UK Newswire Archive
04-05-2011 14:06On November 30th 1999 thousands of anti-capitalist/globalisation activists gathered in Seattle, USA to protest against and successfully shut down a meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A large part of their grievance was that the WTO was effectively operating in secret with no reporting of the decisions it was making and the effect those decisions were having across the world. So by way of a solution a group of activists set up the Independent Media Centre or "Indymedia" for short. The idea was create a network of un-moderated, open publishing websites so people from all over the world could share news about the decisions being made in the name of globalisation and the actions that were being taken to protest against them. The Independent Media Centre was probably one of the most successful ideas to come out of the Seattle protests and there are now 180 Indymedia sites across the world in places as diverse as Japan, Israel, Kenya and Burma making Indymedia the blueprint for the sort of "Citizen Journalism" that's become so fashionable recently.
04-05-2011 11:21This is an independent proposal for a networked and autonomous series of groups who just organise events locally and publicise them in one place (possibly Ian Bones blog).
There has been another successful series of events surrounding May day, the traditional workers' holiday. The day has also been used by anti-capitalist protesters to come together and try to stop the violent form of capitalism in which we live . In the North of England it was more relaxed this year, with marches in Newcastle , Leeds  on Saturday and Manchester  on Sunday and a festival in Bradford  on the Sunday.
04-05-2011 10:18Disability activists, claimant groups and anti-cuts campaigners have called a week of action against poverty pimps Atos Origin beginning on Monday 9th May with a picnic and party in Triton Square*, home of their head office, at 2pm.
Both announced and unannounced protests are set to take place around the UK outside the offices and testing centres operated by Atos Origin.
04-05-2011 09:28Gustav Landauer and Early German Anarchism
Booktalk by Gabriel Kuhn
7pm 4th May 2011
The Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton
Brighton’s collectively run libertarian social centre
04-05-2011 09:20last night we torched three big vans inside the " secured" compound of the probation office in saint pauls - just off stokes croft, bristol. we recognise the probation service as a soft-cog of the workings of the state. keeping tabs and tags on you, trying to make you calm down, when all within your vision and grasp reeks of the shit they would have us swallow. they don't crack your skull or wear a padded uniform but they sure as hell sell you out as a living breathing human being, these robots of the courts should be treated with contempt at every chance.
04-05-2011 03:01Osama Bin Laden died a long time ago but for various reasons he had to be re-killed in virtual reality. Here's why ...
04-05-2011 01:34Having just watched the video of Charlie Veitch's arrest, which you can see here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UscFYYCKOxg - and equally sad and disturbing 'soho square arrest', which you can see here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj4yn1RBxHs - I cannot contain my anger or frustration and so NEED to say the following stuff:
Meanwhile, three more people will appear in Bristol Magistrates Court this morning, including one charged with "Attempted Murder". It is notable that many of those charged with serious offences have been of 'minors' - i.e. those under the age of 17. It seems the young and naive will bear the brunt of the polices' judicial revenge.
Classix says: "After a prolonged battle in the courts, Classics Freeshop and the Emporium Art Gallery of 35-37 Stokes Croft face eviction anytime from Thursday 5th May.
Notts Uncut lost their page sometime in the early hours of Friday. One of the groups posted on the page at around midnight, but it was gone when they looked again at around 10am. Apparently they received no notification of the closure, only realising what had happened as news filtered through of other affected groups.
Notts Uncut were told that the profile had been deleted "as it was a breach of facebook's terms and conditions due to being set up in a false name and that facebook profiles were for individuals not groups or organisations." As Jon Worth explains, there are 3 ways to interact on Facebook:
1. With a profile – intended for real people, with a name
2. With a group – a small to medium size group of people discussing something
3. With a page – ‘Like’ something to get news updates from it
The accounts deleted in this instance appear to all have been profiles, that is organisations masquerading as individuals.
Notts Uncut are happy to concede this point, "It was technically in breach of the terms and conditions. However the profile had been in use for months (as had the other 50 ish profiles which were removed) without any issues being raised. It seems that there are many, many facebook profiles which are named for organisations, or in false names, but only the profiles for anti-cuts activist groups were removed."
Open Rights Group (ORG) note that "these deletions do not appear to have happened elsewhere in Europe or the USA." This in association with the fact that it took place on the day of the royal wedding, following an orchestrated campaign of media hysteria about "disruption" to the event and raids on squats across the country the previous day, makes the suspicion that the deletions took place under police pressure unavoidable.
It is worth noting here that none of these groups had activities planned for the royal wedding. As one Notts Uncut activist noted, "most of us have been so busy recently we were looking forward to a well earned rest and were planning to take full advantage of the free day off work."
In practice, the deletions appear to have caused only minimal disruption, although a Notts Uncut activist complained that their "free day off was mostly spent trying to retrieve all of the contacts that had been on the deleted profile and replacing the event information for our next action, which had been lost when the profile was deleted."
In fact, Notts Uncut, have now got the profile back. One activist from the group explained: "Facebook e-mailed me on friday evening to ask if I wanted the profile converted to a group - I said yes, to ensure we got all our contacts back, just logged on and there it is in its familiar old form!" As ORG comment this development (reflected in the experience of a number of other groups) is welcome, but "advance warnings would be more appropriate."
Notts Uncut had a new page up within hours of the deletion and with their old profile now restored, they intend to "continue to use facebook in the short term as it is a great way of reaching large networks of people, however in the longer term we will be considering different methods of communication." They already use a number of other services including Twitter and the UK Uncut and False Economy websites, but value Facebook for its interactivity.
This story underlines that while many activist groups may find Facebook useful for organising they cannot and should not rely on it. In Egypt, the social network was widely used by participants in the revolution there, but Facebook refused to compromise on their position that profiles be registered in the name of real people. The page "We Are All Khaled Said" was set up by Google exec Wael Ghonim to memorialise a businessman killed in police custody and became a focus of the burdgeoning pro-democracy movement. However, Facebook removed the page because its administrator was using a pseudonym to avoid detection. This hardly seems unreasonable given the realities of live in Egypt at the time.
The dangers of being exposed as a dissident in the UK are nowhere near as severe as they were in Egypt under Mubarak, but nevertheless, activists should think carefully about using corporate social networks. Facebook and Twitter et al may be useful, but they are capitalist corporations, ultimately part of the system we should be challenging. Instead we should look to activist alternatives like Indymedia, Be The Media, Crabgrass and many others. These do not yet have the reach of Facebook, but it is up to us to build them.
Dr Rod Thornton was suspended this afternoon by Nottingham University for exposing how the university caused the arrest of two innocent men as suspected terrorists. The new whistle-blowing report from Dr Thornton – ‘How a student’s use of a library book became a “major Islamist plot”’ – exposed how senior University management reported the men and undertook a subsequent campaign to discredit them for being in possession of three publicly available documents, all available from the university’s own library.
A letter written by Vice-Chancellor David Greenaway, was hand-delivered to Dr Thornton and ordered him to vacate his office. The Vice-Chancellor wrote: “the decision has been taken to suspend you until further notice … [because of a] … breakdown in working relationships with your colleagues caused by your recent article prepared for the British International Studies Association Conference” (BISA). Dr Thornton, said: “I am very saddened by the university’s behaviour”.
Rizwaan Sabir, one of the men originally arrested, said: “Yet again, we have more evidence of censorship and silencing of dissent at Nottingham University. I call on the government to launch a full public inquiry into Nottingham University before more people’s lives are ruined”. Students at the university wishing to remain anonymous stated: “We are extremely concerned by Dr. Thornton's suspension. We call for the immediate reinstatement of Dr Thornton and a full investigation into the claims his research is making”.
The website of the British International Studies Association  has removed a whistle-blowing article written by Dr Rod Thornton , a former soldier turned academic who served in a counter-terrorism role in Northern Ireland. Dr Thornton’s article – ‘How a student’s use of a library book became a “major Islamist plot”’ - exposes how senior management at the University of Nottingham caused two men of ethnic minority background – Rizwaan Sabir, an MA student and Hicham Yezza, a member of staff - to be arrested and detained for six days under the Terrorism Act 2000 . The removal of his article has allegedly come as a result of pressure on the website’s editors by the University of Nottingham, ahead of its general release to the public and media today.
The article details how the university reported the two men to police for being in possession of three publicly available documents, all of which were available from the university’s own library and, various academic and governmental websites . Dr Thornton exposes how, in the aftermath of the men’s release, the university’s management conducted a behind-the-scenes campaign of disinformation and spin against them and their university supporters, disregarding university statutes and governmental guidance. All of this in an effort to shift blame and silence those who challenged the university’s account - i.e. that the research material was illegal and the arrests were justified.
What’s more, Dr. Thornton’s article uncovers how Nottingham University's misinformation has seeped into policy circles. The arrest of the 'Nottingham Two' is now advertised as a 'major Islamist plot' by the Home Office . Similarly, another government department calls the library books in question ‘extremist material’ . His revelations arrive immediately after a cross-party parliamentary group published a report criticising universities for being hotbeds of radicalisation. Dr. Thornton’s account, however, exposes how a university’s unaccountable actions aggravate this problem.
Dr Thornton, a former counter-insurgency advisor to the British and US militaries said: “The paper is a detailed document that is carefully sourced. It tells of a very worrying incident which has serious repercussions for campus relations and for the ability of academics to fully to understand difficult issues such as terrorism. I am saddened by the removal of my paper from the BISA website. I cannot see that there is any reason for its removal other than the fact that the university is trying to prevent its secrets being publicly known, though I would hope that this was not the case.”
Now a PhD student in Glasgow, Rizwaan Sabir said: “Dr Thornton’s article proves that university management singled me out for differential treatment, despite my innocence. It is apparent that they and certain staff attempted to undermine my future at the university, perhaps because I would have been a constant reminder of their anti-terror cock up! The findings of this research, along with Nottingham’s attempts to censor it, are damning. Such cavalier behaviour should not be tolerated in British academia. I call on the government to launch an independent public inquiry into the conduct of the university.”
 The article entitled “Radicalisation at universities or radicalisation by universities?: How a student’s use of a library book became a “major Islamist plot” by Rod Thornton was presented at the British International Studies Association (BISA) conference in Manchester on 28 April 2011. The article was removed from the BISA website on 30 April, ahead of its general release to the public and media. While the article was originally available on the website for download prior to the launch of the conference, the BISA website (www.bisa.ac.uk) marks the paper as “Unavailable”. Dr Thornton did not authorise its removal.
 Dr Rod Thornton, a lecturer within the School of Politics at the University of Nottingham, is a specialist in terrorism, counterinsurgency and modern warfare. Before taking up an academic post, he was a Sergeant in the British army for nine years, serving in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. He has provided expert evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and has produced works for the Ministry of Defence, the US Department of Defence and NATO. He is the author of Asymmetric Warfare: Threat and Response in the 21st Century and other publications concerning issues surrounding terrorism and insurgencies.
 For an account of how the document came to the attention of the Registrar and the arrests, please see: http://www.scribd.com/doc/54451596/Background-to-arrests-of-the-Nottingham-Two-in-Operation-Minerva-at-the-University-of-Nottingham-on-14-May-2008
 The three documents judged to be ‘illegal’ by two members of the University of Nottingham - the Registrar and a Professor of Romance Literature - are all available from the University of Nottingham’s library. They were as follows:
a) P. Gordon, “The end of Bush‟s revolution”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 85, No. 4 (2006), pp. 75-86 (Foreign Affairs is a US based, world-renowned, political journal).
b) Q. Witorowicz and J. Katner, “Killing in the name of Islam: al Qaeda‟s justification for September 11‟, Middle East Policy Council Journal, 2003, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 76-92
c) “Al-Qaeda Training Manual”, US Government Exhibit 1677-T (declassified), Federation of American Scientists (http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/aqmanual.pdf).
The same document is also available in book format from Amazon and from the University of Nottingham’s library, albeit, the document is not being actively advertised on the library catalogue (see footnote 18 of Dr. Thornton’s article). The document is also available from a number of academic and non-academic websites, including the US Department of Justice website (http://www.justice.gov/ag/manualpart1_1.pdf), albeit, now in a reduced form. Rohan Gunaratna, one of the world’s foremost experts on the study of al-Qaeda and global terrorism wrote to Rizwaan Sabir and said that the al-Qaeda Training Manual was “required reading” for anyone studying al-Qaeda.
 The document which refers to the arrest of the ‘Nottingham Two’ as a ‘major Islamist plot’ was disseminated by the Home Office in April 2010 via a Freedom of Information request that asked for information on terror plots in the UK from 2006-2008. The report was authored by the Heritage Foundation in Oct 2009 http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2009/pdf/bg2329.pdf
 Undated document released under the Freedom of Information Act from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) entitled :‘Lines to take [to the media] on recent Nottingham arrests’. See footnote 90 and 313 of Dr. Thornton’s article.
On Friday April 29th - royal wedding day - Facebook deleted around 50 profiles belonging to political groups, most of them involved in anti-cuts activity. Among the groups affected was Notts Uncut. I interviewed one of the group to find out exactly what happened.
1. When was your Facebook page deleted?
Our facebook profile was deleted in the early hours of the 29th April. It was still there when I posted something on it at around midnight and had gone by the time I checked it at about 10am on the Friday morning.
2. How did you find out?
I found out it had been deleted when I tried to check the event page for our next action. Initially I wasn't sure what had happened but after a couple of hours starting seeing reports of other activist profiles which had also been deleted.
3. What reason did Facebook give for the deletion?
We were told that the profile had been deleted as it was a breach of facebook's terms and conditions due to being set up in a false name and that facebook profiles were for individuals not groups or organisations. Fair enough, that's true. It was technically in breach of the terms and conditions. However the profile had been in use for months (as had the other 50 ish profiles which were removed) without any issues being raised. It seems that there are many, many facebook profiles which are named for organisations, or in false names, but only the profiles for anti-cuts activist groups were removed.
4. Did you have any activities planned around the royal wedding?
We didn't have any activities planned for the royal wedding. In fact most of us have been so busy recently we were looking forward to a well earned rest and were planning to take full advantage of the free day off work. Unfortunately my free day off was mostly spent trying to retrieve all of the contacts that had been on the deleted profile and replacing the event information for our next action, which had been lost when the profile was deleted.
5. Did you have links with any of the other groups deleted?
We had links with other uncut groups both in Britain and internationally and also with some of the student groups.
6. Has this had an impact on your organising?
Yes. Our website and the UK Uncut website both linked to the facebook event page which had been deleted. As we have an event in the next week it has been really important to get all that information back out there.
7. Are you planning to continue using Facebook?
We will continue to use facebook in the short term as it is a great way of reaching large networks of people, however in the longer term we will be considering different methods of communication. We already communicate via Twitter and have our own website as well as putting details of actions on the UK Uncut website and False Economy so facebook is not our only means of communication. It is however the most interactive at the moment.
8. Do you have a message for Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO)?
Mark Zuckerberg. You may hide behind "terms and conditions" but if you really thought that the actions of facebook in deleting these profiles wouldn't be immediately transparent to the activist community you really are quite deluded.
9 What's coming up for Notts Uncut?
Notts Uncut's next action is on Saturday 7th May. We are going on a field trip to visit well known tax avoiders in a nearby location. We are meeting at Nottingham Railway Station at 10. Train fares should be between £5-£10.
May 1st has been marked as a celebration on international working class movements for over a century. Nottingham held a march and rally, starting at Victoria Park in Sneinton on April 30th. Elsewhere in the East Midlands, Derby held its annual commemoration of the Silk Mill lockout on April 30th and Chesterfield held a Mayday march and rally on Monday May 2nd.
It was noted that turnout on both Nottingham and Chesterfield events was disappointing, a situation apparently reflected in London. This is perhaps surprising given the events around the anti-cuts movement over the last few months and Tory plans to abolish the Mayday bank holiday in favour of a nationalist celebration later in the year. This may have been connected to the royal wedding which took place on April 29th, or perhaps the two long weekends which offered the opportunity for an extended holiday.
A selection of photos from the BAE Systems AGM
London CAAT were outside BAE System's AGM while others went inside to ask awkward questions to the BAE board
03-05-2011 22:36On Sunday 1st May, a mayday march of 150 people made its way from Victoria Park to Southsea Common to protest against the cuts.