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(en) SchNEWS 422, Friday 12th September, 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 12 Sep 2003 15:07:10 +0200 (CEST)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER DICEY... ARMLESS FUN
"It is like any other trade exhibition. It is like the motor show
in Birmingham or exhibitions at Earls Court. This happens to be
for the defence industry." - Paul Beaver, spokesperson for DSEi
organisers Spearhead.
Now - while SchNEWS knows that cars can kill and aren't too good
for the environment we reckon that Apache fighter jets, landmines
and cluster bombs are just a tad more harmful to civilians. This
is the sort of euphemistic blather coming from the suits this week
at Europe's biggest arms fair - Defence Systems and Equipment
International (DSEi pronounced 'dicey') - the place where state
terrorism is labelled 'defence', cluster bombs become 'cargo
ammunition' and bombs are creatively called 'air delivered
weapons'. This week at the ExCel centre in east London the
supposed 'terrorist' regimes were welcomed alongside the 'good
guys' alike as 'clients' side by side, queuing up for weaponry.
Luckily there were over 2,000 tooled up coppers to hold back the
persistent direct action and blockades against the 'fair with the
scariest rides in town'.

To get an idea of what gets sold at the arms fair take cluster
bombs: they've got a bad name because they contain many bomblets
which often don't explode in the initial attack - just like
unexploded landmines. Already over 1,000 Iraqi kids have been
injured by cluster bomblets since the 'end' of the war on Iraq.
Doing a roaring trade in these is Israel Military Industries Ltd
who are still licking their lips after flogging loads of cluster
bombs to Britain before the war on Iraq. Britain's largest arms
company, BAE Systems, bought over 20,000 rounds of Israeli cluster
weapons just before the Iraqi war. Then the British army went on
to fire over 2,000 of these Israeli cluster bombs during the
battle for Basra. DSEi welcomed another sketchy Israeli weapons
producer, Rafael, who develop missile systems by testing them on
Palestinian civilians. Their most infamous missile test was its
Gill Spike missile test, which they first tested on a civilian
home in Beit Jala in 2000.

Despite all the deceptive words and oppressive security a few
thousand protestors took part in a flood of guerrilla actions and
demonstrations over the four day arms fair. The police
spokesperson, Greg Pig Trotters, said their operation was "very
patient, very sensitive and very low key" - but this came as news
to the people of Newham - the borough where the ExCeL exhibition
centre is based - who witnessed the biggest ever police operation
in the area. As one of the poorest boroughs in London, Newham
locals called for the arms fair to be cancelled and would prefer
the 1+ million spent on policing DSEito be channelled into
regenerating their neighbourhoods.

Rowed Block

In the run-up to DSEi the death fair's organisers Spearhead had
their offices occupied while at the same time people in rubber
dinghys blocked DSEi warships. On Saturday morning DSEi attempted
to sail 4 warships along the Thames to the ExCel Centre but, alas,
30 water-tight activists were there blocking the lock gates and
the swing bridge with good ol' D-locks. There was a four hour
window in which the tide allowed entry into the docks so the last
2 ships had to abort their mission. During the week protesters
posing as arms dealers joined the hundreds of other dealers and
buyers on the trains to the ExCel Centre. Three suited protesters
couldn't wait for the fair and started selling their wares on the
train: Announcing they had arms for sale they opened their brief
cases revealing dismembered Barbie dolls' arms.

Tuesday was declared a 'day of non-violent direct action' against
DSEi with a Campaign Against the Arms Trade march attracting about
2,000 protesters. This culminated in the 'Fluffy DSEi' action,
with the aim of blockading DSEi, where a crowd of about 1,000
protesters blocked the Connaught Bridge entrance to the fair. For
the next few hours it was a game of cat 'n' mouse between agile
glittery protesters and stroppy cops as protesters blockaded
roundabout after roundabout, occupying a different main road every
time the cops threatened arrests.

Wednesday, the 'no rules direct action day', started with an
uncontrollable critical mass outside ExCel, and a protest at the
London office of Israeli weapons make Rafael by Palestinian
Solidarity group ISM. Meanwhile the suits streamed into the
centre, many using the Docklands Light Rail (DLR), which was just
asking for some direct action to blockade it. Over the course of
the day the transport police had their work cut out removing
locked-on protesters from the DLR carriages as loadspeakers at the
stations apologised for delays saying it was due to - wait for
it - 'passenger action'.

While entry to the conference by train was being derailed, another
sorted crew pushed a car out onto the road to block the eastern
entrance of the centre, which was the beginning of a several hour
blockade of the entrance. Meanwhile the road outside the centre
was blocked at several points during the day.

Meanwhile six cunning activists had formed their own 'arms
company' - the Affinity Group - with their own official website
and business cards, and then applied for invitations to the death
fair. They waltzed in, suited and accredited, and went on to
occupy two tanks, daubing them in 'Stop Death' banners before they
were chucked out by security.

Later in the day there was excitement at the Canning Town
roundabout when the flyover above was shut down with a banner as a
crowd stormed the roundabout until the robocops - tooled up and
outnumbering protesters - pushed the line back. Then minutes later
like the cavalry coming over the hill, the sound of samba drums
and a flash of pink and silver saw the samba block take the
roundabout again, though again the sheer number of coppers stopped
anything lasting very long. Meanwhile local rudeboys from the
nearby estate tucked in, egging on protesters and throwing eggs at
coppers. Other locals took part in the actions while many sat on
balconies shouting stuff like "Those coppers are denying you your
rights, mate!"

While some of the actions were inspirational and we caused serious
disruption at times, we didn't shut down DSEi. We needed more
people - what ever happened to the one million plus who marched
against the war on Iraq in February? With 10,000 people in the
Docklands on Wednesday instead of 1,000 we could have kicked the
arms dealers out of London for good. We need to take the
opportunity to kick the war-profiteering scumbags where it hurts,
and the weapon should be mass direct action. At the next DSEi arms
fair in two years, it's up to us to make sure that the death fair
bites the bullet.

* To see what really happened check out Indymedia, who'd run a
media centre near ExCel the whole way through the week.
www.indymedia.org.uk www.dsei.org

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Crap Arrest of the Week

Plenty to choose from during the week of protests at DSEI. The
crappest include: For swimming in the Royal Docks; For paddling a
dinghy in the docks; For stealing your own bike... * The Legal
Defence & Monitoring Group urgently need to contact any witnesses
to arrests during the protests (including those with photos &
video). If you saw anything email ldmgmail@yahoo.co.uk

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Hearing Voices

The Occupying Forces in Iraq got a good kick in the propaganda
department last Saturday, when eight activists from Voices in the
Wilderness gate crashed the weekly press conference held by US
Commander Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez. Things turned nasty
for the General when one person asked why it is that when US
soldiers die in Iraq they get a full investigation, but when Iraqi
civilians get killed by US soldiers they get ignored. After
listening to him spout 'we take every civilian death very
seriously' shite for as long as she could, another woman from
Voices grabbed the mic' and listed the names of the Iraqi
civilians killed or injured on August 7 when US soldiers sprayed
three cars with bullets in North Baghdad. A third woman unfurled a
banner including a photograph of one family who lost a father, two
sons and an 8-year-old daughter in the attack. As she finished her
list the woman on stage said "[these people were] all killed by US
troops from the 1st Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. And there has
been no response, no comment, no apology, and no accountability
from US troops." It took five soldiers to drag the two women from
the building.

After they had been ejected 'General Ricky' tried to regain
control of the briefing, getting back on stage and offering to
take more questions from the floor. The first questioner he picked
out was Kathy Kelly - co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness.
Another brilliant strategic manoeuvre from the US army.

There's nothing unique about the civilian deaths highlighted at
the press conference by Voices. Civilians are regularly shot by
jumpy soldiers at checkpoints, at demos, or during house-to-house
searches and night time raids (SchNEWS 416). The International
Committee for the Red Cross has repeatedly complained that the
Occupation Forces will give them neither information nor figures
on civilians killed during raids. Sometimes troops don't even
bother to report the people they kill.

It seems that the US military is less than grateful to Voices for
their attempts to get the records up to date. One of the women
ejected from the press conference reported this week that
"activists on the ground [in Iraq] are receiving mounting
intimidation from Occupation authorities". She said that one
friend had a gun pushed into his chest at a demo, and was told
that 'accidents happen'. Activists have had their phones tapped.
After the press conference action she and her mate had their
photos taken by US soldiers, and published in their newspaper The
Liberator (!). According to one Lieutenant Pete Reaker, this was
"so they would be easily recognisable at any military base or
checkpoint in Iraq." www.occupationwatch.org

* We Interrupt this Empire is a video about the American radical
resistance to the illegal war in Iraq. With filmmakers from the
San Francisco Video Activists' Network. 7.30pm Thursday 18th, The
Side Cinema, 5/9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne 3 www.SideCinema.com

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Inside SchNEWS

September 21st is an international day of action for the
Thessaloniki prisoners arrested at the EU summit in Greece earlier
this year. thessalonikiprisoners@yahoogroups.com

* If you live in London, the Prisoners Solidarity group meet each
Wednesday from 7.30pm at Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84B
Whitechapel High Street, E1.

* Matt McDonald was arrested at February's anti-war demo and has
been given six weeks (which means he may be out in three), for
using "threatening words or behaviour". Please send a letter or
postcard ASAP to Matt McDonald, HMP Feltham, Bedfont Road, Middx
TW13 4ND.

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SchNEWS in Brief

** The Peace Party that was to take place this Sunday in Victoria
Park, London has been cancelled, thanks to the local council
imposing massive costs on the organisers, CND

** Find out what really happened at the World Trade Organisation
in Mexico. Meeting next Thursday (18) organised by the World
Development Movement at Friends' House, 173 Euston Road, London
NW1 2BJ. Event is free but booking is necessary. 0800 328 2153
www.wdm.org.uk

** Worthing Council is stifling debate on their plans to build
housing on Titnore Woods but since there are to be no public
meetings about the proposal, local campaigners will be holding
their own this Saturday (13th) noon, outside Durrington Community
Centre, Tesco complex, New Road, Durrington, Worthing. For a full
report read this month's as usual excellent Porkbolter, by sending
an SAE to PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ
www.eco-action.org/porkbolter

** Working Links, the company that has been running Employment
Zones (where long term unemployed get harassed) for the last three
years has no grievance procedure despite them being legally
obliged to do so. Read more in the Missing Links Newsletter
available from AwoL, c/o BHUWC, 4 Crestway Parade, Brighton BN1
7BL. stopdoleprivatisation@yahoo.co.uk Protest against Working
Links in Brighton next Tuesday (16) noon outside Deep Pan Pizza,
North Street.

** Children's rights Under Occupation. A photo and video
exhibition looking at the suffering of Palestinian children
Thursday 18th 12:30-7:30pm. Mitchell Library, Kent Road, Glasgow.
Free www.prc.org.uk

** Radio 4A is hitting the airwaves again in Brighton this weekend
hear it from Friday at 101.4 FM or online at www.radio4a.org.uk

** A new Corporate Watch briefing looking into corporations behind
the commercialisation of GM crops is now available online at
www.corporatewatch.org.uk/genetics/commercialisation/comercialisat
ion.htm

** Radical film nite this Saturday at the Mad Hatter Bar, Western
Road, Brighton. With the latest Undercurrents Film and a
documentary about the recent shooting and deaths of international
people within the West bank and Gaza. All proceeds to the
Palestinian International Solidarity Movement. 5/3. 8-11pm.

** Demonstrations are planned for the Labour Party Conference
happening at the end of the month. Tuesday 30th September is the
main day of action to co-incide with Prime Sinister Blair's
speech. Fun starts from 8.45am outside the Bournemouth
International Centre and goes on all day. 01300 345109
www.dorsetstopwar.org.uk

** The campaign against Dublin County Council's bin tax stepped up
a gear this week with residents blockading refuse trucks after the
council said it would stop collecting non payers' rubbish. For a
number of years there has been a campaign of mass non-payment of
the tax which people say is the step towards privatisation of the
service. www.stopthebintax.com

** A thousand strong demo rocked the Dungavel asylum seeker
detention prison in South Lanarkshire, Scotland last Saturday.
Meanwhile people are urged to attend Dungavel detainees' court
cases and offer to let refugees stay in their home, so more can be
freed on bail. www.scotland.indymedia.org.uk

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Positive SchNEWS

This Sunday (14) is Stanmer Organics Open Day. There will be
displays from 15 different groups doing their own bit for
sustainability including the Earthship project, an edible flower
garden, tree nurseries etc. Open 11am till 4pm at Stanmer Park,
Brighton. 01273-620486 www.stanmerorganics.org.uk

------------------------------------------------------------------

ID 'n' Seek

This month Neo Labour is brewing up a whole cauldron of new
privacy-intruding measures to keep us safe and well. Compulsory ID
cards are looking more likely and proposals for all children to be
given a number and monitored are being seriously considered (why
don't they just get on with it and barcode us at birth?).
Successive governments have tried to introduce ID cards, but
failed from opposition across the political spectrum - in a recent
consultation 70% of people were against the idea, but the Home
Secretary seems deaf to this. The ID cards will contain biometric
information such as iris scans and finger prints to determine
identity, and are supposed to reduce terrorism and benefit fraud.
But ID cards won't stop suicide bombers and most Benefit fraud is
due to people lying about their situation rather than their
identity. ID cards will be a massive boon for forgers, thus
creating a huge new opportunity for organised crime. The cards
have also been found to increase racial tension in other European
countries, with minorities being disproportionately targeted for
ID checks.

Blunkett cannot trial ID cards without new legislation, but he's
managed to sneak through this by proposing a trial of credit-card
sized biometric passports (difference, anyone?) in a market town
in Britain soon. Legislation to introduce the cards is timetabled
for October. Once the public are sufficiently softened up to these
cards it would be a very simple matter for an RFID chip (see
SchNEWS 415) to be placed in their head, oops sorry, card, which
would allow the police to scan a card from metres away and pull up
any information on the individual from a central database.

On Tuesday the government announced plans to produce a database
containing information on every one of Britain's 11m children and
indirectly their parents and carers. Government documents describe
this as "improving information sharing between agencies to ensure
all local authorities have a list of children in their area, the
services each child has had contact with, and the contact details
of the relevant professionals who work with them." If these files
were retained, or even added to after a person's childhood, in a
generation the government would have a very detailed file on every
single British citizen, which a large number of government
departments could access. More info: www.privacyinternational.org/

* Now everyone's a suspect! This week police chiefs will call for
the creation of a massive database containing the DNA of every
person in Britain to aid crime detection.

------------------------------------------------------------------

...and finally...

Coppers apparently can't tell the difference between those big
furry recycling junkies the Wombles and the anarchist group of the
same name. Last Friday at a benefit gig for the DSEi protests
coppers used the Terrorism Act to stop and search two men seen
leaving in a van. During the hour long search one cop came over
all excited when he spotted a tape by the Wombles and hurriedly
began scribbling down the song titles. Apparently such classics as
"Wombling Free" and "Remember You're A Womble" are now a terrorist
musical threat set to trash the British state instead of 'Keeping
Britain Tidy.'

* If you've been stopped under section 44 of the Terrorism Act get
in touch with Liberty who are seeking a judicial review of the
Mets Police decision to use anti-terrorist legislation on
protestors. 020 7403 3888 www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk

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Disclaimer
SchNEWS warns all readers we try to ExCeL ourselves with armless
fun. Honest!

------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW BOOK!!!! PEACE DE RESISTANCE IS NOW OUT. It costs 10 INC. p&p
per book, further details as below...

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for 6!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - going for 2!! Survival Handbook issues
151-200 - also at 2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out -
6; Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain 3. Add 1.70 p&p for
each book, cheques to Justice? Honest!

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of contacts,
comedy
etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop or library.

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.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!

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Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk


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