Anarchist Newsletter of South-East Wales • Against Power & Profit • Anti-Copyright
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GAGGED! #11 March 2006
Anarchist Newsletter of South-East Wales • Against Power & Profit • Anti-Copyright
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe online. If anyone wants copies contact email@example.com & we'll work somthing out.
the .pdf looks cooler, print it out and show it to yer mates!
Books & Bombs - How BAe are bringing annihilation to education
BAe Systems is Europe's biggest arms company & it’s growing all the time. Glascoed near Usk is home to a former Royal Ordnance factory taken over by BAe Systems in 1987. The main activity of the 400 employees at ‘Land Systems Munitions & Ordnance Glascoed’ is the filling, packing, & supplying of finished munitions including tank shells, mortar shells, small arms ammunition, missile & torpedo warheads, (including Hellfire missiles), depth charges & warheads.
Other sites produce parts of weapons which are then shipped to Glascoed to be filled with explosives & fuses. The company supplies an estimated £100m of ammunition to the Ministry of Defence each year through their exclusive ammunition contract the vast majority of which would pass through Glascoed. Though BAe gets more income from the US Defence Department than from the British MoD, BAe also boasts that it supplies munitions & small arms to more than 50 other countries although it is reluctant to say which ones.
Last November BAe opened up a new education centre for Primary school children at the Glascoed site which will, according to Managing Director Steve Rowbotham be "a unique learning experience to bring the subject of World War 2 to life".
The hypocrisy is obvious - a producer of weapons of mass destruction that maim & kill thousands of men, women & children throughout the world for profit inviting children to their death factory to show them a war exhibition!
We are informed that learning about war means that the children can try on gas masks & "learn about about what life was like" . We doubt if they will be shown the carnage, slaughter & the real effects of war, about how armament companies profit from war by selling weapons to anyone who wants them regardless of the consequences. Nor told that BAe Systems build & supply armaments like cluster bombs & in the past, depleted uranium shells (widely believed to be the cause of ‘Gulf War Syndrome’) Making a fat profit from humans being killed & ripped apart in the most horrific ways.
We wonder if Career Wales, Newport City Council & Don Touhig MP (minister for defence & veterans) who fully support the educational centre, could get together with BAe Systems to open up a similar facility in Iraq to teach the children the benefits of being the victims of war?
Or maybe, part of the "war experience" for the children of the 250 schools in the catchment area of this facility would be to take them on a school trip to Iraq? To see how children their age get to feel BAe’s engineering up close.
No doubt, Steve Rowbotham & Don Touhig could explain how a career as an engineer at BAe systems making weapons of mass destruction will "pull out all the stops to challenge outdated perceptions of engineering being all grim & grimy"!
Companies like BAe are very keen to put money into education, it is here they find the next wave of people to build & innovate new & more efficient ways of committing murder. Through its Education Programme of school visits, special child friendly website & new educational facilities, BAe is targeting school children, some as young as 9 with its “Schools Challenge” which asks schools to get children to design ‘vehicles of the future’. Perhaps the "Schools challenge design an emergency vehicle project”, will come up with an ambulance that has the capability to hoover up childrens’ body parts? But hey, why let the bloody gore of war get in the way of the militarisation of our young childrens’ minds!
Locally, Victoria Primary & Penygarn Junior in Pontypool, Rogiet Primary in Monmouthshire, St. Illtyds Primary in Rumney & Ty Sign Primary in Caerphilly have all invited BAe specialists into their schools to try to convince children that making & selling weapons to kill people is acceptable.
Why not contact BAe Glascoed yourself:
Land Systems Munitions & Ordnance Glascoed, Usk, Gwent, NP15 1XL. Tel: 01291 672211 Fax: 01291 674109
As well as reaching out to children locally, BAe train some of the world’s deadliest killers just down the road from Glascoed in Cwmbran. Since January 2000 1600 student from 40 countries have been taught at ‘BAe Systems Cwmbran Training College’ (formerly Dundridge College). BAe’s premier training facility uses simulators & interactive technology to show professional murderers how to use BAe’s products to kill better. BAe boast that all their instructors in subjects like Electronic Warfare, Air Defence & Battlefield Management, have had recent operational experience.
Why not apply for a course yourself!
BAe Systems Cwmbran Training College, Beacon House, William Brown Close, Llantarnam Park, Cwmbran, NP44 3AB
Tel: 01633 835123 Fax: 01633 835033
An International Campaign against Coca-Cola was launched in 2003 after the Colombian Food & Drink Workers Union, Sinal Trainal, called for a boycott of Coke products. Between 1989 & 2002 eight union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia were murdered after protesting against the company’s employment practices. In India Coca-Cola destroys local agriculture by stealing water & resources from villages & selling industrial waste to farmers as fertiliser, despite containing hazardous lead & cadmium. Wells ran dry whilst Coca-Cola flowed out of factories. Coke continues to resist an independent investigation into these allegations in Columbia, whilst in India the local Government succeeded in shutting them down. Last November Coca-Cola were sued by 14 of their transport workers in Istanbul, Turkey, who alleged that Coke brought in the notoriously brutal ‘special branch’ police (Cevik Kuvvet) to disperse families of workers who were sacked by Coke after joining a trade union. Nearly 1,000 riot police seriously injured children, their mothers & workers with tear gas & beatings.
On 15th February Cardiff University Students’ Union voted to support the Coke boycott, joining 15 other NUS affiliated institutions. In order to remove Coke from sale the National Union of Students Services Ltd has to end its exclusive contract. NUSSL is the buying consortium that negotiates a contract with suppliers for all UK affiliated Students’ Unions. At the NUS conference on 28th March, a successful motion to boycott Coca-Cola by member institutions would kick Coke out of all UK NUS campuses, used by 5 million students, hopefully having a huge impact on Coke’s UK sales. As yet no other student union in Wales has joined the campaign, students are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.uksoc.revolt.org. If you fancy contacting Coke yourself, you’ll be pleased to learn that ‘Coca Cola Enterprises in Wales & the West’ is based at: Unit D Cardiff Gate Business Park, Malthouse Avenue, Cardiff. Telephone: 029 20 545 200, Fax: 029 20 545 220. We’re sure they would appreciate your comments
Paying no War Tax
Approximately 10% of all our combined taxes are spent on the military. Most of us have no control over how our tax is taken from us, as its collected via the likes of income tax & VAT. Marie Walsh of Blackwood has withheld the 10% of the tax on her self employed earnings since January 2003.
Soon Marie will be summoned to court, despite any defence she offers she will lose & be ordered to pay. If she doesn’t the Inland Revenue will send in the bailiffs. If she refuses them entry & continues refusing to pay, they could make her bankrupt & give her a jail sentence. Currently they are more likely to use a garnishee order to take the money from her bank though she may still go to prison.
This is a form of direct action that very few who have the ability also have the courage to do. Eventually they will get Marie’s money & more with fines, interest, court costs & bailiff fees being added the longer she resists. But some feel they can no longer tolerate the violence of the state. As Marie says: “I have a conscientious objection to war. I would be prepared to go to prison.”
Marie is not alone: www.peacetaxseven.com
Not Needed, Not wanted & Not very cheap....
Despite the media spin of a “warm Welsh welcome” the Queen coming to open the new Assembly building in Cardiff Bay on March 1st was met with 200-plus anti-monarchist protesters to let the Queen know she wasn’t at all welcome. A heavy police presence, including the Metropolitan Police Forward Intelligence Team, kept a close eye on protesters, who far outnumbered Royalist supporters, if you don’t include the school kids that were bussed in, told to wave a flag & cheer on queenie. An anarchist presence made the point that both the Royals & Government representatives are not needed & not wanted, neither being capable of representing us. The Royal Family cost £37million to the taxpayer in 2004. That figure excludes security costs, which must be alot judging by the number of coppers, snipers & undercover goons in attendance.
Though the crown still has some special status such as being only bound by laws that implicate them expressly as well as having all rights to sturgeon, certain swans, & whales, not to mention being legally able to pressgang men into the navy(!). ‘Royal Prerogatives’ with real power like decisions on armed conflict & deployment of armed forces without parliamentary approval (by-passing the so-called ‘democratic’ parliamentary process) are invested in the Prime Minister & Cabinet.
The queen & her immediate family of eight, receive £9,900,000 from government funds through the civil list, pay a peppercorn tax & have for their use the same amount of land as 11 million average UK subjects (hardly surprising in a country where 70% of the land is owned by 1% of the population). Land they have inherited from generations of theft off working people.
The new £67 million Senedd building itself which the queen was opening is a symbol of subjugation for the people of Wales having very little to do with ‘democracy’. The stupidity of voting AM's into power is obvious when we realise by doing so we reduce ourselves to mere spectators in the political process.
Anarchists advocate & work for direct democracy as opposed to so called representative (Parliamentary) democracy. Direct democracy is based on delegation not representation. With direct democracy, delegates are elected temporarily to implement specific decisions previously made by an assembly of people in the community. Delegates (unlike career party politicians) can be immediately recalled & dismissed from their mandate if they do not carry out the specific function allotted to them.
How can you have democracy when the questions of who owns & controls the means of production & distribution does not come into the equation? There is no democracy in the workplace!
In direct democracy the system of exploitation through wage-slavery could be abolished with production controlled & redefined by federated communities on the basis of need not greed in total empathy with the environment. Without the need for the likes of queens, senedds or armies of cops!
Every Little Hurts
Tesco now has a 30% share of the grocery market, this centralisation of produce leads to fewer local farmers & shops, meaning both customers & goods travelling further. Meaning more pollution from cars, as people drive to shop & more pollution from aircraft & lorries, as Tesco move millions of tonnes of produce around the world. Despite introducing degradable plastic bags, grocery packaging still makes up roughly a quarter of household waste. The supermarkets' hunt for cheap food has encouraged intensive agriculture with devastating effects on the global environment. Tesco says it works with suppliers to keep pesticide residues in fruit & vegetables to a minimum. Yet Government data shows that the company has made no overall reduction in the level of pesticide residues in its food since 1998. Tesco is contributing to deforestation through rainforest clearance in Indonesia & Malaysia to plant palm oil plantations. Palm oil is a cheap vegetable oil found in more than 1,000 products that the store sells Palm oil plantations are linked to hundreds of cases of social conflict & human rights abuses. There are over eighty Tesco developments currently in progress across the british isles. One of these is on mature woodland just over the border in Shepton Mallet.
The protest started when activists staged a tree top protest against the new superstore building. The protest was taken to the high court in London & evicted a week later. A fence was erected around the site covered in anti-climb paint. Tesco were in such a rush to hide their destruction, they forgot to put a perimeter around a group of Scots pine trees, these were promptly re-occupied. The site has amazing defences against the eviction, including tree houses, walk ways between trees & lock ons. Work has been stopped on several occasions. For anyone wanting to go support the protest Shepton Mallet is on the A361 between Glastonbury & Frome. Nearest train stations are Castle Cary or Frome. The camp is behind the Cenotaph (at the top of the High Street) at the south end of Townsend Road.
Site Mobile: 07749 110689.
Check out www.tescopoly.org
Life In Iraq
Though the Welsh Human Shields have returned home now they are still in contact with many friends in Iraq. Here’s a brief glimpse of how Iraqi’s are feeling & coping with the worsening situation. Prices have gone up - gas bottles for cooking have gone from 750 to 12,000 dinar. Petrol from 20 to 50 dinar a litre. Fruit, vegetables & all other essential items have risen in price. Hours of electric are few & water, when on, is always dirty.
Mohammed, 24 lives in Abu Gharib district near the prison. A former Students' Union leader (set up after the fall of Saddam), he has suffered under the Ba'athists & the Allawi regime. He said he had not bothered to vote - he did not see the point. He has recently started working as a taxi driver, his work brings him into contact with everyone & being a taxi driver he chats to them all. Mohammed told us that even though things are terrible in Iraq right now, people are still holding onto several basic beliefs/opinions:
• They do not want a civil war, they only want peace & security.
• There is no difference or problem between Sunni or Shia, before the occupation there was no divide, this divide is being created by the occupying powers - it was never mentioned before.
• The Americans are responsible for the bombings of civilian areas in order to cause chaos, disruption & civil war.
• They want the occupation to end - the troops to leave now & give them back their country.
When he drives his taxi, he is not particularly worried. He gets on with it - bombs & bullets are common - people are used to it, with an average 90 attacks daily you have to be. His father goes out with both Sunni & Shia neighbours patrolling the area. Iraqi's don't trust the badly trained, corrupt police.
Last we heard from Mohammad he was selling his taxi - there was no point taxi driving. There’s no petrol, the only near petrol station had been blown up & there's no passengers anyway. The belief that the Americans are behind the bombings could be well founded, the US administration cannot work with the new Iraqi government. You can read a more detailed report on www.indycymru.org.uk
• Bullying the disabled
Keiron Sheppard 11 of Ton Pentre, Rhondda, suffers with cerebral palsy - a brain condition that affects his ability to walk, as such he uses a mobility scooter to get around. On his way to the local chippie he was stopped by Police demanding to know why he was riding a motorised buggy, he informed them of his disability & they demanded he prove it.
Keiron said: "They wouldn't believe I was entitled to use the scooter & told me to get up & walk to prove I'm disabled. I find it hard to walk more than a few steps - it was horrible to have to show the policemen that I am disabled. I am extremely annoyed & want an apology from the police for treating me like a criminal."
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said "To make up for it we would like to take him out for a drive so he can talk to officers & be reassured that we are not horrible people."
Either the cops were getting their kicks giving abuse to a disabled child or being massively stupid. Either way they are clearly too stupid to understand what the word apology means.
• Ignoring Bike theft
Whilst literally hundreds of police, (some armed) swarmed over Cardiff Bay to watch protesters heckle the queen on March 1st, they failed to notice actual crime occurring under their noses. A bike locked onto a railing yards from the new assembly building was stolen during the royal visit. When police stood right next to the railing were asked about the incident, the response was 'Er... I dunno...'.
• Mistaking guitars for guns
On 9th March a busker on Cardiff’s St Mary Street had four rifles pointed at him by cops claiming to be after someone with a handgun.
David Mattan explained that “All I was doing was playing my guitar, The bags I carry with me were searched & then I was handcuffed & pressed up against a door, yet I had done nothing wrong. The officers involved didn't apologise to me - they got straight in their cars & drove off. I am very angry & plan to make a complaint.”
Chief Inspector Jay Dave said “I will personally explain to him why officers had to act swiftly”
Once again for South Wales Police sorry seems to be the hardest word.
• Knowing your rights
Despite the fact that if simply stopped by Police you don’t have to give your name & address any more than you have to answer any other question that doesn’t stop cops from trying it on. Now the the Home Office is attempting the same scam in their publication "Life in the United Kingdom - a journey to citizenship".
Knowing the law: i. If you are stopped by the police, you should give the officer your name & address, but, strictly speaking, you need not answer any further questions, though most law-abiding people wish to do so".
If you were arrested for not giving your name & address it would be an unlawful arrest which could give rise to compensation of £500 for the 1st hour & up to £3000 for a 24 hour period.
CAN beat Cops
A CAN activist was acquitted of assaulting a police officer at Stratford Magistrates Court this month. The activist had been arrested at protests against the Defence Systems Exhibition International arms fair in London in September. She had been pushed by police, & then lost her balance. As she grabbed hold of the police officers arm for support, to stop herself falling on other people behind her, she was arrested for assault.
To add to the drama, the activist had been unhappy with the way her solicitor had represented her in court, so half way through the prosecution case she sacked her lawyer & then represented herself, cross examining both defence & prosecution witnesses.
“It was daft that I was arrested for assault, when if anything it was the police who assaulted me. But it’s par for the course for the police to invent reasons to lock people up. What I didn’t expect was having to argue with my lawyer about it in court. I was lucky that I had the experience to represent myself, & I had a lot of support from friends. But for most people the criminal justice system (or rather the criminal injustice system) is no better than a lottery.”
Over 1,200 people were arrested protesting against the World Trade Organisation in Hong Kong on December 18th. Two remain in custody M. PARK IN HWAN & M. YOON IL KWON from the Korean Peasants League. If convicted, they face a HK$5,000 fine & 5 years in prison. On Saturday March 4th as part of an international week of action to support anti-WTO prisoners CAN held a solidarity demo outside the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation on Queen Street. There was a positive response from most people, leaflets were handed out & the manager called the police (who didn’t bother turning up). While two face charges in Hong Kong, millions of people worldwide are prisoners of WTO policies.
Contact the Chinese Embassy. 49-51 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JL.
Why not spend your summer holidays in Russia?
Russia is the new president of the G8. This years G8 summit will be in St. Petersburg on 15th to 17th July. Russian activists have called for protests all around the world during G8 summit & an international protest in St. Petersburg - attention of the whole world will be directed on the G8, & we must show they will be met with protest everywhere they go! check out: g8-2006.plentyfact.net
No borders, No nations!
On 25th February No Borders held an event for asylum seekers & their supporters led by Women Against Rape & All African Women’s Group. Based on the recently produced ‘A self-help guide against detention & deportation’. We listened to the stories of people who have & have not been able to claim asylum in the UK, how the system worked against women especially when rape is given as a reason for seeking asylum & the dehumanisation that the immigration laws inflict when people find out that their cases have been disbelieved. No Borders Network South Wales is a contact point for people who wish to support those in detention either by writing letters, making phone calls, visiting, sending reading materials & clothes & more.
Mon 20th - South Wales coalition Against the G8 meeting (preparations for G8 2006 in Russia & UK) upstairs in Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street, Cardiff. email@example.com
Weds 22nd - PAD meeting - upstairs in Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street, Cardiff 7.30pm (weekly)
Thurs 23rd Protest Against Aerolink Wales - National Cricket Centre, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. International aerospace industry event. 2 speakers from BAe Systems.
Fri 24th - Spanner, Drunk Granny & Cosmo (PAD beneFIt gig) - Old Howardian, Clifton Street, Cardiff 9pm £3
Mon 27th - Gwent Anarchists meeting - The Murenger, High Street, Newport 8.30pm. (fortnightly)
Weds 29th - Animal Rights Meeting Quaker’s Meeting House, Charles Street, Cardiff. 7pm. + PAD meeting
Thurs 30th - No Borders South Wales meeting - Cathays Community Centre, Cathays Terrace Cardiff 7.30pm (fortnightly)
Mon 3rd - CAN Meeting - upstairs in Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street, Cardiff 8pm (fortnightly)
Weds 5th - PAD meeting
Sat 8th No Borders International Day of Action - Harmondsworth Detention Centre (near London), called by No Borders London, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon 10th - Gwent Anarchists meeting
Weds 12th - PAD meeting
Gagged! can be found at: CARDIFF: Spillers Records, Hayes Island. Europa Cafe Bar, Castle Street. AJs Cafe, City Road. Ozone Cafe, Charles Street CHEPSTOW: Tattoos, Beaufort Square. CWMBRAN: Metalbodies, Inshops. NEWPORT:The Murenger, High Street. Le Pub, Caxton Place. Rockaway Records, Indoor Market. Meze Bar, Market Street. O.S.S.S, Market Arcade. TJs, Clarence Place. & all sorts of other strange places.
CAN & GA are both very simular, contact your local group or set one up!
Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) is a collective who pursue political demonstrations through direct action. There are no members or leaders, just like-minded individuals who act as a whole. Email: email@example.com Web: riseup.net/cardiffanarchists
Gwent Anarchists are like-minded individuals believing in autonomy, respect & justice; against all forms of exploitation & bigotry. Aiming to increase the knowledge of & create a resistance to governments & big business abusing people & the earth. Post: PO Box 70, Newport NP20 5XX Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
No Borders Network South Wales is for organisation around migration issues & a forum to break down the boundaries; racial, cultural, gender, sexual, class & political that divide us. Email: email@example.com
Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) aims to create physical space in Cardiff for groups & individuals who cannot or will not work within the constraints of governmental or corporate control. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 07910973876 Web: www.thepad.org.uk
Queer Mutiny Cardiff creating an alternative to the commercial gay scene. Opposing gender & sexual binarism, collapsing boundaries & challenging hierarchies. Web: www.cardiffqueermutiny.co.uk
Now, in a Minute! are an anti-profit vegan organic kitchen collective. For herbs, spices & revolution! Food not bombs! Email: email@example.com
South Wales Hunt Sabs saving animals’ lives now, actively sabotaging bloodsports. Post: PO Box 1894, Newport NP19 4WZ