November 2003

This is what it is all about. Read the paper, and be very frightened!

Sweeping new emergency laws to counter UK terror.

The Independent, 23 November 2003

By Andy McSmith, Political Editor

Sweeping measures to deal with terrorist attacks and other emergencies are to be announced this week, giving the Government power to over-ride civil liberties in times of crisis, and evacuate threatened areas, restrict people’s movements and confiscate property.

The Civil Contingencies Bill, which covers every kind of disaster from terrorism to the weather, will be the biggest shake-up of emergency laws since the early part of the last century, replacing legislation which saw the UK through a world war and the IRA bombing campaign.

Some of the proposals in the draft version of the Bill, drawn up in the summer, have alarmed civil rights activists, notably a clause that gives the Government the power to suspend parts or all of the Human Rights Act without a vote by MPs.

Once an emergency has been proclaimed by the Queen, the Government can order the destruction of property, order people to evacuate an area or ban them from travelling, and “prohibit assemblies of specified kinds” and “other specified activities”.

If these rules had been in force during the Iraq war, critics say, they cou ld have been used to to ban street demonstrations, making anyone who travelled to protest guilty of a criminal offence. After a major terrorist attack, forums made up of local councils, the emergency services and utility companies would be put in charge of trying to get shattered communities back together.

Other measures will be welcomed as a timely reaction to last week’s carnage in Istanbul, where 57 people were killed and hundreds injured by suicide bombers.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, defended government actions saying: “While we must be vigilant, and of course defend our own staff and those using the consulates and embassies, we also have to exercise a degree of common sense . It is very good intelligence that actually saves you in the end, not massive concrete blocks around every piece of British territory abroad.”

The US already has the Patriot Act, rushed through Congress after the 11 September attacks, which has been criticised for its effect on civil liberties. Such fears will have been heightened yesterday by General Tommy Franks, who commanded the coalition troops in Iraq and who has become the first high-ranking US official to talk openly about scrapping the Constitution in the wake of a major terrorist attack.

“The worst thing that could happen is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties,” he warned.

The effect of an attack on that scale could be to provoke Americans to “question our own Constitution and to begin to militarise our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event – which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution,” he said.

The Civil Contingencies Bill, which is being handled by the Cabinet Office minister Douglas Alexander, will be announced in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech . More details will be made public on Friday, when a committee off MPs and peers publish their conclusions after four months examining the proposals.

Civil liberties groups have been alarmed by the Cabinet Office’s sweeping definition of an “emergency” and the powers it confers. It is defined as an y event that represents a serious threat to the welfare of the population, th e environment, political or economic stability or security of any part of the UK. This includes wars, floods, a breakdown of power supplies, outbreaks of animal diseases or any situation that “causes or may cause disruption of the activities of Her Majesty’s Government”.

Gareth Crossman of Liberty said: “We are not saying that the Government shouldn’t have powers to deal with civil emergencies, or that they shouldn’t be brought up to date, but we are concerned that they have been extremely

broadly drawn.”

A report from the front !!!! I don’t do ‘social photography’ either, does the following tail, give any idea why??? 🙂

-) Let me tell you about my last experience, for an Art Ed friend, who wanted reportage-style for her wedding to a publisher at a certain large East Midlands company.

– 0800 start: shots of the groom drinking a quarter-pint glass of brandy, while he gets dressed. Pissed witless by 0830

– 1100 : wedding itself passes off without incident at registry office, chaos outside afterwards as bride does her pieces at drunk new husband. Puzzled looks from many who know her as a serious drinker who has twice busted her leg when falling down.

– 1200 : groom adjourns to mens’ room at reception hotel, where he munches a piece of hash big enough to fell a horse, and does a couple of lines of coke, all off camera. I only hear about it when…

– 1300 : luncheon speeches. Mayhem and consternation among bride’s family as swaying, ashen groom begins ‘I would like to shayy that I have never done so much drugs…’. He goes on to explain how he and the bride hardly know each other but, on the positive side, may grow to love each other in time. Bride, who’s now arseholed herself, bursts into tears, father tries

to calm her down. Somehow order is restored, telegrams read, and gifts opened. One turns out to be a full bondage set, chains, handcuffs, bullwhip, studded leather mask, basque, belts, restraints. (Aunties now on verge of coronary arrest. They don’t know that the bride has previous, having cuffed the groom to a bed and gone out shopping, met a friend and

forgotten about him for 7hrs). Groom says something to Bride, who storms out and is not seen again. Guests adjourn to bar, commence therapeutic drinking.

– 1800: journo guest eats goldfish from the hotel’s fishtank, for a bet

– 2300: decorated-to-the-point-of-vandalism groom’s car placed on bricks, to prevent him trying to drive. Which is unlikely on all fours.

– 2330: I flee the scene, terrified of a predatory woman guest who seems to have decided I’m ‘giving her a lift home’ in the Biblical sense.

Three weeks later, just after I delivered a bunch of prints and the bill, the groom left his wife for another man.

I never did get paid. She’d suffered enough without me hassling her for money for a reminder of her spectacularly disastrous, humiliating, life-ruining special day.

(Still bitter & twisted after doing one “journo” wedding)

I DON’T do weddings 🙂

Have discovered this resource to share with you:

They say-

“Welcome to freeB.E.A.G.L.E.S. legal resource centre for UK political activists

Anyone who tries to bring about change for the better is going to come into contact with the law. This is inevitable, but it is nothing to be intimidated by. You have the right to protest and to be heard. In this website we provide materials to introduce you to your legal rights, and to what to expect if you are misfortunate to run into trouble with the law.

It is important to know your rights and to stand up for them to prevent them being taken from you. Often the police and others will use intimidation and ignorance to suppress those who want to change the status quo for the better. By being informed you help yourself and your movement.

This website is created by activists for activists. Though it has a bias towards animal rights activities, it is equally applicable to human rights and environmental activists. If you see any errors, or would like to see anything included, or have links to suggest, please let us know by dropping an email to

There page of relevant article is especially to be checked out:

‘No-Bush’ demo in Nottingham in Market Square. Starting with a public trial of this bloke for crimes at 12:00 noon and at 5pm, a sit-down and march around town.

A trial of President GW. Bush, was held in the Market Square, Nottingham this afternoon. Hundreds turned out in the city centre, to demonstrate dis-pleasure at this mans activities, and to hold him to account! The jury heard the evidence presented, that he was general bad-hat. He was found guilty.

Later, many more turned out, heard speeches and then went of for a march around town to gather yet more support and show our feelings for this visit and policy.

This was what we did in Nottingham, a small part of the international effort.

Here is a selection of photos, describing the day …..

On Indymedia at:

& on my FotoPages Blog at:

more ‘stop the war’ work at:

The Freelance is the bulletin of London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists. These are some of the articles the newsletter has run about difficulties faced by reporters on demonstrations, and what can be done about them. They link to more. All reflect personal views.

* * * * * *

Difficulty in taking photographs:

Photo-Journalist ‘Hassle’ list:

Assorted Legal Hassle:

Bare Your Bum at Bush!


This site is to keep to up with the mans’ itinerary … Help us track George W. Bush across London!


the ‘main’ UK National Demonstration Thursday 20th November

Assemble 2pm at Malet Street, Central London (nearest tubes: Goodge Street, Russell Square and Euston/Euston Sq). March to Trafalgar Square where a statue of George Bush will be pulled down. This event will continue until 7pm to allow for people coming from work.

Route: Malet St – Russell Square – Southampton Row – Kingsway – Aldwych – Waterloo Bridge – York Road – Westminster Bridge – Parliament Square – Whitehall – Trafalgar Square. [MAP]

If there is only one STOP BU$H event that you can make – this is the one.

“Public order situations” can be difficult. Especially if you’re a photographer, and the only place you can do it from is in the thick of it: often sandwiched between police officers, who just want everyone to go away (or stay put, depending on their orders) and protesters, some not seeing a difference between press and police photographers.

The NUJ has held a series of meetings with the Metropolitan Police to see how things can be improved. On 5 November (at 8am!) General Secretary Jeremy Dear, with LFB members Molly Cooper, Jess Hurd, Paul Mattsson and I met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter, Commander Mike Messenger and press officer Anna DeVries.

A particular issue is that the union consistently gets reports of police officers failing, or refusing, to recognise the Press Card or appearing not to be aware of the system for verifying cards using a PIN. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) will, we heard, soon circulate guidelines and publicity about the press card to police stations.

The Met agreed to look at ways in which the union can be involved in briefings before major events, and at least at ways of making sure that the needs of journalists are mentioned at these.

Andy Trotter said that the problem of journalists being held in pens with protesters will “perhaps be a decreasing issue”. Asked what a journalist who needs to get through a police line should do, he said: “Get to the cordon and talk to a supervisor – the sergeant or inspector – look for stripes and pips”.

If you can’t do that, call the Met Department of Public Affairs 24-hour number: 020 7230 2171.

The force will also look at ways that these issues can be raised in Public Order training. We hope to arrange a visit by members to the new Gravesend training centre.

Of course, problems are as likely to arise in the course of normal policing or outside London as they are in major events in the Met area. We hope to arrange a meeting with ACPO to begin to deal with these issues more generally.

We need to hear how these things are playing out on the streets. If you are obstructed – or assisted – by police, please don’t just shrug, but go to log a brief report, as soon as possible after the event. Mike.

16th November 2003, London: Protest group pulled off its most daring demonstration so far, when a group of it’s members stripped naked in Parliament Square and spelt out a stark message for Tony Blair and George Bush on the grass in front of Westminster Palace; NO GM AMBUSH.

The US administration recently lodged an official complaint against the EU with the World Trade Organisation, claiming that the current ban on the import of GM foods, and the commercial growing of GM crops is a violation of international trade law.

“Having contaminated their own food chain, and their own continent with GM crops, they are now looking increasingly isolated in the global market place” claimed Mr Grenville. “North American farmers are currently losing more than $600M per year in former exports to the EU, because Europeans no longer trust their food. The only way out for Bush and his Biotech friends is to forcibly bring Europe down to the same level using WTO regulations – this amounts to a GM Ambush!”

“From every angle the government has looked, farm trials, economic, scientific, public debate, the same message, ‘NO GM’ ,has come back. What part of NO GM does Blair not understand?” said Grenville

“Likewise the public now know they were deceived about the war,” said Grenville. We believe there is a much bigger hidden agenda beneath this so called “war on terror”. Bush’s dangerous adventures are the start of a long and protracted 21st Century war over the world’s remaining major oil reserves.

If Bush redirected his multi billion dollar war chest to developing alternative renewable sources of energy, and promoting peace instead of fear, then we could start to build the sustainable future that is essential to the survival of our species on this planet. This would also undermine any support that terrorists currently enjoy”.

When challenged about the risqué nature of this most recent form of protest, Grenville retorts; “Nudity and Art, and Art and Politics have always enjoyed close associations. Bare Witness merely blends the three together in a way that enables people to convey their message in an eye catching and peaceful way.


SHEFFIELD: Sheffield and Yorkshire Demonstration in Sheffield against the war criminals Bush and Blair,in conjuction with anti-war protests across Europe.


London: Morning: Bare Witness invite you to spell out NO GM AMBUSH on Sunday morning 16th November in central London.

London: Screening of “Born on The 4th of July” introduced by Ron Kovic at the Prince Charles Cinema,


LONDON: March the day Bush arrives in the UK: assemble 6pm Lincolns Inn Fields, Holborn tube.Route to include ExxonMobil to US Embassy


Cambridge: Wednesday the 19th there will be a Protest rally at 6:00pm

in the Market square in Cambridge.

Sheffield: Wednesday 19th November Stop Bush! End the Occupations! Dinnertime protest against the visit of George Bush, Further protest planned for after work, student protests happening all day.12pm and 5pm at the Town Hall/Peace Gardens.

London: 11am Alternative state procession. Assemble at Jubilee gardens, South bank.

London: 11am School students rally. Parliament Sq.

London: 12pm Street party, Central London, location yet to be


London: 1pm O-I-L Womens peace picnic. Top end, Trafalgar Sq.

London: 3pm Tea party at Buckingham palace.

London: 4.30pm Picket of the Esso building, Aldwich.


London: 1pm: outside the Odeon, Marble Arch. From there a silent ‘Dharma-Yatra-style’ walk to Buckingham Palace where we will sit and meditate. 07810 822786 FOR MORE INFO.

National Demonstration in London, March is from Malet Street, Central London to Trafalgar Square where a statue of George Bush will be pulled down.

Cambridge Stop the War Coalition is organising coach transport leaving Cambridge at 12:00 noon. Tickets are £5/£10 unwaged/waged Sheffield STWC also organising coaches: PLEASE RING TO BOOK 07761 471 441 and please leave your name and a contact number. Tickets will be priced £20 adult, £15 student, £10 unwaged. Assemble Paternoster Row at 7:30am. Other coaches from Sheffield University.

Mass walkout from schools in London (and elsewhere): already 4 schools in Bromley…


Guantanamo Bay Protest Friday 21st November, 11am Outside the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square. Nearest tube: Bond Street. Also on Friday will be the LAAW National Day of Action on the 21st November to launch investigation of war crimes by Tony Blair PM.

NYTimes Article By Warren Hoge – Published: November 6, 2003

LONDON, Nov. 5 – President Bush, who has been shielded from protests in recent travels, arrives in Britain on a state visit in two weeks, and the police here are weighing how to control promised street demonstrations without resorting to crowd control measures that could be seen as curbing free expression.

“There will be substantial demonstrations over President Bush’s visit – as much as 50,000 to 60,000 people,” Sir John Stevens, the Scotland Yard chief, told the Police Complaints Authority. “Apart from ensuring his safety, which is our primary concern, we have to ensure the demonstrations are allowed to take place in the normal way we do in this democracy.” Mr. Bush is the least popular American president in memory with Britons, and Prime Minister Tony Blair has been castigated by critics as the president’s poodle” for being Mr. Bush’s loyal ally and fighting an unpopular United States-led war in Iraq.

“A central problem for Bush in Britain is that while he is greeted with wary respect at 10 Downing Street, his unilateralism and folksy Texas style don’t go down well with the chattering classes, who regard him as exceedingly dangerous and something of a buffoon,” said Anthony King, professor of government at Essex University.

Mr. King said that while Mr. Bush profits from appearing with Mr. Blair, the president’s presence is a liability for Mr. Blair.

“Bush’s visit will remind people, and not just the members of the chattering classes, of what Blair has done that they dislike most,” he said, “namely, joining the United States in the war in Iraq.”

On his recent visit to Australia, another ally of the United States during the Iraqi war, Mr. Bush left after 21 hours and was whisked down roads clear of ordinary people. He avoided Sydney, where tens of thousands had come out to protest the war earlier this year, in favor of Canberra, the less contentious capital city.

The visit to London is certain to meet protests from militants representing a wide range of causes, who are expected to congregate here. “Many groups and activists are uniting to make London inhospitable for Bush,” the Web site for Global Resistance predicts. “We need to make the place as unwelcome as possible.”

The London police were harshly criticized in 1999 when they cracked down on actions against the visiting Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, and a Scotland Yard spokesman said that in light of that episode, the police were now being counseled to make sure policing was “appropriate, relevant and proportionate”

Ghada Razuki, spokeswoman for the Stop the War Coalition, said that while the police were restricting access to the government center, they were raising no objections to plans for large street protests and a demonstration in London’s traditional forum of dissent, Trafalgar Square. “The police have said to us directly that it is our democratic right to march, and that they want to uphold that,” Ms. Razuki said. During Mr. Bush’s trip to Asia in October, both the agenda and the security arrangements assured that he saw few protesters. He met Indonesian leaders on Bali, a Hindu-dominated resort island where anti-American feeling does not run as high as in Jakarta, the capital of what is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. In Manila, demonstrators were kept far from Mr. Bush and his arrival at the Philippine Congress was delayed until a large crowd could be dispersed.

In Britain, Mr. Bush will travel by helicopter and limousine and is unlikely to confront protesters personally, but their presence will be far more visible than on his Asian swing.

“We want to make sure that the biggest photo opportunities are ones of streets filled with protesters,” Ms. Razuki said.

Mr. Bush will arrive in London the evening of Nov. 18 and begin the public part of his state visit the next morning with a formal reception followed by a speech in an as yet undisclosed public hall in London before an audience of dignitaries. The queen will give a banquet in his honor at Buckingham Palace that night. He will leave on Nov. 21 after meetings with Mr. Blair.

A webpage has now been set-up by Fairford Peacewatchers for any new information concerning the build up of US warplanes over the highlands of Scotland.


On 31st October 2003, and after verifying with witnesses, Scottish CND put out an email which included the following:

“U.S Air Strike in the Middle East imminent? Since Saturday (01/11/03), people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes on Libyai in the1980’s as well as the first Gulf War.”

SCOTTISH CND, 15 Barrland Street, Glasgow, G41 1QH. Tel: 0141 423 1222

If you get receive any new info also email:


Last week High Court judges threw out Liberty’s case against the Met Police for their use of the section 44 Stop and Search provision (Terrorism Act 2000) against protestors at the DSEi Arms Fair in London last month. The lawyers representing two of 50 demonstrators who were searched, claimed that citizens have a legitimate right to peacefully protest and that being stopped and searched while doing so is a violation of human rights.

When Blunkett introduced this draconian piece of legislation, he promised parliament that use of section 44 would be strictly limited to cases where there was good reason to suspect terrorism – you know, like when people are concealing guns, tanks, hawk jets etc. about their persons – or inside buildings like the ExCel Centre in the Docklands. Liberty will appeal the decision.

Continuing its fine record of human rights violations dressed up as “anti-terror”, the government is also in trouble with Amnesty this week because of those pesky foreigners it banged up in Belmarsh prison nearly two years ago without charge or trial. On October 29th a Special Immigration Appeal Commission (SIAC) found that the Home Secretary could continue to keep the 8 men imprisoned indefinitely as he had “reasonable grounds” to believe they are terrorists. In what it calls a “perversion of justice”, Amnesty says the burden of proof is “shockingly low” and that much of the “evidence” against the men was extracted under torture in the US and is therefore inadmissable under International Law. Problem is that the government’s decided to keep all this “evidence” secret – even from the accused themselves, who therefore are unable to challenge it or defend themselves.

Did someone say “the presumption of innocence is fundamental to fair criminal trials”? Not in Britain, mate.

 High court rejects claim that tactics used at arms fair were illegal

Rebecca Allison Saturday November 1, 2003 The Guardian,3605,1075445,00.html

Civil rights campaigners yesterday lost their bid for a high court ruling that anti-terrorism laws were used unlawfully to stop and search demonstrators at an international arms fair in east London.

The challenge was brought against the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, and the home secretary, David Blunkett, after protesters outside the Excel Centre in the Docklands last month were confronted by officers using special powers under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Scotland Yard initially denied using the legislation but later admitted it had been used in some cases during the £1m policing operation.

Lord Justice Brooke and Mr Justice Maurice Kay said the use of the random stop and search powers and any violation of human rights had been justified in the light of the threat of terrorism. But they did give permission for an appeal to be lodged because of the wide public importance.

Dozens of protesters were stopped for up to 45 minutes during the four-day event and at least two of the 144 people arrested were detained under the Terrorism Act.

The case was brought by Liberty on behalf of a student, Kevin Gillan, 26, from Sheffield, and a freelance photo-journalist, Pennie Quinton, 32.

Human rights lawyers argued that the action had unlawfully deterred members of the public from demonstrating peacefully. Owen Davies QC said the “draconian” powers were being used in a way never intended by parliament.

But John McGuinness QC, for the police commissioner, said there were safeguards. The powers could only be used to search a person “for articles connected with terrorism” and there was no evidence that they had been misused.

During the hearing it was revealed that authorisations have been in force for the greater London area continuously since February 19 2001. Police officers of the rank of commander and above can authorise searches under section 44 of the act for a period of up to 28 days if they obtain backing from the home secretary.

The judges said: “Most people realise the risk they face from terrorism. They tolerate the inconvenience when they are searched when they enter buildings. They will be equally tolerant if the police make it clear that they need to stop/search people and vehicles because of the threat from terrorism.”

But they also sympathised with people who “get annoyed” during random searches which have been “elevated into a slow, bureaucratic process”.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “Ultimately the judges gave deference to the police and home secretary in national security issues.”

She said it was incredible that had it not been for this case the people of London would have no idea that since February 2001 the area has been designated on a rolling basis a stop and search zone. “If it is a permanent state of emergency then parliament needs to look at this again.”

Mr Blunkett said the ruling showed procedures were appropriate. “The ruling reinforces our message that the protection of the public and national security is the responsibility of the government and the police and neither can take risks.”

The Metropolitan police said it was pleased the court had endorsed its use of section 44 powers but recognised the need to use them properly.,3605,1075445,00.html

Liberty Judicial Review, previous blog entry: