31 July, 2009
The Veggies Trailer has a shiny new paint job.
Actually, It’s had a new paint job for a few weeks now, but only just got round to posting it. Also, the container in the yard has had a bit of a re-do and is now finished. Cheers Deam & Oxygen Thievez Graff Collective.
The ‘urban garden’ is also looking even more verdant. I’ll be doing more on this a little later.
Sumac Garden Project, looking verdant [Food for the Future]
“Food for the Future” skillshare session at the Sumac centre [Greenweeks]
Previous Sumac and related events
Nottingham Spring into Action :: Seeds, Stencils, and Social @ Sumac
The Sumac Centre Reopens After Radical Revamp
‘Fresh’ Project at Ecoworks, St Ann’s Allotments
Day of Action on Food and Climate Change: food giveaway & anti-Tesco demo
much more ‘Tash on Food’ at:
30 July, 2009
The Metropolitan Police have [at last] revised it’s ‘Photography Advice’ page at:
The NUJ had pointed out that in many aspects, it was just plain wrong, mis-guided and needed to be changed.
NUJ and other photography groups drew attention to their concerns.
Changes to police guidelines welcomed by NUJ
Members of the media can, like any other person, be stopped and searched under s44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They may also be stopped and searched under S43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 if an officer reasonably suspects that they are a terrorist. However, where it is clear that the person being searched is a journalist, officers should exercise caution before viewing images as images acquired or created for the purposes of journalism may constitute journalistic material and should not be viewed without a Court Order.
The guidance includes a statement making it clear that the police do not have the power to stop the media from filming and taking photographs in public places. The police now recognise the specific protections that are afforded to the media. It warns officers that they cannot demand to see images taken for journalistic purposes without a court order.
Now, we’re back to where we started, with a set of guidelines that are routinely ignored. 😦
28 July, 2009
Proud to announce the formation of a new campaign for photographers’ rights – I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist!
Photography is under attack. Across the country anyone with a camera is targeted as a potential terrorist. This campaign is for everyone who values visual imagery and press freedom.
Come to the launch party for this new campaign on Saturday the 8th of August at The Foundry http://www.foundry.tv in East London from 6pm till late.
Nottingham photographer ‘Tash’ also strongly supports the British Journal of Photography Campaign.
Police routinely invoke anti-terror legislation to prevent photographers from carrying out their work, and photojournalists are constantly filmed at public gatherings and their details kept on an ever-growing database. Tourists, particularly foreign tourists, are also targeted by police, as was the case with an Austrian father and son recently who made the mistake of photographing a building of an extremely sensitive nature—Walthamstow bus station.
Put simply, Britain has become a no-photo zone, and so if you fail to comply, you may find yourself liable to attack, arrest or harassment. Recognising that Britain is not the only country where such a draconian anti-photographer culture is developing, the British Journal of Photography is beginning an international visual campaign to raise awareness.
‘Not A Crime’ http://www.not-a-crime.com
The fight-back begins here – BJP 15 July
28 July, 2009
At the H&K demos in Nottingham, we have again been honoured with the attendence of the Forward Intelligence Team of the Metropolitan Police. They were also watching comings and goings at the sumac in Nottingham, during the anti-militarist gathering.
Demos & Surveillance continue [July] at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ
victory for fitwatchers everywhere
The latest entry on the FITwach blog at http://fitwatch.blogspot.com points out the activity of these two policemen in particular. Ian Caswell PC1818 of South Yorkshire police + PS Mark Sully CO996. They cover a wide range of activity / action. They work for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). This is a sister organisation to NETCU. FITwatch have noted their involvement in much climate camp policing.
To bone up on all this, we suggest:
Report on the policing of Climate Camp [Final Report]
Kent Police Operation Oasis [Debrief report]
Quote: “FIT team were used extensively. Some evidence to suggest they were used to direct Sect 1 and Sect 60 searches, but a clearer role definition and tactical direction would have been to greater advantage. Activists were clearly disrupted by the teams and there was evidence of the effectiveness, which in turn lead to them being unpopular with the activists“
27 July, 2009
The Big Green Gathering, a ﬁxture in the alternative calendar, was due to return after two years this week. 15–20,000 people were expected to turn up on Wednesday (29th) to the site near Cheddar, Somerset, for Europe’s largest green event – a ﬁve-day festival promoting sustainability and renewable energy, with everything from allotments to alternative media. Hundreds of staff and volunteers are already on site, and its cancellation comes just days before gates were due to open. Organisers, most of whom work for nothing, are gutted. One told”SchNEWS” below:”> SchNEWS “We are so disappointed not to be having this year’s gathering – it means so much to so many people”.A last-minute injunction by Mendip Dis-trict Council, supported by Avon and Somer-set Police, put the ki-bosh on the entire event – citing the potential for ‘crime and disorder’ and safety concerns. This was despite the fact that the festival had actually been granted a licence on the 30th of June. According to Avon and Somerset police’s website “[We] went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure this event took place.” This is of course utter bollocks.The injunction was due to be heard in the High Court in London on Monday (27th). However, before that could happen the BGG organisers surrendered the festival licence on Sunday morning. As soon as this was done a police commander at the meeting was overheard saying into his radio “Operation Fortress is go”. Police have already set up roadblocks and promised to turn festival-goers back. Chief Inspector Paul Richards, festival liaison, later conﬁ rmed to one of the festival organisers that “This is political”, adding that the decision had been made over his head at county level. One of SchNEWS’ sources on site said that the police were frank about the fact that the closure had been planned for two weeks. “This was a blatant act of political sabotage – the Big Green Gathering is now completely bankrupt, they knew that we were going to be closed down and yet they carried on allowing us to spend money hand over ﬁ st on infrastructure”.The BGG collapsed ﬁnancially in 2007 under the weight of increased security costs. The new licensing act added an extra £120k to their costs, leaving them with a loss of £80k. Security accounted for a third of their overall overheads and the road marshalling bill rose from £5k to over £23k. In spite of these setbacks, they managed to scrape them-selves back off the ﬂoor with shareholder cash and some potentially dubious corporate involvement. Every effort had been made by the gathering’s organisers to accommodate the increasingly niggling demands of police and licensing authorities. The procedure lasted over six months – just check the minutes of meetings held between organisers and the authorities. Demands included a steel fence, watchtowers and perimeter patrols, having the horsedrawn ﬁ eld inside a ‘secure com-pound’ and wristbands for twelve undercover police. At a multi-agency meeting on Thursday, police took those wristbands in order to maintain the pretence that the festival stood a chance of going ahead. A catalogue of other obstacles were also continually placed in the organiser’s path.All of the businesses associated with the BGG came under scrutiny, licensing authorities contacted South West ambulances, the Fire Brigade and the fencing contractors and asked them to get payment up front from the BGG. Needless to say this caused huge problems. Under the terms of the Licensing Act 2005, police can insist on certain security ﬁ rms being used by organisers. This of course leads to a totally unhealthy hand-in-glove re-lationship, open to abuse. Stuart Security were forced on the BGG by police, and on Wednes-day last week, they suddenly announced that they wanted 60% of their fee up front. Even though the BGG scraped the cash together, the company still wanted out. So the BGG hired another ﬁ rm – against police wishes. The fact that Stuart Security rely on police approval for lucrative contracts at Glastonbury Festival, the Royal Bath & West Show, WOMAD, Reading Festival, and Glade Festival has, of course, no bearing on the matter.
The last issue at stake was road closures. Mendip District Council had insisted on road closures as part of the licensing requirements. A festival organiser contacted the highways agency to process this fairly routine request. The decision was passed to junior manage-ment who reportedly came under intense pressure not to grant the closure. As the road closures were not secured, the council were able to claim that the BGG was in breach of licence. A nice little legal stitch-up that according to one QC meant the BGG stood fuck-all chance of ﬁghting the injunction. Of course, now that “Operation Fortress” is in full swing, there are road-blocks throughout the area. The BGG is itself a limited company and could have fought the injunction – risking no more than bankruptcy – but in a nasty twist two individuals were also named, meaning that should proceedings have gone ahead against the festival then Mendip Council would have had a claim on their assets to settle court costs. Police also threatened to place the farmer on the injunction, risking his entire livelihood.Anyone who has ever been to the Big Green will know that the atmosphere is more like a village fete than any of the mainstream events. There is virtually no aggro. It’s more about chai and gong-massages than Stella and ﬁ sticuffs. All power is 12V solar and the ampliﬁ cation is correspondingly quiet. Music stops at midnight. Compare that to the 24 hr Technomuntfucks that go on with state blessing across the country. Of course it would be cynical to suggest that the BGG represents an alternative that the authorities fear. It’s a gathering place for eco-activists, where the likes of Plane Stupid and No-Borders hang out and exchange ideas while trying to avoid being button-holed by 9-11 truthers. It’s clear now that the state views events like the Big Green in the same light as Climate Camp and the anti-G20 protests. The BGG saga is showing that there may no longer be any ‘safe’ legal spaces for us to gather. The third way of quasi-legal free-ish festivals is looking like a dead-end.
It’s clear that the Big Green has been singled out – and any gathering promoting those values or trying to organise in a grass-roots way will probably suffer the same fate once they get to a certain size. As corpo-rate-branded Glasto has become a ﬁxture on the mainstream calendar, like Ascot or Wimbledon, many have turned towards smaller more ‘grass-roots’ festivals. Niche festivals have bloomed across the British landscape. No matter what your bent, be it faerie wings or S&M, there’s probably a muddy weekend in a ﬁeld for you. Of course this isn’t the ﬁ rst time that Britain’s had a thriving festival scene. See previous SchNEWS’ for how the free festival scene came under ruthless attack from the forces of Babylon (or just skin up for an old hippy and listen to them bang on about the glories of the White Goddess Fayre or Torpedo Town). Some have tried to go down the quasi-THE HIPPY, HIPPY SHAKEDOWN continued…BIG GREEN GATHERING SHUT DOWNlegal route, such as Strawberry Fair and even Glastonbury, until the aptly named Mean Fiddler intervened in 2002. Unfortunately the corporate dollar is never far behind. Witness how Glastonbury went from a fence-jump-ing free-for-all where the festival organisers built the infrastructure, but the ﬂ y-pitchers, buskers and random naked lunatics made it a real festie rather than a fenced in, heavily policed corporate theme park.The Big Green was an exceptional fes-tival, which managed to leap through the legal process while being crew-heavy and retaining a lot of the free-festival atmosphere (Not all of course – we still had to put up with plod wandering around site). It was a unique gathering place for fringe movements, from eco-activists to crop-circle nutters. We’re not just banging on about festivals being free because we miss the good ‘ol days – there’s a huge difference between being a punter who has a whole experience laid on for them (e.g. Glasto’s themed areas with helpful stewards pointing you in the direction of the consumer delights), and being part of a fes-tival/free party where everyone’s responsible for the entertainment, and even infrastructure like welfare. A crowd that feels it owns an event behaves differently to one that feels it has paid to have an experience. The fact that undercover police now feel free to operate and arrest people, without any back-up, for cannabis use or nudity (See SchNEWS 684 and 603) at festivals has a lot do with the sheep-like behaviour of punters – a mentality that our masters are keen to see enforced.In the SchNEWS ofﬁ ce we’re hearing rumours that people aren’t going to be put off – alternative sites are being looked at and people are heading to the West Country anyway.
minutes of meetings held between organisers and the authorities
What price security? Brig Oubridge, Chair of the Big Green Gathering, reports on how new anti-terror laws may herald the end of outdoor festivals in the UK
THE HIPPY, HIPPY SHAKEDOWN : SchNews Special Report
Big Green Gathering
26 July, 2009
Amdani Juma immigration situation continues …….
At 5pm on Friday 24th July in the Market Square, he and his supporters joined a rally to highlight his predicament.
In 2003, Amdani Juma, from Burundi, was given 3 years Humanitarian Protection in the UK. Since then, he has become a well-respected community worker in Nottingham, employed by the Nottingham Refugee Forum and the Terence Higgins Trust. In 2007 he applied to stay indefinitely in the UK – but was refused. In June 2008, he was detained and nearly deported. Only after a huge campaign, was he released pending a ‘Judicial Review’.
Since his detention, Amdani has not been allowed to work, but he has continued both campaigning for refugee and asylum rights, and as an advocate of HIV prevention.
Last year, Amdani won the Trent FM / Evening Post Award for ‘Inspirational Contribution to the City of Nottingham’; whilst local MP Alan Simpson wrote:
‘I am not aware of any refugee who has made the contribution to the city and its communities comparable to that made by Mr Juma. He is an outstanding asset. Removing him from the UK would leave Nottingham (and beyond) much the poorer. There is no one, particularly within the AIDS / HIV field who could replace the work he does.’
In December 2008, the Home Office gave Amdani permission to marry, saying they would look sympathetically at his application to stay in the UK (because of his legal ‘right to a family life’) if he withdrew his application for the ‘Judicial Review’.
But no decision was made, and Amdani and his family suffered the anxiety of 6 months of ‘immigration limbo’. He recently received a letter refusing his application and threatening to deport him to Burundi. This letter gave no reasons for this refusal – and as such broke the Home Office’s own guidelines.
This is outrageous! Giving Amdani the right to stay here should be a no-brainer! His contribution to Nottingham has been huge. 6000 people signed his e-petition. Over 200 have written letters of support. He is a role model for integration and community cohesion. It would be another injustice for the government to split Amdani up from his wife and child and return him to the hostile environment of Burundi.
Now the Home Office seems to have changed their minds again, saying they will reconsider the case. But can we trust them? Isn’t it time that they simply gave Amdani the positive decision we all want for him?
A torture survivor and pro-democracy activist, Amdani escaped death more than once. He has no family in Burundi; his cousin, brother and sister are all permanently resident in the UK or the Netherlands. Human Rights groups and the UN report ongoing human rights abuses and torture in Burundi.
Friends of Amdani http://friendsofamdani.wordpress.com
Please sign the e-petition if you haven’t: http://www.petitiononline.com/amdani/petition.html
And Meet the Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xyHu3GeNYk
Demo to support Amdani Juma, at risk of deportation
Protests in Support of Detained Resident [Feature]
Demo to support Amdani Juma, at risk of deportation – Mondays Pics
Amdani Juma’s deportation, Countdown, 4 day to go – Stall at St. Peters
Amdani Juma’s deportation, Countdown, 2 days to go – St Peters Stall
Demonstration for Amdani Juma’s right to stay, Market Sq, Nottingham
From weapons to wars to refugees [Feature]
Demo in support of Amdani Juma [continued Immigration Limbo]
Photographer – Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [No: 014345]
“It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!”
24 July, 2009
Forward Intelligence Unit of the Metropolitan Police: FIT
The object is to make them feel uncomfortable going about their business as them seem to like to make others. Further, to identify their own objects, to database their activity and to stand up for our own lawful actions. It’s all, in fact, a question of civil liberties.
Please check out some of the earlier coverage in this and related issues. As you see, there is loads to say about it.
Police surveillance: ‘They’re focusing on the press more than the protesters’ – Guardian 6 March 2009
Under surveillance: police target environmental protesters and journalists – Guardian 6 March 2009
Surveillance of arms trade campaigner was unlawful, says appeal court – Guardian 21 May 2009
Fit Watch campaigners describe how they were arrested and bundled to the ground – Guardian 21 June 2009
Arrested for asking a policeman for his badge number – Guardian 21 June 2009
Predatory policing – Guardian 22 June 2009
Arrest of the Fit Watch three. Police officers arrest a FIT Watch protesters for photographing officers without identify numbers – Jess Hurd
My personal agenda is I’m having a stab at dealing with the folks who have so changed the perception of photography, that my ‘own side’ now has. In thinking that cameras in the first instance, might be surveillance, rather than our own object in trying to ‘big up’ this issues I care about. They are responsible for this general mistrust, that photographers now feel under. In short. bastards!
There is a misunderstanding thinking that all policemen with camera are FIT, Forward Intelligence Unit of the Metropolitan Police FIT. They are not. there are:
1) Constables get given a camera for the afternoon.
2) EG evidence gatherers. they have been on a course and understand a bit of the technicals and the rules of evidence.
3) FIT. these are like EG but they are specifically a division of the Metropolitan Police. that are supposed to be apparent, and give you the idea that you are being watched, I case you do sommat wrong. To intimidate this involved in ‘issues’, in fact.
If you want to get involved, just do it really, and help by exposing their work. these are my latest examples
Nottingham Demos & Surveillance continue [July] at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ
FITwatch blog entry – Victory for Fitwatchers Everywhere as FIT Hide in Car:
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