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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Newsletter July 2003


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Our Lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. -- Martin Luther King

The danger of the 'moderate' view, which refuse to contemplate the sheer rapacity of western state power, is that it can be co-opted. The World Bank and the IMF, now under siege as never before, have devised their survival tactics in relation to this. -- John Pilger

Asking these people - the G8 leaders and the rest of the wealthy elite - to help the poor of the 'developing' world is like asking Hitler to help the Holocaust victims. -- Jazz


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 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 the 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. Tell us and we will remove you from 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.

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BVEJ mail server

We are not sure if our Yahoo group mail server is working. We are also having problems with our yahoo e-mail account. For some reason it removes line breaks between paragraphs, making the text files difficult, if not impossible, to read (we have got around this by adding the newsletter as an e-mail attachment).

If you don't appear to be receiving an e-mailed newsletter, you can always find it on our website (and we post on Indymedia UK when it's there).


BVEJ website

Our website has gone down, as has our ISP. We have created a new website, but very little is on the new site, so please bear with us.

It should be possible to find back copies of BVEJ newsletters, by going to Google and looking in the archive, search on 'BVEJ'.

You never know, our old site may return, it has gone down before, but after an absence of more than a week, we decided to start a new site.

We will, as before, post on Indymedia UK when a new newsletter is on-line, and to be sure of receipt, please subscribe.

Iraq

The star turns at the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee were Robin Cook and Clair Short. As ex-cabinet ministers they were in a better position than most about the lead up to war with Iraq, and they made no bones about it, Tony Blair blatantly lied about weapons of mass destruction, deliberately distorted intelligence reports to support a war with Iraq.

12 June 2003, US forces launched a massive attack on 'terrorist' training camps in the north of Iraq. They were labelled 'terrorist' so well-informed opinion knew we were attacking the bad guys. In the same way that any attacks or demonstrations are organised by 'Ba'ath or Saddam loyalists'. Maybe they were bad guys, maybe they weren't. Who knows. Maybe they were just ordinary Iraqis trying to rid their country of occupiers.

In the attack on the 'terrorist' camps, more than 100 Iraqis were killed, Over 400 were taken prisoner to be held at the US holding camp at Baghdad Airport, in reality a concentration camp.

There was a squabble over the ownership of a house in Baghdad. Help was sought from US forces. They dispensed with the usual courtesy of kicking in the front door, and instead punched a hole in the wall with an armoured vehicle. For good measure they blew out a safe, causing further property damage. Inside were bearded Iraqi gentleman. Beards! They must be Islamic fundamentalists. They were immediately handcuffed and gagged and dragged off for interrogation. One who appeared to be a leader, did try to say something, but was promptly gagged before he could get his words out.

What he had tried to say, and was later able to say when interrogated, was that he had just returned from the US, from a meeting with Paul Wolfowitz at the State Department. And if he was allowed to make a call, he could confirm it.

Just another misunderstanding between Iraqis and their liberators. To be fair to the Americans, their prisoners were released once the little misunderstanding had been cleared up, under Saddam they would have been killed.

It is little misunderstandings like these that are leading to growing tension between the liberated and their liberators.

More US soldiers have been killed since the current conflict was declared officially over by George W than were killed during hostilities.

Civil order is collapsing in Iraq, In Baghdad women are being hassled by Muslim fundamentalists for daring to go out unveiled, incidents of rape are soaring.

During the First Gulf War, around 350 tonnes of depleted uranium munitions were used. The estimate for the Second Gulf War is around 2,000 tonnes. The country has been carpeted with cluster bombs. Many of the bomblets have yet to explode.

A year after the end of the last Gulf War, a study by the Medical Education Trust, put the number of civilians dead at 200,000 (regarded by many as on the conservative side) and this was not counting the many children who were to die every month due to the draconian sanctions. This was a war that had light casualties, dead Iraqis don't count.

The gruesomely named Iraq Body Count (a group of US and UK academics and researchers) has estimated that 10,000 civilians may have been killed (nearly 2,500 in Baghdad alone) in the current conflict.

A recent opinion poll in the US has shown that a third of Americans believe that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, while 22% believe Iraq actually used them! Before the war, half of those polled said the Iraq regime was responsible for September 11th.

A poll in the UK would probably return similar results.

We may laugh at such results, but it is what happens with the constant drip, drip of propaganda from the government, reinforced by the compliant lackey mainstream press.

Weapons of mass destruction were of course found, or at least a mobile laboratory was found capable of producing chemical or biological weapons. Er no, not quite. The impression was given of shiny new camper trailer wagons touring the countryside. What was actually found was canvass covered trucks.

And herein lies an interesting tale. The trucks were part of a weather forecasting system, part of a military system supplied by our friends at Marconi down the road (well they used to be down the road until BAE Systems bought Marconi and shut the plant down). The system, AMETS, Artillery Meteorological System, is used to predict wind speed to accurately target artillery. The system was sold by Marconi for £10 million. The system was covered by export credit guarantees (BVEJ newsletters passim) but as the military quota had been used up, it was reclassified as civilian weather forecasting. When Saddam Hussein defaulted on the payments, British taxpayers footed the bill to the tune of £8.2 million. [Private Eye 1082 13-26 June 2003]

John Pilger, Bush's Vietnam, New Statesman, 23 June 2003


DU munitions

When I saw this image of Blair holding a child in Basra, I happened to be in a hotel in Kabul in Afghanistan, the scene of an earlier "historic victory" of Bush and Blair in another stricken land. I found myself saying out loud the words, "ultimate obscenity". It was in Basra that I filmed hundreds of children ill and dying because they had been denied cancer treatment equipment and drugs under an embargo enforced with enthusiasm by Tony Blair. -- John Pilger

Talk to any of your acquaintances, right, left, or center, about the DU shells and bombs. Our troops are breathing the DU dust from them right now in Iraq. Then tell them in a quiet steady voice "There is no treatment. This a death sentence for our troops serving our country. This ain't right. Help me change it." -- Bob Nichols

This war is being fought, in part, to eliminate the threat of chemical and radiological weapons. It would be tragic if history comes to regard the weapons we use in this war as chemical and radiological time bombs ... If we fail to use these weapons with restraint and accountability I fear history, as well as generations of Iraqis unborn, will curse our names. -- Stephen Nuchia

Depleted uranium is used in tank busting weapons due to its high density giving it superior penetrating powers. It also has the advantage of being pyrophoric, on impact DU munitions combust releasing an aerosol of fine uranium particles, killing everyone within the tank.

DU munitions include bullets, tank shells, bombs, and cruise missiles made with major proportions of uranium in the body of the shell or bomb. The Abrams Tank's 130 mm main gun round contains just under 10 pounds of DU, a 2,000 lb bomb contains about 800 pounds of DU.

Sufficient should have been learnt from the first Gulf War, not to have used DU munitions, but superior firepower outweighs any disadvantages. Even for protection of our own troops on the ground nothing has been learnt.

Troops involved in tank recovery were given no special instructions on how to handled the contaminated tanks, no protective clothing, no respirators, were issued.

After the Kosovo use of DU munitions, several Italian troops died on their return home from contaminated battlefields.

The US asked to comment on the Italian casualties, and having due regard for demands from some Nato countries to ban DU, denied there were problems, that their own studies of troops hit with DU shrapnel were experiencing no problems. In fact one soldier has had a tumour removed, another has died of cancer.

Over 90,000 US troops who served in the first Gulf have reported medical problems. Symptoms include lung, liver and kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure, birth defects among new-born children. In the second Gulf War an unnamed US Colonel has admitted that 500 tonnes of depleted uranium was dropped on Iraq (other estimate up to 2000 tonnes) and that they did nothing to limit DU use in cities.

The US military don't care that they are leaving a toxic legacy in Iraq, they don't care about the health of their own troops. In an interview with al Jazeera television, Professor Rocke, a former chief of Depleted Uranium Project at the Pentagon, said he was told to lie about the effects of DU, 'Even though we know there are health and environmental effects, you should make sure that we can always use uranium munitions in combat because they are so effective. And therefore lie about the health and environmental effects of the use of uranium munitions in combat.'

Returning squaddies from the Gulf War, can, if they so volunteer, have a test for uranium contamination. Their urine is sampled for uranium contamination, but if uranium is not water soluble of what point is the test, especially if the level of uranium contamination is set too high.

The general view of MoD is that squaddies are expendable.

Troops, after a short operational tour, return home. Not so the population of the country bombarded with DU munitions.

During the first Gulf War at least 300 tons of DU tipped munitions were fired within four days.

Iraq is carpeted with DU dust. John Pilger has documented the results. A situation made worse by draconian sanctions and denied access to medical treatment or any clean-up operation.

In Kosovo, it took 18 months before the UN were given information to identify where DU munitions had been used.

In Iraq, the UN requires information now, so that sites and burnt out tanks can be sealed off to prevent further contamination. US/UK has denied access to this information.

In Afghanistan, high levels of uranium have been found in the urine of Afghan civilians, 400 to 2000% above normal levels. Civilians in Kabul have reported pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are found in Gulf War and Balkans veterans and civilians. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and bloodstained mucous. The report by the Uranium Medical Research Centre says that it has not detected depleted uranium, but that the military may have used other sources of uranium (still toxic and radioactive) thanks to their new cave busting bombs. Of the contamination the report says 'These levels of uranium internal contamination are considered medically significant. They point to a potential public health disaster for Afghanistan if corroborated by ongoing studies of a wider population and bomb sites.'

DU damages DNA. There is evidence of genomic instability which is passed on to offspring. Tests on squaddies exposed to DU has shown chromosome damage.

The US has used weapons containing uranium and plutonium five times since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed in 1945 - First Gulf War (since 1991), Bosnia (1995), Yugoslavia/Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (from October 2001), and in the latest Gulf War (2003).

In 2001, DU penetrators fired in the Balkans were found to have traces of plutonium and other higher radioactive contamination only found in recycled nuclear reactor rods (Dirty DU). If particles of these transuranic isotopes are inhaled they carry even higher cancer risks.

How do you you mount a clean-up, desirable as that may be, when we are dealing with dust consisting of sub-micron particles? The only clean-up team sent in after the First Gulf War suffers now from radiation poisoning and a 30% death rate (2002 statistics), and, it is climbing.

The United Nations has passed two resolutions, which include depleted uranium weapons among 'weapons of mass or indiscriminate destruction'. A UN sub-commission on Human Rights, has declared DU munitions illegal.

Weapons of mass destruction cause sudden death or destruction in target areas, some with long term or widespread effects. Weapons of indiscriminate effect cause widespread or long lasting contamination liable to cause injury, chronic illness, slow death or severe birth defects. Both are outlawed in the first protocol of the Geneva conventions.

The European Parliament has voted for a moratorium on the use of DU munitions.

Last month (June) saw the second International Day of Action Against Depleted Uranium. Actions included die-ins at test sites and people in chemical suits in town centres handing out leaflets. Some people were nicked in Tuscon, USA, for warning people about the health effects of DU ammo at an army recruiting centre.

In London protesters were warned by cops that they could be nicked for displaying a poster of a deformed new born baby because they were obscene images! Er, exactly. Dropping DU bombs is obscene, but then we don't want to upset the commuters do we?


9-11 - Brian Downing Quig

Investigative journalist Brian Downing Quig, who like us (BVEJ newsletters passim) questioned the 'official' 9-11 story, has been killed in a hit and run accident.

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


Evian G8

After the event and following the police brutality, demonstrations took place outside Swiss embassies across Europe. In Manchester, the Swiss Consulate was occupied.

Two people were seriously injured by the police brutality. Martin Shaw was seriously injured when the rope he was hanging from a bridge was deliberately cut causing him to fall 20 metres. Activists managed to save the other climber on the other side of the bridge. Martin Shaw is suing the Swiss police. Guy Smallman was seriously injured in the leg (needing a two hour operation) when a stun grenade was fired at him at point blank range.

Although all demos started off cheerful and full of positive vibes, many people were injured during the anti-G8 demos by massive police teargassing, rubber bullets and concussion grenades. Peaceful protesters stated their solidarity with the blockades carried out by Black Bloc activists. Local Swiss people were attacked by German riot police. Many locals took to the streets against German riot police who appeared out of control in their city. There were repeated clashes between German riot police, using water cannon, concussion grenades, rubber bullets and gas, and protesters and locals. Hundreds and then later thousands of people from Geneva were drawn out onto the streets, many angry at the presence and brutal behaviour of the German riot police.

[BVEJ newsletter #0037 June 2003]


Amazonian indigenous communities face violent military repression

The Ecuadorian Government threatens to use public force in order to initiate petrol activities in oil concession block 23 and block 24 in the Amazonian region, thus becoming a clear threat against the indigenous peoples that since ancient times inhabit the Ecuadorian Amazon, and specifically the territories of Pastaza and Morona Santiago provinces.

Fierce opposition to oil development in the Ecuadorian Amazonian region by the indigenous communities inhabiting the area forced the American-based energy company Burlington Resources to declare force majeure in its contract with the host government to develop the Block 23 and 24 concession. Indigenous opposition is blocking the project.

Now, the Ecuadorian Government threatens to use public force in order to initiate petrol activities in ancestral Shuar land, in a clear threat against the indigenous peoples and nationalities that inhabit the Ecuadorian Amazon. The governor of Pastaza, Mr. Fernando Ordoñez, stated to the daily newspaper El Universo that "the decision of the regime is to initiate the petrol activity in the blocks number 23 and 24 even it has to use the public force" (El Universo, page 16, section El País, May 29 2003). In the same manner, insisted in that "the Government will not take one step back in the petrol policy".

The declarations of the representative of the Government has generated indignation and rejection among the local population, given that this would encourage the use of force against the indigenous people living in the Blocks 23 and 24 in order to guarantee the plans and programs of the petrol companies operating in these blocks. If Governor Ordoñez gets his way, this would place the regime of Ing. Lucio Gutiérrez outside International Law, in a clear contempt of the cautionary measures of protection of the indigenous people, passed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and would encourage the non-compliance of the resolution of the Constitutional Court, that has made a pronouncement for the protection and guarantees of the human rights of the people that since ancient times inhabit the region.

Please write letters of protest to:

        Sr. Lucio Gutierrez 
        Presidente de la Republica 
        Palacio del Gobierno 
        Calle Garcia Moreno y Espejo 
        Quito Ecuador 

        Fax: 593-2-2580-751 
        Fax: 593-2-2580-748 

        patricia.reyes@presidencia.gov.ec 

        Compañia General de Combustibles (CGC) 
        Av 12 de Octubre, Torre 1492 Nº2697 y Lincoln 
        Oficinas 602 y 603 
        Quito Ecuador 

        Fax: 593-2-2985 537 
        Tel: 593-2-2986 535 

        ricardo_nicolas@cgc.com.ec 

        Mr. Bobby S. Shackouls 
        Corporate Headquarters 
        Burlington Resources Inc. 
        5051 Westheimer, Suite 1400 
        Houston, TX 77056 USA 

        http://www.br-inc.com/comments.asp
Sample letters can be found on-line


Also please sign the on-line petition

Background info

Wichi under threat

Treated as savages by settlers, the Wichi live in the northern lowlands of Argentina in an area the Incas called Chaco. Far from being savages, the Wichi are the antithesis of greed-driven Western society. For the Wichi, goodwill is the essence of human society, and a leader will be selected as a person of exemplary goodwill.

The very existence of the Wichi is now under threat. Their forests are being clear-felled, their lands poisoned with agrochemicals.

This is illegal on two counts. First, the attacks on the land are contrary to Indigenous Rights enshrined in the Argentine Constitution and upheld in national and regional legislation. Second, the permits that have been illegally allocated, contravene environmental legislation.

Please write letters of protest to:

        Juan Carlos Romero
        Gobernador de la Provincia de Salta
        Gran Bourg
        Avenida de los Incas s/n
        4400 Salta
        Argentina

        fax +54 387 436 0400
more info

Argentina

The actions of December 19 and 20 were not the proclamation of a revolutionary change nor did they completely bury the old regime. As a counterbalance, the elections of April will not heal the regime, wounded by the actions of 2001/2002, nor will they have a long lasting effect on our hopes of social change. -- Pablo, a piquetero of the Anibal Veron

The Argentine social movements are at once young and old. They were born in 1945 with the spontaneous mass mobilization that brought Peron to power. They were also born in 1959 in Cuba. The people of those movements were disappeared, tortured, and eventually killed from 1975 to 1982, first under a Peronist government and then under a military dictatorship. Thirty thousand people were disappeared so that today the IMF could dictate its economic policies. We can say, with Cesar Vallejo, that those movements were killed but did not die. In December 2001, they took the streets with direct democracy and direct action. -- Graciela Monteagudo

The problem for the factory owners is that we have already tasted the forbidden fruit. We know how much materials cost, how much is sold, how much is earned. We know how to run a factory. -- Celia, worker at Bruckman textile factory

What we are attempting to do is identify different links in the productive process that are in the hands of the social movements, and then build bridges between them and create new enterprises to fill the missing links. -- Alberto, Nunez Saavedra Assembly

In December 2001, Argentina erupted in widespread social unrest, president after president, was forced to resign. Capitalists abandoned their factories, leaving workers with no pay, no job, capital flowed out of the country, businesses collapsed. The peso, which had been pegged to the dollar, collapsed, savings became worthless. The net result, 26% unemployment and 60% living below the official poverty line.

The Argentine economy was a child of the IMF and USA. Senior politicians from Argentina were paraded around the world like monkeys. This was an example that everyone should follow, that is until the economy collapsed.

There has always been a tradition of grassroots opposition dating from Anarchists in the 1920s, but now everyone was angry, people were out of work, the middle classes found their life savings devalued. Activists taught everyone the ropes, direct action was now mainstream and respectable.

Before the crisis, the gangsters in the national government sold of state assets and enterprises at a fraction of their worth. Out of the ashes of the crisis rose the possibility of a new system.

200 factories under workers control, in which 10,000 people manage the production and commercialisation of everything from bread to tractors throughout the country. It created the popular assemblies, neighbourhood spaces for discussion of these new politics, community services and coordination of direct actions. Micro-enterprises, bread ovens, organic vegetable gardens, health clinics. There has even been formed a consultancy to aid the factory occupations.

When the economy collapsed, the Capitalists abandoned their means of production, often overnight, though not before stripping out everything they could of value, workers were left unpaid and without a job.

The 224-room Bauen Hotel has been taken over by its former employees.

The Bruckman textile factory has been occupied and workers evicted three times. The management walked out during discussion with the workforce over unpaid salaries. After two weeks of waiting for the management to return, the workers started up production. Traditionally Bruckman produces men's suits, but they are also now producing uniforms for school kids and meeting the needs of the neighbourhood committees. If the management try to seize the factory by force, the workers call on the neighbourhoods to show up in force to defend the factory.

One of the biggest problems facing those who seize the factories is the lack of resources and working capital. If they are lucky, they have raw materials with which production can start, bills can then be paid.

Zanon, which produces ceramics, now has a regular paid workforce, and has managed to take on extra workers.

The Commission for a Social Economy, is helping to co-ordinate all the different enterprises. Identifying where there are shortages and who can fill them, if not, helping to start new enterprises to fill the gap in the market. A market which is defined somewhat differently to the normal 'market'.

The vegetable gardens and bread factories produce food for the neighbourhoods and the soup kitchens. Bruckman supplies school uniforms for needy kids, the Chilavert press prints the flyers , the newspapers and posters for the committees, a large bread factory has been recovered by local committees and inmates of a mental asylum and supplies the local soup kitchens.

The social commission is looking at the possibility of a logo or brand name, with which to identify the output of the social enterprises, a standard of quality and fair working conditions.

The workers have had their eyes opened. They know how to run the factories, they do not need managers. There is no going back.

Graciela Monteagudo, The Argentine Autonomist Movement And The Elections, ZNet, 23 May 2003

Ben Backwell, The cooking-pot revolution, The Ecologist, May 2003

[BVEJ newsletter #0020 January 2002]


Argentina Autonomist Project - Piquetera Tour

Over the last two years an incredible wave of social protest and action has engulfed Argentina.

In the midst of a severe economic crisis there have been massive street protests, over 200 factories under workers control, more than three hundred coordinated microenterprise cooperatives organized by unemployed women and men, countless neighbourhood associations formed, and many other autonomous popular initiatives. And yet, little is heard about this in the United States or in Europe.

To correct this, the Argentina Autonomist Project (AAP) was formed. The purpose of the AAP is to bring news about events in Argentina to North America and Europe, through people-to-people exchanges and the internet, and to facilitate non-hierarchical communication within Argentina, especially among groups with a minimum of resources.

The Piquetera Tour is now touring the UK. One of the places visited, courtesy of Surrey Anarchist Group (SAG), was upstairs at the Hogshead Pub (top of Guildford High St).

The last few decades of Argentinian socio-economic history, the role of the state, death squads and US intervention, the recent crisis triggered by flight of overseas capital, how grass roots have defended their communities and workplace, all in little more than an hour, by the means of puppets and a little audience participation.

That is what Graciela, a puppeteer, successfully achieved with her show - a show that has already toured the two Americas with great success. She, and Neka of the unemployed workers of the Anibal Veron Co-ordination, then spent the next hour or more, sharing their experience of and answering questions on the vast movement of occupations and grass-roots organising and resistance that has swept Argentina over the past two years.

Workers' takeover of factories, employment for the unemployed, bread ovens to feed the starving, organic gardens.

The activists believe in direct action and have little time for government who they regard as criminals. Activities are organised on a local level through democratic committees, in which everyone participates. Delegates are then sent to regional committees, and to other committees, to help co-ordinate actions and fill unfulfilled needs.

Neka, works on an organic garden. In the long run they wish to see all production organic. Part of their activities are to educate campesinos (peasant farmers) to go organic. They are strongly opposed to transgenics (GM crops) and are fighting on three levels - consumer education (not to buy), farmer education (not to grow), and international liaison across the third world.

Health care is a big problem. Efforts are going into prevention and education, removal of polluting processes, and banning of dangerous products, processes and drugs being dumped by the West.

As well as touring overseas, delegations and individuals are invited to Argentina to learn at first hand.

What Graciela and her puppets showed, was that we have much to learn from the social upheavals in Argentina. Why do we sit idly by and let our corrupt local councils steal our money and destroy our lives?

If you can, see the Piquetera Tour, as it is well worth it. If they are not visiting you, then get off your backside, arrange a venue, and invite them along.

What is happening in Argentina, is the first serious social movement to emerge since the Zapatistas emerged from the rainforests of Chiapas in Mexico, and like the Zapatistas, what is being sought is not power or a revolution where the government is toppled, but a transfer of power to the grassroots, so government eventually has no meaning. What is happening is part of the anti-globalisation movement, one no and many yeses. This yes deserves our full support.


Iceland

Alcoa, the US-owned transnational aluminium giant has got the go-ahead from the Conservative Icelandic government to trash one of Europe's largest remaining areas of natural wilderness. The profit hungry vandals will flood large swathes of the Icelandic highlands - currently a centre of eco-tourism with loads of fantastic waterfalls, glaciers, geothermal springs, unique plants and animals - to build a massive dam to provide electricity for the giant aluminium smelter they intend to build smack bang in the middle of one of the country's most beautiful fjords.

Icelanders are totally baffled as to why their government ignored the advice of their own planning agency - which rejected Alcoa's plans out of hand on ecological grounds - and the desperate protests of national and international environmental campaigners, just to line the pockets of corporate fat cats from another planet.

Preliminary work has already begun but Icelandic campaigners say it's still not too late to join in the direct action protests.


BP National Portrait Awards

Should a company like BP be associated with the National Portrait Gallery, (or the Ecology section of the Natural History Museum, for that matter)? Should a company like BP exist at all? -- London Rising Tide

We don't believe that it's possible for an oil company to be a force for good in the world, regardless of how many cultural events in sponsors in the hope of sanitising its domestic reputation. If you're an artist, or connected in any way to the National Portrait Gallery, we ask you to consider BP's record, as well as the existence of corporate sponsorship of the arts in general, and to try to raise whatever concerns you may have in any way that you feel comfortable... BP, like all companies, exists to generate maximum profits. Currently a 'green' image is required to increase those profits. That's it. Capitalism itself relies on our unquestioning acceptance of its air-brushed, greenwashed version of the truth. As environmental crises loom larger, ending this profit-and-exploitation system is central to our survival. Replacing capitalism with other goals in society, such as food, health and freedom for all, is the only long-term solution for a socially just and ecological future. -- London Rising Tide

Much was made of the young student who won the National Portrait Award, and we applaud fine art, not the crap masquerading as art, but little was made of the dodgy corporation funding the award, or the reception given to those attending the award ceremony.

A small but elegantly turned out group turned up wearing sun glasses obscured by subverted BP-logos and looking through similarly-coloured picture frames. They were just in time to greet the art cognoscenti and business-types who were about to be treated to a slap-up dinner and the announcement of the winning portrait, and did a good job of making their entrance hard work, as well as making sure they received copies of a leaflet written for the occasion (gist of below), as well as copies of Rising Tide's spoof BP Annual Report.

Rising Tide stayed for an hour, gave out a stack of anti-BP material, gave out the occasional rant, spoke to mostly sympathetic passers-by and generally embarrassed the National Portrait Gallery.

With little more than a month left to stop the public funding of BP's Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelines (BVEJ newsletters passim), now is the time to get active on that particular aspect of the oil industry's dirty work. Applying a pin prick to the BP brand with small actions like this is just one of the many ways we hope of preventing that pipeline being built, and in the slightly longer term of removing BP from the planet altogether.

There are plans for a fossil fuel-free portrait award to run alongside BP's next year...


A more accurate portrait? Eight facts BP would rather you didn't know

How much do you know about BP, sponsor of the National Portrait Award?

We want to simply say that BP is a bad company; when BP is based in West Papua, Indonesia can send more military to 'protect' BP and then kill us. BP is creating pollution in West Papua. BP will kill our forest and our sea. BP must get out of West Papua. BP are coming and offering 'development'. They are bringing more schools, hospitals, roads, airports, pollution, money and western goods. We do not want these. They will cause us more problems. We are just fine how we are. We are not asking for development. We are not asking for BP. What we are asking for is Freedom. -- DeMMaK (Koteka Tribal Assembly) Spokespeople on BP's Tangguh natural gas project in West Papua, March 2003

'Don't be fooled by oil company public relations that the only people opposing their destructive agenda are privileged western environmentalists. In fact, resistance to Big Oil's constant need to find new oil-rich frontiers is most determined amongst some of the world's poorest people. People in places as far-flung as Colombia, West Papua, Angola, Azerbaijan and Alaska have come together to say no to BP. After all, the wealth from their lands flows straight into the pockets of western investors. Perhaps they should be the ones to control their own resources, instead of being displaced, polluted or even murdered?' -- London Rising Tide

If most of your knowledge has come from BP itself, or from the institutions it sponsors, it might be worth digging a bit deeper before giving the company a clean bill of health. Many people believe that BP (not to mention the entire oil industry) causes human rights violations, ecological devastation and the growing destabilisation of the world's climate, (also known as global warming).

More info

EU Food Supplements Directive

The drug companies are buying up the vitamin companies. It's all about big fish eating the little fish. -- Frank Wiewal, People Against Cancer

Studies in the US show that when so-called fit and healthy older people are given considerable doses of supplements they are healthier in every respect. -- Paul Kingsley

There are several thousand valid scientific papers every year that demonstrate the importance and value of nutritional supplements to treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. -- Damien Downing, editor of The Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine

The simple fact is that the pharmaceuticals don't want people to get healthy. Degenerative disease is the single biggest money-spinner of all time. -- Lynne McTaggart

Imagine if flowers essences like Rescue Remedy were illegal? If you couldn't buy high dose vitamin C when you had a cold? If many types of selenium were banned? If you couldn't buy St John's Wort over the counter any more? Just imagine if you were put in prison for buying vitamins?

All this and more, if passed into British law, EU directives that will sharply curtail your access to many health supplements and types of alternative medicine.

Many people take vitamins, minerals and other food supplements. This is in part a rejection of drugs peddled by the big pharmas. A point that has not gone unnoticed by these pharmas who now own and control over 70% of the vitamin and food supplement market.

Our ability to pop into a local food store and pick up a jar of St John's Wort or a bottle of vitamin C may all soon change due to an EU Directive, if it is ratified by the UK.

There is a discrepancy in the market across the EU, in the UK we can buy these vitamins in a local food store, in other EU countries a prescription is necessary. It does not really matter, but it does to Big Business which likes to see a common market.

The EU directive will only allow small doses to be on sale, usually around the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for general nutrition, whereas in the UK we can currently buy Vitamin C in 1,000 mg doses. Many pills and potions will be removed off the market, often only the least effective will remain. On the other hand the big companies will be allowed to use some fairly obnoxious manufacturing processes. To drive the small companies of the market, very high licence fees will be charged.

The EU directive will lead to the banning of some 300 popular supplements - such as boron, many types of calcium, many times of chromium, copper, mixed tocopherols, iron, vanadium, zinc etc. It will also severely lower the upper limit of many of the most popular vitamins, like vitamin C, despite exhaustive evidence of safety. Anything not on the 'positive list' when the directive comes into effect in three years' time will be banned throughout Europe.

What we will be left with on the 'positive list' are the cheapest (to manufacture) and least efficacious supplements (from which big pharma can make the most money). The only form of vitamin E on the 'positive list' is the alpha tocopheral variant, which has lower bioavailability than the variants to be banned.

Do we need these vitamins and pills anyway? Surely not if we are healthy and eat a balanced diet. Therein lies the rub. Are we healthy, do we eat a balanced diet?

Our food, processed food to one side, does not have the mineral and vitamin content it used to have.

In 1940, the UK Medical Research Council published a report, The Chemical Composition of Food. In 1991 it repeated the research. It found out of 28 raw and 44 cooked vegetables, 17 fruits and 10 types of meat, poultry and game, that vegetables had lost up to 75% of nutrients like manganese, meats had lost about half their minerals, and fruits had lost about two thirds. You would have to eat ten tomatoes in 1991 to get the same copper as eating one in 1940, and three oranges to get the same iron as one orange in 1940.

A similar study in the US by the Department of Agriculture, has shown that over a period of 25 years, vitamins have drastically declined in fruit and vegetables.

This loss is a direct consequence of industrialised agriculture. The loss of vitamins and minerals is more than made up by a cocktail of pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics, many of which are known to be hazardous to health and the environment, many are allegedly banned from use. Genetic engineered foodstuffs will make a bad situation even worse.

The vitamins we may need to maintain normal health (and the levels set decades ago to avoid ill-health, such as scurvy and rickets, not to maintain optimum health), may not be what we need when we are unwell. Increasingly vitamins and minerals are being used as treatment, not just to maintain health.

What we need to maintain health, may not be what we need for medicinal purposes when we are ill.

Members of the British Society for Allergy, Nutrition and Environmental Medicine routinely use high doses to treat from asthma to cancer. Paul Kingsley, who has successfully treated multiple sclerosis and cancer says that RDA is not only inadequate for the average person, it is totally inadequate when they are unwell: 'The more unwell they are, the more of the nutrients they need to correct their unwell metabolism.' The US Journal of Medicine advises doctors to prescribe vitamins and minerals as necessary for human health.

Holland and Barrett, who have driven many independent health food stores off the High Street, and bought and destroyed the once excellent Neals Yard Wholefoods, being themselves owned by big pharma, are being somewhat two-faced on this. Some stores have information on this directive (it may be local initiatives), but they are refusing to stock campaign material from the Health Freedom Movement.

Check out your local health store which may have cards with which to lobby MPs. If not, ask why not, do they wish to be driven out of business?

But more is yet to come. The Food Supplements Directive, has been passed at EU level, it has not yet been ratified by the UK Parliament (expected some time in July).

The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Product Directive

Currently being considered by the EU, this directive seeks to force herbal medicines and even substances like flower essences into regulatory procedures similar to those governing the pharmaceutical industry. If passed as it now stands, the THMPD will effectively ban many herbs which have been safely used outside of Europe for many years or wipe them off the shelves because the companies who produce them will not be able to afford the costly regulatory process. The net effect would be the disappearance of many safe and proven herbals and flower essences from health shop shelves and the sharp curtailment of innovative natural substances. Equally alarming, animal testing has become a mandatory part of the process.

An amendment to the Medicines Act

EU is currently considering a proposal to amend the main EU laws defining a medicinal product and setting out the licensing system for such products. This originally was designed as a simple exercise in 'tidying up' the law. However, it appears that the pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory agencies have used this as an opportunity to extend the definitions of a medicinal product to include all products, natural or otherwise, that have 'therapeutic benefit'.

If accepted as currently worded, this Directive would allow medicines regulators to insist that many food supplements not covered by the FSD are legally medicines requiring a licence even if they are intended to be covered by other EU directives which define them as food products. It would also give regulatory agencies like Britain's Medicines Control Agency sweeping powers, in effect to classify any healthcare product it chooses as a 'drug'.

Theoretically, the MCA could regulate such alternative medicines as homeopathy and aromatherapy.

Apart from severely limiting consumer choice, the net result of these directives will lead to further loss of independent health food stores (and possibly even major chains like Holland & Barrett), further consolidation of the stranglehold on the vitamin and food supplements market by big pharma, greater incident of ill-health, more visits to the doctor, extra costs to an already overburdened NHS, and greater profits for big pharma (the intended outcome).

We need a common vitamins policy as much as we need a common monetary policy or a common agricultural policy. The vitamin requirements of a fat overfed British inner-city kid brought up on a diet of burgers, chips and coke is going to be vastly different to an active rural kid living on a self-sufficient farm in rural Greece.

Yet one more reason to leave the EU.

[BVEJ newsletter #0012 May 2001]


Vitamins can seriously damage your health

Some of the newspaper articles inaccurately stated that the EVM report said that vitamins and minerals were a waste of money, and that many vitamin supplements did more harm than good. Only one newspaper article emphasised that the EVM report made no judgement on the health benefits claimed for various supplements. -- NHS Direct Online

The most comprehensive adverse event data comparing dietary supplements with other risk factors has been compiled by Ron Law in New Zealand. This fully referenced data set shows that the risk of death from dietary supplements lies somewhere between the risk of being killed by a wasp sting and being struck by a meteorite. -- Tim Lobstein, UK Food Commission

... it is nutrition, or rather 'mis-nutrition', that is the largest single cause of death and disease within the region, and indeed worldwide. This need not be the case. Nutrition and dietary policies may find themselves in close alliance with policies for sustainable agriculture. However, the change in thinking that will be required will mean reconsidering the role of commercial food production. Successful nutrition policies may yet prove to be the next major step in the improvement of public health. -- Tim Lobstein, UK Food Commission

The mainstream press recently had a field day reporting how the use of vitamins and minerals can seriously damage your health - 'minerals and vitamins can cause cancer and liver damage' (The Times), that people are 'poisoning themselves' (Sunday Times), and that their health could be 'irreversibly damaged' (Daily Telegraph).

The source of this garbage was the UK Food Standards Agency, the same FSA that not so long ago reported that organic food had no nutritional benefits and was bad for your pocket and bad for your health (subsequently rubbished by the Soil Association and The Ecologist).

Even NHS Direct Online felt obliged to criticise what FSA were saying, though they were careful to do so indirectly by rubbishing the press coverage. It also stressed no systematic review methodology was used therefore it is 'not possible to decide how reliable the conclusions might be.'

Surprise, surprise, this latest load of crap from the FSA was timed to coincide with the EU desire to wipe of our shelves most of the vitamins and mineral supplements we are accustomed to buying in health food shops.

So what was the truth?

The FSA report was based on a distortion of a detailed, 350-page study from the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EGVM). The EGVM report contained a series of risk assessments to determine the safe upper dose limits for vitamins and minerals. It did not investigate possible benefits of the supplements.

The Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals were asked to advise on safe upper limits (SULs) of intakes of vitamins and minerals in food supplements and fortified foods. The EGVM were asked to consider only vitamins and minerals sold under food law. Review of nutritional or non-nutritional beneficial effects or non-nutritional use in medicine was outside the review objectives.

Ironically, in the USA, where dietary supplements are used to a greater extent than the UK or other parts of Europe, poisonings data show that nutritional supplements are many times safer than foods.

This is what the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EGVM) had to say:

Chromium

In the first place, the claim that 'vitamins and minerals can cause cancer' is a statement restricted to the over-use of chromium, in the form of chromium picolinate, which is available in stores at levels up to 0.6mg. The FSA states that it 'may have the potential to cause cancer'. The EGVM is aware of two cases where the patient died from severe kidney and liver damage after ingesting 7.5 mg regularly, although no cases of cancer came to light. No reactions were reported in people who took up to 1 mg a day for 64 weeks, according to one study.

Vitamin C

The FSA reports that doses above 1000 mg a day can cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The EGVM says this is a common side effect, but one that disappears immediately once the dosage is stopped or lowered. However, it points to two major trials where people who took 1000 mg a day for five years reported no adverse reactions whatsoever.

Calcium

The FSA states that doses above 1500 mg a day can cause abdominal pain. The EGVM says this is most likely to occur if it is taken with antacid tablets, calcium supplements and milk. However, no adverse reactions were reported in trials with people supplementing at doses up to 2000 mg a day.

Iron

Abdominal problems occur with iron supplements at a potency above 17 mg a day, says the FSA. Agreed, says the EGVM, but these reactions are more common at daily doses of 60 mg. Studies push the limits higher, and suggest that gastro-intestinal problems occur at doses of up to 200 mg a day.

Beta-carotene

The FSA states that beta-carotene can cause 'irreversible harmful effects'. The EGVM said that studies have shown no toxicity in humans, even among pregnant women. However, trials involving smokers and workers exposed to asbestos found that they were more likely to develop lung cancer if they were also taking beta-carotene. So nothing to do with cigarettes and asbestos, then.

Zinc

The FSA puts the same claim of irreversible harmful effects at the door of zinc. Again, a careful study of the EGVM report fails to find supporting evidence. It states that zinc can cause reversible abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and very high doses might cause blood disorders in diabetics, a very small study suggested.

Manganese

Again, consumers who supplement with manganese can also suffer irreversible harmful effects, says the FSA. Miners who have inhaled manganese while working in manganese mines and smelters have contracted Parkinson's disease, but these are at levels impossible to ingest, says the EGVM. Trials with supplementation at doses up to 15 mg a day failed to find any adverse effects among the volunteers.

Vitamin B6

High doses can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs, says the FSA. Agreed, says the EGVM, but this occurs when levels of 2000 mg are taken every day for very long periods. However, this has never been supported by any trials.


EU Constitution

The officers of the new EU police force, Europol, are immune from criminal prosecution should they break the law while carrying out their activities. -- article 5, para 2, EU Council Act

The emerging EU state is indeed different to the national state, not just because it exercises cross-border powers, but rather because even traditional and often ineffective liberal democratic means of control, scrutiny and accountability of state agencies and practices are not in place nor is there any political will to introduce them. -- Tony Bunyan, Statewatch

Have you noticed how you no longer see eggs in baskets on the counter of the local village shop? Maybe a better question to ask would be have you seen a local village shop? But to return to the original question, eggs in baskets, the reason you do not see them any more is diktat from the bastards in Brussels. Just one of many examples we could give of EU dictatorship.

Well alright, one more. Europol, the EU police force, members of, are immune from prosecution no matter what illegal acts they commit.

The EU Constitution is not for the benefit of its citizens, it is to turn the EU into a police state, its citizens reduced to serfs for Big Business.

Europol is unaccountable for its actions to either the European Parliament or national parliaments. Your elected representatives are not even allowed to see its annual reports.

Europol has the right to gather intelligence on your political activities, religious beliefs, ethnic origins, sexual activities, and is not accountable to your elected representatives.

The EU arrest warrant will allow corrupt legal systems, as in Italy, to demand your arrest and immediate extradition for a crime you may not have committed, for an offence that may not be an offence in England. There will be no requirement to produce any evidence that an offence has been committed.

An EU directive already grants state agencies the right to track whatever you are doing on the internet, to intercept your fax, e-mail and phone communications. No recourse to a court is necessary, there does not even have to be a suspicion you are engaging in any criminal activity.

EU so broadly defines 'terrorism' - 'international acts destabilising the fundamental political, constitutional, economic and social structures' - that almost any one can be so defined as a 'terrorist', and certainly civil society NGOs campaigning for a better society. We, and almost certainly groups like SchNEWS, are 'terrorists' in the eyes of the EU.

How open the definition of terrorism' is to abuse can be seen from the request from the EU Council of Ministers to Europol to draw up a list of environmental 'troublemakers' who can be barred from leaving their own country at the time of EU summits. We have already seen this happening for the recent Evian G8 last month (June), and undoubtedly will happen for the EU summit in Greece.

Article 108 of the EU Treaty forbids governments who have been foolhardy enough to adopt the euro, together with members of the European Parliament, from attempting to influence the policies of the European Central Bank. One of the reasons why Ireland and Germany are in financial crisis.

Under Article 191 of the Nice Treaty, the EU Council of Ministers can ban any political party from speaking in the European Parliament, or deny them political funding, if they refuse to develop 'European awareness'.

The proposed EU Constitution will effectively remove the right of any member state to leave the EU.

The function of a constitution is normally to protect the citizens from abuses by the executive. The EU Constitution is to enshrine the abuses of the executive and grant them immunity, to deny all rights to the citizens.

The citizens have had no say in the formation of the constitution, they will have no say in its adoption.

War criminal Tony Blair is refusing to grant the British people a referendum on the EU Constitution. Hardly surprising from a man who took the country to war contrary to the wishes of the British people, who blatantly lied to go to war, who sups with fascists in Europe, who toadies to Big Business.

Once the EU Constitution is in place, no future government can change it, because all EU countries are bound by International Treaty to abide by it.


Criminal (in)Justice Bill

Not content with creating 300 new crimes since Neo-Labour came to power, David Blunkett has managed to sneak his authoritarian orgy of a Criminal (in)Justice Bill through parliament - with a whole load of extra amendments stitched onto it at the last minute that had never been subject to any parliamentary scrutiny. Even the right-wing loony Anne Widdecombe has described it as 'extremely dangerous'.

The extras include the extension of the amount of time people suspected of terrorism can be held without charge. Meanwhile, the main body of the Bill is making sure the balance of the law will always remain firmly in favour of the State, in what Helena Kennedy QC has called a 'confidence trick' with the intention of doing something 'quite frightening to civil liberties.'

And how about these for erosion of YOUR basic rights?

GOING, The right to a trial by jury - starting with ones they reckon 'ordinary' people are too thick to get to grips with like fraud or cases that go on for a long time. MPs, lawyers and civil rights campaigners alike are warning that this can readily be extended to any or all cases where the State's intentions run the risk of being thwarted by 12 members of the public.

GOING, The double jeopardy rule which means you can't be tried twice for the same crime.

GONE. This is Tony's favourite: prosecutors will now be allowed to cite previous misconduct. Liberty warns 'this will result in convictions not because the defendant has committed an offence, but because he is the type of person who commits offences', or in other words the jury will be prejudiced against the defendant.

And coming soon will be the admission of hearsay evidence, something someone says they heard about the defendant - you know, like you heard that Arabic looking man who runs the corner shop was a terrorist. Be careful what you say down the pub!

And there's still loads more new crimes in the pipeline, with the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill also currently going through parliament. If you haven't already got a criminal record this could be your chance - riding a bike on the pavement for example will soon be a criminal offence.

The only measure with which we can find some approval is the clampdown on teenage yobs hanging around on street corners. Too many areas are being made no-go areas by teenage thugs. Try talking to people in North Camp, or the rough Pavilion estates in Aldershot, whose lives are being made a misery by teenage thugs running rampant in the streets.

Highly controversial, Blunkett plans on giving the police the power to remove under-16s from the street if they reckon a member of the public feels 'intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed' by them.


Farnborough Airport

We have experienced a steady increase in movements over the last couple of years. Although growth has slowed in recent months, we expect to reach at least 17,000 movements this year, up from around 5,000 last year. -- Len Rayment, TAG commercial director

If you can grow the number of flights by this amount over such a short period of time, then it is likely that the 28,000 movements could easily be exceeded. -- Geoff Marks, FARA

Robin Mckay, ex-manager of Fairoaks, is unfit to chair any airport consultation committee. The very fact that TAG and Rushmoor have the gall to try and impose Mckay on the local committee vividly illustrates the utter contempt they have for the local community and the process of consultation. -- Keith Parkins

TAG have tripled their movements in a year, at this rate of expansion they will soon exceed the total world aviation traffic. Er no, not quite.

Hysterics from FARA to one side, it is bloody obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that the quote in Flight International contains a typo. 5,000 should be 15,000. TAG exceeded 12,000 a few years ago. Or maybe TAG meant to say 'up by around 5,000 on last year'.

Not that we don't expect expansion. As any other business, with a major capital investment, TAG are in the business of expansion, and to be fair to TAG, they have never made any secret of the fact. Those who have repeatedly lied to the local community are our corrupt councillors and officials.

The story in the News was an excellent April the First spoof, only it wasn't April the First.

Anyone who was in any doubt as to the contempt Rushmoor and TAG have for the local committee and the process of consultation, should be left in no doubt by their attempts to impose Robin Mckay, ex-manager of Fairoaks, as an 'independent' chairman of the illegitimate Rushmoor airport consultation committee. Mckay now acts as a consultant to Fairoaks on planning matters, thus hardly independent. As manager of Fairoaks he vigorously opposed any local community representation on the committee. The situation was resolved through High Court action. The judge was scathing in his attack on Mckay. The case makes interesting reading, check out Richard Buxton's website.

The next meeting of the illegitimate Farnborough Airport Consultation Committee takes place at 2pm on 17 July 2003 at BAE Systems HQ alongside Farnborough Airport. Please make every effort to attend, and please spread the word. We want to see this meeting packed.

Don't forget Concert in the Park, the Phyllis Tuckwell fund-raising concert in George V Park, sponsored by TAG Aviation, BAE Systems and KPI. The hospice seem to have deliberately chosen the worst companies in Farnborough. Gates open 5pm, concert starts 7.45 pm, Saturday 5 July 2003. We want people outside leafleting the concert goers.

TAG Aviation furthers Farnborough ambitions, Flight International, 10-16 June 2003

Worry at rise in flights, Farnborough News, 20 June 2003

Groups question airport's choice of committee chair, Farnborough News, 27 June 2003


Farnborough town centre

Fancy living in a prison block with your own exercise yard? If yes, then you are in luck as that is what the computer generated image for the block of flats on the old Post Office site looks like. Only lacking are the control towers with armed guards and razor wire surrounding the site.

This entire block has been sold once, and is now being sold again. Someone is making a fast buck.

The glossy brochure for this eyesore, 'launch pad' flats, as they are called, whatever they may be, must be one of the most misleading sales brochures ever produced. No mention of Poppins applying for a change of use so you can experience the smells of their cooking wafting up from below.

Many misleading pictures. A street scene that bears no resemblance to Farnborough. A pond set in landscaped gardens. After much searching, we discovered this was King George V Playing Fields, nowhere near the development.

Plus points are Farnborough International Airport (sic) close by! No doubt living in your penthouse suite with stunning views of Wimpey, Pizza Hut and the backyard of ASDA, you need somewhere only a stone's throw away to park the executive jet.

The write up is equally misleading.....

As we go to press Staffords (camping and outdoor shop) are expected to close their doors for the last time, the adjacent shop (selling overpriced crap) is, contrary to the notice on their window, closing later in the year, the card shop is squatting and will be gone as soon as their stock has gone, the Indian shop on the corner has had enough, the shoe shop, which only sells what the other shops in their chain cannot sell (one up from a charity shop) is relocating to the old Post Office site. This only leaves the video shop, which has been considering closing ever since it opened.

It is not only the shops. The stall selling second hand books, has gone for good.

But according to our brain-dead councillors who parrot the KPI propaganda, the town centre development is welcomed by everyone and is a huge success!!

Our corrupt and incompetent planners have given the go-ahead for change of use to enable Poppins to open a fast food cafe on the old Post Office site. The fact that there is already an over concentration of such cafes at the southern end of the town centre was ignored. The head of environmental health was of the view that the smells from Poppins would not be a problem for local residents. Not the view of the residents who will have to suffer the odious smell of cooking fat, but when has their views counted on anything.


Pavilion

The problems with Pavilion, which one tenants group describes as 'a corrupt bunch of thugs', continues.

Tenants are still not getting their repairs done. Rushmoor had them before a committee, but our useless councillors gave them such an easy ride that Pavilion were able to say the councillors were pleased with them.

Alison Whiteley (Rushmoor Head of Housing) is still refusing to enforce repairs.

Why did the recent Rushmoor committee that 'grilled' Pavilion not invite Pavilion tenants to attend? Why are Pavilion refusing to meet with tenant action groups? Why do Pavilion ask tenants to sign and return forms to say they are satisfied with work carried out before the work has commenced? Why are Pavilion seeking details of tenants' ethnic origins when they try to get repairs carried out? Why are Pavilion refusing to give tenants complaints forms so that complaints may be lodged?

Contrast the piss-poor performance of Pavilion with the recent glowing account of their achievements in the News. An account described by tenants as a 'pack of lies'. According to Pavilion, repairs are carried out promptly, everyone is happy, and they are only too happy to meet with tenants who are having problems. [Farnborough News 27 June 2003]

This is not the experience of Pavilion tenants in Aldershot, Firgrove Court or Guildford.

The time is now long overdue for an in-depth investigation of Pavilion by their regulator, the Housing Corporation. As for Alison Whiteley, she should have been fired long ago.

Simon Coughlin, Housing boss builds hope for the future, Farnborough News, 27 June 2003

[BVEJ newsletters passim]


Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

Has Andrew Lloyd, nominally Rushmoor chief executive, got a new job? He visited disabled campaigner Peter Sandy at his home. Uninvited he wondered around the house. He then started to ask questions about the age and price of various household items. Is this TV new? Is the settee new? Whose is this new computer? Is Andrew Lloyd moonlighting as a bailiff, or in the market for second-hand goods?

The actual reason for the visit was to discuss problems with local yobs. This never got discussed, other than a brief mention as Lloyd was leaving the house.

The row over fares cuts to the elderly and disabled rumbles on. All councillors have been forced to admit that they knew about these cuts before the elections. [BVEJ newsletter #0037 June 2003]

Sleazy Charles Choudhary is under investigation for failing to declare an interest when matters affecting taxis were discussed. Choudhary is a taxi diver.

The piss-poor service offered by Rushmoor Environmental Health for out-of-hours noise monitoring has got worse. It was that you called an emergency number and got an environmental health official but they would not come out unless you had an official number. And how did you get a number? Officials had to observe there was a problem! Now, all you get is a security guard as the officials don't want to be face to face with the public. If you have a problem, maybe, an official will be in touch the next day, or Monday if the problem occurs over a weekend.


Snippets


Diary


News index | | July 2003 |
BVEJ News July 2003
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