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I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1816
We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end .... but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will attempt to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1864
This a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations and for corporations. -- Rutherford Hayes, 1876
There can be no effective control of corporations whilst their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short or easy task, but it can be done. -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
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.
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It is amazing that Syria is called a ‘terrorist sponsoring state’ and threatened with military action with one hand, while invited to shop for arms on British soil on the other. Both hands must be covered in blood. The invite could mean American arms companies are displaying weapons to the Syrian military which could then be used against them. -- Martin Hogbin, CAAT
Following controversy about the UK Government licensing a £28 million military air traffic control system to Tanzania which it neither needs nor can afford, it is astounding and disturbing that Tanzania – one of the very poorest countries in the world - has been invited to buy yet more arms in London. -- Martin Hogbin, CAAT
We believe Spearhead's involvement in the promotion of armed conflict is a crime against peace. The arms trade fuels war and terrorism. We could feed the world 14 times over on the amount spent on weapons. This arms fair is a hideous market place of weapons of mass destruction and we're not prepared to stay at home and ignore the trade in death that's going on right under our noses.. -- Sally Mander , DSEi protester
Syria is accused of being a terrorist state, placed on the Axis of Evil by George W Bush, and yet, receives an invite by the British Government to attend an arms fair in London Docklands.
DSEi is organised by a private company, PGI Spearhead Ltd. This is their secret invite list:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China (PRC), Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Uraguay, USA, Venezuela.
It is not too difficult to find countries like China or Turkey which have questionable human rights or countries in conflict zones or countries which are simply just too poor.
Israel is embarked on illegal incursions into Palestinian land, using aircraft and small arms bought from the US and other western nations.
Angola has a huge problem with black market small arms, and a history of civil conflict. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost in fighting over the past quarter century. More will die if we pump more arms into the country.
Less than a year ago, India and Pakistan were teetering on the brink of nuclear war with each other. Even today, they are at each other’s throats accusing each other of sponsoring terrorism. Inviting both of them to the arms fair illustrates how the Blair government is really more interested in flogging British weapons than making real progress towards peace.
The brutal regime in Saudi Arabia has been accused, even in recent weeks, of sanctioning torture and human rights abuse, even against British citizens. The Saudi royal family has also been accused of helping to fund Al Quaeda. Their invite to the London arms bazaar shows neo-Labour’s true-colours on human rights and arms exports: however brutal or corrupt, you are welcome to buy weapons in London.
South Africa needs to spend money on the development of civil industry, water supplies, education, housing and health. With no identifiable threat, what South Africa doesn’t need is yet more expensive weaponry. If the UK was really interested in helping heal the scar of apartheid, we would not be inviting its leaders to spend yet more money on weapons. South Africa has also recently been accused of corruption in a $4bn arms deal with some of the companies exhibiting at DSEi.
Turkey has an appalling record of human rights abuses, especially against Kurds in the south-east of the country, using British weaponry. Inviting Turkey to this arms fair not only provides them with the equipment to continue their brutal regime, but illustrates our Government is once again turning a blind eye to human rights abuse.
At the first DSEi in 1999 the Pakistan Ordnance Factory and a Romanian arms firm were both prepared to supply land mines, banned under international law, to undercover journalists. The exhibition has dealers from organisations including BAe who sold hawk jets to the Indonesian government who then used them to commit genocide in East Timor, and Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (dstl) which includes Porton Down - manufacturers and researchers of Chemical and Biological Weapons.
At the last DSEi in September 2001 arms dealers from countries well known for abuses of human rights like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Algeria, Turkey, Colombia, China and Nigeria were invited, and many have been invited again.
Spearhead’s list of invited countries to the arms fair is drawn up in consultation with the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. However, the MoD have confirmed they have absolutely no powers to decide who the private company invites. But, UK government is contributing £1.5 million of taxpayer’s money to this arms fair. A further £1 million is expected to go on policing the event
A taster of things to come, a week before DSEi opened its gates to arms buyers, these site was blocked and the police responded with violence to clear the site. A few days before that, protesters occupied the offices of PGI Spearhead Ltd, the organisers of DSEi.
With international attention focused on Iraq, countries which already have a dubious human rights record have seen this as a window of opportunity to crack down harder under the cover of war. -- Neil Durkin, Amnesty International
It cannot be right that the only way to fight dictators abroad is by dismantling democratic freedoms at home. -- Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty
We’re non-violent protesters and we believe we have a right to protest. But what we’re seeing at the moment is the wholesale destruction of democracy. -- Dave Cockcroft, Gloucestershire Weapons Inspector
Rather belatedly, there has been much discussion on WMDs, were we right to go to war with Iraq, but what has been overlooked, is what was happening back home.
At the height of the war, people descended on Fairford. The reason why, was this was where the US B-52 bombers were based. There was little mainstream coverage of these demos (video clips on the CDs reviewed BVEJ newsletter August 2003), even less, the suspension of human rights and abuse of anti-terrorism legislation in what amounted to an undeclared, unofficial exclusion zone centred on the base.
The whole of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire were put on high alert and the police were given powers for 28 days under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop and search anyone – without even needing to make up an excuse to do so.
Anti-terrorism laws were used to prevent legitimate protest. Between 1 March and 30 April 2003, 61 people were arrested at Fairford - 27 were subsequently charged with public order (but not terrorist) offences. At its most extreme, an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl (her father is now seeking legal redress) and a coach load of demonstrators were ‘kidnapped’ by police (also the subject of a legal action).
And how much did the whole thing cost? Gloucestershire police dished out £3.26 million and the MoD police £3.79 million – to stop protesters trying to prevent planes from flying out of the airbase and bombing the people of Iraq.
And how many terrorists were arrested during this sordid episode? None!
Liberty, together with Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors and Berkshire CIA, has published a detailed report focusing on the policing of the anti-war demonstrations around USAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. The damning report details fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights in the extensive use of anti-terrorism laws to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protest and to harass them (by mid-April the campaign group Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors alone had recorded 89 stop and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 carried out against just 26 people!), as well as the excessive use of various other public order legislation. At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl (her father is now seeking legal redress) and 3 coach loads of demonstrators were 'kidnapped' by police (see Fairford Coach Action).
The report looks at the policing of recent peace demonstrations at RAF Fairford, RAF Welford, and other military bases during the recent invasion of Iraq. It raises very serious concerns about restrictions on the right to lawful protest and, in particular, the use of anti-terrorist powers in circumstances where no terrorist threat was present.
The report documents evidence of:
The report concludes that policing at military bases during the invasion of Iraq breached a number of human rights specified in the European Convention on Human Rights. A number of recommendations for safeguarding human rights are proposed and it is recommended that the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs investigates the policing of demonstrations at military bases during the invasion of Iraq. The report also urges Lord Carlile QC, the independent reviewer of Britain’s terrorist legislation, to consider the evidence and recommendations in the report.
Fairford raises serious questions about the suspension of the Human Rights Act and the abuse of counter-terrorist legislation on the right to protest, but also on the efficacy of such powers. As a consequence of the use of anti-terrorist powers, not a single member of Al-Qaeda or any similar terror network has been apprehended.
Any judicial inquiry into the war on Iraq, should be widened to look at the abuses that took place back home. In particular, was this an abuse of the use of anti-terrorism legislation, or, if not, the legislation itself should be the subject of inquiry.
Note: A Judicial Inquiry has been granted into the kidnapping of the three coach loads of protesters. Granting permission for their judicial review case to proceed, Mr Justice Richards commented that the issues it raised were "substantial" and "of importance" to merit a full High Court hearing. In the judicial review case the demonstrators argue that the police's actions breached Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom from arbitrary detention, along with Articles 10 and 11, the rights to freedom of speech and assembly, and Article 8 which requires respect for physical and psychological integrity. A full hearing should take place later this year.
Runway Terror, SchNEWS, Issue 396, Friday March 2003
Liberty Slams Use of Anti Terrorism Act to Suppress Peace Protests - Did the Home Secretary Lie to Parliament?, Indymedia UK, 17 July 2003
Casualty of War: 8 weeks of counter-terrorism in rural England, Liberty, Gloucester Weapons Inspectors & Berkshire CIA, July 2003
Judicial Review Granted in RAF Fairford Coach Case, Indymedia UK, 20 August 2003
The Swedes said NO!
In only two countries have the people been given a choice on joining the euro - Sweden and Denmark. In both countries the people said no.
In both countries, the political establishment, all main political parties, the media, the trade unions, were in favour of joining the euro. In both countries the people said no.
When will Liar Blair give the people of Britain the chance to say NO?
When will Liar Blair give the people of Britain the chance to say no to the Europian Constitution?
The WTO talks in Cancun collapsed in disarray.
For once the Third World countries stood up to be counted and said no.
The WTO lacks any credibility and must be abolished.
While the collapse of the WTO negotiations in Cancún is certainly a victory for those struggling against the violence of free trade, it is in no way final. US trade representative Robert Zoellick threatened that if the US did not get what it wanted at the WTO, it would concentrate on bilateral and regional agreements like the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Demonstrators from all over the Americas are gearing up for the FTAA mobilization in Miami.
Two wind turbines are to be installed at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which will generate more than enough power for the whole campus, with the surplus being sold back to the National Grid. This is part of a broader project, Cred (The Community Carbon Reduction Project), set up at UEA to reach the government’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, but in half the time.
The UEA is running courses and meetings open to the whole community offering support and advice about DIY low impact energy - such as how to make solar cells that you strap to your roof to provide hot water.
Nidderdale High School and Community College in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire is the third and largest school in the UK to install its own wind turbine. The turbine generates enough clean, sustainable energy to provide 15-20% of the school’s needs - as well as dropping the fuel bill.
A turbine at Cassop Primary School in County Durham has been in operation since 1999 and provides twice the school’s electricity, with surplus going back to the Grid, and the school is also setting up an environment centre. Furthermore, Catchgate School in County Durham powers itself completely with its own turbine.
If a few schools can do it - what about the rest of us! These projects show that climate change can be tackled in a grass-roots, community way, and that these systems need to become commonplace.
Rising Tide have just launched a CD ROM manual on how to turn your home into a low energy ecohouse. It contains a virtual tour of their own low energy showhouse, articles, briefings on all aspects of eco-design. The CD costs £12.50 (cheques payable to the Climate Outreach and Information Network) from 16 B Cherwell St., Oxford OX4 4BL.
At th end of August, Daniel Blackburn became the first person to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats fuelled by veggie oil. [BVEJ newsletter #0040 September 2003]
With the forced departure of Spin Ali, and good riddance to the nasty piece of shit, Liar Blair is to set up the Ministry of Truth.
It gets more like George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four with every passing day.
The problem we have in Farnborough is retailers who cannot see further than the end of their tills. Unless they start getting their act together and taking an interest in the town in which they trade, they will no longer have a till to see beyond. -- Keith Parkins
As we reported last month (BVEJ newsletter #0040 September 2003), town centre destroyers KPI have been running a smear campaign against opponents of their crap plans for the town and trying to get them banned from the town centre.
One example is Derek Asker, who has been fighting hard for the people of Firgrove Court, whose homes are earmarked for demolition to make way for a car park for a superstore. He walked into Triangle, Christian cafe/bookshop at the southern end of Kingsmead, to alert them to the stopping order which will close several of the roads in the town centre. He engaged in conversation with Paul Taylor, but got nowhere.
Shortly after leaving Triangle, Derek was stopped by the obnoxious little squirt who goes by the title of centre manager, asked to leave, told he was 'harassing shopkeepers' and that the police would be called! He was told it was for the retailers to find out for themselves about the stopping up orders and road closures, not to be told by the public.
Paul Taylor is a trustee of Triangle, KPI are his landlords. Paul Taylor is also a Rushmoor councillor and member of the planning committee. At the 11 November 2002 planning meeting, Paul Taylor declared a personal interest but failed to leave the room. He then voted in favor of the resolution 'minded to grant planning permission', for KPI's application to demolish the northern end of Queensmead and build a superstore.
Paul Taylor was not the only one with a vested interest, who last November, voted for the KPI application. Another was Sue Dibble. Dibble sits on the board of Pavilion. Pavilion are trying to evict all their tenants so they can sell the site to Pavilion. Dibble voted for the application, she did not declare an interest.
It is not only councillors who have undeclared vested interests. Gary Little is manager of Princess Mead. For reasons unknown, he is hand-in-glove with Simon Rutter of KPI. When Princess Mead retailers raised their concerns with him re stopping up order, he claimed there was not a problem! Maybe Standard Life, who own Princess Mead, ought to take a closer look at what their man is up to.
The town centre redevelopment was granted 'outline planning consent' in July. The consent was granted at a private behind closed door session of Keith Holland (Rushmoor head of planning) and the planning committee chairman. These two clowns did not formally notify the planning committee until it met on 1 October 2003. Those who are affected by this planning decision have yet to be notified.
As we went to press last month, the Farnborough Mail, in its crass front page article claimed the town centre was a huge success. Far from being the hackette's own work, it was a regurgitation of a press release from KPI. In it, it was claimed The Mead was open for business and that JJB Sports had opened in The Mead. It also claimed new stores had moved into town. The following Friday, the Farnborough News claimed JJB Sports was opening in The Mead that weekend. Bar the O2 mobile phone shop, The Mead is occupied by companies that have been forced to relocate from other parts of the town. The following week, JJB Sports was not open and showed no sign of opening in the near future.
The following week the Surrey-Hants Star claimed The Mead was open. It was still not open.
The Mead has been let for next to nothing, and still there are empty units. The alternative was the embarrassment of the units remaining empty. The retailers who have moved in, had little choice. The mobile phone shop had a lease that was running out, was located in a dead end of Kingsmead and was, and probably still is, one of the worst performing in their group. The travel shop had little choice to move as their unit is earmarked for demolition.
The view of KPI of the shops at the southern end of town is that they are rubbish. They are seeking to relocate Iceland to the northern end of town, but Sainsbury's would be none too keen, were they ever to relocate to a superstore at the northern end.
KPI have their eyes on the empty space at the back of Iceland. They want to kick out Iceland and Pizza Hut, demolish the unit. They also have their eyes on the Library. They plan to acquire the Library, then demolish it. They would then have a large area of ground to create more havoc for the town.
Mealy-mouthed denails, but what was even more interesting, the denials were made in a joint press statement by KPI and the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Behind the scenes, paranoi, who leaked the acquisition of the library to the press?
GOSE are demonstrating the same degree of obstruction as is the norm for Rushmoor. Not satisfied with placing a misleading official Notice in the street, which did little to inform people of the intentions on stopping up the highway (which no doubt was their intent), they then failed to supply requested documents to members of the public who followed up the Notice
GOSE also refused to supply a copy of the application made by KPI. They were eventually forced to hand it over, but it was only seen a couple of days before the deadline, leaving little time for anyone to object, which no doubt was their intention.
It is easy to see why GOSE were keen that no-one saw the application. It is riddled within errors. KPI claim to have planning consent. At the time they made the application they did not have planning consent, and even now only have outline planning consent. KPI claimed to have consent of all those who have an interest in the land. They do not. The retailers, who are leaseholders, knew nothing of the plans until informed by the public. For some, it would be a clear breach of their lease.
It is an offense to supply false information, so we can only hope KPI are prosecuted. But don't hold your breath.
According to KPI, they intend to start demolition January 2004. This is news to the retailers, especially those who have leases extending some years into the future.
One retailer did not learn of the stopping up order until the evening of the deadline when he happened to see the official Notice as he went home. He had not seen it previously, as the Notice was obstructed by the foul-smelling donut van.
There are probably still many retailers who know nothing of the stopping order. The first they will know, is when the roads get stopped up.
KPI have never had the decency to let their own retailers know of the stopping up order, and yet in applying for consent, claim to have obtained consent of all those with an interest in the land.
As soon as the deadline for comments on the stopping up order had expired, all the notices posted around the town vanished. It would not do for too many people to be aware of what was going on.
KPI are only too happy to stitch up their own retailers. The unit outside Sainsbury's has been empty for some time. One retailer spent four months in negotiation with KPI for this unit. Then walking round to Sainsbury's one day he found someone else moving in.
Yet more retailers are moving out. Going Places is going places and will no longer be in Farnborough. As we go to press, the computer shop will also have gone. The hardware shop next to the computer shop is also expected to go. It is independent shops like these last two that bring people into Farnborough, not yet more mobile phone shops. And yet our dim-wiied councillors still support KPI and claim it is what everyone wants.
KPI have lied to the council and said Debenhams are expanding. Their plans even show a store extension. Debenhams are only waiting for their lease to expire, before they too leave town.
Pavilion are giving shorthold tenants at Firgrove Court Notice to Quit. They have the option of moving to Totland or going into bed and breakfast. There is absolutely no reason or need for them to move, apart from the fact that Pavilion want to be rid of all their Firgrove tenants so they can sell Firgrove Court to KPI so it can be demolished to make way for a car park.
The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is now considering serving compulsory purchase orders on Firgrove Court, if the residents don't see it is in their best interests to 'voluntarily', move.
Stop press: Rushmoor have prepared a secret report in collusion with KPI, to serve Compulsory Purchase Orders on anyone in the town centre who gets in KPI's way. This is to be discussed at the next Rushmoor Cabinet meeting (14 October 2003).
Stop press: The shoe shop at the northern end of Queensmead is poised to join the retail exodus from Farnborough.
Stop press: Based on a misleading report by planning official Keith Holland, the planning committee have been led to believe no planning infrigements are taking place by KPI and thus no enforcement action is needed.
Samantha Chapman, Mead is open for business, Farnborough Mail, 26 August 2003
Cliff Mogg, Shopping centre opens, Surrey-Hants Star, 4 September 2003
Keith Parkins, Farnborough didn't need KPI scheme, letters Farnborough News, 5 September 2003
Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 8 September 2003
Simon Coughlin, Town's library to be shelved?, Farnborough Mail, 16 September 2003
Confusion shelved?, Farnborough News, 19 September 2003
Samatha Chapman, Library to stay open, Farnborough News, 23 September 2003
Queensgate, Farnborough town centre's premier shoebox apartments
If you're into property speculation, these are just the flats for you. Take your cue from Delph who bought the whole lot as a job lot and hope to make a killing selling them on to you.
An application has been made for 1,132 dwellings on the former Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Church Crookham on the edge of Fleet. Squatly little boxes with squatly little gardens.
The size of the development will completely overwhelm Fleet, which has already been described by Caroline Lucas MEP on a recent visit as being developed to death. [BVEJ newsletter #0039 August 2003]
The provisional PSZ for Farnborough Airport just happens to end at the road where the proposed development begins. A PSZ, yet to be drawn, has to cover the movements in 15 years time. TAG claim they have no intention of exceeding their planning limit of 28,000 movements, though they have admitted they will be taking heavier aircraft. Anyone who believes TAG will stick to their planning limit is living in cloud cuckoo land. TAG's admission of heavier aircraft, will by affecting the weight mix, cause the PSZ to extend into the site.
Volunteers have leafleted the area, it is now for you to object. We need to exceed the 1200 objections that Farnborough Airport generated. Lobby Hart councillors hard. Make it clear that if they do not reject this planning application, they need not bother to seek re-election. Let's see if Hart planners are as corrupt and incompetent as Rushmoor.
The efforts of people in Fleet put to shame FARA, who have done absolutely nothing to alert people or raise the political profile of Farnborough Airport.
Anti-homes feeling grows, Fleet News, 29 August 2003
Stop Press: As we were going to press, TAG were made to look a bunch of jerks at a public meeting called in Fleet.
[BVEJ newsletters passim]
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