Friday 21st January 2011 | Issue 755
WAKE UP! IT'S ALWAYS INCITEFUL...
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Story Links : Inter-NETCU | Gateway Gate: Straight From the Pig's Mouth | You Never Can Tel Aviv | Bad Medicine... No Remedy For UK Herbalists | Fox Right Off | The Network X-Files | Greece: The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei - Flamin' Eck | SmashEDO: C'Mon Feel the Noise | Fee For Yer Life | A Bunch of Cuts | And Finally
AS GOVERNMENT AGENCY CAUGHT INFILTRATING ACTIVIST MEDIA OUTLET
“No - stuff that - SHUT the place: Let’s not all stand around like lemmings - lets shut the place!Bring ladders and wire cutters. If there are enough of us we can shut it!” - a pretty average comment on Indymedia you might think - if a little gung-ho. In fact it was posted there by the police - and SchNEWS has the proof.
For the benefit of anyone who’s been hiding in a hole wearing a tinfoil hat for the last fortnight (i.e most of our readership), it turns out that the U.K direct action/anarchist/environmental movement was infiltrated for number of years by undercover police. At least four cops have already been outed and its safe to assume there may be more. But while the mainstream media has focussed on the sleazy antics and dodgy love lives of these professional liars, SchNEWS can reveal that police attempts to disrupt our movement goes much further than a few unshaven plants in grubby t-shirts, and includes attacks on activist media and communications. For years now, police have been using activist website Indymedia in attempts to sow mistrust, demoralise movements and to incite violence and illegality.
Police postings came to light following an internal investigation on persistent disinformation being published to Indymedia UK. Technically Indymedia is supposed to safeguard it’s posters by not logging IP addresses. In actual fact there are IP filters. Although IP addresses are only stored temporarily, those of persistent abusers are kept in order to prevent the site from being overwhelmed. Moderators of Indymedia UK identified the Gateway-303 server as being the source of numerous such posts. A filter was set up to capture the behaviour of the individual(s) who were hiding behind the server.
One IP address so identified was 220.127.116.11 , which correlates with the server gateway303.energis.gsi.gov.uk. There are similar servers, gateway-301 & gateway-302 with IP addresses 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 respectively. Other servers identified are gateway-101, gateway-202, gateway-201, etc
GSI stands for Government Secure Intranet. It is a network established by the UK Government to allow secure transfer of files across its computers. The Police National Network is separate from it, but can connect to it. Currently GSI is operated by Energis, a UK based internet company now owned by Cable & Wireless.
It is clear from the consistency of the usage of gateway-303 server that the IPs are probably assigned to particular premises or else specific units within the UK Government. One of the purposes of the GSI network is to provide a secure proxy network behind which users can maintain their anonymity. Hence the lack of solid information as to exactly who is behind the postings. However, SchNEWS is gonna take a stab in the dark (if only) as to who they are; in fact some actually signed NETCU. Of course it could be the old double bluff, but given the level of intelligence behind some of the postings even this level of sophistication seems unlikely.
Indymedia is a key tool in activist organisation and communication. Given the overtly political nature of the site and the types of news stories published it is hardly a surprise that it attracts weirdos with strange axes to grind. Its open publishing format has left it wide open to trolling, spam and, of course, state / police abuse.
This abuse has mostly taken the form of posting comments under a variety of pseudonyms.
These postings have targeted individual activists, put out information about activists that is not in the public domain, attacked campaigns, and urged the disruption of peaceful protests. Many comment on (then) ongoing court cases. Some are just personal abuse directed at well-known activists, while others contain information only known to the police. Two postings - made on 21st Jan and 9th Jun 2010 - provide personal details, including mobile numbers, of potential targets for the animal rights movement, one a fur-shop in Leeds, the other the owner of an animal circus. What the motivations were for posting these details can only be surmised. But off the record we reckon it’s blatant attempt at entrapment.
As part of the activist scene, SchNEWS isn’t quite as shocked as elements of the mainstream media have been about the cops’ sleazy abuse of personal friendships to disrupt the organisation of alternative social movements. It’s long been the case that to be an activist you’ve got to get used the idea of surveillance (both covert and overt), violence from the state and the deliberate silencing of voices. The antics of Kennedy, Watson, Jacobs and Boyling are just part of a tactical bag of tricks including kettling, the use of F.I.T teams and spotter cards, anti-stalking injunctions, spreading rumours in the mainstream press and a constant stream of new laws criminalising dissent (See SchNEWS 1-754). To that list we can now add infiltration of the core platform for anti-authoritarian radical media activism in the UK.
From a brief analysis of the activities of the undercovers it seems that their mission was as much to disrupt as much as it was to gather information. Attacks on our movements by disruption are a handy weapon in the state’s arsenal with no need for actual evidence or convictions.
The targets of the fake Indymedia postings span the activist spectrum, from anti-fascists to anti-militarists, but have been most concerned with environmental campaigns and, in particular the Animal Rights movement. On April 27th, 2010, a comment appeared on the Indymedia UK newswire entitled Don’t use SPEAK as a model. The comment, on an article entitled New animal lab at Leicester; New nationwide campaign to start urged readers to respond to the campaign by “Model[ling] the campaign on a successful AR campaign such as Hillgrove cats or Darnley Oaks etc” (sic). Those familiar with those campaigns will be aware that they campaigns are alleged to have included violent actions against individuals. Other postings referenced a what appears to be an entirely fictitious new AR campaign in Leicester – Stop Leicester Animal Cruelty. SLAC (ha bloody ha)
It should be remembered corporations seeking injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act (link) have relied heavily on comments made on Indymedia as evidence. This act has been used against campaigns such as Smash EDO to criminalise all forms of dissent targeting specific companies, even entirely peaceful and completely legal protest.
As a whole the comments build a bewildering picture of a campaign of disparagement, incitement and support, together with wry asides and outright attempts at demoralisation. A few really stand out as obvious incitement to illegality while some are so bizarre that we can’t work out if they are part of a sinister master plan to bring down the whole activist scene - or just the ramblings of bored coppers with faces full of doughnuts and nothing better to do.
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GATEWAY GATE: STRAIGHT FROM THE PIG'S MOUTH
SchNEWS hopes to be in a position to publish the full backlog of comments (SchLeaks) soon. Meanwhile here’s a small sample...
Obviously fed up with the lack of militant law-breaking in the U.K the Gateway users try and whip up a storm of their own.
On the Milli-band protests - organised by Greenpeace against the Kingsnorth Power Station in July 4th 2009:
4th July - Shut Kingsnorth: With the police not opposing the Milliband what better time to shut Kingsnorth? Lets use this opportunity to shut it down once and for all! posted by Milli-Band on 26.06.2009 07:29
No - stuff that - SHUT the place: Let’s not all stand around like lemmings - lets shut the place!Bring ladders and wire cutters. If there are enough of us we can shut it! posted by Millitant Band on 26.06.2009 08:48
ANIMAL RIGHTS TARGETS:
NETCU came out of AR monitoring group ARNI (Animal Rights National Index). Here the gateway boys try and get AR back on the streets and even have a positive take on arson! These three comments were posted on demo reports:
Yeah - back to Sequani Let’s get out this time - only 2 turned up at Highgate! We need loads at Sequani or they will think we have given up! posted by Anon on 29.10.2010
Try HLS or Oxford: think they are still open! Why waste effort ‘inspecting’ places that you know have closed - unless it is to make yourself sound important - it’s not working. posted by What’s the point of these? on 26.02.2010 08:07
Yeah - Harrods and Josephes too..: Both of those still selling fur - both will be demo ed over Xmas. It’s not over yet! posted by CAFT on 21.12.2009 14:05
On the burning down of Novartis CEO’s Hunting Lodge and theft of his mother’s ashes:
Horrible own goal: Yes there will be a witch hunt - lest we forget the SNGP are mostly all still in jail and that incident lead to Opertion Achillies and the 50 year jail terms. Had they stopped at the arson they would have made a good point but the repeated exhumation just makes the whole AR movent look like unreasonable fanatics. Stupid Stupid Stupid. posted by Green man 2009-08-05 11.00
On two occasions users of Gateway 303 posted warnings/early reports of police raids on addresses. Why is a bit of mystery - maybe to see who contacts who in the afermath.
Antifa solidarity: Reports have been recieved of raids across the country. Details are unclear at present. posted by Antifa on 29.07.2009 10:54
AR raids - duck and cover: Early reports of raids on two addresses - AR related. Early morning raids on AR activists - some arrests - possible house searches. More details of nicks to follow - we must show solidarity. posted by @tivist on 10.11.2009 08:20
It has been speculated that one of the roles of the undercovers was to break groups up through demoralisation and cynicism. Ceratinly the 303 crew seem to be singing from the same sheet.
In relation to a protest at Didcot Power Station.
13 arrested - production not halted: 13 arrested - production not halted, the rest up a stack waiting to come down and get nicked -what did this achive? posted by Hang on on 27.10.2009 08:28
In relation to graffiti at EDO MBM, a Brighton weapons factory:
That should stop production.....:Yep - no doubt paint on the walls stops production dead. Oh hang on...... posted by Paint on 05.02.2010 12:52
In relation to a protest outside an animal lab:
The numbers are down from last year: There is nothing wrong with 70 - I think the initial alarm on the day and on here is that numbers were so reduced from last year and what the Police had been expecting. posted by It’s Fine on 02.11.2009 11:24
Talking about fox-hunts on Boxing Day:
So many More now: Than there were before the ban makes you think eh? posted by Pink on 23.12.2009 15:43
Another tactic is to cause divisions through the spreading of rumours against individuals even suggesting that they might be police informants.
Referring to long-term AR activist Lynn Sawyer:
Another raid on Lyns house: And she hasn’t been nicked? posted by Again? on 10.11.2009 11:45
Referring to AR activist Luke Steele:
Just goes to show: Why is Luke Steele taken seriously I will never know. Steele attracts the law like a magnet and from what a “screw” said in the local pub he like to run and tell when he got slapped around. ...... Nothing new, he will always be a spoilt little mummy’s boy. Be aware of Steele, he can’t be trusted. posted by Sab on 24.12.2009 10:28
One comment aimed to discourage activism against the EDL - Undercover cop Mark Kennedy suggested that activists avoid confrontation with the EDL in a meeting at the EF! Gathering in 2010
They were formed to fight: Guys, the EDL are predominatly a group of football hooligans who were bored in the summer. This seems to be giving them exactly what they want - sombody to have a fight with! Why not ignore them? posted by Observer on 08.12.2009 13:29
These and many of the others seem like nothing more than bored trolling:
Thanks for the heads up... :we will look into it. posted by NETCU 22.02.2010 08:17
Let’s ask David Ike...: I’m sure that Dave can save us! posted by Purple Track Suit on 23.12.2009 08:54
And this is a just a small selection of the over 100 comments intercepted on Indymedia.
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YOU NEVER CAN TEL AVIV
Around 15,000 indigent Israelis poured onto the streets of Tel Aviv last Saturday (15th) to demonstrate against the government’s attacks on civil and human rights, and its increasingly racist agenda.
Chanting “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” and “We will fight the regime of darkness,” the marchers lambasted the government of Binyamin Netanyahu and his collaborators in the Labour party.
Unrest has been growing in Israel over the increasingly racist atmosphere fuelled by extremist Rabbis calling for a ban on Jews selling property to Arabs, and the recent law passed by the Knesset requiring all Israeli Arabs to swear an oath of allegiance to Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic state’.
The match to the tinderbox moment came earlier this month when the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, passed a bill to set up a parliamentary commission to investigate the funding of civil and human rights groups. The move was condemned by opponents as “McCarthyite” and described by one dissenting minister as having a “whiff of fascism”.
The protesters marched from Meir Park, in front of the headquarters of far-right coalition members the Likud, to the Tel Aviv Museum, where they staged a rally. Afterwards scuffles with the police broke out and riot police cleared the area. There were three arrests.
The rally was orgsmash edoanised by activists from over 50 Jewish and Arab human rights and left-wing organisations who marched under the banner of the “Democratic Camp’. One of the organisers, former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg told the press, “Israel is not a democracy any more. Technically it is, but the foundations of democracy – liberty, equality – are under threat. The rabbinical fatwas and political harassment are red lights. If we don’t stand up now, tomorrow it will be too late.” He added, “[The movement] is not yet big, but it’s a beginning. This is the launching pad for the future political generation of Israel”.
Amongst the marchers were activists proclaiming solidarity with Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, who was recently handed a three month prison sentence for his part in a 2008 Critical Mass bike ride protesting Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Jonathan is a renowned activist in the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), a grassroots movement that campaigns against the Israeli occupation and a founding member of Anarchists Against the Wall, who join the weekly Palestinian demos against the separation wall.
On 31st of January 2008, Jonathan was among 30 Israeli activists on a protest bike ride through Tel Aviv. After he was spotted by plain-clothes police, he was singled out and arrested. He was then accused of incitement and being the leader of the event. After his arrest, the protest was allowed to continue unmolested.
He was tried at a Magistrates court in December and convicted on charges of illegal assembly. On sentencing, Jonathan said, “I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that will need to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza’s inhabitants”.
You can send letters of support to Jonathan to Hermon Prison, NSWING, PO BOX 4011, MAGHAR 14930, Israel.
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BAD MEDICINE... NO REMEDY FOR UK HERBALISTS
UK users of hundreds of herbal remedies are set to be criminalised from May 1st this year as the government implements rules drawn up to comply with the 2004 EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD - see SchNEWS 697). It will make all unlicensed herbal remedies and/or supplements illegal for sale over the counter.
Assessing the rationale for doing this is more difficult than trying to puzzle out how on earth a homoeopathic remedy could actually work. On the one hand our overlords are concerned about safety and rip-off merchants. We have a completely unregulated market in people flogging any old plant-based potion (or indeed exotic animal extract – see your local Chinese herbalist) with vague promises of untested healing properties – and to a customer probably blinded by symptoms and desperate to believe in its powers, if only to benefit from a self-administered placebo effect. Yes, you can see how the unscrupulous might benefit from this - and that certain products could be harmful in longer-term ways, unrelated to the ‘treatment’ area.
On the other hand, big pharma has long been pressurizing for just this kind of legislation – well, all these people trusting in nature’s own cheap unbranded remedies, synthesised without the need for a billion dollar research lab and industrial plant, but merely passed down from generation to generation over centuries and even millennia – thus passing it’s own giant randomised trial. Better to ban it all and trust in big pharma to keep us all safe, for a handsome profit of course. (Er, thalidomide anyone? Prozac? - or Chamomile tea and a spliff – you decide!)
NOT A CODEX MOMENT
There is an inter-country UN / WHO body that negotiates agreed standards for plant and mineral extracts for human ingestion. It’s called Codex Alimentarius, which should surely get conspiracy hunters salivating. It’s unaccountable meta-government, as delegations from counties supposedly thrash out voluntary agreements over food product safety and then the individual nations voluntarily abide by them. With the World Trade Organisation then recognising its findings, the Codex position quickly establishes itself as the dominant one.
As long ago as 1996 a German delegation (uninfluenced by any the large German pharamaceutical countries, no doubt) proposed no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs. The proposal was agreed. But protests at the time, and since, halted implementation - until recently. But the great thing about powerful interests – they can afford to sweat it out and play the long game, chipping away until resistance is spent.
WORT A CALAMITY
But either way, the EU’s Food Supplements Directive (which closely mirrors the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines) are like using an axe where a scalpel is needed. In order to become licensed, a product must now go through an expensive process similar to those for industrial scale man-made drugs, costing up to £120,000. Just about feasible for some widely taken Holland & Barret type products like Echanecia, but impossible for thousands of small scale producers of a wide range of more esoteric traditional herbs and flowers sought by the more-committed herbalist.
And, worse, the Coalition government seems strangely unwilling to even allow UK herbalists the compromise built into its laws by the EU. This allows statutorily regulated herbal practitioners to continue prescribing unlicensed products. This solution is interesting cos it still allows people to be exposed to all the health risks so feared – but at least creates some kind of bureaucratic record of who to blame / attempt to punish after the event. A (wanted?) side-effect is that this approach forces everyone involved to ‘join the system’, needing to register as legit and jump through various taxing, legal, financial and social hoops - and, thus, ultimately be much more under control by the ruling elites.
Whilst elements of the EU’s model leave a sour taste in the mouth, and bring an artificial level of complexity into an essentially simple transaction (“Have you got any of that I as a sane, free thinking member of the human race has decided to ingest/apply in the belief it will benefit me?”, “Yes”, “OK great thanks, cos I’d really like some. Let me give you something to compensate you for your trouble in providing it to me...”) it does at least offer some reassurance to those worried about malicious quackery and leaves potion-punters the chance to source their particular poison from a reputable source – although at slightly higher prices to pay for all the regulation, naturally.
But that’s all hypothetical here as the Coalition (and Labour before them) have bizarrely delayed plans to introduce a statutory herbal practitioner register. This means just a few weeks until a vast range of natural everyday plants and other ingredients for herbal remedies and products become illegal to cultivate in an unpoliceable, unworkable prohibition.
A coalition of herbalists has er, flowered, all committed to fighting the legal jackboots trampling all over their livelihoods, but the clock is ticking and come what May? Anyone purchasing or selling herbal remedies could be a criminal and punters will be left meeting black-market dealers in dodgy pub car parks trying to score a wrap of Valerian and a ten bag of Pokeweed...
Learn more at: http://www.naturalnews.com/030873_EU_directive_medicinal_herbs.html#ixzz1AG1RpBEk
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FOX RIGHT OFF
What do you call 60 animal rights activists, a huntsman with a broken pelvis and some very happy foxes?... a successful day's hunt sabbing!
On Saturday (15th) Brighton hunt sabs met up with other groups from as far afield as Leeds and Nottingham and descended on the Suffolk countryside. On one of the biggest ‘hits’ seen over the past few seasons, sabs prevented dig outs, made off with the pack and prevented the hounds from getting onto the scent of foxes using citronella sprays throughout the course of the day.
The call-out was made by the North London group due to the hunt becoming increasingly violent over the season, and reports of up to four kills regularly being made on a single day.
Old timers and new comers couldn’t help but feel a real sense of unified resurgence in anti-hunt activity when they glanced over there shoulders to see a muddy field full of black and camo clad sabs sweating out their hangover on a Saturday morning.
Highlights of the day were the cheesy (dairy free of course) group photo, the token owl and a very disgruntled hunt master being pelted with donkey turd. Priceless.
*Upcoming sab events at the Cowley Club: Sun 23rd Jan - Roast Dinner £4, Sat 5th Feb – Kilnaboy, Liberty, Primeval Soup £4.smash edo
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THE NETWORK X-FILES
Network X, one of the first attempts to hold a national gathering for the anti-cuts movement took place last weekend (15th-16th) in Manchester with mixed results. With representatives from student bodies, anarchists, community groups and environmental campaigners, over 300 participants met to from action planning and support networks to tackle the government’s latest below the belt cuts.
Kicking off on Saturday morning, the agenda was soon cast out the window as a separation quickly arose between two groups within the collective. For most of the morning arguments raged between one side wanting to form an organisation that had a particular mission statement and joint purpose, and the other wanting to strengthen national support networks and share skills whilst still acting in their established regional groups.
By the afternoon people split off into smaller working groups on topics such as direct action, media and legal training. While workshops were well received, there was some unrest over the focus of the event. As one attendee said, “There seemed to be an assumption that people were there to learn, which wasn’t true. Most people were there to network.”
On the second day the political debate was reopened and people ended up in small groups discussing questions such as ‘what is capitalism’ and ‘what is feudalism?’ Possibly not the most important thing to talk about after people have just travelled the length of the country precisely because they are anti-capitalist or anti-hierarchical governance.
Despite the problems that are usually associated with any large gathering of its kind, especially one that is in its infancy, positive steps were taken. Three regional groups of the Green and Black Cross were set up: South Coast, North West and London, and lots of training meetings were planned. An FE bulletin for students about the education cuts is in the pipeline, and a national aggregator website for the anti-cuts movement is being set up.
Overall, the fact that there were so many impassioned people in one place had a positive effect of people’s feelings of empowerment and strong networks were forged inspite of the political argy bargy.
One attendee commented; “On an organic level, it was maybe too organised, people were too focused on structured meetings. But I met some amazing people and its great that new Green and Black Cross groups have been set up. Most of the good things from the weekend came about over fags and tea.”
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GREECE: THE CONSPIRACY OF FIRE NUCLEI - FLAMIN' ECK
The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF) trial has started in Greece.
The bombastically named anarchist group, SPF, are on trial for a series of attacks using incendiary devices in the form of gas canister bombs and other improvised explosive devices. The SPF are being held accountable for over 200 bombs against symbols of wealth, power and state since 2008. A mail bomb campaign aimed at political institutions such as Embassies and Europol (the European Law Enforcement Organisation) had unnerved much of Europe in 2010. Last month the group claimed responsibility for an Athens courthouse bombing.
There are 13 defendants on trial, accused of being members of the group. Nine of the thirteen defendants have appeared in court, the rest will be tried in absentia. If the court condemns them of intending to commit murder they face life imprisonment. The defendants are being tried by a three member tribunal rather than a jury under a new terrorism law that supposedly minimises the possibility of intimidation. An online posting warned court officials that “for every year in prison given to our brothers, we will plant a kilogram of explosives in your front yards, cars and offices”.
On the first day of business, Monday (17th), time inside the court room was dedicated mainly to procedural details. It was made known that nobody would be allowed to enter without ID and subsequently the ID card would be kept for the duration of the trial. Never mind the above edict is illegal since the police only have the right to keep your ID card if you are a witness. The defendants refused to speak and exited from the courtroom upon hearing this decision. An hour later they re-entered the arena with demands of no personal data to be recorded from identity cards, nothing to be held on record and demands that the plain clothes policemen leave the courtroom.
The defendants declared that if their demands were not met they would refuse to cooperate and would not participate in the trial. As the presiding judge failed to meet their demands they left the courtroom to the sound of shouts “The passion for freedom is stronger than the prison”.The trial will continue at 9am on Monday 24th January.
Solidarity action with the conspiracy of cells of fire group took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in the late hours of Sunday(16th) where the largest shopping centre was submitted to an attack with fireworks creating panic, no injuries were sustained. In Bristol in the early hours of Monday(17th) two telecommunications vehicles of British Telecom were set on fire in support also.
Elsewhere this week the trial of the Thessaloniki 4 began on Friday (14th). The four defendants have been in limbo since the EU summit held in Greece in 2003. Police repression at the summit led to over a hundred arrests. Most had their charges dropped in light of overwhelming evidence. Since 2003 the defendants have had their charges dropped, only to be reinstated, there has been a first trial and then a second trial was adjourned until this month.
*To follow proceedings check: www.salonikisolidarity.org.uk
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SMASHEDO: C'MON FEEL THE NOISE
There was more over the top treatment at Smash EDO’s weekly noise demo last Wednesday (19th) as Brighton coppers continue to do their utmost to imprison the determined bunch for whatever minuscule ‘offences’ they can find.
Ten activists were there to remind workers leaving the arms factory that it was the two-year anniversary of Israel’s bombing of Gaza which killed hundreds (See SchNEWS 661) and make noise with saucepans, drumsticks and pots and pans.
Towards the end of the demo, one activist was arrested under section 5 (behaviour likely to cause alarm) and numerous others have been slapped in irons over the last couple of months for similarly meagre charges, one person for writing in chalk on the EDO fence, and another for allegedly causing damage to the fence by banging it with a rock. Others have been taken in for breach of the peace and conspiracy charges.
Midweek noise demos continue - for more see www.smashedo.org
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FEE FOR YER LIFE
The occupation of Birmingham university occupation ended in a ruckus on Monday (17th) after a no holds barred eviction.
The peaceful sit in that began with 20 students and ended 8 hours later with violent confrontations between students and police has led to yet more questions regarding police tactics. As one student put it “all hell broke loose”.
The students were protesting budget cuts and redundancies that will be in effect by 2014 resulting in 200 job losses. They staged a sit in at the social learning space in the physics department. At 18:45, six security guards and two cops charged the doors. The students linked arms and attempted to form a human barrier.
Reports from witnesses state one female student was head butted, another got an unmerited punch in the chest whilst a third got jabbed in the face. One student standing nearby saw a male student being put into a headlock that threatened to strangle him as they both tried to walk into the occupied area. The policeman who delivered the head-butt claimed the girl had presented an obstacle as he was attempting to access the room and the collision was unfortunate.
By 7pm the remaining protesters had walked or been escorted out. No arrests were made. Three students are considering taking legal action and are at the moment seeking legal advice.
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A BUNCH OF CUTS
It has been ding, ding round two this week as the next wave of anti-cuts protests kicked off with nationwide action against plans to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
As Westminster voted against Labour’s token motion to rethink the decision to cut EMA, around 500 people assembled at Piccadilly Circus before marching on Westminster. As they arrived at Parliament an impromptu rave of rage broke out.
In Brighton around 100 people turned up for the Save EMA demo, staging a small rally on Old Steine before being led by cops into uninhabited side-streets.
The day before (18th), walkouts and demonstrations were held at about 30 schools and colleges around the country, including Liverpool, Newcastle and Cornwell. The peaceful protests took a variety of forms, in Dudley several hundred college students held a fancy dress rally while in Leeds there was a silent protest and at a college in Norwich, students lit a candle for every student who receives EMA.
In the build up to the national protest called for the 29th, the proposed benefit cuts will be next in the firing line in a National Day of Protest on the 24th. There will be an array of protests across the country, many focusing on Atos Origin, the company responsible for the punitive medical testing of disability and sickness benefits.
*There are protests planned in London, Livingston, Leeds, Newcastle, Lyndey, Burnley, Hastings, Crawley, Brighton and a national Troll a Tory internet campaign. For a complete list see http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/
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UNDERCOVER COP SHOCKER EXCLUSIVE: The secretive anti-social world of policing has been rocked to its foundations this week by revelations that undercover eco-activists have been posing as police officers, working in the shadowy ‘tactical units’ supposedly fighting the menace that they themselves threaten.
Clean-cut William Jackboot seemed like a regular plod, popular with the lads - a rising star, swiftly moved up the ladder until, in 2009, he was promoted to a position co-ordinating the elite forces of a new inter-constabulary force to combat activists, the Countering Undesirable Nasties Terrorising Squad.
As the team bodged operations, or arrived somewhere to find activists were one already step ahead, it was assumed all to be a result of normal police incompetence, but now that Jackboot has been outed and identified as really being a ramshackle hippie anarchist named Ramblin Bill Specialbrew who, six years ago, changed his name, got a haircut, and signed up. He proceeded to work his way up, alongside and friendly with unsuspecting colleagues - presumably all the while passing personal information and operational details back to his anti-authoritarian handlers.
Former friends on the force have been stunned by the realisation that ‘Slick’ Willy was not all he seemed. They recount happy evenings of hard drinking at Spearmint Rhino. ‘Why, he even helped me rough up a few black bloc” said one, “He had the Top Gear box-set n and didn’t seem to give a shit about the state of environment,” tells another.
Since his outing, which followed leaving copies of SchNEWS and a bong accidentally in his open locker one day, Specialbrew / Jackboot has gone into hiding in Armenia, saying he fears for his life.
“I’m only the one they know about,” he said, “there are loads of secret tree-huggers in all branches of the force. On one occasion we went on an climate camp raid and there was only one real copper there - except for those undercover organising the activists we were after...
“Anyway I was just doing what my eco-superiors suggested I do, after they’d plied me with mushroom tea one night. But after a while you get confused. I found myself having sympathies with the cops plight. It was like stockholm syndrome - before I knew it I was busting kids and shaking down villains - and I started to love the life. But the pressure of this double life was grinding me down and I was getting no emotional support from my handlers. I’d been walking, talking, shouting, pushing, beating like a copper for so long, I lost track of who I really was.”
Trust and moral within the force has plummeted as other eco-plants start to be weeded out and cops are wondering how far this thing goes. Brian Paddick? Sir Ian Blair?
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SchNEWS warns all readers - Trust No One. Least of all us (we're off to Corfu, or somewhere like that) Honest!