June 2005


The Independent

By Arifa Akbar

It was a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon in June 1985 when a convoy of children, peace activists and travellers made their way to an annual free festival on land beside the ancient ruins at Stonehenge.
The line of vehicles of the 550 people going to Wiltshire led to grassland, next to a bean field where many families settled for a picnic. A few hours later, the convoy erupted into full-scale violence as festival-goers clashed with 1,363 police officers in riot gear. The event, which led to 537 arrests – the largest civil arrest since the Second World War at the time – came to be known as the Battle of the Beanfield.
Twenty years later, many who were there still bear the scars of the bloody confrontation.
Andy Worthington, the editor of a book about the event, called The Battle of the Beanfield, said: “Some of the people were psychologically damaged but for the most part, people refused to be cowed and carried on living the lives they believed they were entitled to.”
Some people believe faulty police intelligence led the forces to think the travellers were armed and dangerous.
The protests took place within an area that had been made the subject of an order banning all “trespassory assemblies”.
Plans to stop the convoy near the A303 collapsed when a convoy outrider spotted the roadblock and directed the travellers down a side road, where they encountered a second roadblock. After a first wave of what travellers claimed were violent assaults by the police, in which windscreens were smashed and the occupants dragged from their buses and vans screaming, most of the vehicles broke into a neighbouring field, further derailing the police plan.
Assistant Chief Constable Lionel Grundy, the officer in charge, ordered all travellers to be arrested. The final assault came at 7pm, with police in riot gear.
Many witnessed scenes of horrifying violence, with women dragged out of vans by the hair, and vehicles smashed and set on fire. Those who tried to escape the violence by driving through the bean field were trapped by hundreds of police.
All of those arrested were charged with obstruction of the police and the highway, although most did not result in convictions.
Ian Readhead, Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire, who was then an inspector, said the aggression had not been planned. But he added: “With all the benefit of hindsight, the police operation had not been thought through very well.”
Alan Lodge, now 53, was working at the festival as a photographer and a first aid volunteer. He was arrested and held in a police cell for three days. “I was one of a number of people to take civil court action against the police. Nearly six years later at the High Court in Winchester, we won most of our case and were each awarded damages against the police. On the last day, the judge made an order on court costs that, as we were getting legal aid, meant we got nothing.
“We went through the proper legal process to get recompense but while some police officers got promotion, we got nothing. Nobody was told off, there was no inquiry, and 20 years on, some of us remain impoverished by that experience.”

‘I carried the experience for years after’

Sheila Craig, 50, from London, is a former peace activist. She now works as a freelance teaching consultant and trainee counsellor.
“I still see the total brutality of the attack. It was malicious. We had all travelled there in the spirit of non-violence. People were physically and psychologically wounded, and I carried the experience for years after. I still have the scars. But the scars served a purpose and I became more committed to political, social and environmental change.
My son, who was four, was with me. We were having a picnic. We saw dark figures in riot gear charging down the field. It was unreal. We ran into the bus and they said they’d smash it if we didn’t get out. We got out and they arrested us. We were taken to police cells and [later] they took the children, who were screaming. My son was affected by the separation but he is proud to be in the history books. I later joined a squatting community.”

‘Police slammed truncheons into the vehicles’

Earl of Cardigan, landowner at Savernake.
“With my neighbour, John Moore, a barrister, who also owns a motorcycle, we determined to follow it all. I think we both realised the motorcycle helmet would give us some anonymity, which I was keen on. There was a long period of negotiation, with the convoy asserting their right to go through to Stonehenge and the police saying that was not allowed. After a long period of this impasse, the leading vehicle started its engine and drove through the hedge into a field of beans. Vehicles 2, 3 and 4 followed. Police rushed out on foot, from behind their barricades. Clutching drawn truncheons and riot shields, they ran round to the driver’s door of each vehicle, slamming their truncheons into the bodywork to make a deafening noise, and shouting at every driver, ‘get out, get out, hand over your keys, get out’.”

It was like a scene from ‘War of the Worlds’

Kim Sabido, 50, from Birmingham, is a former ITN reporter, now a freelance media consultant.
“I have a vivid picture of the day and its aggression. I was working at ITN. I thought I was going to a gathering of hippies protesting at the gates of a field. When I got there, the police had cut off routes into the field… so I and the crew set off on foot with the camera. We climbed up a tree and over a fence to get into the field. It was like a scene from the War of the Worlds. It was barbaric. I was in a sort of state of shock. I had covered the Falklands War and the hunger strike at Northern Ireland, and I had seen people being shot and beaten. Yet this, in its stark reality, was the most barbaric example of what a so-called civilised state could do to its people. Women with babies were hauled by the hair through smashed windows of their vehicles. The police were banging truncheons on their shields. It was like a war cry.”

Tony Thompson, crime correspondent
Sunday June 12, 2005
The Observer

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1504681,00.html

It looked just like a carnival – at first. The weather was sunny and music played as the 140 vehicles set off towards Stonehenge. The 600 or so Travellers were on their way to attend the annual free festival on squatted land beside the ancient stones.
A few hours later the convoy had been ambushed by more than 1,300 police officers; dozens of Travellers were injured, all but a handful were arrested, and every one of their vehicles was destroyed.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of what has become known as the Battle of the Beanfield. Despite four months’ planning, the police operation to stop the convoy was a shambles. Faulty police intelligence suggested the Travellers were armed with chainsaws, hammers, petrol bombs and even firearms. All this information was false.

Plans to stop the convoy near the A303 collapsed when a convoy outrider spotted the roadblock and directed the travellers down a side road, where they encountered a second roadblock. After a first wave of violent assaults by the police, in which windscreens were smashed and the occupants dragged out screaming, most of the vehicles broke into a neighbouring field, derailing the police plan further.

For the next four hours there was a standoff, while Assistant Chief Constable Lionel Grundy, the officer in charge, insisted all Travellers had to be arrested.

The final assault began at 7pm, by which time all the officers had changed into riot gear. Pregnant women were clubbed with truncheons, as were those holding babies. The journalist Nick Davies, then working for The Observer, saw the violence. ‘They were like flies around rotten meat,’ he wrote, ‘and there was no question of trying to make a lawful arrest. They crawled all over, truncheons flailing, hitting anybody they could reach. It was extremely violent and very sickening.’

When some of those remaining tried to get away, driving their vehicles through the beanfield, the police threw anything they could lay their hands on – fire extinguishers, stones, shields and truncheons – at them in order to bring them to a halt. The empty vehicles were then systematically smashed to pieces and several were set on fire. Seven healthy dogs belonging to the Travellers were put down by officers from the RSPCA. In total, 537 people were arrested – the most arrests to take place on any single day since the Second World War.

All those arrested were charged with obstruction of the police and the highway, but most of the charges were dismissed in the courts. The Travellers’ unexpected saviour was the Earl of Cardigan, whose family owned the forest where the convoy had stayed the night before. Cardigan had tagged along out of interest, and his descriptions of the violence prevented what might otherwise have become a major miscarriage of justice.

Cardigan recalled that in many cases ‘the smashing up of the vehicles and the instructions to ‘Get Out! Get Out! Get Out!’ and hand over your keys were given simultaneously and therefore there was no chance to understand what was being shouted at you, and to comply before your vehicle started disintegrating around you with your windscreen broken in and your side panels beaten by truncheons and so on.’

It remains a mystery why the police felt compelled to use such violence. With evidence that radio logs of conversations between officers on the day have been altered, the full story may never be known.

‘The Battle of the Beanfield remains a black day for British justice and civil liberties,’ says Andy Worthington, whose book on the event is published this week. ‘From the anti-Traveller legislation of the 1986 Public Order Act and the 1994 Criminal Justice Act to the current hysteria surrounding Gypsy and traveller settlements, the repercussions are still being felt.’

· The Battle of the Beanfield, edited by Andy Worthington, is published by Enabler Publications on Wednesday, £12.95.

These are a sample of my ‘stills’, taken at events on the Saturday 11th June that I’m contributing to the Sheffield G8 Film.

Sheffield ‘Stop the War’ March [anti-G8] :: The Pictures

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/06/313288.html

Sheffield Peace in the Park [anti-G8] :: The Pictures

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/06/313309.html

&&&
Nottingham Indymedia crew making video of Sheffield’s opposition to G8 meetings

http://dev2.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/06/741.html

Details of the Nottingham Indymedia film progress on the Wiki at:

http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/NottsFilm1

The main events in Sheffield for the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, is from the 15th – 17th June.

More to follow …….

They save you visiting lots of websites, to see if anythings changed yet. Very useful for Indymedia Newswire and the like.

BBC Advice page: RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/rss/3223484.stm

The really simple future of the web

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3503509.stm

Here is a selection of feedreader, that you can choose from, depending on free or not, what operating system, mac or pc etc.

Google Directory – Feedreaders
The ones I use [both of which are free] are:

Feedreader: http://www.feedreader.com

and

RSS Popper – RSS aggregator for Outlook [this can be used within Microsoft Outlook, and its ver convenient]

http://rsspopper.blogspot.com
http://rsspopper.blogspot.com/2004/10/documentation.html

**********

For those that want to follow it up, these are the Feed addresses I’m watching for Sheffield G8 stuff and other matters ……

yorkshire today
http://rss.jpress.co.uk/ed55YPOS.rss

BBC News South Yorkshire
http://news.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/england/south_yorkshire/rss.xml

Indymedia UK Newswire
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/newswire.rss

Indymedia Sheffield Newswire
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/newswire.rss

Tash’s Blog
http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/atom.xml

by putting these into a feedreader, you thus would have up-to-date info delivered to your inbox.

Hope this helps

NEWS RELEASE FROM SOUTH YORKSHIRE POLICE
Date: 7/6/2005

G8 Policing Plans Inc reference:

Sheffield is hosting the UK Presidency G8 Justice & Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting from 15-17th June, involving ministers from the eight G8 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States of America).

South Yorkshire Police has the responsibility of ensuring not only that this event takes place in safety and security but also that people have the opportunity to protest within the law and that minimum disruption is caused to everyday life.

This balance is a delicate one, involving a huge amount of detailed organisation, intelligence gathering and assessment, discussion with both partners and with representatives of protest groups, meetings with local communities and others who might be affected by the event.

If we are to discharge this responsibility effectively a combination of elements must be in place: the event must take place in an orderly environment and this will necessarily involve temporary changes to routine; those wishing to protest must co-operate with the police; and powers must be available to enable police to deal with specific circumstances that experience tells us are possible.

The main meeting is taking place at the Marriott Hotel, with functions in the city centre on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th. As part of the arrangements for the event some limited road closures will occur at specific times, which should cause minimal disruption. Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police have agreed the following road closures, which will mean that there will be no access for vehicles. These are:

Kenwood Road, adjacent to the Marriott Hotel (between the junctions of Rundle Road and Cherry Tree Road), will be closed from 10.00 am Monday 13th June until 6.00 pm Friday 17th June. Local businesses and residents have been contacted individually by South Yorkshire Police and appropriate security arrangements and screenings put in place.

The Winter Garden and Millennium Galleries will host a formal welcome reception on the evening of Wednesday 15th June. South Yorkshire Police will close several roads around the venue; Surrey Street from its junction with Norfolk Street down to Arundel Gate will close from 12 noon (there will also be limited pedestrian access), Norfolk Street will close to vehicles from 4.00pm and Arundel Gate from 5.45pm. Central Library will close at 4.00pm, access to the library from 12 noon will be via the children’s library entrance at the Arundel Gate end of Surrey Street. The Graves Art Gallery will close earlier than normal. The Winter Garden and Millennium Galleries will be closed all day on the 15th June.

The Cutlers’ Hall will host a Gala Dinner in the evening. Again several roads around the venue will close from 4.00pm onwards including Church Street, High Street, Fargate, York Street and several side roads. Supertram will be affected, terminating at Castle Square and Hanover Way for both inward and outbound journeys from 4.00pm.

Other than these limited local restrictions on these specific dates the remainder of the City Centre will operate as normal.

Our approach to dealing with protest is to achieve a balance between facilitating lawful activities (including the right to protest), protecting life and property and minimising disruption.

In terms of powers available to the police to enable this approach to work, the following will apply:

Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 enables police to ban marches and processions in specifies areas.

Section 14 of the same Act enables police to place conditions on public assemblies and restrictions on the locations in which they can be held.

Section 14A of the same Act enables the police to deal with protestors trespassing onto property.

We have applied to the Home Office through the city council for powers under Section 13 and 14A to be available to police from 0001 hours on Wednesday June 15th 2005 until 1800 hours on Friday June 17th 2005 and Section 14A from 1800 hours on Monday June 13th to 1800 hours on Friday June 17th 2005.

The Chief Constable will use powers under Section 14 to allow lawful protestors who co-operate with police to have the opportunity to voice their opinions. With this in mind, we are considering two protests in close proximity to the evening venues. We will limit protestor numbers to ensure a balance between the rights of the protestors and those attending the event.

Those acting unlawfully or violently will be firmly dealt with using existing police powers. The Chief Constable has the necessary resources to deal with all issues identified.

G8 MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE, SHEFFIELD

ROAD CLOSURES CITY CENTRE

WINTER GARDEN/MILLENNIUM GALLERIES

Wednesday 15th June 2005.

6am Cones placed on Surrey Street and Norfolk Street No parking and supervised deliveries 8am Enforcement of parking restriction 12 midday Restrictions imposed upon access to Tudor Square 4pm Norfolk Street closed to vehicles 5.45pm Arundel Gate closed to vehicles and pedestrian access restricted to: · Arundel Gate Car Park (access via Pond Street only) · Odeon Cinema · Sheffield Hallam University (access from Pond Street only) · Novotel limited access for guests only

CUTLERS’ HALL

Thursday 16th June 2005

6am Cones placed on St James Street, St James Row and Vicar Lane. No parking. 4pm Restricted access to Cathedral Square from St James Row, East Parade, Church Street and High Street 4pm Road Closures · Church Street junction with Leopold Street · High Street junction with Arundel Gate · Vicar Lane junction with Campo Lane · St James Row · East Parade · York Street

4pm Supertram will terminate at Castle Square and Upper Hanover Street tram stops for both inward and outward journeys. Buses will be re-routed from High Street and Church Street 5.45pm Pedestrian access restricted

· Fargate junction with Exchange Gateway · High Street junction with George Street · Leopold Street junction with Orchard Street · Norfolk Street junction with Chapel Walk

—————————————————————

In March 2005, the Environment Ministers met in Derby, for and earlier junket in the G8 series of meetings. As we prepare for events in Sheffield, I thought it pertinent to remind all of the imagery from that event, and what we can expect for the future:

Derby Piccys Pt1 G8 Environment ministers Meeting: http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/306935.html

Derby Piccys Pt2 G8 Environment ministers Meeting: http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/306956.html

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yorkshire Post Article

Protests row as summit comes to city : Police accused of crackdown on marches

POLICE responsible for security at next week’s G8 summit meetings in Yorkshire are facing growing criticism from protesters who claim they will be kept away from the participants.
Paul Whitehouse
07 June 2005

http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1047406

The Justice and Home Affairs ministers from the G8 countries are meeting in Sheffield from Wednesday to Friday next week, June 15-17.
The series of meetings has attracted attention from protesters who want to demonstrate against the G8 countries’ support for the war in Iraq.
But with little more than a week to go before the start of the summit, they are still waiting for South Yorkshire Police to announce what restrictions will be in place.
However, it is widely anticipated that the protesters will be kept to an area in Devonshire Green when the visiting ministers are in the city centre.
Devonshire Green is a substantial distance from the venues being used to host events in the city centre.
For years campaigners have enjoyed a positive relationship with South Yorkshire Police over the way demonstrations are organised and marshalled.
Members of Sheffield Stop the War Coalition are planning to demonstrate during the summit and chairman Lucinda Wakefield said: “Sheffield Stop the War Coalition has organised demonstrations of thousands of people – in fact the biggest protests of the last few years. On not one of those occasions has anyone come to any harm.”
A demonstration in advance of the summit will take place in the city centre on Saturday, supported by organisations including Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sheffield Muslim Association of Britain, Sheffield Trades Council, Stop Political Terror, Sheffield CND, Sheffield Respect and Sheffield Green Party.
Organisers hope that event will attract support of thousands of people and a route has been agreed with police, the coalition providing its own stewards.
Ms Wakefield said: “It is a great shame, therefore, that we still have no clear agreement from South Yorkshire Police for our planned protests on Wednesday at the Winter Gardens and Thursday at Cutler’s Hall..
“We want to make our voices heard to the G8 ministers, we would like to be seen by them.”
She added: “In a city where even the council voted against the war in Iraq we consider it of vital importance that we raise our voices to some of the ministers concerned.
“It is not good enough for us to be penned in on Devonshire Green where they cannot hear us. It would be an abuse of our civil liberties, and a great shame in a city that has a proud record of standing up for peace and justice.
“We are currently seeking legal advice on this possible ban, which does not even seem to concur with the law. We shall not be silenced.”
Sheffield’s Liberal Democrats are also concerned about the way the G8 protests are being handled.
The city council’s Liberal Democrat leader Paul Scriven. said: “Many streets in the city centre including Fargate will be closed off to the public. It is already public knowledge that protesters will be penned into an enclosure in Devonshire Green and not allowed to march, with exclusion zones operating in the city centre.
“The Liberal Democrats believe that people have a right to protest and should not be penned into a small area a considerable distance away from the actual event. They also believe that people should be able to move around the city centre lawfully with as little disruption as possible.
“We are worried about civil liberties issues and that the overly restrictive controls have the potential to cause unnecessary unrest amongst protesters and unnecessary inconvenience to local people,” he added.
South Yorkshire Police are planning to give precise details of the powers they will use shortly. A spokeswoman insisted the force would only “seek those powers that are considered appropriate for the summit in Sheffield”.

Press Release 06/06/2005

http://www.wiltshire.police.uk/news/newsview.asp?id=715

Wiltshire Police are encouraged by the success of the operation to prevent raves being set up in the county, particularly in Savernake Forest, and intend to continue gathering intelligence to identify other likely targets throughout the summer. Inspector Jerry Dawson, who is based in Marlborough confirms it is still the intention to vigorously enforce current legislation and take positive action.

Operation Acoustic gathered information from a wide range of sources, including the internet and local residents. It was clear that an attempt to hold a rave in Savernake Forest was planned for the bank holiday week-end at the end of May but news of Wiltshire’s stance persuaded organisers to look elsewhere. The Police press release, carried by the BBC Wiltshire website, was copied onto several rave forum websites and the chatroom content clearly showed plans were being changed.

A couple of links stated that Savernake was an ideal location for a party and it was such a shame the venue had to be changed due to “Old Bill crawling all over the forest”. In the event a large event was staged in Wales.

The first part of the operation in Wiltshire was very successful as a smaller rave was also stopped during the setting up stage by resources at Walkers Hill in Pewsey on Saturday 28th May.

The second part of the operation, concerning the 20th Anniversary of Beanfield, had been widely advertised on the internet – but so was the police planned operation against it. Many links to the police press release were posted on websites; however, up to twenty vehicles containing New Age Travellers turned up at Postern Hill, Savernake during the day and were turned away. A makeshift sign was placed alongside the A346 road by individuals who attempted to direct other persons to Postern Hill Picnic Site in Savernake. This sign was removed by Police.

At around 7.00 pm on the 31st of May 2005 a barrier was broken at Hat Gate, Savernake and a large log that was blocking the entrance to the picnic site was dragged out of the way by a heavy vehicle . Eight large vehicles and their numerous occupants then began to set up a party with loud music but Operation Acoustic officers on duty closed it down and moved them on before they could enter the picnic site and become established.

Comments posted on the internet after the week-end have confirmed that the actions by Wiltshire Police prevented a large rave from occurring over the bank holiday week-end and thwarted the plans of many groups which would have resulted in misery for local residents and criminal damage to the area. Inspector Jerry Dawson said:

‘Operation Acoustic will continue to monitor activities throughout the summer and whatever action is necessary will be taken to ensure such unwelcome anti-social behaviour does not take place within the county.’

and about time too

check out BBC2 tonight at 10pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/storyville/mclibel.shtml

Two contemporary issues that frustrate liberals are the prevalence of fast-food outlets and the continuing outrage of the British libel laws, which stack the odds in favour of the plaintiff, especially when he, she or it is powerful.

Both these preoccupations are neatly brought together in McLibel, a hilarious and engrossing account of the seven years in which McDonald’s attempted to extract damages from two penniless London activists.

Great moments in the film include the appearance of McDonald’s executives, defending their fare and the bizarre transformation of the protagonists from neophytes into seasoned cross-examiners. The dramatic courtroom reconstructions were filmed by Ken Loach, and are very funny. Call me biased, but I learnt more from this film (and laughed much more) than I did in Super Size Me

made by http://www.spannerfilms.net/?lid=161

and of course M c S P O T L I G H T http://www.mcspotlight.org

This item had earlier appeared in “Nottingham Alternative News”

http://www.veggies.org.uk/AlternativeNews

LETTER: You are being ripped off (if you catch a bus)
Phil Shelton

I have always had an issue with Nottingham City Transport not giving change on their buses, as I often had to pay more than the fare, having no change. Some years ago, I was lodging at the home of a high ranking employee of NCT who informed me of a way to get my hard-earned cash back. It appears that NCT legally has to be able to provide change to its customers or it cannot operate as a bus company!

So you say to yourself, how are they operating when they obviously do not give change on thier buses? Well, it’s simple, it is called an Excess Fare Slip, which can be written out by a driver for you to take to the cash office in the Market Square. There, you can redeem the value of your overpaid fare and so claim YOUR hard earned cash back. This unknown right that all Nottingham’s citizens have is largely unspoken of as NCT apparently has no intention of letting the public know about this.

This I can only imagine is due to financial reasons… think of all the journeys where people pay extra, that’s one hell of a lot of money! Where does it go? Community groups? Charity? No, of course not, it goes to the bus company. Ignorance is bliss in the case of this greedy, selfish, self-serving company who does not care for its customers and implicitly rips them off.

Next time you overpay, be sure to demand that the driver write out an Excess Fare Slip. It is your legal right. If enough of us do this, perhaps NCT will have to review its sorry “Sorry, no change” policy.

____________________________________________

so, with all the above in mind …. I tried it out, having the incorrect change on the bus on the way home. The following letter to Nottingham City Transport sets out the case. If I get a response, I’ll tell you all about it…….! Reading this article has saved me 30p.

____________________________________________

Nottingham City Transport
Customer Services

Saturday 04 June 2005

Sir,

I am a freelance journalist.

I am writing a number of pieces connected with the ‘integrated transport policy’ in the regions.

I note the number of different policies that there are in the many bus companies serving the East Midlands on a number of issues.

Specifically I now write to you, asking about the giving of change.

While I appreciate that not giving change might be considered advantageous for the ‘free flow’ of the queue, it can be quite off-putting to some customers. Surely a consideration when trying to make the bus a viable alternative in travel to and from the city. Also, it was my understanding that having a policy about the giving of change was a legal requirement for the running of a service.

Thus on Saturday afternoon, I put the issue to the test. I caught a number 45 bus [reg no: V424 DRC] at 2.30 on Saturday 4th June from city centre to Woodborough Road.

The fare was £1.20. However, I only had £1.50 in change. I therefore asked the driver if he gave change. He said he didn’t. I then asked for an “Excess Fare Slip” with the intention of claiming back the excess from your office at a later date. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t have one and seemed amazed I’d asked for such a thing. He asked for my address on a piece of paper and a proof of identity. I showed him my press card. In the mean-time, I’m holding up the queue. Eventually, the driver managed to get another passenger with sufficient change to give me some and therefore for us both to deal with our exact fare.

I thanked the driver for this. But I still asked if he normally had a supply of Excess Fare Slips. He said that he did, but on this occasion, they were in his other jacket. I think it important to tell you that the driver was polite throughout this exchange.

Looking for further guidance on this issue, I had looked over the company website at: http://www.nctx.co.uk and can find no reference to this facility.

I imagine that there are many times through the normal operation of the company, that customers are unable to give the exact change for their journey. I’m thus prompted to ask if you keep an account of the monies accrued by such overpayment.

I would appreciate your comments.

regards

Alan Lodge

Independent :: 01 June 2005

Forget leaving fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Today’s police know that the hard evidence they find on your hard drive can put you behind bars, says Jimmy Lee Shreeve

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/story.jsp?story=643152

Computer forensic analysts – the detectives of the digital world – are in big demand. Electronic evidence is proving critical in solving crimes, with the proliferation of computers, PDAs, mobile phones and even iPods.

An internet bookmark or deleted e-mail can be vital to securing a conviction. In South Dakota, a woman was found drowned in her bath with high levels of temazepam in her blood. It looked like suicide – until investigators looked at her husband’s computer and found he’d been researching painless killing methods online. With this evidence, prosecutors were able to convict him.

Law-enforcement agencies have realised that electronic evidence can help catch all kinds of criminals, not just hackers, and are scrambling to hire skilled people. In Britain, the Metropolitan Police is advertising for recruits. “Successful candidates will be involved in the analysis of computer-based media, advising officers on their findings and giving evidence in court,” the advert says.

In the US, the FBI manages a growing number of computer forensics labs. In 1984, the bureau’s magnetic media programme dealt with three cases; last year, its labs handled more than 1,500.

“The whole market is growing exponentially,” says Andy Frowen (pictured above), a director of CCL-Forensics (www.ccl-forensics.com), a Warwickshire company supplying computer forensic services to 10 UK constabularies. “More people own PCs and are connected to the internet, and the police are increasingly aware that these devices can be used to commit or facilitate crime.”

In the past, equipment was usually seized in connection with suspected paedophile or hacking offences. But today, says Frowen, “they seize computers in murder, rape and fraud cases. Almost every crime at some point touches a computer.”

It’s crucial that the evidence stays intact, so digital forensic examiners never work directly on suspects’ computers. “Every time you look at a file, it changes – the date stamp, for instance, would register the day and time you opened the file, contaminating the evidence,” says Neil Barrett, a professor of criminology at Cranfield University and the author of Traces of Guilt (Corgi, 2005).

“We preserve digital evidence using a method known as ‘imaging’ or ‘freezing’. A suspect’s hard drive is removed and put in a computer that is ‘write blocked’ and can’t write to the disk. A forensic image is then taken of that hard drive – an exact clone that can be examined.”

The most widely used software for this is EnCase (www.guidancesoftware.com), a proprietary Windows-based program. The mantra is: delete doesn’t mean gone. Deleting a file, emptying the bin or even reformatting a hard drive will not necessarily get rid of evidence. This is because computers retain data even after it has been deleted.

Not surprisingly, software is available that deletes and overwrites data. One such program is the Privacy Suite from CyberScrub (www.cyberscrub.com), which claims to “remove all evidence of online activity, erase previously ‘deleted’ files, and securely destroy e-mail”. Such programs have legitimate uses – bank details or health records would be at risk if you sold your computer or others gained access to it.

Criminals can use this to cover their tracks, but it is time-consuming. “It can take four or five hours, which makes it less attractive to criminals because they are put out of action for that time,” says Chris Vaughan, the senior forensic analyst at the Manchester computer forensics firm Cy4or (www.cy4or.co.uk). “And to remove everything, the file-wiping software has to know exactly where to wipe. If it doesn’t get this right, traces will be left.”

So are criminals staying one step ahead of the law? “It’s bizarre,” says Barrett. “The criminals should be one step ahead of us, because all they need do is encrypt their files. Yet those we catch rarely do this. Maybe we’re only catching the idiots.”

Computer forensics is most commonly used in cases of child pornography, which means forensic analysts have to see upsetting images. Emma Webb-Hobson of Cy4or says she copes by cutting her mind off from the subject. “The comforting thing is that you’re helping to stop this kind of crime,” she says.

Many in the legal process now need some technical knowledge. In the Harold Shipman case, the doctor had modified evidence on his computer and was caught out by the date stamp on the records. “That obviously requires a jury to understand what a date stamp is and how it can and can’t be modified,” Barrett says. “That requires someone to provide an interpretation in plain English.”

Jeff Fischbach, a US computer forensic analyst, says one downside in digital evidence-gathering is that people are being falsely charged. A client was charged with possessing child porn on his computer, but Fischbach showed that the images came from spam and pop-ups.

What can an innocent person do if their computer is seized by police? Vaughan says: “Law enforcement agencies ask us to look for signs of intent – did somebody run multiple searches for ‘child pornography’, or open and view an illegal image hundreds of times?”

“So the advice to anybody who accidentally gets a pop-up is to close it instantly and, if possible, delete the internet cache. The same goes for spam that gets through filters – delete it. This will show that you didn’t want the material and didn’t look at it for longer than you needed to.”

The field of computer forensics is constantly evolving to keep pace with new devices. Any device that can store data can be used to harbour indecent images, illegal software or fraudulent documents.

But criminals should heed the words of the computer forensics expert John Mallery: “The only secure computer [or digital device] is the one you never turn on, bury in the ground and cover with dirt.”

*********

Further to this lot, I’ve been keeping pages about the authorities progress with surveillance techniques, as they pertain to protest, direct action on social struggles and environmental matters. Here are the direct links ::

Big Brother Awards: http://tash.gn.apc.org/big_brother.htm
surv – start: http://tash.gn.apc.org/surv_10.htm
surv – watched: http://tash.gn.apc.org/watched1.htm
surv – face recog: http://tash.gn.apc.org/face_rec.htm
surv – Nomad: http://tash.gn.apc.org/nomad_10.htm
surv – mayday 2000&1: http://tash.gn.apc.org/surv_mday1.htm
Digital / evidence: http://tash.gn.apc.org/digital_man.htm

SchNews 500 http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news500.htm#four

June 1st was the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield, a notoriously brutal one-sided confrontation between 450 unarmed travellers – including many women and children – and a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 police and MoD. Bolstered by a mandate from on high, and some dodgy injunctions, preventing 83 named individuals from approaching Stonehenge, the police brought to a violent end the 11th annual Stonehenge Free Festival, and set about ‘decommissioning’ the new Travellers’ movement.

For the festival and the travellers had joined the ranks of Thatcher’s ‘enemies within.’ With the eviction of squats in the late ’70s and widespread unemployment, thousands of people bought old buses and trucks and took to the roads each year. Many found a living on the free festival circuit, whose central focus was the gathering at Stonehenge, which had become an alternative state of 100,000 people by 1984.

Despite four months’ planning, the police operation was a shambles. Plans to stop the convoy at a roadblock near the A303, blocking it at the front and back, collapsed when an outrider
spotted the roadblock and directed the convoy down a side road, where they met a second roadblock. After a first wave of violent assaults by the police, in which windscreens were smashed and the occupants dragged out screaming, most of the vehicles broke into a
neighbouring field, derailing the police plan still further.

For the next four hours, there was an uneasy stand-off, while Lionel Grundy, the officer in charge, insisted that everyone was to be arrested under the pretext of finding out who had committed a number of alleged crimes earlier in the day (the theft of some petrol and a bit of shoplifting). ‘That’s crazy,’ said one of the travellers. ‘If you had a couple of football hooligans in a football stadium, you wouldn’t arrest everybody in the stadium
just to get at the hooligans.’

But Grundy wasn’t listening. The final assault began at 7 pm, when the police arrested men, women and children with indiscriminate violence, pursuing the stragglers as they fled into a neighbouring Beanfield. Nick Davies of The Observer saw what happened when the police surrounded the last vehicle: ‘They were like flies around rotten meat… there was no question of trying to make a lawful arrest… They just crawled all over that vehicle, with truncheons flailing, hitting anybody that they could reach. It was extremely violent and very sickening.’

By the end of the day, 537 people had been arrested – 420 at the Beanfield, and most of the rest at Stonehenge itself, where a separate gathering was also broken up. All were dispersed to holding cells throughout southern England, dozens of women were strip-searched, and social services took children into care. At the Beanfield, the remaining vehicles were systematically looted and smashed.

All those arrested were charged with obstruction of the police and the highway, but most of the charges were dismissed in the courts. The travellers’ unexpected saviour was the Earl of Cardigan, whose family owned the forest where the convoy had stayed the night before. On the day, Cardigan had tagged along out of interest, and his descriptions of a heavily pregnant woman being clubbed, and of riot police showering a woman and child with glass, prevented what would otherwise have been a severe miscarriage of justice.

20 years on, what happened at the Beanfield remains relevant in a number of ways. Without the events of that day, the steady erosion of civil liberties over the last two decades would not have been so easily achieved. Gypsies and travellers have been targeted in particular, but you can see the chain of events that leads from the Beanfield to the 1986 Public Order Act, the 1994 Criminal Justice Act and the legislation dreamt up by the current government, that the repercussions of that dark day for British
justice – on our right to gather, to party, to protest, to dissent – are still being felt.

For the full story, see the new book ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’, edited by Andy Worthington www.andyworthington.co.uk

*********

Please also see earlier posting on all this at:

The Travellers Situation: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/05/312109.html

&&

Anniversary of the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’: ‘Operation Solstice’

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/05/312088.html

*********

SchNews is 500 today. Happy Birthday guys. jolly well done. Solid work you’ve done there!!

http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/wiltshire/marlborough/news/MARLB_NEWS_LOCAL0.html

THERE were some tense moments when police had a face-to-face confrontation with a group of travellers who settled in Savernake Forest on Tuesday evening.

All weekend extra officers had been on duty manning access points to the forest after police received information that a major rave could take place there to mark the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield, when police clashed with New Age travellers at Cholderton.

The expected anniversary rave did not materialise although police said lorries carrying mobile stages had been seen in the area but were deterred by the large number of officers guarding accesses to the forest.

The police cordons were due to be discontinued yesterday.

However on Tuesday a small band of travellers, most of them from eco groups from West Wales, set up camp at the forest’s Hatt Gate picnic area on the Wootton Rivers road.

About half a dozen vehicles got past a wooden barrier, that was later found damaged, shortly before 7pm. A powerful battery-powered amplifier was set up and music could be heard at the nearest homes at Hatt Gate a quarter of a mile away.

Police led by the Marlborough sector commander Insp Jerry Dawson were quickly at the scene.

After confirming that the travellers had no permission to camp from the landowner, the Savernake Estate, police asked them to move.

Some of the campers had been drinking and demanded to be allowed to stay.

With just a handful of police officers a few yards away to back him up if necessary ­ although there were more waiting in other parts of the forest to provide reinforcements ­ the inspector talked with the travellers and calmed the situation.

One of the travellers called Ian said they had headed for Wiltshire to commemorate the Battle of the Beanfield although he was too young to be there in 1985.

He said: “We want to mark the fact that 20 years ago the police broke the law when they made all those arrests at the Battle of the Beanfield.

“Although the police actions were later declared illegal they have never apologised. What they did was out of order and we would like an apology.”

After speaking to the travellers Insp Dawson said: “They said they would move on if I apologised for the police actions at the Battle of the Beanfield.

“I said to them that if they felt they had been mistreated then I was sorry and they appeared happy with that.”

Some two-and-a-half hours after arriving at Hatt Gate, the travellers left and headed south on the A346 to Burbage and then to Grafton where they did a U-turn and headed back to Burbage and then drove through the Collingbournes before spending the night at Amesbury.

After they left Hatt Gate officers discovered the barrier into the picnic site had been broken.

Insp Dawson said: “It looks as though they were planning to get into the site and probably have more travellers join them if we had let them stay.”

Police remained at Hatt Gate until the barrier was mended.

– a bit of rhetoric from Judge Maclaren Webster, when he overturned the convictions of Richard and Margaret by Salisbury Magistrates for being at the 10th anniversary demo at the stones on June 1st 1995. (They were then re-convicted by the Appeal Court before being cleared by the Lords ruling on assemblies.) Section 14A refers to the Public Order Act 1986 as amended by the CJA.

“Each case turns upon its own facts and this one is a particular example of that. It will, perhaps, be sadly rare when no form of criminal conduct other than that which it is sought to catch by Section 14A will have been committed. It will also, perhaps, be sadly rare to find that tolerance, reason, patience and a degree of mutual respect and understanding characterises the relationships between Poiice and those assembled. Perhaps when it comes to the tenth Anniversary of the tenth
Anniversary of the Battle of Beanfield it will be remembered that thanks to those characteristics I have sought to identify which amount to nothing more or less than realising the humanity of all those present, the lst June 1995 was indeed a significant day in the development of the maintenance of Public Order around that great Monument.”

Those of you that know my photography, know I’m frequently involved in Public Order Situations …….

It is my opinion that photographers should not be involved in these ‘dynamics’ of protest. It is important for your continued capability to cover the event, that you are distinctive from those engaged in the protest. The same would be true of ‘legal observers’. The police will thus treat you the same as everyone else.

But I would however still suggest that you are aware of this Earth First Advice, since it may help you interpret the scene before you.

http://www.earthfirst.org.uk/manchester/porder.htm – webpage

http://www.earthfirst.org.uk/manchester/porder.pdf – a PDF for print out