UK Newswire Archive
02-08-2011 19:56Second death in a month at a London detention centre brings detention back into the spotlight.
Jonnie Marbles (aka Jonnie May-Bowles), 26, who attempted to throw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch at the House of Commons culture committee on July 19th, had pleaded guilty to common assault and was today sentenced to six weeks imprisonment of which he will serve three, and ordered to pay a fine of £250 plus £15 ‘victim surcharge’. Murdoch had not wanted to press charges, but the court proceeded anyway.
SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE JONNIE NOW.
District Judge Daphne Wickham, who sentenced Jonnie, is the same person who let Sgt Delroy Smellie off the hook for assaulting Nicola Fisher at the G20 protest in 2009, despite YouTube footage of the officer striking at Fisher with his hand and a baton.
02-08-2011 15:38THE woman who today jailed pie thrower May-Bowles is the same one who let off Sgt Delroy Smellie last year. In her mind, it is clearly much more serious to attack someone with foam than with a police baton.
Nottingham’s Critical Mass bike ride was restarted on Friday by a group of around 40 cyclists. With a sound system, flags and a sea of fluorescent vests the group reclaimed the city centre’s streets for a celebration of cycling. Critical Mass was a semi-regular fixture in the city between 2005-2009 but has been dormant in recent years. People now meet at 5.30 outside the Victoria Centre clocktower on the last Friday of the month. The next ride will take place on Fri 26th August.
As the new Nottingham CM blog says:
‘a route is not planned but will most likely end somewhere sociable, Bring flags, trailers, music and fun. come for a relaxed ride with friends and strangers’
There has been a very l o n g break in the Nottingham CM meeting. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of more great events.
The object is to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road. With no set routes and no leaders, it’s simply a bunch of people enjoying clean healthy transport.
In addition to all of the worthwhile issues that Critical Mass highlights, it’s a great way to meet people and perhaps do a bit of networking to promote other campaigns.
Critical Mass should appeal to anyone that rides a bike so it should start from the most central location for everyone’s benefit. Plus, practically every other Critical Mass around the globe starts from central, well-known locations which makes it easy to remember and easy to find.
It’s never more than a couple of hours. Bring bright clothing, lights, horns, bells, NOISE and FRIENDS.
‘Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world.
Critical Mass has a different flavor from city to city — there’s a big variety in size, respect of traffic laws (or lack thereof), interaction with motorists, and intervention by police. So if you want to know more about Critical Mass, you’ll really need to find out what your local ride is like. .
Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride was born.
CM is an idea and an event, not an organization. You can’t write to “Critical Mass” — certainly not by writing to me.
02-08-2011 11:39On 19 March 2011 the British state, along with France and the US, began bombing Libya. This is the 46th separate British military operation in North Africa and the Middle East since the end of the Second World War. By 13 July Libyan sources said that NATO was responsible for killing 1,108 people with its airstrikes and wounding another 4,500.
Friday 29th July 2011
Critical Mass is a monthly bike ride [meeting at 5.30pm on the last friday of every month] They now start from outside the Victoria Centre clocktower, off Milton Street in the city centre.
There has been a very l o n g break in the Nottingham CM meeting. Here's hoping this is the begining of more great events.
The object is to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road. With no set routes and no leaders, it's simply a bunch of people enjoying clean healthy transport.
In addition to all of the worthwhile issues that Critical Mass highlights, it's a great way to meet people and perhaps do a bit of networking to promote other campaigns.
Critical Mass should appeal to anyone that rides a bike so it should start from the most central location for everyone's benefit. Plus, practically every other Critical Mass around the globe starts from central, well-known locations which makes it easy to remember and easy to find.
It's never more than a couple of hours. Bring bright clothing, lights, horns, bells, NOISE and FRIENDS.
As usual, I've tried to take a set of pictures that show critical mass to be an empowering experience. Hopefully fun to be at. A celebration of the alternatives to the existing 'car culture'.
See you all next month, I hope :-)
There have been some legal arguement, finishing in the House of Lords on Wednesday 26 November 2008.
The upshot appears to be that critical mass IS a "procession which is truly commonly or customarily held" and hence does NOT require police permission and consent under the Public Order Act 1986. So there!
This all began as a leaflet issued to CM participants by police at the start of the ride on September 2005 which stated:
"...Police can impose conditions on processions, demonstrations and other assemblies, and participants render themselves liable to arrest if they fail to comply with those conditions. These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police the with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution. Police policy in facilitating these events is currently under review..."
After that the High Court decided in favour of CM but the police then appealed against that decision and won. The legalities involved are quite complicated and seem to hinge on whether the ride is customarily held and therefore not subject to certain police restrictions.
On Monday 20th October 2008 an appeal by Des Kay and Friends of the Earth, against the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, was heard by five Law Lords and their decision is that the appeal is allowed and CM is a commonly or customarily held procession without organisers and therefore does not need to inform the police of each ride. So, still we ride too! Though whether we are traffic or not is debatable.
For a plain english explanation, check out: Victory for Critical Mass campaigners [BikeRadar.com] http://tinyurl.com/6ktykr
More Mass reports [including links to many earlier CM events]
Nottingham's April Critical Mass + Coal Caravan 1
Nottingham's April Critical Mass + Coal Caravan 2
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"
Some ideas of what we need to organise our defence, (lawsuit for ilegal occupations are the 11 and the 17 of august). If you have materials, ideas of place to do skipping of listed stuffs, or if you have something that can interess us, you can transport it to “the planchettes”, or contact us by mail, email@example.com
02-08-2011 00:18Need help organizing against the Hippocrisy coming out of the Bering Sea Cod Co-op,and Freezer Longline Coalition, and Marine Steward Council _seattle Issuance of sustainable award to longliners who miss interpret bycatch tallying process,..the longliner catcher processor subsector act, allowed for a year round genociding of sustainable fishing holes..presently,if the longliners get fish off hook before passes threshold of railing (resulting in death on particular boats who paid off key u.s. senators and house members to ignore national marine fisheries science center findings , that called for restrictions in western aleutians,overthrown by Alaska Crab Coalition, Freezer longline coalition ,alaska cod commission, and bering sea cod fishery , and 6 other groups who trade Individual fishing quotas with commodity speculators hiding behind u.s. fishing vessels,allowing Hedge funds to deduct up to 50%-70%-, with 81.9% on c/p's,that Never Pay the working deadliest crews % on 70 %, all while trading the i.f.q. (individual fishing quota) with another boat and get automatic royalty on unsuspecting crews..
last thursday, two people were found guilty at westminster magistrates court under section 128 of the serious organised crime and police act (socpa), which creates a criminal offence of trespass on certain 'designated' sites. the convictions were related to a banner drop from scaffolding at the front of parliament during the only debate there has ever been about the war in afghanistan.
click on image for larger version. 'some rights reserved' - free for credited non-commercial use, otherwise contact author for permission
last november, maria and seamus managed to confound security, and despite injuring themselves on the very sharp spikes at the top of the fences, they entered the grounds of parliament, ran across to the scaffolding at the front of the house, climbed up and unfurled various banners. after negotiation with the police and security, they managed to remain there for a full 26 hours.
the event was covered at the time on london indymedia, in a series of posts which included first-hand photos and reports from the protestors themselves sent while they were still occupying the front of parliament.
the court case took place in the tiny court 8 at the top of the building, with only one witness from the police as well as the two accused. it was heard by district judge elizabeth roscoe.
during the morning, we heard from detective constable matthews (from counter terrorism command at scotland yard) about the interviews he had with the two protestors after their arrest.
the interviews took place at charing cross police station, and perhaps unwisely given her tired and injured state, maria had elected to talk freely without a lawyer. dc matthews was asked about this, but he assured the court that in all his years in counter-terrorism, interviewing suspected terrorists perhaps thousands of times, he of course would never have any hesitation in stopping an interview if he thought for one minute that the suspect might be over-tired. so maria, with wounded feet, no medical assistance, and no sleep for more than 26 hours, was questioned, without a lawyer present, about her family, her background, her previous employment and means, as well as about the protest itself.
when maria took the stand, she described how with recent opinion polls showing 83% public support for the withdrawal of troops, she had hoped to influence politicians and policy-makers attending first a committee meeting, and then the first ever debate in the house on the war in afghanistan.
the court heard how her dealings with the authorities had been polite, and that despite an obvious opportunity to disrupt the course of parliament, that had not been her aim. asked why she felt the need to protest within the grounds of the palace of westminster, she explained that although it was clearly not an easy place to get to, it was effectively just another building, but that as it was the only debate on the war it was clearly the most important place to reflect public opinion, as it seemed that the majority of the 650 MPs were unlikely to do so.
maria pointed out that the democratic process she was accused of disrupting, was far from democratic, with only a handful of politicians even turning up to sit through the debate, and hundreds voting at the end according to party whips' commands, rather than conscience or public opinion.
the prosecution made much of the fact that maria was a 'full-time' protestor, and that her peace strike 'boxes' and banners opposite the gates of parliament might have already influenced any politicians they were going to. the suggestion was an attempt to undermine the notion that she 'needed' to do this further protest.
the content of one of the banners was also brought up, a large 'squatter's rights' banner, suggesting that the protest had 'occupied' the scaffolding and could not be removed without civil proceedings. the prosecuter tried to suggest that the protestors weren't serious about the war motive , and were taking the opportunity to campaign for squatting rights too!
seamus then took the stand. his original interview (with a lawyer) was a 'no comment' interview, because he'd realised he was so tired. in court, he spoke of his childhood in belfast, and his knowledge of what a military occupation was like. he felt for the afghan people who face raided homes, and murdered innocents every day of their lives. he spoke of how the british presence in afghanistan had led to more civilian deaths. when maria told him about the debate he saw it as a real and exceptional opportunity to influence the politicians, policy makers, and lobbyists, and how even if he could shorten the war by just one day it would save real people's lives.
seamus' defence advocate explored whether he had made any attempt to hold a more 'legitimate' protest, and we heard how seamus had contacted the socpa events team at charing cross, asking for permission to hold his protest within the grounds of westminster palace, but had been told he'd have to go into tower gardens, a small park out of sight from and to the west of parliament, where very few people pass through. he was also denied access to parliament square, "not possible" because it was fenced off by the GLA.
asked about the squatter's rights banners, he explained it wasn't a publicity stunt or a protest about squatting, but that because the scaffolding was a free-standing structure, the section 6 declaration might just buy some extra time for the protest. otherwise there was the distinct possibility that the protest would be removed by a police rope team in a couple of hours.
he spoke about how it was not impossible that the protest might have an effect, and that because a million people marching had not prevented the iraq war from beginning, that this more direct form of protest was necessary and potentially more effective.
the prosecution made much of his previous 'direct actions', including a much shorter banner drop back in may, but seamus pointed out this was different because it was a proper 'occupation', and had been much more dangerous to accomplish as they had rucksacks etc.
the defence simply asked whether there had been a debate on afghanistan going on back in may. of course there hadn't.
in summing up, the prosecution referred to their skeleton argument, already before the magistrate. she also made an extremely distasteful comment that if a strongly-held political belief was the basis of the defence, then that could apply to the 7/7 bombers too. apart from this jibe, she mainly appeared to argue that although the law allows a defence of 'necessity', it couldn't apply in this case, because both maria and seamus were 'full-time protestors' with a 'cause for the day', proven by the fact that the squat banner had nothing to do with afghanistan, and that it couldn't have been a last resort action as seamus had done something similar before. she also argued that the action might not have been 'necessary', because neither protestor could be sure that their previous protests hadn't already influenced the politicians. i found that an odd argument.
maria's defence (barrister ben silverstone from doughty chambers, appointed by bindmans) argued that the test of necessity was that the action was taken in circumstances that a sober person of reasonable purpose would take in the belief that it was necessary.
given that the debate was the first on afghanistan, and that it was taking place within parliament, it was reasonable and necessary to try to take a high profile action at this exceptional event and in this particular place at this exact time. with that purpose in mind, the action was conducted in a manner that was wholly proportionate and reasonable. the squat banner was only taken in the (perhaps misguided) belief that it might be an aid to the aims of the protest to occupy the space for an extended period.
seamus was represented by hodge, jones and allen partner, raj chada. he argued that 'necessity' meant the defendant's reasonable perception and good cause to fear that death or serious injury would result if he didn't take this action. as this was the first vote on the war, seamus reasonably believed it was crucial, and he felt 'impelled' to do this as the vote could have been pivotal to saving lives. his attempts at organising an 'authorised' protest had been denied, refusing him permission to get his views across effectively, with the offer of an out of site venue around the corner.
at this point judge roscoe seemed confused, and then after appearing to clear up the matter, a few minutes later asked some more questions. she'd been under the illusion that seamus had approached the police events dept before his previous banner drop in may, rather than the one in november, the subject of this case. although after some painful reptition, she eventually got this point, it was rather disconcerting that she hadn't grasped these simple facts about the case as they unfolded earlier in the day. it certainly made me wonder if she'd been listening at all, and undermined any confidence i might have had in her ability to reach a fair verdict.
when eventually she'd grasped the timeline, raj continued with his summing up. with the test of necessity met, the issue of the squat banner was a sideshow drummed up by the prosecution as it was clearly there simply to aid the main protest, and the timings and position of the protest was clear, proportionate and reasonable.
after nearly an hour of deliberation judge roscoe told the court that in her mind the protestors were not 'impelled' to take this action and, while they may have reasonably believed their actions were necessary to influence the course of a war in which people are killed, that all sorts of other protests were available to them which were not illegal.
she said that maria was a full-time protestor who believes only in peaceful protest, but that 'impelled' means no other course of action was available, and she didn't believe that was the case. she asked whether a reasonable person of similar 'characteristic' would have done the same thing, but then said that 'characteristic' was not the same thing as beliefs, and so the answer was no. i'm not sure i understood the distinction in this argument.
she accepted that although seamus' previous escapade didn't necessarily mean he couldn't have been 'impelled' to do it this time, she didn't accept that was the case.
both defendants were found guilty, but as both were very peaceful, co-operative, and proportionate, she saw the misdemeanour as an 'overstepping of the mark' rather than a serious offence, (which socpa section 128 can be), and so she would give the minimum sentence she could. she also said she certainly didn't want to discourage lawful protest. she then proceeded to pass a nine month conditional discharge to both defendants. no costs were awarded.
i'd have thought an absolute discharge would actually have been the minimum sentence but what do i know!
suddenly, the prosecution lawyer asked to address the court one more time, on behalf of detective constable matthews. quite how this fits into court protocol no-one knew, and given that a little earlier the judge had refused to hear a comment from one of the spectators in the court who had raised their hand to speak, it was a little surprising we had to hear this post-trial comment. but the lawyer then read out what amounted to a thinly-veiled death threat from the officer, who asked anyone considering similar action to bear in mind that parliamentary security were armed officers, and that someone might get shot next time.
both defence lawyers commented outside that this was an unusual and surprising addition to the legal process.
so there we have british justice. a prosecution lawyer making out that the protestors weren't serious and just went up parliament with a medley of banners including squatter's rights, also trying to compare them to extreme terrorist bombers. a judge who had difficulty grasping the factual timeline of the evidence. and a police witness who hung around after giving evidence and got the prosecution to utter threats at the end of the trial.
still, seamus enjoyed a walk round to parliament square, having been banned from there for the last nine months by draconian bail conditions for what the judge concluded was 'an overstepping of the mark'.
the defendants are considering whether to appeal.
01-08-2011 22:33Two previous articles, 'Of Cups, Rings and Cultural Heritage' & 'Cultural Heritage and the Economy' (Indymedia, August 1, 2011) dealt with recent research on the Hill of Tara and Bend in the Boyne that could open a new chapter in their history, as well as that of hundreds of additional archaeological sites throughout Ireland, the UK and other Atlantic/Mediterranean European countries. More importantly, they discussed the apathy on the part of the politicians, government agencies and archaeologists in Ireland towards that research, and its potential cultural and economic benefits. In all fairness though to the aforementioned, what of the European Union and UNESCO World Heritage Centre, who are just as responsible for protecting the cultural heritage and economies of countries within the Euro Zone.
01-08-2011 21:48Considering the dismal economic state of a growing number of EU nations, it is more important than ever for them to protect their cultural heritage, as it is firmly linked to their economies in the form of tourism. Though one tends to think of cultural heritage as something taught in schools and preserved in museums, it goes well beyond that, as evidenced by the attraction of archaeological and cultural World Heritage Sites to millions around the world. Though sites such as the Bend in the Boyne and Stonehenge play a significant role in our understanding of who we are and where we came from, every site, however small, is just as important, and they deserve to be indentified, excavated, restored and preserved for future generations.
01-08-2011 20:29Norway's immigration figures show that for the public 'immigration' means black or Eastern European and migrants from Western countries are not migrants. Immigration is not about nationalism.
01-08-2011 20:28The following is the first of three articles regarding cultural heritage and its potential benefits to the economies of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other Atlantic/Mediterranean European countries, which given the ever growing number of EU nations seeking bailouts, canʼt be ignored any longer. There are those whoʼve questioned why the cultural heritage of Ireland for example, is of such importance to someone who is a 4th generation Irish-American. The bigger question is why those whoʼve been ʻchargedʼ with protecting the cultural heritage of a nation; the archaeologists, politicians, government agencies, EU and UNESCO, have turned a blind eye to the issue.
1st August 2011
Journalists across the BBC are on strike in their second stoppage against compulsory redundancies.
Here is the picket outside BBC Nottingham this morning
Throughout negotiations with the BBC, the corporation's management has refused to take the necessary steps to avoid compulsory redundancies despite the NUJ offering a range of practical and alternative solutions in an attempt to stop journalists being forced into unemployment.
All the journalists currently affected are willing to accept redeployment and they face an uncertain future through no fault of their own. The BBC is wasting thousands of pounds making skilled and experienced people compulsorily redundant instead of redeploying staff. This is money that should be used to make better programmes and to ensure the future of quality journalism at the corporation.
For example, one NUJ member worked at BBC for many years until being unceremoniously escorted from the building and made compulsorily redundant last Friday (July 22). The member has specialist language skills and a matter of hours after he was dismissed another member of staff was asked to cover work which would have previously been done by the member. Yet the BBC says there is no job for him. Days after his dismissal the BBC externally advertised three posts in the specialist language of the same NUJ member.
The NUJ is demanding that the BBC allow those who have left to gain access to internal BBC jobs and the ability to come back and work. The union is also calling on the BBC to extend the leaving dates of those facing imminent compulsory redundancy.
NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "The BBC's current actions spell disaster for quality journalism, the corporation is wasting thousands of pounds making hard working, skilled and experienced journalists redundant. Instead they should be adopting alternative solutions and redeploy those who are threatened. No one should be forced out of work when there are jobs available for journalists to do.
"By taking strike action members intend to show they are prepared to stand up for colleagues under threat and the union is calling on the corporation to step back from the brink and avoid further industrial action in response to compulsory redundancies at the BBC."
Indymedia: NUJ Strike : members picket at BBC Nottingham
Friday 5th November 2010
Indymedia: Stand up for Journalism : Market Sq, Nottingham Event
NUJ: BBC strike over job cuts
NUJ: latest information on the BBC pensions campaign
National Union of Journalists
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"