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(en) Britain, GAGGED! #14 November - South Wales Anarchist Newsletter

Date Wed, 08 Nov 2006 11:39:46 +0200


War Crimes
The Lancet has published that approximately 655,000 Iraqis have been killed since the illegal invasion. Men, women & children have been blown apart by smart
bombs, sliced up by cluster bombs, burnt alive by napalm & white phosphorus, executed without trial by US/UK death squads (with the aid of mercenaries), shot
to pieces by trigger happy GIs, beaten up, tortured & raped. This mass murder is
the direct result of the actions of George Bush & Tony Blair supported by all the Labour MPs in Wales. They talk of the ‘promotion of democracy’ or ironically ‘the "war on terror’" whilst it is British & American state terrorism that is being waged in the name of peace!
The fact is the war in Iraq was planned long before the attacks of 11/9/01. The right wing junta that controls the white house is following through the vision of the “Project for a New American Century”. Their desire for greater control of
the region's highly profitable resources being the motivation for invasion &
occupation.
Even General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British army & as deep in the ruling class quagmire as anyone, admits that British troops in Iraq are making things worse, not better. Despite the cries of ‘being taken out of context’ by Blair, the call for war is getting pretty weak when even your own general wants to pack up & go home.
Over two million people protested against the war in Iraq, along with millions more around the world. We were right! Not only should the troops be brought home, Bush & Blair should be tried for war crimes.


Ransack Parliment
9th October marked the first Sack Parliament demonstration; called to coincide with the return to work for all our hard-working MPs after their summer hols. It seems that the honourable gentlemen & ladies do nothing else these days than lead the country into illegal wars & tear up age-old rights, so a hundred peaceful protesters turned out to blockade the MPs’ entry into the house of conmen.
In their way were 800 well-armed police thugs; some on horseback hidden round the back of Parliament Square, out of sight of the tourists. Protesters were quickly hemmed in by police whilst those who avoided the cordon were hunted down & arrested for taking part in an illegal demonstration.
Under new laws, namely the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) - it is now illegal to protest within one kilometre of Parliament Square. Unless, of course, you’re Brian Haw, who continues his vigil in the square, despite SOCPA which was introduced precisely to get rid of this ‘irritating’ individual.
Others have not been able to escape the draconian new measures. Maya Evans was the first to be convicted in December 2005, for reading out the names of dead British soldiers & Iraqis in front of the bars of Downing Street. Recently Milan Rai has been in court for the more heinous crime of organising an illegal demonstration.
38 people were arrested & bailed that day. Some before they’'d even got to the demo. A samba band was turned away by police. Protesters were punched & there are allegations that pepper spray was used. Most are due back on 11th December to be charged. Watch this space.


Guantanamo Burger & Torture Coffee
To cater to the tastes of the jailers & torturers of people illegally imprisoned, there is a Starbucks & a McDonalds at the US Base in Guantanamo Bay. This news seemed to come as a revelation to staff & customers of these franchises in Cardiff. On Saturday 21st October, a hooded figure representing Guantanamo prisoners was escorted through both Starbucks & McDonalds in Queen Street. Activists held placards with messages such as: ‘Good Bloody Coffee?’ & ‘Torture? Would you like Fries with that?’ They handed out flyers with further information & a link to www.cageprisoners.com before delivering anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) to managers.
Though there was a hostile reaction from management at both locations, a number of staff & customers responded sympathetically. Kitchen workers in McDonalds clapped & cheered while potential customers were so outraged to learn of McDonalds complicity in Guantanamo that they promptly walked out. Obviously deeply disgusted, one young man hurled heartfelt & well directed admonishment at the manager: ‘Shame on you!’ Ignoring such reactions & rejecting the information they were offered, managers at both venues expressed neither the slightest interest nor offered any hint of an apology.


Did you get a free vegan burger with this gagged!?
The basic idea of ‘Food not Bombs’ is for people to get together in public on a regular basis to cook & share free food. Three ‘Food not Bombs’ veggie burger giveaways have been held in South Wales so far this year, two in Cardiff & one on a rainy Saturday afternoon in the picturesque city of Newport. ‘Food not Bombs’ is not a charity or an organisation, but a way to redistribute food & to protest against the violence of poverty & hunger. It’s also an opportunity meet with people & share information & ideas in order to take action against corporate & government violence & injustice. Anyone can get involved in organising or helping out a 'Food not Bombs' event. No-one is in charge & everyone can have a say in how things are done. Why not come along or get involved in the next event? Email CAN or GA if you wanna get involved!


Anarchist Black Cross
Supporting prisoners, resisting repression & working towards liberation!
The Anarchist Black Cross is an international movement that aims to support the struggles of prisoners, & of anarchist & class war prisoners in particular. The movement offers solidarity to prisoners to prevent them becoming isolated & to assure activists that if they are persecuted for their activities, they will not be abandoned. Offering solidarity can take different forms depending on the prisoner’s situation, but useful stuff can include financial help, writing letters, making visits & sending reading material. It may also include organising demonstrations or public solidarity campaigns for prisoners that you support.
The Anarchist Black Cross movement believes that prisons have no useful function & only serve to preserve the status of the people who rule over us. The movement believes that both the prison system & the society that creates a need for prisons should be abolished. It is argued that there are alternative & more effective ways of dealing with so-called anti-social crime. More importantly, anti-social crime is a product of an unfair social, economical & political system which makes a few people extremely wealthy at the expense of the poor. In this society, people who strike for a decent wage, steal to stay alive, break the bosses laws or resist the control & abuse in our lives face police, courts, prison. ABC exists to resist this system & defend those who are persecuted by it.
In South Wales, we have started regularly making & sending cards to prisoners to show them that while they are in there for us, we are out here for them! If you know prisoners who would like to receive support or would like to know more e-mail CAN or GA. Lots more information, including addresses of prisoners who would like to hear from you, can be found at the website of the very excellent Brighton ABC collective www.brightonabc.org.uk


Cardiff anarchist in prison
A CAN activist went to prison on the 6th October, after refusing to pay fines built up over years of opposition to the US / UK bombing & occupation of Iraq. In the end she owed the state almost £1500 in fine & cost orders, mainly for acts of trespass onto the US air force base in Fairford, Gloucestershire, which was being used to load US war planes with bombs.
“I couldn’t bring myself to pay their fines & court costs”, she said. “The UK government is responsible, along with their big brother in the US, for the deaths of over two million people since the start of the 1990 gulf war. The last three years alone has seen the deaths of at least 600,000. This is genocide.
Any action is justified in opposing a crime of that magnitude. All of us who took action in opposing this war were right to do so - the only thing we are guilty of is perhaps not doing enough.”
The activist was sentenced to 28 days in prison, which she served at HMP Eastwood Park.


Another woman dies in prison
Lisa Woodhall, aged 28, died in Eastwood Park prison on the 8th October. She is the third woman to have died in prison this year, & among 32 to have died since 2003.
Anyone who has experienced life inside a local prison cannot be surprised at the number of deaths that take place. In Eastwood Park the most oppressive place of all is the ‘induction wing’, known as ‘A’ wing, where all new arrivals are placed for assessment. This is where Lisa was found hanged.
Initially there is an induction process, which involves the hated strip search, & a cursory attempt at a ‘risk assessment’, which is a couple of questions that are supposed to find out whether you are a risk to yourself or others. But the next step is the same for everyone – carrying whichever of your possessions they have arbitrarily allowed you to keep, you will be marched off to ‘A’ wing.
The cells here are tiny, grotty & usually filthy. In your 6’ x 8’ space there is a hard plastic coated mattress on a solid wooden bed. There is a steel toilet at the bottom of the bed, which is encrusted with limescale & looks less than hygienic. You are given a duvet that is covered in stains you try hard not to think about, & a telly that might or might not work.
Then the door is locked, & you are left to listen to the noise of ‘A’ wing. There is no sound insulation on the cells here, so you can hear everything. Women more used to prison life will be shouting to their mates. Those with psychiatric disorders (& there are many such women in prison) will be banging their heads & fists against the door or walls. The new arrivals will be sobbing. & everyone else will just turn up their telly to try to shut it all out.
Those that are taking medication (anti-depressants for example) before they come into prison often find they face a delay before they can obtain this medication inside, especially if it is a drug not normally stocked in the prison health centre. Rumour has it that Lisa was denied her regular hormone treatment & the effects of this may well have contributed to her suicide.
For vulnerable women prison can have a devastating effect, especially if they are being separated from young children. The trauma can be on-going & long lasting. Some will say, well they shouldn’t have committed a crime in the first place. But the vast majority of women in Eastwood Park are there because of poor education, drug addiction, or psychiatric illness. For these people a prison sentence is a pointless & expensive exercise. For women like Lisa it is a death sentence.


More Crimes. More Prisons?
The prison population in Wales is threatening to outstrip the operational capacity (the maximum 'safe' overcrowding levels) of 2,640. This is a widespread problem across the UK as more & more people are locked up for more & more crimes.
Tories & Plaid demand more prisons, Labour is considering using police cells or holding prisoners on boats. Yet whilst more activities are criminalised & politicians demand higher sentences for more offenses, courts will simply fill new prisons with more prisoners.
Since New Labour came to power in 1997, there have been 3,023 new criminal offenses created. Building well on the draconian laws invented under Tory rule.


BAN ON MASKS AT PROTESTS?
Scotland Yard has drawn up plans to be submitted to the Attorney General that will make wearing masks at protests illegal. The law, if passed, will also make the burning of flags a criminal offense.
The proposed law is a knee jerk reaction that will apparently help combat ‘extremist Protesters’. Clearly such draconian measures will not do anything to address why Protesters become radicalised & by unnecessarily eroding civil liberties in the UK even further, may well have the opposite effect of the one intended & contribute to the radicalisation of UK Protesters. The law is obviously part of the Government's desire to be seen as 'tough on terrorism', but it not likely to have any impact at all on serious terrorism.
Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty's director, said: "It looks like some people have been watching too many American movies. The police already have wide powers, especially for dealing with people wearing masks."


underhand, unreasonable & unapologetic
Michael O'Brien, of Cardiff, was convicted with 2 others of the murder of newsagent Phillip Saunders in 1988. 11 years later the life sentences of all 3 were quashed at the Court of Appeal. Since 2000 Mr O'Brien has pursued a civil case against South Wales Police for malicious prosecution & misfeasance.
Rather than face a trial South Wales Police have paid off Michael, along with another of the wrongfully convicted men, Ellis Sherwood, to the tune of £300,000 & £200,000 respectively.
While in prison his baby daughter Kylie died, his marriage broke down & his father died. No amount of cash could compensate him for that.
South Wales Police remained unrepentant & refused to apologise to Mr O'Brien. Officers said they paid the money just in case they lost the court case.
Deputy Chief Constable David Francis said, "Throughout, we have consistently maintained our position that the officers who worked on the investigation into the murder of Phillip Saunders did so in good faith & the force was not liable for malicious prosecution or misfeasance. Payment into court has been made in full & final settlement of the claims of Mr O'Brien & Mr Sherwood, without an apology. It is emphasised that this has been done without any admission of liability & in full & final settlement."


Swansea Cop denies rape charge
The chief personnel officer for the Swansea branch of South Wales Police has pled not guilty to multiple rape charges. He has been granted unconditional bail until the case goes ahead in November.


Local Sab Update
South Wales Hunt Saboteurs have, (at the start of the season), been concentrating on the Pentyrch Hunt. After a sab come across them "sneaking out" on the bank holiday.
Kennel watching was met with over zealous policing, with the cops making sure sabs were not going to break any laws whilst blocking the road allowing the hunt to make a clean escape on a number of occasions. Sabs have also been busy fund-raising for this season, thanks to Lost Cherrees, Refuse/All & This System Kills who played at the benefit, & no thanks to Gwent Police for turning up videoing people & their number plates who turned up at the gig because, "the Hunt Saboteur Association are a violent splinter group", according to the boys in blue, now lets take a "par-sec", (if needed), to think who gets a kicking week in week out, aaahhhh hmmm?


>From St Petersburg to Heiligendamm
Following the 2005 G8 in Gleneagles, Make Poverty History went back to sleep, Geldof went back to being a has-been no-one is interested in, Pink Floyd stopped talking to each other again & Persil’s profits slumped again as white went back out of fashion as quickly as it came in. Poverty, strangely enough, did not become history; the world kept getting warmer; & the war on everything kept rumbling along.
The G8 met again in Russia in 2006, but the UK media were busy with the World Cup. Small but beautiful anti-g8 protests took place in St Petersburg, which was something of an achievement because this sort of thing does not normally happen AT ALL in Russia without being crushed by the authorities.
In October a series of meetings took place around the UK with activists from Russia giving a report back on how the protests went & activists from Germany giving an update on the plans for the protests against the 2007 G8 in Heiligendamm, Germany. The Cardiff meeting was particularly well attended, with a huge number of activists showing an interest in mobilising for next year. Plans for the mobilisation are still in their infancy, but if you are interested in helping out in any way, whether it be going to Germany or joining in solidarity actions in Cardiff during the G8, contact CAN or SWAG8.


Police free to kill
Disabled man Gareth Bracey had his back broken & was killed when four Barry police pinned him to the floor. A jury has ruled he may have survived if he had been taken to hospital sooner, rather than being left alone in a police cell for 20 hours. The Paramedics the police called were not told of his paralysis meaning he was moved to hospital without a spinal board. Gareth suffered from ankylosing spondalytis, a condition that had stiffened his spine into the shape of a question mark.
Police burst into Mr Bracey's home in Barry in April 2004 & arrested him ‘for his own safety’ after he allegedly tried to kill himself. His twin brother Jeffrey told the inquest in Cardiff: "There were four officers on the bed trying to handcuff him - he was screaming at them. The officers had him pinned to the floor - there were two officers on the top of his body & two officers on his legs. I think one had a knee on his neck. Another was sitting on his leg & another was holding his leg. I was shocked at what I was seeing in the bedroom of his flat. Officers had asked me before they went in if he would pose any risk to them. I had told them about Gareth's back & said he was gentle - he wouldn't harm a fly."
Despite the jury’s unanimous verdict, that Gareth Bracey would have survived had his paralysis been recognised, no-one is being held responsible for his death.


Police get cut
Despite massive amounts of money spent on it, the bid to aggregate local UK police forces had gone down in flames. Several branches, including Gwent police, are now facing cuts because of the huge chunk of budget they wasted. Not so smart, but better the money goes to management consultants than the cops.


Council lies go into overdrive
By the time you read this the result of the Momouthshire ballot on stock transfer will be known, and hopefully tenants will have rejected the privatisation of their homes. Next up is Torfean where they go to the vote in February. The council is continuing to waste huge amounts of cash delivering pro-privatisation propaganda to council tenants, even giving out free DVDs to try to sell their feeble case! Resistance is very active, going door to door to every home affected by the proposed sell off, but is always in need of extra help. To get involved or if you want more information get in contact on 07747328255 or torfeandefendcouncilhousing@hotmail.co.uk


Cardiff Alternative News has returned
for the latest news, listings, views, reviews & links for the radical & progressive alternative in politics, culture, music, green issues & ethical living.
uk.geocities.com/cardiffalternativenews


Ding dong, the witch is (not quite) dead
You can’t mark the date in your diary yet (unless you know something we don’t), but the long organisational build-up to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is humming along nicely. The call has gone out for a massive party in Trafalgar Square starting at 6pm the Saturday after she finally drops dead. Organisers say that if she dies on a Friday or a Saturday morning, the fun will still kick off at the advertised time, but they reserve the right to come back the next Saturday as well. When she dies, the corporate media will be full of sycophantic bullshit about how she was Britain’s first female prime minister & how she had such a huge effect. She did, but in a completely rotten way. By throwing a massive party, we’ll be standing up against the crap & reminding everyone that Thatcher’s political views & actions created misery for huge numbers of people in Britain & across the globe. Thatcher’s contempt for us was unparrelled, & expressed through policies ranging from the re-introduction of birching, to the war in the Falklands, to selling off services that should be basic rights, not businesses. She was committed to destroying unions & cutting education funding. She supported the bombing of Libya & brought US nuclear missiles into the UK. She introduced homophobic legislation & invited apartheid South Africa’s president over for a nice chat. Bobby Sands & nine other Irish hunger-strikers died under Thatcher’s reign. Here in Wales, we haven’t forgotten the misery she put us through over the mines. For those who can’t get to the big party in London, South Wales will definitely be hosting a celebration, or two or three or a lot more. Thatcher hasn’t made public appearances for some years, & is 81. We can’t say when she’s going to finally rid the world of her presence, but when she does the world average levels of compassion, humanity, & love of freedom will go up a notch. We will have every reason to celebrate.

New groups
In the last few months a number of new groups have sprung up across South Wales. A autonomous grassroots group of individuals who wish to take action against climate change has started, as have Anarchists in the Rhondda. Contact Cardiff Climate Action (provisional name) at cardifclimateaction@hotmail.co.uk & Rhondda Anarchists at rhonddaanarchists@hushmail.com. If your interested in setting up a campaign group or anarchist collective in your area, drop a line to some of the groups found in our listings, we’re always willing to help grass roots organisation!


Gagged! can be found in all sorts of strange places around south wales as well as every social centre & radical bookshop in the UK. If there's not a pile of gagged in the corner of your favourite pub, club, cafe, hairdressers, tattooists, record, book, head or anything else shop, get in touch so you can take a pile in yourself! If you want to subscribe to the e-version send an email to gagged-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. More info online at lists.riseup.net/www/info/gagged. 5000 copies are printed per issue plus several thousand are read online. We’re always in need of more help in production & distribution. Send any articles, pictures, reports, diary dates or offers to help to gwentanarchists@yahoo.co.uk

Gagged! is produced by GA & CAN. Both are very simular, contact your local group or set one up!

Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) is a collective of people who want to pursue political demonstrations through direct action. There is no membership, no leaders, just like minded individuals. Email: cardiffanarchists@riseup.net

Gwent Anarchists are like-minded individuals believing in autonomy, respect & justice; against all forms of exploitation & bigotry. Aiming to increase the knowledge of & create a resistance to governments & big business abusing people & the earth. Email: gwentanarchists@yahoo.co.uk

No Borders South Wales organises on migration issues & acts to break down boundaries; racial, cultural, gender, sexual, class & political that divide us. Email: noborderswales@riseup.net

South Wales Against the G8 (SWAG8) is a coalition of groups wishing to mobilise against next year's G8 Summit both in Germany & in the UK. Email: swageight@yahoo.co.uk

Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) aims to create physical space in Cardiff for groups & individuals who cannot or will not work within the constraints of governmental or corporate control. Email: thepad@riseup.net Phone: 07910973876 Web: www.thepad.org.uk

South Wales Animal Rights Network (SWARN) working for animal liberation Email: swarn@yahoo.co.uk Phone: 07903677111

South Wales Hunt Sabs saving animals’ lives now, actively sabotaging bloodsports. Newport Post: PO Box 1894, Newport NP19 4WZ. Phone: 0770815642 Swansea Email: swansea_ar@webtribe.net Post: PO Box 7, Swansea, SA9 2YE Phone: 01792475092


Keep up to date with news from all over the world like the sort you find in Gagged! online at a variety of websites. Here are a few that we’d recommend: www.schnews.org.uk www.indymedia.org.uk www.libcom.org www.anarkismo.net . www.infoshop.org



Diary Dates
November

13th - Big Aldermaston Blockade to stop the building of a facility to build nuclear weapons. www.blockthebuilders.org.uk

13th - Gwent Anarchist meeting 8:30pm in the Murenger, High Street, Newport (in snug near the back) fortnightly

17th-19th - Introduction to Renewable Energy in Wales 3 day course at the Centre of Continuing Education, University of Wales , Aberystwyth. www.greendragonenergy.co.uk

20th - CAN meeting Upstairs in the Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street , Cardiff (opposite gate 3 of the Millennium Stadium). Fortnightly.

23rd - Cardiff climate action (provisional name!)- 8pm, upstairs at the Glamorgan Council Staff Club. Fortnightly.

25th - National DEFY-ID Gathering, 11am, Sumac Centre, Nottingham. www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk/gathering

25th - Buy Nothing Day Why not spend a day without spending? www.buynothingday.co.uk

27th - Gwent Anarchist meeting



DECEMBER

2nd - Undercurrents BeyondTv film festival All day Ticket £8 Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 www.undercurrents.org/beyondtv

2nd - Anti-war demonstration at RAF Brize Norton - 12 noon in Carterton, Oxfordshire. www.stopwar.org.uk

4th - CAN meeting

11th - Gwent Anarchist meeting

15th - Citizen Fish, Bus Station Loonies, This System Kills & The Rejected. TJs, Clarance Place, Newport. 7pm £8 Anarcho-punk yuletide knees-up!

18th - CAN meeting

It looks alot prettier on pdf!! - http://lists.riseup.net/www/d_read/gagged/gagged14.pdf

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The majority of copies of Gagged! are distributed on paper, but think of the trees & invite people who might be interested onto this list. If you'd like to help distribure Gagged! please print out copies and give 'em out, post 'em up or leave them around the place.
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