BACK ISSUES

SchNEWS 747, 11th November 2010
Losing Their Faculties - Finally, perhaps, the wave is cresting... The fightback against the vicious Tory cuts programme has so far been restricted to placard waving demos and petitions. Not any more – the placards are still there but now they’re being used to build bonfires in front of a windowless Tory HQ. And they say young people don’t take an interest in politics.

SchNEWS 746, 4th November 2010
The Vodafone-y War - In the past week as many as 21 Vodafone stores have been hit with direct action. The phone giant have become a widespread target for the national anti-cuts campaign following their multi-billion government-sanctioned tax-dodging shenanigans. 

SchNEWS 745, 29th October 2010
Serious Organised Crime - The six defendants in the second SHAC trial were hammered with vicious sentences this week. The harshest was the six years handed down to 53-year-old Sarah Whitehead. Sentences for the other defendants Tom Harris, Nicole Vosper, Jason Mullan, Nicola Tapping and Alfie Fitzpatrick ranged from a two year suspended sentence for the youngest, Alfie, to three and a half years for Nicole Vosper. All the defendants also copped lengthy ASBOs, which will prevent them from any further participation in animal rights activism.

SchNEWS 744, 22nd October 2010
Crude but Refined - Utmost secrecy, activist goodie bags and sheer determination shut down the the UK’s busiest oil refinery last week in one of the most well-planned actions the climate justice movement has seen so far. Stilt walkers, a samba band and around 500 activists blockaded the road to Croydon oil refinery in Essex on Saturday, stopping an estimated 400,000 gallons of oil getting to London’s petrol stations.

SchNEWS 743, 15th October 2010
Hammering home the Point - The ‘ITT’s Hammertime’ Smash EDO demo in Brighton on Wednesday (13th) ended with over fifty arrests, after police made it clear they were going to protect the arms makers at any cost. The demonstration planned to lay siege to Brighton’s premier weapons factory for the day, but police repression and a newly developed policy for preventative arrests put paid to the ambitious plans to push the factory out of town. With both a section 60 and highly restrictive section 14 in place, police were given even greater powers, which they gleefully exercised...

SchNEWS 742, 8th October 2010
Frontier Law - The No Borders camp in Brussels last week persevered in getting their message across by means of various direct actions despite widespread arbitrary arrests and shocking police violence, including physical and sexual abuse in police custody. At least 500 mostly ‘preventative’ arrests took place, and 14 people were seriously injured. Here’s a day by day report...  

SchNEWS 741, 1st October 2010
Unrest For The Wicked - Mass protests and strikes have broken out across the whole of Europe this week as the reality of already imposed and still pending austerity cuts becomes clear. Across the EU, rallies were held in thirteen capital cities and in Spain a general strike saw millions take action. On Wednesday (29th) around 100,000 representatives of the European trade union movement, including German miners and Polish shipbuilders, brought Brussels to a standstill to protest against the forthcoming savage spending cuts. The message “We will not pay for their crisis” is now resounding across Europe.  

SchNEWS 740, 24th September 2010
Brussels Sprouts Camp - No Borders Camp 2010 in Brussels kicks off this Saturday (25th) til the 3rd October, and plenty are converging on that part of the continent in an effort to create a world where no one is illegal. Among the objectives of the camp are the denouncing of European migration policy; showing the links between this policy and the structures of capitalism and repression; the blocking of Brussels’ deportation system and the organisation of an autonomous safe space for the voices of migrants and activists to be heard.  

SchNEWS 739, 17th September 2010
Gauling Behaviour - Weak to begin with, France’s attempts to deny that recent mass expulsions of Roma people were racist have been dealt a blow after a Ministry of Interior circular ordering evacuation of camps of Roma, as “a matter of priority” was leaked. From mid-August to early September this year, approximately 1000 Roma were deported from France and 128 Roma camps dismantled.

Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Thursday 18th November 2010 | Issue 748

WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! IT'S YER FIGHTIN' FIT

SchNEWS

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Story Links : Complete Hissy Fit | City Subs Picket Shame | Degrees Of Resistance | France: Screws Loose | Love To Haiti | There Will Be Mud | New Feature: Dyer Warnings | And Finally

COMPLETE HISSY FIT

AS FORWARD INTELLIGENCE BOSS STUPIDLY TRIES TO SILENCE FITWATCH

Still smarting from the failure to contain the student rioters in central London (see SchNEWS 747), the Met are peevishly taking out their anger against an old enemy. On Monday evening the hosts of the FIT WATCH website were asked to close it down on the grounds of it “being used to undertake criminal activities”. In a letter from the MET, the company Justhost.com were warned that the website was being used in an attempt “to pervert the course of justice”. The DI demanded that the site be taken down for ‘twelve months’. Deciding caution was the better part of valour, Justhost decided to take it down.

In fact all that the FITWATCH site had done was hand out sensible and timely advice to those who caught up in the right wing witch hunt for the brave folks who trashed Tory HQ. The Telegraph has run a shop-a-rioter feature and the SUN has named individuals they claim were involved in violence. David Cameron has demanded that the ‘full weight of the law’ be brought against those involved. Given the hammering that the defendants in the Gaza protests (see SchNEWS 710) took, anyone who has the slightest fear that they might get picked up would do well to heed FITWATCH’s advice.

FIT TO BURST

For two days then, cyber-cops stopped a few people from looking at the FITWATCH site. SchNEWS tracked one of the not particularly shadowy figures behind FITWATCH. “It’s been been real success. We’ve reached an audience we’ve never been able to before - They forced us to take the website down - but now we’re in the Guardian, BBC” (even SchNEWS!)

“The advice on the site was almost immediately reprinted on dozens of sites. And in any case the site is now back up under its own steam, with a different host and a secure server. “This pathetic attempt has failed miserably. Within minutes of networking what had happened, people were re-publishing the post anywhere and everywhere. There are now over 100 sites carrying the original post – we haven’t managed to count them all. We have been overwhelmed by the support and solidarity and send massive thanks to everyone who’s offered to help and reposted the information.

By making vague threats of illegality to a net hosting company the cops were able to bypass such boring democratic details as a court of law. Although the communication was sent by the Met’s e-crime unit, according to FITWATCH the letter originated from one Acting Detective Inspector Will Hodgeson, who works for CO11, the METs public order intelligence unit, who run the notorious FIT teams (see SchNEWS 639). ”They’ve acted extra-legally - it’s one thing to take us to court but this was a way of getting around that. It was an obvious attempt to give us a hard time - the usual harassment, bullying and disruption. It was a way of getting to us outside the court system.”

QUICK FIT

FITWATCH as a practice arose out of the need to confront the chilling effect constant police surveillance was having on activism. Within a year of starting, people adopting the tactics had forced police cameramen away to the fringes of our gatherings.

This was all instrumental in focussing public and media attention on police interaction with demonstrators. But by publishing the names, numbers and photographs of the country’s political police, its no surprise that FITWATCH have made enemies amongst the boys in blue.

Our interviewee said, “This isn’t the first time that the FITWATCH blog has come up. The cops think they have a pretty good idea who’s behind it. The blog has twice been introduced as evidence in Obstruct Police court cases to do with actions against police surveillance, but it has been ruled inadmissible. Certainly people have been asked about it in interviews. They’ve been thinking about what to do about it for a while”.

And for entertainment purposes only.. here’s that controversial advice in full:

51 people have been arrested so far, and the police have claimed they took the details of a further 250 people in the kettle using powers under the Police Reform Act. There may be more arrests to come.

Students who are worried should consider taking the following actions:

* If you have been arrested, or had your details taken – contact the legal support campaign. As a group you can support each other, and mount a coherent campaign.

* If you fear you may be arrested as a result of identification by CCTV, FIT or press photography...

DON’T panic. Press photos are not necessarily conclusive evidence, and just because the police have a photo of you doesn’t mean they know who you are.

DON’T hand yourself in. The police often use the psychological pressure of knowing they have your picture to persuade you to ‘come forward’. Unless you have a very pressing reason to do otherwise, let them come and find you, if they know who you are.

DO get rid of your clothes. There is no chance of suggesting that the person in the video is not you if the clothes worn on film have been found in your wardrobe. Get rid of ALL clothes you were wearing at the demo, including YOUR SHOES, your bag, and any distinctive jewellery you were wearing at the time. Yes, this is difficult, especially if it is your only warm coat or decent pair of boots. But it will be harder still if finding these clothes in your flat gets you convicted of violent disorder.

DON’T assume that because you can identify yourself in a video, a judge will be able to as well. ‘That isn’t me’ has got many a person off before now.

DO keep away from other demos for a while. The police will be on the look-out at other demos, especially student ones, for people they have put on their ‘wanted’ list. Keep a low profile.

DO think about changing your appearance. Perhaps now is a good time for a make-over. Get a haircut and colour, grow a beard, wear glasses. It isn’t a guarantee, but may help throw them off the scent.

DO keep your house clean. Get rid of spray cans, demo related stuff, and dodgy texts / photos on your phone. Don’t make life easy for them by having drugs, weapons or anything illegal in the house.

DO get the name and number of a good lawyer you can call if things go badly. The support group has the names of recommended lawyers on their site. Take a bit of time to read up on your rights in custody, especially the benefits of not commenting in interview.

DO be careful who you speak about this to. Admit your involvement in criminal damage / disorder ONLY to people you really trust.

DO try and control the nerves and panic. Waiting for a knock on the door is stressful in the extreme, but you need to find a way to get on with business as normal. Otherwise you’ll be serving the sentence before you are even arrested.

www.fitwatch.org.uk

* The defence campaign is at: http://nov10.wordpress.com/

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CITY SUBS PICKET SHAME

At SchNEWS we are accustomed to cranking out the news every week with the ever present spectre of financial ruin breathing down our necks. For our comrades in the mainstream media, however, it seems like a state of affairs they’re not quite as comfortable with.

Whilst the Paxman-flummoxing BBC strikes over plans to chainsaw staff pensions grabbed all the headlines (at least the ones written by scab labour), local news-hounds around the country have also been taking action over mass redundancies and plans to put the squeeze on those that remain.

In Brighton, staff at local rag the Argus launched a feeble attempt to challenge SchNEWS’ position as the most radical purveyors of news in the Brighton and Hove area.

Yesterday (18th) saw the first day of a 48-hour strike over plans to sack the entire subs desk and ship operations to Southampton. Whilst we have no love for the team that brought us such classic Smash EDO-based headlines as “SHAMEFUL”, the move is another blow to the concept of a local newspaper. As SchNEWS went to print the Argus had yet to mention the strike in its own pages.

The Argus is owned by Newsquest – the mini-me local version of Murdoch’s evil national empire. Itself owned by the US’s largest publisher, Newsquest owns 17 Dailies and over 200 weeklies - and titles across the country are set to be hit by the latest round of cutbacks. They have already announced plans for mass-sackings at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Ilkley Gazette, Wharfedale & Airedale Observer and the Keighley News. The journalists then have the option of scrabbling for a reduced number of replacement jobs on far worse terms and conditions.

Earlier in the month, 75% of the editorial staff at the Southampton Daily Echo staged a 48-hour walkout after a pay freeze since June 2008, the closure of the final salary pension scheme and the scrapping of loyalty payments.

Whether it affects the quality of the drivel many local rags churn out remains to be seen - SchNEWS has been produced by scab labour and agency temps since the editorial staff went on strike in 1996 and no one has ever noticed.

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DEGREES OF RESISTANCE

After last Wednesday’s demo (see SchNEWS 747), students around the country are continuing to protest against education cuts.

At Sussex Uni around 170 students began a spontaneous occupation on Monday (15th) in the multi-million pound new lecture theatre building - built last year as jobs at the uni were slashed. One occupier told SchNEWS they were hoping “to continue the momentum from last Wednesday, and show solidarity with those who occupied Millbank.”

These sentiments were mirrored at Manchester. Around 70 students occupied the administrative building that houses the Vice-Chancellors office on Thursday (11th) and released a statement demanding “that the university opens its books so that we know where the cuts will fall, how many voluntary redundancies have already been made and to highlight the fact that the vice chancellor is paid 20 times the average salary.”

In Oxford, two campaigns engaged in an action that sounds more like a googlewhack: a “chicken flashmob” outside the Liberal Democrat Constituency Offices on Wednesday afternoon. The costumes were designed to point out the cowardice of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable who have both pulled out of recent Oxford engagements, supposedly to avoid the wrath of angry students.

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FRANCE: SCREWS LOOSE

A wave of suicides in French prisons has sparked a prison warden revolt at the beginning of the week (15th & 16th). Granted, they were protesting for more staffing and better working conditions rather than campaigning on behalf of the suffering inmates, but the clash of prison wardens vs. cops must have been a pretty special sight.

On Monday, protests took place at 79 jails. The most riotous involved dozens of wardens who used tires and wooden crates to bloack access to three Parisian jails: Fleury-Merogis, Le Sante and Le Fresnes.

Union leaders have complained that policing of the actions - tear gas and opening fire with rubber bullets - was heavy-handed. Considering how hard cops find it to tell the difference between the innocent and the guilty on a normal day, one can imagine their heads were spinning with confusion as they faced up to their criminal justice compadres.

115 prisoners committed suicide last year in France and a suspected 45-50 have taken their lives so far this year - although official statistics are not yet available. The number of cases has led to criticism of conditions and overcrowding in French prisons. Over 63,000 people are currently locked up in France, over 10,000 more than the prison system’s capacity. This makes them the most overcrowded in Europe.

However the government doesn’t look likely to give in the the unions’ demands. They say there has already been an increase in prison staffing and there will be no more. Not much joie de vivre in les slammers it seems.

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LOVE TO HAITI

Riots have gripped Northern Haiti since Monday (15th). In Cap-Haitien, the country’s second largest city, protesters set up burning barricades of flaming tires, torched a police station and hurled stones at United Nations officials as they yelled anti-UN slogans. A UN world food program warehouse was looted and burned. Three demonstrators have died as a result, shot by peacekeeping soldiers.

The rioting has been fuelled by suspicions that the cholera epidemic that has assaulted the country for the past month, hospitalising more than 16,700 people and claiming over 1,000 victims, was brought into Haiti by UN peacekeepers. This epidemic follows the earthquake that killed a reported 250,000 and left 1.5million homeless in January this year. Officials of the UN have failed to make any effort towards ascertaining the cause of the infection and deny any responsibility. To further add salt to the wounds, the UN cancelled flights carrying 3 metric tonnes of soap along with medical supplies and personnel because of the violence.

In general the protests seemed to become almost civil by Wednesday (17th), however the burning barricades remained and protesters defended them by throwing rocks at police that tried to remove them. Demonstrators held a peaceful rally in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, marching towards Haiti’s collapsed national palace whilst tearing down and burning posters of Jude Celestin, the candidate for the Unity Party, and head of the state-run construction party, while chanting “Unity equals cholera”. Many of the demonstrators on the march had been recently forcibly made redundant by the national construction companies.

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THERE WILL BE MUD

One area of the new South Downs National Park, near Chichester, has been classified as an Area of Outstanding Bounty, for councillors and oil prospectors at least, after black gold was found under the heritage site.

In 2009, West Sussex County Council granted permission to Northern Petroleum to test drill for oil in the ancient woodland at Markwells Wood, near Chichester (see SchNEWS 631).

The firm reckons it has uncovered a stash of between 35 and 61 million barrels of joy beneath the wood and has now decided to start bringing in heavy equipment and begin drilling.

The firm’s boss announced: “The commercial case for drilling Markwells Wood is compelling when the price level of oil is above $80 per barrel.” i.e. At $80 a pop that’s some haul with a street value in the billions. Yee-haw!

Although there were objections at the time of the original application - the Woodland Trust grumbling about the irreplaceable ancient woodland and Natural England calling for a dormouse survey – the whole thing has gone through with little local resistance.

With nearly another 100 licences dished out for oil and gas exploration UK during 2008, and energy prices only likely to rise, this land is likely to become much less green and more unpleasant by the year. SchNEWS hopes the impending prospect of nodding donkeys on the horizon will rouse a Sussex rabble yet to make the whole project go a little less smoothly...

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NEW FEATURE: DYER WARNINGS

India and Pakistan descend into nuclear war over water resources, the US shoots Mexicans on the border, a desperate last gasp attempt at geo-engineering results in millions of deaths – this could be the future according to journalist Gwynne Dyer.

After discovering the Pentagon had advanced plans for its role in a world ravaged by climate change, Dyer embarked on a round the world trip interviewing military planners, scientists, think tanks and environmentalists. The result was his latest book Climate Wars. SchNEWS talks to Dyer about his book and his views on climate change; what is happening and what can be done.

See features at /features/show_feature.php?feature=17

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AND FINALLY

Arms dealers must be, well, up in arms at the actions of one enterprising ITT employee (ask SmashEDO who ITT are – see SchNEWS 743). One of their military hardware manufacturing drones from sector G, in a factory in the New York area, took it on himself to cut out the middle men completely.

Vincent Corey stole a ‘frequency generator’ – a device which can mimic the radio signals of surface to air missiles to enable testing and development – and then sold it. On Ebay.

It was only after he’d sold it for a suspiciously cut-price $20,000 that the buyers thought to check to providence and called ITT. Corey has now been arrested and faces a spell in chokey. He really should have checked the profile of the prospective buyer a little more carefully.

UK arms dealers have thankfully stepped back from their threat to join SmashEDO and picket the ITT factory in protest at this threat to their cosy lucrative profession. But how long before the modern world catches up with them. When will manufacturers follow the rest of retailing and sell online straight to their customers? Picking up weapons will surely end up simply a matter of going to DrirectMine or EasyMissile on yer iphone app and and clicking on the paypal link...

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS advises all readers, get off yer lazy asses and get FIT. Honest.

 

SchMOVIES

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

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

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.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.