Print2Paper/DSEi2005/draft

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page one (front page)

intro to DSEi

Every two years, arms dealers converge on London's Docklands for the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair. It is an influential event in the international military equipment sales calendar and is organised in association with the Ministry of Defence at the ExCel Centre.

DSEi is a trade exhibition aimed at the international defence industries and defence markets. The event is owned and organised by a private company, Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd, in association with the MoD and supported by the defence industry associations.

DSEi is the world's largest "tri-service defence exhibition" (providing military equipment for land, sea and air). At the last DSEi in 2003, 973 exhibitors touted their deadly wares to delegates from a third of the world’s countries, many with appalling human rights records.

DSEi's organisers, Spearhead Exhibitions (owned by Reed Elsevier), promise that DSEi 2005 will be 30% bigger than last time. Made possible by its co-organisers - the British Government - DSEi looks set to enable horrendous deals in death, torture and repression to be done.

DSEi sell everything from battleships and attack helicopters to cluster bombs and machine guns. Spearhead publicity this year proudly announces that "products and services related to Homeland security, anti-terrorism, access control, and personal security" will also be on display. The ExCel Centre has been booked for more arms fairs in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Arms fairs have attracted controversy and campaigners for some time. In 1999 it was revealed that land mines were being advertised and offered for sale at DSEi, despite them being a banned by a UK law. DSEi is also where dictatorships source weapons for oppression and war-mongering. Saddam Hussein received many of his weapons from US and British companies through deals made at previous international arms fairs.

The government shields DSEi from prosecution. Leaked documents revealed that the Metropolitan Police were aware that at least 300 of the exhibitors at the 2003 DSEi did not have valid licenses to trade arms in this country and so were committing a criminal offence. The Home Office allegedly advised the police not to pursue prosecutions, as this would embarrass the government which co-organise and fund DSEi.

Britain is one of the leading weapons exporters in the world, selling weapons and police gear to Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Turkey and Israel, countries with appalling human rights records - and even to some regimes that the US deems too brutal to support.

This years DSEi runs from 13th to the 16th September, at the ExCeL Centre in London Docklands. Like previous years, a week of action and resistance against this evil trade has been organised, both at the exhibition itself and at relevant targets across the country. Plans also include a convergence space and two day conference.

call to action

A network of groups and individuals using the name 'Disarm DSEi' have issued a call for a week of action and resistance with the aim of shutting down DSEi - the world’s largest weapons fair.

The DSEi arms fair is sponsored by the British government and sells everything from battleships and attack helicopters to cluster bombs and machine guns.

The arms trade, of which DSEi is an important part, is an international political business made up of multinational companies which make products that kill and maim for profit.

Due to globalisation, the arms companies operate above the law, outside of trade agreements, and firmly in favour only of the rich and powerful. These companies play a leading role in the unjust global economic system which causes poverty and abuse of human rights around the world. Poverty will never be made history whilst the arms trade proliferates and until the domination of these arms companies is directly confronted.


what to expect

During DSEi 2003, many people, including locals going about their own lives, protesters and journalists, were stopped and search by the police using section 44 of the terrorism act (despite claims that such powers would not be used against protesters). There were at least 156 arrests. However, despite a cool £4.5 million spent on policing and the abuse of anti-terrorism laws by the 3,000 police in attendence, ExCel security was breached and a small group managed to unfurl a banner inside the arms fair and lock themselves inside a tank.

During the week hundreds of dedicated people managed to cause serious disruption to the arms dealers with mass blockades, street parties and much more. Thousands of Newham residents and campaigners from across the country also took part in peaceful demonstrations, vigils and public meetings. A week before DSEi began a small group blocked an ExCel access road causing delays to those setting up the exhibits. Another group took to the water in inflatable dingies and stopped naval vessels from entering the docks.

Around the country, the offices of arms companies receieved disruptive visits both day and night. Once the fair itself had began, trains and buses full of delegates were stopped as people blocked roads with cars or climbed onto the carrages on the DLR.

Often, the unfortunate and unavoidable side effect of attempts made to stop the arms fair was inconvienience to people living or working in the area.

Part of the reason for producing this newspaper is to give people a better idea of the motivations behind the actions, and forewarning of what to expect. Hopefully this will enable people to plan around likely inconvienences, perhaps doing the weekly shop a couple of days earlier, or parking the car on the over side of the A13 on days when street protests might result in road closures. Those travelling to work by public transport might find it quicker to cycle at least part of the way on days when it is likely that protesters will try to halt transport to ExCel. Crucially, it also explains why all this is happening, and what you can do about it.

page two (inside front)

what is planned

There will be a week of public events as well as unannounced affinity group actions. Additionally there will be a conference with workshops, training sessions and information-sharing before the arms fair itself.

If you are organising a public event that you would like publicised as part of the week of action, then let DISARM DSEi know.

People are needed to help organise for the week including: publicity, fundraising, convergence centre, workshops, accommodation, and anything else you would like to see happen. Get in touch with DISARM DSEi if you would like to help.


calendar of events

Here's what's planned so far for the week of action - more events will be added nearer the time.

Saturday 10 September Convergence Centre Opens - location to be announced nearer the time. Street Party Musical Protest, 2-4pm outside ExCeL Centre, Custom House DLR. Organised by ELAAF.

Sunday 11 September Conference Day One:

workshops, stalls, talks, training, films 11am - 5pm, Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS (nearest tube: Aldgate East) and.... [DISARM DSEi workshops and training]


Monday 12 September Conference Day Two: workshops and stalls

Candle light procession and 2 hour vigil for all victims of the arms trade. Meet 6.30pm Tidal Basin Road next to Royal Victoria Station. Organised by East London Against the Arms Fair

Tuesday 13 September First day of DSEi Arms Fair

12 noon: Peaceful Demonstration against the arms fair. Meet East Ham Central Park, High Street (nearest tube: East Ham) near Newham Town Hall. Procession ends outside the ExCeL Centre. Organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade

5-9pm: Talks, discussion, films about the arms trade 11am - 5pm, Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS (nearest tube: Aldgate East)

Wednesday 14 September Destroy the Arms Trade Day of Action

Calling All Cyclists....Critical Mass: No More London Arms Fairs. Assemble 8.30am outside Bank tube station.

Thursday 15 September

Friday 16 September


[provide details of where to find latest information]

ONGOING EVENTS: Put pressure on the organisers of the fairs

Reed Elsevier: Stop organising Arms Fairs

Reed Elsevier own Spearhead Exhibitions and Reed Exhibitions who organise several arms fairs around the world. Find out more about Reed Elsevier and how you can take action to persuade them that they should stick to promoting less murderous products.

Shut down the whitehall gunrunners

The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) promotes UK Arms Companies at the taxpayers' expense (to the tune of around £16 million each year). Specifically, it plays a massive role in organising DSEI and Farnborough. You can support the campaign to shut down the whitehall gunrunners by writing to your MP


{boxed advert}
Regular Picket and Electronic Blockade of Spearhead Exhibitions
Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd, is the organiser of the DSEi exhibition. 
The address of their London office is    
 Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd, Oriel House, 26 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1DL. 

There is an ongoing campaign against Spearhead and its parent company Reed, intended to put pressure on the company until they drop DSEi

Pickets of their offices are held at 1pm on the first and third Mondays of every month.

There is also an electronic blockade all day on the first and third Mondays of every month which invites people to blockade Spearhead using phone, fax and email.


page three

what you can do

{maybe do this bit like a crime stoppers advert}

whistleblowers If you are an employee of Reed Exhibitions, Spearhead Exhibitons, DSEi or one of the cateering or service companies involved in the exhibition then you may have information that will help stop the trade in death.

You can contact DISARM DSEi in confidence.

Call from a public phone box, or go to a internet cafe and type or paste your message into the contact page on the DISARM DSEI webpage. [1]

Phone 07817 652029 or email whistle [at] dsei.org

If you can use PGP software, you can download the DISARM DSEI key http://libcom.org/hosted/dsei/misc/contact.php#PGP and encrypt your message.


accommodation

Do you know of anywhere that Disarm DSEi could use as accommodation space for people coming to protest against the arms fair?

Thousands of people are expected to travel to London from 10 - 16 September to protest against DSEi, the world's largest arms fair. Accommodation is being organised by a Disarm DSEi working group. However, more spaces are needed. They are on the lookout for church halls, community centres, squatted buildings and anywhere else where people coming from across the UK and abroad can stay for part or all of the week. They are also looking more specifically for a space with disabled access.

In addition to this they are asking people if they are willing to put people up in their homes. Even if you can only offer floor space for a few people it would be much appreciated.

Please get in touch by email or phone: 07817 652 029 if you can help.

Locations for accommodation won't be publicised beforehand. People will be asked to go to the convergence centre and will be given addresses from there.


fundraising

The Disarm DSEi campaign relies 100% on voluntary work and donations to keep going. If you can spare any amount of money to help the campaign it would really be appreciated. You can donate by cheque or by bank transfer.

Bank Transfer Account number: 65112153 Sort code: 08-92-99

You can send cheques payable to DISARM DSEi to BM Box 3679, London, WC1N 3XX.


= page four (centre pages / left)

SECRET SHOPPERS

[STRAPLINE] Who are those covert be-suited men and women slipping into the heavily guarded ExCel Centre? We take a sneak preview under the counter...

On the basis of the official invitations from previous DSEi exhibitions, we can say with certainty that representatives from countries engaged in conflict, with poor human rights records and with major development needs will all be in attendance at the ExCel Centre this September

>>Oppression

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's annual Human Rights Report for 2005 considers twenty countries in detail, in which it considers that human rights are a particularly serious problem. Six of these; Afghanistan, China, Colombia, Israel, Russia and Saudi Arabia, were invited to DSEi in 2003, and a seventh, Indonesia, was invited in 1999. Unfortunately, these are not the only countries which have been invited which have poor human rights records. For instance, the FCO website says that in Algeria there have been “numerous documented allegations of human rights abuses by the security forces and state-armed militias, including the enforced disappearances of at least 4,000 people, abductions, torture and extra judicial killings”. Meanwhile in Nigeria it says that “the Army has committed serious abuses of human rights.” Yet both received a government invitation to DSEi in 2003.

>>Conflict

The governments involved in many serious ongoing conflicts are regularly invited to DSEi. These include Israel, whose 38 year occupation of Palestinian territories has been judged illegal under international law; Colombia where both the military and paramilitary forces with whom they work kill and 'disappear' civilians on a regular basis; Russia whose war to stop Chechnya gaining independence has killed thousands and reduced Chechnya's capital Grozny to a pile of rubble; and of course the US, who with the UK continues to occupy Iraq, resulting in over 100,000 Iraqi deaths by some estimates. In addition, Pakistan and India continue to maintain hostile relations over the disputed territory of Kashmir, and in 2002 went to the brink of war several times. Both came to DSEi the year before this, and the year after.

>> Damaging Development

Arms sales undermine sustainable development both by taking up resources which could be spent elsewhere, and by sustaining and provoking conflict which has in itself a massive negative impact on development. Yet despite supposedly being committed to tackling global poverty, the government continues to invite countries with very low ratings on the UN's human development index to DSEi. Tanzania is one example. Half the population lack regular access to clean drinking water, and like other southern African countries, Tanzania is struggling to cope with the AIDS epidemic. Yet the government continues to consider it a legitimate target for UK arms sales pushing through a deal for an entirely unsuitable £28 million military air-traffic control system in 2001. Tanzania was also invited to DSEi that year, and again in 2003.

It is also important to remember that whilst the government eventually tells us who got official invitations to DSEi, there is no way to know who the 20,000 people with visitors' passes are. Since human rights are little more than a minor PR inconvenience for the corporate arms traders, it is unlikely that any controls are placed on who can attend DSEi as a visitor; so long as they are bona-fide government or military personnel that is – despite DSEi being publicly subsidised, concerned members of the general public need not apply.

[BOLD] ...AND ALL FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS' MONEY

DSEi is heavily subsidised by the government. Direct costs alone were estimated to be £400,000 in 2003 and we cannot guess the indirect costs of the huge government support and involvement. The policing of the event was an even greater cost. Immediately after the event the government estimated police costs of around £1,7 million, saying that the final cost remained to be established. When it was established several months later, the cost to taxpayers had reached over £4 million.

= page five (centre pages / right)

[Boxed article?]

Newham up in arms

East London residents are increasingly refusing to continue to host DSEi. In recent months:

- Newham Borough Council has passed a unanimous resolution condemning the DSEi arms fair as immoral, and calling on the ExCel Centre to refuse to host it.

- In July, East London residents handed a 1200-strong petition to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, urging him to use his powers to ban the arms fair from London.

Dealing in bombs and guns in Newham is a particular slap in the face to the Newham community:

  • London's Docklands was one of the most heavily bombed areas of London in World War Two. In August, Newham pensioners met with ExCel's chairman, Lord Tom King, and told him about their experiences of digging children out of bombed-out schools on the present site of the ExCel Centre. On the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two, selling bombs is one of the worst and least sensitive things that could be happening in East London.
  • East London's diverse population includes refugees and migrants from some of the world's poorest and conflict-ridden places - fleeing from countries who come to buy arms at DSEi. The arms trade fuels poverty and conflict, and it is ironic that many East London residents are fleeing war-zones fed by the arms deals being done at the ExCel Centre.

Background info

What groups are involved?

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) was set up in 1974. It is a broad coalition of groups and individuals in the UK working to end the international arms trade - a trade that has a negative effect on humans rights and security as well as on global, regional and local economic development. CAAT is organising Tuesday's public peaceful demonstration, and two days of talks, workshops and films at Toynbee Hall near Aldgate East. Involvement in organising and participation in CAAT's demonstrations and protests is conditional on accepting the need to remain nonviolent at all times.

CAAT has local groups and individual local contacts that between them cover much of the country. Individuals and affiliated groups (local branches of peace organisations, trade unions, churches, etc), donate what they can afford towards the cost of running the Campaign.

CAAT's priorities are to:

   * end government subsidies and support for arms exports;
   * end exports to oppressive regimes;
   * end exports to countries involved in an armed conflict or regions of tension;
   * end exports to countries whose social welfare is threatened by military spending;
   * support measures, both in the UK and internationally, which will regulate and reduce the arms trade and lead to its eventual end. 

DISARM DSEi is co-ordinating many of the events around DSEi. It is a non-hierarchical organisation that imposes no guidelines and works by consensus. They intend to create a space where various groups can use the methods of protest and tactics of action they believe are most effective. DISARM DSEi will be organising a convergence centre which will provide opportunities to meet other activists as well as hosting a conference. They are also sorting out basic accommodation for people coming from outside the area.

Different working groups are formed within DISARM DSEi to take on organising different elements; eg. publicity, fundraising, convergence centre, workshops, accommodation etc.

They need people to get involved with organising for the week, get in touch with them if you would like to help.


{boxed bit}
DISARM DSEi is funded entirely by donations, so please consider sending a cheque payable to 
DISARM DSEi to the address below or donate online using Paypal via their website.
DISARM DSEi
Web: www.dsei.org
Post: BM Box 3679, London WC1N 3XX
Phone: 07817 652029
Email: disarm@dsei.org
Email discussion list: disarmdsei-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

East London Against the Arms Fair

East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF) is a growing group of Newham residents appalled by DSEi bringing a trade in death to their doorstep. They include everyone from community leaders, church leaders and local councillors to pensioners and asylum seekers.

Recent achievements include: - a unanimous motion passed by Newham Borough Council, condemning the arms fair as immoral and calling for it to be ended

- a 1200-strong petition handed to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has recently called the arms fair "a disgrace [which] ought to be denounced by all Londoners".

Contacts

ELAAF: >>Mail: Garden Cafe, 7 Cundy Road, London E16

>> Meetings: ELAAF meet every 2nd Monday of each month at the Garden Cafe, 7 Cundy Road. Come along!

CAAT: >> Email anna (at) caat.org.uk (Events and Campaigns Coordinator)

>> Phone 020 7281 0297

>> Fax 020 7281 4369

>> Mail CAAT, 11 Goodwin Street, Finsbury Park, London N4 3HQ

>> Web www.caat.org.uk

DISARM DSEi:

>> Email disarm (at) dsei.org

>>PGP

Disarm welcome encrypted email. Get our public PGP key. You should speak to us to confirm that you have a genuine copy. Learn more about PGP.

>> Discussion List

To subscribe to the email discussion list send a blank email to:

disarmdsei-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

To read the list archive check out the list homepage here.

You can also join the announce list (low traffic) using the following adddress:

dsei-announce-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Please do not send any material to the list which is unrelated to Disarm DSEi (website ads, protest ads, party ads etc.).

>> Phone

0781 7652029

>> Mail

BM Box 3679, London, WC1N 3XX

What is an affinity group?

(Edited from Ploughshares and Anarchism in Action, and re-written in parts by DISARM DSEi.)

An affinity group is a small group of about three to twenty people who work together autonomously on direct action or other projects. You can form an affinity group with anyone: friends, people from your community, workplace, or organisation, or people you meet at an event. Affinity groups challenge top-down decision-making and organising, and empower those involved to take creative direct action.

Affinity groups by nature are decentralised and non-hierarchical. They are small so that discussions, participation and support can flow more easily. Larger groups tend to be dominated by just a few people and those left out of the discussion often do not have a chance to have their needs met or to contribute equally.

As part of an affinity group on an action, you can move with your group, finding alternative routes and avoiding being trapped by cops without being isolated.

Roles within an affinity group There are many roles that one could possibly fill.

Medical - An affinity group may want to have someone with first aid / streetmedic knowledge, who can deal with medical or health issues.

Legal observer - It may be important to have people taking notes on police conduct, e.g. circumstances of arrests, detention of crowds, or other police violence. Legal observers may face a dilemma of whether to stay out of the way to observe, or try to help.

Media - You may want to consider how your group will relate to the media. You might choose one person to speak to the media, either on their own behalf or as speaker for your group.

Arrest - People have different attitudes to risks of arrest, and arrests will have different consequences for different people. You may want to discuss these and plan your actions and look out for each other to minimise the risks, as well as considering how you can support anyone who is arrested.

The roles within an affinity group can depend on the type of action you are taking. Sometimes the above roles may be inappropriate and individual roles can be defined by the nature of the action. It is important to plan exactly what each person intends to do as part of the action and talk through possible scenarios.

What is a Cluster and a Spokescouncil?

Clusters and spokescouncils can be useful particularly on mass actions.

A cluster is a grouping of affinity groups that comes together to work on a certain task or part of a larger action. A cluster might be responsible for blockading an area, organising one day of a multi-day action, or putting together and performing a mass street theatre performance. Clusters could be organised around where affinity groups are from, an issue or identity or style of action.

A spokescouncil is a larger organising structure sometimes used by affinity groups to co-ordinate a mass action. Each affinity group (or cluster) chooses a delegate to go to a spokescouncil meeting and decide on important issues for the action, having consulted the other members of their group. For instance, affinity groups need to decide on a strategy for dealing with cops, possible tactical issues, meeting places, and many other logistics. A spokescouncil does not take away an individual affinity group's autonomy within an action; affinity groups make their own decisions about what they want to do on the streets.

How to start an affinity group

An affinity group could be a relationship that lasts for years among a group of friends and activists, or it could be a week-long relationship based around a single action. Either way, it is important to join an affinity group that is suited to you and your interests. If you are forming an affinity group, find friends or fellow activists who have similar issue interests, and would be willing to use similar tactics.

If you are looking to join an affinity group at a mass action, find out which affinity groups are open to new members and which ones are closed. For many people, affinity groups are based on trusting relationships based around years of friendship and work, so they might not want people they don't know in their affinity group. You might need to take the initiative and ask people you meet to form a new affinity group. Consider what you want to do and with whom you'd be able to get on.

What can an affinity group do?

Anything! They can take part in mass or smaller scale actions. An affinity group could drop a banner, blockade a road, provide back-up for other affinity groups, do street theatre, block traffic riding bikes, confront the police, destroy selected property, change the message on a billboard, play music or sing etc. There can be affinity groups that take on certain tasks in an action. For instance, there could be a roving group made up of street medics or an affinity group who brings food and water to people on the streets.

What makes affinity groups so effective for actions is that they can remain creative and independent and can plan out their own action without an organisation or person dictating to them what can and can't be done. They can respond immediately to opportunities and problems as they happen.

There is an endless amount of possibilities of what affinity groups can do. Be creative and remember: direct action gets the goods!

{do the bit below as an boxes 'advert' insert}
New Arms Fairs microsite
 

As part of CAAT's ongoing campaign against the military trade fairs at the heart of the global arms trade,

they've launched a new mini-website, which you can find at www.armsfairs.com. 
It not only includes information on UK arms fairs and what you can do to stop them, but also details the international arms trade circuit. Take a look!

page 6

whats wrong with the mainstream media

INSIDE - WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION - IT'S WAR! - PICTURES

We all know that the media is full of trivia and celebrity frivolity but wouldn't it be better if it were really keeping us informed, and not simply using sensationalism to increase market-share and sell advertising.

Without a free flow of information and ideas, how can we be expected to make informed decisions about issues that directly effect our lives and the lives of others?

Every day, people in this country spend an average of four hours, reading, watching, or listening to 'the media' - be it TV or radio, newspapers or magazines, films or videos, books or billboards. Through the media we are subjected to a continuous flow of hogwash and misinformation. Real issues are ignored or scorned while we get populist entertainment dressed up as a true and accurate reflection of the way things are.

Are important issues neglected simply because they might be boring or difficult to understand, or is it because we might feel inspired to act? If information is power, then perhaps the media prefers us to be powerless. Could the daily diet of soaps and celebrity haircuts be intended to distract us from reality, leaving us disempowered and unable to think for ourselves?

"It is easier and less costly to change the way people think about reality than to change reality" Dr. Spin

LIES

It's easy to see for yourself how the media misrepresent reality. People involved in an event are often surprised at how it is later portrayed in the media. They wonder if they were at a different event and question how the reporters could have got things so wrong. Sometimes the facts may be correct but are given a misleading spin and often focus on some minor point or on personality rather than the issues. More often the facts are simply ignored as being inconvenient but avoidable obstacles to furthering the publication's particular agenda.

Everyone knows the expression 'don't believe everything you read in the papers' yet clearly the media is able to influence our perceptions. Advertising works even though we know it's trying to sell us something.

SPIN

Public relations is often more subtle and harder to recognise. "The best PR is invisible," say industry insiders. To manage the news in favour of their clients, PR firms specialise in setting up phoney citizens groups and scientific 'experts' who spin out contrived research and junk science.

"Whether the issue is health, consumer safety, environmental preservation or democracy and world peace, citizens today find themselves confronted by a bewildering array of hired propagandists paid to convince the public that junk food is nutritious, pollution is harmless, and that what's good for big business and big government is good for the rest of us." Center for Media & Democracy

In this country, the government doesn't have direct control of the media but that doesn't mean that there is no 'state' control. Before the introduction of the current system of government, society was controlled by the church and the monarchy. Now the corporations hold the power. They exert influence over governments and control much of the media. In ways both subtle and blatant, the state still shapes the models of reality presented to us by the media.

MAKE BELIEVE

Royal soap is interesting. Really? Acres of space are devoted to these throwbacks... even we are doing it!

Politics is politicians and elections. The media focuses on the petty dramas and personalities of party politics. It rarely bothers to hide the governments failure to act in the best interest of ordinary people. We are meant to think that there is no choice but another election. But democracy is not about scrawling an 'X' on a scrap of paper every five years. No wonder so many people are disenfranchised from this 'democratic' process. Real politics is about how all of us choose to live and act everyday.

The experts will fix it. Be it crime, poverty, homelessness, pollution or whatever, we are told that the government, scientists or private companies are finding a solution. Clearly with 'experts' on the case, we don't have to think too much about it or do anything. But can we really leave it all to them? Do they have our best interests at heart? Who created these problems?

The problems are caused by .... teenagers, parents, single mums, teachers, people on benefits, unions, immigrants, asylum seekers etc. Such scapegoating diverts attention from the real issues and the real causes and creates division. United we stand...

SUPPREESSED

Ordinary people count. Its not what 'experts', politicians or celebrities do or say that counts (even if makes the headlines). It's what we think and do, in our everyday lives, our workplaces and communities. We, the majority, through our own action or inaction create our own realities and can either leave things as they are now, or work to make things better.

Resistance is everywhere. There are alternatives to the dominant economic and political system but they remain invisible through the mass media. Even when the media is forced to recognise the serious problems caused by capitalism, they ignore or try to discredit those trying to create a society based on co-operation not greed and profit.

S E X

The 'love lives' of the rich and famous are one of the mainstays of the mass media. It's easy to understand why we are attracted to such imagery and why sex is used to sell just about everything. It is less obvious why violence should be so attractive and yet the media can't get enough of it.

VIOLENCE

The news media use 'violence' to create more sensational stories than reality provides. They focus on conflict, often exaggerating it to suit their purpose. If there was no violence, they may invent it or not report the event at all.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

While smashing the windows of multinational companies becomes acts of mindless violence, riot police charging in with batons, shields, and CS gas are simply said to have controlled the crowd. Even people pulling up a trial of GM crops are said to have 'spoiled an otherwise peaceful protest' thereby equating property damage with violence.

VERBAL ABUSE

Carefully selected words can conjure up images that help to shape the reader's opinion. For example the authorities version of events can be presented as fact while words like 'claimed' and 'alleged' are used to cast doubt on other peoples accounts. Groups can be discredited with labels such as 'rent-a-mob', 'anarchists', 'extremists' or worse...

TERRORISM

You may have noticed how the word terrorism has become so prevalent in recent years. Is there more terrorism? What exactly does the word mean anyway? With blatant double standards, the state applies the word to virtually any act of aggression or political dissent of which they don't approve. But isn't one persons terrorist anothers freedom fighter? Was Nelson Mandela a terrorist? Just what is 'eco-terrorism'?

Terrorism is an emotive word invoking fear and anger. It's use in oversimplistic propaganda helps justify new police powers, the erosion of civil liberties, and extreme acts of violence by the state.

WAR NOW

War sends the media into a frenzy. Roll out the computer generated maps, foreign correspondents, political commentators, defence experts etc. They love it. Different people saying the same thing -mostly nothing but speculation.

The media assists the politicians with their propaganda - 'defence of democracy' or 'humanitarian necessity'. Dissent is vilified as unpatriotic, played down or ignored. Nothing must challenge the hypocrisy and the manufactured illusion of public support and consent.

'the first casualty of war is the truth' George W Bush

MAKING A KILLING

Of course it's not just the media that loves war - politicians also enjoy the opportunities provided. Draconian laws are passed in the name of national interest and security and unpopular news can be buried under all the media hype and speculation. Thatcher saved her career by launching a war on Argentina, Clinton escaped his sex scandal by blitzing Iraq, and Bush took his approval rating from 20% to 90% by bombing Afghanistan and commiting the entire 'free world' to an endless 'war on terror'.

There's also plenty of money to be made. Increased 'defence' budgets provide the arm's trade with a profitable killing, and the spoils of war go to the multinationals in the form of lucative new markets, cheap labour, oil reserves and other tax free resources to plunder.

On the Playing Field

The major media corporations have a growing monopoly. In the UK just five companies own at least 85% of newspaper sales. Murdoch's News International controls over two thirds of the newspaper circulation, including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and the News of the World. On top of this they also have a controlling interest in Twentieth Century Fox, publishers Harper Collins, satellite BSkyB and StarTV which covers most of Asia and the Middle East (potentially reaching two thirds of the world's population). The world's largest media company, AOLTimeWarner, owns the 24-hour cable news channel CNN, 40% of US cable TV, 50 record labels, the magazines Time, Life, Money and People, as well as being the worlds largest Internet Service Provider.

These huge corporations and rich individuals have values at odds with the rest of us. Their vested interest in almost every major issue results in them offering a very narrow view of the world. Self censorship is common as the proprietors and advertisers converns are considered more important than a duty to the truth. The corporate media doesnst exist for our benefit, its aim is to perpetuate power and profits.

"There is no such thing as a free press, you know it and I know it... The business of a journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, fall at the feet of mammon, and sell himself for his daily bread. We are tools, vessels of rich men behind the scenes, we are jumping jacks. They pull the strings - we dance." John Swainton - editor of the New York Times on the day of his retirement.

THINGS CAN BE DIFFERENT

The Internet, photocopying, and low cost computer and video equipment have made it easier than ever for everyone to publish their own thoughts and experiences. This information 'revolution' creates opportunities for us all to peer beyond the government propaganda, showbiz hype and consumer bullshit. Now we can all examine for ourselves many of the issues trivialised or ignored by the mainstream. But while we may become better informed, if we fail to act on what we learn, this 'revolution' will be little more than yet more entertainment for passive spectators. Words mean nothing without action...

page 7 (inside back)

letters

quiz page

page 8 (back page)

'sports' page

{to be laid out as some kind of spoof sports page with reports of actions from the previous DSEi}