January 2004


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1135879,00.html

As the drug is downgraded, police crack down on internet vendors offering supplies by post

David McCandless

Saturday January 31, 2004

The Guardian

It will arrive next day by registered delivery in an unassuming padded envelope, promises the blurb on the British website. Inside, vacuum-sealed, will be 7.5g of AK47 – high-grade Cannabis sativa. “Very strong nice smoke,” gushes the sales copy on the site. “Back by popular demand.”

On Thursday British drug law underwent its most radical shakeup for decades when cannabis was downgraded to class C. Although simple possession is unlikely to lead to prosecution in most cases, the drug remains illegal and dealing or possession with intent to supply will carry a maximum 14-year prison sentence.

But a Guardian investigation has established that at least five large-scale online cannabis vendors are operating in this country, in competition with more established Dutch sites. As a result, the drug has never been so easy to buy online.

Electronic payment systems, anonymity and ease of-use have led to a boom in illegal web weed outlets. For an increasing number of dealers and users, the internet is now the first port of call for buying and selling cannabis.

The British sites vary in sophistication and scale. Some are glossy and graphic-designed, brazenly selling their wares to all comers. Others are just simple login pages, with passwords for regular customers only.

All offer a selection of cannabis rarely seen outside Amsterdam coffee shops: potent connoisseur varieties including Jack Herer, Charas, and Ketama Gold. Some are so strong they require health warnings. “Caution!” reads the description for super-strong hashish Black Ice available from one retailer. “Extremely experienced smokers only, please.”

Each of the sites boasts levels of technological sophistication more associated with mainstream 21st century e-commerce outfits such as Amazon or eBay. Most sites support “one click” ordering and secure digital payment systems such as Paypal and its smaller rival, nochex.com. Minimum orders are typically 7g (0.25oz), maximum 28g. Many are open from 9am until 5pm weekdays and provide customer service via email. Orders placed before 1pm are guaranteed to arrive the next day. They can even be tracked via the Royal Mail website.

The product arrives fresh, potent and perfectly weighed. The prices are not cheap – around £50 for a quarter of an ounce on average – but web forums have been full of customers praising the merchandise.

There are now the first signs of a crackdown by the authorities. On December 22, in the first operation of its kind, police from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit raided one of the leading cannabis e-tailers after a five-month investigation. The site – which before the raid had the internet address http://www.pepespage.net – had been active for around 18 months. A picture of the cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew, smoking a large joint, adorned the homepage.

The police estimate that the site generated more than £500,000 in revenues. They made three arrests and confiscated several computers in Herefordshire and Sussex.

“All the investigation team have been amazed by the amount of activity that these sites have had and the quantity of orders placed via the internet,” said an investigating officer, Matt Cornish of the Herefordshire police.

This sudden show of force has sent ripples through an already fearful market. Since the bust, several leading sites have shut down. One, similar in scale to Pepe’s, has taken an extended Christmas break. A promise on its homepage to “reopen fully on December 29” has not been honoured. Forums are swollen with pot smokers bemoaning the loss of their suppliers.

Given the scale and openness of the industry, few seem surprised that the crackdown has been launched.

“Advertising a website in that way, they were asking for it. I would never do that,” said Hermes the Hash Trader, a Dutch online dealer with a large customer base in Britain.

Hermes, in his late 20s, is one of several dealers who operate out of email addresses to minimise their chances of being caught.

The former trader and funds administrator has been running his e-business for six months. “I spent months, not to mention thousands of euros, establishing a network of contacts,” he said.

His downloadable menu offers 50 varieties of grass and hash. Prices range from £15 to £75 for an eighth of an ounce. The minimum order is £50.

But he confesses to being dogged by constant worries about being busted. “Generally I do enjoy it,” he said.

“It’s a good job, and usually fun, but it has its downside. It can get very stressful at times.”

Customs’ seizures are also a constant bugbear. He estimates that one in 50 of his deliveries is intercepted en route to Britain. He does offer refunds for lost orders but only to customers who supply a digital scan of the official Customs and Excise 271 form received if controlled drugs are discovered in your mail.

Most of his customers come from word of mouth and referrals. Most traders are hard to find and prefer it that way.

Websites are hidden from search engines like Google. Most experts agree that the given the scale and anonymity of the internet, the online drug trade is unstoppable.

“The government is going to learn what the music industry is learning. The net is a wall-buster,” the technology journalist and former Wired magazine columnist Jon Katz has said.

“It’s not policeable. There are not enough cops in the world to monitor all the communications and digital commerce that’s going on.”

Forensic experts of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit are examining the computers seized in December for electronic evidence, including the names and email addresses of customers. The unit would not comment on whether this would lead to arrests of those who had used the service.

Most buyers, however, are not put off by the risk of potential intercepted mail or arrest.

“My source got busted but I definitely would buy from an online supplier again,” said Sam, 31, a video technician who ordered nearly two ounces from one retailer last year. “I haven’t found a new source yet, but I’m looking.”

The police insist the downgrading of cannabis to class C will not change their attitude to online cannabis retailers.

“We will target any site engaged in the wholesale supply of controlled drugs,” they say. “This is one of our key priorities.”

The dealers, however, are hoping it will signal an upturn in business. “There’s a fair chance the trade will mushroom when the laws relax,” Hermes said. “My plans are to expand until I reach full capacity.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1135879,00.html

This is getting so much worse. Zillions of mails from Nigeria [in particular], promising free money, all clearly scams by the local gangsters.

But, not engaging with these chaps is not enough. The volume of them is simply getting oppressive. It amounts to a ‘denial of service’. Bloody hooligans!

I tried writing a simple request for info, from the Nigerian High Commission. No courtesy of a reply of course, but though I would try the correct way of complaint before I go to stage two 🙂

I’ve just sent the first batch of several hundred spam mails, sent to me, forwarded on to them. Just me doing this, wont change much, but if all gave it a go .. .. .. I imagine they’ll get cross.

* * * * * *

Nigerian High Commissioner

London

UK.

chancery@nigeriahighcommissionuk.com

Subj: spam mail from Nigeria

Sir

As you may know, span [unsolicited email] is an international problem, and needs to be dealt with by international treaties, to most effective.

Like everyone else, I get my fair share.

However, over this last year, over 90% of such mail, arriving in my mail box, is from people in Nigeria, asking me to engage in non-existent business proposals. They usual involve the laundering of ex-presidents money etc.

To have your country so over represented in this annoying practice, may perhaps be considered my many, to be indicative of a lack of care, by your government, in its business reputation.

I guess there are millions of us in this situation, but as time goes by, the volume is increasing. You may gather, so is the annoyance of those receiving all this.

I don’t suppose that there is an easy answer, but I would ask what, if anything at all, is being done to deal with the situation.

I know little of your country, but, I think you’ll agree that your reputation international is being harmed by this plague.

I have many contacts in the UK, both friends and business, and ALL report the same situation, so it is not as if I am just an unlucky recipient. The police also say the same.

A simple request to you for information. What is being done?

If you doubt the volume of the problem I report to you, perhaps I may start to forward examples, to so demonstrate, rather than just delete by the hundred, as I currently do.

I trust I may hear from you shortly.

Very best

Alan Lodge

* * * * * *

Nigerian Emails africanscam.co.uk http://www.africanscam.co.uk and ….

http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com further, http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/419.htm

This is from this week SchNews.

I think this a bloody sickening, but fear, and expect, there to be much more like it. Bastards!!!

Travel Sickness

People being kicked off land which they own and then having their dwellings burned out?! We must be talking about Palestine, here…

Er, no – Essex.

On Monday, a travellers’ site at Meadowlands near Chelmsford was evicted, with four arrests, forcing 30 people off land they own and had been on since 2001. To do the dirty work, Chelmsford Council brought in self-proclaimed ‘gypsy and squatter eviction specialists’ Constant And Co, who had to get past earth banks, barricades and ditches, plus the travellers and supporters in order to clear the site. Constant were determined not to lose two

in a row after travellers in Bulkington near Coventry successfully defended their self-owned site several weeks before, giving the 150 residents a much-needed reprieve.

When the bailiffs took the site in Meadowlands on Monday, it was agreed after negotiations that the ten caravans still there were to be taken by Constant to another site at Epsom. This never happened, however. Instead, by the end of the following day, several caravans had been burned out on the nearby roadside where Constant had left them after briefly towing them away from the original site. A witness with a camera who visited on Tuesday to

see the smoldering ruins of peoples’ homes was intimidated by Constant staff, who claimed that the caravans were torched – by the travellers themselves! – at 3am on Monday night. A supporter who stayed in one of the caravans on Monday night contradicted this ridiculous claim. Now travellers are trying to get a straight answer from the Chelmsford Council as to why Constant never delivered the caravans to the Epsom site. It makes us at SchNEWS

wonder… we know Constant And Co are the ‘gypsy and squatter eviction specialists’, now we’d like to know who the covert arson specialists are!

To compensate the travellers for the inconvenience of being made homeless, Chelmsford Council set up a “homeless office” in nearby Great Waltham at the parish hall, but omitted to tell the travellers the facility was available, and anyway there was a roadblock stopping them getting there. A few travellers were then sent to the Silverwood motel in Essex, but after only two nights, and during mid winter snowfall, they were being forced to provide ID, proof of income, and proof of links to Meadowlands, for the privilege of continuing their stay. There is also a chance that the council will exercise their legal right to repossess the land to pay for the eviction, which cost £100,000. The site is conveniently worth £90,000.

Now, we know that it’s the middle of winter and all that, but Meadowlands could have been saved if there’d been more support at the eviction. This was not a one-off event – counties up and down the country have long-held campaigns to rid their area of travellers, whether they be Romany, or so-called ‘new age’. For instance two self-owned sites near Epping – Hamlet Hill and Paynes Lane – are under threat of eviction and urgently need help.

Trouble also looms for the traveller-owned Dale Farm near Basildon – home to over 1,000! – which is a virtual village with established gardens and dwellings (albeit without planning

permission). The local Tory MP is soon to meet Tory Tony himself to seek extra powers to enforce an eviction. Travellers in Totnes wrote to us recently about being forced onto an ‘authorised’ council site next to a busy road.

Travellers are struggling for the right to live on land – even when they own it – yet countless developments and roads get rubber stamped all the time on public land. Contact the following groups to find out how you can help travellers resisting eviction in your area:

* National Travellers Action Group 01767689736

* Romani Congress 2004 www.lafn.org/~romanokongreso

* For recent history of travellers in Britain see http://tash.gn.apc.org/

* For more info on Meadowlands 01206 523528 or ustiben.5@ntlworld.com

* Please don’t pester Constant And Co, who are doing a great job of ethnically cleansing Britain!Constant And Co

66 Harpur Street, Bedford, 01234 340091

www.constantand.co.uk

constant@kbnet.co.uk

the direct link, for those interested is:

http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/report/index.htm

Owen Gibson

Media Guardian Monday January 26, 2004

http://media.guardian.co.uk/bbc/story/0,7521,1130050,00.html

Just 48 hours before Lord Hutton delivers his verdict on the controversy surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the BBC has begun an advertising experiment that involves buying up all internet search terms relating to the inquiry.

Despite being one of the main players in the drama, anyone searching for “Hutton inquiry” or “Hutton report” on the UK’s most popular search engine Google is automatically directed to a paid-for link to BBC Online’s own news coverage of the inquiry.

No other news broadcaster or any newspaper has paid Google for this facility, leaving the corporation’s move even more conspicuous.

As one of the chief “interested parties” in the Hutton inquiry into the apparent suicide of Dr Kelly, the move will strike many as worthy of comment, not least because the BBC’s online news pages will not be the most obvious place to go for the most comprehensive coverage, which is bound to include painful criticism of the corporation.

It will also raise questions about the use of licence payers’ money at a time when the corporation faces criticism for spending so much money online from private rivals including the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times newspapers.

Through Google’s Ad Words service advertisers can bid to buy up search terms that relate to their business. The more they bid, the higher up their link is shown on the right-hand side of the page next to Google’s normal results sorted by relevancy.

The chain of events that led to Dr Kelly’s apparent suicide began with Andrew Gilligan’s report on the Radio 4’s Today programme alleging that the government had “sexed up” an intelligence dossier on Iraq and sparking the corporation’s bitter row with the government.

Despite the sensitive climate surrounding the publication of Lord Hutton’s report, the BBC’s marketing department has decided to focus on the BBC website’s in-depth coverage of the inquiry as part of a drive to attract new users.

The BBC is experimenting for the first time with paid-for search advertising, a relatively new form of new media marketing that has given a fillip to internet companies.

Last week internet giant Yahoo! ascribed most of its 62% rise in profits to its purchase of paid-for search company Overture.

Overture and UK company E-Spotting are the main players, while search giant Google offers its own version through Ad Words. In all cases, advertisers bid for key words but only pay when a searcher clicks on the link.

And because the listing is only displayed when a user searches for a specific term, the medium boasts a much higher “click-through rate” than other forms of online advertising.

The two-week trial will come out of the BBC’s £63.5m annual marketing budget and a BBC spokesman said that, if successful, the trial would be extended. He added that the corporation was bidding on a number of search terms relating to its news and sports coverage in an effort to drive users to in depth content that they might otherwise miss.

“The idea behind it is to attract people that would not normally come to BBC.co.uk and add to our 8.4 million existing monthly users. It’s very cost effective because we’re appealing to people who are already online and looking for information on a specific subject,” said the spokesman.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 7239 9857

http://media.guardian.co.uk/bbc/story/0,7521,1130050,00.html

* * * * * *

Now, as a licence fee payer, I just don’t think that this is a proper use. Especially on this occassion, in that they are a criticised organisation, in the report.

I have just written the following letter in complaint.

I let you know, dear readers, of the reply.

* * * * * *

http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/contactus/form.shtml

Letter of complaint to BBC: Hutton Report / BBC buys Google links

Sir.

I am looking for information, on how i might make a complaint about the BBC, in respect of the item covered in this article.

http://media.guardian.co.uk/bbc/story/0,7521,1130050,00.html

Hutton report BBC buys up ‘Hutton inquiry’ Google links

Owen Gibson

Monday January 26, 2004

Just 48 hours before Lord Hutton delivers his verdict on the controversy

>>>

The information, contained in the article appears correct, and have just conducted a search for the Hutton Report using Google and am returned lots of BBC links on the subject, when I might have been expecting the Hutton Report itself to be at the top.

Bearing in mind the findings of the report, just published, and that there is much Criticism of the BBC contained therein. It seemed reasonable suppose that a search might have been less partial. I now realise otherwise.

As a licence fee payer, I feel the use of funds to angle my enquiry to your sites, rather that the impartial / original information I was looking for, is an abuse and I would like to make a complaint. I note that other pages, were I might complain, are programme specific. With this in mind, I use this form, and trust that either my comments will be dealt with directly, or, forwarded to those in a position to consider such a complaint.

If neither is true, would you please reply, giving me details of the correct procedure for me to follow?

I thank you for your assistance with this matter.

Alan Lodge

tash@gn.apc.org

* * * *

This the BBC reply, just arrived in.

Dear Mr. Lodge

Thank you for your email. We hope that the information below helps to answer

the points you raise regarding the business relationship between Google and

the BBC, and Google’s search results for the Hutton Report.

Firstly, in response to your question about contacting the BBC: the best way

to contact us with general comments and complaints is via our “About the

BBC” site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/contactus/form.shtml . If you believe

that the BBC is in breach of its Producers Guidelines then you may wish to

make a serious complaint. Information on doing so is captured here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/contactus/serious.shtml

The paid-for search to which you refer was a temporary trial which the BBC

undertook from the 13th to the 27th of January. It is worth noting that the

Hutton Report was released after this trial had ended. The endeavour was

purely a marketing tool, and covered a variety of search engines and a

variety of topical subjects – including, for instance, such search terms as

“Elgin Marbles.” The aim of the campaign was purely and simply to encourage

new users to visit http://www.bbc.co.uk.

The BBC does advertise its programmes and services via a wide variety of

media – for instance poster sites and newspapers/magazines. It does so under

the belief that it is important to let as many licence fee payers as

possible know about the output we are providing for them. Our research shows

that approximately 75% of licence fee payers appreciate being directed to

our services in this manner. This particular campaign was considered to be a

very cost-effective way of alerting new users to the variety of content

featured on BBCi.

These searches present a wide variety of results. Sponsored results are

clearly labelled, and often presented separately from standard results, for

instance in a different part of the page, highlighted in a tinted box. In

this case, the results were literally marked with the word “Sponsored.” It

is our belief that such transparency on the part of the search engines would

make any attempt at “skewing” the results in the manner you describe very

difficult indeed.

We hope that the information above helps to explain the circumstances around

the trial, and our intentions in highlighting our content via these means.

We can assure you that the intent was in no way an attempt to drive users

towards anything less than entirely impartial reporting of the events

covered by the Hutton Report. We would also draw your attention towards the

results of a search using the BBC’s own search engine, which return as the

first result the official website (http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?q=hutton+report&tab=www&go=ho

mepage

Thanks for taking the time to contact us with your feedback. Please rest

assured that we take your comments very seriously indeed, and appreciate

your taking the time to get in touch.

Regards

BBCi Customer Service

Nine Ladies Protest Camp, Derbyshire, Possession Court Order Obtained Thursday 22/01/2004. PAPERS SERVED THIS MORNING (Friday) eviction – imminent!

Background: If Quarrying goes ahead, a 100m deep scar will blight a beautiful, and well loved landscape. The protest camp has been protecting the site since 1999. People are needed urgently to help with defences, and resist the eviction

Monday 19th Jan, Papers were served, and they are in court for posession order on 23rd of Thursday. People urgently needed to sort out defences, and to be there if eviction follows shortly after. Climbers have and are being approached.

New site number – 07005942212 The official nine ladies website has not been updated since August 2003, so use the number above for up to date info.

Postal address:

Nine Ladies Anti-Quarry Campaign,

Lees Road,

Stanton Lees,

Near Matlock,

Derbyshire DE4 2LQ.

Tel: 0700 5942212

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/01/284233.html

It has taken weeks ….. But since the new year, have been going back through my colour work and have tried to make a ‘best edit’ of ‘vehicles’ and ‘vehicle artwork’

I am half way through making a DVD disc of these with a groovy soundtrack.

Have also prepared a gallery, and you’re welcome to brows at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/projects_gallery/Vehicles_Art_Colour/index.htm

’tis a really colourful set.

Political jargon is difficult to understand most of the time, so when I came across this explanation I thought I should pass it on….

FEUDALISM:

You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM:

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM:

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

FASCISM:

You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM:

You have two cows. Your neighbours help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM:

You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

DICTATORSHIP:

You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

MILITARISM:

You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows. Your neighbours decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows. Your neighbours pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:

The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”. The cows are set free.

BRITISH DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows. You feed them sheep brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.

BUREAUCRACY:

You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

ANARCHY:

You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.

CAPITALISM:

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM:

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute an debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the Feng Shui is bad.

ENVIRONMENTALISM:

You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

TOTALITARIANISM:

You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed.

Milk is banned.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS:

You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is an outdated symbol of your decadent, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecific gender.

COUNTER CULTURE:

Wow, dude, there’s like… these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

SURREALISM:

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

So, there’s politics for you…… This is as far as we humans have got. Which do you fancy?

* * * * * *

But Politics is only part of the equation, innit? Religion is important to some. So, I thought I would quote you what a hero of mine, Mr George Melly, has to say on the subject, a few years ago on Radio 4.

George Melly on Religion:

Taoism: shit happens.

Bhuddism: the shit that happens to us is good.

Hinduism: the shit that happens to us has happened before.

Zen: what is the sound of shit happening.

Catholic: the shit that happens to you, you deserve.

Protestantism: the shit that happens to you, why doesn’t it happen to somebody else.

Jewish: why does this shit always happen to me.

Agnostic: I’m not sure I believe in this shit.

Atheist: I don’t believe in any of this shit.

Rastafarian: let’s smoke this shit.

George Melly – Radio 4 August 1995

Heee Hee. Lovely mischievous man!

Bloody heck!

This is getting sooooo Dodge City in these parts. Been happening years in Nottingham, of course, just like any city in the world. But, that don’t stop us getting scared. This was just a few yards down the street from my house. 11:30pm last night.

Many shivers.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/3429189.stm

A man is seriously ill in hospital after being shot in the street in Nottingham.

The shooting happened near the Woodborough pub on the junction between Woodborough Road and Manning Street at 2330 GMT on Sunday in St Ann’s.

He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre and is described as “serious” by police.

It happened almost two years after 16-year-old Brendon Lawrence was shot nearby. His killers are still at large.

The area of St Ann’s has been blighted by gun crime.

A resident recently filmed a gun battle taking place in the streets.

Nottingham police, who have been criticised for not dealing with the problem, introduced regular armed patrols in October 2000.

Police said a detailed forensic examination is taking place at the crime scene.

and ….

Nottingham Evening Post : MAN, 32, SHOT IN STREET

BY SIMON MCGEE AND STEVIE RODEN

16:00 – 26 January 2004

Detectives are hunting two masked men who gunned down a 32-year-old city man in a drive-by shooting.

The victim, who has not been named, was shot at the corner of Woodborough Road and Manning Street near the Woodborough pub in St Ann’s just before 11.30 last night.

A witness told the Post: “This blue van pulled up on the road. A man in the van then fired one shot and drove off. The guy was screaming but he managed to get himself over to a phonebox to call 999.”

The car – a light blue Renault Megane Scenic – crashed just minutes later and the men fled.

The victim is in a stable condition at the QMC.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=66056&command=displayContent&sourceNode=65583&contentPK=8636231

2pm Wednesday 21st January. Court 2. Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, 211 Tooley St, London.

– .

Lambeth Council have summonsed Shane Collins, Cannabis Carnival Licencee and Green Party London Assembly candidate, to Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, 211 Tooley Street, at 2pm Wednesday 21st January 2004..

The charge is over licensing violations at the Cannabis Carnival held on 4th May 2003 at Brockwell Park, Brixton. The Council allege a sound system was turned on 10 minutes after the licence permitting it.

The case has been adjourned from Wednesday 26th November when five Council employees and four festival organisers gave evidence. A charge of selling alcohol after time was dropped.

If the festival is found guilty then Lambeth Council will have succeeded in stopping the march and festival happening in Lambeth. Mr Collins is pleading not guilty.

The free event, which was attended by 10 – 15,000 people, was one of 318 happening on the same day around the world. The organisers will be putting on the 6th annual march next 8th May 2004 and hopefully a free festival as well.

In taking this action the Council are in effect threatening one of the organisers of a free event with imprisonment and stopping the event happening next year in Lambeth whilst attempting to limit the freedoms of a prominent campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis

Shane Collins, Festival Licencee and Green Party London Assembly Candidate said “This was a free event to protest at the continued prohibition of one of natures most useful plants and a call for the huge trade in cannabis to be regulated and legalised. Reclassification will simply ensure the this

trade remains in ‘criminal’ hands where disputes get settled violently and not through the small claims court.. This event is about getting dealers off the streets and into cannabis cafes and separating supply of cannabis from heroin and crack. Scores of people worked, unpaid, for six months to bring this event together. In a sane society we might be applauded, instead the Council is spending taxpayers’ money to prosecute me for our efforts’.

For further information contact Shane Collins 0280 671 5936, 07952 929 710 or shane@gn.apc.org

Notes to the Editor.

1. Maximum sentence for the licensing violations is 6 months prison and £20,000 fine.

2. In 2003 Cannabis Marches took place in 318 cities world wide and are again planned for May 8th 2004.

3. The 1997 UN Drug Report put the trade in illicit drugs as the third largest in the world after oil and arms.

4. We estimate the Court Case is costing Lambeth Council around £30,000.

We are awaiting a more detailed figure from Lambeth Scrutiny Committee.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3420685.stm

Mr Gough has had a long journey to the far north. The man dubbed the naked rambler has finally completed his marathon trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Stephen Gough, 44, from Hampshire, finished his walk after seven months, much of which was spent in jail.

Mr Gough celebrated with a bottle of champagne and said he was looking forward to a good meal and a soft bed before heading home to Hampshire.

The former Royal Marine made the 900-mile journey to question society’s attitude towards the human body.

He was arrested several times, made several court appearances and served two jail sentences on his journey, following complaints from members of the public.

Mr Gough began his crusade to promote the virtues of going naked in June, setting off from Land’s End in England to John O’Groats in Scotland. His route also took him into Wales.

He has spent his time walking, often in near freezing temperatures, wearing only socks, walking boots, his hat and his rucksack.

Mr Gough said it would take time to change people’s minds, but that he hoped the campaign would be successful.

He said: “You plan and look ahead and then when it finally arrives it’s all a bit of a blur, as if it’s not really happening.

“People have been coming down to meet me, taking photographs of me. Someone shook a bottle of champagne all over me.

“I think tonight I’ll have a really big meal because I haven’t really eaten in the last few days. I ran out of food and ended up having to drink out of streams.

“I’ll have to have a think about what I’m going to do next.

“This is just one step in the whole process of making people aware about our bodies because we are so paranoid about them.”

He said he was planning to stay the night in John O’Groats before putting his clothes back on and heading south.

Naked – Campaign to walk naked through Britain

http://www.nakedwalk.alivewww.co.uk

I very much support the activites of these folks. check them out.

and, my own contribution: Naked Rambling on Cubar Edge, Derbyshire Peak District

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=3990

Naked rambler’s ‘freedom of expression’ – BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3064233.stm

and my blog at:

http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_07_13_tash_lodge_archive.html#105836751897354247

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1121701,00.html

Traveller camp drives away the bailiffs

Steven Morris

Tuesday January 13, 2004

The Guardian

The bailiffs had arrived shortly after first light with orders to evict the group of travellers from land they had been living on for the last three years.

But by yesterday afternoon, the officials had retreated, driven back by burning barricades, trenches filled with flaming rubbish and a human chain which refused to budge.

Day one of “the Battle of Bulkington” ended with the travellers claiming victory over Nuneaton and Bedworth council, which insists they must move.

The travellers bought the plot of land in the north Warwickshire village of Bulkington from a farmer almost three years ago, planning to turn it into a model site complete with its own village green.

Around 20 families moved in but planning permission for a private travellers’ site was refused. Nevertheless, buildings, fences and roads began to appear on the land, which is in the green belt.

More than a year ago the travellers argued their case in the high court. Though they lost they still refused to give up their homes, prompting the council to call in the bailiffs.

But when they arrived the travellers were ready. They set on fire two caravans and an old van which they had parked at the entrance to the site. They also torched rubbish piled into two metre-wide trenches which had been dug around the site. Around 40 men formed a human chain outside the site.

A four-hour standoff, observed by 40 police officers and a number of firefighters, followed before the bailiffs were called off.

The travellers’ spokesman, John Lee, said: “I think we can claim a victory. There is no way we were letting them in. If they had got past us on the gate, they would have been confronted by the women and children. All we want is to protect our homes. Surely the council can work with us to either find us another site or to leave us in peace at this one? We are not asking anyone for money, just for permission to live as we want to.”

Cliff Podona, of the National Travellers’ Group, said: “These people are living on land that is rightfully theirs and will do everything they can to avoid eviction. There are women, children and pensioners on the site who are terrified about what is going on. There are over 40 children enrolled at the local school who will have their education disrupted if they are made to leave.”

But the council said it would continue to try to remove the travellers. Spokesman Tim Norton said the council had received information that the travellers intended to resist the eviction “utilising considerable force”. He added: “Having evaluated the situation it was decided that the eviction should not proceed today. The council remains committed to ending the unlawful development of the gypsy site.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1121701,00.html

At bloody last! this is the first real progress on the subject, in thirty years….

no enough of course, because they still say it is wrong, and against the law.

I say the law is wrong, and criminalizes otherwise, law abiding citizens. This will make no difference to most, since it was / is ignored my users.

The Home Office has started a campaign today, to explain the change in status. You can see what they have to say on a site titled: ‘Talk to Frank’

http://www.talktofrank.com/azofdrugs/C/Cannabis.aspx#reclassified

The Government will reclassify cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug, the new legislation will take effect on 29 January 2004 across the United Kingdom.

Reclassification means the Government acknowledge that cannabis is not as harmful as other Class B substances like Speed. But the supply and possession of cannabis will still be illegal. Penalties for supplying will stay the same (with a maximum of 14 years). The maximum prison sentence for possession will be reduced from five years to two. Fines and other non-custodial sentences like compulsory community service will still apply.

For those over 18, most offences of cannabis possession are likely to result in a warning and confiscation of the drug. But you could be arrested if you smoke in a public place, near a place where there are children e.g a school, or where public order is at risk. Those who repeatedly commit offences will be arrested and will be prosecuted.

If you are under 18, and it’s your first offence of cannabis possession you will normally be arrested, taken to the police station and given a warning or a reprimand.

If it’s not your first offence, you will be given either a final warning or you will be charged. If you have been given a warning in the past and you get caught again you’ll most likely be charged. When you get a warning you are referred to the local Youth Offending team (YOT).

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND STUFF……

Well dear readers, sorry for not having posted much of late here.

Haven’t had a great deal to say!

Then, been away for a bit, photographing mountains, winter sun and snow etc ….

Then the machine was fucked for a bit. No bloody help locally, but doing my best.

Then, have only just leared, how to present pictures and soundtrack as MPEG-2 file. These then play on DVD players, with some quality. So, the entire computing power of the machine, has been turned to make a set of shows, featuring the best of my work.

Sometimes, if I try to enything else with the computer, while it is doing those, then everything crashes, and all has to start again.

Some of the shows, took 3 to 5 days processing to make, so just descided to let it do that, and nothing else.

So, there you are.