3RF. Tel: 0145 382 8888. Details of other UK contacts / contractors at www.tarapixie.net
* ROSSPORT: Coinciding with a international day of action called against Shell, a contingent of people from all over Ireland are making a St Patrick’s Day visit to Shell’s HQ in London. Meet them at 11am, Monday 17th March, at the Shell centre, on the South Bank in front of Jubilee Gardens (SE1) right next to Waterloo station. If not, other solidarity actions at yer local service station would still be appreciated. Mayo the force be with you! See www.gluaiseacht.ie and www.corribsos.com
NO TIME FOR LOSERS
KARAOKE FOUR ACQUITTED
Another mighty cock up this week for Sussex Police - as yet again the crown prosecution (CPS) has been forced to drop a Smash EDO court case. This time it’s the ‘Karaoke Four’ – who famously were arrested after a window-rattling rendition of ‘We Are The Champions’ during the Smash EDO ‘Bad Karaoke’ demo in October 2007 (See SchNEWS 606 or view the SchMOVIE at http://enr.clearerchannel.org/media/schnews/juke-box-jury.mpg). Three were charged under Section 14 of the Public Order Act and the other with section 235 of the Local Government Act (a noise bye-law intended for street drinkers,buskers and squeegee merchants).
The trial – supposed to go seven days - never got off the ground and was over within three days after the magistrate ruled that the CPS had to disclose the content of ‘incompetent’ Chief Inspector Mills’ notebook - or drop the prosecution. In his statement, Incompetent Mills (his new nickname in court), said that it held information about police meetings regarding their plans to control the demo - which is hardly national security. And this was after the prosecution and the defence requested that Mills’ statement be typed up as no one could read his handwriting - proving that no matter how ‘literate’ you are you’re always welcome to join Sussex police.
The protesters are left wondering what was so interesting in the notebook that the CPS dropped the case. Andrew Beckett (campaign press spokesman) told SchNEWS “Our resident conspiracy theorists are bouncing off the walls, but the general consensus is that Sussex Police and EDO MBM are at it again – and that Mills, PC Sean MacDonald and EDO-MBM managing director Paul Hills are engaging in a seedy affair to invent their own little injunction against protesters. A big thank you to Chief Inspector Mills who has a pint waiting for him, courtesy of the Smash EDO coffers, for being so wonderfully incompetent as ever.”
After five months on police bail, and banned from entering Home Farm Road - where EDO are based - the defendants had the pleasure returning to the weekly noise demo at EDO this Wednesday - where another version of ‘We Are The Champions’ was smugly chanted to Mr Paul Hills to his obvious displeasure.
* For more see www.smashedo.org.uk
SchMOVIES - ON THE VERGE
Premiere Screening March 17th, 6.30pm,
Duke Of Yorks Cinema, Brighton,
£5/£4 conc./£3 mem. For info call 0871 704 2056
For more info www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies
Smash EDO Tour 2008
The campaign tour starts next week, with screenings of ‘On The Verge’, discussions about tactics, feedback, and organising for the future. For dates see www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies/index-on-the-verge.htm#tour
CARRY ON CAMPESINA
Whilst the spectre of genetically modified foods occasionally rears it’s deformed head here in Europe (see SchNEWS 583), the GM companies are trying to get a bigger share of the food market in the global south, but like in Europe they are getting a kicking by the majority of the population who are opposed to their Frankenstein food.
Last November we recently reported how a Brazilian anti-GM campaigner was murdered at a Syngenta GM crop trial in Paraná, Brazil, after security forces opened fire on the Via Campesina (The International Peasants Movement) camp at the experimental farm (See SchNEWS 610).
Deadly force has not been enough to stop the resistance however, which has been continuing with increasing intensity. Last week in Brasilia, a protest by 400 women from Via Campesina was held in front of the Swiss embassy against Syngenta, (a Swiss company). Via Campesina summed up their position by releasing a statement saying that, “no scientific studies exist that guarantee that genetically modified crops won’t have negative effects on human health and on nature.”
Meanwhile, also last week around 300 rural women residents from the state of Sao Paulo burst into a property owned by Monsanto and destroyed a plant nursery and crops containing genetically modified corn. They were in and out in half an hour and long gone by the time cops arrived on the scene.
There was also an action the previous week when another 900 members of Via Campesina broke into a facility owned by the Swedish-Finnish paper giant Stora Enso and ripped out non-modified eucalyptus saplings they claimed were illegally planted. It’s good to know that wherever they ply their evil trade, there’s no hiding place for the GM corporations.
* See also www.viacampesina.org
* To keep up to date on British GM resistance, see www.mutatoes.org
In yet another victory, yesterday all charges where dropped – after seven months of police bail - against the six arrested at Carmel Agrexco during Camp For Climate Action in August last year (See SchNEWS 600). The six were arrested for burglary with intent to cause criminal damage after a blockade where two activists d-locked themselves to the gates to stop deliveries at the Hayes depot of Carmel – the 50% Israeli state-owned importer of produce grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. One of the arrestees said “Basically I was arrested for being a gobby little shite to one of the security goons who accused three protesters of assault – when in fact it was him physically abusing us.”
When the protesters were released, police kept their clothes and they had to wear paper suits. Yet, as soon as they were out of the station, them and their clear plastic bags of possessions were searched under the Terrorism Act.
* For more see www.bigcampaign.org
SWEAR BY IT
A potty-mouthed protester from the No Borders demo in Crawley last September (‘Crap Arrest of The Week’ in SchNEWS 604), had her case thrown out of court last week. The court considered it a misuse of Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to demand her details for a potential ASBO after she coughed the word ‘wanker’ under her breath.
This particular Act is the only means by which the police can demand someone’s name and address without first arresting them. It has been popular with unimaginative plod to intimidate and harass people for very little reason – and whether this latest failure will help stop further misuse of this controversial piece of legislation remains to be seen!
North Wales campaigners who have fought a fourteen year battle to stop plans to develop a 50 acre council-owned wildlife haven and community space on the edge of Bangor, Gwynedd are nearing victory.
Rare fungi found recently at Eithinog and Brewery Fields by a veteran of two camps evicted violently by police in 1998 (See ScNEWS 172/173 & 178) have finally brought Gwynedd Council’s proposed housing plans to a halt. This turnabout comes shortly after their development had been given the green light by the UDP Inquiry Inspector last November. Campaigners are now awaiting a formal announcement by the council, which would mean 83% of the original area being preserved, hopefully to be managed as a Nature Reserve by a local community trust.
The long campaign, conducted variously by Gwynedd and Môn Earth First! in conjunction with and other groups and the local community, has seen many twists and turns: direct action against the council and developers, community marches, nature events, Bangor councillors giving evidence to undermine residents’ town green applications, and use of violence by North Wales police to break lock-ons and a bulldozer to evict a tunnel. This culminated in a 1998 Gwynedd Council commitment to establish a nature reserve being reversed in 2004 and the reinstatement of large-scale housing plans.
However, community anger at this last council U-turn persuaded it to agree to conduct an ecological appraisal of the site - which found that much of Eithinog & Brewery Fields crossed the grassland fungi SSSI threshold. In consequence, a large part of the proposed development was dropped in 2005, although seven acres of ecologically sensitive grassland recommended for conservation were still earmarked for housing. The council’s own biodiversity team acknowledged that its development would jeopardise the integrity of the whole site.
The Countryside Council for Wales has now stepped in, and although some further development will happen, it says it should be confined to five acres of degraded land. All the open space used for generations by the surrounding community is to be preserved and the land possibly transferred to a local trust, who – if this comes about - would manage it in conjunction with conservation bodies. A big SchNEWS thumbs up to the people concerned for their efforts in saving Eithinog & Brewery Fields to be a community asset for future generations.
* For a campaign history lesson, see www.eithinog.org.uk/history.html
NIPPON IT IN THE BUD
In a possible foretaste of what’s to come at the G8 this summer in Japan, a left-wing German activist, Dr. Martin Kraemer, has been refused entry by the Japanese authorities. He has been ordered to stay put in the Panama vessel BM-2, which had brought him from Sakhalin, Russia on Friday, 7th of March. He had already been detained and questioned by the Russian FSB (not just the KGB rebranded, honest). After spending 66 hours waiting in the port of Otaru he was finally refused landing permission. Normally German residents can stay in Japan for up to 90 days without a visa, according to the oldest member of the Otaru immigration department this refusal is an all-time first for the port of Otaru.
Dr. Kraemer is now in limbo as his visa for Russia has been cancelled - so he can neither travel on to Japan nor return to Russia! But he’s not taking it lying down he says: “No matter whether it’s a Russian or Japanese Big Capital dictatorship - when G8 approaches they seem all united to kick us into the Pacific Ocean! We won’t stay under water for long, though, Japan, we are coming!”
That told ‘em... More on the G8 in Japan: http://a.sanpal.co.jp/no-g8
D U, JIMMY
The Ministry of Defence have announced five days of depleted uranium (DU) weapons-testing on its Dundrennan range in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Despite numerous scientific studies proving the health and environmental damage of DU missiles, as well as growing international criticism of the weapons, the MOD continues to stick its fingers in its ears and repeat its mantra - “Na, na, na. I can’t hear you!”
Aside from its obvious destructive power involved in it’s projectile deployment, DU has been found to cause damage to bone cells, among other nasty side-effects, and has been responsible for a dramatic rise in the cases of leukemia in Iraq. It will be the first such testing for five years - coming shortly after Belgium imposed the first domestic ban on uranium weapons, while the EU Parliament has voted in favour of a moratorium leading to a ban. An MOD statement read, “The findings continue to show that DU does not pose a significant risk to the environment or to members of the public or site personnel” (Na, na...). Strangely, despite these ‘findings’, the UK was one of only five states to vote against a UN request for nations to submit reports on the health impacts of uranium weapons. What’re they so worried about?!
* For more see www.cadu.org.uk
This Monday the Fuck The War Coalition attacked four targets in Edinburgh on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The US consulate was hit with paint-bombs and paint stripper, an Army Recruitment centre was smashed, arms firm Selex had their windows broken, and Alistair Darling’s office was vandalised. This was the second year that Darling’s office has been hit by FTW during the anniversary of the war.
See also SchNEWS 597 for other FTW antics.
US drivers are starting to learn what it’s like living here in the surveillance capital of the World (at least 1 CCTV camera per 14 Brits and proud!)
New speed cameras installed in Montgomery County, Maryland, are proving unpopular with some sectors of the local community. Their repeated refusals to pay fines, and more recent habits of driving past cameras with middle finger extended has provoked an angry response from local cop chiefs – because it seems the highway hooligans are in fact, er, all cops.
After their union alerted them to the fact that the ticket is issued to the owner of the vehicle, not the driver, officers have been keeping the pedal to the metal and flouting their own laws. Of the 224 tickets, issued to police officers in the last eight months of 2007 and not excused by responding to an emergency, over two thirds have not been paid.
One outraged county councillor even naively thundered, “You can’t have one set of laws for police officers and another one for the rest of the world!” - come now, we all know that’s not exactly true...
Geri Churchman, one time SchNEWS treasurer and crew member, passed away peacefully on March 1st. She was a unique character, the only transgendered computer hacker we’ve ever met. Bill Gates can sleep better at night now.
SchNEWS warns all readers - maybe it's time to take to hills... Honest!