Monthly Archives: August 2006

Peaceful holiday-makers violently attacked in Essex

“Picture shows baton strike right to left slightly arched downwards. Good technique. Nice result.” … a police spokesman comments on the above photo on urban 75

The so-called ‘Mega-rave’ over the weekend was smashed with severe police brutality, leading to one party attendee allegedly losing an eye.

The ‘Mega-rave’, organised largely by the Guardian was planned months in advance by subversive newsletters and websites hoping to resurrect the sinister mega-rave movement which swept the UK in the 1990’s.

Believed to have connections with terrorist organisations including both the UK based labour party and the more hardline US Republicans, the underground publication the Guardian launched the chilling plans for a ‘Mega-rave’ last week. They clearly attempted to encourage fellow radicals to swarm into the countryside and stumble about to repetitive beats until they fall over.

Luckily ravers managed to foil the sinister plot however this resulted in several ‘out of control’ cops, hyped up on testosterone, caffeine, bitterness and doughnuts to descend on peaceful civiliians and launch a violent, unprovoked attack.

Some brave attendees attempted to fight back however were thwarted when terrifying marauders dressed in black body armour, face masks and carrying offensive weapons descended on peaceful bank holiday revellers and plunged them into violent carnage.

Many of those who attempted to defend friends and family were ‘disappeared’ into what are believed to have been steel locked cells. Many were violently beaten, verbally abused and some left with serious and permanent injuries.

These ‘cops’ as they have become known are ibecoming a worrying problem for law-abiding people with some citizens reporting to being shot after having their homes broken into and one family claiming that ‘cops’ shot their son in cold blood whilst he was running for a train!

Believed to have been behind a number of faked terrorist plots these increasingly vicious thugs are becoming a serious threat and vigilance is being warned to all those who are attempting to create a peaceful and tolerant society.

Meanwhile if you see a ‘cop’ out in the street we suggest you say nothing and ignore them completely. On no account approach them, they can be considered armed and highly dangerous (although initial studies suggest they have limited intelligence and severe personality disorders this is only likely to make them more volatile and unpredictable).

a vile propaganda site describes their twisted version of events
Officers injured in rave clashes

a demonstration has been called on 9th September outside Essex police station, more when we know it.

Back in the saddle again …

OK, here’s the news, next year the void will be taking August off completely, it’s not that we don’t like you, just that we like to the Summer too much to care what useless capitalists are up to …

… and even they aren’t up to much come the Summer.

But the carnival happened (and it was a good one) which means Summer is officially over and the long dreary trek of Autumn begins. We had a good one, the two year old turned three, we spent most days in the open air and many nights under the stars and we’re feeling occasionally upbeat about the coming months.

Lots of things seem to be on the cards to keep us entertained … the further demise of the new labour project, the inevitable slide into world war three, the upcoming police state and best of all the rise of Polish beer taking it’s rightful place leading the pack in all good London off-licences.

Lets hear it for Lech!

Medical Ganjas Last Stand


Since the demise of the cannabis festival the legalise pot movement has barely sparked in recent years, but throughout the true heros have been the medical growers and suppliers.

Over a five year period, THC4MS have sent over 33,000 bars of CannaBiz chocolate to sufferers of MS, several others around the country have also risked their liberty to supply medical cannabis to those who need it.

THC4MS and several others are facing a court hearing for this humanitarian act this December and may face several years in jail as a result. They have been told by the judge that their case has no defence in law.

A call has gone out asking for support, you can sign the petition here, or keep updated on their website to find out how you can help.

the void will be keeping an eye on this one so check back for updates.

Blockade the Foreign Office!



“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office under the leadership of Margaret Beckett and Geoff Hoon, is complicit in the continuing destruction of the Middle East. From the bombing of Beirut to the bloodshed wrought in Iraq and Afghanistan their overt, or tacit, support has seen thousands die with more suffering the same fate everyday.

Whilst individual ministers and civil servants, such as Kim Howells, may make meek protestations against the violence, as a department it is central to the continuation of these brutal wars and the human suffering they bring.

Shutting the department down for the day will make it clear that we will not stand by passively whilst people are being massacred across the globe by our government.”

Including live performances from Palestine!, Balata refugee youth dance troupe performing from 8-9 am.

more

This Government Has Gone to Pot!

The UK government seems to be falling apart at the seams as it steers it’s rudderless ship towards self-destruction. With the Fuehrer sunning himself in Barbados it seems that deputy PM Prescott has vanished.

Completely absent during the liquid explosives saga (police claim to have unearthed several bottles of White Lightening Cider) poor old Prezza has been missing since last week.

His long suffering wife is said to be ‘relieved’ whilst his constituents are thankful to be able to see sunshine for the first time in years. A large mass found floating in the Atlantic has now been proved to be an iceberg, although rumours persist that Prescott is on the way to the States to have another go after starting a fight with Blair just before the end of term.

Gordon Brown has reportedly said ‘give the bastard one from me ya big lump.’

Bliar, hiding out in the mansion of notorious womaniser and satanist Cliff Richard has been keeping quiet whilst the world decends into chaos, sulking as he is because Bush wouldn’t let him go to Lebanon.

Whilst Blair lives it up in the sun gibbering John Reid has attempted to take control of the situation leaving Whitehall insiders concerned for his mental health. Reid’s carer spoke to the void:

“We think it might be Alzeimer’s, first he convinced himself that he was some big Glaswegian hardman, I mean the man’s 93, now he’s convinced he’s prime minister. We tried to play along with his tough guy fantasies, but .. well let’s just say you wouldn’t think he was so tough if it was you that had to change his nappy.”

More worrying Reid’s delusion is such that he is still maintaining that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not increased the terrorist threat to the UK.

Meanwhile guido is reporting the existance of a video which shows a Labour minister smoking a spliff. Environment minister, hippy Ben Bradshaw seems to be in the frame according to comments left on guido’s blog although guido himself neglects to tell us exactly who the toker is claiming his source has backed out (or realised that it might make him a few bob if he sold his vid to the scum rather than give it away for free on someone’s blog).

Another possible culprit is of course John Reid himself, who always keeps a bit of hash tucked away at home for those ‘difficult’ days, whilst Prescott himself could also be in the frame after reports that he has been suffering from a 30 year attack of the munchies.

Some have also speculated that Blair’s trip to the Caribbean may have been a mission to pick something up for the folks in the cabinet as he’s the only one able to make it through customs these days without getting busted. This would also explain his desire to go to Lebanon and and the frequent trips to Afghanistan.

Senior tories Cameron and sick boy Osborne were asked to give a few lines on this latest scandal to hit the Labour front bench but Cameron just snorted whilst Osborne asked if we’d got any tinfoil.

Not all Israelis Support this War

A banner drop in Tel Aviv last week

Protests have been happening across Israel in response to Israeli aggression despite the constant parroting in the western media that all Israelis support this war.

On Saturday 5th August over 10,000 people marched in Tel Aviv in one of the largest anti-war demonstrations Israel has ever seen. Not to be outdone, Israeli anarchists blockaded the entrance to the Ramat David air force base in the north of the country from which fighter planes have been leaving to bomb Israel.

Heavy handed goons from the IDF hit back over the weekend with one Israeli demonstrator being shot twice in the head with rubber bullets at an anti-war demo in the Palestinian village of Bil’in (video here). The man shot has suffered permanent brain damage and several other demonstrators were also shot or badly beaten.

Today the ceasefire in Lebanon seems to be holding although trigger happy Israeli soldiers shot at a group of Hezbollah fighters in the town of Hadatha in south Lebanon, killing one of them, within hours of the ceasefire beginning.

A spokesman said an Israeli patrol felt “under threat” when the fighters approached it and had not broken the terms of the ceasefire and what’s more one of them looked at his bird and another spilt his pint.

Both sides are claiming victory in the conflict which lasted a mason friendly 33 days with Hezbollah congratulating Lebanon on its “big victory” and thanking citizens for their patience during the violence.

In an attempt to win the propaganda war the Israeli foreign misistry has called on zionists the world over to get online to support Israel with a letter posted on a pro-Israeli website stating:

“Many of us recognize the importance of the Internet as the new battleground for Israel’s image. It’s time to do it better, and coordinate our on-line efforts on behalf of Israel. An Israeli software company have developed a free, safe and useful tool for us – the Internet Megaphone.

Please go to http://www.giyus.org, download the Megaphone, and you will receive daily updates with instant links to important internet polls, problematic articles that require a talk back, etc.”

the void says … come and have a go if you think yer hard enough!

Camp for Climate Action Programme Launched

The Climate Camp will take place in Megawatt Valley, near Leeds, home of Drax power station from August 26th to September 4th.

Several thousand activists from across Europe are expected to attend and Drax power station, Europe’s biggest single cause of pollution will receive a visit from the camp on Thursday 31st August. The programme for the weekend has just been launched and is available here and a call has gone out for as many people as possible to get involved and help out in any way you can.

http://climatecamp.org.uk/

Iranian gays speak out

Back again, hi folks, this is kinda long but well worth reading …

To: International LGBT community
From: The Editors of MAHA – An E-magazine for LGBT Iranians

With regard to the July 19 International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran:

We note some differences of opinion in the international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement about how to best support LGBT people in Iran.

We would like to express our view, and we believe that a great number of our readers share our opinion.

Iranian society has developed despite the oppression. The demand for democracy and human rights is growing in our country.

We believe that the human rights of Iranian women, students, workers and LGBT people are not western phenomenon but aspects of universal human rights and are important for human freedom, dignity and fulfilment in Iran – and everywhere.

Despite all our difficulties and dangers, the Iranian LGBT community is getting more and more informed and is expressing its demand for human rights. We identify as LGBT people and want the same freedoms that LGBT people worldwide want.

Let no one claim there is not homophobic oppression in Iran. Every LGBT Iranian is at potential risk of arrest, imprisonment, flogging and execution.

Avoiding such a fate requires leading a double life and hiding one’s sexuality. Even though there are secret gay parties and magazines, we are all at risk. Great discretion is the only thing that keeps many of us from the jails of the authorities – and worse.

Any disagreement over the reason for the execution of Mahmoud and Ayaz in the city of Mashhad last July does not alter the fact that the execution of men and women indulging in same-sex relations is mandatory in the penal code of Iran.

For the record, we believe the two teenagers were hanged because of their homosexuality.

The authorities are well-known for pinning false charges on the victims they execute. We urge people to never take at face value the charges claimed by the courts and newspapers.

They are not reliable. In late July 2006, for example, a BBC television programme in England exposed how the Iranian authorities made false allegations about Atefah Sahaaleh, who was executed in the city of Neka in 2004 for “crimes against chastity”.

The Iranian courts even lied about her age, claiming she was 22 at the time of her execution. In fact, she was only 16 – a minor, like Mahmoud and Ayaz.

We express our appreciation and admiration for the united efforts worldwide on July 19 in support of Iranian LGBT people, against homophobic oppression and all executions in Iran.

These efforts gave us Iranian LGBTs hope and inspiration. It is good for our morale to know that people in other countries care about us and are pressing the Iranian authorities to halt their homophobic persecution.

Some prominent authorities here in Iran publicly condemned same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, following last year’s international protests against the Mashhad hangings. This shows that your protests are having an effect.

The authorities in Tehran are concerned about the bad publicity they are getting all over the world. Please do not stop. International protests are effective and we urge all groups around the world to work together for the common good of LGBT Iranians.

There is growing activity by Iranian LGBTs, both inside and outside Iran, to enlighten people about sexual diversity and respect for individual sexual orientation. Our E-magazine is part of that process.
The Iranian LGBT community in exile plays an important role in the struggle for LGBT rights in Iran. We believe that unity and cooperation between all LGBT Iranian activists is vital and important and we advocate this unity.

LGBT rights are part of human rights and they will be achieved in Iran by a joint effort from all Iranians for a democratic and modern Iran. International support for the democracy struggle inside Iran, at every level, is laudable and helpful.

We express our strongest opposition to any military intervention or military action against our beloved county Iran.

It will not help the democratic struggle here but only strengthen the position of the conservative religious hardliners. War would close down the opportunities for reform.

The authorities would use the pretext of “national security” to suppress debate and dissent, including the work of LGBT Iranians.

Within our country, LGBTs need to make alliances with other oppressed sectors of the population who share our commitment to democracy and human rights. It would be a mistake to see LGBT rights as separate from the broader humanitarian struggle in Iran.

Isolating our movement would keep it weak and marginal. LGBT rights should be a part of the mainstream Iranian democratic agenda.

We believe that Iranian LGBTs need support at every level, both nationally and internationally – from the UN, EU and national governments, and from human rights, NGO and LGBT organisations worldwide. We value your solidarity.

International pressure on the Iranian authorities regarding human rights and LGBT rights is effective and we welcome it.

Portraying homosexual rights in Iran only as a socio-cultural issue is harmful for our unity and the success of our struggle. It is our view that LGBT rights are about social, cultural, economic, legal and political justice.

One cannot fight for LGBT people but ignore discrimination in the law and the fact that the Iranian authorities have made sexual orientation a political issue by denouncing and outlawing same-sex relations, and by punishing LGBTs with imprisonment and violent abuse, including torture and hanging.

We do not agree that the LGBT issue in Iran is purely a cultural matter. LGBT rights are a political issue too. Achieving LGBT rights in Iran demands hard work, both socio-cultural and political – changing laws and institutions, as well as changing people’s values and attitudes.

Iranian homosexuals are oppressed by the authorities. But in some other Muslim countries, like Lebanon and Turkey, LGBT people are able to form their own organisations, organise conferences and publish their information.

This shows that greater liberalisation is possible in a Muslim country.

That is why, we strongly believe that in the current situation, the central obstacles against homosexual rights in Iran are the anti-homosexual laws.

That is why the removal of discrimination against LGBT people in the country’s penal code is vital. It would pave the way for a significant improvement of LGBT people’s lives by changing the law and removing the threat of arrest and other abuses.

We also need democratic, reform-minded people to lead the country and to secure changes in the education system and the media to combat homophobic prejudice and to promote understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

Due to the current homophobic repression in Iran, we are unable to openly express our demand for LGBT human rights. That is why international LGBT pressure on the Iranian authorities, in solidarity with Iranian LGBT people, is most vital and welcome.

We thank you for your support.

MAHA
Iranian LGBT E-magazine

MAHA is not a group or organisation but purely an E-magazine with about 1,700 subscription members and we estimate 3,000 to 5,000 readers (some overseas).

http://uk.gay.com/

New Drugs Research is Just Plain Nutts!

ok, we admit we’ve been a bit slow off the mark with this one. here’s how it is folks, if you want sarcasm, cheap jokes and unsubstantiated allegations then we can keep up to the minute. expect anything that requires such a dull concepts as research or coherency to take us a few days.

The Independent this week splashed a study across the front page purporting to show the relative dangers of different drugs. The Indy claimed:

“This is the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society. It was devised by government advisers – then ignored by ministers because of its controversial findings”

In a misleading report the Indy implies that this list was part of the recent report by the Science and Technology Committee entitled ‘Drugs classification: making a hash of it‘ (a pun worthy of the void!). Commoner Colin Blakemore took time out from torturing defenceless animals to oversee this report which savaged the current system of classification as well as the role of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

The report only contains the study quoted in the Independent as part of the appendix and is actually quite critical saying

“We welcome the initiative taken by the ACMD Technical Committee to develop a standard framework for the assessment of harm but we also note that determining harm scores using the matrix is almost as much an art as a science.”

Which sounds like damning with faint praise to us, in fact the report is at times scathing in it‘s criticism of the ACMD.

Alongside the study the Indy also included statistics on annual drug deaths which has also contained controversy claiming as it does that cannabis killed 16 people in 2004.

This information appears to be based on statistics which take into account whether cannabis was mentioned on the death certificate as opposed to whether cannabis was described as the cause of death. In 2004 cannabis was mentioned on 16 death certificates, however on at least 8 of those alcohol was also cited as a factor. These statistics are not included in the actual report, which leave you wondering why they chose to include them.

Back to the study which was the creation of Professor Nutt (oh yes) who is in favour of vaccinating children against drugs from an early age, nicely letting us know early which side of the libertarian fence this particular puritan sits on.

Closer analysis also reveals that his study is far from scientific and based on pure opinion rather than facts as would be hoped for in a scientific study.

This study, which claims cannabis is more dangerous than solvents and the most dangerous drug is heroin suffers from the usual prejudices of those who may well work in the drugs field but have little accurate information about the dangers of drugs. This is not an uncommon phenomena, just check out the Talk to Frank website (and the critique here) to reveal the sad naivety of those who direct drugs policy and provide information to drug users.

The methodology for the study was relatively simple. Various assessment parameters were established based on three categories
Physical Harm which was further broken down into
1 Acute—meaning the immediate effects, eg respiratory depression with opiates, acute cardiac crises with cocaine, and fatal poisonings;
2 Chronic—referring to the health consequences of repeated use, eg psychosis with stimulants, possible lung disease with cannabis;
3 The specific aspect of intravenous (iv) use.
Dependence broken down into
4 Intensity of pleasure
5 Psychological dependence
6 Physical dependence
And finally Social Harms whivch broke down into
7 Intoxication (based on the effect of someone intoxicated on the rest of society)
8 Other social harms
9 Healthcare costs

Ratings were to be awarded to each drug for each parameter using a four-point scale, with 0 being no risk, 1 some, 2 moderate and 3 extreme risk. This mean of these ratings was then established for each parameter and for all 9 parameters which gave each drug its final place in the list.

Nuttjob and his team then asked two independent groups of experts to perform the ratings. The first was a national group of consultant psychiatrists who were on the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ register as specialists in addiction. Replies were received and analysed from 29 of the 77 registered doctors canvassed on 14 compounds (not 20 as in the final list).

The first flaw therefore becomes immediately apparent. These experts were in effect self-selected and had all the information they needed in advance. This means that any rabid anti (or pro) drugs shrink would be likely to partake whilst those who did not hold strong opinions either way probably gave it a miss.

The question should also be asked exactly how a shrink is qualified to give an ‘expert’ opinion on the physical health risks of most recreational drugs. Pharmacologists or even medical doctors may have been able to give a better assessment. Perhaps the wealth of research on physical dangers of different drugs could have been a better starting point and have avoided such anomolies as LSD (a completely and provably non-toxic substance) being given almost the same rating for physical health risks as solvents, known killers.

Nutt and his team of nutters (sorry, but I’m not gonna stop) then sent the assessment out to a group made up of “individuals with a wide range of expertise in addiction – ranging from the forensic science service through to general practitioners and epidemiologists and including law enforcement officers.” That’s right folks, those notorious intellects in the field of bio-chemistry and sociology, the old bill were called in to give their, as ever unbiased and professional opinion.

The Nutty Professor then chucked in a further 6 substances for good measure (khat, 4MTA, GHB, ketamine, methylphenidate, alky nitrites) of for what he calls ‘completeness.’ Nutt gushes about how similar the results were for each of the two groups, neatly sidestepping the fact that they were not comparing like with like and that all he has actually proved is that drugs professionals share similar prejudices and ignorance when it comes to drugs.

Probably because they get most of their information from studies like this one. The one group who are most qualified to discuss relative drug risks … experienced drug users, were obviously not consulted.

the void does welcome the inclusion of tobacco and alcohol on the list, rightly both scoring highly and sending those who would lock up drug users for life into such a rage that they needed a stiff drink and a couple of valium to calm down.

Having said that this list is at best a waste of time and presumably tax payers money and at worst dangerous suggesting as it does that cannabis is more harmful than solvents, steroids or 4-MTA, all of which have claimed lives. On the other side of the scale Khat, which is devastating some parts of the Somali community where unemployment is higher than almost any other ethnic group is given a ludicrously low score for social harm. This would almost certainly be because most of the so called ‘experts’ had probably never heard of it!

We wonder what the cops on the list would have made of being asked to rate the physical harm of Buprenorphine over Methylphenidate, words they are unlikely to even be able to pronounce.

Finally, whilst it can be noted that many of the drugs on the lists are drugs which are proscribed by doctors and produced by the pharmaceutical industry (lets just ignore the laughability of ‘street’ methadone, known to become infinitely more dangerous the second it leaves the chemists) the old nutter managed to miss one of the biggest killer drugs from his study. Deaths involving paracetamol and its compounds accounted for 453 drug related deaths in 2004, but of course that kind of information only upsets advertisers and doesn’t make particularly good copy.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this study it that many of the same old misconceptions about drugs, psychedelics and cannabis remain firmly entrenched within the medical establishment . Until a truly scientific method is developed which takes into account actual , factual information on toxicity and realistic statistics on damage from drugs (including legal highs like booze and fags as well as pharmaceutical substances) then any attempt to classify drugs based on the opinions of a few cops and shrinks is likely to end up making a bit of a hash of things.

read the report (the study in question is in the last part of the appendices)

Six Parents Still on Hungerstrike at Yarl’s Wood

a child’s view of life in yarl’s wood detention centre

Six parents remain on hungerstrike at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. One campaigner working with the families has said:

“I have been speaking to them daily, and have noticed their voices are getting weaker and they have told me that they feel very ill. When I asked how long they intend to continue, they said until the Home Office comes and talks to them.”

Meanwhile No Borders, who campaign against the detention of refugees have launched a new website, check http://noborderslondon.blogspot.com/