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(en) SchNEWS 385, Friday 13th December, 2002

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 13 Dec 2002 02:28:39 -0500 (EST)

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




As protesters braved the cold last weekend to set up camp at St Catherine's
Hill, Twyford Down, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the beginning of
the road protest movement, the government were finalising their own plans to
celebrate with the biggest road building programme in a decade.  So as well
as reminiscing about the good ol' times, the camp had future plans to chew
over. As one protester told SchNEWS, "This government is just going back to
the old model of predict-and-provide, which will see more of our countryside
being trashed to make way for 'economically necessary' roads and airports"

When the Labour Government first came to power, fat controller John (two
jags) Prescott blubbered "I will have failed ...if in five years there are
not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car.
It is a tall order but I want you to hold me to it." Well Fat Boy, you've
drowned in your own exhaust fumes. The new chiefs at the Department of
Transport have decided that they like concrete and this week gave the green
light to £5.5 billion of new transport schemes. £2 billion of which is going
towards major road construction and widening schemes.

But the joke will soon be back on them, as the failure of previous road
widening schemes has shown. As Professor David Begg, Chair of the
government's Commission for Integrated Transport pointed out, "On the M25,
when it went from three to four lanes, within one year traffic increased by
one third, negating the benefits." Considering that the number of vehicles
on our roads has already increased by 7% since 1997, this new roads
programme is exactly the opposite of what's needed to stop total gridlock.
But that doesn't appear to bother Neo Labour, whose mates at the
Confederation of British Industry have given them more than a gentle push to
do something about congestion, which they believe is costing the country £20
billion a year, money which instead should be lining shareholders' pockets.


"This is a binge of road building with virtually nothing safe from the
bulldozer. The Government is trying to build its way out of congestion but
it won't work. All that it will do is lead to bigger, wider traffic jams. It
seems that the Government aims to keep the UK the most car-dependent country
in Europe." Stephen Joseph, Transport 2000

So how come roads are once again on top of the agenda? Well in 1997-8 the
Government conducted a review of transport policy. One of the results of
this review was to set in motion 23 Multi-Modal Studies. These studies were
designed to examine some of the key transport problems and look at a full
range of solutions for the next 30 years, rather than just the road schemes
previously suggested. The outcome of the studies have been varied, with most
suggesting mixed packages of new roads, new/reopened railway lines, and
improvements to local transport. Unfortunately, the end result of many of
the studies has been that the roads get built first, with  public transport
improvements following well behind, if ever. This is because main roads
(being an 'investment') get allocated funds from central government coffers.
On the other hand, local transport improvements, such as buses and trams,
are paid for by often cash-strapped local councils. And the railways
(SchNEWS doesn't need to remind its readers here how well they've been
performing since privatisation) only get a small amount of 'subsidy', so
can't even afford to do the work they've already promised, let alone think
about doing any extra improvements in the future.

So instead of more public transport, we can instead look forward to the
widening or upgrading of more than a dozen motorways and trunk roads. One of
the most destructive schemes given the green light is the widening of
A303/A30 which runs down to the south-west ploughing through the Wiltshire
Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Although the wide boys did steer clear
of building the road above ground past Stonehenge, they forgot to promise to
do anything about widening the rail line in this area from one to two lines,
which would have helped to reduce congestion loads.

And if you think it sounds good when the government says "The World Heritage
Site at Stonehenge will be enhanced and protected by putting the existing
road in a bored tunnel", think again. The short tunnel they're proposing is
dismissed by campaigners from the Save Stonehenge Campaign, who said, "The
British government is pretending that its main concern is to do Stonehenge a
favour. It isn't. The aim of this scheme is to build a new four-lane
highway. Stonehenge is in the way. So the government is doing the cheapest
thing it possibly can to make it politically acceptable to build a new
highway through the World Heritage Site. It's pretending to go out of its
way to protect Stonehenge, which has been there for 5000 years, by spending
an extra £30 million pounds. But it has £5.5 billion to spend on transport.
And it spent £800 million pounds on London's Millennium Dome."

* To check out if there's a new shiny road planned in your area and how you
can get involved in stopping it, go to www.roadalert.org.uk

* Countries clammering to become part of the European Union are already
adopting western Europe's unsustainable transport policies, according to a
report by the European Environment Agency. Read it at

* Last month the South East Regional Assembly gave their approval to a
series of new and widened roads to form the 'South Coast Superhighway',
cutting through some of the proposed South Downs National Park. Sound good?

* For top tips on wrecking road building check out www.eco-action.org/rr/

* Give yourself a Twyford Down history lesson


Neo Labour Brighton Council has approved the controversial development of
the old Brighton Station goods yard site. The scheme includes just what
Brighton needs more of - two posh Hotels and a Sainsbury's supermarket
providing crappy low paid jobs. The only reason that this scheme is going
ahead is because Sainsbury's are prepared to bribe the council with
"infrastructure improvements" (i.e. roads) which will increase traffic in an
already congested area. The new Sainsbury's will be nearly twice the size of
its current store in London Road, and despite the council planning
department saying, "There is no quantitative need for additional food retail
in the area", they decided to give it the go-ahead anyway.

So a supermarket, some hotels, crap housing, no playing fields - SchNEWS
just doesn't understand why Brighton Council, showing SUCH vision, failed in
its bid to become city of culture!

* BUDD, who have been opposing the development, are now trying to have the
development called in to a Public Enquiry. If they fail, work on the new
site will begin in May. 01273 681166 www.buddbrighton.org
* Check out Corporate Watch's 'What's Wrong with Supermakets' Send £1 + 41p
SAE to 16b Cherwell Rd., Oxford, OX4 1BG


For being the 51st Protester!
Robin Webb, press officer for the UK ALF, was arrested last week in America
at the national demonstration against Huntingdon Life Sciences. His crime?
Laughably absurd he was supposedly the 51st person to enter the "50 person"
protest zone at the lab! American authorities are intent on not letting this
hardened criminal escape, his bail was a whopping $10,000 and the judge in
the case is holding Robin's passport so he can't escape!


The topsy-turvey world of Venezuela continues. Bosses and investors are on
"general strike" while the masses take action in support of the leftist
government of Hugo Chavez! As Western television stations show footage of
many (rich) Venezuelans out on the streets in opposition to Chavez,
different stories are coming from poorer quarters. On Monday night, groups
of ordinary Venezuelans took over all the main TV stations in Caracas in
support of the president and the country remains in turmoil.

The US has made no secret of the fact that it would like to see a regime
change in Venezuela since the CIA-backed coup in April (SchNEWS 345). This
instantly failed when it became apparent that no-one but the US would
recognise the new leadership and Chavez was returned to power.

As in Iraq, the motivation for US interference is oil - Venezuela is the
fifth largest oil exporter in the world and its main customer is the USA.

* In London, two days of action are planned in solidarity with the first
anniversary of the Argentinean popular rebellion when the Argentinean people
kicked out the government (SchNEWS 350) Night of Rage, 20th December
followed by Day of Disobedience chaotic mass proletarian shopping action on
Oxford Street on the 21st" Dress as Santa, steal from the rich & give
presents to the kids. "Just nick it." www.wombles.org.uk

*  The film "Voces Argentinas" was shot on the streets of Buenos Aires and
shows how it felt to be Argentine as the country plunged quickly from the
first world to the third. Screenings: 13th, Use Your Loaf, 227 Deptford High
Street, London SE8. 7pm. 18th, Argentine Film Night & talk about the
uprising, plus food & bar. 7.30pm, Union Tavern, Camberwell New Rd, London
SE5. 18th, Junk TV Christmas party - Free showing, DJs, bar, cakes, more
films. Sanctuary Cafe Cella, Brunswick St East, Hove, 8pm. 22nd, Film
Afternoon for Argentina - The Other Cinema, Rupert St, London W1, from 1pm

*  21st is McGo-Slow As Fuck! Day - McDonalds workers are being encouraged
to work slowly in solidarity with the Argentinean popular rebellion


Members of Voices in the Wilderness in the US have been fined a total of
$50,000 for having the cheek to send medicine to Iraq without a permit.
Since 1996, members have broken sanctions with over fifty delegations to
Iraq, travelling on humanitarian, fact-finding, and rebuilding missions, and
refusing to see the people of Iraq as enemies. The group aim to collect
money for the fine - then use it to buy more medicine to send to Iraq! Don't
they understand that if they had sent a bomb they would have got a pat on
the back?? www.nonviolence.org/vitw/ ** Disobedience hold a Day School to
discuss ways of uniting different London-based groups opposed to the war.
Sat 18th Jan: 10am-6pm, London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street,
London E1 www.disobedience.org.uk ** Anti-war meeting followed by some
peaceful protest and civil disobedience in Brighton, Saturday 21st, meet
noon at Brighton Unemployed Centre, 6 Tilbury Place, just off Carlton Hill.
** Benefit in aid of Hastings CND & Medical Aid for Palestine this Sunday
(15th) 2.30pm onwards at The Carlisle Pub, Hastings. ** The United States
are about to sell weapons to the Algerian government, one American official
said Washington "has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism."
According to Amnesty International around 4,000 people have "disappeared" in
Algeria since 1993 after being arrested by the security forces.


American Earth Liberation prisoner Jeff "Free" Luers, sentenced to 22 years
(longer than most rapists and murderers get) for setting fire to three cars,
is to appeal against his conviction and sentence. Write to Hardy Myers, the
Oregon State Attorney, calling for a lesser sentence. Sample letter at:
www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk under the Urgent Updates section.
* Chain Reaction's "Unshackling Captive Minds" is an anarchist zine produced
by current and former Texas prisoners. Issue 9 is just out and is available
free to prisoners and $2 for others. CR Collective, P.O. Box 501, Whiteface,
USA TX 79379-0501. Texarchist1@wmconnect.com.


The SchNEWS of the World book is now available at the Punker Bunker (under
Immediate clothes shop), Sydney Street, Brighton and in City Bookshop,
Western Road, Hove. ** Doh! Last week SchNEWS fell for a spoof Dow Chemicals
announcement that it basically didn't give a shit about the Bhopal gas leak
in India which has killed 20,000 people and left thousands more ill. "Our
responsibility is to our shareholders." etc. etc. We should have realised
that a corporation would never be so honest! ** Tune in to Radio 4A in the
Brighton area this weekend on 107.8FM or worldwide at www.piratetv.net **
Injustice, the film about black deaths in custody, Monday 16th, Brunei
Gallery, 10 Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H. 7pm. The police will even be
there to take part in a Q&A session after the film! 020 8709 9777
www.injusticefilm.co.uk ** Don't forget the Housmans 2003 Peace Diary - now
in its 50th year of printing. Listing nearly 2000 peace, human rights, and
environmental organisations, covering 150 countries. To order one, send
£7.95 (incl. P&P to any address in the world) to Housmans Bookshop, 5
Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX 020 7837 4473
www.apoogee.com/Housmans ** Sustainable Christmas evening social, Saturday
14th 7.30-10pm. Phoenix Community Centre, Brighton. 07811 443038
alexp@cogs.susx.ac.uk ** Actions continue at the factory in Ozarow, Poland
to stop it being closed (SchNEWS 384). With temperatures at minus 20, sacked
workers have been pouring water on the roads, turning them to ice and making
it impossible for trucks to take out any equipment! www.fko.prv.pl ** The
Advisory Service for Squatters now has a new local rate phone number. 0845
644 5814, 2-6pm Monday to Friday. ** The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences (the hot shots who hand out Oscar awards) has refused to allow a
Palestinian-made film to enter its foreign film category because it does not
accept Palestine as a 'nation'. Tell the Academy what you think of their
decision email: ampas@oscars.org ** Tuesday 17th Cardiff Anarchist Network
hold a public meeting to discuss new forms of direct action. Cathays
Community Centre, Cathays Terrace, Cardiff, 8pm. bolshybo@yahoo.co.uk **
Thames Valley Anarchos hope to establish a local network of activists in the
region. First meeting this Sunday (15th) at the Herschel Arms Pub, Herschel
Street, Slough, 7pm. ** SCHWOOPS! Two weeks ago, we printed a story about a
raid at Cornerstone Housing Co-op in Leeds. The info was only a few hours
old and we got a bit muddled. The facts: at 8:45am on Nov. 28th, Cornerstone
houses were raided by Lincolnshire cops. The door was smashed in and after
an hour or so of fruitless searching, the police arrested everyone who had
slept in the houses that night and anyone who came home  during the search
(13 people in all) for burglary!


"It's clear that not only those who materially took part in the devastation
should be prosecuted, but also those who facilitated the acts or gave
strength to their purpose. These people should be prosecuted even if they
didn't conduct any material act." - Italian judge, Elena D'Alosio.

Yep, you guessed it, Berlusconi's government have gone from bad to worse
with reasons to arrest activists: two weeks ago it was for "subversive
association" (SchNEWS 382) and now a new wave of arrests have occurred for
"mental participation" in the Genoa demonstrations.

On the morning of 4th December, investigations against 23 people were
started by magistrates and 45 houses were raided. The accusations range from
devastation and depredation (crimes punishable with 8-15 years imprisonment)
to possession of illegal weapons to, SchNEWS' favourite, "mental
participation" and "psychological support" in the Genoa actions. The judge,
D'Alosio, ordered preventative arrests for 9 of the 23 under investigation,
four are under house arrest, six are obliged to remain at home and the
remaining four have to present themselves at the police station.
Interestingly, all of these arrests have been ordered one and a half years
after the relevant events.

'Thoughtcrime' is now a punishable offence in Berlusconi's and Big Business'
Italy as some of the No Global activists under investigation but not in
custody are suspected of having offered psychological support to violent
demonstrations. The judge has said that those who must respond to the
charges of 'devastation' are not just those who participated physically but
those who encouraged the crime and whose mere presence in demonstrations
provides moral support to the more violent demonstrators. In the wise words
of D'Alosio "The behaviour of those who were on the scene of the riots,
together with the most violent ones, gave strength to these people by their
very presence. Their acts were not crimes in themselves, but aided the
criminal intentions of the others with their moral support." So basically
Italian activists can now be legally nicked for being at a demo that turns
violent or being part of an anti-capitalist collective. And even though the
judge has admitted that such acts are not "fundamentally criminal" the
activists are still under investigation.

The whole legal circus has seen arrests and detentions in over twenty
Italian towns and this G8-related drive for justice coincides with an
interesting case: magistrates are attempting to close the case against the
carabinieri accused of shooting Carlo Giuliani during the G8 protests. It
seems likely the carabinieri, Placanica, will be acquitted as Giuliani's
killing was 'legitimate self-defence.' So the murderers run free while the
thinkers get nicked.


If you're going to go on a consumer spending spree this Christmas, then it
wouldn't be such a bad idea to make sure that some capitalist scum-bag is
picking up the tab.

Which is just what a group calling themselves the Guinea Pig Avengers
managed to do. When the group stumbled across the credit card details of two
vivisectors associated with the Newchurch Guinea Pig farm, they decided to
make this the best Christmas ever, running up bills of £15,000 - not bad for
an afternoon's work!

SchNEWS warns all readers driven up the wall to enjoy this detour to major
improvements ahead. Honest.

If you don't believe Santa Claus exists here's something for yer granny's
stocking or that anarchist who hasn't got everything...
As a Xmas offer we're flogging from our grotto the new SchNEWS Of The
World - issues 301-350 for £7!! Past books are goin' cheap... SchNEWSround
issues 51-100 - nearly sold out - £5; SchNEWS annual issues 101-150 - going
for £3!! Survival Handbook issues 151-200 - also at £3; SchQUALL issues
201-250 - almost sold out - £7; Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £5.
Add £1.50 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

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