9 Jan 1998 From: email@example.com (Dave Morris) London Gandalf Support Campaign LGSC c/o London Greenpeace, Panther House, 38 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X 0AP Email [c/o]: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear friends and activists,
On Thursday 13th November the UK 'Gandalf' trial resulted in 3 journalists each being sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. The State had brought charges against the editors of Green Anarchist (GA) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) Supporters Group Newsletter (hence 'GA aND ALF') for 'conspiracy to incite persons unknown to commit criminal damage' - one ALFSGN editor was found 'not guilty' and 2 other defendants are due to be tried at a later date. The 3 convicted defendants had merely been performing a public service in publishing news of some of the wide range of current direct actions (in the UK and in other countries) by environmentalists and animal rights activists. The court had found such reporting to be 'incitement'. An Appeal is being prepared.
"Public Interest Immunity" Certificates were used to suppress evidence of Secret Service actions in the gathering of evidence. The police have been the prime movers behind this case - "Operation Washington", as the lead-up was known, involved 55 police raids and, at its height, employed sixty officers. So far the State has spent four million pounds. It is not for the police or courts to determine the limits of our discussions. Many publications include coverage of direct action protests. Catch-all incitement and conspiracy charges threaten not only radical publications, but anyone making statements which could be interpreted as 'inflamatory'. This case opens the way for similar attacks on any publication deemed to support such actions. Yet the hypocracy and bias of the law is obvious - the establishment's media daily support and call for various forms of institutionalised violence - wars, police controls, environmental damage, factory farming etc - but none have been prosecuted for 'incitement'. We refuse to recognise laws which enable the powerful to seek to censor and criminalise the dissemination of alternative points of view. The McLibel case for example, and the ever growing distribution of hundreds of thousands of anti-McDonald's leaflets in response, has demonstrated that repressive laws can be exposed and made unworkable by organised, mass defiance backed by public awareness and support. State attacks on independent publications can also be successfully resisted and defeated.
This crude and futile attempt at intimidation will cause outrage and widespread defiance, including ever greater circulation of the kind of information which the State is trying to suppress. It is important that all progressive organisations and journals report examples of direct actions and protests by the public against companies and governmental bodies. Environmental degradation, animal cruelty, economic injustice and poverty, attacks on personal freedoms, wars, the arms trade, nuclear weapons - these, among many others, are the real inciting factors, not the reporting of direct action protests. The best way to fight for our freedoms is to exercise them.
We are looking for as many people as possible to sign and publicise the Pledge below. There are two categories of signing: (1)Publications and organisations and (2) individuals who are in support of the statement. We need your responses as soon as possible. If signing in a personal capacity, please provide the name of the organisation with which you're most involved. Please copy and circulate this post-trial appeal for support everywhere (including abroad) in order to help strengthen everyone's determination to stand up for basic human freedoms under attack by the British State. 350 organisations and individuals (e.g. Reclaim The Streets, The National Union Of Journalists, Ethical Consumer, Green Party, The Earth First! US Journal, Stockholm Anarchists, New Zealand Soil Association journal, East Berks Animal Aid, Squall, Red Pepper, Peace News etc) had already signed a similar Statement during the trial - in the light of the verdict this new Pledge incorporates the need to resist censorship. This is a campaign that can and must be won.
Please inform us who you've circulated this to. Note: This initiative is
separate but complimentary to the "Gandalf Defendants' Campaign". For more
details, to affiliate and offer support, contact the G.D.C., P.O. Box 66,
Stevenage SG1 2TR Updates on the website: www.cbuzz.co.uk/SchNEWS
You can also contact Green Anarchist, BCM 1715, London WC1N 3XX, and the
ALFSG Newsletter, BCM 1160, WC1N 3XX.
NEXT MEETING OF THE LGSC - Wed 28th Jan, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq, WC1 (Holborn tube).
In solidarity, Dave for the London Gandalf Support Campaign
Please write to the 3 prisoners: Noel Molland (CK4321) & Saxon Wood
(CK4322), HMP Guys Marsh, Shaftsbury, Dorset, SP7 OAH. Steve Booth (CK4323),
HMP Lancaster, The Castle, Lancaster, LA1 1YL
* * * * * *
SOLIDARITY PLEDGE: " We call on all publications to fairly report the Gandalf case and the issues involved. " We pledge our solidarity with the Gandalf defendants, and call for the 3 jailed editors of Green Anarchist to be freed and for the outstanding legal actions against the 2 remaining defendants to be abandoned. " We pledge to throw our weight behind the campaign to support the independent and radical press, and to defend the freedom to report news of direct actions and protests. " We pledge to report news of direct actions and protests whenever and however we see fit, and we will resist any attempts to censor journals or organisations which exercise such freedoms." TEAR OFF SLIP------------------------------------------------------------------ I/We back the Gandalf Solidarity Pledge: Donation (to LGSC)........ Name Of Group/Journal...................................... Tel................ Fax................. Email.............. Address [Group]............................ Contact Person............... OR: Individual Name................ Involved in [Group]..................... Tel...................... Fax............... Address..................................... Email.............. Return to: LGSC c/o London Greenpeace, Panther House, 38 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X 0AP Email: email@example.com **************************************************************************** London Gandalf Support Campaign LGSC c/o London Greenpeace, Panther House, 38 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X 0AP Email [c/o]: firstname.lastname@example.org ____________________________________________________________________________ TO ALL ACTIVISTS - Please Circulate widely... Report of Fightback Meeting 17.12.97 LONDON GANDALF SUPPORT CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED TO FREE THE GANDALF 3, TO DEFEND THE INDEPENDENT RADICAL PRESS, AND TO DEFY STATE CENSORSHIP. NEXT MEETING OF THE LGSC - Wed 28th Jan, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq, WC1 (Holborn tube). On Wednesday 17th December, 85 people attended a London organising meeting (called by London Greenpeace and the McLibel Support Campaign, and backed by the Gandalf Defendants' Campaign) in support of the three editors of Green Anarchist magazine recently jailed for 3 years each. They were imprisoned for simply reporting news of environmental and animal liberation direct actions and protests. The judge had ruled that this had amounted to 'conspiracy to incite persons unknown to commit criminal damage' - a ruling that is a direct threat to press freedoms. At the packed and intense meeting were a wide-range of participants from diverse, concerned and affected organisations - including the 2 journals attacked by the trial (Green Anarchist and the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group Newsletter), as well as anarchist organisations, peace groups, animal rights campaigns, environmental organisations, media activists (including from the alternative press, and also from the National Executive of the National Union of Journalists [who had recently unanimously agreed to back the campaign]), Internet activists, trades unionists, local community networks, left-wing political parties and other groups and individuals. The background to the case was explained by the 2 remaining defendants due to be tried in further 'Gandalf' hearings in a few months time, and by one of the defence solicitors. They detailed the scandalous 2 million pound police operation leading to the arrests, and the bizarre and outrageous trial costing a further 2 million pounds. Messages from the 3 prisoners were read out. Defendants from previous, successful anti-censorship campaigns suggested some lessons from their victories (in particular the British Withdrawal From Northern Ireland Campaign who had been charged in the 1970s with inciting British soldiers to disaffect, and from the recent and ongoing McLibel Campaign). There then followed a report of the support which the Gandalf Defendants' Campaign has received up till now, including patchy but growing publicity in alternative and establishment media and dozens of affiliations. A great boost had occurred when the 'Alternative Media Gathering' in Oxford in September 1997 issued a call for support, now signed by over 300 organisations and individuals. However, the London meeting agreed that, in the light of the verdict, there needed to be more co-ordinated, substantial and widespread protest against this attempt at State censorship, and also defiance. In fact the situation could be turned around to force the police and the State onto the defensive by increasing the publicity, the support for the defendants, support for the threatened papers (who continue to publish unbowed - in ever increasing numbers!), and general support amongst the alternative media for an increase in the reporting of direct actions and protests. In this way the political nature of the case would be made plain to the public, and the repressive laws made unworkable. It was agreed to set up a London Gandalf Support Campaign to circulate news on the case, and to encourage protest and defiance. It was agreed to meet approximately monthly at first. The following activities that everyone can do were suggested and supported: PRISONERS SUPPORT: - please write to the prisoners [addresses at end]. - please donate money to the Gandalf Defendants' Campaign [address below] for prisoners support. - lobby Amnesty International to back these 'prisoners of conscience'. - ensure other existing prisoner support organisations give their backing. PUBLICITY: - please write to local newspapers. A standard letter could be drafted and sent out to supporters. - increase and strengthen the influence and availability of radical, independent media. - please organise stalls and events in local areas in order to raise awareness and support amongst the [continued over.....] public. Organise a showing of the excellent Gandalf video, part of the latest 'Undercurrents No 8' news video [01865 203661/2]. - seek out specific sympathetic reporters on one hand, and on the other identify and boycott reporters who deliberately misrepresent the case [info to: Journo-Watch, BM Box 4769, London WC1N 3XX]. - The Campaign should issue regular news updates about the case - to supporters and to the media (establishment and alternative). GENERAL SUPPORT: - contact every sympathetic or concerned group/organisation for political and financial support and publicity, asking them to sign the Solidarity Pledge [see below, and the Tear Off Slip on the cover letter]. - contact the international media, sympathetic organisations and activists to take up the case. - lobby Liberty to take up the issue strongly. - use the Internet in a systematic way to ensure widespread [and global] awareness, and defiance. - encourage affiliations to the GAndALF Defendants Campaign. - please organise local meetings and solidarity activity. [Since the meeting, defendant Paul Rogers has proposed a Liberation Tour of local towns, countrywide, be organised. To be discussed next meeting]. PROTEST: - organise days of action/protest when the Appeal and other hearings take place this year [details soon] DEFIANCE: - send solidarity to all potentially affected journalists and papers, encouraging them to continue to publish news of direct actions as and when they see fit. Turn intimidation into determination. - take up the defiance initiative of 'Index On Censorship' who're disseminating many of the direct action reports objected to in the case (or contact Green Anarchist, BCM 1715, London WC1N 3XX). - encourage more widespread reporting in particular of the kind of environmental and animal liberation direct actions and protests under attack in this case. - seek out, publicise and contribute to (or set up) alternative news agencies abroad and other international sources of news of direct actions. SOLIDARITY PLEDGE: It was agreed after much debate to circulate the following, basic Solidarity Pledge worldwide for groups/journals and also individuals [substitute 'I' for 'we' etc] to sign. " We call on all publications to fairly report the Gandalf case and the issues involved. " We pledge our solidarity with the Gandalf defendants, and call for the 3 jailed editors of Green Anarchist to be freed and for the outstanding legal actions against the 2 remaining defendants to be abandoned. " We pledge to throw our weight behind the campaign to support the independent and radical press, and to defend the freedom to report news of direct actions and protests. " We pledge to report news of direct actions and protests whenever and however we see fit, and we will resist any attempts to censor journals or organisations which exercise such freedoms." Further discussions, initiatives and co-ordination will take place at the next LGSC meeting on Wednesday 28th January. All those wishing to offer practical help to achieve any or all of the above objectives are welcome to attend. Report written by Dave (London Greenpeace) Note: This initiative is separate but complimentary to the "Gandalf Defendants' Campaign". For more details, affiliations and offers of support, contact the G.D.C., P.O. Box 66, Stevenage SG1 2TR Updates on the website: www.cbuzz.co.uk/SchNEWS You can also contact Green Anarchist, BCM 1715, London WC1N 3XX, and the ALFSG Newsletter, BCM 1160, WC1N 3XX) Please write to the 3 prisoners: Noel Molland (CK4321) & Saxon Wood (CK4322), HMP Guys Marsh, Shaftsbury, Dorset, SP7 OAH. Steve Booth (CK4323), HMP Lancaster, The Castle, Lancaster, LA1 1YL ----------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. McLibel Support Campaign Email email@example.com PO Box 62 Phone/Fax 802-586-9628 Craftsbury VT 05826-0062 http://www.mcspotlight.org/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------- To subscribe to the "mclibel" electronic mailing list, send email To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject:
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