February 2004


Clare Dyer, legal correspondent

Saturday February 28, 2004

The Guardian

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1158257,00.html

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.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1158257,00.html

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

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3392809.stm

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/nationaltrust5.shtml

NATIONAL TRUST: THE STONES

BBC FOUR Wednesday 3 March 2004 10.30pm-11pm (part 1),

Wednesday 10 March 2004 10.30pm-11pm (part 2)

and/or

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?

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/00000143.php

http://www.stopesso.com/campaign/Pentagon.doc [right click, and save target]

and, it is scary! Also

Indymedia UK page at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/02/285157.html

* * * * * *

Key findings of the Pentagon

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153547,00.html

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153530,00.html

· 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

The Observer

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.

Security Service home page (MI5 Official site)

http://www.mi5.gov.uk

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:

http://tash.gn.apc.org/watched1.htm

* * * * * *

Here is a previous example of some of their activities, described in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,817133,00.html

and

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

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4268111,00.html

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?

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1151750,00.html

What happened next?

Tom Templeton

Sunday February 22, 2004

The Observer

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.

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]

http://www.bailii.org.uk/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2004/253.html

and

the Indymedia pages, about it all

Anti-War protesters win landmark ruling in Human Rights case

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/02/285630.html

As a ‘Freelance Photo-Journalist’, issues of concern are very different to those ‘office based’ workers

The main issues of concern to me, at the moment, are primarily in ‘Public Order’ matters.

· Press card recognition by the authorities, the police in particular, since they frequently control access to locations. So often, the press card raises little more than a chuckle.

· Advice in defence in court after charges. Primarily arrest for obstruction.

· Civil claims for wrongful arrest and assaults.

· Identity: The wearing of NUJ ‘bibs’. Attitudes of police and protesters to this.

· Dealing with requests from police and authorities for film and footage. They say: ‘for the investigation of crimes’ [this became public as an issue, after the Metropolitan Police request to media organisations and freelances, after the Poll-Tax Riot in London]

· Giving evidence in court after ‘actions or events. ? An impartial observer, or not. Is work available to police or public / protestors, equally?

· Only one solicitors firm now accredited by NUJ, Thompson’s. But, they don’t have depth of experience to handle most of this. Their main experience is in employment rights, contacts etc. They know little is the issues, faced out here on the street. (NUJ, saving money after loose RSI case a while ago).

Thus, many of us have to organise amongst ourselves, aside from the NUJ. Shame, wasn’t always like this!

* * * * * *

Other Freelance concerns

· Widespread theft of copyright.

· Media customers asking / demanding ‘All Rights’ perpetual (i.e. Not licensed for specific use or time. This was how we used to do business, and generate an income.

· Competition from ‘Royalty-free’ libraries / sources. This activity lowers standards for photojournalism. (Now the Sunday Supps, are full of ‘lifestyle’ and food and ‘posh house’ pictures. Used to be an outlet for the photo-essay)

· Freelances not adequately trained for dangerous assignments. They are considered ‘dispensable’ compared to sending ‘staffers’.

· Much difficulty in getting adequate insurance for person and kit. Staff journalists are frequently in the same dangers, but company deals with insurance and looking after dependents etc.

· Under representation of freelancers to get any ‘muscle’ within main union activities.

· All the usuals about pensions, representation, fair dealings etc.

* * * * * *

I came across this quote the other day in Howard Chapnick¹s book – Truth Needs No Ally:

On Giving Away Pictures

“Every professional photographer, at one time or another, has received a phone call or letter reading as follows: “Our organization would like to use your photograph in a brochure [or advertisement, or magazine, or audio-visual presentation]. We are a non-profit organization that has no budget for the purchase of the photograph, and we hope that you will provide the picture without charge.” My standard answer is an emphatic “no.” I am tired of the exploitation of creative people by non-profit organizations. You may think this a crass and overly commercial response, but let’s consider it for a moment.

What about the person who wrote that letter or made that call? Does that person get paid for his or her job as the editor or art director of the publication? What about the rest of the staff of that non-profit organization? Do they get paid for their efforts? Does the paper company charge for the paper used: in the brochure or publication? Do the typesetter, color separator, half-tone maker, printer, and binder get paid? The answer is a categorical “yes.” So why should the photographer be the one who is asked to contribute the work without compensation?

My position is that if everybody is donating their services, and no one is getting paid for a project that is altruistic and idealistic, then, and only then, should a photographer ever consider donating the reproduction rights to his or her photograph.”

Chapnick, H. (1994) Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism.

Columbia: University of Missouri Press. P334-335. / change in my lifestyle.

There is finally a web presence, being got together for the Tibetan Ukranian Moutain Troupe. About time to ….. This guys were a mainstay on the free festivals circuit. Entertainments and action …..

Check out developments at:

http://www.datasafe.gi/tumt

http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk

The Judicial Review ruling in our favour was delivered at 10am on Thursday 19 February 2004. The Fairford Coach Action have released a press release about the ruling.

http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk/press/ruling.doc

* * * * * *

HIGH COURT VICTORY FOR “COACH-NAPPED” PROTESTORS

Anti-war protestors are today celebrating a judgement which ruled that the police acted unlawfully in detaining them for 2½ hours without arrests.

The High Court ruled today that Police violated the Human Rights Act when they illegally detained 120 protestors en route to a demonstration at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. This ruling will impact significantly on policing of future demonstrations and will have implications for the May Day 2001/Oxford Circus cases against the Metropolitan Police later this year.

The ruling was welcomed as a clarification of a draconian power which Parliament has never debated or sanctioned. However the protestors feel that the judgement should have gone further and ruled that the police also denied them two other human rights: freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The protestors have permission to take their case to the Court of Appeal.

Last March, the protestors and their coaches were searched for nearly two hours and forced back to London under a heavy police escort “to prevent a breach of the peace.” The police argued that this was justified because the protestors were, in their view, “well-armed”.

However, giving judgement, Lord Justice May commented that, “for practical purposes none of the articles seized were to be regarded as offensive. Two pairs of scissors would not make much impression on the perimeter fencing of the air base.”

John Halford, the solicitor at Bindman and Partners representing the group, said today that, “no crime had been committed. What the Police did was arbitrarily detain on the flimsiest of pretexts. The Court has laid down a firm marker that this must not happen in future.”

Jane Laporte, the named claimant, said: “attending a demonstration is a basic freedom which everyone should enjoy if a society is to function as a democracy. We hoped that the Court would uphold this freedom, particularly in respect of a war so widely regarded as being waged on unjust grounds. Not only is this an attack on our freedom but the operation and the police’s decision to contest the action is a waste of public money.’

For more information on Fairford Coach Action,

phone Jane Laporte on 07817 483 167 or Jesse Schust on 0781 458 7361

or e-mail thedishbench@yahoo.com

http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk

Notes for Journalists

1. Fairford Coach Action is the name of the group of about 60 passengers who have collectively decided to pursue a Judicial Review case against the police’s actions on 22nd March 2003. Full background information is available on the website. Visit the site for links to related web articles, and testimonial statements. http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk

2. On the 22nd of March 2003, three days after the start of the US/UK war on Iraq, a demonstration, ‘Flowers for Fairford’, organised by the Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors (GWI) attracted over 3,000 protestors to the airbase. Local groups organised transport to Fairford from 37 locations across the UK. One other coach (from Swindon) was also turned back by the police.

3. American B-52 planes flew from RAF Fairford airbase to bomb Baghdad (see http://www.fairfordpeacewatch.com ) and Fairford was the site of excessive policing during the war on Iraq. Within 52 days starting on 6 March 2003, police conducted anti-terror searches on “2,132 occasions in the vicinity of RAF Fairford”. GWI, Berkshire CIA and Liberty have issued a dossier showing how stop and search powers of the Terrorism Act 2000 were misused by police in Gloucestershire. For the report “Casualty of War – 8 weeks of counter-terrorism in rural England” and further information see http://www.gwi.org.uk and http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk. The government estimated the added cost of policing the RAF Fairford base was £6.9 milliion. RAF Fairford continues to be upgraded for use by US Stealth (B2) Bombers. Upgrading of RAF Fairford greatly expands the US capacity to “invisibly” deploy tactical nuclear weapons anywhere in the world within hours.

Further info at http://www.gwi.org.uk and

http://www.atkinsglobal.com/wsainternet/skills/design/sectors/aviationdefence/jfsiraffairford/

4. The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in October 2000. It requires the police and other public authorities to avoid breaching key European Convention Human Rights Articles save where legislation makes this impossible. Amongst the key rights are Article 5 (deprivation of liberty must be justified in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law and on one of the five grounds listed in paragraph (1) of the Article), Article 8 (which requires justification for interference with private life, including those which impact upon physical and psychological integrity), Article 10 (freedom of speech and expression) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly).

5. At common law a constable may arrest a person without warrant who he or she reasonably believes will commit a breach of the peace in the immediate future, even though at the time of the arrest such person has not committed any breach. This power is subject to a number of strict restrictions, however: the belief must relate to an act or threatened act harming any person or, in his presence, his property, or which puts a person in fear of such harm; the belief must relate to the likely actions of the particular individual or individuals against whom the power is used; and when the particular individual is acting lawfully at the time the power is used, the threat of his committing a breach of the peace must be sufficiently real and imminent to justify the use of such a draconian power.

6. Interviews with passengers from the coaches can be arranged (please enquire – see contact details above). Dramatic, high-quality, digital video footage and photographs are also available. Permission to use them will be granted on a case-by-case basis (rates vary). Contact Jesse Schust at 0781 458 7361.

7. The solicitor representing the case, John Halford, can be contacted at Bindman & Partners on 020 7833 4433.

8. The main defendants in the case are The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary; the two interested parties are the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police and the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police.

9. The protestors have 28 days in which to lodge their appeal of the Judges’ ruling.

10. The Fairford Coach case was mentioned in Liberty’s dossier on the policing at RAF Fairford, and the case is expected to appear in Amnesty International’s report on Human Rights in the UK.

11. PUBLIC EVENT (26.02.04): To mark the conclusion of our court challenge, Fairford Coach Action invites the press, public and friends to a showing of the two Fairford Coach passenger movies at 7pm-9pm on Thursday 26 February 2004 in G2 at SOAS. Guest speakers (Liberty, Bindmans, Statewatch), and food and drinks.

120 people prevented from attending demonstration against Iraq war at RAF Fairford will claim £3,000 each

Rebecca Allison

Friday February 20, 2004

The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1152164,00.html

Anti-war protesters are to claim thousands of pounds in damages after a high court ruling yesterday that the Gloucestershire police unlawfully detained them on their way to a demonstration at RAF Fairford.

About 120 people will be able to seek awards after two senior judges ruled in a test case that police breached their human rights by detaining them and returning their coaches to London.

Three coaches on their way to the RAF station, which was being used by American B-52 bombers, were stopped and searched in a lay-by at Lechlade last March before being forced back on to the motorway under a police escort.

The ruling that they were unlawfully held on the two-and-a-half hour return journey, without a toilet break, was welcomed by the protesters and their lawyers as a “landmark victory” for liberty and human rights.

But there was disappointment that the judges also ruled that the police acted within their powers when they prevented the demonstrators reaching the airfield in Gloucestershire to protest against the war with Iraq.

Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Harrison agreed that, even though their subsequent detention was unlawful, the police had been entitled to stop them reaching Fairford, because of fears of a breach of the peace.

The case was brought in the name of one of the protesters, Jane Laporte, from Tottenham, north London.

Her solicitor, John Halford of Bindman and Partners, said: “The court ruling that there was unlawful and arbitrary detention is welcome and severely restricts the use of a draconian power which parliament has never debated or sanctioned.

“This was not a case of ’rounding up the usual suspects’. No crime had been committed. What the police did was to detain on the flimsiest of pretexts. The court has laid down a firm marker that this must not happen in future.”

Mr Halford added: “This case was brought to establish principles, not to win damages. But, as a result of today’s ruling, the 120 passengers will now be able to claim damages of approximately £3,000 per person.”

The police justified their decision on the grounds that the passengers were “well armed” with two pairs of scissors, “five home-made shields,” a cardboard tube and yacht distress flare.

Lord Justice May ruled that none of the articles seized was to be regarded as “offensive”.

Ms Laporte, a veteran of several peace demonstrations, said: “We will be celebrating the ruling that the police acted unlawfully in detaining us. But the judgment should have gone further. Attending a demonstration is a basic freedom which everyone should enjoy.”

A statement from Gloucestershire constabulary said the force was “naturally disappointed” that the high court found that the police, to a degree, had acted unlawfully.

Martin Baker, deputy chief constable, said: “In this judgment, the court recognises the very difficult situation faced by the police on the day. It also identifies that, even with benefit of hindsight, there is no easy solution to these complex issues, let alone in the heat of the moment when the operational commander was called upon to make decisions.”

The demonstrators and the police were given permission to appeal against those parts of the ruling which went against them.

The inquiry into how much damages the demonstrators should receive was adjourned to await the outcome of the appeals.

* * * * * *

Police wrong to detain activists, say judges :: The Times

by Michael Evans, Defence Editor

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-1008107,00.html

POLICE officers who detained coachloads of peace activists travelling to an American B52 bomber base to demonstrate against the war in Iraq, and then forced them to return to London under escort, acted illegally, the High Court ruled yesterday.

Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Harrison of the divisional court ruled that in the case of Jane Laporte, one of 120 protesters who were stopped, searched and asked to reboard three coaches heading for RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, the detention and enforced return to London could not be justified.

Under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ?deprivation of liberty? has to be justified in accordance with the law. The Gloucestershire police who intercepted the coaches at a lay-by had argued that the detention was justified because the protesters were ?well armed? with two pairs of scissors, five home-made shields, a cardboard tube and a yacht distress flare.

But Lord Justice May said: ?For practical purposes, none of the articles seized were to be regarded as offensive. Two pairs of scissors would not make much impression on the perimeter fencing of the airbase.? The police had told the protesters they believed that a breach of the peace would occur at Fairford, from where long-range B52 bombers were taking off for Iraq. The coach doors were then forcibly held shut and the protesters were taken back to London.

Ms Laporte said yesterday: ?Attending a demonstration is a basic freedom which everyone should enjoy if a society is to function as a democracy.? The protesters now plan to seek thousands of pounds in compensation from the police.

However, the judges also ruled that the police were within their rights to turn the protesters away from the demonstration. They could take preventive measures to avoid breaches of the peace. The detention of the passengers as they were escorted to London was a breach of their liberty.

http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/news/629.html

The High Court has today published its judgement in relation to a claim by Ms Jane Laporte that on the 22 March 2003 Gloucestershire Constabulary acted unlawfully in preventing her from travelling to a demonstration outside RAF Fairford and in escorting the coach on which she was a passenger back to its starting point in London.

In its judgement the court has made it clear that the operational commander on the ground was lawfully entitled to turn those coaches away. In fact, it was his duty to do so.

While the court has decided that it was wrong for the police to escort those coaches back to London, they made it clear that there was no basis whatsoever for doubting the operational commander’s intentions or motives in doing so. He was acting entirely in good faith.

In fact, there is no word of criticism whatsoever in the judgement.

In interpreting this judgement it is vital for it to be put into context. On 22 March last year the Gloucestershire Constabulary was striving to achieve a number of complex and sometimes competing objectives. Our aims that day were to:

· Protect life and property – that meant planning for every possible eventuality from public disorder through to acts of terrorism.

· Minimise disruption to the lives of the local community

· Facilitate lawful protest

· Minimise the risk of disruption to military operations.

The fact that no one was hurt that day and that a lawful protest was able to take place with the cooperation of the local community and without disruption to military operations demonstrates that this operation was entirely successful.

One of our duties on that day was to uphold the rights of individuals to engage in lawful and peaceful protest. The High Court found that in directing the coaches away from the site, because of a belief that a breach of the peace would occur if it were allowed to continue, we did not infringe the rights of individuals to protest.

We are naturally disappointed that part of the Judicial Review did not concur with our belief that we were entitled to escort the coaches back to London to prevent them from returning to RAF Fairford, from where we had lawfully turned them away. However, the Court did recognise that this decision was based on an honestly and reasonably held belief that a breach of the peace could have occurred if the coaches had been allowed to proceed.

We are looking at this element of the judgement very carefully and may consider an appeal in due course

If it is decided that damages are payable, there will be a separate hearing for damages. The Constabulary is insured for such eventualities.

At no stage was our right to stop and search the coaches challenged by the claimant. This case was about our right to turn them back, which the court has fully supported. A very significant part of the judgement is the support of the court for the principle of ‘collective intent’ – in other words the court recognised that it was almost impossible for the police to differentiate between activists and genuine protestors on the coaches and in order to prevent a breach of the peace it was wholly appropriate for all of the coach passengers to be turned away.

We have always considered that we were entitled and indeed obliged to take the actions that we did on 22 March 2003. We acted in good faith, and believed that we were acting within the law. We have always considered that our responses were proportionate and all our decisions on the day were based on intelligence.

Deputy Chief Constable Martin Baker, who was in overall command of the operation at Fairford, said, “It must be remembered that we were protecting a military airfield with a perimeter of over 13 miles in a time of war. The fact is that a relatively small number of people were inconvenienced, a very large number of people were able to protest lawfully and safely, and a group of hard-core activists were prevented from attacking an operational military air base. The fact that these activists were intent on doing so is unquestionable – on their website they were calling this “The Judgement Day” and were encouraging other activists to come to Fairford on 22 March to stop military operations by any means possible. We had seen only four weeks earlier the lengths that they were willing to go to when they tore open the gates to the base and swarmed on to the airfield, assaulting police officers in the process”.

In the course of the war the perimeter fence was cut on no less than 70 occasions and over 80 arrests were made.

Mr Baker added, “In this judgement the court recognises the very difficult situation faced by the police on the day. It also identifies that, even with the benefit of hindsight, there is no easy solution to these complex legal issues, let alone in the heat of the moment when the operational commander was called upon to make instant decisions. The High Court has recognised that Chief Superintendent Kevin Lambert acted with the utmost honesty and integrity. His professionalism and decisiveness on that day reflected the very careful planning prior to the event and led to him achieving all of our operational objectives. By any measure, that is a definition of success”. Thursday 19 February 2004

http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/news/629.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/3502199.stm

Protesters have won their High Court battle over a police decision to detain them on their way to RAF Fairford for an anti-war demonstration.

Lawyers for half the 120 passengers, stopped from protesting last March, accused Gloucestershire Police of acting unlawfully.

Three coaches were stopped, searched and escorted back to London. The court ruled that police abused common law when they detained the demonstrators for more than two hours.

Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Harrison, sitting in London, ruled that the protesters’ detention and forced return could also not be justified under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But the court did back the police’s contention that they were entitled – and obliged – to take preventative action as they “reasonably and honestly” believed that breaches of the peace would have occurred if the coaches reached Fairford.

In its judgement, the court also said there “…may be circumstances in which individual discrimination amongst a large numbers of uncooperative people may be impractical” and that this was such a case.

John Halford, solicitor for the protesters, told BBC News 24: “The court made it clear that we won on the main issues and awarded all of our costs against the police.”

One of the leading protesters, Jane Laporte, said: “It was just completely surreal being surrounded by motorcycle outriders and Land Rovers and police filming us constantly while we were on the coaches. “We couldn’t believe it was happening in this country. “This is why we were supposed to be going to war in Iraq, because people were being denied their freedom of speech, and it was happening to us.”

Items removed by police from the coaches included masks, white overalls, scissors, five shields and body armour. The protesters were on their way to join a demonstration against the war in Iraq when they were detained for more than two hours.

They were then escorted back to London without stopping in a two and a half hour journey with no toilet facilities on the buses. The circumstance and length of this detention were ruled by the court to be “wholly disproportionate”.

A statement by Gloucestershire Police read: “The court has made it clear that the operational commander on the ground was lawfully entitled to turn those coaches away. In fact, it was his duty to do so.

“While the court has decided that it was wrong for the police to escort those coaches back, they made it clear that there was no basis whatsoever for doubting the Operational Commander’s intentions or motives in doing so. He was acting in entirely good faith.

“In fact, there is no word of criticism whatsoever in the judgement.

“The fact that no one was hurt that day and that a lawful protest was able to take place with the cooperation of the local community and without disruption to military operations demonstrates that this operation was entirely successful.”

Both the police and protesters have been given leave to appeal.

Mr Halford said protesters planned to appeal against the court’s ruling that two articles of human rights law had not been breached, and were looking at compensation claims.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/3502199.stm

The High Court is due to rule on whether police were guilty of an “abuse of power” after barring protesters from demonstrating against the war on Iraq. Lawyers for half the 120 passengers stopped from protesting at RAF Fairford last March have accused Gloucestershire Police of acting unlawfully. Three coaches were stopped, searched and escorted back to London.

Police lawyers say the officers were not only entitled to take the action they did, but were obliged to. The police action amounted to an abuse of power under both common law and the European Convention on Human Rights, it was argued.

Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Harrison, sitting in London, heard that the coaches from London were intercepted in a lay-by in Lechlade and searched. They were then escorted back to London because of the view taken about preventing violence by hard-core demonstrators.

Michael Fordham, for the demonstrators, said that the action of turning away the coaches and of forcible return were unlawful. He said he did not accept there would have been a breach of the peace on arrival at Fairford. Nor did he accept that there was nothing the police could have done to consider passengers on an individual basis and to seek to differentiate between them. Mr Fordham said that the police regarded their operation as a success in achieving their objectives of preventing violence and facilitating peaceful protest.

A ruling is due on Wednesday.

You can see a selection of my ‘Stop the War’ work at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar.htm

Take one part Kerry, one part Fonda …

… and try to whip up a political row

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington

Wednesday February 18, 2004

The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1150472,00.html

A new dirty tricks campaign to embarrass the Democratic frontrunner, John Kerry, backfired ignominiously yesterday when it emerged that a widely circulated photograph of a protest against the Vietnam war was a crude forgery.

The photograph, falsely credited to Associated Press, combined two separate images to make it appear as if Mr Kerry shared a stage at an anti-war rally in the early 1970s with the actress, Jane Fonda.

Ms Fonda is reviled by many Vietnam vets for her wartime visit to Hanoi, and the image was widely aired over the internet by a fringe group of Vietnam veterans who have pursued a vendetta against Mr Kerry for years.

In less than a week, the forgery travelled from a message board on a rightwing website to a Vietnam veterans’ mailing list to mainstream organisations. Two British national newspapers – the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday – used the photograph in editions on Friday last week and at the weekend.

The revelation that the photograph was a fake follows the rumour that Mr Kerry had had an affair with a young trainee reporter.

That claim, which started on the rightwing Drudge report website, was largely ignored by American papers when it first surfaced, but was leapt on by some British newspapers.

On Monday the woman at the centre of the furore, Alexandra Polier, issued a statement in which she denied ever having had a relationship with Mr Kerry.

Inside the Kerry campaign, Democratic operatives said yesterday they were certain that the forged photograph would not be the last attempt to try to discredit their candidate’s Vietnam war record.

“There are going to be a lot of dirty tricks in the campaign. It’s like the story of the intern, which flew high as a kite before being shot down,” said John Hurley, Mr Kerry’s campaign adviser on veterans’ issues.

Although it is possible to trace the Fonda-Kerry forgery through the internet, it was not clear yesterday who created the photograph. There was no direct evidence targeting the altered image to the Republican party.

However, the episode was seized on by Democrats as evidence of Republican trickery in an election season already notable for its low tactics.

The furore over the concocted photographs – and the smear that Mr Kerry had had an affair with Ms Polier – have also provoked a debate within the US media on its role in perpetuating campaign mud slinging.

Various Republican grandees and officials from President George Bush’s re-election campaign have warned that operatives are mining Mr Kerry’s 18-year voting record in the Senate, as well as his history as a Vietnam veteran turned war protester, in search of damaging material. Mr Kerry has formidable critics in a fringe section of war veterans who played a key role in the distribution of the forged image.

Although Mr Kerry is widely respected both for his courage in the Mekong delta and for his activism following his return from Vietnam, he has aroused the wrath of a small, but vocal minority.

Among his most devoted enemies over the years is a veteran from North Carolina. Ted Sampley, a former Green Beret, was bitterly opposed to Mr Kerry’s leadership in re-establishing American relations with Vietnam, and openly accuses him of betraying missing US soldiers.

The election campaign has given new meaning to Mr Sampley’s previously lonely campaign. On his website for veterans against Mr Kerry, he has portrayed the candidate in front of a Vietcong flag, and in a legitimate picture in a rally several rows behind Ms Fonda.

He also played a crucial role in circulating the forgery. “It was a dream come true that picture coming up at this point of time,” he told the Guardian. “If it was real, I would be promoting it left, right and centre.”

Mr Sampley says he suspected immediately the photograph was a fake, and he decided not to post it on his website. Instead, he claimed, he sent the image to six friends.

“It’s a pyramid. I have no idea where it was going or not,” he said, adding: “I didn’t tell them not to publish it.”

Ken Light, the photographer responsible for the original image of Mr Kerry, said yesterday that lawyers for the Corbis agency, which owns the picture, were contemplating legal action.

“It made me feel very angry that it was a complete deception,” Mr Light said. “Having one of your images faked in that way for a political cause, or as part of a dirty tricks campaign, doesn’t make you very happy.”

Here are the components of how it was done.

The photograph never lies. Yea, right!!

Also, checkout

Whoslying http://whoslying.org

San Fransisco Indymedia on:

http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2004/02/1678852.php

and FreeRepublic.com “A Conservative News Forum”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1076946/posts

This is a regular occurance. This photograph fro the Iraq conflict, got the photographer sacked. Quite right to.

US war photographer sacked for altering image of British soldier

http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_03_30_tash_lodge_archive.html#91909155

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