Friday, November 28, 2008

Eco-Terror Rubbish Story Withdrawn

I blogged about a rubbish story by the Observer on so-called 'Eco Terror' and why it was complete rubbish and looks more like a strategy to soften the public up for mass arrests of environmentalists. Well, after much online pressure and research by bloggers, the Observer has withdrawn the story!

Environmentalist Keith Metcalf explained that Earth First! supported direct action against property, but not against people. He believed that the debate around sustainable population size had been twisted to imply that environmentalists wished to kill people.

He also repeated the belief of several others that Nectu [the police agency who was the source for the dodgy allegations of eco-terror] was briefing in this manner in order to make prosecutions easier and to boost its funding, which is at risk owing to the decline in animal rights campaigns. I can't verify that or the fears about mass murder because, despite repeated requests, Nectu won't respond. Accordingly, The Observer has decided to withdraw the story.

Hat-tip to Ian Bone's blog for this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Events Worth Checking Out...

Am away this Thursday, bummer as...


By Kurt Vonnegut Adapted and directed by Bill Scott. The future is an accident waiting to happen!

This will be the first UK theatre adaptation of the seminal 60's novel by Kurt Vonnegut [1922-2007]. A brilliant satire, full of bizarre but all-too-human characters, based on the ironic premise that modern science, while promising progress, is actually hastening the cataclysmic end of the world.

Cat's Cradle became an instant best-seller when it was published in 1963. After helping develop the atomic bomb, a fictional scientist (Felix Hoenikker) creates Ice Nine, a chemical that can turn water solid. Hoenikker keeps Ice Nine a closely guarded secret but, on his death, makes the big mistake of dividing the only existing sample between his three dysfunctional children. This sets in train a series of hilariously funny and improbable events, resulting in a rather low-key Armageddon!

Like Vonnegut, Miracle Theatre's adaptation of Cat's Cradle explores serious themes through laughter and is a perfect vehicle for Miracle's blend of physical theatre, comedy, film and music. Recommended age 12+.

Vonnegut is a great writer and this story of his rocks. Then next week:

Bristol Indymedia Film Night: Taking Liberties, Introduced by Bristol No2ID

Monday 1st December 2008 8pm @ Cube Cinema, Stokes Croft, Bristol. "...thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile docu-blast against Tony Blair's insidious diminution of native British liberties..Atkins captures pungent moments of low comedy." Guardian

Taking Liberties is BAFTA nominated director Chris Atkins's film that uncovers the stories the government don't want you to hear so ridiculous you will laugh, so ultimately terrifying you will want to take action. Teenage sisters detained for 36 hours for a peaceful protest; an RAF war veteran arrested for wearing an anti-Bush and Blair T-shirt; an innocent man shot in a police raid; and a man held under house arrest for two years, after being found innocent in court. Law-abiding citizens being punished for ordinary activities, after a decade of dangerous laws have demolished the rights which we fought for over centuries. The film will be introduced by by Dave Gould of the Bristol No2ID campaign. More...

Important issue and funny film - everyone's a winner! Then...

You Have No Rights: A Talk On ‘The Terrorisation Of Dissent’

Wed 3rd December 7:30pm @The Kebele Social Centre Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol

With exerts from the film ‘Terrorizing Dissent’
and a speaker from the campaign to support RNC
protest arrestee Dave Mahoney. More...

Nuff said!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ooops - BNP Membership Leaked

Bit of a (hahahahaha) fuckup for the racist bonehead BNP as their entire over 10,000 people membership list leaked online:

Yes indeed, somebody now knows every member in Bristol, the South West - and the UK! The leak included full names (and former names where there have been changes for any reason), addresses, contact numbers, email addresses and in many cases the member's age, particularly where those members are under eighteen. Yes, that's right. This list includes members as young as fourteen, male and female.

List list includes 22 former or serving coppers - something illegal for the serving coppers. The wing-nuts are going mentalist on of the their allied forums;

Jesus H Christ! Its true, I've just seen my details. Who in the BNP has done this?

Fuck me, the reds have the list now.

OMG have you seen what has been written by LUAF? What if they give the list to ANTIFA?.....

Will be interesting to see the fall out of this. Some postings on sites are already giving interesting information on occupation of members (cops, soldiers etc.) and numbers;

The list contains 12,215 names (not including family members under 18). By my reckoning of those in the Lancaster area, far more than half were lapsed members by 2007 and do not have a rejoining note attached to their details (ie. they’re still lapsed). There is no reason why the Lancaster area is any different from any other, so as of August 2008 we had only about 6000 paid up members! And this is not an old membership list, the latest entry is dared July 2008. When Griffin claimed (at the EGM) in August this year that the membership was approaching 10,000 he was lying, it’s that simple.


Monday, November 17, 2008

New Radio Show

Parasite has done a new site for TheGoatlab, which looks cool and myself and Dan Gusset have just posted a new radio show!

Update on 'Eco-Slur' Article

I posted an article Police Soften Up Public for Clampdown on Environmental Activists...

And looks like I was not the only one to smell a rat with the article;




And others wrote in to complain;

It was very disappointing to see the label 'eco-terrorist' used to slur environmental campaigners ('Police warn of growing threat from eco-terrorists', News, last week). Neither in Britain nor in the US have even the most radical environmental activists attacked people rather than property.

Your article is misinformed on a number of points. Rather than a single, centralised organisation, Earth First! is an identity adopted by various informal networks, with quite different histories in Britain and America. The story speaks of links between US and UK campaigners and the Earth Liberation Front, but our research showed that the ELF never took off in the UK. Research on environmental direct action taken in the name of Earth First! in the past 16 years shows that activists are overwhelmingly committed to nonviolence, and are not using terrorism, violence, or any other direct action to seek to reduce the Earth's human population.

When, in the late 1990s, some American politicians and media started to call activists 'eco-terrorists', it was the start of a concerted campaign which prepared the way for repressive policing and new laws curtailing fundamental civil liberties. Is the same thing about to happen here?

Indeed. Either shoddy journalism, or the start of a Green Scare here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Militarized Media

First the had the under-reported scandal of the Pentagon placing 'independent experts' into the media to push the Bu$h administration's case for war as 'message force multipliers';

Brig. Gen. David L. Grange doesn't wear a star on his shoulder much since his retirement in 1999. But he's on the list of retired officers the Pentagon has cultivated in an effort to influence domestic news coverage of military matters....In fact, Grange, a CNN analyst, was tagged as the most visible shill for the Pentagon since 2002....When Grange appeared again on CNN late last week, host Lou Dobbs made no mention of Grange's previous participation in the Pentagon program...But a Pentagon memo called them "message force multipliers." The Defense Department often paid their travel expenses and hired a private defense contractor to monitor everything the analysts said in public.

We know the military also have a liaison with Hollywood to 'promote' the military view;

To keep the Pentagon happy, some Hollywood producers have been known to turn villains into heroes, remove central characters, change politically sensitive settings, or add military rescues to movies that require none. There are no bad guys in the military. No fraternization between officers and enlisted troops. No drinking or drugs. No struggles against bigotry. The military and the president can’t look bad (though the State Department and Canada can). “The only thing Hollywood likes more than a good movie is a good deal,” David Robb explains, and that’s why the producers of films like “Top Gun,” “Stripes” and “The Great Santini” have altered their scripts to accommodate Pentagon requests. In exchange, they get inexpensive access to the military locations, vehicles, troops and gear they need to make their movies.

Now the CIA is doing the same thing to make sure in the movies, they look good;

But the past 12 years of semi-acknowledged collaboration were preceded by decades in which the CIA maintained a deep-rooted but invisible influence of Hollywood. How could it be otherwise? As the former CIA man Bob Baer - whose books on his time with the agency were the basis for Syriana - told us: "All these people that run studios - they go to Washington, they hang around with senators, they hang around with CIA directors, and everybody's on board."


Again, that's why we need democratic media....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some Election Comments

Obviously there has been an election and lots has been written. It was historic and I was impressed by Obama's speech on the night. Here's a few bits I found of interest to share with you. Here is an image of the voting pattern where the colours are the opposite to the parties here with blue being Democrat/left-of-centre and red being Republican/right-crazies;

Now the same data but adjusted to display population not geography:

Very interesting. Taken from Pharyngula.

Also: Obama's designated a--hole - article about the powerbroker who helped turn the fortunes of the Democratic party.

How Obama learned from past campaigns and used the net to great effect.

And the Republican's turning on each other. Such fun;

As the implosion of the defeated Republican campaign continued yesterday, the landscape of American conservatism was dotted with signs that these were very strange times indeed. Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain's aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press.
Police Soften Up Public for Clampdown on Environmental Activists

You can see the beginning stages of a campaign by police to soften the public up for a repression of environmental protesters as campaigns around global warming hot up. As it looks possible for the government to push forward/allowing a number of massive carbon-white elephants, from locals schemes like the Bristol Ring Road or Bristol Airport Expansion to national projects like Heathrow or more coal fired power stations. There is a long tradition of non-violent direct action in the country from opposition to slavery, for universal suffrage to stopping apartheid. However the power-that-be don't seem to want to see it this way. This article shows how the cops have been briefing the media;

Police have warned of the growing threat of eco-terrorism after revealing they are investigating a group which has supporters who believe that reducing the Earth's population by four-fifths will help to protect the planet....Officers from a specialist unit dedicated to tackling domestic terrorism are monitoring an eco-movement called Earth First! which has advocates who state that cutting the Earth's population by 80 per cent will ease pressure on other species. Officers are concerned a 'lone maverick' eco-extremist may attempt a terrorist attack aimed at killing large numbers of Britons.

rIIIGHT. A lone maverick would be just that - a lone maverick outside any group. This could and sadly does happen anyway with or without the ideology of environmentalism. Interesting how the article then links the lone maverick to various groups like Earth First! who use non-violent direct action. This is lazy journalism to take the cops story at face value, for there have been a couple of people wounded by a bomb related to Earth First!....but those wounded (Judi Bari & Darryl Cherney) were from the group itself and while initially the cops tried to frame them for the bomb that nearly killed the activists themselves. A court case subsequently decided that the cops never bothered trying to find out who really did it, but were intent on framing the environmentalists and gathing more data about the protest movement. The jury in the case awarded the pair $4.4 million total damages for the illegal police actions;

The jury unanimously found that six of the seven FBI and OPD [Oakland Police Department] defendants framed Judi and Darryl in an effort to crush Earth First! and chill participation in Redwood Summer [protests].

We have seen this type of media operation before; All the major summits have a pre-ceding media campaign where the police express their 'fears' of violent protesters. For example in Genoa the police even uncovered actual weapons! However it turned out they were planted by the cops. The police who battered protesters without provocation turned out to the the real purveyors of violence. Another good example comes from Donson et al's 2004 research;

This paper argues that we are currently witnessing the development of a new type of folk devil...The paper examines the way in which anti-capitalist activists are constructed as a new class of folk devil through the media portrayal of protests and the associated political and expert comment. In this process prominent politicians and senior police officers identify activists as 'violent', 'mindless thugs', views widely reproduced in print and broadcast media. The reasons for, and results of, this construction are varied but it is argued that primary amongst these is the ability to trivialise and dismiss activists through a rejection of their behaviour as simply destructive and dangerous. This then facilitates a silencing of these alternative voices in terms of both wider debates on the pros and cons of citizens rights to protest within neo-liberal capitalist democracy and wider contested issues of social and economic justice.

The Observer article is a big 'un - almost 1000 words to drive the message home. Compare this with less than 100 words written about the arrest of a man accused of carrying a Waffen SS UK Members Handbook and two improvised explosive devices last week. The Observer article have this classic statement;

Reports on the Earth First! Journal website, which tells users how to send encrypted emails, reveals connections to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) which has been linked to a series of violent attacks in the US. ELF was classified as the top domestic terrorism threat in the US by the FBI in March 2001.

I would contest the use of the term 'violence' - and there are a couple of good debates about this issue on Bristol Indymedia (1,2)- no people were hurt by Earth First! only property. So that would be the March 2001, 6 months before radical Islamic terrorists crashed planes into the twin towers and killed thousands and the FBI failed to stop them? Oh the irony: perhaps they were too busy looking in the wrong place?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Straw Dogs

I read the excellent Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia by John Gray. It takes a savage swipe at a number of core political (and religious) beliefs from Non-conservatism to Bliar's Liberal Humanism (and also anarchism and communism, more food for thoughts.) Anyway, following that I took on Straw Dogs next;

Over the past 200 years, philosophy has shaken off Christian faith. It has not given up Christianity's cardinal error – the belief that humans are radically different from all other animals.

I is also good reading and challenges lots of core assumptions. Reading a letter in the paper;

Moral outrage costs nothing and it changes nothing.

Anyway - both books are worth reading - and that quote from the letter makes me think of lots of debates I have seen happen...