July 2004


Black people have been here in Nottingham for over 500 years. You would think that they could claim they lived here by now. But discrimination is so obviously, still an issue. There is ever increasing violence, here in Nottingham. Well it’s a city.  But there has been an increase were race has played a part.  People beaten to the ground, simply for being of another colour. God! 21st century, or what …… Anyway folks locally have had enough, and wanted to protest to draw more attention to the issue, and to prompt the authorities for a little more action. 

Met at the Forest Recreation Ground at 12.00, hundred gathered, then we marched into town, for a rally in the Market Square

Various speakers outlined what’s been happening, council say they will evict tenents who have been involved in such attacks. oh and the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Mr Steve Green,  says they’re trying harder [he's the chap in suit]. So what’s everyone being doing up to now?

So, that all alright then. another 500 years, we’ll have it all sorted.

Also see my PhotoBlog at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=174439

and on Indymedia at:  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/08/295672.html

Have covered a few events, some locally, over the last couple of months.

So here are the collected links to all these. 

Nottingham had it’s Mayday – Stop the War demo on Saturday 2003

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/05/66783.html

Menwith Hill, London, Nottingham, Chetwynd Barracks 2003

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/03/60191.html

photography of ‘STOP THE WAR’ Collected Events 2003

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/03/59936.html

Nottingham Chetwynd Barracks – Stop the War protest against molilisation 2003

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/03/57570.html

Stop the War – Reclaim the Streets 2003

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/03/56831.html

Stonehenge :: Summer Solstice 2003 Pictures

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=4037

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/06/273217.html

and a full-set on my webserver at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2003/index.htm

Nottingham Gay Pride Event – Arboretum Park

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=5440

Manchester Gay Pride 2003

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=4762

‘No-Bush’ demo in Nottingham in Market Square 2003

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=18191

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/11/281074.html

Photography, Security and Jumpin Jaks 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=110150

Nottingham Mayday 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=98095

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/05/290380.html

SchNEWS at Ten Tour passed through Nottingham 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=97625

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/05/290218.html

Nottingham Critical Mass 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=129239

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/292966.html

Colwick ‘Oil’ Demonstration / Blockade 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=129163

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293040.html

Nottingham: Another Anti-G8/McDonalds event 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=131422

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293277.html

D-Day remembered in Nottingham 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=132469

Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=141373

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143062

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143077

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293935.html

and a full-set on my webserver at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2004/index.htm

Newstead TreeFest 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=162996

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/295011.html

Nottingham Gay Pride 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=168364

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/295272.html

and a full-set on my webserver at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/NttmGay2004/index.htm

Nottingham Asian Mela 2004

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=171722

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/295445.html

right then, where to next >>>>>>>

The first ever Nottingham Mela took place on the Forest Recreation Ground, Radford.

The day promised to be a spectacular family festival of music, with exhibitions, displays, stalls, a food arena, funfair and art workshops.

Headliners include:

Orange Street… their first Album “Drive Carefully” was released in 2000, and in 2002 they released “Candywalk” and went on to promote it across various cities. Several songs from “Candywalk” featured in the movie; “Everybody Says I’m Fine” which was shown at Cannes and other major film festivals in Europe and the USA.

Nazami BrothersÉ will be performing the exciting and rhythmic Qawwali in the traditions associated with the sacred shrine of Nizammudin Auliya, Old Delhi. These qawwali singers trace their ancestry to the qawwali singers of the great Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The words are beautiful. The singers will often improvise and spontaneously create poetry as they get more inspired and go into a trance-like state!

AchanakÉ where born in the autumn of 1989, Achanak a six-piece band who have reached great heights of the Bhangra industry. Achanak are an image driven band with powerful and groundbreaking production skills that have attracted international television exposure.

ShaantiÉ the award winning UK institution, where live performers, producers and turntable terrorist create a blueprint for the future of Electronica and Eastern Dance Music. The line-up includes, Dr Zeus, Sonny Ji and Manga.

But best of all, if you are a local budding performer, we want to hear from you! There are still opportunities to perform on the community stage and wow the hordes of Mela goers! In fact there are many opportunities to get involved in this year’s Mela and be part of it all.

For further information or to receive an application form simply call, email or write to: Apna Arts, The Art Exchange, 39 Gregory Boulevard, Hyson Green, Nottingham NG7 6BE or you can call us on 0115 942 2479 or drop us a line at info@apnaarts.org.uk

Don’t miss out on a world of fantastic Mela entertainment; July, Sunday 25th, 2004…Music, DJ’s, bands, Qawwali, Rock, exhibitions, food stall, cloth stalls, displays, workshops, art, crafts and more and all for the grand price of nothing

Apna arts, the pioneers of the South Asian outdoor Mela, have been working with Nottingham Asian Arts Council to ensure Nottingham has its first ever community Mela.     

A spectacular family festival of music, crafts workshops, exhibitions, displays, a funfair and stalls it will be free to enter and will bring together young South Asian people and families from around the country in an environment of creativity, tolerance and respect.

For more information…

Asian Arts Council Telephone: 0115 915 3509/7

http://www.apnaarts.org.uk 

More pictures on my PhotBlog at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=171722

Pride returns to the glorious surrounds of the Arboretum, a beautiful Grade II listed park in the heart of Nottingham City Centre for the second year running in its current incarnation. Pride kicks off at noon running until 6pm.    

Pride is a celebration of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) communities in Nottingham and the surrounding areas, and is open to all. Last year’s Pride, which was the first in Nottingham since 2000, was a huge success, with 4500 people enjoying the magnificent sunshine in the relaxing atmosphere of the Arboretum.    

Bandstand 

The recently restored bandstand once again acts as a unique main stage for an eclectic line up of live acts. Local and regional acts provide a variety of musical styles including café jazz, world music, rock and roll, classic soul and an excess of camp classics!    

Dance Tent 

Local bar The Foresters are running the mini-dance tent (with bar), playing chart toppers and cheesy classics. The perfect place to strut your stuff in the summer sun!    

Other Attractions 

Grab a bite to eat at the food stands, get a drink from one of the bars and shop at the extended market place. For the kids there are inflatable games and a variety of other activities. This year Nottingham Pride has improved toilet facilities.      

Volunteers 

Nottingham Pride is run and managed by a team of dedicated volunteers. Volunteering can bring many rewards; you can make new friends and learn new skills. Nottingham Pride needs your help to make the day run smoothly and the Pride committee are also looking for new members to run Pride 2005 – this is your chance to make a difference!    

For further details, please contact Biddy McMeel on 0115 911 0545 or visit

http://www.nottinghampride.com 

More piccys on my FotoBlog at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=168364

and a full-set on my webserver at: http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/NttmGay2004/index.htm

Also, added an entry on IndymediaUK at: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/295272.html

Last years events, in Nottingham and Manchester at:  http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/09/276422.html

Manchester Gay Pride at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=4762

Nottingham Gay Pride Event – Arboretum Park at:  http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=5440

I was excited to discover that I could still use a Reversing Ring, on my earlier Nikon lenses.  Using my 50mm and 28mm, when reversed, produce quite large magnifications.  As they are old lenses, the camera would only meter in manual mode anyway. Clearly when reversing a lens, the same is true.  With digital, I doesn’t matter that much, since by shooting a few test shots, and reviewing them like a polaroid test, an assesment can be made.  Or of course, you can use a hand-held meter.

Flash is not a problem either.  I used a small guide number mini unit. 

Set on manual, I moved the flash to and fro, keeping a very low angle for the relief.  All should be adjusted, so that small aperture can be used, when ‘stopped down’, thus helping with the very fine depth of field.

Anyway, these are the subjects, colour is teriffic and detail shown on the coins, give an idea of what is possible.  Am inspired to do more of these.  Watch this space ……

More on my PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=167440

This is the beginning of a new chapter for SchNEWS – doing their own films, and showing them at  SchLIVE satirical news shows and other screenings, as well as putting them up for free download on our site.

Here is a few ones they made – mostly from our national SchNEWS at Ten tour in April 2004

http://www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies/index.htm

SchNEWS at Ten Tour is passing through Nottingham, on my PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=97625

Well since Thursday last week, I’m now the owner of a Nikon D70 dSLR camera with an 18mm-70mm DX lens. {Oh, and can use my old Nikon lenses, but in manual mode.  Still very useful]

So, to get used to the cameras behaviour, settings, response to colour, biases, I tried a number of subjects, movement and colours.

This set is not about anything, just what’s floated past me in the last few days ….

On my photoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=164881

 

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=163975

Well, the festival had largely finished, [see yesterday] and was getting set to leave. Walking down the track, this teenager says, “I’ll do a wheely for you mister”.  And gosh, he does, for about 30 feet.  I took a few on the motor wind, but these few give the idea.

Then, just by the gate, there is a pretty ‘backdrop’, drapped over a wall.  Intersting in it own right I thought, so I did a few of the artwork.  Some kids, when they see someone with a camera, frequently say “take my picture mister”, and so did these three.  I’m a bit biased perhaps, but think these ones are splendid and spontaneous.

 

 

More pictures on Indymedia at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/295011.html

With a bigger set on my Photoblog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=162996

check ‘em out ……..

A pleasent weekend event, attended by young and old. A community festival, now entering its 6th Year. The weather was uncertain though, with the occassional shower, sending ‘em scurrying to the marquees.

http://www.treefest.co.uk/index.htm

Newstead Treefest is a weekend festival focusing on music, arts, crafts, health and the environment held on a reclaimed Greenfield site formerly the location of Newstead Colliery in Newstead Village, Nottinghamshire.

 

Map: http://www.multimap.com/p/browse.cgi?local=h&scale=50000&pc=NG150BS

 

The  D70 Nikon Digital SLR.  Have been waiting for progress and  developments for ages. The quality / value of this device is amazing, and I have decided to get one.

They have been humungus abouts of money, but are falling in price and, specs are still going up. 

Here are a couple of Nikon pages about it, but there are large numbers of reviews and advice, so, am ploughing through it as and when I can.

http://nikonimaging.com/global/products/digitalcamera/slr/d70/index.htm

http://www.europe-nikon.com/details.aspx?countryid=20&languageid=22&prodId=909&catId=91

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond70

Any photographers with a view about this camera, or, with any advice to offer me, please drop me a mail. 

 

Manufacturer’s DescriptionNikon is pleased to announce the introduction of a new interchangeable-lens digital SLR camera that delivers Nikon’s patented digital and photographic performance, high resolution, sharp detail and accurate, vivid colour combined with a new level of advanced functions and automated operation: the Nikon D70.

Continuing the heritage of hallmark Nikon digital performance established with the launch of the D1 and successful introduction of the Nikon DX Format in1999, the D70 stands ready to expand the digital SLR camera market. Designed for a broad range of customers, from novices to serious and experienced photo enthusiasts, the D70 allows photographers to easily adopt digital technology into their existing camera system, or to begin building a system that will bring ongoing enjoyment in the future.

The D70 employs the popular Nikon DX Format sensor and Nikon F lens mount design. This maintains seamless compatibility with all AF Nikkor lenses while allowing photographers to take full advantage of high quality DX Nikkor lenses, designed exclusively for Nikon’s D-series digital SLR cameras and optimised to achieve outstanding centre-to-edge-to-corner image quality. Developed concurrently as a perfect match for daily use with the D70 and compatible with all Nikon D-Series SLR models, the new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED combines top performance and outstanding value.

The D70 is ready to use the instant it is turned on. The 5-area autofocus system is fast and precise, and includes an AF-assist illuminator to help maximize performance even in dark shooting conditions. It can shoot a rapid 3 frames per second for a continuous burst of 144 pictures (when using JPEG NORMAL – Large settings, and a SanDisk SDCHF256MB CompactFlash card) thanks to improved buffer memory handling, faster image processing, increased memory card access speed and greater system bus bandwidth.

Controls are located for easy access and smooth operation. Menus are presented clearly and in plain language on the large LCD monitor. All the camera’s systems have been optimised to deliver quick response. And, innovative new shooting options have been added to simplify the photographic process, whether controlled manually or via advanced automatic operation. Nikon’s seven new automated Digital Vari-Program selections accessed from the new Mode dial offer a combination of personal control and powerful automatic operation that helps achieve great results under even the most complex shooting conditions.

Shutter speeds of 30 to 1/8,000 sec. ensure full creative control. The built-in auto pop-up flash can synchronize at shutter speeds of up to 1/500 sec. for great fill flash effects. Sensitivity can be set between ISO 200 to 1600 or controlled automatically across the same range of settings to maximize available light.

A new 6.1 effective megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD image sensor featuring wider dynamic range and a higher signal to noise ratio produces 3,008 x 2,000-pixel images with high resolution and superbly sharp details suited for making large prints, or for cropping for creative detail.

The D70′s advanced System LSI processor is programmed for next generation performance to produce the finest in vivid colours and clarity, while maximizing the speed of file compression, memory buffer handling, simultaneous recording of JPEG and NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) files, and near-instant LCD image display.

Nikon’s acclaimed 3D Colour Matrix Meter with 1,005-pixel sensor assures accurate auto TTL white balance. Six different manual white balance modes, preset white balance, and white balance bracketing are also available for full creative control. Exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation combine with auto exposure bracketing to further aid in achieving the perfect shot.

The rechargeable high-energy EN-EL3 lithium-ion battery that earned high acclaim in the D100 delivers the power to shoot up to 2,000 images on a single charge. The D70 also comes with a battery holder, which lets you use disposable batteries as well, should the need or desire arise.

Diverse playback options, versatile custom settings, a USB interface for easy connectivity or direct printing to any PictBridge compatible printer, and a bevy of other features packed into the lightest and most compact Nikon digital SLR camera to date make the D70 the best performing camera in its class.

Box Contents

DX lens specially developed for Digital SLRs, the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70 f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED

Quick Charger MH-18

Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL3

Nikon Software CD-ROM

Video cable

USB cable

LCD monitor cover BM-4

MS-D70 CR2 battery holder

Neck Strap AN-D70

Body cap

Eyepiece cap With the lens: Front cap LC-67, back cap LF-1, lens soft case

Quite an interesting weekend. I had used the projectors at the party, and before I packed it all away on sunday evening, though I’d try these out.

It didn’t work to well on Cassy’s black skin, but on us whities …..

I tried a few using some transparencies I’d taken of an abstract painting. Tried a few to look for form, texture, saturation, composition, oh a few variables really, but what’s pleasing is more important. So I did some of myself, then Ben did some of me. Then I did some of Ben …….

We got Henry’s pants down, and did him as well.

I’m going to try some of these, using photographs on bodies.

What about a picture of a body, projected on the body. A future fine arts project perhaps.

More examples from this series at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=156271

More hippies discovered.

Dop into the forum at

http://uk-hippy.com

and check it out. I have just joined. I think I’m a hippy

On 12 January 2004 one of the very few uplifting victories for Travellers facing eviction occurred at Bulkington Fields, when over 100 Travellers living at the site dug ditches, built barricades, and resisted together a shameful eviction of the families from land

they owned. The successful battle against bailiffs (Constant and Co) and the council gave the Travellers time to get an injunction until their case was decided at High Court, bringing up issues of caused homelessness under the Human Rights Act. They lost this case and knew they faced imminent eviction, but thought they might receive some notice of the day that they would be forced off their land they were wrong.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/3387447.stm

In the early morning hours of Wedenesday, 30 June an estimated 100 bailiffs and police in riot gear without any prior warning stormed the site and forcefully evicted the families from their homes and land, arresting 4 people. Their land paid for in full has been repossessed by the council to cover the cost of the eviction. Any hope for continuity,

education, or stability for their children has lost for now.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/3852573.stm

In protest, the Travellers are now squatting local land. We are waiting to see what support they need. In the meantime, we are asking people to do what little is possible at the moment and send letters of protest to Nuneaton council at the email addresses listed below.

Protest to: planning@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk

legal@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk

* * * * * *

Four held as travellers evicted BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/3852573.stm

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of a breach of the peace as six families of travellers were evicted from a plot of land in Warwickshire.

About 100 police officers and bailiffs moved in to the site in Wolvey Road, Bulkington, at 0730 BST on Wednesday.

The travellers had already lost a fight in the High Court to stay on the land.

The council, which has offered to re-house the families, had to postpone an earlier eviction attempt when the group set fire to caravans to deter bailiffs.

Police said that all four people arrested have since been released without charge.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council has been trying for years to get the travellers to leave the site, which they own but built on without planning permission.

A spokesman for the travellers said bailiffs and police in riot gear turned up at the site on Wednesday morning.

“Only six out of the normal 20 families are on the site as the rest are off travelling.

“When they return they will have no homes,” he told BBC News Online.

“There are lots of bailiffs here and police in riot gear carrying batons are stood behind them.

“They don’t understand that we have nowhere to go, we’re just going to have to pack up and pull into the nearest lay-by.”

About 20 families have been living on land for three years.

The council offered to re-house the families in permanent homes after winning an eviction order at the High Court in November.

The group refused the offer on the basis that the houses would not be compatible with their way of life.

David Wilshaw, the solicitor representing the travellers, told BBC News Online he was trying to find ways to protect the group.

“A High Court judge told the local authority there should be cooperation, but I don’t call bailiffs turning up on the doorstep at 7 or 8am without prior warning co-operation by any means.”

But Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council denied it had acted unreasonably.

Alan Franks, director of environmental services, said: “I would argue they (the travellers) had plenty of advance notice to leave the site.

“This unlawful development has been on site in excess of three years.”

Although the travellers own the site in Bulkington, they were served with an eviction order because they put up fences and driveways on the green belt land without planning permission.

The council postponed an eviction in January after the group dug trenches, formed a human shield and set fire to caravans to prevent bailiffs from evicting them.

But after two years of legal wrangling, which cost the local authority just under £100,000, the High Court last month upheld an earlier ruling that the authority was within its rights to evict the families.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/3852573.stm

Five protesters arrested at RAF Fairford on the eve of the Iraq war start

their bid to win a landmark ruling at the appeal court today. Clare Dyer

explains

Clare Dyer

Tuesday June 29, 2004

The Guardian

It was just after seven on the night of March 13 2003 when Margaret Jones

and Paul Milling saw the helicopter fly over RAF Fairford. From their

reconnoitres of the base, they knew that meant the coast was clear. There

were rumblings of war, and massed ranks of US B-52 bombers stood ready

to take off for Iraq once the word came through. Though the two peace

activists didn’t know it then, the US and Britain were to launch their

armed strike on Iraq just one week later.

Jones, 55, a former university lecturer in American literature from Bristol,

and Milling, 57, a handyman from Birmingham who now lives in the Lake

District, are members of the peace group Trident Ploughshares. They met

at a protest at Fairford, but with war looming they felt they had to

do more than just wave banners and march. They decided to try to disable

the tankers used for refuelling the planes and the trailers that transported

the bombs for loading on to the bombers.

“The obvious thing would be to disable a plane. But if you do a plane

it’s one plane and there are 14 of them,” explains Jones. “But if you

do the support system, you have the potential capacity to ground the

whole fleet for quite a while. We thought, if they haven’t got fuel on

the planes yet and they haven’t got the bombs on, they’re not going anywhere

till they’ve sorted out those two jobs.”

A full moon lit their way as they slipped down a back road and slit the

chain-link fence with bolt cutters. They were in the bomb compound full

of low loaders and trailers used for transporting the bombs to the planes.

“We put sand in a couple of petrol tanks and cut the brake pipes on as

many low loaders as we could reach.” At one point, when they were under

the low loaders, “we heard American voices and a pair of legs in camouflage

appeared. We waited for a face to come down and find us”. But the men

went away. “We put labels on some of the vehicles saying ‘out of order’,

‘illegal activity’, ‘do not use’, so nobody would have an accident.”

Crossing the road and deploying their bolt cutters again, they entered

the main airfield. “We went into a fuel compound where we found three

big fuel tankers. The first cab we tried swung open and there was a key

in the ignition. We took a hammer and smashed all the windows and the

dials on the cab. Having smashed all this glass, we thought surely now

somebody would come and arrest us but nobody came. We worked very thoroughly

through the other two vehicles.

“Just then a long shadow fell and a young American soldier came round

the corner and looked absolutely horrified. I felt more for that guy

than for me because he look absolutely freaked. He had a gun but he pointed

it at the ground the whole time.”

The US military put the cost of their night’s work at more than £80,000.

Milling and Jones now face trial on charges of criminal damage, which

could put them in jail for up to 10 years. With a trial looming, both

media and defendants are usually circumspect about what they say for

fear of prejudicing the outcome. But unlike most defendants pleading

not guilty to serious criminal charges, Milling and Jones readily admit

what they did. They argue, however, that they have a defence which could

allow a jury to acquit them – that they were trying to prevent an illegal

war.

In a hearing which starts today in the court of appeal, three judges

will decide how far that defence is open to them and to three other peace

activists who also breached, or tried to breach, the fences at Fairford

in the lead-up to the war. Toby Olditch and Philip Pritchard broke into

Fairford on March 18, and in a separate initiative Josh Richards was

arrested on the same day trying to enter the base. Pritchard, 33, and

Olditch, 35, both from Oxford, who tried to ground bombers, are charged

with conspiring to cause criminal damage and possessing articles, including

bolt cutters and glue, with intent to destroy or damage property.

Richards, 30, of Bristol, was caught trying to get into the base with

pliers, cigarette lighters and containers of petrol mixed with detergent.

He faces charges of attempted arson, criminal damage to the fence, and

having articles with him which he intended to use to damage or destroy

property.

The five face three separate trials but all deny the charges and are

putting forward the same defences. Last month a high court judge, Mr

Justice Grigson, ruled that the courts are barred from inquiring into

the legality of the war. Matters of defence and foreign policy, including

decisions to launch a war, are covered by crown prerogative and cannot

be questioned in a court of law, he said.

But in an unprecedented ruling, the judge held that while foreign policy

cannot be examined in court, the “secondary effects” of the policy can.

So the five would be entitled to mount a defence on the basis that they

were acting to prevent the commission of war crimes as set out in the

International Criminal Court Act 2001. The act does not make the waging

of war a crime, but categorises certain specific acts committed abroad

as offences triable in the UK courts. These acts include attacking or

bombing undefended buildings which are not military objectives, or

destroying

enemy property where this is not demanded by the necessities of war.

The five want to raise three standard defences to criminal charges -

two applicable to any crime and the third only to charges of criminal

damage – which entitle a jury, if it accepts that any of them applied

to the circumstances of the defendants’ actions, to acquit them of what

would otherwise be a crime. The judge ruled that these three defences

could, in principle, be put before the juries at their trials. The first

defence is that they were acting through necessity to prevent death or

serious injury – that they reasonably believed Iraqis would be killed

or seriously injured and that they acted reasonably and proportionately

to try to prevent it, even though their actions were themselves a crime.

The second is that they were trying to prevent a crime, a defence allowed

under the Criminal Law Act 1967. They say that the manner in which force

was to be used in Iraq amounted to a war crime.

The third defence is “lawful excuse”, which applies only to cases of

criminal damage. This is available where a defendant believes his actions

were reasonable to prevent danger to property – in this case, the property

of the Iraqi people who were about to be bombed.

Both prosecution and defence are appealing against the judgment. The

defence hopes to overturn the ruling barring any inquiry into the legality

of the war. The crime of “aggression”, defence lawyers argue, is an offence

contrary to international and domestic law, which the five were trying

to prevent. The prosecution, on the other hand, argues that the defences

of necessity and lawful excuse are not available where action is taken

to prevent the use of force in a foreign country in the exercise of a

crown prerogative which is not itself challengeable in the UK courts.

So far the courts have refused all attempts to persuade them to pronounce

on the legality of the war against Iraq. The Campaign for Nuclear

Disarmament

went to the high court in December 2002 to argue that a fresh UN resolution

was required before war could be launched on Iraq, but the judges decided

they had no power to interpret a UN resolution.

Whether the war was lawful or unlawful is not an issue that will trouble

the judges hearing today’s appeal either. They will simply have to decide

which defences the law allows the Fairford Five to put forward. Once

the trial starts and the evidence is heard, it will still be open to

the trial judge to exclude a particular defence on the evidence.

Nor will the 36 jurors in the three trials have to make up their minds

on the war’s legality when the time comes for their deliberations. Their

task will be to decide what the defendants believed at the time, whether

their belief was reasonable, and whether their response was reasonable

and proportionate. And, since juries’ views are secret, we will never

know the reasons for the verdicts they eventually give.

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