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Wild at Heart SCHnews 705

Jo Makepeace | 16.01.2010 15:48 | Smash EDO | Palestine | South Coast | World

Our comrades at SMASH EDO have announced the location of their Remember Gaza demo... plus, Gaza convoy finally allowed in after being held at port and attacked by Egyptian police, legal observer arrested at Smash EDO Carnival Against the Arms Trade finally overturns charges, European Court rules Section 44 stop 'n search illegal, the Christmas period has seen no let up for migrants in the squats and camps of Calais, and more...



SchNEWS, Issue 705, Friday 15th January 2010




Our comrades at SMASH EDO have announced the location of their
Remember Gaza demo.

It’s going to be in Wild Park, just outside the city centre and
very near to EDO/ITT factory itself.

Wild Park isn’t difficult to find, just check out for full directions.
The demo is occurring virtually on the anniversary of the
Decommissioning (see SchNEWS 663) when six activists broke into the
factory and wrought havoc with hammers to as one of them Elijah Smith
put it “smash it up to the best of my ability so that it cannot
actually work or produce munitions... which have been provided to the
Israeli army so that they can kill children.”

Once again the demo hasn’t been negotiated with police (and
anyone in any doubts as to why that is should check out our very own -
On the Verge, which documents Sussex Police’s efforts to shut
down the campaign).

As Smash EDO put it themselves - "For three weeks in January 2009,
the bombs rained down on Gaza. At the end of Israel’s brutal
bombing campaign and ground offensive over 1400 Palestinians had been
murdered, including 314 children.

Here in Brighton EDO MBM/ITT manufacture some of the weapons
components that devastated so many lives. All over the world thousands
of people watched appalled at the carnage on the streets of Gaza.
Thousands marched and raged at the destruction of peoples’ homes
and lives. On January 18th 2010, the anniversary of the final day of
Operation Cast Lead, we will come together to remember the people of

We will not allow those who supported their pain and profited from
their suffering to go unchallenged. We will not let this genocide be
forgotten. On the first anniversary after their deaths, we will rise
up. We will take to the streets. We will remember”

For more see



Since Japanese whalers sliced Sea Shepherd vessel the Ady Gil in two
last week, the marine conservationists have faced a propaganda
onslaught accusing them of lying, polluting and preparing to attack
the whalers with bows and arrows.

The Ady Gil, with the Bob Barker, had been chasing the Japanese
fleet’s mother ship, the Nisshin Maru, away from the Southern
Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the Antarctic and had succeeded in bringing
whaling operations to a standstill.

The confrontation began when activists hurled stink bombs of rancid
butter onto the deck of the Nisshin Maru. The whalers responded by
trying to force the Ady Gil away with high powered water canons.
According to Captain Chuck Swift on the Bob Barker, harpoon ship the
Shonan Maru No. 2 then started up suddenly and rammed the stationary
Ady Gil, shearing off a eight foot section of the hull.

The six crew members were rescued by the Bob Barker, but the boat
could not be saved. Despite the crew of the Bob Barker’s round
the clock efforts it had taken on too much water and three days later
had to be left to sink. Before abandoning , the crew boarded the boat
and pumped out the fuel before it leaked into the sea.

Despite video footage clearly showing the whaling ship tear into the
Ady Gil, the whalers promptly fired up the propaganda machine with a
statement from their PR company claiming not only had Sea Shepherd
lied about the Ady Gil sinking, but also that they were polluting the
environment with a fuel spill and, most bizarrely of all, that the
crew had bows and arrows on board ready to launch a full on medieval
assault on the whalers.

Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson dismissed the claims, made in a
statement by Glen Inwood, as, “one of the most absurd media
releases I have seen this clown issue in years.” In response to
photos of bows and arrows floating next to the stricken boat Captain
Watson said, “I suppose the only reason for this is that guns
don’t float and he needed a ‘smoking gun’ but had to
settle for a ‘floating arrow’.”

Unfortunately, the New Zealand government seems more than ready to
believe that marine conservationists were preparing a pirate attack,
Foreign Minister Murray McCully saying, “If they are going to go
down there looking for trouble and determined to find it then
there’s nothing we can do to stop them, except urge them to
improve their conduct.”

Captain Watson responded to the comments saying, “Perhaps
Murray McCully should review the video evidence before he fires off
asinine statements half-cocked concerning issues he has not obviously
been briefed on.”

Despite the loss, Sea Shepherd operations are up and running with the
Bob Barker joining the Steve Irwin in pursuit of the Whaling fleet.
Captain Paul Watson said, “We now have a real whale war on our
hands now and we have no intention of retreating.”



The Viva Palestina convoy had planned to arrive in Gaza on the 28th
of December for the first anniversary of Israel’s deadly
attacks. It was finally allowed in last Wednesday (the 6th). The
convoy’s passage had been blocked by the Egyptian state, who,
acting on the orders of the US & Israel, have tightened the
blockade even further. Stuck just outside Gaza in the port of Al Arish
with 230 trucks and ambulances, the Viva Palestina crew decided to
stay put until they were allowed access to Gaza.

Things turned nasty during a Palestinian demo at the Gaza-Egypt Rafah
Crossing. Stones were thrown at Egyptian border police, who responded
with shots. Palestinians returned fire, killing one Egyptian soldier.
Dozens of Palestinians seriously injured. Meanwhile the convoy’s
sit-in protest at being refused entry was broken up by heavy handed
Egyptian police, leaving 55 protesters injured., ten needing hospital

But the Viva Palestina Convoy wasn’t the only game in town. The
Gaza Freedom March, 1300 activists who also intended to enter Gaza on
the 28th, was denied access leading to demonstrations in Cairo by
internationals and Egyptians. Demonstrating under a dictatorship, with
a brutal security apparatus is an incredibly courageous act, but
protesters managed a series of rolling demos, candlelight vigils, and
even a flash mob demo near the Israeli embassy. Under pressure, the
Egyptian authorities eventually agreed to allow the Convoy through,
where they spent 48 hours delivering aid to Gazan medical facilities.

Egypt is currently constructing an underground steel wall to block
Gaza’s one remaining reliable connection to the outside.
Rafah’s tunnel network provides food, fuel, livestock, building
materials and, during last year’s bombing, two German doctors to
the Strip’s besieged citizens. Using US technical assistance and
US ‘development’ money, if this iron wall is completed
Gaza’s Palestinians will be made to pay for electing Hamas and
reduced to surviving off the meagre supplies that Israel and Egypt
allow through the crossing they control.

While Egypt is mostly following US-Israeli orders, the Egyptian state
has its own axe to grind with Hamas. Within Egypt Mubarak and his
secular pro-US party’s biggest political rivals are the Muslim
Brotherhood. Despite being officially banned the Islamists have a huge
following throughout Egyptian society. Hamas began its life as the
Gazan wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. A successful Islamist
government on the other side of the Rafah crossing is a major headache
for the Mubarak administration, and so with the US and Israel gunning
for Hamas, its been all to easy for the Egyptian state to play ball.

* and



From 27th December 2008 to 18th January 2009 Israel launched a brutal
assault on Gaza, murdering 1417 people. In London a huge outpouring of
rage manifested itself with nightly demonstrations at the Israeli

On the tenth of January 100,000 people marched from Trafalgar Square
to the Israeli embassy. These demos were characterised by a militancy
not seen before in the UK’s mainstream Palestine solidarity
movement. They also saw a growing number of young Muslims taking to
the streets side by side with anarcho black-blockers. The Forward
Intelligence Team (FIT) were out in force, however, and many people
didn’t mask up.
The state were clearly concerned by the prospect of a new
mobilisation of angry young muslims, especially if they were to build
bridges with other dissenters. In April and May, the gutter press and
the crimewatch website published pictures of participants in the demos
who the police were after. In total 73 people were arrested, both at
the demos and in raids.

Although people had been arrested for a variety of different offences
(eg criminal damage and assault) all the charges have now been bumped
up to violent disorder.

The trial of the 73 Gaza defendants is one of the largest public
order trials of recent years and is comparable in scale to the attempt
to fit up hundreds of people after police attacked the 1990 poll tax
demonstrations. The poll tax defendants were aided greatly by the Poll
Tax Defendants Campaign who collected footage and witness statements.

Initial hearings in the Gaza cases have been held at West London
Magistrates Court and the trials are set to be held in March at
Isleworth Crown Court.

Several people have plead guilty and at least three have already been
sentenced, to between 15 and 20 months in prison. More people are due
to be sentenced on 12th and 19th February at Isleworth Crown Court.
Judge Dennis, eager to bang as many people up as possible, has
reserved the trials for himself.

The defendants need support. Please try and make it to some of the
hearings. Both witnesses and film footage are needed to help their
defence - both to actual arrests and the general attitude and actions
of the police. Witnesses who were present for the following times and
places are especially needed: 28th December, 29th December, 3rd
January, 7th January, 8th January, 10th January, 17th January, 24th
January; Kensington High St, outside the Israeli Embassy (majority of
charges relate to this location esp. between 16.45 and 17.45 on 10th
January); Starbucks, Shaftsbury Avenue (on the 10th and 24th of
January), Notting Hill Gate (10th Januray - 15.45); Hyde Park
Underpass (including just before and just after Underpass, on the 3rd
January - 17.15-18.15 and outside the Israeli Embassy from

Any footage showing any assault on protesters by the police at any
stage during the demos is also vital.

Please contact if you can help, think
you were at one of the places above or have footage of the



Another Smash EDO activist finally won his legal battle with the
authorities this week. Ceri Gibbons was acting as a legal observer at
the Carnival Against the Arms Trade back in June 2008 (SchNEWS 634)
Despite the fact that he was clearly wearing a hi-vis jacket labelled
Legal Observer, he was arrested for a minor public order offence. It
was only while he was in custody that the charge was changed to
“conspiracy to commit criminal damage”.

He was released 30 hours later, after his house was searched and with
strict bail conditions to stop him protesting. Dithering plod
eventually charged him with an entirely different offence in November
2009 - “failing to follow the route of a public
procession” as well as resisting arrest.

‘Resisting arrest’ went out the window when video footage
clearly showed Ceri getting punched in the ribs by one cop who’d
managed to lose his shoulder numbers. The other charge was thrown out
this week as an “abuse of process”. Mr Gibbons says he
intends to participate fully in the next Smash EDO demonstration but
“will be dressed in black and wearing a mask”



Of the 16,761 people stopped and searched under section 44 counter
terrorism laws in 2002/03, 18 were arrested in connection with
terrorism, while 359 were arrested for ‘other reasons’. Of
the remaining 16,384, two, journalist Pennie Quinton and activist
Kevin Gillan, took their complaints against the police to the highest

Seven years later and the European Court of Human Rights has ruled
that not only were the two unlawfully abused as they made their way to
a demonstration at the Excel centre arms fair but also that section
44’s random stop and search powers were too widely drawn and
lacked adequate parliamentary and legal safeguards against abuse. In
short, illegal.

The crucial fact about Section 44 is that allows the police to
conduct stop and search without ‘reasonable suspicion’. It
has been used regularly against protesters. The whole of Greater
London has been designated a Section 44 zone for years.

While Quinton and Gillan were awarded £30,400 each, Home
Secretary Alan Johnson was left to bleat about how the powers were an
“important tool” in fighting terrorism. Ever the sore
loser, Johnson announced he would take the unusual step of appealing
to the court’s ‘grand chamber’ of 17 judges, which
requires him to show ‘exceptional circumstances’. Johnson
said until the appeal is heard the police powers would remain in

Since the powers were introduced in 2000 their use has exploded, with
117,000 recorded searches in 2008. Anyone that has attended a demo,
taken ‘too many’ photos, looked a bit shady or not white
or just looked at a copper funny knows the police have used these
powers arbitrarily and will continue to do so.

* For more info about your rights see



For migrants in the squats and camps of Calais, the Christmas period
has provided no let up from police harassment and brutality.

On Christmas Eve, showers set up for the migrants were set on fire by
mystery arsonists - the day after they opened. On the 30th, police
raided Ethiopia House, the African squat housing refugees from the
destruction of Eritrean, Sudanese and Ethiopian squats and camps. They
made 28 arrests.

As the freezing weather came in with the new year, the squat was
raided again and police arrested around 50 of those who couldn’t
run away or hide. By the evening, all but four had been released.

Activists report that police continually harass the migrants of
Ethiopia House, the Arab squat and the Hazara jungle, even resorting
to nicking migrants that leave the shelters to urinate.
Following a busy Christmas, numbers are low in the No Borders camp.
Activists are having difficulty effectively monitoring the police and
urgently need more volunteers.

Call 07534 008380, email or see



A Worthing Council meeting to decide the fate of Titnore Woods (see
SchNEWS 547) has been postponed until March.

The council had been planning to meet on 28th January to decide
whether to grant permission to the West Durrington Consortium to
develop the site. Activists now have another couple of months to
resist the plans, for information on how to get involved see or just get yerself down to the protest

* For more see our special SchNEWS feature for a history of the
campaign and why you should care. Coming soon online...



The Black Cat community centre in Bath is reopening at a new site
after they finally lost their battle against eviction from their
original home (see SchNEWS 704).

To celebrate, the new centre’s doors will be thrown open for a
party on Saturday (16th). Oldfield Park Methodist Church, 110 West



You don’t have to wait ‘til Mayday to get into a beef
with burger-barbarians McDonald’s it seems. McRage has exploded
across the globe. OK, well, there were two separate incidents
in the US last week of police called to restrain angry people trashing
branches of the ever popular cardiac inducing, rainforest trashing
junk merchants.

But this time it wasn’t black block hooligans pumped up on
anti-corporate propaganda and deranged by the inadequacies of their
vegan diets. Nope... it’s was customers turn to have a pop.

In Toledo, Ohio, a woman punched her way through the drive-thru
window because of a shortage of chicken nuggets. She got nicked but
not so another customer who ran amok in a Kansas City branch, throwing
a bucket of water over staff and smashing three cash registers.

Apparently her burger was ‘sub standard’. She is still at
large (and quite possibly supersized).



SchNEWS warns all readers, you need to Shut ITT because it is rocket
science. Honest.


Jo Makepeace
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  1. comrades? — ted