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(en) SchNEWS 454, Friday 21st May, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 21 May 2004 07:04:20 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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IDENTENTACLE You may think that David Blunkett's hundreds of new laws, harsh
use of the Terrorism Act, hard line on immigration, and proposed
Civil Contingencies Act are going to limit your freedom. David,
however thinks that "Freedoms are not only embedded in our
democracy, but in the very way we live our lives". Maybe that's
why he is so keen on biometric ID cards that will "be a real
benefit to individuals who want to establish their identity". What
'real benefit' they will bring is not exactly certain. Blunkett
claims the cards, which he calls 'entitlement cards' will "protect
and increase our liberty", and is pressing on with the scheme
against massive opposition.

The cards will allegedly protect us from 'illegal immigrants' and
'terrorists'. But how they would protect us from Al Qaeda members
travelling on legitimate foreign passports is unclear. Biometric
cards wouldn't have prevented 9/11 or the Madrid bombing either.
Dave's a bit doubtful too, telling parliament "I accept that it is
important that we do not pretend that an entitlement card would be
an overwhelming factor in combating international terrorism". So
why do we need them then?

What is sure is that the cards will cost YOU a lot of money, £3.1
billion, or about 51 pounds for every man woman and child,
according to the Home Office. Last March a leaked government
report said that more than £1.5 billion in taxpayers' money has
been wasted on other botched IT schemes over the last six years!
Hopefully the cost of all the equipment needed to read the hi-tech
cards, recognise iris scans and fingerprints has been taken into
account by the corporations brought in to manage the scheme. Going
by the Home Office's record on large public projects though, the
figure will rise significantly as interested companies always brag
that they can sort the contract out for a lot less than it ends up

Schluming It!

The implementation and running of the system is likely to be taken
up by Schlumberger Sema, a company which is already conducting
trials with the Passport Agency to produce biometric ID cards.
Schlumberger, who have been bought by Atos Origin, say that their
"best of breed solutions can help your company achieve a smart and
robust level of security." Sounds great.

Schlumberger have a history of ever-so-slightly-less-than-popular
schemes, extracting tax payers money to make a quick buck and at
someone elses expense. Under the government's 'Benefit Integrity
Project' people receiving benefits because of illness or
disability were asked to prove they couldn't work. Usually it
takes around an hour for a doctor to check someone's illness or
disability. But Sema, who were often paid by the visit, managed to
rattle off check ups within a matter of minutes. As a result
thousands of people lost their benefits. The government eventually
scrapped the programme due to "a serious error of judgement".

The company does have some experience in the spying game though.
Sema's got the benefit of John Deutch, disgraced former Director
of the CIA, on its board. Deutch has a bit of a murky track record
in the Pentagon too, helping to oversee the US invasions of El
Salvador, Nicaragua and Grenada, which led to thousands of deaths
during the 1980s. His experience with data secruity's not too hot
either. He was dismissed from the CIA for keeping 17,000 pages of,
according to the CIA, "enormously sensitive material at the
highest levels of classification," on his home computer which was
also used by his children for school work and surfing the net.

A track record like that on the protection of sensitive data might
be problematic as Blunkett has justified the scheme on the basis
that "our liberties will be strengthened if our identity is
protected from theft". Privacy International's Director, Simon
Davies, however, warned "The technology gap between governments
and organised crime has now narrowed to such an extent that even
the most highly secure cards are available as blanks weeks after
their introduction. Criminals and terrorists can in reality move
more freely and more safely with several fake "official"
identities than they ever could in a country using multiple forms
of "low-value" ID such as a birth certificate."

But it might not just be criminals who are after our data. The
scheme will rely on computers being used with all our private
information by thousands of people, especially the Boys in Blue.
The Police Complaints Commission has admitted that "there will
always be a few officers willing to risk their careers by
obtaining data improperly." And that's the police! We don't think
there's any danger of private companies misusing our information
to make a bit more money though.

Another important question: how do the Home Office hope to
establish an applicant's true identity before issuing a new secure
ID card? With an existing form of ID? If these aren't secure,
what's to stop a rapidly growing number of enemies using these to
get new fake ID?

The government's also got an appalling track-record on using
hi-tech private firms to deliver its services. In the Summer of
1999, half a million passport applications built up after Siemens
were contracted to introduce a new computer system for the
Passport Agency . Then there were the Criminal Records Bureau
checks handled in true piss-up-in-a-brewery style by SchNEWS
favourites C(r)apita, in which "computer errors" led to delays for
new teachers starting work (and an extra week's holiday for some
lucky kids).

Ten years ago no political party would have dared say they were
going to introduce ID cards. Now that Tony and his chums have
found us a whole range of new and dangerous foes, ID cards are on
the agenda. The Home Office promises that only a limited amount of
information will be stored on the cards but 10 years on, if
Britain is the target of a terrorist attack, ministers will
undoubtedly call for an increase in the amount of information held
and the potential 'pre-emptive' uses of it. Just as terror
suspects can now be detained for posing a 'potential threat to
security' so you might be detained in the future for being a
potential 'crap arrest of the week' based on information gathered
on your ID card.

* For more on the fight against ID cards
* The Register Idiot's Guide to the UK ID Card.
* There's an anti ID meeting happening on June 1st at the Cowley
Club, 12 London Rd., Brighton 5.30pm


Crap Arrest of the Week

For having a laugh...
A woman in Germany was fined for enjoying herself, after a
neighbour complained she made too much noise when she had friends
round for the night. The neighbour reckoned she was a
serial-laugher, frequently laughing late into the night. 'It is
against the law in Germany to make noise after 10pm.' he said.

The woman says she only had some colleagues round for a drink on
one evening, and the first she knew of the problem was when the
police called. A few days later a fine arrived in the post. 'It
was laughable', she said.



Caterpillar are commonly associated with boots and construction
equipment, but one thing the company are less keen to shout about
is their D9 Bulldozers, which have become the weapon of choice of
the Israeli army for demolishing homes in the Occupied

Last Wednesday the Caterpillar Out Of Palestine collective arrived
at Caterpillar Financial Services (UK) Ltd near Solihull to give
the 'Homewrecker of the Year' Award as "recognition for its
outstanding contribution to the fields of home demolition,
collective punishment, land theft and ethnic cleansing." But
overcome with shyness, nobody came out of the building to accept
the award.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency recently reported that
131 civilian homes had been destroyed in Gaza in the first ten
days of May alone thanks to this kind of bulldozer. Families and
communities have been dismantled because of this. "Of 14,852
people made homeless since October 2000 by Israeli Defence Force
house demolition, two-thirds are from Rafah." They clear a 100
meter wide strip along the border with Egypt and they want to
increase it to 500 meters which will make thousands more people

Khaider Hasuna who had his house demolished on Wednesday said
"They started demolishing the room that we were sitting in. My
wife and I were screaming and our children were terrified. We took
the children and went out to the yard. I saw a tank about twenty
meters from my house. The tank began to open fire on the house."
On the same day 3,000 demonstrators who marched down Rafah's main
street towards Israeli lines to protest against the demolitions
were fired at by a helicopter. At least 10 Palestinians were
killed and 60 wounded.

The bulldozers are also used in the building of Israel's
'Apartheid wall', splitting Palestine into a series of ghettos
separating hundreds of thousands from their lands.

* Read the Amnesty International report www.amnesty.org
* To find out about demos against the demolitions 020 7700 6192


SchNEWS in brief

** John Jordan will be talking about the book 'We are Everywhere'
this Saturday (22) at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd 5.30pm. Each
chapter is written by people across the world on the front lines
of resistance to capitalism and economic globalization

** On Thursday (27) Ewa Jasiewicz will be talking at the Cowley
Club about her time in Iraq a 'Resistance and Solidarity in
occupied Iraq - what's going on and what can we do from here?'
6pm. www.cowleyclub.org.uk

** Indymedia Cinema is showing 'Development Flows from the Barrel
of a Gun', produced by Indian activists, on the state violence
faced by indigenous people when they protests against
'development' projects, Thursday (27), 9pm The Other Cinema, 11
Rupert Street, London. £6.50/£4.50 020 7734 1506

** The Use Your Loaf Centre for Social Solidarity has a Workday
THIS Sunday (23) from 12pm. Help do up and repair the building,
but bring old clothes. You'll get a free meal out of it! The
Centre also needs cooks to help out at the Friday night café and
the South London Radical History Group are meeting at the centre
next Thursday (27) 8pm. 227 Deptford High St, London 07984 588807

** Faslane Peace Camp celebrates 22 years resisting UK's nukes!
They've planned a week of activities from the 7-13 June, workshops
on direct Action, stencil graffiti and more. Party Saturday with
sound system and bands. 01436 820 901 www.faslanepeacecamp.org.uk

** Sussex University's World Bank Recruitment Day was cancelled at
short notice due to planned demonstrations. The last time they
came to town their rep got a pie in their face, literally, and the
session was shut down as the seminar was occupied by
demonstrators. The University tried to keep this year's visit
under wraps, but word got out and demonstrations were planned. A
success story you can Bank on!

** Brian Haw who has been protesting for 3 years in Parliament
Square against sanctions and the war in Iraq appeared in court on
Tuesday charged with assaulting a police officer and failing to
leave a security cordoned area. He is bailed to appear again in
court on 1st June, and would appreciate support.

** There's a BASS (Brighton Alliance of Sound Systems) benefit
techno party next Wednesday (26) @ The Volks Tavern Madeira Drive.
10pm till late www.bass23.org



Greenpeace USA have been acquitted of all charges of "conspiracy
and illegally boarding the ship" under the obscure, rarely used
1872 'sailor-mongering' law. In the last couple of weeks over
80,000 people have e-mailed Bush and Attorney General John
Ashcroft to condemn this prosecution.

However, 36 Greenpeace activists may end up in court over protests
againt Exxon Mobil (ESSO), the world's largest corporate producer
of global warming gases. Exxon are refusing to pay a $5 billion
damages cost over the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The activists who
peacefully entered Exxon Mobil's headquarters in tiger suits now
face felony charges. Felony charges are 'serious charges' which
include crimes such as rape and murder and in some cases lead to
the denial of voting rights www.greenpeaceusa.org/trial Greenpeace
UK Press Office 0207 865 8115.


Positive SchNEWS

Last year Adidas sponsored a series of 'Sports Training Days' in
Edinburgh, but local kids were having none of it. After 'Adidas
Man' came to visit, posing for photos with children kitted out in
Adidas gear, the kids got together with anti-sweatshop group No
Sweat, the Parent Teacher Council, TUC, Green Party and others,
pushing to ban brands from schools. They are producing leaflets
about sweatshops and human rights abuses in Far East factories by
the big brands, and now the campaign is spreading to other parts
of Scotland. A petition has been launched and No Sweat say
Edinburgh Council are reviewing the guidelines on sponsorship in
schools. www.nosweat.org.uk



There's a new occupied social centre and 'creative space' opening
in East London, with an opening day party this Friday (21). Called
'The Rampart', the centre will have a cinema, internet access,
free shop, art gallery and theatre. People are urgently needed to
volunteer and run the centre. People are also invited to organise
events or run workshops.

Also needed are all kinds of tools, paints, fabrics, carpets,
furniture, cooking tat, cutlery, plates, bowls, any stereo,
computer or video equipment, locks, bolts and toilet roll, oh ...
and a kitchen sink. Also welcome is any stuff for the free shop -
books, clothes etc.

The address of the hall is 7a Rampart Street which is off
Commercial Road and Canon Street (nearest tube Shadwell - bus
routes 15, 100, 115) 07050 618445 rampart@lists.riseup.net



The ban on genetically modified food, in the EU, which has been in
place for nearly six years, was lifted yesterday when the European
commission approved a type of genetically modified sweetcorn. This
will allow fresh and tinned genetically modified sweetcorn to be
imported into EU states for human consumption. Farmers are already
allowed to use the sweetcorn in animal feed.

The Commission voted in favour of the sweetcorn, which is marketed
as Bt-11 by the Swiss company Syngenta, after the governments of
member states failed to reach an agreement. Under new EU laws, the
sweetcorn must be labelled as genetically modified before it can
be sold in shops. Friends of the Earth has serious doubts about
the safety studies carried out on Syngenta's Bt11. A report by the
Austrian Government gives a damning verdict of the safety tests
carried out by Syngenta, concluding that the safety of Bt11 is
based on theoretical argument rather than evidence.

The commission is totally ignoring public opinion, in a survey
last winter 86% of the British public said they were against GM
food. Sue Mayer of Greenwatch UK said "It shows how the commission
and Europe are being bullied by the US and the WTO," The European
Commission has ignored the people it represents and given in to
pressure from big business, the World Trade Organisation, the US,
Canada and Argentina. The EU wants to avoid more 'trade wars' with
the US.

However the hostile public reception of GM foods means the ruling
will not mean GM sweetcorn will be sold in many British shops. "I
don't know anyone who will even give it a trial because of the
consumer attitude to GM," said David Southwell of the British
Retail Consortium.



Last Saturday anti-fascists stopped a meeting by David Irving, the
prominent holocaust denier and neo-nazi. Both the main and back-up
venues for the talk were occupied which forced Irving to slink off
back to London, but not before all his books and videos were
destroyed. His own unintentionally hilarious account of the failed
meeting, complete with references to Jews and homos and washing
his hair "as thoroughly as I can. Because who can say that one of
these queer folks and thugs was not HIV-positive?" He assigns
blame to everyone involved in organising the day's events except
of course the great man himself. Although no longer the
intellectual arm of the neo-nazi resurgence that he once was,
Irving seems to be trying to cash in on popular revulsion with the
war in Iraq. However don't be deceived, Irving is still peddling
the same racist and anti-semitic doctrines as ever. A swift glance
at a few neo-nazi websites confirms the fact that he is still held
in high regard in those unsavoury circles. Irving's tour of the
U.K is now taking him up north to Halifax, see you there Davey!

Read Irvings account www.antifa.org.uk


..And Finally...

For three years 'Buddha Snot' sweets have been sold outside a
temple in Nara, Japan. This has been getting right up the monks'
noses, so they tried to get them banned, but could only stop the
name being trademarked. The packet shows the Buddha picking his
nose . Also look out for 'Deer Dropping' sweets. You can rely on
SchNEWS to keep it sweet and pick'n'mix the best stories for



On Thursday there was a protest in Brighton against EDO MBM
Technology who make equipment for bombs and missiles. Protesters
blocked the road and climbed up onto the roof of the company's
building - five people were arrested.



SchNEWS warns all dopplegangers not to leave home without their
identity. Honest.


We're looking for photos and cartoons relating to what's been
happening over the past year for the next SchNEWS Annual - email
stuff to webmaster@schnews.org.uk or post it to the address below



What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and



To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
there, or send a message to webmaster@schnews.org.uk with subject

To subscribe, go to the website or email webmaster@schnews.org.uk


PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £6.50!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - SOLD OUT; Survival Handbook issues 151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out - £8.50;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
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

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
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Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk


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