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(en) SchNEWS 431, Friday 14th November, 2003 - PLAIN TEXT

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Sat, 15 Nov 2003 09:01:59 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

"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." - Simon Davies, Privacy International.

With the ID cards Home Secretary Blunkett is bringing in
legislation for next January, Neo Labour is playing on its two
strengths: stripping us of civil liberties and committing us to
privatised corporate 'outsourcing' fiascos.

At first it will mean that those who apply for a new passport or
driving license will be automatically issued with an identity card
and their personal details stored on a new national identity
computer database (see SchNEWS 422 & 363). They will also have to
undergo hi-tech electronic eye and fingerprint scans - called
biometric data - to allegedly prevent the new ID being forged.
Now - these cards won't be 'compulsory' at first, but the clever
plan is that by 2013, 80% of the population will have them - and
it'll be then that Big Brother might just decide to make 'em
compulsory for access to public services.

Mark Littlewood from Liberty says that "all the evidence from
other European countries suggests that ID cards are expensive,
ineffective and damage community relations. In Britain, opinion
polls show that several million adults would refuse point blank to
carry one." But at least you will have some extra room in yer hip
pocket to fit the card in after having paid double for the cost of
passports or driving licenses to fund the scheme.

The consolation is that the ID card system is not likely to work.
Privacy International has dubbed the scheme "mathematically and
technologically" impossible because of problems with biometric
data. US government reports have already exposed massive problems;
the largest iris database so far contains 30,000 records, and
there is no knowledge or experience of how a database of 60
million would work. PI also reckon that for the iris scan to work
the system would need to be one million times more accurate than
current available systems! Almost every other country that has
considered this system has rejected it, including China.

This ID database, which will provide an enormous resource for the
tracking and holding of data on individuals, is also planned to be
used in combination with other government databases. Blunkett has
also claimed that the cost of the card could be offset by
"benefits to the commercial world". Oh right, we get it now, why
didn't you say that at the beginning?

Matrix Rebooted

All this iris scanning and recorded information will be an
enormous mountain of data to manage - but luckily it'll be in the
hands of IT experts with good track records. Here's a few examples
of government adventures into computer and IT technology to calm
yer nerves:

Just this week a huge project to put all the nation's magistrates
courts on one computer system was condemned in a report by the
Commons public accounts committee as one of the worst public
finance projects ever. The scheme, known as Libra, aimed to
streamline more than 300 magistrates courts saving millions of
pounds. In fact it did the opposite: The cost of installing 11,000
PCs in courts worked out at 21,000 per computer! The cost of
operations tripled - and it doesn't work! An MPs report found:
"The department... ran a poor competition, attracting only one
bidder (ICL), and it failed to take decisive action when ICL did
not deliver what was required. For its part, ICL did not
understand the department's requirements, took on excessive risk
and under-priced its bid."

A report, 'Public Interest, Private Profit', by the London
Assembly's budget committee criticizes the way London's congestion
charge has been handled by Capita who were recently fined 1m for
poor performance in the first seven months of operation. London
mayor Ken Livingstone came close to sacking Crapita, describing
their customer services as "completely unacceptable". However he
still gave them an extra 31 million in July to iron out
problems - 3.5m going to improving computer systems, which ought
to have been paid for by Crapita, rather than London's taxpayers.
They are also responsible for the Criminal Records Bureau - where
last year delays in completing checks on teachers caused some
schools to open late last autumn.

According to some projections the government will be spending
13.1 billion a year on IT by 2005. This is 14 times more than the
average spent by other European governments. The spin is that IT
investment results in more efficient public services and therefore
is money well spent, which might be true if any of it worked!

Privacy International - www.privacyinternational.org


Crap Arrest Of The Week

For holding a banner!
US activist, Brent Bursey is going to court this week after being
charged for holding a sign reading "No More War For Oil" at an
airport in South Carolina last October. Bush was supposed to be
arriving later that day and people had gathered to show him what
they thought of the war on Iraq. Bursey was charged with
trespassing, even though he was on public property, 'cos he hadn't
been standing in the marked "free-speech zone." Protesters were
only supposed to be half a mile away where nobody, least of all
Bush, could see or hear them. Bursey told police he had been under
the impression that the whole of America was a 'free speech zone'
and local authorities dropped the charges. Six months later
federal authorities renewed the case using a rarely enforced
statute allowing the Secret Service to restrict access to areas
near the president. If convicted, this charge carries a penalty of
up to a $5000 fine and six months in jail. Bursey is being denied
a jury trial.


Thessaloniki Hunger Strikers In Critical Condition

Seven protesters were fitted up and banged up at the anti-EU
demonstrations in Thessaloniki, Greece last June. Simon Chapman
from London had molotov cocktails placed in his bag as he lay
bleeding on the ground after being beaten by police (See SchNEWS
413). Now five of the prisoners: Simon, Fernando Perez Gorraiz,
Carlos Martin Martinez, from Spain, Souleiman "Kastro" Dakduk, a
Syrian and Spyros Tsitsas, a Greek have been on hunger strike for
between 39 and 56 days.

Last Friday they collectively decided to refuse liquid as well in
protest at not being allowed to receive mail, having no toilet
privacy rights and not being allowed to contact their lawyer.
After two days the authorities granted them these concessions but
then at 2am on Tuesday, without their lawyer's knowledge, all five
were transported 400 miles to another prison hospital in Athens.
Obviously seriously weakened, they were made to sit up for the
whole journey in a cold cage in the back of a police van and weren
't even given any blankets for the cold. When theyreached Athens,
Fernando and Kastro were in such a bad way they were taken to a
civilian hospital instead of the prison one where they remain,
unable to move.

There are ongoing demonstrations and actions all over the country
and abroad in solidarity with the Thessaloniki 7 so get involved -
this is really important as these guys may die very soon. And why
not ring the governor of the Athens Prison (Mr Stakias) and tell
him what you think on 0030 210 777 2811. For more info email
thessalonikiprisoners@yahoo.com or phone 07970 113770 for the full
story www.freesimonchapman.org

* Benefit party for the prisoners this Friday (14) at The Eton
Mission Social Club, 91 Eastway, Hackney Wick, London E9 8pm -6am
3 * Another benefit at the 1in12 Club, Bradford next Friday (21)
with a short film about police beating and then fitting the
prisoners up followed by a speaker about prisoner solidarity.
01274 734160 www.1in12.com


Bush Bashing Briefs

Dubya will be in England this week and would love to meet y'all.
Actions are happening all round the country all this week.

15th Direct action training day to prepare for Bush's visit 2-5pm
The South Wing, Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton
Sheffield Demo assemble for 12pm Barkers Pool (in front of City

18th "Burning Planet" march against Bush - the day he arrives in
the UK. 6 pm at Lincoln's Inn Fields (Holborn Tube) to march via
the ExxonMobil (Esso) offices and US embassy.

19th RESIST BUSH - Day of mass non-violent civil disobedience,
with announced meet up points or affinity group actions.

London Actions: Alternative State Procession Cavalcade with
cyclists, taxi drivers, scooter clubs etc. 11am, Jubilee Gardens,
South Bank.
* School Students' Rally. 11am, Parliament Sq.
* Street Party 12 noon, Malet St outside Uni of London Union - for
a good old fashioned street party.
* O-I-L Womens peace picnic 1pm, Trafalgar Sq.
* Resist Bush Tea-Party, 3pm, Buckingham Palace.

Around The Country: Bristol Topple a statue of Bush 5pm, Bristol
Peace vigil - City Centre, opp Hippodrome
* Cambridge 6:00pm Market square
* Chester 5pm Town Hall Square
* Edinburgh 2pm Bristo Square, 6pm from Charlotte Square
* Menwith Hill Spy Base, Yorkshire 6-8pm
* Oxford Assemble 5pm, Oxford Brookes Uni outside main
entrance,Gipsy Lane campus. 5.15pm
* Sheffield 12pm, 5pm Town Hall/Peace Gardens.
* Swansea Stop the City Assemble 5.30pm, Castle Square.
* 'Dharma-Yatra-style' walk to Buckingham Palace for meditation.
1pm, outside the Odeon, Marble Arch

20th NATIONAL DEMO AGAINST BUSH. 2pm University of London, Malet
Street, to Trafalgar Square. Organised by Stop the War Coalition,
CND and Muslim Association of Britain. Transport details
nationwide www.stopwar.org.uk/coach.asp
Kids from four Schools in Bromley have already pledged to walk out
of school and, er storm Buckingham Palace! They want other kids to
join them.

21st Guantanamo Bay Protest, 11am US Embassy, Grosvenor Square.
Nearest tube: Bond Street

Go to http://www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm#resistbush for full
national listings


Get Yer Bar End Away!

URGENT - Help is needed right now to help defend the tunnels and
walkways preventing the completion of a park and ride on a meadow
at Bar End near Winchester.

The story of Bar End goes back to the original Twyford Down road
building in 1992-93 - the battleground which spawned the
anti-roads movement. At the time the people of Winchester were
promised as sort-of compensation for the destruction at Twyford
Down that the site of the original Winchester by-pass would be
returned to meadow land 'for perpetuity'. So the tarmac was
removed, topsoil from Twyford Down put in its place and today it
is a popular nature spot. Well now things have changed and the
council want it back. A protester told SchNEWS that the vast
majority of the locals don't want the park and ride, won't be
using it, and that the whole scheme could be about extending the
adjacent industrial park, which has got handy access to the M3.

"It's mad - they tarmac-ed the area for the Winchester by-pass,
then they took that away and made it a meadow. now they want to
tarmac it again." says a Bar End protester.

This week the council cleared the way to bring heavy building
equipment in to open the new park and ride, making an eviction
eminent. The camp is registered as a land squat, but the council
haven't applied for a court order to evict - so any eviction will
be illegal. Added to this the Hampshire police have admitted
already that they aren't too fussed about the finer legal points,
and will call in 'colleagues' from other counties.

The camp is off Bar End Road, (an extension of Chesil Street)
about a mile and half from the railway station. Or, leave the M3
at junction 10 and head for St Catherine's park and ride site,
which is next to the proposed new site. The camp urgently needs
people and tat now. 0776 4633056

* For some background about Twyford Downs

* If you've been Bush Bashing and are up for helping fight the
destruction caused by the oil industry at ground level get down to
Bar End now.


Subvert Central

Last Friday 500 people descended on the Paris mtro armed with
pots of glue, spray cans and colourful determination. More invaded
the Brussel's metro with their own buckets of ideas. In Paris they
split into groups of 40, radically repainting vulgar, buy-buy-buy
advertising boards, transforming them with brushstrokes from
private spaces for profits into public spaces of resistance. In
Paris and Brussels subvertised advert boards screamed "No
Adverts!", "Advertising Kills", "The Street is Ours",
"Advertising is Hazardous to Your Mental Health." In the end, 130
stations were reclaimed and repainted in Paris while 7 were
visited in Brussels. All 40 adbusters arrested were quickly
released back into a subvertised Paris.

These actions of mass redecoration were called by Stop Pub ('Stop
Ads') and other collectives in France. The aim was to 'reconquer
public space' in the face of mass privatisation, repressive
neo-liberal states and a life drowned in empty, consumerist
adverts. "Everything is seen as a commodity", said one ticketless
adbuster, Gilles, "We don't want to be visually polluted." And to
the hundreds of students, workers, artists, mums, dads and skaters
that took part in these actions, the links between bigger adverts,
less social rights and more cops was all too obvious. So the
adbusters went calmly and non-violently from station to station,
peacefully going about their decoration of vulgar car and clothes
ads while chatting with the public and handing out info on the
reasons for their actions. Mtro passengers largely supported the
actions, found them funny and in a few cases they even got their
hands dirty doing some redecorating themselves.

This Thursday yet another action is planned. In the light of all
this success, 16 organisations jumped on the adbusting train this
week in France with Attac, Greenpeace and others starting a
campaign against advertising. Why not bring this colourful train
to a station near you? www.bap.propagande.org

For photos see:


Celebrate SchNEWS 9th birthday party this weekend, Sunday (16) at
the Free Butt with the Fish Brothers, Anal Beard, Crowzone and
Amateur Ninja Club. 3, 7.30 till 10.30 pm


SchNEWS In Brief
** Brighton's premier pirate's Radio 4A back on the airwaves this
weekend (14-16) 101.4fm www.radio4a.org.uk

** There's a tenth anniversary demonstration to close down
Campsfield detention centre on Saturday 29th November 12 noon to
2pm, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxfordshire. Speakers and music
from Oxford Sol Samba Band, supported by Rhythms of Resistance.
For transport details around the country call 01865 558145

** Next Monday (17) Indymedia are showing three films about the
Argentinan struggles 7:30pm in the gallery area of the Spitz, 109
Commercial Street E1. Free/Donations

** Political cartoonist Polyp will be talking about his book next
Thursday (20) from 6pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd.,
Brighton. If you've ever wondered what a zine was or fancied
putting one together then get along to the Cowley the following
Thursday (27) at 6pm to find out about them. Both events are free.

** November 29th there's a Mayday Conference to chat about next
years plans for "the ungovernable, non state sanctioned day of the
year." 1-5pm in Room 3a at ULU, Malet Street London WC1

** The Vacuum Cleaner will be aiding consumers of Starbucks in
returning faulty paper cups to the coffee chain. Join them in the
City of London this Friday (14th) at 11 am. Power dressed ladies
and gents, armed with 200 defaced paper Starbucks cups, will be
returning and installing the 'faulty cups' in the city Starbucks.

** Meanwhile an employee of Starbucks has been given the sack for
wearing a fuck off starbucks t-shirt. He told SchNEWS "A bit
stupid of me I know but it took them a few months before they
noticed!" www.starbucksfuckoff.com


Positive SchNEWS

Fed up of rip off landlords and spiralling rents? Then get along
to the 'Introduction to Housing Co-operatives' meeting on December
13th @ Brighton Unemployed Centre, 6 Tilbury Place. It's free but
you have to book yerself a place by calling 01273 327480 by the
end of the month.


...and finally...

The Bush administration's crusade against environmentalists gained
momentum last week with attorney-general Ashcroft wheeling out an
1870 law to launch a prosecution against Greenpeace. It is the
first time an organisation has been prosecuted for the actions of
individual members and could have serious civil liberties
implications for environmental groups and free speech in general.
If found guilty, Greenpeace will have to regularly report its
activities to the government and will lose its tax-exempt status.

The law being used against Greenpeace has only ever been used
twice before - in the nineteenth century - and was designed to
prevent "sailor-mongers" from getting crew-members pissed,
kidnapping them and then selling them on to another ship!

So is that the kind of thing Greenpeace activists are up to
nowadays? Er...no. Their only crime was hanging a banner saying
"Bush stop illegal logging" on a ship carrying Brazilian mahogany!
But the Bush administration has hated Greenpeace since they first
dubbed Dubya the "Toxic Texan" though we can't see why they should
object to such an apt nick-name. Only last week the Poisonous
President announced that investigations into 50 power plants
charged with violating the Clean Air Act were to be dropped.


No SchNEWS next week cos we're all off to London to visit the
Queen (and President Bush)



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