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(en) SchNEWS 249, Friday 25th February 2000

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 25 Feb 2000 14:27:21 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

This is SchNEWS, the weekly direct action newsletter
published by Justice? in Brighton, England.
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This week's SchNEWS: http://www.schnews.org.uk/thisweek.htm



Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 248, Friday 25th February, 2000



"What is possible and what is bananas is hard to judge at present, but from
our experience every bone in our bodies says this technology will happen
because of the similarities with the bio-tech industry."
Pat Mooney, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)

Smaller than the SchNEWS bank account, nanotechnology is set to be the next
big thing in the manipulation of reality since biotechnology. Who says? The
American Assocation for the Advancement of Science who had their Annual
General Meeting last week, and believe that machines made up of a few atoms
could be possible in a few years time.

After the dazzling and life-affirming science that led from the discovery
of the atom to the atom bomb, from DNA to Frankenfoods, SchNEWS readers
will excuse us for not jumping up and down with excitement at this next big
leap forward.

So what is nanotechnology? And why aren’t we digging in the SchNEWS biscuit
tin for our long lost microscope in anticipation?

A nanometre is a billionth of a metre. If you put 50 million nanos side by
side they’d be the width of a human hair. Where biotechnology manipulated
genes to alter what was there already, nanotechnology can build pretty much
anything atom by atom, or alter existing structures. Which could mean much
faster and smaller computers that assemble themselves, or manipulating the
atomic structure of objects so they that may even be turned into something
else. As Pat Mooney puts it, "You could have a household microwave which
you simply pop the garbage into and out pops - well another microwave if
you want. Or a hamburger, a piece of furniture, TV set, anything!"

As is the case with a lot of science, whether the new research gets used
for everyone’s benefit depends on who controls it and what their motives
are. Nanotech could be used for microsurgery, since it would be a lot
easier to inject surgical robots to perform operations rather than cutting
people open, or for recycling waste into something useful. However, on a
darker note, the U.S has already developed a spy plane the size of a pound
coin that can fly up to 1000 feet at 40 mph, with built-in sensors, and it
is only a matter of time that ones smaller than the eye can detect will be
invented. How can you prevent yourself being monitored, if you don’t even
know it’s happening?

Governments are taking the technology seriously. Following the Japanese
lead in investment, the U.S gov’t’s National Nanotechnology Initiative
(N.N.I.) has been given a proposed budget of $500 million dollars for next
year, but as Pat Mooney notes, "We don’t know what is being spent by the
Department of Energy or Dept of Defence, but it’s considerably more than
that." Research is accelerating fast, and we are no more than a few years
away from nanomachines. Last year researchers in the U.S built a motor from
just 78 atoms, small enough to fit in a cop’s brain (okay, that’s not what
they used it for, cops are VERY clever really).

Now call us cynical but we at SchNEWS are a little concerned. Control of

research and funding is already in the tiny hands of national governments
and corporations. Among those funding the N.N.I., are the U.S Department of
Defence, and NASA, and the current corporate leader of nanotech research is
IBM, an early backer of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (SchNEWS
141) which threatened to strip away the worlds labour and environmental
laws. If nanotech follows the same pattern as biotech, then we can look
forward to companies like Monsanto moving in to try and get a stranglehold
on the nanotech market, as they have tried on the agricultural markets with
their GM products. If they start patenting this research as they are doing
with GM products, then you could find that you will only be allowed to use
such technology if you pay them a hefty fee. Pat Mooney: "When I discuss
it, it’s like talking about bio-technology in the 70s - people asking how
could it be possible. They say we’re crazy. But at RAFI we reckon that
bio-technology will not be with us much longer. We are in a transition
towards nano-technology if you look at where the money is being spent on
research around the world."

Maybe we’re being a bit too pessimistic about all this fiddling around with
atoms, and it will turn out to bring nothing but good for humanity. After
all the nanobots in Star Trek are sometimes mischievous, but basically cute
little robots who help out the crew of the Enterprise from time to time.
However, does anyone remember what happened the first time scientists
started playing round with the atom? Check out www.rafi.org in mid-March
for more info.

To raise awareness of the Government’s proposed Terrorism Bill @ The
Gloucester, with P.A.I.N., Tragic Roundabout and Mark Leveller. 5pm - 10.30
Free food B4 7pm £3.50/£2.50 concs.


For having dirty sheets! A couple had their house searched by Manchester
cops and were locked in police cells for seven hours (while their three
young kids were left unsupervised at home) for the alleged theft of a bed
sheet from a Road Chef hotel. They had put the sheet in a laundry bag and
left it outside for collection after one of her children had spilled a
drink on it. The next day hotel staff found the missing sheet.


What do you reckon the Government does to a school which has exam results
27% above the national average? Praise them? No, tries to close them down!!

Summerhill in Suffolk is an independent progressive school founded in 1921
by A.S.Neill, a teacher and revolutionary. He created a community free from
authoritarian rule, in which pupils’ personal interests and development
have priority. Children have a direct say in the running of the school
through weekly meetings. The school’s ideals have influenced educational
theories and political thinking worldwide.

However, not everyone is enthusiastic. The Education Authorities equate
‘the pursuit of freedom’ with ‘the pursuit of idleness’, and they can’t
handle the non-compulsory lesson attendance policy. Despite having only 58
pupils, Summerhill is the most inspected school in Britain. Last May’s
OFSTED inspection led to them being served with a Statutory Order of
Complaint. The order required changes including compulsory attendance of
lessons and stricter discipline. Failure to comply may lead to closure.
Summerhill believe that these measures go against the fundamental
principles on which the school is founded. An appeal has been lodged with
the Independent Schools Tribunal, it’s hearing will take place over 8 days,
from 20th March.

Please show your support for Summerhill in it’s fight against closure. As
Zoe Readhead, Principal, said "If Summerhill is closed it would simply be
another nail in the coffin of anything that’s different." Save Summerhill
Campaign, Summerhill, Leiston, Suffolk IP16 4HY. 01728 830 540.



In December 1991 a woman was held captive at knife-point and raped. Her

attacker took obscene photographs, asking his victim to smile for the
camera. He attempted to force pills down her throat. He took the number of
her car to further intimidate her. When she started to receive threatening
phone calls, terrified for the safety of her two children, she went to the
police. But a policewoman advised her to drop the case. A year later the
same man committed an almost identical attack at the same premises.
Christopher Davies was arrested, the case was forwarded to the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS) who decided not to prosecute.

Why? The two women are prostitutes, so the courts deem them 'not credible'.
Forget preconceptions - of these two women one was saving to buy an
electric wheelchair for her disabled husband, the other was funding her
degree. The English Collective of Prostitutes estimate at least 70% of
prostitutes are mothers, mostly single, struggling to support their
families in the face of benefit cuts and low wages.

Prostitute women, being criminalised, are very vulnerable to violence and
are forced onto the streets by laws which say that women working from the
same premises constitutes a brothel despite the fact that working on the
streets is ten times more dangerous than working indoors. Men who attack
prostitute women are hardly ever arrested; only one in twelve women who is
raped reports it to the police; only one tenth of recorded rapes result in
a conviction.

Though prostitutes’ clients include police, lawyers, judges and MP’s, it is
the women who are considered corrupt, not the men who use them. If the
police neglect to investigate a crime because the victim was ‘only’ a
prostitute then all women are vulnerable to attack from the rapist who
remains free. In the case of the Yorkshire Ripper the prosecuting Attorney
General Sir Michael Havers said of the Ripper’s victims, "some were
prostitutes, but perhaps the saddest part of this case is that some were
not. The last six attacks were on totally respectable women."

When a sex worker secures the prosecution of her attacker the next hurdle
is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority who are likely to refuse
compensation on the grounds that the victim’s job puts her at risk by
choice. But, as Harry Cohen MP wrote to the Board, "If it is regarded that
their profession is by nature a dangerous one then the logic of your
argument breaks down. On that basis you would refuse compensation to
policemen who have been the victims of crime and their families." When the
CPS decided not to prosecute, the ECP helped them to bring the first ever
private prosecution for rape in an English court. Their case made legal
history when 3 years later, Christopher Davies was convicted. Recommended
reading: ‘Some Mother’s Daughter’ from Crossroads Womens Centre, P.O. Box
287, London NW6 5QU Tel 0171 482 2496


Last Friday a Laing building site in Surrey was occupied in solidarity with
protestors who are fighting eviction at the Gorsewood road protest camp in
Essex. Grateful workers enjoyed a break from building a massive complex for
Pfizer - the makers of viagra. Maybe that’s why people found it so easy to
get up a massive crane to unfurl a banner saying ‘more roads? Don’t even
try it!’ Laing were targeted as they are part of the consortium that is
building the six lane motorway through the Essex countryside. 20 days into
the eviction and 5 people are still down the tunnels. Gorse Wood 07957

SchNEWS in brief

   * You can always rely on the Tories to come up with the odd gem, and
     David Shaw, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Kingston and
     Surbiton doesn’t disappoint: "I think it’s no co-incidence that Mo
     Mowlam had a brain tumour and smoked cannabis in her youth"!
   * SchNEWS would never gloat, but felt we should share the Evening Anus’
     apology to demonstrators who went to Shamrock Monkey Farm the other
     week and were branded, amongst other things, 'terrorists'. The Anus
     grovelled "...we let you down with our lopsided and half-hearted

     reporting of the protest and the ugly clashes with police.. Equally we
     condemn police brutality against anyone in the same way we condemn
     extremists... We strive for fair play. Yes, we let readers down this
     once, but don’t leap to the conclusion it was because we are biased.
     Quite simply, we slipped from our normal standards."
   * Next Shamrock Demo: Noon, 12th March. Tel 07020 936956 e-mail
   * Join satirist Mark Thomas for the real 'Star Wars' on Saturday 4th
     March at the U.S-run Menwith Hill Spy Base, near Harrogate, Yorkshire.
     Noon-4pm www.gn.apc.org/cndyorks/m4
   * Think Bacardi’s Cuban cool? Find out the truth at a Boycott Bacardi,
     Smash the Cuban Blockade Dayschool on Sat 11th March 11am - 5 pm at
     Marchmont Centre, Marchmont Street, London WC1 £5/£2. Contact FRFI
     BCM, Box 5909, London, WC1N 3XX Tel 0171 837 1688
   * Housing benefit privitised. Refuse collectors next? On Tuesday 7th
     March there’s a demonstration against the privitisation of Sheffield’s
     public services, meet 12.30 pm outside the town hall.
   * The Socialist Alliance are holding a National Campaigns and Activists
     Conference on Sat. 25th March in Leicester. The aim? 'How to link
     direct action more closely with socialist and green campaigning'. 0116
     244 0956 leicesterradical@hotmail.com
   * The Nestle 16, who were arrested last November on charges of
     ‘conspiracy to commit burglary’ after dropping a banner outside the
     Nestle factory in Halifax (SchNEWS 242), have funnily enough had their
     charges dropped!
   * Campaigners will be protesting outside 30 UCI cinemas this Saturday
     (26th) to highlight the company’s destruction of Crystal Palace park.
     Meanwhile, Bromley Council, not content with giving planning
     permission to UCI to carve up the Grade II listed park with a planned
     20 screen multiplex cinema and huge roof-top carpark, now want to cut
     down another 200 trees. The Council want to clear ‘historically
     inaccurate trees’ that don’t look primeval enough to make way for a
     dinosaur area! www.crystal.dircon.co.uk


The campaign against housing development is hotting-up in Essex. At
Hockley, protesters are awaiting the results of a court case brought by the
developers to quash the protesters’ injunction which is stopping the
company from entering the land which remains sectioned off. Campaigners are
trying to stop 66 luxury homes being built. The site is still under siege
by the developers’ hired security using violent intimidation tactics,
protesters are imprisoned on site with only a trickle of supplies being
allowed in. Last Saturday locals stormed the barricades and a few managed
to get through the fence to join the protesters. A new camp has been
established at Ashingdon on Golden Cross road - 20 mins from the Hockley
camp - on 5 acres of the 7 acre site that is due to be developed by Wilcon
Homes. Residents have registered the site as a public open space. More
people are desperately needed. Tel 0831 717815-Hockley or 07833
191951-Ashingdon. www.thisisessex.com.uk

Inside SchNEWS

Saturday 4th March is an international day of solidarity with death row
prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Ex-Black Panther member and award winning
journalist Mumia has been on death row for the past 16 years after he was
found guilty of killing a policeman in a rigged trial that violated 4 human
rights conventions. For a full list of events taking place all over the U.K
contact mumia@callnetuk.com

U’wa Update

The peaceful occupation by 450 U’wa people protecting their tribal lands
from oil exploration (SchNEWS 244) has been attacked by the Colombian
Police and Army resulting in the deaths of three children and the
disappearance of 11 others. Rural workers throughout the region began a
three day general strike on February 15th in response to the police
brutality. The children apparently drowned after the soldiers and anti-riot

police used tear gas, bulldozers and riot sticks to charge the blockade,
forcing the U’wa to jump into the fast flowing Cubujón River. There will be
another Global Day of Action for the U’wa on March 9th, details
www.ran.org, e-mail organize@ran.org


13 Glen of the Downs campaigners were imprisoned last Friday after refusing
to promise the High Court not to interfere with Wicklow County Council. The
Council are constructing a £20 million dual-carriageway through the Glen, a
beautiful broad leaf forest which unfortunately just happens to be in the
way of the European Union’s grand scheme to expand the road network. Mr
Justice Barr said that if the protestors wanted to be "made martyrs of and
carted off to prison" he would oblige them! The unlucky 13 were taken off
to Mountjoy Prison where they will remain until they comply with the High
Court. Those jailed were due in the High Court today, but as SchNEWS went
to press we we’re still waiting for the outcome. www.emc23.tp/glen/news.htm
or Dublin FoE 0035 31497 3773.


Simon Jones was killed in 1998 on his first day at work at Shoreham
Harbour. He was doing one of the most dangerous jobs in the country with no
health and safety training, and was killed when his head was crushed by the
grab of a crane (SchNEWS 182). There will be a judicial review into the
failure of the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute those responsible for
Simon’s death at 10am, 16th March at the High Court in the Strand, London.
An overnight vigil will take place starting at 8pm, 15th March. There’s
also a benefit featuring comedians Mark Thomes, Jo Brand and Rob Newman and
a short video about the campaign on 10th March at Hove Town Hall. Get yer
tickets fast! c/o the SchNEWS. www.simonjones.org.uk

...and finally...

SchNEWs congratulates the Labour Party on one hundred glorious years. Jorg
Haider, the leader of Austria’s far right Freedom Party, got the
congratulations in first claiming that him and Blair share "amazing
similarities" except that Blair’s immigration laws are "more extreme". Like
Tory Blair he is committed to finding a "new sense of community", and "both
parties stand up for the weak and underprivileged". Mr Haider also draws
parallels between both parties’ employment policies. Perhaps they should
change their name to Neo-Labour.

SchNEWS warns all actors with small parts not to make a drama out of a
crisis. (That’s about the size of it!).


Cor-blimley-they’re-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 £5 inc SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £5 inc. SchNEWS
Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £6 + £1.20 postage All
three yours for £15 inc. postage. In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each
book contains articles, photos, cartoons, a 'yellow pages' list of
contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton
Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send us first class stamps (e.g. 20 for the next 20
issues) or donations (cheques payable to "Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"original" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to
prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and
Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Phone/Fax (call before faxing): 01273 685913
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: http://www.schnews.org.uk/


Last updated 25th February 2000
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