Home | Friday 9th May 2008 | Issue 631|
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER SHOOTIN' FROM THE HIP...
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Story Links: Heckler at the Back | Crap Arrest of the Week | M1 - NIL | Bomb the BASF | Oil Be There | Party & Protest | Fire and Limestone | Ground to a Halt | Party Snoopers | ...And Finally...
HECKLER AT THE BACK
NO KOCH JOKES PLEASE AS PROTESTERS TARGET GUN FIRM HECKLER & KOCH...
Campaigners in Nottingham have the world’s second largest seller of small-arms, Heckler and Koch, firmly in their sights.
One would have thought that a city infamous for its gun crime would be a poor location for a warehouse full of guns. Not according to H&K, who do great business equipping war-mongers on any side.
Proud owners of H&K weaponry include the brutal militias of Darfur - the Janjaweed. Funnily enough, despite the outcry against the massacres in Darfur, they obviously weren’t quite bad enough to stop selling weapons to the perpetrators. Even a recent arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against a senior Sudanese politician accused of selling H&K weapons to the Janjaweed hasn’t seemed to stem the flow of H&K guns to a militia accused by everyone including the US of committing genocide. (H&K guns also fill the arsenals of the US Dept of Homeland Security, US Navy Seals & the FBI amongst others).
H&K have a ‘strategic partnership’ with the world’s largest mercenary company Blackwater (see SchNEWS 572). H&K supply the guns to the Iraqi and Afghan puppet governments, and Blackwater provide the training (perhaps they also supply child-sized targets for their students).
There was a plan for H&K to produce special edition ‘Blackwater’ weapons - complete with the Blackwater logo on them. However, after Blackwater made the headlines for killing 17 innocent Iraqis (not the first time that Blackwater have killed innocent Iraqis, but the first time that it made the news in a major way), the plan was shelved.
Nearly 100 people showed up this Tuesday (6th) to march against H&K at their Nottingham facility, accompanied by large numbers of police who, in the words of one protester were ‘their usual sinister selves’. The FIT Team (See www.fitwatch.blogspot.com) made their (always unwelcome presence) and did what they do best - blatantly intimidate people all day with video cameras; following some people home.
Interestingly, local media also came under pressure; Trent FM, who had shown some enthusiasm about reporting the demo, received a word in their ear from both H&K’s press office as well as the police, warning hacks that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to publish the fact that H&K has a warehouse full of weapons in Nottingham, as it may prompt criminals to try and steal them.
In response the campaigners pointed out to the radio station that H&K’s address was published at Company House, as well as in several business directories. About the radio station being leaned on, the campaigners said that “If the security policy of H&K and Notts police relies on no-one finding out the company’s location, then clearly it is they who are irresponsible, not our campaign and not the media. A large warehouse stocked with high-power assault rifles and submachine guns with inadequate security to prevent a robbery is clearly a significant danger to the public, and publicisng such a danger is very much in the public interest.”
The H&K warehouse, located at Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, is next to the ‘Trent Vineyard’, an evangelist church that held the funeral of Danielle Beccan, a 14 year old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting. At her funeral service the then mayor of Nottingham said, “Guns have no place at all in our community - not in Nottingham, not in my city nor any other city in Britain.”
One camapigner told us “The arms trade relies on secrecy. Most people abhor the idea of factories and warehouse making and selling weapons around the world, and arms companies know this. By lifting the lid on the business, anti-arms protesters can make a put the pressure on the government/corporate killing machine to stop killing for profit.”
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For taking part in democracy
A ‘Save Titnore’s Trees’ candidate in the Worthing election was violently arrested for ‘disorderly behaviour’ when she tried to complain to police about her guests being thrown out of the official count. While suited guests were not even checked for ID the scruffier Titnore Protest Camp dwellers were jumped on and told their passes weren’t valid. The Trees got 11% of the vote leaving the BNP wallowing in last place.
M1 - NIL
Seven activists arrested last year on their way to a banner-drop against the proposed M1 widening (See SchNEWS 575) had their cases thrown out of court on 1st May. When they were originally busted on their way to the M1 they were held on public order charges, while doors were booted in and phones and computers seized. They were later charged with ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’.
The judge didn’t even wait to hear the defence before kicking the prosecution out at half time saying “there was not one jot of evidence to infer an endangerment of any member of the public”. When the prosecution produced climbing gear seized from people’s homes as evidence Judge Robinson told them that they’d better not be relying on it as he had similar equipment in his own gaff! He resoundingly rejected their argument that the hanging of banners over the motorway would constitute a public nuisance, and went on to say: “all of the available material (presented to the court) is consistent only with peaceful protest.”
Campaign spokesperson Dr Julie White, a GP from Sheffield, said: “this is victory for the right to protest in the face of government policy of expanding roads, runways and coal-fired power stations in a time of climate crisis.”
* The Government is no longer going to be widen the M1. Ha, Ha!
BOMB THE BASF
The bosses at BASF (‘the chemical company’) were in for a surprise on Tuesday morning as they found their UK HQ at Cheadle Hulme, Manchester, blockaded by Earth First activists locked onto the gate with a large banner demanding ‘Stop GM Now.’ The company is responsible for the only UK trials of GM crops in the open air this year.
Dozens of very expensive cars were turned away as the DNA meddlers were unable to get in to work. A few of the suits had tantrums and tried to drive in anyway but were stopped. Leaflets were distributed to the staff where they were sent to wait nearby.
One activist used a D-lock to attach himself to the only gate into the prestigious office compound, while others hung a huge banner nearby and sunbathed until the vegan cake ran out at midday and they all went home. The police agreed not to arrest anybody.
Activists estimate the unexpected closure will have significantly disrupted the business internationally as high level meetings will have been cancelled and orders delayed. The cost will reach into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Mary Sunderland from Earth First! Said: “GM has no part to play in our future: it’s a dangerous, unwanted and unproven technology geared towards maximising profits for multinational corporations such as BASF. It is not the answer to food shortages, hunger or climate change. The real solution is to change now to a sustainable farming system and to distribute resources fairly around the world.”
BASF want to plant their mutant spuds, deliberately infected with blight, 500metres from allotments in Histon, Cambridgeshire. Both the blight and the dodgy DNA could spread uncontrolled. Just about everybody worth the salt on their chips is determined to stop them – even McCain’s, the biggest buyer of potatoes in the UK, says there should be ‘consumer consent’ before the trials are allowed.
There will be a demo at the site of a trial BASF GM crop of potatoes at a Cambridgeshire site on June 1st – see updates in SchNEWS for time and place.
* For more see www.earthfirst.org.uk
* See also SchNEWS 583
OIL BE THERE
Ancient woodland, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and proposed National Park - what could be a better site for... an oil well! Sussex could be the next Texas (well maybe not) as Northern Petroleum are applying for planning permission to test drill in Markswell Wood, Forestdale, near Chichester. On Tuesday West Sussex County Council will make a decision on the application, but have been recommended to approve the application by Council Officers who say there is a “clear and overriding need” for oil exploration. Er, hang on a minute, is there really a need to burn MORE fossil fuels which will bring about even greater global warming? As the oil is running out (in case you hadn’t noticed the price of petrol and diesel going up), smaller oil fields are becoming more profitable for oil companies, so expect to see more wells springing up in unlikely places.
The application was criticised by West Sussex’s own ecologist and landscape officers. The Woodland Trust, who objected to the scheme said “This is in ancient woodland which we consider to be irreplaceable. It’s our richest habitat for species in the UK.” But the government’s own environment watchdogs Natural England and the Environment Agency didn’t have any objections.
Don’t worry folks, what has taken hundreds of years to develop into a rich diverse wildlife habitat will be fully restored with a five year aftercare plan! Er, unless they find any oil of course, then they’ll be applying for permission for full exploitation. And Northern Petroleum claim that Markswell Wood is in an area confirmed as having potential reserves of oil.
PARTY & PROTEST
For full listings updated weekly see
** 12th - Demo against the Counter Terrorism Bill - Another Neo Labour initiative aimed at providing the police with new measures to crack down on civil liberties – introducing new powers of detainment, and undermining the rights of terrorist ‘suspects’. 5pm-7pm, 10 Downing St, Whitehall, SW1 07854 390 408 www.campacc.org.uk
** 17th – No Sweat protest against sweatshop workers producing merchandise and clothing for the Beijing Olympics. 3pm: Action meeting and screening of China Blue - telling the inside story of the garment industry in south Chin 7.30pm: benefit gig at The Cross Kings, 126 York Way London N1, 07754088989 www.nosweat.org.uk
** 17th - Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day - End P&G’s cruel and unnecessary vivisection on animals to develop cosmetic, cleaning and even ‘pet’ food products. For more info www.uncaged.co.uk/pgpamphlet.doc www.boycottpandg.co.uk
** 18th – Protest at USAF Lakenheath, near Thetford, Suffolk, the largest US airbase in Europe. Meet Gate 1 from 1pm for protest plus cafe. 08453370282 www.lakenheathaction.org
** 20th - Hands Off Iraqi Oil Demo at Shell AGM - Shell are part of the corporate grab for Iraq’s oil - interrupt their Annual General Meeting. 9am-11am, at Barbican Centre, Silk St, London, EC2Y www.handsoffiraqioil.org
** 23th-26th - Projectile 2008: Anarchist Festival about anarchist films, culture and politics. With guest speaker Noam Chomsky (no really) Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. See www.projectile.org.uk
** 24th - Camp Titnore 2nd Birthday Party 2pm on the steps of Worthing Town Hall in Chapel Road, Worthing. Bring music and party stuff. www.protectourwoodland.co.uk/2nd.htm
FIRE AND LIMESTONE
On Wednesday at the Hill Of Tara. Ireland, the solidarity vigil camp was evicted by an assortment of goons led by the Office of Public Works. The camp – on public land – was mostly destroyed, including a (newly made) wooden temple structure shredded by chainsaws, but the protesters managed to save the sacred fire, lit two years ago, within a tipi.
At 9.30am the camp was descended upon by 20 OPW workers plus fifteen private security and twenty Gardai (police) – and amongst the security was at least one known employee of Ferrovial, the Spanish construction company running the project which will put the M3 motorway through one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe.
This comes after the Direct Action camp at Rath Lugh was evicted on April 17th (See SchNEWS 624).
Since last July, when the European Commission declared that construction of the M3 broke 37 EU laws, the road build has continued, illegally – in fact it has been rushed through because of this.
The head of the OPW archaeologists have agreed to leave the fire until a meeting on May 19th, as they could not quote a law to use to extinguish it – just as they couldn’t offer a legal legitimation for the entire eviction. Protesters are arguing that the fire is part of their individual and collective religious belief, which apparently carries some weight in Ireland as ‘rights to religious expression’ is in the constitution.
It also looks like this whole road fiasco is being built on a financial sandcastle. Ferrovial haven’t paid any of the contractors yet for their work, leading many Irish firms to the brink of bankruptcy, and recently Howley Construction of Cork were repossessed. Several quarries are now refusing to supply the roadworks with hardcore until they’ve been paid, and landowners whose land was compulsory purchased have not seen the cash. Protesters say that Ferrovial – presumably (hopefully) suffering financially in the crunch - are forced to bring in their own employees as security because they have no doubt run up tabs with all the local security mobs and are running out of goons.
As always more people are needed at the Hill of Tara to continue the fight against this illegal and destructive road project.
* For more call (from Britain) 00353 (0) 86 1758557
* See www.tarataratara.net for updates and other Tara webpages.
GROUND TO A HALT
It’s time to dig out your picnic hamper and make some cucumber sandwiches for a Mass Trespass at the site of planned open cast coal mine in Derbyshire. The new action group ‘Leave it in the Ground’ are inviting all comers to meet at Shipley Country Park, Slack Lane, Heanor, Derbyshire at midday on the 26th May to go for a stroll on the beautiful 122 hectare site where UK Coal are about to start removing topsoil to get their grubby mitts on a million tons of coal.
Campaigners are hoping the visit will showcase the wildlife rich area ans be an inspiration for actions against the destruction.
As the system has (finally) realised cheap oil is coming to an end, companies have been increasingly scraping around for remnants of coal. Other new open cast sites across the country have met with massive resistance (see SchNEWS 627).
More Info: 07852 460871 www.earthfirst.org.uk/leaveitintheground
Heat seeking cameras mounted on police helicopters, phone taps and car number plate tracking devices. Roadblocks too. These are being used, not for Norfolk Police’s anti-terrorist unit, but its party busting squad. All five million quids worth. Not that they’ll admit to that. When pressed about how much it costs to run a full scale operation every weekend, Superintendent Jim Smerdon argues that they don’t bother counting the cost because “all those officers would be available for other policing duties if needed anyway” - so long as there wasn’t a rave to bust. And with a nod to the BBC reporter interviewing him, Jim smiled as he mentioned that the police dog unit will be on duty that evening.
It’s that time of year when people think about how nice it would be to see the sunrise in the middle of the countryside whilst off their trolleys on a cocktail of chemicals. Norfolk has always been a popular destination for the free party – given all the land going ‘spare’ in that part of the country. No more endless drives around the M25 - "the party is in the corn field, down the road from that big farm and just 20 miles from the middle of nowhere". But the cops always seem to find them. At £1,500 an hour the police helicopter is on hand with its heat-seeking cameras and in no time 100 party goers find their night ending early. Now that’s value for money!
You might be thinking that Norfolk cops are rolling in the cash if they’ve got so many resources to chuck at busting a few harmless parties. But they’re hard-up as usual – and looking for sponsorship. McDonalds is supporting their ‘Force Link’ info centre in their main offices and alarm makers ADT have picked up the tab for a four wheel drive vehicle for use in rural trouble spots. You can even sponsor the Chief Constable’s annual golf day!
Despite continuing police pressure there were still decent parties in the Brighton, Sheffield and Milton Keynes areas last weekend and the coming months promise much more.
Check www.partyvibe.com for info.
Two teenage girls kitted out with assault vests and sub-machine guns pose proudly for photos. Not in Sudan or Afghanistan, but East Kilbride, Scotland. The girls were allowed to handle the weapons by cops at the ‘high security’ firearms unit in Jackton. This was apparently a “treat” after their father, who was a police officer, died suddenly – so brandishing automatic weapons is the latest course of treatment for grieving children. However - being tuned in, net savvy, hep cats the girls posted the pictures on their Bebo site, with the caption “Who you gonna call?” (presumably not East Kilbride’s finest).
The day out which was described by one of the sisters as “Overall a day of riots and police dogs. Such a skive from school!” Police sources later apologised saying the photo-shoot had been “wrong on a number levels”.
Cue hasty statement from Strathclyde Police as to why the girls were allowed to handle guns which aren’t allowed into the hands of ordinary cops: “part of the process of coming to terms with the untimely loss of their father”. Not entirely sure whether the police are qualified to provide grievance counselling, but it’s pretty clear they’re certainly not qualified to carry any kind of gun.
SchNEWS advises all readers - if yer gunner attack arms companies, give them shock'n'awe - it's the only language they understand. Honest!