29 February, 2004
Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
Saturday February 28, 2004
The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, will come under new pressure to disclose his full advice on the legality of the Iraq war in the run-up to a five-day hearing by a high court judge in April.
Five peace activists charged with criminal damage at RAF Fairford are pleading – like Katharine Gun, the former GCHQ translator whose prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for leaking a memo was thrown out last week – that they acted to prevent an illegal war.
If Mr Justice Grigson agrees that they can invoke the two defences of necessity and prevention of crime, Tony Blair could face the embarrassing prospect of an ordinary jury of 12 citizens deciding whether or not the defendants had reasonable grounds for believing that the war was legal under international law. The prosecution has retained Christopher Greenwood QC, professor of law at LSE and the expert whose advice Lord Goldsmith relied on in reaching the view that that the war was lawful, to argue the international law aspects of the case.
The Guardian understands that Lord Goldsmith’s original advice was more equivocal than the opinion which was ultimately made public.
Last March, a few days before the war started, Paul Milling and Margaret Jones cut their way into Fairford air force base. They disabled trucks used for carrying bombs, and tankers for fuelling the US B-52 bombers waiting to attack Iraq, causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage.
Later Phil Pritchard, Toby Olditch and Josh Richards were arrested inside Fairford while trying to reach and disarm a B-52.
At Bristol crown court from April 26, Mr Justice Grigson will hear arguments on whether the five activists are entitled to put forward the defences of necessity and prevention of crime.
A QC unconnected with the case said the events of the past two days, since the Gun case collapsed, had been “extremely helpful” to the Fairford Five. He said the only possible interpretation of the attorney general’s statement that the prosecution had concluded in the Gun case that it could not rebut the defence of necessity was that “in all the uncertainty surrounding the legality of the war in Iraq, it was impossible to prove Ms Gun did not reasonably believe she was acting to prevent an illegal war”.
Hugo Charlton, a barrister representing Dr Jones and Mr Richards, said the defendants in the case would be seeking disclosure of the attorney general’s original advice.
25 February, 2004
For those that don’t know, my nickname is TASH. I am called this, not just because I’ve got one. But originally, and while still at school, I applied and was accepted for a commission in the Royal Air Force. Friends thought air force officers wandered about with a ‘handlebar moustache’ saying ‘Tally-ho Chaps’ etc …….
So, when I’ve found this, and realise that you can get paid for have one, I’m bound to be interested …
The nickname is distinctive, and has stuck for years. Oh, my names Alan, if your interested.
Indian police given moustache pay
Police in a district in India’s Madhya Pradesh state are being paid to grow moustaches because bosses believe it makes them command more respect.
Ten policemen in the northern state are already receiving 30 rupees (66 US cents) every month for their efforts.
Jhabua district police chief Mayank Jain told BBC News Online: “The response is growing and in the months ahead we expect to see more moustachioed policemen.
“Moustaches are improving the personalities of our constables. They are acquiring an aura of their own. They are creating a positive impression on the local people and getting a lot of respect.”
The police chief hit upon the idea of moustaches-for-cash after a seminar attended by district policemen and local people. “There were two or three moustachioed constables in the gathering and I saw people were looking at them very respectfully and pleasantly. That is when I thought of making more policemen grow moustaches,” Mr Jain said. The decision to pay them a whisker more every month for their efforts was just a “little motivation”, he said.
Mr Jain said he was keeping a watch on the shape of the moustaches so that they did not look too intimidating, and so have the opposite effect on people. “It takes time to keep a proper moustache. A good one has to take a turn near the angle of the upper lip,” Mr Jain said. He said that in the next few months many more of the 1,100 policemen at the district’s 22 police stations would begin sporting moustaches.
Men in rural India have traditionally sported impressive moustaches to assert their masculinity.
24 February, 2004
NATIONAL TRUST: THE STONES
BBC FOUR Wednesday 3 March 2004 10.30pm-11pm (part 1),
Wednesday 10 March 2004 10.30pm-11pm (part 2)
BBC TWO Wednesday 10 March 2004 10pm-10.30pm (part 1),
Wednesday 17 March 2004 10pm-10.30pm (part 2)
Officially designated a World Heritage Site, each year Stonehenge attracts a 20,000 strong crowd of hippies, pagans, witches, druids and travellers for the summer solstice. But in the 1980s Stonehenge was the setting for riots and the stones were closed. Today its problems are far from over.
As celebrations for summer solstice draw ever closer, the National Trust and their partners, English Heritage, who look after the actual stones, go head to head for a bizarre round of negotiations over party plans for this year’s solstice with the leading pagans and druids, including such characters as Viziondanz and King Arthur.
The final, extended episode of the series follows proceedings at an important point in the life of Stonehenge to see if the worlds of heritage and hippies can ever see eye to eye for the sake of the Stones.
Meanwhile, as Britain’s most contentious planning battle concerning the site comes to a head, there is also the hope that the long-running debate about the state of the stones – hit hard by the A303 and encased in metal fencing – may be about to end. But can all parties with a vested interest in the sacred site ever be satisfied?
23 February, 2004
Oh no, this is such a case of ‘I told you so ….!
Modern industrial methods, together with the associated consumption that is implied, has serious implications for our world. Further, the dehumanising effects of such methods of production, results in many feeling alienated from others and their surroundings.
I’m old enough now, to have been concerned about the world’s governments response to the environment for a long time.
It has been 32 years since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972. At this time, the notion of `sustainable development’ was first espoused in the report “A Blueprint for Survival” and a little later with the European Communities Club of Rome Conference report titled “The Limits to Growth”.
A further 20 years elapsed to 1992, when the world held another conference in Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil. The resulting `Rio Declaration’ represents little more than a `pious wish’ that steps should be taken to improve our situation. However, the richer nations of the earth are obstructive to the suggested methods fearing great impact on their economies and the implications for jobs and perhaps public order.
Now we have the war on terror. Mr Bush and his administration has backtracked from the Kyoto agreements, thinking of various devices, to maintain jobs and consumption etc. To do otherwise, in the US, is probably electorally damaging.
BUT now the pentagon has produced a report, saying that wrecking the environment is probably more damaging to American interests, than terrorism.
They say: “Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern”
Well, fancy that!!
Had just written to Greenpeace UK about all this, they researched a little further and suggest this document, from the Stop Esso Campaign. It is the original:
http://www.stopesso.com/campaign/Pentagon.doc [right click, and save target]
and, it is scary! Also
Indymedia UK page at:
* * * * * *
Key findings of the Pentagon
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America’s public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President’s position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK’s leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon’s internal fears should prove the ‘tipping point’ in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office – and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism – said: ‘If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.’
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon’s dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
‘Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It’s going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush’s single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,’ added Watson.
‘You’ve got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you’ve got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It’s pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,’ said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. ‘This is depressing stuff,’ he said. ‘It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.’
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. ‘We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,’ he said.
‘The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.’
So dramatic are the report’s scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush’s stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry’s cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed ‘Yoda’ by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence’s push on ballistic-missile defence.
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. ‘It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.’
Symons said the Bush administration’s close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. ‘This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,’ he added.
22 February, 2004
Security Service home page (MI5 Official site)
Information on graduate and administrative careers with the Service are held on the recruitment microsite: http://www.mi5careers.info
I have covered some of the activities of these folks, as they pertain to my tribe / lifestlyle. Check out my article on the subject:
* * * * * *
Here is a previous example of some of their activities, described in the Guardian:
I tried to take a look at my own files, but it is far from straight-forward.
Test case allows ‘right to know’ on MI5 files – Guardian
Just as a piece of public information here ….. If you want to make a complaint about the Service, write to:
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal
PO Box 33220
London SW1H 9ZQ
Oh, by the way, there is some accountability, with this commission to oversee the investigation of complaints about surveillance by these services. Should a complaint to this tribunal be made, an individual would not be told whether or not they have actually been the target of MI5 surveillance.
Under current procedure, they are only told if the tribunal considers MI5 to have acted wrongly. In effect, filling in one of the complaints forms, available from most police stations, simply alerts the security services to the fact that the individual suspects they are being watched (or perhaps, therefore, should be!!!). Do you follow my drift?
22 February, 2004
What happened next?
Sunday February 22, 2004
Name: Alan Lodge :: Date: 1 June 1985 :: Place: Wiltshire
Facts: Photographer and ambulanceman Alan Lodge was in a convoy of travellers heading for Stonehenge when 1,600 policemen violently tried to arrest them all. Dubbed the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ in the media, it fragmented the travelling community. Although he subsequently gained a degree, Lodge has since struggled to find work
People don’t like travellers – we lower their house prices – but we hadn’t shown any violence. The police had previous, but the Stonehenge ambush was caught on camera and Dixon of Dock Green don’t do this kind of thing, so there were articles as far away as the Tehran Times.
The first free festival I went to was in the Queen’s back garden at Windsor in 1972. Basically, you’re hanging out with your mates and everyone’s smiling. That carried on until 1974, when 600 Thames Valley police waded in. I was sat round the fire with a cup of tea and suddenly – whoop! A truncheon round the head. We got the message, we were scared stiff, so the People’s Free Festival moved to Stonehenge.
I could see the way the wind was changing so I became an ambulanceman and got involved with an organisation set up to help youngsters who had got in trouble with the law. First in tents and teepees, and then on buses and trucks, people were now permanently meandering around the country. I had a cottage in Wales with my wife and two kids, and we were out and about for roughly nine months of the year.
By the 1984 festival there were 30,000 or 40,000 people at Stonehenge living in tents. Everything you look for in human exchange was there: lack of greed, co-operation, looking out for each other, breaking down mental barriers. Bartering was important. People were grateful for me being an ambulanceman: ‘Can I do your shopping? Can I look after your kids?’ Everything you think about being in a better society was there in the Anarchists’ Free State of Albion at Stonehenge.
On our way there the next year we were given papers by the police outside Salisbury stating that we’d be arrested if we went to Stonehenge because of an injunction they had taken out. We were used to this – the existence of the travelling life is an offence – but we didn’t know this meant they’d assembled 1,600 policemen on our route. The convoy stopped adjacent to the famous beanfield, well outside the five-mile radius of the court order, so I hopped out of the cab to take some pictures. Suddenly I saw this black cloud coming down the line, a load of coppers with riot shields. They went up to the motors, many with kids in, and were whacking them with their sticks. Two pregnant ladies were dragged out of the broken windscreens by their hair. The screams are with me now.
Rather than let them come our way we turned and drove through the hedge into the field by the road. For the next five hours there was a stand-off, skirmishes continued with people trying to get out of the field. I tried to liaise with senior policemen but their attitude was, ‘We’re going to arrest you all.’ I’m bandaging bleeding heads, but then there’s truncheon wounds where you can see the skull and I’m getting nervous of people dying. So we get them out on a Wiltshire ambulance.
At seven in the evening all the coppers boiled on to the field, smashing up the vehicles and arresting everyone. ITN were there and took footage of the level of violence. The operation wasn’t just about arresting people, but also part of a ‘decommissioning exercise’, hitting people so hard and ruining their homes so they’ll think twice about leading this lifestyle. Overall, 520 were arrested and spread around police stations up and down the country for three days, the biggest single number since the Second World War. Children were put temporarily in care. The charge was ‘obstruction of police’, which is one up from a parking ticket. The government was cheering on from the sidelines. Douglas Hurd said we resembled a bunch of medieval brigands.
I thought, ‘I’m a British citizen whose tribe’s been treated badly, we can go through the courts.’ We got 24 together to take an action against the police. Five years later, the jury awarded us £25,000 damages but the judge said we’ll split the £7m cost of the case in half, so our damages went towards that. Two of the jury burst into tears.
In 1986 parliament passed an act which criminalised 12 vehicles gathering on common land to reside. So we’d gather, stay up all night and have a rave instead. In 1994 Michael Howard’s act made this impossible, and then this last lot pass a law that means a traveller parked on the edge of a housing estate is involved in antisocial behaviour. So now a lot of people are shoved into the city where the community splits up, they can’t support each other and the kids have chips on their shoulders. The return to the cities hastened the use of serious drugs.
||I did a three-year photography course at Nottingham Trent. But I can’t account to an employer where I’ve been for that 20-year period without some of it coming out and then they get worried. Now, at 50 years old, I’ve even tried to apply for filing jobs, but they say I’m too old and overqualified. So in these recent years I’ve been losing a couple of grand a year trying to sell my photos and expertise on alternative culture over the internet, rather than go back on the dole. Most of my tribe have gone abroad to Ireland, France, Spain and Germany – my son’s in Spain. I miss them greatly.
22 February, 2004
B e f o r e :
THE RT HONOURABLE LORD JUSTICE MAY
THE HON MR JUSTICE HARRISON
Between: The Queen on the application of JANE LAPORTE [Claimant]
– and –
(1) CHIEF CONSTABLE OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE CONSTABULARY [Defendant]
(2) CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THAMES VALLEY POLICE [Interested Parties]
(3) THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS [Interested Parties]
the Indymedia pages, about it all
Anti-War protesters win landmark ruling in Human Rights case
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