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(en) SchNEWS Issue 452 - Friday 7th May

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 7 May 2004 05:49:17 +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
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

"Ultimately, a computer cannot go round to a house and help a
child who is distressed or in danger. Only a human being can do
that. Rather than wasting money on computer systems that are
likely to make matters worse, all our available resources should
be going towards solving the staffing crisis in social work." -
Action on Rights for Children in Education.
A couple of months ago the government published the Children's
Bill, which is supposed to protect children from abuse. But rather
than putting more money into social services so that social
workers are not overstretched and understaffed it will create an
Orwellian database of every child in the country (11 million
people) which will do little to protect children at risk from
harm. Now call us paranoid, but isn't a vast database another step
towards a total surveillance society where your every move is
traced and if you don't conform to a defined set of behaviours
then you are labeled subversive or anti-social?

In typical Neo-Labour control freak style, it seems that they
don't trust parents to look after their own children and think
that social workers are incapable of protecting children. They
think that rather than giving people with problems the support
they need and funding decent social services they can protect
children with a massive unwieldy database.

Currently information on any child that is at risk of suffering
abuse or neglect should be shared between agencies. This is
designed to give social services a picture of children who suffer
or could suffer harm. But the new database will go a whole lot
further. Every single child will have their details recorded!
These intrusive virtual ID cards allow any concern from a
professional involved with children to be entered on the database
without redress. Examples of concerns are things such as low birth
weight, being miserable at school, poor exam results, or family
problems such as addiction or poor living conditions. But rather
than try to address these problems directly, the main thrust of
the database is to collect information, if any child has two
concerns flagged up on the database then they will be further

The problem with this approach is that it may in fact deter people
from seeking help. If children and parents know that every time
they ask for help, they risk attracting unwanted attention and
having their privacy invaded, it is likely that they will keep
their problems to themselves until they simply cannot cope, rather
than seeking advice at an early stage. Parents may need help with
depression or stress related drinking, or a child may need help
with a drug problem or pregnancy, but what they really need is
access to decent facilities and support rather than being entered
on a database as being labeled as a "problem". The flagging up of
a vast number of concerns on a database will increase workloads
for caseworkers, trying to trawl through a whole load of issues
that have nothing to do with child abuse but everything to do with
living under poor social conditions. Indeed the RYOGENS (Risk of
Youth Offending Generic Solution) database used to target
potential young offenders, includes things such as "Frequently
moving house", "Missed medical appointment" and "Living in high
crime area". It also has the Orwellian catch-all of "Involvement
in crime/antisocial behaviour" or "Denies involvement in
crime/antisocial behaviour"!


No doubt this database will be outsourced to some wonderful
private company who will make a lot of money, while making a
complete mess up of the database. Like when C(r)apita were given
the contract to run the Criminal Records Bureau which resulted in
kids being turned away from school at the start of the 2002/2003
school year because they hadn't got round to checking the records
of the teachers (SchNEWS 371). They also got their greasy mitts on
the Connexions scheme which re-mixes child support services into a
"one-stop shop" service to set you on the career treadmill, sorry

Another unsavoury company involved in child "protection" is SERCO,
who are into prisoner tagging, monitoring and building young
offenders institutions, and who also make money out of managing
places like the Aldermarston Atomic Weapons Establishment and the
Fylingdales Spy Base. This company has also been involved in
running all of Islington's Schools and was fined £300,000 for
failing to reach their own performance targets (SchNEWS 324).

The Government and their private partners have a pretty poor
record of running new computer systems like the Child Support
Agency, Passports and Tax Credits. An audit of the Met's Police
National Computer files in 2000 showed that 85% of files contained
errors, four-fifths of which were considered serious.

And while you might be able to see what is written about you on
all official databases and correct mistakes, with the new
children's database parents and children won't have any access to
their own files. But there are a huge number of "professionals"
who can access the database: including local councils, police,
health workers, prison services, teachers, and anyone else who the
Secretary of State "arranges to provide, secure or participate in
the provision of services". Now with such a vast number of people
accessing the database, except those affected by them, the
possibility for people misusing the database to target children is
worrying. Rowan, a seventeen year old commented "No security
system for databases of this sort is infallible and once
information is breached it can spread" And Action Rights for
Children say "What would social services think of a parent who
published their children's names and addresses on the Internet?
[The government] are putting all our children in danger and
increasing the problems of those children who are already at risk
of harm."

Let's face it, another massive database won't be able to offer any
protection to children. Just because a family lives in a high
crime area, has a family member with an addiction or mental health
problem or doesn't somehow fit in to a "professional's" perceived
correct behaviour doesn't mean that a child is any more likely to
be abused than someone from a nice respectable nuclear family.

More information on the Children's Bill from ARCH-ED:

* Protest Against the Children's Bill, May 11th. 11.30am-2.00pm,
Grosvenor Square, London. 020 8558 9317 archrights@aol.com

* There's a virtual protest, which can be entered online at


Crap Arrest of the Week

For drawing cartoons!
A 15 year old school boy from Seattle was recently nicked, and
then questioned by the Secret Service, after his art teacher found
him drawing cartoons depicting Bush as the devil firing missiles
at all and sundry. Another picture showed, rather ironically, The
Bill of Rights and the Constitution in flames - which is fair
enough if you ask us. After the boy was released the Secret
Service confiscated all the pictures to which the boy said
"they're blowing this way out of proportion".


The SchNEWS At Ten Tour

The SchNEWS Tour ended last Saturday in Ipswich after a storming
three week lap around Britain stopping off at twenty one towns,
cities and protest camps along the way. A big thank you to
everyone along the way who organised the shows, put us up, fed us,
and to everyone who came to the gigs.

The tour was a big learning curve for us as the format and content
of the show evolved, (sorry for some early chaotic gigs,) and we
had to get our heads around the sheer diversity of activity all
around Britain. So while we visited a few well known social
centres and housing co-ops, we also had pleasant surprises in
places outside the usual activist networks. On one hand you had
established centres like the Sumac Centre in Nottingham, Kebele in
Bristol, and LARC in Lancaster; on the other it was exciting to
check out lesser known ones like the Greenhouse in Bolton and the
11A in Gloucester. And what we saw was just the tip of an iceberg
of activity in Britain.

The format settled at one hour of SchLIVE newsreading and films,
followed by a run-through of the history and production process of
SchNEWS. Then, for the second half the floor was opened to any
local group and a general discussion. These ranged from discussion
on how to tackle specific issues to some pretty off the wall
political meanderings. While the Dissent! network and the build-up
to the G8 in Britain came up, we mostly focused on regional
issues. Groups who spoke ranged from hunt sabs to road protest
camps, social centres and newsletters to community allotments.
There is just so much going on. One notable issue which came up in
place after place was the rise of the far-right and the BNP.

To all those we met on the way: keep in contact and we will feed
more of your stuff into future issues of SchNEWS.
See you at Strawberry Fair, Glastonbury, and other festivals.


SchNEWS In Brief

* This weekend's Cannabis festival in London has been postponed
due to the grass being wet (geddit?). New date is 5th June - which
is unfortunately also the date for Cambridge's Strawberry Fair!

* Listen to the Refugee's Story: How UK Foreign Investment Creates
Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Talk next Thursday (13) 6pm at the
Cowley Club, 12 London Rd., Brighton

* Everything you ever wanted to ask about lethal Tetra Masts
(telecoms masts that use microwaves) but couldn't find the right
person to ask? Well get along to a public meeting at the City Gate
centre (above Blockbusters), in London Road, Brighton on May 14
starting at 7.30pm. www.protectsussexfromtetra.org

* This Sunday (9) Cambridge Indymedia will be showing 'Genoa Red
Zone' in the back room of the Locomotive on Mill Road.

* Next Saturday (15) there will be demonstrations at Nestle sites
around the UK noon with the main one at their HQ in Croydon. Baby
Milk Action is still finding leaflets and advertisements from
Vietnam, Egypt and South Africa, which violate the Code of
Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes 01223 464420

* Kyoto march, to protest against climate change also happening
next Saturday (15). Either join the march from ExxonMobil (Esso)
HQ in Leatherhead, or at the US embassy 0208 8553327

* There's a one day Conference 'Fight Temporary Work' happening on
22nd May in Bristol, for those engaged in fighting casualisation
to discuss strategies and build alliances. If you're interested in
going then email: bristolacc@hotmail.com. They are also organising
a National Picket of Employment Agencies from 17-21st May.The
multinational Benetton owns massive amounts of land in Patagonia,
Argentina, and seems to want more. This Friday (7) Benetton will
be in court against some indigenous inhabitants (the Mapuches) who
object to being evicted from their own land

* Tesco is doing a trial of bio diesel called Global Diesel at
selected filling stations. Their biodiesel costs next to nothing
to produce, but costs more than ordinary diesel and even unleaded
petrol! Perhaps the price has been hiked up so the idea falls flat
on it's face and keep the oil companies happy.

* Disney is blocking the release of Michael Moore's new film,
because it might jeopardise tax breaks that they get from Jeb
Bush, in Florida. www.michaelmoore.com

* Subversive Sussex walks - rebellions, squatting, sabotage and
smuggling, May 8th, 15th, 19th and 22nd , 1:30pm Old Ship Hotel,
Brighton seafront.


Terror Briefs

* Ten people detained under the terrorism act for supposedly
plotting to attack a Manchester United game were released without
charge after no evidence against them was found. Tickets found in
some homes were old and kept just for souvenirs! It seems likely
that they were just fanatical fans

* Meanwhile in Macedonia the government has admitted that it
gunned down seven innocent Pakistani immigrants, claiming they
were terrorists, to show they were participating in the US-led war
on terror. Six people have now been charged with murder

* Meeting this Saturday (8) Chechnya and the War on Terror 10.45
am at the French Institute, 17 Queensberry Place (South Kensington
tube) 07984 178 1993 Monde-Diplo-Friends@mondediplo.com

* Colombian oilworkers on strike over pay and the threat of
privatisation have been told they face the use of anti-terrorism
laws. The strike which has been declared illegal by the Government
(although selling off the countries oil industry to corporations
that will plunder Colombia's natural resources is fine) has led to
the arrest of 17 strike leaders and the threat of military force
to bust the strike. www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk

* Last Thursday in El Salvador, 50 demonstrators wearing ski masks
burst into the main cathedral to protest against the decision of
their president not to withdraw troops from Iraq. The soldiers
will have to wait till August to come back home. Police initially
used tear gas and clubs to clear away dozens of protesters left
outside the Church. Many protesters were injured and the police
detained three people.

* The Fairford Five have been told by the judge in their case that
they cannot challenge the legality of the war in Iraq as part of
their defence. The five will now appeal against the judge's
decision. Margaret Jones hopes "that a jury will recognise the
spirit in which we undertook our action - that they will
understand our arguments about "lawful excuse." An action normally
considered a crime can be justified when you are trying to prevent
a worse crime taking place."


Inside SchNEWS

"Slick" is an anti-fascist who took part in the October 1993
demonstration against the British National Party offices in
Welling, London. The police aggressively defended the BNP, and
fighting broke out between anti-fascists and cops. Slick was
sentenced to 5 years for this, but disappeared until he was
recently arrested and is now inside and would welcome letters of
support. Write to him at C.Varkki JR9335, HMP Elmlea, Church Rd,
Eastchurch, Shearness, Kent, ME 12 4 AY

Kerry Whitburn has been sentenced to 4 months in prison in
connection with actions against Newchurch Farm where guinea pigs
are bred for vivisection. Send letters of support to Kerry
Whitburn LC7479, HMP Nottingham, Perry Road Sherwood, Notts NG5
3AG www.liberation-now.org


..and finally...

The Irish Government held a big party for their 10 new friends and
everyone was invited... except us.

This years mayday demonstrations in Dublin were marred by the
presence of a hooligan element intent on rumour mongering and
provoking violence. Corporate journalists and the police united in
a staggering display of grandiose lying, wild exaggerations and
brute force.

A regular diet of outrageous media claims about the "anarchists"
in general and the Wombles in particular laid the ground for
increasingly paranoid "police measures", culminating in the
Republic's first use of Water Cannons and fully clad riot cops.

The Sun warned of an email they received from a group called
an@rky who threatened to kill up to 10,000 people including Bertie
Ahern (Irish PM) and the 24 EU Prime Ministers who were in town in
a gas attack. They conveniently warned people to stay away from
Farmleigh House where the EU summit was held. They also helpfully
went to quite a lot of trouble describing exactly what kind of gas
and techniques they would use.

What wasn't explained is how they planned to get 250 litres of
battery acid into Farmleigh, and why they sent their warning to
the Sun... Also not explained is the origin of the e-mail, which
the police took so seriously but couldn't trace, and why would an
anarchist group want everyone to stay away from the protest? The
Sun went on to predict that the anarchists would turn "Dublin into
Basra" on Saturday's demo at the EU conference centre. Dublin was
declared a "no-go zone" for American tourists as the army
patrolled the streets.

In the centre of this frenzied attention, a coalition of anti-EU
activists raised a bit of noise in celebration of an alternative
society. Dublin's biggest ever Critical Mass on Friday saw a 500
strong block of cyclists reclaim the streets for a few hours.
Saturday was the big day, with about 4,000 people coming together
to march on the EU delegates in Phoenix Park. Coming to a wall of
police, the anarcho block linked arms in rows and huffed and
puffed till the pigs fell down. Some people rushed through at this
point, only to meet another wall of riot cops and, making it's
debut, a big motherfuckin water cannon truck.

A slow, soaked but dignified withdrawal to the city centre began,
thus ending one of the most dramatic days in recent protest
history in Eire. An RTS passed off peacefully with 3 sound systems
on Monday. 29 were arrested on Saturday, with 3 UK nationals
getting nicked and remanded for a week. Meanwhile, the Irish
Minister for Defence congratulated the police and army on their
operation, saying "It augurs very well for the capacity of our
security services to deal with whatever lies ahead in this

Expecting trouble, then? More info on www.indymedia.ie

There has been a bust fund set up to help pay fines etc. for
people who got nicked. Cheques payable to "ABC" can be sent to BM
Automatic, London WC1N 3XX


SchNEWS warns all readers children should not be herded into a
database, to be seen by their betters... Honest!



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

The SchNEWS at Ten Tour plans are being updated regularly as
well. Check them at www.schnews.org.uk/extras/tour.htm



To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
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PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!

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goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
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Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

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