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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Newsletter February 2003


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The National Intelligence Council, which is a collection of various intelligence agencies, published a projection in 2000 called Global Trends 2015. They make the interesting prediction that terrorism is going to increase as a result of globalisation. They really say it straight. They say that what they call globalisation is going to lead to a widening economic divide, just the opposite of what economic theory predicts, but they're realists, and so they say that it's going to lead to increased disorder, tension and hostility and violence, a lot of it directed against the United States. -- Noam Chomsky

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time. -- Noam Chomsky


BVEJ

You may be reading this newsletter for the first time as a result of the BVEJ Experiment. To ensure you receive future copies please subscribe.

To participate in the BVEJ Experiment please visit the BVEJ home page and forward a copy of the BVEJ newsletter to everyone you know, ask the recipients to do the same. [BVEJ newsletter #0031 December 2002]

Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice was formed nearly three years ago as a response to the lack of any effective environmental group in the locality, sadly a situation as true today as it was then. Since then the personnel has changed, but we remain true to our founding principles (see links from home page), the only difference is we have gone international, but our roots remain in the Blackwater Valley.

The lack of any effective local environmental groups was not the only formative factor, the lack of any quality local press, we report what you don't read elsewhere. Our other guiding principle was the dismay at the failure of all existing groups to see the wider picture and the need to cooperate.

Locally we focus on Farnborough Airport, Farnborough town centre and exposing corruption in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Recently we have taken a closer look at what is happening in Aldershot.

Internationally we are part of the anti-globalisation movement. We highlight the ills of Big Business, as of late Iraq has been the focus of our attention.

Unlike traditional groups, we link together issues, we recognise social, human rights and other issues and link them together. A group fighting rainforest destruction may need our help because it is a British transnational that is carrying out the destruction.

Almost all our back issues are available on our web site, we are slowly slowly, adding more. We used to produce briefings and urgent actions, resources permitting, we may again in the future. We have finally got around to updating our on-line diary (the newsletter contains an edited version).

At the moment newsletter production is our main activity. Our editorial team put together easily digestible articles, often with links and references for more in-depth information.

Latest version of newsletter usually appears on-line a few days after we have e-mailed out the the newsletter. We will post a notice on Indymedia UK when available.

We would like to be able to put out a hard copy of our newsletter but lack the resources.

We have recently added ourselves to the Yahoo list server. If you are getting multiple copies it is because you are on both the listserver and the manual list. The two will be for a time run in parallel, but we will eventually use the automated system only. Please ensure therefore you subscribe.

To subscribe to BVEJ newsletter send a blank e-mail to:

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Now even easier, subscribe by entering your e-mail address on the BVEJ web page and click the Yahoo Groups button.

Our material may be freely used and quoted provided it is not used out of context and full credit is given to BVEJ.

With war with Iraq looming ever closer, Farnborough Airport reaching a climax, it is important this newsletter reaches as wide an audience as possible. Please forward to everyone you know and encourage them do the same. To ensure you get future copies please subscribe.


Chomsky in London - update

Noam Chomsky is the leading intellectual of this century (and of the last). His recent two day visit to London and talks was massively over-subscribed.

Red Pepper have made the Red Pepper talk available on CD or tape. Cost six pounds, cheque payable to Red Pepper.

	Red Pepper
	1b Waterlow Road
	LONDON  N19 5NJ

	tel	020 7281 7024
	fax	020 7263 9345

	web	http://www.redpepper.org.uk

The Winter Solstice edition of Schnews has a transcript of interviews with Chomsky. A video is available from Undercurrents.

[BVEJ newsletter #0032 January 2003]


Anti-war Iraq - demos

We are finding our voice today. We want our leaders to hear it. I have faith they will hear it. -- Ray McGovern, former CIA Soviet analyst

Right across the world, in the world's biggest ever anti-war demo, the message went out loud and clear: Mr Bush, we don't want your dirty oily war.

It started off in Japan, then Middle East, Moscow across Europe and Africa, and finally Washington and San Francisco, with many countries and towns in between. There was even an anti-war demo in Antarctica!

In England the biggest demos were in Bradford, with other demos at military bases. Northwood, the Permanent Joint Headquarters of the British Armed Forces was blockaded for 8 hours by up to 400 protestors.

By far the biggest were in the US: 500,000 in Washington, 200,000 in San Francisco.

What was surprising was the media coverage. BBC Radio 4 started in the morning with Japan, by lunchtime there was several minutes, slightly less at night as the focus was on Washington. The coverage continued into the night on the BBC World Service wrapping up with San Francisco. The next day, zilch. The lid had been clamped back down.

In the US, wall-to-wall media coverage.

A few days later a mass lobby of parliament. The Surrey Stop the War contingent included Guildford's LibDem MP and Caroline Lucas MEP.

Comparisons are often made with Vietnam. These comparisons are false. At the beginning of Vietnam the protests were minimal if not non-existent. We are seeing massive protest, and growing, from all walks of life, even before the war has started.

The war has little support. In Moscow public opinion is hardening. Russians see the conflict spreading to their borders. In Bulgaria people fear the war and its consequences. From 80% public approval rating a year ago, Bush has dropped to 54%. Blair was heckled at a hand-picked audience of sycophants in North London.

We are the mainstream now, it is our corrupt, immoral politicians who are the lunatic fringe.

The next big protest day is Saturday 15 February 2003. Assemble at the Embankment, London, noon.

Before the big one, there will be a world-wide day of action against oil on 4 February 2003. Target your local petrol station or oil refinery.

Beyond TV are putting together a new cd rom on direct action against war with video pieces, photos, rants, music, artwork or any inspiring, relevant material. The CDs will be copied and distributed freely around the world so get involved! ibanez_nauta@yahoo.com

Anti-War Protests and Direct Action On Gulf War Anniversary, UK Indymedia, 17 January 2003

Northwood Military Base Blockaded for 8 Hours, UK Indymedia, 21 January 2003

Massive Global Anti-War Protests Mark Gulf War Anniversary, UK Indymedia, 21 January 2003

Peace Movements Show Force in Streets of DC, DC Indymedia, 18 January 2003

Dancing Against the State, DC Indymedia, 19 January 2003

200,000 People Converge on San Francisco to Protest U.S. War on Iraq, SF Indymedia, 18 January 2003

Direct Action Stations, SchNEWS, 17 January 2003


Anti-war Iraq - petitions

Not everyone can get to a demo. But there is still much you can do. Using our briefings, talk to friends, neighbours, work colleagues and convince them of the futility of war with Iraq.

There are a number of on-line petitions, some are web based, others are circulating e-mail petitions. Even The Mirror has a tacky campaign against the war on Iraq. Make sure you sign them, pass the word.

UN Iraq petition

	to:		everyone you know
	subject:	UN Iraq petition

Please cut out and paste below in your e-mail software, forward it to everyone you know. When it hits 500, forward to the e-mail addresses given.

The United States are dictating a war. We aren't today in a global balance which could lead to a a third world war. If you agree: The UN is now collecting signatures to stop this tragic process. Please copy this email, sign it at the end of the following list and send it to all persons you know. If you receive this mail with more than 500 signatures, please send a copy to: (see below) If you don't want to sign, still send the petition to others, please.

Die Vereinigten Staaten wollen den Krieg erkldren. Wir befinden uns an einem Punkt extremen Ungleichgewichts auf der Welt der zu einem DRITTEN WELTKRIEG f|hren koennte. Wenn Du dagegen bist, schldgt die UNO eine Petition gegen den Krieg vor, um dieses tragische Ereignis zu verhindern. Bitte KOPIERE diese e-mail in eine neue message und unterschreibe am Ende der Liste; dann schicke sie an alle, die Du kennst. Wenn die

Liste, sobald Du sie erhdltst, mehr als 500 Unterschriften umfasst, schicke bitte eine Kopie an

	mailto:		unicwash@unicwash.org 
	mailto:		inquiries@un.org 

Wenn Du nicht unterschreiben willst, bitten wir Dich im Namen aller die daran arbeiten, eine Katastrophe von Weltaussmassen zu verhindern, diese e-mail nicht zu lvschen, sondern sie nur weiterzuleiten.

Wenn Du eine Sprache ausser Englisch, Spanisch, Italienisch oder Deutsch sprichst und mitarbeiten willst, bitten wir Dich, diese Botschaft zu u|bersetzen und Deinen Bekannten zu |bermitteln.

1) your name, town, country 2) ...........


Iraq

The media is reporting as if war is inevitable, few questions are asked.

Saddam Hussein has launched massive attacks before, including on his own people (if we class the Kurds as his own people), but he did so with the tacit approval of the West.

The West was providing intelligence for the war with Iran and supplying the weapons.

When Saddam gassed the Kurds, slimy Tory minister David Mellor was on the infamous white sofa negotiating to supply a missile system. Saddam was later rewarded with trade credits. Those of us who exposed the atrocities were ridiculed as gullible tools of the Iranians.

Saddam invaded Kuwait on the nod and the wink of the US Ambassador. Possibly entrapment to take him down a peg or two and teach him a humiliating lesson, that the West is to be obeyed.

Are there weapons of mass destruction? If Richard Perle is to be believed, yes he has got them, the fact we have not found any only goes to show what a damn good job he has done of hiding them.

The previous weapons inspection regime did a pretty good job of search and destroy and would have finished off the job if US/UK had not pulled them out so they could bomb Baghdad.

Possession is not all. It is also the will to use them. In the past they have only been used with the tacit approval of the West. Nearby countries do not fear Saddam Hussein, they do not feel under imminent attack. Even the Israelis discount Saddam Hussein, they regard him as a distraction and a side show. Their main concern is Iran, which is why a significant proportion of their airforce is stationed in Turkey.

Where countries are desiring to obtain weapons of mass destruction, it is not fear of each other, it is fear of the US.

US claims to have 'evidence' that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but is remarkably coy at sharing it with the weapons inspectors. Could the US be so certain of what Iraq posses because it was the US that sold the stuff in the first place, is the problem that the invoices are traceable back to US Inc?

In 1983, when Saddam Hussein was 'our kind of guy', former US Middle East envoy now Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was willing to trade anthrax, smallpox and assorted military hardware including helicopter gunships and war planes for Iraqi oil.

Even if Saddam had weapons it would not be grounds for war. The previous Gulf War did a pretty poor job of destroying the weapons. The weapons were destroyed by the inspectors. They were within weeks of completing their programme of weapons destruction when they were pulled out by US/UK so that Baghdad could be bombed.

Iraq links with Al-Qaeda are unknown and unlikely. Even Blair has been forced to admit there are no known links. These links are unlikely as Saddam Hussein runs a secular regime and has as much if not more to fear from Osama bin Laden than the West. But, if his regime is doomed, he may, as a final act of desperation, hand over material to Islamists knowing they will wreak havoc in the West long after his death.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iraq is not an exporter of rabid Islam. It was Saudi who financed Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, it is Saudi who is financing mosques in France, it was Saudi who financed the recently raided north London mosque in Finsbury Park.

After Saudi Arabia, now looking increasingly unstable and unreliable, Iraq has the world's second largest known oil fields, oil fields that are growing larger due to the action of plate tectonics.

US/UK and the oil companies are carving up the oil fields in a post Saddam Hussein scenario. They will allow the wealth created (stolen) to go to the Iraqi people, that is after the Iraqi people have paid the cost of having their own country occupied.

Apart from control of the world's second largest oil fields, as with Kosovo when Nato's credibility was on the line, war with Iraq is about teaching Iraq and the rest of the world a lesson. Uppity little countries can not be allowed to step out of line. If US/UK are soft with one country the rest will get the wrong message. If you step out of line your country is bombed to smithereens. This is not international law under the auspices of the UN, this is the law of the streets enforced by mafia thugs.

Tony Blair is threatening to go on a tour of the nation to convince us of the war with Iraq. This is good news as we will be able to expose him when he does.

Blair whines about the cost of not taking any action against Saddam Hussein, what we don't hear about are the costs, especially to the Iraqi people, if we do wage war on Iraq. Iraq is already suffering from a decade of sanctions which denies even basic medical needs and allows a daily ration from oil revenues which is barely sufficient to keep a body alive. Do we hear of the child mortality rate? The UN has recently reported that child mortality has tripled since sanctions were imposed. Before the Gulf War, Iraq had child literacy rates and mortality rates which were the envy of many Western countries. A war on Iraq, never mind the direct result of bombing, will tip a country already in catastrophe over the edge.

If you thought the government hysteria and lies on Iraq were bad in the UK and US it is nothing to what masquerades as the truth and honest reporting in racist Australia. A country in which pilots of Black Hawk helicopter gunships are hailed as heroes for shooting up Afghan villages, where refugees are allowed to drown at sea, where those who make it to dry land are held in concentration camps behind razor wire in the desert.

Government propaganda urges neighbour to spy on neighbour in the war on terrorism. Murdoch owned media rant on about 'Pilgerist Chomskyism ideology fuelling the followers of Osama bin Laden'. Apparently Pilger provides Islamists with 'their interpretive narrative of the West'. No, we could not make this up, even if we tried.

Noam Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors, Old and New, Pluto Press, 2002

Thom Hartmann, Dinosaur War, The Ecologist, December 2002/January 2003

John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World, Verso, 2002

John Pilger, George Bush's other poodle, New Statesman, 20 January 2003

Milan Rai, War Plan Iraq, Arrow, 2002


New Year Honours

The New Year Honours list is the the opportunity to award arms dealers and other scumbags. This year there was awards for services to the environment. Step forward recently retired director of FoE Charles Secrett. Err not quite.

Phil Watt, chairman of Shell Group, was rewarded for his services to the World Council on Sustainable Development with a knighthood. WCSD is the body along with BASTards who did their best, and succeeded, to derail the World Earth Summit in South Africa last summer (BVEJ newsletter #0029 October 2002). Shell's services to the environment are so well documented they are not worth citing (BVEJ newsletters passim).

Bill Kyle, Powergen's corporate responsibility boss, received a OBE for services to UK Roundtable on Sustainable Development, another greenwash body.

John Mumford, director of BP oil, got a OBE for 'services to environmental improvement'. BP's most recent services to the environment was leaking 400,000 litres of petrol into Luton's groundwater for which they were fined a paltry £70,000. Other examples of BP's services to the environment include leaking pipelines in Alaska, drilling in the Arctic, involvement with Chinese oil interests in Chinese occupied Tibet, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline through Turkey, etc. [BVEJ newsletters passim]


BP

It seems the 20m BP spent on its fashionable green image was a total waste. In late 2000, BP jumped aboard the gravy train of ethical investing by publicly acknowledging the dangers of global warming in the misguided hope they would avoid being the target of environmental protests. BP plastered its website with transparent concern for social issues, but since then its shameful working practices don't live up to its laughable rebranding as caring and progressive.

Even though the 20million is peanuts compared to the billions BP spends yearly on fossil fuel exploration, it was still a waste of money as BP just can't quite seem to back up their eco-friendly, pro-worker image with action. Alaskan authorities have only just started looking at introducing regulations after a well at BP's Prudhoe Bay site exploded, causing an oil spill and maiming native Alaskan worker Don Shugak for life. BP later admitted to opening the well 'without adequate safeguards'. Three months later an accident at the same site killed welder Rodney Rost. Despite their worker-friendly propaganda, BP actively fought against tightening safety procedures after the accident, saying 'a rule to protect workers wasn't necessary'.

Last month, Hendersons Global Investments was first in the queue of 'socially responsible investors to dump millions of pounds worth of shares because of BP's activities in Alaska. On the same day, ISIS Fund Management made BP squirm by asking the board if: Problems are repeated worldwide, not just in Alaska?

And has health and safety been compromised by aggressive high production targets and cost cutting? Union rep Robert Brian suffered years of harassment for criticising BP's health and safety procedures but when he publicly announced that the well explosion was avoidable, BP harassed him so aggressively that he has filed a complaint against them with the US Dept of Labour. Now that's what we mean by a caring, progressive company!


Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is leading to a lot of occupations lately, but then maybe it is letting the occupied feel what it is like to live in Turkish occupied Kurdistan where human rights do not apply.

ERM, a company that specialises in greenwash for corporate criminals (carried out the flawed safety study for Farnborough Airport and carried out the flawed environmental impact assessment for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline), had their London offices occupied in December and their Manchester offices occupied in January. [see this issue]

It was then the turn of the financiers, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to have their offices occupied, not once, but twice.

On the first occupation on the 12th floor, protesters looked at the files for the project. They found, and no real surprise, that EBRD had already made its mind up to fund the pipeline, and that they had failed to consider a no pipeline option in their 'objective' assessments. The protesters then joined a meeting about the pipeline that was in progress in the building, with the President of the bank and the board of directors present.

The head of Environment, Communications and Finance were subject to questioning about the pipeline project, and challenged about:

After leaving the offices, many workers were leafleted on their way home, and were confronted with a Stop Baku Pipeline banner across the main entrance to the bank. Many workers were interested to find out what had been happening and what the protest was about.

The next day, the protesters were back. After leafleting outside the bank, security had in the meantime been stepped up, the protesters tricked the security into falsely believing protesters had once again gained access to the building, and then, having once again sown mayhem, sauntered off home.

The Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline would run from Baku in Azerbaijan, through Tbilisi in Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey. It would run for 1,750 km (1087 miles), and transport 1 million barrels of oil a day (a daily value of US$ 21 million) for the next 40 years. The pipeline project is being run by a consortium of oil companies, headed up by the British company BP. The final decision on whether to go ahead with the proposal was scheduled for April 2003, but a growing international anti-pipeline campaign has already delayed the planning process by six months.

The vague terms of the Host Government Agreements (HGAs) signed by the oil companies and affected nations would allow paramilitary units to be set up along the pipeline route, to pre-empt "civil disturbance" or "terrorist" activities. Many local people will be evicted from their lands, or forced to trespass on BP property to live their everyday lives. The pipeline also passes through major conflict zones. Similar situations in other countries (such as BP's oil pipeline in Colombia) have led to serious human rights atrocities.

The oil and gas transported by the pipeline would produce 177 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) every year. This is more than all of the UK's power stations put together, and two and a half times the amount of CO2 the UK has pledged to cut under the Kyoto protocol.

John Browne, the head of BP, has said that the project cannot go ahead without "free public money". The oil companies plan to obtain around 70% of the US$ 3.3 billion cost of the project from public funds. British taxpayers would contribute an estimated 65 million via the Export Credit Guarantee Department, and more money through the UK's contribution to international funds such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation. The British people would actually be paying to create more floods and storms in the UK, through carbon dioxide emissions from the pipeline and the resulting climate change.

Danny Chivers, Blocking the Pipe, UK Indymedia, 17 January 2003

Johnny Lemierre, Earth First! activists occupy EBRD in protest against the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, UK Indymedia, 23 January 2003

Baku Ceyhan pipeline funders visited again, UK Indymedia, 24 January 2003

[BVEJ newsletter October 2002]


ERM

We recently reported on ERM having their offices invaded by Rising Tide. Well it's happened again. Last time it was their London office, this time their Manchester office. [BVEJ newsletter #0032 January 2003]

The Manchester office of Environmental Resource Management (ERM) was occupied for over four hours last month as part of a campaign against their involvement in the green washing of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. [BVEJ newsletter October 2002]

The protesters got to talk to ERM's Director and BP's Regional Affairs Director for the Pipeline project who agreed to a meeting.

The campaigners, wearing various approximations on the theme of 'smart clothes', strolled past the security and up to the eighth floor of the Salford Quays office tower, where Environmental Resource Management (ERM) have one of their four UK offices. The concerned locals then carried out an 'Environmental and Social Impact Assessment' on the office, to investigate the effects of the occupation. This was based on ERM's real-life assessment of the pipeline's impacts, and asked members of staff whether they thought that ERM's work on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was helping or damaging people and the environment.

Protesters locked themselves to office furniture, engaged the staff in complex ethical debates ('do you think a pipeline that leads to environmental destruction and human rights abuses is a good or a bad thing?'), scampered about, sang songs, 'helped' with the office filing, yelled facts about the pipeline very loudly to make sure EVERYONE COULD HEAR, played hide-and-seek with security guards and generally made a nuisance of themselves for the rest of the day. The police sat outside, fuming quietly but prevented from doing anything by the protestations of the office manager: 'it's OK, I'm sure they'll be going soon...'. The invaders also had interesting phone conversations with ERM's European director and the communications department of BTC (the consortium, led by BP, who are planning to build the pipeline). Eventually, having got most of the staff to promise to complain (or at least enquire) about the pipeline to Head Office, and after collecting their phone numbers in order to call up and remind them, the campaigners sauntered out of the office and went home.

ERM's environmental and social impact assessment of the pipeline is severely flawed. Independent researchers found a village supposedly 'consulted' by ERM had actually been empty and derelict for years. ERM, far from acting to help the environment and local people, are just one more company profiting from this pipeline. 50% of ERM's income in Baku comes from BP. Their survey of local people was carried out after 10 years of work on the pipeline, and presented it as a certainty, with little mention of its potential negative impacts. People were not given the option of voting against the pipeline.

Equally dodgy was the so-called independent safety study of Farnborough Airport ERM carried out for Rushmoor.

ERM are a company which specialises in greenwash for dodgy projects. No surprise then that Rushmoor engaged them for a bit of greenwash for the TAG risk contours for Farnborough Airport. The only problem was they failed to take account of local campaigners who exposed their reports as worthless garbage. Rushmoor have had the embarrassment of having to defer granting TAG planning approval for Farnborough Airport as even they did not have the gall to use the ERM reports. Further reports, at taxpayers expense, are being commissioned. [BVEJ newsletter #0031 December 2002]

Danny Chivers, Blocking the Pipe, UK Indymedia, 17 January 2003


Gun law

Gun totting drug dealing Blacks killing any other Blacks or any one else for that matter who gets in their way.

Five years jail sentencing for carrying guns seems too lenient. We would be a lot happier seeing a ten year sentence, but recommended, not a mandatory minimum.

Much has been said about these arrogant slime balls, easy money, aspiring crapsters. But no one asks why? No one examines a culture dominated by greed, where one is measured not by ones personal worth but personal wealth, especially if you flash it around like a slime ball. The latest Nike from a sweatshop factory, gaz guzzling monster to drive around in.

Who is encouraging this crap? What difference is there between these slime balls and the slime balls running global corporations. Both are driven by greed, both rate life cheap.

Blowback: Where do the guns come from? Companies like BAE Systems who supply the world's hot spots with light arms.

What is the difference between Jamaican gangsters throwing their weight around and blowing away anyone who gets in their way and US/UK doing the same? Or US/UK showing scant regard for international law?

Gun law rules supreme whether its slime balls on the street or sitting in boardrooms or occupying the White House.


Indymedia

It is now three years since the first Indymedia was established at the G8 anti-globalisation demo in Seattle. A counter to the mainstream lies and propaganda.

Resistance remains global. Three years into our shared experiments in open publishing, a growing number of Indymedia centers around the world continue to seek out and mobilise media forms which can dramatically alter the balance of power between multinational corporations and grassroots community organising. With a bit of coding, some cheap equipment, and the commitment of many dedicated volunteers, participatory websites providing news and commentary in eighteen languages, across six continents. Our work extends beyond the bounds of the Internet, through local media production centers, radio networks, community newspapers, film and video. Here there are now IMC websites in Ireland and Bristol, with many other local groups developing.

24 November 1999, a trans-Pacific collaboration brought Indymedia into existence for the massive anti-WTO Seattle mobilisation which followed the International J18 protests in June 1999. In the three years since, Indymedia's global network has grown massively, crossing national borders without difficulty. Despite repression and political targeting of Indymedia across Europe and the world, IMC activists continue to challenge information monopolies based on wealth and power. Now with new mobilisations like Media Democracy Day concentrating on media issues, this certainly is only the beginning.

New Indymedia centers who have joined the network in the last few months: Ambazonia, West Africa; Andorra; Chile; Croatia; Idaho, USA; Istanbul; Nice, France; Peru; Pittsburgh, USA; Poland; Prague; North Texas (Dallas), USA; Sonora, Mexico; Tallahassee, USA; and Winnipeg.

Three Years Of Media Resistance, Indymedia UK, 12 December 2002


It isn't cricket

They can't play cricket that's for sure, but it seems, at least according to their capitan, they are incapable of making moral judgements either, that is when it comes to touring Zimbabwe and lining their own pockets.

The England football team have refused to play in Zimbabwe.

Runner beans from Zimbabwe are on sale in Sainsbury's.


GM

We feel like saying we told you so, so we will say so anyway.

The government has admitted, in a statement sneaked out before Christmas in the hope that no one would see it, that GM crop trials lead to widespread contamination. But the government has added that this does not matter as they knew it would happen anyway, and anyway, they are not going to take any notice of the crop trials when deciding to go commercial with GM crops.

In which case what was the fuck use of the trials?

The trials were a deliberate attempt to contaminate the countryside. One of the worst examples was the large oilseed rape trial that was trashed in Oxfordshire a couple of years back.

If evidence were needed of the problems of widespread contamination we only need to look overseas. In Canada the problem of contamination of canola (oilseed rape) is so bad that it is becoming impossible to grow organic crops. Percy Schmeiser was sued by Monsatan for theft of intellectual property when they contaminated his crops. In Mexico corn (maize) contamination has been found, all the more worrying when officially no GM maize is grown and Mexico is the source of all wild varieties. The Berkeley professor who originally reported on the contamination (since confirmed by other researchers) was offered a 'research contract' at a luxury resort (no work involved as the 'results' were known beforehand) on the understanding that he withdrew his research findings, and when he refused, had his work vilified by so-called independent researchers in the pocket of the biotech industry.

Mexican Presidente Vincente Fox received campaign contributions from the biotech industry.

Percy Schmeiser is not the only farmer being harassed by Monsatan. The Nelson family from North Dakota, USA are currently fighting Monsatan through the courts after their corn cross-pollinated with GM RoundupReady thereby making it Monsaton property.

FoE have finally decided to get off the fence. They were backers of the pathetic Five Year Freeze Campaign, but now they are backing the GM Free Britain Campaign. It makes sense, we are an island, if Neo-Labour and their corporate backers have not yet contaminated the countryside we can remain GM free.

Neo-Labour have launched a GM debate. Make sure you have your say.

Genetically Modified Crops Run Wild, UK Indymedia, 4 January 2003

GM Frankenfoods are breeding with plants in the wild, Bristol Indymedia, 4 January 2003

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


CDs

I think piracy is a great, really I do. There's nothing anyone can do about it. -- Robbie Williams

The big global music companies have been ripping off you and I for years, they have done a pretty good job of destroying real music too. Now they are whinging cos we are ripping them off.

CD sales have been falling for the last four years. Last year saw sales fall a further 10%.

The companies claim copying was up by 20% last year and that they lost $5 billion.

These figures have to be seen as special pleading. The record companies used to make the same complaint about cassette sales, even equating cassette sales with their loss. What they do not seem to realise is cos someone copies a CD it doesn't mean they were ever going to buy it.

We are though now in a different ball game. CD copies are exact digital copies. No different to the original. Blank CDs are plummeting in price. Morrisons are selling a box of ten 48x speed blank 80 min 700Mb CDs for £7-00, buy one box, get one free. Sainsbury's were until recently selling a box of 10 74 min CDs for £5-00. An independent stationary shop in Guildford (in the same street as the Guildford Institute) is selling single 80 min blank CDs for 75p, buy two and get one free or get a box of ten for less than a fiver. There are sites where you can download the CD covers, software to size the images. Nero, is pretty good software for the CD writer.

The record companies are now pleading to drop VAT on CDs. A fat chance they have of that one. Why don't they just drop the price?

A trick the record companies are now trying is copy protected CDs. Copy protected CDs are faulty CDs, they fail to meet the Red Data Book standard. If you see a copy protected CD, complain to the retailer. If you buy one, take it back and demand your money back. The retailer has sold you faulty goods. Complain to trading standards.

CD players have built in error correction. Copy protection screws up the error correction. If your copy protected CD gets scratched you may find it no longer plays, leaving you with a worthless piece of plastic. What you will also find is the copy protected CD will not play on everything.

One of the worst offenders is BMG, an example is the Rod Stewart album It Had to be You ... The Great American Songbook. On sale in Sainsbury's over Christmas New Year, some had a sticker on the front warning of copy protection. In the absence of a warning sticker, on the back in the top right-hand corner, was, in writing too small to read without a powerful magnifying glass or a low powered microscope, a warning of copy protection.

If you want to buy a CD, try Ben's Collectors Records in Tunsgate, Guildford. There was a good record stall on the Farnborough Tuesday market, but like nearly everyone else in town they have voted with their feet and left (they still have a stall at Blackbushe Sunday market).

[BVEJ newsletters #0018 November 2001, #0021 February 2002, #0031 December 2003]


Farnborough Airport

Before Christmas things started to hot up.

Planning official Richard Short presented a dishonest and highly misleading report to Rushmoor cabinet, which was dutifully rubber-stamped without question, which supposedly sets up a consultation committee for the airfield. Only problem is, Rushmoor have no powers to set up such a committee. [BVEJ newsletter #0030 November 2002, newsletter #0032 January 2003]

Rushmoor planning committee were geared up to rubber-stamp the final phase of the TAG planning application for Farnborough Airport. No safety study had been carried out but what did that matter, the planning officials would lie, the agenda be suitably misleading and the committee relied upon to do as they were bid. [BVEJ newsletter #0032 January 2003]

It did not quite work out that way. A shot across the bows from Keith Parkins' lawyers put paid to that. All day long at the most senior level Rushmoor officials were closeted together in panic damage limitation mode.

At 7pm, the committee were presented with fresh proposals, a single sheet of A4 paper containing four motions to approve. The messy compromise was to defer, but at the same time grant, TAG temporary planning permission. No we don't understand it either.

Any half decent councillor would have stood up and said this wasn't acceptable, but this is the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, we don't have half decent councillors.

It was said, but not said, the study by ERM was not up to much. The planners did what they always do and lied through their teeth. The Nats model was perfect (ideal for Farnborough), a safety study has been carried out.

A measure of the desperation, Andrew Lloyd (Rushmoor chief executive) was on hand to ensure the whole thing was pushed through. But he needn't have worried, the committee did as was expected of them and rubber-stamped without question what was placed before them.

The aftermath is interesting.

At the next meting, the committee approved the minutes even though they were a false record of what took place, and everyone knows them to be a false record. The minutes state the committee considered the planning report placed before them. The committee did not, they instead considered the single sheet of A4 that was laid on the table at 7pm.

The following day, at an airfield liaison committee, TAG director Graham Wood, when asked about ground safety gave his reply in two parts:

TAG were due to submit to DfT their estimates for movements for 15 years into the future, from which NATS would draw a PSZ for Farnborough.

Rushmoor and TAG had still to agree safety to finalise the planning consent.

Both statements were a correct statement of facts.

Later the same day at a council meeting, Eddie Poole (chair: planning committee), when asked was a further safety study to be carried out, replied with an emphatic no, cf the resolution passed at the planning meeting which deferred the final decision for that very reason.

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


Farnborough Airfield Consultative Committee

Rushmoor cabinet considered this committee at their October and December meetings last year. Before them were flawed reports and presentation by incompetent planning official Richard Short (who we are pleased to note has since left). No discussion, no consultation with affected parties, apart from TAG. Various groups were invited to apply for a seat, then told they were not suitable. The person who did the vetting was Richard Short, the same Richard Short who had misled the cabinet on the function and structure of consultation committees. No one on the cabinet questioned any of this. At the December cabinet, Peter Moyle, deputy leader, launched a vicious attack on Keith Parkins for having the effrontery to challenge what Rushmoor were doing.

We have previously expressed our disquiet on this committee and its failure to meet the legislation, what we have learnt recently is that it is even worse than we thought.

The committee should be balanced and fairly represent all interested parties. The committee put forward by Short comprised of 21 seats. Of the seven seats allocated to local councils, Rushmoor take three (four if we count the Hampshire seat), of the 7 seats allocated to the local community only two are allocated to local community groups.

What we have learnt recently is that the situation is even worse than this.

Under the relevant legislation, Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act (1982), Rushmoor has no powers to establish the committee, no powers to appoint anyone to the committee. Under the relevant legislation it is TAG Aviation, as airfield operator, who are under a statutory obligation to establish the consultative committee. TAG are currently operating an airport under the Act whilst failing to discharge their statutory obligations under the Act. Rushmoor have no rights to appoint a committee, the committee established by Rushmoor has no validity. Only TAG can appoint a committee.

We understand TAG are aware of this.

Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act (1982) is quite clear:

(1) This section applies to any aerodrome which is designated for the purposes of this section by an Order made by the Secretary of State.

(2) The person having the management of any aerodrome to which this section applies shall provide -

(a) for users of the aerodrome,

(b) for any local authority (or, if the person having the management of the aerodrome is a local authority, for any other local authority) in whose area the aerodrome or any part thereof is situated or whose area is in the neighbourhood of the aerodrome, and

(c) for any other organisations representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the aerodrome is situated,

adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the aerodrome which affects their interests.

Proposals have been put to TAG for the committee, proposals that have widespread support (a committee of 24 seats):

It is now important that everyone lobbies hard (local press, local councils, polite persuasion of TAG) to ensure we get this committee. We need a committee with teeth, not a poodle of Rushmoor and TAG.

For TAG, please make polite requests of TAG director Graham Wood:

	Graham Wood	grahamw@tagfarnborough.com	01252 526001

A long time ago, TAG said they wished to be good neighbours. Here is their opportunity to work with the local community, not the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. We are not holding our breath.

Keith Parkins, Farnborough Airfield Consultative Committee, press release, 22 January 2003

[BVEJ newsletter #0030 November 2002, newsletter #0032 January 2003]


Farnborough town centre

More shops have closed or are due to close.

Fingz Fashion have closed down, gone into liquidation. Main creditor was Rushmoor, which seems poetic justice though it is the long suffering taxpayer who pays the price. In the same small section of Kingsmead, there are at least three other retailers who will be closing down. This section, opposite Halifax, will soon be as dead as the other ends of Kingsmead.

Retailers are sending their staff home early due to lack of trade. They are lucky if they see any customers after mid-afternoon. ASDA are sending their staff home before the end of their shift, they don't of course get paid.

The Tuesday market is doomed. Officially the market is open until 4pm, most of the stall-holders have packed up and gone home by 3pm. There are few stalls left. By mid-afternoon a Tuesday could be a Sunday for the few people around.

Two tall canes are swinging across shoppers and residential areas. Should this be allowed? Such cranes are known to collapse.

A lump of concrete fell off the large concrete blocks used as a counterbalance off the crane on the old Post Office site. It missed a local resident by six inches.

This is not the only incident. We have documented many. If nothing else planning infringements.

Why is Rushmoor Head of Planning Keith Holland turning a blind eye? Is it not time he was investigated?


Spean

Spean is a bungalow set in a large garden in South Farnborough, the garden, until his death, was the owners pride and joy, it has since been trashed by Pavilion.

Pavilion paid a rumoured 3/4 million pounds for the site. Well above its market value, unless you have been given a cast-iron guarantee that planning consent would be granted.

Pavilion applied to build a block of 8 flats and three houses on the site, the bungalow, outbuildings and trees to be destroyed. This generated strong local opposition.

The agenda put before the planning committee, was a pack of lies, as was the presentation and summing up by planning official Daryl Phillips. He claimed the development was in keeping with the area, no impact on neighbours, loss of trees was okay, no traffic problems. All was a pack of lies. The arguments put forward by neighbours, the failure to meet government planning guidelines, did not merit a mention. We wonder why?

Fortunately the councillors had been well briefed by the local community and for once Phillips did not get his way. The application was rejected by six votes (5 Tories, 1 Independent) to four (2 Labour, two LibDem).

Sue Dibble (Labour) and Charlie Fraser-Fleming (LibDem) are members of the planning committee, both voted in favour of the planning application on behalf of Pavilion. Sue Dibble is a current member of the board of Pavilion, Charlie Fraser-Fleming was until recently a board member. Neither declared an interest, neither left the room. Both councillors are now under investigation by the Standards Board of England. Sue Dibble was already under investigation for voting for the Manor Park Development in Aldershot.

Daryl Phillips falls over backwards to promote schemes on behalf of developers. He did so for Spean, has done so for Farnborough town centre, Farnborough Airport, Manor Park. An in-depth investigation into this incompetent planning official is long overdue.

The vote was worth it just to see the sick smug grin wiped off Phillips' face.

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


Brighton

Brighton, or Skidrow-on-Sea as it is known, has, like Rushmoor, a reputation as a rotten borough. It is easy to see why.

Neo-Labour Brighton Council has approved the controversial development of the old Brighton Station goods yard site. The scheme includes just what Brighton needs more of - two posh Hotels and a Sainsbury's supermarket providing crappy low paid jobs. The only reason that this scheme is going ahead is because Sainsbury's are prepared to bribe the council with 'infrastructure improvements' (ie roads) which will increase traffic in an already congested area. The new Sainsbury's will be nearly twice the size of its current store in London Road, and despite the council planning department saying, 'There is no quantitative need for additional food retail in the area', they decided to give it the go-ahead anyway.

So a supermarket, some hotels, crap housing, no playing fields - SchNEWS just doesn't understand why Brighton Council, showing SUCH vision, failed in its bid to become city of culture!

BUDD, who have been opposing the development, are now trying to have the development called in to a Public Enquiry. If they fail, work on the new site will begin in May. 01273 681166

Failed in its attempt to become European City of Culture (at a cost to the public purse of £150,000), skid row has demolished a theatre, closed a cinema to make way for a casino, turned the public library into bars. Further examples include the Fat Boy Slime mass vomit on what masquerades as a beach at Brighton. At the end of last year Brighton closed down its culture department! The fallout didn't end there. The head of the culture department was sacked.

Justified winners of Private Eye Rotten Boroughs Philistine of 2002 award, Skidrow is now looking to twin with Miami Beach. A proposal that has the backing of Skidrow's cultural elite, err Fat Boy Slime. The two have much in common - tacky architecture, bad taste, drugs, organised crime, corruption, flash cheap jewellery, homelessness, prostitution - yep, they are made for each other.


Richard Short - update

What better time to come to Exeter, with so many exciting projects and challenges starting to take shape or in the planning pipeline. -- Richard Short, Exeter City Head of Planning

We are pleased to report that Richard Short has left the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Was he pushed or did he jump? But our gain is the City of Exeter's loss where he has emerged as Head of Planning.

His final fling before leaving, was to present Rushmoor cabinet with a flawed airfield consultative committee, which they duly rubber-stamped, and to lie through his teeth the following day at a planning committee meeting on safety re Farnborough Airfield.

Short has left a lasting legacy of damage which the people of Aldershot and Farnborough will suffer from for years to come.

So that he does not have an easy life down in Exeter, where we dare say he is already forcing through horrendous projects on behalf of developers we would warn all campaigners in Exeter to be alert.

Exeter is a beautiful City. We wonder for how long with Short in charge of planning.

If you know anyone in Exeter, please warn them what a lying little shit they now have in their midst.

Why not give Short a warm welcome as only activists know how.

	Richard Short	01392 265219

Exeter City Council has obligingly provided a mugshot:

http://www.exeter.gov.uk/news/newsreleases/media_releases_2003/january_2003/new_planning_boss.xml

[BVEJ newsletter #0032 January 2003]


Snippets


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