No 63, October 2004
Snakes alive! Cissbury's ancient guardians
NATURE-HATING Worthing Borough Council is still out to spoil the Downs at Worthing by running a motorway across or through them - all in the interests of Big Business profits.
New Tory Worthing Borough Council leader Keith Mercer said (Worthing Herald, July 27): "We want a bypass. It is what we believe is necessary. It is holding up a lot of development in Worthing. Top-notch businesses are reluctant to come here because they know what the transport difficulties are. I think we need a tunnel under Cissbury Ring, coming out at North Lancing."
But the tunnel-heads had better watch out. A reader stumbled across a fascinating passage in Jacqueline Simpson’s Folklore of Sussex (Tempus, 2002), telling of what they might have to face. "It was said that a blocked-up tunnel ran underground from Offington Hall to Cissbury Ring and that at the far end of the tunnel there lay a treasure.
"The owner of the Hall 'had offered half the money to anyone who would clear out the subterranean passage and several persons had begun digging, but all had been driven back by large snakes springing at them with open mouths and angry hisses'."
With underground protesters and badgers already preparing for action (see past issues), the guardian snakes make the line-up against the bulldozers a formidable prospect indeed!
Police protect profiteers
SUSSEX Police's top cop is right behind latest moves to clamp down on dissent to protect fat cats' profits.
Chief constable Ken Jones, who is also chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee, said in a rather sinister recent press release: "The role of the police is to uphold and defend our right to peaceful protest, alongside the right for people to be secure in their homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces. But (you just knew that word was coming, didn’t you?) there will be zero tolerance for the cowardly extremists who commit serious criminal acts by terrorising families in their own homes and workplaces.
"These dangerous and sinister people have chosen illegal direct action over lawful protest and we are cracking down hard on them and on those who incite and facilitate them. They are committed and determined (what, as well as cowardly?). So are we. The not inconsiderable power of the police, CPS, other national law enforcement agencies and industry (another key word here, we feel!) are being brought to bear on the problem."
He was on this occasion referring to animal rights protesters, but don’t be fooled into thinking that's where the attitude ends. Witness the formation in March 2004 by ACPO and the Home Office of a National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) aimed at 'dealing' with "single-issue extremism of any character". So that's anti-war protesters, anti-road building groups, anti-phone mast campaigners, trade unions... And what is an 'extremist'? We think you'll find that's anyone who thinks there is more to standing up for your rights and your community than voting for yet more useless politicians or writing polite letters to your local MP's wastepaper basket.
The motivation behind this new 'anti-extremist' move is exposed in a Home Office press release, dated July 30 2004, which boasts that NETCU is 'acting as a liaison point for industry'. It's that word 'industry' again! It crops up once more in Pharmaceutical Marketing magazine, which reports: "The UK government's moves to crack down on animal rights extremists have been broadly welcomed by the industry." Who'd have thought it, eh? It reports that the extra security to cope with protests is apparently costing the drugs industry an additional £30-70m a year.
This news particularly shocked Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive of Worthing's own GlaxoSmithKline. Mr Garnier, you may recall, was in the news last year when GSK shareholders threw out the business's remuneration report because of the risk of him grabbing a whopping £22 million personal payoff.
According to The Guardian, fat cat Mr Garnier is fifth in the league table of corporate big earners, with a total pay package worth £5,884,260. Still, he clearly felt he had the moral highground when he described animal welfare activists as 'despicable cowards' for eating into his employers' profit margins.
Meanwhile, it seems the police in Sussex and elsewhere will continue to fulfil their historical role of protecting the rich and greedy from the rest of us. It's called democracy, apparently.
"SUSSEX Police Authority wants to ensure that anyone stopped by a police officer in Sussex knows their rights," declares its latest Policing Sussex newspaper. In that case they should be handing out free copies of the 2004 edition of "No Comment - the defendant's guide to arrest" produced by former members of the Anarchist Black Cross (copies free with SAE to No Comment, c/o BM Automatic, London WC1N 3XX). After all, their colleagues in the Met Police have already paid for this very handy booklet - thanks to a damages award for false arrest and breach of human rights!
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ARSONISTS torched two police cars in West Sussex in August, with one of the blazes also catching onto Pulborough police station (Worthing Herald, August 12). Chief Inspector Alan Chambers said: "This will not interfere with our policing of the local area", presumably because they don't usually bother turning out anyway...
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HAD hassle from the police? Seen cops behaving badly around Worthing? Now you can post your experiences up on the web, thanks to the new Worthing-based website copwatch. Contact this volunteer public service group via email
Tetra: the cover-up continues
PHYSICALLY wrecking police Tetra masts looks like being the only way people in Worthing and beyond can stop this dangerous menace to their health.
We have learnt that the mast at the Woodside Road home of Worthing Football Club has been 'vandalised' twice in recent months. Commented a local resident: "In the absence of the signal, the adverse health symptoms disappeared. Similarly, when the power or signal was wound right up in April, everything got worse. We truly have got a system whereby if the police should choose to turn it up, they will increase the suffering, and if they turn it down, people will feel better. This is a frightening capacity, and it is absolutely real, and it is with us now."
In the meantime campaigners have become increasingly weary of party political involvement in the issue - which has predictably achieved absolutely zilch.
One told The Porkbolter: "The concerns around the Woodside Road mast have been subject to much politicking over the six months since the original protests. The issue became an unseemly tool of the local Conservative election mandate, and is even now a subject for how much better the Tories would do if only they could climb back into power.
"We have therefore been through the farce of considering alternative sites. Seven were offered by the borough council as if the issues of risk to health did not exist. Each was rejected over a protracted period of pseudo-consultation, which was not so much as sniffed at in the original siting of this mast. The mast was never going to be the subject of reconsideration, but the pretence divided local opposition at key times."
He said that every effort to draw the attention of the authorities to the Tetra crisis had fallen on deaf ears.
"The National Radiological Protection Board (now part of the Health Protection Agency), the Department of Health, the Health and Safety Executive, the Surrey Sussex Health Protection Unit, the Director of Public Health, the Home Office, the Office of the Deputy PM (in charge of planning) - not one wants to know, and the official line is that all our evidence is anecdotal, worthless, probably entirely psychosomatic, and certainly not worth any attention."
He said this was not unique to Worthing and all the Tetra health research attached to the Government had been awarded to the likes of ex-Porton Down researchers or psychology departments "probably to prove that it’s all psychologically induced" Gathering under the TETRAWATCH banner, campaigners have been circulating a "health and effects" survey to Worthing residents to map the area. "Depending how successful we are in gathering responses, we may call a further public meeting. And we are agreed to keep politics out of people’s health and well-being."
Added the campaigner: "So from beginning to end, democracy and human rights are dead in Worthing. And all over the UK for that matter. Those who can afford to move house, and are prepared to sell to the unsuspecting or unconcerned, will do so. Those who cannot, will remain in the firing line of pulsed microwaves from all these masts, and without doubt the consequences for some are likely to be very serious indeed.
"National investigations, that the proper authorities will not do, are being pieced together and clusters of cancers and motor neurone disease are in many places. Even if these indications (and we) are wrong in the end, the current data is so serious that proper independent national investigation is imperative.
"But don’t ask the government, because they have such vested interests, from the harm caused by military microwave use over decades, through the stupidity of lack of planning control, to the money-backed lobbying of the industry. Unfortunately, it is all connected, and if one domino falls the rest will follow, and the consequences for them are impossible to countenance.
"But Worthing will not just roll over. The campaign goes on, working with groups like ours at a national level. For much more information, dig around for hours at www.tetrawatch.net."
Graffiti mystery - POW WOT?
COPS quickly jumped into action in the wake of a graffiti attack in Worthing in August - and to completely the wrong conclusion.
The Worthing Herald reported (August 12): "The Town Hall and Worthing Magistrates Court were targeted and the letters P.O.W.W.O.W were written across them. Worthing police sergeant Mel Doyle said: ‘We are investigating the reasons behind the graffiti and whether it is related to anything going on at the town hall and magistrates' court'."
But two days previously, on August 10, Sgt Doyle’s colleague PC Davis CD162 of NPT South, C section at Worthing Police Station, had already contacted Protect Our Woodlands, the residents' campaign against the proposed destruction of Titnore Woods, citing the graffiti.
He said: "The words sprayed were ‘POW WOW’ believed to be connected to your protest campaign. I am aware that there are a number of meetings about the matter of the proposed development at Titnore Woods programmed for the coming months. I am keen to avoid any reoccurrence/escalation of this type of damage. Consequently, I would appreciate it if someone could phone me at Worthing police station on 0845 6070999 X81703, or e-mail me by return to discuss this matter."
An outraged POW (with not a WOW in sight) was not only able to deny all knowledge of the graffiti, but also point out that the only people likely to damage anything on the Titnore issue are the greedy property developers with their bulldozers.
We didn't say he was...
YOU can't please 'em all and it seems our article on the Dome cinema in the last issue of The Porkbolter did not go down well with Alan R Brown. We received emails from both him and his representatives at Bennett Griffin, solicitors and notaries, expressing displeasure at our report and mentioning something about legal action. They did not identify any factual inaccuracies, however, but were merely keen that readers did not reach erroneous and fanciful conclusions from the information we relayed.
So, for the record, we did not and are not suggesting that Mr Brown, a solicitor, is himself an international property speculator or developer. Neither did we claim he is financially linked with any of the property development firms which have been linked to his business on the internet. The Porkbolter prides itself on truthful and accurate reporting and in no way would we wish to slur Mr Brown’s good name and character and his independence as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court...
Meanwhile, a day or two after we finished our last issue, the details of the Dome’s accounts and trustees miraculously appeared as updated on the Charities Commission website. Mind you, only three trustees are listed - Belle Stennett, Colin Bradshaw and Alan R Brown, that well known Solicitor of the Supreme Court and man of good character. As a journalist on a local South Coast paper commented to us: "I assume this has something to do with your investigation... The timing nevertheless seems curious." Indeed.
CASTLE Goring, on the edge of Titnore Woods and owned by the same people - the popular and caring Somerset family - is now on the register of 'at risk' listed buildings. The English Heritage website notes that the Grade I mansion, built by Shelley's grandfather, Sir Bysshe Shelley, about 1797-8, is in "very bad condition". It adds: "The condition is very grave, and enforcement action for repairs must now be considered."
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BONFIRE night is a local tradition that has been much neglected in Worthing. Following the enjoyable burning of a George W Bush effigy last year, a group of locals are determined to do something a bit bigger this time with a view to a regular night on the calendar. The date this year will be Saturday November 6. Get in touch via us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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A NEW group has been formed to combat the very real threat of toxic waste being deliberately added to our drinking water. Contact Sussex Against Fluoridation via http://geocities.com/keepwatersafe or phone 01226 360909.
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THE excellent SchNEWS weekly newsletter in Brighton is launching its tenth anniversary book, SchNEWS at Ten, at a free Direct Action Conference in London on the afternoon of October 16. The conference will be held during the European Social Forum, which is expected to bring 30,000 people to London. Then that evening there will be a birthday party in London. More details will be posted at www.schnews.org.uk/at10
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PORKY Pie’s video of the month: From Caliban to the Taliban - 500 Years of Humanitarian Intervention (the excellent Rob Newman live in Brighton). Details: www.robnewman.com Our website of the month: www.re-wild.com ("We've been bred in cages to expect nothing but slavery").
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SICK of all the bad stuff going on and want to do something about it? The place to go in Worthing is the room upstairs at The Downview opposite West Worthing on the first Tuesday of the month. Next one is Tuesday October 5, 7.45pm. In Brighton, head for The Cowley Club at 12 London Road, particularly on Monday October 11, from 7pm, when there is a Rebel Alliance session - a good introduction to the direct action protest scene.
Don't stop being afraid!
WITH various protesters scrambling all over the outside of Buckingham Palace, up Big Ben and inside the House of Commons, some members of the public are beginning to question the reality of the Terrorist Threat as presented by The Proper Authorities. If there were really terrorists out there, they ask, wouldn't The Queen, Tony Blair and the whole of his Government have now been assassinated several times over? Such thinking is plainly mistaken, insisted the Minister for Fear yesterday. He added: "I have witnessed for myself the work of MI5, MI6 and other special operations forces and as a result I can assure you all that there are most certainly ruthless terrorists in our very midst."
Up for lending a hand?
THANKS to all those who answered our call for more help in distributing Porkbolters around town. If there is anyone else out there willing to lend a hand in any way, please get in touch. The Porkbolter is an independent newsletter produced by volunteers with no interest whatsoever in maintaining the profit levels of vast greedy multinationals - a rare thing in the British media, even at a local level. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of £3 (or more - we’re always skint!) payable to The Porkbolter at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. You can go on the email list for free via
Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no snakes up our back passage.
and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!