UK Newswire Archive
Netanyahu devoted a considerable part of his speech to a call for more aggressive action against Iran, which is surrounded by U.S. military power and has been subjected to several rounds of United States and European Union economic sanctions.
He called for a policy stipulating “that all options are on the table.” This position, shared by the Obama administration, is a coded way of saying that Iran could be the target of military attack, including the use of nuclear weapons.
Following on from our previous Private/Public space projects which have focussed on the gentrification of London and the erosion of civil liberties that that entails, the Space Hijackers headed out to the Truman Brewery complex on Brick Lane to enforce the rules that are implicit, and perhaps not so implicit in such places. Stopping people from drinking, smoking, talking, loitering, laughing and even reading our sign!
East London is a massive building site with regeneration projects, the olympics, the encroachment of the city and more changing the face of our city. As Anna Minton pointed out in her fantastic book Ground Control, these redevelopment projects, often look positive on the face, but the net result is private corporations wrestling control of our cities from the people. The poor and disadvantaged are pushed out and regeneration often means moving in a new class of people. Public land is reduced and private shopping/living/working spaces are built withprivate police (link to canary wharf security) ensuring that only certain 'welcome' people are allowed to pass through without hassle. This, as you can probably imagine, is something we oppose.
The Truman Brewery Complex just off Brick Lane is a haven for cool and alternative east-end hipsters. With record shops, fixed wheel bicycle shops, galleries, eco & small designer fashion retail and bars it buzzes with creative energy. Walking in from brick lane market you can barely tell where one starts and the other finishes, the beautiful youth litter the streets in both areas drinking from cans and checking each other out.
As they say themselves "The Old Truman Brewery, East London's revolutionary arts and media quarter, is home to a hive of creative businesses as well as exclusively independent shops, galleries, markets, bars and restaurants. For fifteen years the Old Truman Brewery has been regenerating its ten acres of vacant and derelict buildings into spectacular office, retail, leisure and event spaces. The finely tuned mix of business and leisure has created an environment unique in London, making the Old Truman Brewery ;
a destination in its own right."
Alas it also borders one of London's poorest areas, so to keep the relaxed guilt free atmosphere, 24 hour security vigilantly patrol the entrances and spaces. The homeless, poor and troublemakers are kept out, bags are searched, people sitting on the wrong part of the pavement are moved on, only food and drink bought at high price on the premises is allowed to be consumed, and the hipster haven is preserved.
We thought it was high time that the exclusivity and hypocrisy of this 'revolutionary arts and media quarter" was a little more revealed. So with our new easily portable signs (unlike the beast we used to wheel around) in hand we set off to help the security keep the area safe and secure for everyone...
Dressed in black we set up first at the entrance facing Spitalfields Market. We popped up our banners and immediately started keeping the space safer.
"Oi you, no photography!"
"No Running, Slow down"
"Did you buy that drink on the premesis? You'll have to finish it here"
"I'm sorry, no phonecalls in this area, please hang up"
"No cycling! walk that machine"
"Do you have a job? can you afford to shop here?"
"No questions please"
"Move along please, nothing to see"
"No reading our sign sir!"
Before long we were joined by the regular security, obviously eager to help us out.
"Who do you work for? What are you doing, this is private property, you can't do this here".
"We're just making the area safe and secure, we're here to help"
"Do you work for the council?"
"We're just concerned that the wrong types might get through, and intend to keep this area safe"
"I'm calling my boss"
'The boss' arrived, and to be fair to him was a clever chap. I think he realised we were looking for a rise, so he simply turned around and said that if we moved 1m away, so we weren't in front of the door he was more than happy for us to continue.
"I've been asking my boss for ages to make me some signs, like these. I can see it's very tongue in cheek, personally I really like what you're up to, I'm not sure about the No OAPs though, my gran wouldn't like that"
As always our issue is usually with the people who design, build and own such spaces rather than the people who are paid to work there. However we soon realised that there was a greater audience to be had at the main Brick Lane entrance.
Moving around we set up camp again to a much more receptive audience. The guard at the entrance had obviously been briefed to leave us alone, and so we were free to harass and berate the public for walking too slowly, running, smoking, drinking, holding hands, kissing, loitering, not shopping, asking questions, taking our photograph and more. Even the pretent police who turned up enjoyed the rigid law obiding.
Lots of people 'got' what we were up to, and started deliberately dancing, singing, smoking and taking pictures to break the rules. We had people join us in telling off the passers by, and lots of discussion about private/public space and regeneration. Some people took a little longer than others to realise the game, and so cigarettes we're put out, drinks put down and conversations stopped before they read to the bottom of our sign and smiled.
01-06-2011 17:42"'This is a far more serious matter than I first thought" said Judge Rodger Hayward Smith.
Store managers had been forced to throw away about £10,000 worth of spoilt food after a power cut.
01-06-2011 14:54A Lesbian, with mental health problems, attending one of the Atos medicals claims the so-called doctor indulged in a homophobic rant during the assessment.
01-06-2011 14:45Liverpool Central Post Office has moved from St Johns Precinct to the mush more expensive Liverpool One
01-06-2011 12:55Mapuche International Link Press Release, June 1st 2011
01-06-2011 09:20The Big Society is an unnerving idea, one that has tripped many with even the slightest public conscious as they stagger towards confronting the austerity regime. Amidst the dismantling of social provisions of the State, it seems this vacuous rhetoric goes straight to the heart of undermining the traditional foundations of progressive movements; calling for cooperation and solidarity in lifting society to a higher plain of socialisation. It is, of course, a divisive use of language, but even so, it has been approached with caution. There is nothing new taking place when the ideas and values of the Left get swept up with and become part of the status quo. This time, again, Conservative party intentions seem not only to incorporate but also to subvert or blunt the political concerns of broad groups from community charities to squatted social centres.
As the U.S., and British body bags returned from Afghanistan continue to mount, the BBC's audience learned that troop levels had been: "plussed up" and that: "the Taliban is now back on its heels." The occasional minor glitch of entire prisons inmates escaping, U.S., bases under attack, supply convoys routinely incinerated in industrial numbers (he didn't put it quite like that) had been because the U.S., had been: "distracted by the war in Iraq."
31-05-2011 21:59One of the two graduate students in the law department of King's College London who had planned to collude in an illegal act of Iraeli settlement on occupied Palestinian territory, says that he has not participated as planned.
Abileah interrupted Netanyahu with a banner that said “Occupying Land Is Indefensible” and shouting, “No more occupation, stop Israel war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” She rose up to speak out just after the Prime Minister talked about the youth around the world rising up for more democracy.
As this 28-year-old Jewish American woman spoke out for the human rights of Palestinians, other members of the audience—wearing badges from the conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee—brutally attacked her. The police then dragged her out of the Gallery and took her to the George Washington University Hospital, where she was being treating for neck and shoulder injuries.
31-05-2011 17:59Today we’re picking on Steve Cram who has signed up as ‘ambassador’ for poverty pimps Atos Origin (1).
A recent flurry of activity by the London Guantanamo Campaign (LGC) and its supporters sought to capitalise on President Obama's UK state visit (24-26 May) and the Royal Wedding (29 April) to press home two of their key demands:
1. The return of two men with ties to the UK still being held in Guantanamo indefinitely without charge, namely former British residents Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha;
2. The closure of Guantanamo, Bagram and other illegal US detention facilities.
The group's activities included two living statues actions on box plinths in Parliament Square, a petition hand-delivered to 10 Downing Street, a protest outside Buckingham Palace and a statement signed by prominent individuals and organisations.
Pre-Royal Wedding Statues in Parliament Square - 27-28 April
Individuals associated with LGC and Peace Strike, dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, posed for several hours atop Peace Strikes’s boxes-cum-plinths in Parliament Square in the days leading up to the Royal Wedding, catching the attention of hordes of visitors and photographers.
Obama State Visit - 24-26 May
Downing Street Petition - Monday 23 May
On the day before Obama's arrival in the UK from his trip to Ireland, Maria Gallastegui from Peace Strike delivered a petition by hand to 10 Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister to raise the cases of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha and demand the closure of Guantánamo during his talks with the US President.
Buckingham Palace - Tuesday 24 May Several LGC supporters joined a protest outside Buckingham Palace organised by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign as Obama banqueted with the Queen. The demonstration took place alongside those of the Stop the War coalition and others. Among the orange-suited protesters were a pair wearing Obama and Cameron masks, which caught the attention of the multitude of photographers and reporters who were present, including those of the *Associated Press, who reported the following:
"Just beyond the palace's black-and-gold gates, about a dozen orange-jumpsuit clad demonstrators were rallying for the freedom of Guantamano [sic] Bay detainee Shaker Aamer, a former British resident who had been held without charge for some nine years. One man wore plastic shackles and an Obama mask."
Parliament Square Statues Mk II - Wednesday 25 May
On the second day of Obama’s state visit, the London Guantánamo Campaign and Peace Strike held a day-long vigil in Parliament Square. Three LGC supporters, dressed once again in orange jumpsuits, one wearing an Obama mask (and sometimes a Cameron mask) and shackles and the other two wearing black hoods, posed for six hours straight atop Peace Strikes's boxes-cum-plinths as Obama addressed the two houses inside the Palace of Westminster. The protesters would have been visible to the President and his entourage as the motorcade drove out of the gates.
Finally, the LGC put out a short statement addressed to the Prime Minister, signed by nearly 50 prominent campaigners, politicians, human rights lawyers, former Guantánamo prisoners and others. Amongst the signatories were journalists John Pilger and Andy Worthington; actress Kika Markham; John McDonnell MP; Jean Lambert MEP, Sarah Ludford MEP; and CND's Kate Hudson. The letter called upon David Cameron to use the occasion of President Obama's visit to press for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the return to the UK of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha. It was sent to the Guardian and Independent newspapers, but not published by either.
You can view the text of the letter and the full list of signatories here: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/05/unpublished-letters-from-obamas-visit.html
LGC also issued a press release ahead of Obama's arrival in the UK: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/05/press-release-campaigners-urge-prime.html
In addition, Aisha Maniar from the LGC had a comment piece published on the Open Democracy website: http://www.opendemocracy.org.uk/ourkingdom/aisha-maniar/guantanamo-bay-shadow-cast-over-special-relationship
Upcoming LGC events:
Shut Down Guantánamo monthly demonstration
The LGC’s monthly demonstrations continue, with the next one taking place on Friday, 3 June:
12 - 1pm - US Embassy, Grosvenor Square (opposite main entrance)
1.15 - 2.15pm - Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park (on pavement outside)
Rally to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - Sunday 26 June, Trafalgar Square
This rally is being organised with Kingston Peace Council. Confirmed speakers include: Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files and co-director of Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo; Maya Evans from Justice Not Vengeance; Ilyas Townsend from the Justice for Aafia Coalition; Naomi Colvin from UK Friends of Bradley Manning; and Maria Gallastegui from Peace Strike.
Other actions you can take:
Add your name to the LGC’s open letter to President Obama regarding Shaker Aamer: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/03/sign-our-open-letter-to-president-obama.html
Ask your MP to sign EDM 1093 on Guantánamo Bay: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1093
London Guantánamo Campaign
Andy Worthington’s blog
The 28th of May saw Reclaim the Night return to Edinburgh after a two year absence of this important event from our streets. Feminist groups from all over Edinburgh came together to collaborate on the event, including, Ladyfest, Edinburgh University Reclaim the Night, and the local Anarcha-Feminist collective.
Despite widespread condemnation and an UN-commissioned investigation that found Israel’s acts unlawful, possibly amounting to war crimes, Israel has yet to be held accountable. Families of the victims killed on the Mavi Marmara await justice and millions of Palestinians continue to demand their human rights respected.
In the wake of continued government inaction to stop Israel’s human rights abuses, we, members of global civil society representing dozens of national coalitions and international organizations will launch next month Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human.
31-05-2011 10:55Over the past week, attempts at completely peaceful protest (some would say to the extent of being ineffective), have been met by repression by both the police and Tesco security.
Every little helps...despite the massive imbalance in resources it is amazing that Tescos are still being forced to fight for what is to them a fairly small and insignificant store. Despite the police's highly organised and expensive media and personnel-heavy response to the Stokes Croft incidents, it is significant that a large percentage of people agree that the police not only cocked up with their operations on Stokes Croft, but ultimately hold them responsible for the resistance that ensued when they flooded the area with riot cops (many from outside the area). Despite the subsequent media hysteria, and condemnation from all political parties, it is significant that a large number of people consider the protests in April an appropriate response to the police invasion, and that the police acted in support of Tescos attempts to dominate the 'market' against the wishes of a sizeable proportion of the local population. Full Story
Tesco Reopens, Time For PRSC to Earn Their Money | Anti Tesco Flyer | Stokes Croft: The Art of Protest (Guardian)
The JNF is accused by campaigners of using an environmental image to cover up its role in taking Palestinian lands and denying access for refugees.
The FoES decision took place at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting and land rights conference. Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, confirmed on Saturday that “members at today’s AGM voted overwhelmingly to endorse the international call to stop the JNF. At today's land rights conference the activities of the JNF were brought to the attention of our members, supporters and interested members of the public. Our organisation is pleased to join the call for the revocation for the JNF's charitable status in the UK and to help raise awareness on this little known issue."
31-05-2011 08:12The campaign against the government's plans for the NHS is at a crossroads. Overwhelming opposition, from ordinary people, the BMA, the NHS Federation, the RCN, the unions and even the Liberal Democrat spring conference has forced them onto the back foot.