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(en) SchNEWS 492, Friday 8th April, 2005 WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! DAHLING, I'VE AN EDO ACHE...

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 8 Apr 2005 08:21:25 +0200 (CEST)


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INJUNCTIVITIS! ---- "We are the market leader in obtaining ground breaking injunctions
on behalf of individuals and corporations who have been the subject of
harassment by direct action protests groups." Law Firm Lawson-Cruttenden's website
"I don't have a problem with people coming here to protest - it's a
democracy" David Jones Managing Director EDO/MBM 8th March 2004 "We
felt that after the blatant illegality of the war in Iraq that it was
time that discontent over the way that the arms trade fuels conflict
around the world was brought back to the factory floor"-- SMASH EDO leaflet
You what? A company which proudly boasts of its expertise in the
delivery of laser guided bombs is complaining about noise, damage
and harassment. Can it be the cases that people thick skinned
enough to make money from the slaughter of Iraqi civilians are
genuinely upset about a demonstration on their own doorstep?
Surely this must be joke. But no, oblivious to irony, Brighton's
favourite warmongers EDO/MBM Technologies Ltd are seeking an
injunction under the Prevention of Harassment Act 1997 to restrain
anti-war activists from protesting outside their HQ and factory on
Home Farm Rd, Moulsecoomb Brighton. Thirteen individuals and two
organisations SMASH EDO and BOMBS OUT OF BRIGHTON are named on the
summons to the High Court on April 14th.

An unholy trinity consisting of an international arms dealer, an
ex-military solicitor and Sussex Police are conspiring to make
protest virtually illegal in a large area of Brighton.

Here's how it works. After a year long campaign involving rooftop
protests, road blockades, noise demos and weekly vigils all aimed
at drawing attention to what EDO were actually doing inside their
anonymous green building, EDO were persuaded by Sussex Police to
enlist the services of lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden.
Cruttenden's specialty is the use of the Protection from
Harassment Act 1997 (originally framed to protect the public from
stalkers) to protect those with deep pockets and guilty secrets.
Money changes hands, an "exclusion zone" is created and a form of
martial law is introduced.

Cruttenden (or TLC as he is affectionately known) is infamous
among animal rights activists (see SchNEWS 471), having managed to
gain draconian anti-protest injunctions against SPEAC and SHAC on
behalf of Oxford University and Huntingdon Life Sciences. One
activist involved in the legal battles told SchNEWS "The reason
the police and corporations are so keen on these injunctions is
that an "interim injunction" with the full force of the law behind
it can be granted at an early stage with the court requiring a
very low standard of proof. The police then use the injunctions as
a tool for arrest, search and general harassment". Injunctions
under the Protection from Harassment Act, unlike civil
injunctions, create powers of arrest, which explains why Sussex
Police are so keen on getting one. The proposed exclusion zone
would effectively make any protesters, including for example the
local Quakers, at the factory liable to arrest.

If the interim injunction against Smash Edo is granted (and
judging by past cases there's no reason it won't be) activists
will only be able to protest for two and a half hours on Thursday
afternoons, providing there are less than ten of them and they
make no "artificial or musical noise or use anything to amplify
sound". Although the injunction singles out SMASH EDO its scope
broadens to anyone acting as an "agent" or "in concert" with them
basically including everyone whose opinion runs counter to the
arms trade.

BANGERS 'n' SMASH EDO

People in the animal liberation movement have often warned that
powers used against them are certain to be used elsewhere. The
message is clear. When a campaign becomes successful and starts to
challenge the capitalist status quo it gets made illegal. These
injunctions favour the rich and powerful and have the potential to
be used against anyone fighting a corporation. Anyone who is
challenging a local phone-mast or bypass or is involved in union
activity should beware. SMASH EDO aren't being targeted because
they're an extremist minority (in fact their attitude to the Iraq
war puts them in the majority in Brighton); or because of
allegations of criminal damage! And home demos! They're being
targeted because they're bringing unwelcome attention to and
obstructing the profits of a major defence contractor.

The British economy is peculiarly skewed towards arms production.
The world's fifth largest economy is its second biggest arms
producer. The UK government heavily subsidises arms production
(each job in the defence industry is calculated to be underwritten
to the tune of £14,000pa). SMASH EDO are directly challenging the
logic of taking resources from the community here to subsidise the
bombing of communities elsewhere.

EDO/MBMs parent company the gigantic US EDO Corp is a classic
example of the revolving door between the British state and
defence corporations. Its board of directors includes Sir Robert
Walmsley ex Chief Procurement Officer for the MOD (he retired in
2003). Busy Sir Bob also finds time to be a director of US arms
firm General Dynamics who were awarded a £2bn contract to build
radios for the British Army in his last two years at the MOD. In
another astounding co-incidence, shortly before Sir Bob joined EDO
UK as Chairman of the Board they got a £1.2 m contract for
components for the ill-fated Eurofighter project. It's hardly
surprising that, with friends like these, EDO can rely on police
protection. In fact Sussex Police have spent over £30,000
protecting EDO so far.

SMASH EDO activists are determined to fight the injunction. Lorna
Marcham, one of those named on the summons said "We need attention
drawn to the perversion of the law that is taking place with these
injunctions and we will need funds to fight the court battle if we
don't receive legal aid. We are the first non-animal rights group
to be targeted in this way and it is clear that if this injunction
is granted it will be another nail in the coffin of peaceful
dissent in this country. It's us now but it could be you soon."

* Monday 11TH April Public meeting, Brighthelm Centre, North Rd
7.30pm

* Wed 13TH APRIL Mass Demonstration 2pm - for the right of freedom
of speech and freedom of assembly outside EDO/MBM's HQ in Brighton
at 2pm and Rally, 5.30pm Churchill Square, Brighton

* Thur 14TH 9am Supporters Rally outside High Court
www.smashedo.bpec.org

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Inside SchNEWS

Thursday was the start of the trial of Lindis Percy, who is
charged with obstructing the highway - 30 times! Since 18th May
last year she has been arrested in three out of every four weeks
at Menwith Hill Spy Base. Menwith Hill (see SchNEWS 410) is the
world's largest spy base and it's getting bigger. The secretive
and unaccountable base is also central to the US star wars plans.

There has been a long running campaign of weekly vigils against
the base, often veteran campaigners Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow,
were there alone in the freezing winter. This week they were
joined by people from Sheffield and Rotherham including a samba
contingent from Rhythms of Resistance Sheffield, after about an
hour Lindis was again arrested for allegedly blocking the road,
marking her 30th arrest.

The trial is expected to last till 14th April.

* Weekly vigils at Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, every Tuesday
6-8pm. Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases 01943
466405 www.caab.org.uk

On Monday 18th American lawyers will be putting the case against
Babar Ahmad who's facing extradition to the US for terrorism
charges.

Babar was nicked under the anti-terrorism laws by riot cops who
burst into his home one early morning in December 2003 (see
SchNEWS 474). After six days of intensive investigation he was
released without charge. This wasn't good enough for the Yanks who
thanks to an Extradition Agreement got him rearrested, and he has
been in prison ever since. So why not charge him in the UK? Well,
thanks to the Treaty, all the US needs to get someone deported
there is a statement of accusation - no need to produce any of
that silly, time wasting evidence in court. So although Babar may
appear in a British court to hear the allegations against him, he
will not be able to defend himself and could be sent to the US to
face charges and up to 50 years in jail.

There will be a demo outside in support of Babar 10am-2pm Bow
Street Magistrates Court, Covent Garden, London WC2 07915 063 564
www.freebabarahmad.com

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Dutch Oven

If you're one of the British Gas (BG) customers in the UK who have
seen your bill soar by almost a fifth over the past year, don't
worry - you're not alone. Since their gas supply was privatised,
Bolivians fork out 12 times more for their own gas than the
multinationals pay. No wonder BG profits are up by 65%! Back in
October 2003, President Sánchez de Lozada was forced to seek early
retirement in Miami after he faced protests against the plans of
BG and others to pump Bolivian gas through Chile to the US. Unable
to resist getting their grubby hands back on the £3billion worth
of Bolivian gas reserves, BG are looking to make sure they keep up
their profit return of £10 for every £1 invested in the country.

Early last month the government kept the tax paid by gas companies
at 18%, well short of the 50% that people are demanding.
Campesinos responded by forcing the shutdown of four oilfields and
shut down access to seven of Bolivia's nine regions. Responding to
the protests, parliament imposed an immediate tax of 32%, meaning
that gas companies will have to pay £1bn well above the £250m
currently collected. A real victory for the protest movement.

Whether a government which has already broken loads of promises in
its shift to the neoliberal right will cave into BG's thirst for
profit is another matter. "First, they took our silver, then they
took our tin, they took everything," says one of the
demonstrators, Carmelo Colque, "The oil and gas is all we've got
left. We Bolivians have woken up, we won't let them have it."

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Worst ASBOs Ever!

Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) have been the buzzword of
recent years- well as far as Neo-Labour social control freakery
goes. ASBOs seem to have become the cure-all political tool of
choice for those in power. Forget attempting to identify and
tackle the social causes of such behaviour - lets ASBO the
bastards - and no awkward 'standard of proof' required either. "It
is an act of judgement or evaluation" for the agencies concerned,
as Lord Steyn puts it in the Home Office's own 'ASBO Guide'. But
as Matt Foot from ASBO Concern pointed out "Many ASBOs are being
used against vulnerable people with complex problems. The order
does nothing for such problems as it can only ban behaviour -
often non-criminal behaviour such as hanging around in groups. And
they aren't working. An increasing number, more than 40%, are
breached and result in people being imprisoned."

Take for example the recent case of Melvyn Drage, threatened with
an ASBO for putting anti-war leaflets through his neighbours'
doors. Yes, the 48 year old graduate was shocked when Manchester
council officials decreed his delivery of 50 Communist Party
leaflets to local flats (once, mind you - not repeatedly at
strange hours of the morning or anything) was threatening the
"peace" of local tenants, by suggesting to them that the war in
Iraq may not be just about freedom and democracy, but possibly
power and oil money too - fancy! We assume that during the
forthcoming general election, all party activists and canvas' will
be ASBO'd rigorously, and we at SchNEWS are expecting our own
orders to arrive shortly, seeing as though we distribute all kinds
of information likely to seen, in the governments words, as
"behaviour.causing harassment, alarm or distress" to Joe &
Josephine Public. Then again, just some of our clothes and
haircuts could cause distress to some law-abiding citizens.

Anyway here's some of our favourite ridicul - ASBOs..

* For using the word "grass": Zach Tutin, the 13-year-old who was
served an order banning him from using the word "grass" anywhere
in England or Wales for six years.

* For showing tattoos: Nathan Wadley, a 16-year-old banned from
showing his tattoos, wearing a single golf glove, or wearing a
balaclava in public, anywhere in the country. He was also
forbidden from congregating in public places in groups of more
than three people.

* For Wearing a Bra: Lacking the decorum expected of her by
neighbours, one young Scot has been banned from answering the
front door in her underwear. The 27-year-old also faces the threat
of jail if she is seen in her garden or windows in just knickers
and a bra.

* For being sarcastic: 87 year old Alexander Muat was forbidden
from, amongst other things, being sarcastic to his neighbours!

* For protesting: Heather Nicholson, a 38-year-old animal rights
activist serving a five-year order banning her from going within
500 metres of a number of the country's largest animal research
laboratories. The ASBO also prevents her from contacting the
owners, shareholders or employees of any of these companies. Then
there are the two protesters and a baby prevented from holding a
banner and handing out leaflets outside Reed Exhibitions, the
organiser of DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International)
the world's largest arms fair. Police were eventually forced to
apply for and subsequently issue a temporary ASBO to order their
dispersal and ban them from Richmond for 24 hours. Not to mention
David Edwards - a political protester who has campaigned for many
years over issues such as health and safety to Rugby council, who
was served an interim order, deemed to have breached it, and sent
to prison. www.statewatch.org/asbo/ASBOwatch.html

* To contact ASBO Concern email MattF@fishersolicitors.com

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WE REALLY ARE SKINT

Standing orders and donations please, or the slug gets it.
www.schnews.org.uk/extras/help.htm

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SchNEWS in brief

* Public meeting this Saturday (9) for people opposed to plans to
massively expand Shoreham Airport 2pm at Lancing Parish Halls,
South Street, West Sussex.

* London Hacklabs Collective invites you to a day of discussions
and workshops on patent laws and the way corporations are trying
to take control of information. This Saturday (9) Ramparts Social
Centre, 15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. 3.30pm onwards.
www.hacklab.org.uk

* Cancel the ExCeL arms fair. Musical protest outside the ExCeL
Centre the next two Sundays (9 and 16th) next to Custom House DLR
1-4pm 07817 652029 www.dsei.org

* There will be a five day peace camp at RAF Brize Norton starting
on 21st April. The base, which is near Oxford, is the largest air
base in the UK, and a main gateway for the transport of British
soldiers to Basra. 0117 946685 Nabataat@yahoo.co.uk

* National day of action 16th April against Caterpillar, who
supply bulldozers to the Israeli army. Meet Hopwood Service
Station Junction 2 M42. Drive to Caterpillar at Hockley Heath,
rally for Palestine in Central Birmingham 2.30-4pm 020 7700 6192
www.palestinecampaign.org

* Last Friday around eighty crazily-dressed corporate pirates
turned up at the offices of Windrush International to celebrate a
'pro-pillage party.' Windrush are part of the corporate rush to
exploit the wealth of occupied Iraq. They organize Iraqi
Procuremnet Conferences where the assets of Iraq are stripped and
brought by corporations and the right of Iraqi's to decide their
own economic policy is sold to the highest bidder.
www.corporatepirates.gzzzt.net

* In March, the UK's first major women's film festival was
launched. As the festival pointed out, it's appalling that only 7%
of feature film directors are female, but the festival foolishly
chose for the closing night bash, a stair filled venue, meaning
disabled film producer Liz Crow, whose film was screened earlier
the same day was excluded! As a result a group of disabled
filmmakers and artists decided to hold a very public party on the
pavement outside. Check out a video of the protest
www.danda.org.uk/pages/BEVProtestVids.htm

* Global Week of Action for Trade Justice with hundreds of events
are already planned in 70 countries with thousands of
organisations involved. 10th - 16th April www.april2005.org

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..and finally...

Fed up of the slimy critters destroying your garden? Well, Rob
Hopkins, from Ireland has come up with a novel idea. "After many a
torch lit evening collecting bucket after bucket of our slimy
friends, I wondered what I could do with them. The solution is
gloriously simple. Simply pop them in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for
five minutes, not so long that they cook, but just long enough
that they adopt the texture of a wine gum. Then simply slip a
sharpened knife under the skin, and it peels off beautifully, like
peeling a lychee. The resultant 'pelt' is waterproof, flexible and
tough. After a few weeks drying and peeling, I had a large enough
collection to make my first pair of trousers, sewing them together
with a tough twine. Now my 'slugskin strides' are the talk of
permaculture gatherings around the land, and I have started work
on a matching jacket."

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all edocases if you're gonna be this edocentric you
need your edo examining...Honest!

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INFORMATION FOR ACTION - IF YOU LIKE IT PASS IT ON...

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
more...

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Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
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