January 2005

Aside from my ‘alternative’ credentials, I am also a member of the National Union of Journalist. I have recently qualified from the NUJ ‘Reps’ Course. An effort for us to get better skilled and ‘stick-up’ for members against ever tightening restrictions ….

I was asked to produce a seminar, and made these notes to cover, some of my issues of concern.

* * * * * *

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

The main issue 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 on 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, on issues of concern)

· 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.

My degree in Photography at Nottingham Trent University [a while ago now], didn’t cover any of this.

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.

* * * * * *


As people maybe aware on mayday 2001 over 3,00 people were cordoned in at oxford circus & held as part of the mayday protests. They were detained for over 7 hours, denied the right to leave (effectively held prisoner) without access to toilet facilities. Many at the time believed this to be illegal by the police.

The trial is now being held at the royal courts of justcie to determined whether the police had the legal authority to do what they did.

This is the second week of the trial. The first was taken up with people (some protestors, some not) recounting their experiences of being caught up in this cordon. Extensive video footage was shown in court of just how the police effected their operation throughout mayday.

This week has been taken up with the police officers actually in charge of the operatioon. They explained the operational tactic employed & why they thought it was necessary to do what they did. (This tactic was actually devised some months beforehand as: containing the crowd & i quote “boring them to death”).

As with all police who swear to tell the truth under oath in a court of law they lied through their teeth. Special reference has to be made to chief superintendent french (silver commander on the day & effectively the decsion maker) who attempted to deny an reponsiblity for the instigation of these tactis (despite his signature being on the briefing notes) & denied any knowledge of just what was happening on the ground (despite supposedly being in the command centre at the time monitoring everything that was happening at oxford circus. (He said he was in a diferent room at the time!).

When asked where was the recorded evidence (in police radio logs) of him giving the order to cordon people in, he said he must have given the order on his moblie phone. When it was explained mobile phones were actually forbidden in the police command centre he changed his mind & said it was from a landline in a different room!!!).

Despite having constant radio contact with every commander on the ground on the day in one room, he chooses to go to another room, phone from a landline & issue the single most important order of the day!

The point made by the claimamt’s barrister was that all the officers in charge were briefed days beforehand that a cordon was to be put in place at oxford circus regardless & so didn’t need a direct order from french).

This is an incredibly important case the outcome of which will determine policing operations (both positive & negative) on future mass actions.

I urge as many people to go to the royal courts of justice (1) for entertainment value of watching the highest ranking coppers in the country squirm & lie & generally make fools of themselves but more importantly to witness just how & why the police get away with what they do at that level.

The trial will last until next week.

Court 14

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand


London WC2A 2LL

Court sits from 10.30 am finishes 4.30pm everday

More pictures of this event, can been seen at the following links






Found in the village of Slack, three miles north of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

I guess it’s an address, just like any other. But to some, a bit rude 🙂

So, I just had to stop to take a piccy…….

Went out for a weekends tree planting with ‘Treesponsibility’. Folks from local area, Leeds, Nottingham contributed their labour at Lower Benthead Farm about 5 miles north of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Map: OS Ref SD967294

Treesponsibility in Calderdale is a not-for profit community group, based on mutual accountability and consensus. They have a small ‘core’ group of members with a wider circle of people who subscribe to our newsletter and turn up to tree plantings. So far, managed to plant about 40,000 trees and hedge plants.


aims are to:-

1. encourage, empower and enable people to take responsibility for their own carbon dioxide emissions through tree-planting, as one urgent response to climate change

2. bring back our lost woodlands and hedgerows to increase biodiversity

3. spread the idea and practice of land-connectedness, co-operation and community as a possible future, and the most sensible way out of the present environmental crisis. We can each choose not to contribute to global warming. Instead, we can contribute to climate change of a rather different kind – a shift towards connectedness, community and love of the land. We also intend to have fun, while we’re doing all this!

Treesponsibility contact:

PO Box 38, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 8YR

Telephone / fax: 01422 843222



Indymedia entries at:

Treeplanting in Calderdale: Indymedia-UK


Treeplanting in Calderdale: Indymedia-Leeds Bradford


and ….

On Heptonstall Moor, just off the Pennine Way, on open [and very windswept] moorland. I ‘took five’, at lunchtime, to stride off across the moor, to find this Triangulation Pillar at SD951302


more piccy in this project at: http://www.trigpointinguk.com/trigs/view-album.php?u=1529 onwards.

Well, some people are trainspotters, I spot these 🙂

* * * * * *

We plant ’em. They saw them down

Earlier entries on Indymedia and hebdenbridge.co.uk, may give an idea as to why we need to accelerate planting. People protest and attempt to stop [by law and protest], yet more environment destruction by nerds! The other side of the coin is of course, trying to ameliorate just some of their damage, by us planting more than they fell. If only tree grew quicker.

Chainsaw massacre in Hebden Bridge


Battle of the Mill Pond: http://www.hebdenbridge.co.uk/news/news04/46.html


“The flame of hatred that burned our people to smoke in Auschwitz is still consuming us today”

On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, the words of Toma Nikoleaff, editor of the Roma newspaper De Facto must be a wake up call.

Today 40,000 Travellers and Roma face UK ethnic-cleansing – through violent destruction of their caravan parks and mass forced deportations.

Roma living “illegally” are being hunted down by Immigration “snatch squads”; Traveller families, who bought land on Government advice, now see their homes and their lives wrecked by police and private security men.


In the latest eviction, at Ridge near London, Twin Oaks caravan park was bulldozed and raised (6 Jan). Five persons, including a crittically ill women of 72, were assaulted and two men arrested. Four mobile homes were wrecked.

Among property needless destroyed were two wheel-chairs, television sets, and countless household items and heirloom china.

The eviction, carried out by Constant & Co, cost Euro 250,000. Damage to property exceeds Euro 200,000. Two cases under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act are being prepared against Hertsmere District Council and Constant.

In two years, l5,000 Roma have been “removed” from Britain, and more than 1,000 Travellers “cleared” from their own land under policies experienced by the victims as akin to those imposed in Nazi Germany during the l930s.

Next in line for destruction is the Woodside caravan park at Hatch, in Bedfordshire. Home of Cliff Codona, chair of the National Travellers Action Group, this was to be the location for the Roma Holocaust and Heritage Centre.



Please join the rally outside Parliament at 2pm on Thursday 27 January (Westminster Tube) on the occassion of the official Holocaust Memorial Day event STOP 2nd.



3pm Sunday, 23 January, 4 Sutton Street, Whitechapel, London

1) EVICTION at Woodside, Bedfordshire expected on or after 1 Feb.

Cliff Codona appeals for supporters to join Human Rights Monitoring team.

2) EVICTION at Dale Farm expected on or after l3 May.

Contact Grattan on 01206 523528 for details

ustiben.5 ustiben.5@ntlworld.com

Home Office: Stop and Search Action Team – Guidance & Policy

Home Office have been consulting about new Stop & Search Powers. Cop this lot…..




Home Office circulars and other documents about police powers http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crimpol/police/system/powers.html

For more information on progress, keep an eye on Statewatch http://www.statewatch.org

This is it, as I know it so far:

Feb 12 Kyoto Climate March http://www.campaigncc.org 11.30 am Lincoln’s Inn Fields 02088553327

Mar 19 National No War demo http://www.stopwar.org.uk

March Dragon Festival http://www.partyvibe.com/conspiracy

May 1 Mayday London

Apr 29- May 1 Rocket Festival, Andalucia http://www.rocketfestival.com

Apr 30 – May 1 Newcastle Green Fest 01912321750

May 1 Swindon May Morning http://www.swindonfestivalofliterature.co.uk

May 5 – 8 WOMAD Cáceres, Spain http://www.womad.org

May 7 Ganja Day http://www.thecannabisfestival.co.uk

May 7-29 Brighton Festival Fringe http://www.brightonfestivalfringe.org.uk

May 14-21 Hes Fes 07833794062 http://www.hesfes.co.uk

May 30 Kingston Green Fair 02089748608 http://www.kingstongreenfair.org.uk

May 27th BATH FRINGE FESTIVAL Bath Somerset, UK, http://www.bathfringe.co.uk

June 1 Beanfield trashing 20th Anniversary

June 4th Strawberry Fair http://www.strawberry-fair.org.uk

June 12th Walcot Nation Day

June 18th-19th Leamington Peace Festival http://www.peacefestival.org.uk

June 20- 21st Summer Solstice Stonehenge

June 24-26 Pilton http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

June 30-July 3 Fusion Festival http://www.fusion-festival.de

July 4 Big Blockade at Faslane nuclear submarine base. http://www.tridentploughshares.org

July 6TH Global Day of Action at the opening day of the G8 Summit http://www.agp.org http://www.dissent.org.uk

July 15-17 Guilfest http://www.guilfest.co.uk

July 15-17 Glade Festival http://www.gladefestival.com

July 13-17 Buddhafield 01647 24539 http://www.buddhafield.com

July 13-17 Larmertree Festival http://www.larmertree.co.uk

July 16-17 Ashton Court Festival http://www.ashtoncourtfestival.com

July21 Ruigoord Landjuweel, Netherlands http://www.ruigoord.nl

July 29-31 WOMAD Reading http://www.womad.org

Aug 3-7 Big Green Gathering 01458 834629 http://www.big-green-gathering.com

Aug 5-7 The Big Chill http://www.bigchill.net

Aug 7-29 Edinburgh Fringe http://www.edfringe.com

Aug 11-13 Cropredy http://www.faircrop.co.uk

Aug 14-20 European Juggling Convention http://www.eja.net

Aug 20-21 Beautiful Days http://www.beautifuldays.org

Sept 21-24 Robodock Festival Amsterdam http://www.robodock.org

still lacking the anarchistic peace convoy type do’s, but one day again perhaps …..

This is it, as I know it so far: [link to my new bulletin boards]


Not everyone in the NUJ, goes to thier Branch Meetings! Imagine that’s the same with any club!

So, any members out there may not know this has happend. My local Nottingham Branch has taken a leap in eDemocracy and member involvement, and has recently set up a ‘Bulletin Board’.


You have to be a member of the NUJ to join of course, so, if you are, please sign up.

Taoism: Shit happens

Confucionism: Confucius says: “Shit happens”

Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn’t really shit

Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?

Hinduism: This shit has happened before

Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah

Protestantism: Let the shit happen to someone else

Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it

Judaism: Why does shit always happen to us?

Sufism: The wise man notices shit happening

Christian Science: If shit happens, pray for it to get better

Solipsism: Shit happens because I wish it

Mysticism: Just experience shit happening

Asceticism: If shit happens, renounce it

Agnosticism: We don’t know why shit happens

Gnosticism: I know why shit happens

Atheism: Shit just happens and that’s all there is to it

Cartesianism: Shit happens to me, therefore I exist

Platonism: There is ideal shit happening somewhere

Stoicism: I don’t care if shit happens

Epicureanism: Let’s party while shit doesn’t happen

Cynicism: Of course shit happens

Occultism: Shit materializes from other planes of existence

Terrorism: Shit will happen unless you do as I say

Pollyanism: It’s so nice that shit happens!

Puritanism: Shit can happen all day as long as you don’t call it that

Behaviourism: You are conditioned to having shit happen

Freudianism: If shit happens, it’s your mother’s fault

Parapsychology: Shit happens without material causes

Surrealism: Purple shit happens near melting clocks

Cubism: If shit happens, you won’t recognize it

Cultural Relativism: Shit happens everywhere differently

Optimism: If shit happens, we’ll find a way to use it

Pessimism: If shit happens, there won’t be enough for everybody

Tabloid Sensationalism: Green shit from Mars happens to Elvis clone

Biblical Creationism: Shit happens because God created it

Secular Humanism: Shit happens because it evolved from primitive shit

Scientific Reductionism: If shit happens, find out what kind exactly

Scientific Obscurantism: Amorphous excrement does occur in given cases

Bureaucracy: I don’t care if shit happens as long as you fill out the forms

Feminism: Women demand to have shit happen

Ecology: If organic shit happens, it’s OK

Capitalism: Let’s profit from shit happening

Socialism: If shit happens, let’s distribute it equally

Patriotism: Our shit is better than your shit

Conservatism: They don’t make shit happen like they used to

Liberalism: Shit shouldn’t happen tomorrow

Classical Physics: Shit does not ‘happen’, it just moves around

Quantum Physics #1: Shit happens but you can’t say both where and when

Quantum Physics#2: Shit happens in discrete quanta called shitons

Holistic Physics: If shit happens, it happens everywhere at once

Microcomputing: If shit happens, we’ll fix it in the next version

Computer Science: All shit can in principle happen on a Turing Machine

Applied Mathematics: The probability of shit happening approaches unity

Engineering: When shit happens, paint over

Medicine: If shit happens, take two Aspirins and call me in the morning

Economics: Shit happens because there’s a great demand for it

Politics: If shit happens, make a deal with it

Diplomacy: Let’s pretend shit doesn’t happen


I have been running a Message Board and Guestbook for some time now. People have been kind and left quite a few entries, so thanks to all who have contributed.

However, regular readers will know that I have become increasing ‘pissed-off’, with the porn merchants and their robots, ‘spamming’ these boards, trying to sell us their wares.

Earlier entry on my blog about all this at:


I don’t know if this is going to work, but have just started a new ‘Bulletin Board’ eventually to replace these services.

I haven’t integrated it within the main website links yet, ‘cos I’m still learning about adjustments and setting them up. But, if you want a sneak preview, here is the direct link:


As I say, it will take me a while to shut down these, and ‘officially’ open the bulletin board, so, in the meantime ……

Contibution welcome [except porn, thanks]

Waterstone’s says bookseller brought firm into disrepute

Patrick Barkham

Wednesday January 12, 2005


This is what it’s all about: http://www.woolamaloo.org.uk

A bookseller has become the first blogger in Britain to be sacked from his job because he kept an online diary in which he occasionally mentioned bad days at work and satirised his “sandal-wearing” boss.

Joe Gordon, 37, worked for Waterstone’s in Edinburgh for 11 years but says he was dismissed without warning for “gross misconduct” and “bringing the company into disrepute” through the comments he posted on his weblog.

Published authors and some of the 5 million self-published bloggers around the globe said it was extraordinary that a company advertising itself as a bastion of freedom of speech had acted so swiftly to sack Mr Gordon, who mentions everything from the US elections to his home city of Edinburgh in the satirical blog he writes in his spare time.

Mr Gordon, a senior bookseller who rarely mentioned work in his blog and did not directly identify his branch of Waterstone’s, said he had offered to stop posting anything about his working life online when the company called a disciplinary meeting. According to his union, Waterstone’s rejected his plea despite it not having any guidelines on whether its employees are allowed to keep weblogs.

“This wasn’t a sustained attack,” Mr Gordon told the Guardian. “I was not deliberately trying to harm the company. I was venting my spleen.

“This was moaning about not getting your birthday off or not getting on with your boss. I wasn’t libelling anyone or giving away trade secrets.”

Mr Gordon joined Waterstone’s while a student in 1993, a year after he began a satirical newsletter which evolved into his blog, called the Woolamaloo Gazette.

Named after Monty Python’s fictional University of Woolloomooloo, the blog contains the typical musings of online diarists across the world, linking to interesting websites and sounding off about current affairs and favourite films. There is much to please Waterstone’s: most of the blog is devoted to extolling the virtues of reading and Mr Gordon’s favourite science fiction and graphic novels.

In the past two months, the bookseller, who helped set up a branch of Waterstone’s, ran bookclubs and appeared on radio and TV for his company, mentioned his work twice.

On one occasion, he ranted about his “sandal-wearing” manager he nicknamed “Evil Boss”, which he said was a caricature like the “Pointy Haired Boss” in the Dilbert cartoons. In another posting, Mr Gordon joked about “Bastardstone’s”.

After he was suspended pending an investigation into his blog, he was called before a formal disciplinary meeting and sacked last week.

“The book trade can only exist with freedom of speech and information,” he said last night. “It is a big personal blow to me to lose my job and it also has grave implications beyond that – for anybody who works for any company and blogs, which is thousands of people.”

The move has also alarmed the global internet community. Mr Gordon has received dozens of emails from other bloggers who have heard about his plight, with some pledging to boycott Waterstone’s.

While Boris Johnson wrote about his sacking from the Tory frontbench on his blog, it is believed to be the first time in Britain a blogger has been dismissed for what they published on the web.

In the US, Ellen Simonetti was sacked from her job as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines after her bosses saw pictures of her posing in her uniform on her website, which recounted the adventures of an anonymous flight attendant who worked for “Anonymous Airline”.

Jessica Cutler, a 24-year-old secretary at a senator’s office who wrote about selling sex to officials in Washington under the online name of Washingtonienne, was outed on the internet and sacked from her job.

The literary world has also spoken out against the sacking. Richard Morgan, the science fiction author, has written a letter of protest to Waterstone’s.

“This bears comparison with taking disciplinary action based on private conversations overheard in a pub, and raises some disturbing issues of freedom of speech,” he said.

“Waterstone’s is, after all, a bookseller, whose stock in trade is the purveying of opinion, not all of it palatable to those concerned. The action that has been taken so far bears more resemblance to the behaviour of an American fast-food chain than a company who deal in intellectual freedoms and the concerns of a pluralist liberal society.”

Five years ago, an award-winning advertising campaign for Waterstone’s focused on the importance of freedom of speech. One image featured a burned book with the slogan: “Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot & Mao Tse-Tung were right about one thing. The Power of Books.”

A spokeswoman for Waterstone’s confirmed Mr Gordon had been sacked. “At this stage we can’t comment on it,” she said. “He has two opportunities to appeal after he receives his letter of dismissal through the post.”

The Retail Books Association, which represents 6,000 people working in the book trade, said it would help Mr Gordon appeal against his dismissal. If an appeal with a regional area manager is rejected, the blogger could take the matter to an employment tribunal.

According to the RBA, Waterstone’s should introduce guidelines determining what its employers can say online about their work.

“We are hopeful we can get him reinstated,” said David Pickles, president of the RBA. “We feel it was heavy-handed and they have overreacted. The company has no guidelines to say ‘please don’t’ [write about work on a weblog]. They shouldn’t use a hammer to crack a nut.

“Some of the products they sell that are on open view to the public upset people far more. If MPs can slag each other off in parliament and the press, then surely Joe having a bad day and putting it down on the website should be allowed.

“As long as there is no one being discriminating or offensive, if it is just fun and opinion, then I can’t see it being a problem. It’s just how he felt on the day.”

Adventures with Evil Boss

Monday, Dec 13 2004

On the way home from a dreadful day at work (I should really have phoned in sick but couldn’t face the hassle this causes), I walked rather than catching the bus to get the blood flowing a little. Not far from my flat is a new bakery/pastry store, The Old Bakehouse, which also has an art gallery in the basement. Delicious pastries and artwork? Now how cool is that? Groovy.

Tuesday, Nov 16

Bad things recently. Having to pay Edinburgh bastard moneygrubbing council’s tax, may they choke on every penny. Return to shift working as Evil Boss decrees even those now in stockroom must do late and early shifts, which is a waste of time for that post.

Xmas working hours brought in early – first shift now starts at 7.30 bloody am, which is fucking ridiculous.

Evil Boss fucking me off by refusing my requests for a day’s holiday on the 31st of December for my birthday and the first week of January off as I have taken for the last few years …

Evil Boss then has cheek to ask me to work one of the bloody bank holidays in the week he refused me off. Cheeky smegger. Said no.

Noticing he has put me down for one of those days anyway, the sandal-wearing bastard. Words will be exchanged – if he gives me my birthday off I will do his bank holiday day. If not, he can kiss my magnificent Celtic ass, since it is voluntary.

Monday Nov 8

Yes, my day slaving for Bastardstone’s was lightened (never an easy task on a Monday) by one of the avalanche of humour books that appear before Xmas, Far From [Dull] and Other Places by Dominic Greyer …

Amusing myself this week with Rich Hall’s excellent biography of his redneck “uncle”, Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society, and probably pissing everyone in our staffroom out by laughing my arse off


This is what it’s all about: http://www.woolamaloo.org.uk

Mapperley Road, Redcliffe Road, Elm Bank & Villa Road, Nottingham


TrigpointingUK – Trigpoint Logging System http://www.trigpointinguk.com

Here is my gallery of trigs on TrigpointingUK


More pictures of Trig points on moutains at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=305772

and benchmarks at:



Benchmark Database http://www.bench-marks.org.uk

and very detailed map: Nottingham Nomad Map Nottingham City Council


Millions of people across the UK and Europe have observed a three-minute silence on Wednesday to remember the 150,000 killed by the Asian tsunami.

The silence started in Britain at 1200 GMT, but was held across Europe one hour earlier.

In Nottingham, the silence was observed across the city, with folks coming together in Market Square.

More piccys on my FotoBlog at: http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=310647

A Blog for short news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.



Help is only available, by what us humans can do.

There is no god!

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to you to ask you to do what you can to help your journalist colleagues whose lives have been devastated by the terrible events of recent weeks.

None of us can have failed to have been moved by the devastation wrought to lives and communities by the terrible events across Asia and parts of Africa.

More than 150,000 people have lost their lives and upwards of 5 million have been left homeless. The effects of this tragedy will be felt for years to come.

The response of members of the public has been overwhelming. I am sure many of you have already contributed to the various relief funds which have been established. Thank you for that.

Over New Year I received many calls from NUJ members anxious to find out information about the fate of journalist colleagues in the affected countries. The news is grim.

In the Aceh province of Indonesia alone most of the 80 staff of Serambi Indonesia, the only daily newspaper are dead or missing after the tsunami tore through its offices.

Since its founding in the 1990s, the paper has been one of the only sources of information from the war-ravaged Aceh Province. Its journalists have routinely faced violent attacks, threats and intimidation from both sides of the conflict in the region.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists reports that almost two-thirds of its members in Banda Aceh have been killed or are missing. Throughout Northern Sumatra around 200 journalists are missing.

The General Secretary of the AJI, Nezar Patria, lost 20 members of his family in the disaster.

The NUJ, along with other international journalists’ organisations has already pledged funds and support for the AJI to help its members in affected areas. We will be working closely with the International Federation of Journalists who have set up a special disaster fund http://www.ifj.org.

Members have already responded magnificently to this tragedy but assistance is still badly needed. Please do all you can to help your fellow journalists rebuild their lives and communities.

Donations should be made payable to IFJ Safety Fund and sent to

Jeremy Dear, General Secretary, NUJ, Headland House, 308 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP

Alternatively you can make a payment by credit card by calling the NUJ on 020 7278 7916.

Thank you in advance for your assistance – and best wishes for the new year.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Dear

General Secretary NUJ


A GAMEKEEPER and her assistant opened fire at an illegal rave they came across while hunting rabbits.

Jessica Allinson, 46, of Pursers Lane, Peaslake, and her 28-year-old underkeeper, Alexander Szyndel, of Scotland Lane, Haslemere, stormed among 600 revellers, blasting away with double-barrelled shotguns at the loudspeakers.

They shot out car tyres and Allinson grabbed one of the organ-isers round the throat during a fierce argument, Guildford Crown Court heard last Tuesday.

Allinson and Szyndel pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and causing criminal damage while in possession of firearms.

Before sentencing them Judge John Bull, QC, heard a trial of issue to decide the exact sequence of events and how many shots were fired in total.

Iain Wicks, prosecuting, told how the illegal rave was taking place in woodland at Netley Heath, near West Horsley.

The event had brought a flood of calls to the police – some from people living as far as seven miles away – after a group calling themselves FOC (Free of Charge) set up loud speakers, turntables and generators at 11.30pm.

It was still in full swing when Allinson and Szyndel, both armed with 12-bore shotguns, set out to go rabbiting at dawn.

Allinson, who works for Netley Heath Shoot, pointed her gun at a man and fired towards his car while Szyndel shot in the direction of a Ford Fiesta driving through the woods.

They also abused and threatened another man before manhandling a group of people and ramming their car with their Land Rover.

Mr Wicks said by about 6am, when the defendants reached the heart of the rave, Szyndel was clear-ly very angry and one of them fired a shot into the air.

He said: “The two defendants approached the speakers and four cartridges were discharged into them causing £1,700 in damage.

“Mr Syzndel is described as turning back to the speakers and firing a further two shots.”

Mr Wicks said there was an angry row between Allinson and Simon Scott, one of the organisers, during which she grabbed him by the throat and pointed her shotgun at him.

As the gamekeepers finally drove away Szyndel fired at a blue Proton which was being driven around the woods.

The court heard a woman who had turned up with a friend to collect her daughter from the rave was walking through the woods to try to find it.

They came across the Land Rover and stopped to ask for directions but were met with abuse. On returning to their car they found two of the tyres had been shot out, causing £500 damage.

Mr Wicks said Allinson finally called the police and they arrived to find her weeping and in a distraught state.

Both she and Szyndel were arrested. Sentencing is expected in the new year.


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