Here's an old blog we just found that never got posted and which acts as a good reminder of why you should never trust the media. It had been pretty obvious that revenge was going to be had for ‘Tillygate‘. Strathclyde police had been seething after we caught them trying to bribe one of our Plane Stupid activists into spying on the group. But the weapon designed to strike the killing blow – the Mail on Sunday – misfired rather spectacularly.
First things first: a confession (of sorts). I was working for Cavendish Knights, a non-sexual male escort agency. I accompanied well-heeled ladies to business conferences and lunches. It’s good work – I like talking to people – and it helped me pay back my many thousands of pounds of student loans. It’s a reputable business, which has featured in such venerable journalistic outlets as… the Daily Mail.
So I met up with Jane, who described herself as a recent divorcee. She wanted me to accompany her to educational conferences abroad: in Madrid, Brussels or South Africa. I was happy to, but wasn’t prepared to fly. We discussed sending me by Eurostar and the difficulties of getting to Jo’burg without flying. Although she hinted a couple of times, I made it perfectly clear: I won’t be joining the Mile High Club. Not for love, and certainly not for money.
She called me back. She wasn’t a client now, but a journalist, for the Mail. They were running an expose on me. I told her I was worried: we both knew I’d refused to fly, but the Mail is more renowned for ‘creative’ stories about celebrities and immigrants than attention to fact or detail. She assured me they wouldn’t make anything up. I didn’t believe her (she’d already lied to me once), so made sure I recorded the conversation.
Which turned out to be a good thing in hindsight, because splashed across the paper was exactly what I feared: a hatchet job about how I was prepared to sod the climate so long as I got paid enough. She’d got her story, but I had my recording… and the phone number of some lawyers. Because Jane, when you make things up about people, and print it in the paper, it’s called libel, and I get to sue the pants off you.
Figuratively, not literally, of course. This was, after all, a non-sexual escorting job.
Dan Glass is available for barmitzvahs, dinner, conferences and all good children’s parties. Contact Cavendish Knights for details.
Plane Stupid are building in Germany. The campaign against the third runway at Munich could become the German Heathrow - where community action successfully brought the government to it's knees.
Determined local residents are coming together with climate change activists to stop an unnecessary runway. Together with the protests at Frankfurt and Berlin it could bring about a big change in German aviation policy.
25th February - Munich - After a match between Bayern and United Kingdom, countless phone calls and Skype conferencing - all topics are concerned about the protest against the third runway. Here we go! The main question to be explored is what Munich can learn from the Londoners.
29th February – Berlin – Event Launch: ‘Strategies of Protest from London to Berlin’ what creative tools can we share to put a spanner in the works of injustice? Plane Stupid meets Eclectic Electric Collective
In collaboration with some different groups the Aviation Justice Tour have launched a series of videos in response to the arrest of the UK's 'most effective environmentalist' John Stewart to the FBI's fascination with the use of superglue as a 'dangerous' tool in a climate activists weaponry.
Global climate campaigns have vowed to challenge the 'green scare' political suppression of environmental groups through mass superglue trainings. A new US-wide activist network is to be set up to oppose the soaring growth of aviation in North America. The decision was taken after Americans heard from British campaigners John Stewart and Dan Glass about the success of similar networks in the UK. Stewart and Glass had been skyped into over a dozen events across the US on tour after they were refused entry to America to speak about the successful campaign to stop a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.
In controversial circumstances on 29th September, Stewart, voted the UK’s ‘most effective’ environmentalist, had been escorted off the plane at New York’s JFK Airport by armed police before being sent back to Britain. Glass, his visa challenged due to speculation of his 'superglue addiction' based himself in Canada where he worked with the communities around Toronto Island Airport.
Aviation expansion and tar sands have been two of the key climate campaign issues in recent years.
The untold story is that the tar sands and aviation industries are fuelling each other’s expansion. New bounties of fuel from the tar sands are propping up the expansion of aviation across the globe, while aviation is providing a valuable market for aviation and jet fuels refined from tar sands crude. As a result at least 15% of tar sands crude ends up in commercial jets and the revolving corporate door continues to spin between Tar Sands and the Aviation industry execs. There are fuel pipelines to Vancouver, Denver and Chicago airports from Athabasca bitumen mining operations and the notorious keystone pipeline – all which must be challenged. .
All too often, we reinvent the wheel by not connecting the dots between our movements and building off of one another’s momentum, tactics and shared opponents. All along the fossil fuel production line, from Indian mining activists, to Canadian tar sands campaigners and British anti-aviation organizers, we must see find ways to bring our efforts together and support each other to have a hope of tackling this global climatic catastrophe.
4. The Transatlantic Anti Airport Expansion Rolls On – The case of Toronto City Airport Campaign
The UK, US and Canada, per capita are among the most flying nations in the world with some of the weakest train alternatives. With aviation being the fastest growing cause of global CO2 emissions, Aviation Justice Express are proud to launch our global network of grassroots campaigns to challenge this.
"Superglue’s a useful tool in the array of climate campaign tactics. It’s been used to great effect in protests against some of the biggest polluters in the world, from the Royal Bank of Scotland to airports to UK Government departments. If superglue helps stick it to politicians who let us down, then bring on the superglue revolution!"
The Occupy Movement worldwide has been groundbreaking with nowhere more so that in it’s home continent North America. The well-crafted image of Canada as a sweet, caring and obedient nation has taken a much needed blow as no fewer than 20 Canadian cities have seen occupations. It's “We are the 99%” mantra casts a spotlight on global disparities in wealth and power between the ever-shrinking haves and widening have- nots. Occupy’s critique of today’s corporate buy out of democracy is especially redolent here in Canada, where the aviation industry and the fossil fuel industry at large, are the loudest voice in the Canadian government.
Hubris is a funny thing, but it is also a predictable thing. Without fail, it is has an uncanny ability to make those in power sail full speed into headlong disasters whilst convinced of their own infallibility.
The COP 17 charade is the latest display of hubris and its ultimate epitome. Just as the captain of the Titanic ignored the warning of icebergs and kept going at full speed convinced in his unsinkable ship, so the leaders of the world’s biggest economies ignore the dire science of climate change and keep growing their economies at full speed equally convinced their economies are unsinkable.
So the question now is - when the Titanic has hit the iceberg, which it has, which it is - what do we do as we wait for the inevitable? How do we respond accordingly? If you were on the ship and you had just come up from its bowels with an ashen white face because you have seen the water pouring in, how would you focus everyone's attention in the boat for the most viable and painless outcome?
Would you switch on the ballroom jazz music whilst you await the back up life-boats so everyone can dance their final hours away in bliss? Would you scream at everyone and make them wait in the waiting room until their knuckles are white and they are projectile vomiting with fear into the air? Would you let everyone raid the cabin mini-bars so they drown their sorrows? Or ply everyone with caffeine to work into the night for a solution? Whilst the international flares rocket high and the message for more boats is sent out - would you try and cram everyone onto an already-heaving lifeboat? Or would you set up raft making workshops, using the scrap wood from the boats emergency store? Would you give up on saving lives, put on your cleaning gloves and scrub the floor spotless for whoever finds the wreck? Would you arm everyone with weapons, lie to all with stories of each other's blame, nick the last lifeboat and tear off lonely into the night? Would you share your favourite jokes, sing your favourite songs, let the cabin boy/girl know of your (previously) secret lust for them and share your deepest love for your dearest around you? Would you steel yourself for a night in the icy water and prepare to swim for any lifebuoy on the horizon in the remote hope that you may get there and some others might survive the long swim with you?
Alternatively, you might want to ask yourself what were you doing in the bowels of the ship. Should you not have been up on the deck to make sure that the captain and his crew were not doing something as daft as playing with your life by racing through an ice field in middle of night. You will curse yourself for not being there and not taking over the bridge to bring sanity to the situation before it was too late.
The truth is, there are now limited ways to stop destructive climate change. But there are countless ways out there to generate the attention and support mechanisms we so desperately need. Many of us can instinctively join the dots, We can see the connections between war - conflict - climate change and the other big issues - but how to arm everyone to fight the battle, with their heads held high with hope in the long term - is something else altogether.
British Airports Authority wants to close Glasgow Airport overnight and moth-ball Terminal 2 to save itself some money during the winter. Built only 5 years ago, Terminal 2 has been predominantly used by budget airlines specialising in short haul flights. It's a symbol of how the industry's unrelenting growth model has fallen apart with the recession.
Local residents had feared that the airport with passenger numbers could balloon from around 8 million to 24 million over the next 20 years. Now they're looking forward to getting a few decent nights sleep without the roar of planes overhead.
Activists visiting the local community over the past couple of years have noted increasing circumstantial evidence of serious illness and cancer clusters in the vicinity of the airport. We're trying to get progressive voices within the scientific and medical community to study the connections between airport noise and pollution, and ill-health and disease.
Of course not everyone is rejoicing at these plans, and Plane Stupid Scotland vehemently opposes any job losses arising from BAA's closure plans, or any changes to shift patterns that aren't made in full consultation and agreement with workers. It's not their fault that BAA over-reached and built more capacity than it needed. The responsibility lies squarely with the ever-greedy airport operator and its unwavering belief that the growth would never end.
Over the last six months, Plane Stupid activists have been targeted by a campaign of police intimidation. Many of our activists have been approached and teased with incentives to inform on the rest of the group. Elderly activists have been held in a cell overnight for innocently writing 'you fly, we die' in the snow. Now we can reveal that one of our activists, Tilly, was offered a blunt choice: either she spies on Plane Stupid or risks being unable to finish her degree.
The police claimed it wasn’t Plane Stupid they were “worried about, but individuals within Plane Stupid”; individuals, they claimed might be planning acts of violence in the name of our cause. We've heard it all before. At the Climate Camps, it was the elusive “hardcore of trouble-makers” intent on provoking violence, and in the case of the Nottingham conspiracy, “those arrested posed a serious threat to the safe running of the site." EON, the owners of the alleged target of the alleged protest, gave us a helpful clue about what is going here in their statement following the arrests: “While we understand that everyone has a right to protest peacefully and lawfully, this was clearly neither of those things.”
Did you spot the deliberate mistake? Their statement conflates the notions of ‘lawful’ and ‘peaceful’ protest. But the critical distinction between these two lies at the heart of the question of whether the level and type of policing being applied to the climate movement can be justified. Peaceful does not mean the same thing as lawful. No activists at Plane Stupid or the Climate Camp have ever been convicted of a violent crime, and we are proud to be a part of the long tradition of non-violent protest. Plane Stupid welcomes direct action in its name, so long as it is peaceful and accountable.
We know what we have to do. Stopping runaway climate change means taking action to stop and expose those working to protect a system which protects profit over the planet. Plane Stupid is not a threat to anyone‘s health or well-being. But we are a financial threat to big business and a financial threat to carbon-heavy industry. Aviation is still the fastest growing source of Co2. If the Climate Change bill is to be enforced, the industry has to scale down massively. For us, this isn’t merely about Plane Stupid and the police, it is about exposing 'police' tactics which protect a criminal justice system that defend big business instead of civil liberties.
The actions we take are necessary and sensible in light of the scientific evidence. We are a growing movement of concerned citizens who are prepared to put our bodies in the way of these high-carbon developments. We do so because we believe it is both justified and necessary, and that the negative consequences of our actions are better than the consequences of inaction. There's no need to carry out surveillance to catch us, we’re not going anywhere – you’ll find us chained by our necks to a conveyor belt, or superglued to the Prime Minister’s jacket. There is no need to punch or kick us either – that’s why we’re chanting “this is not a riot” with our hands in the air.
It is time to drop the discredited pretence of preventing violence against people, and start a serious conversation about all of this: about why the lie of violence has been accepted for so long despite the absence of any evidence to support it; about what constitutes appropriate policing of peaceful protest, even when it may be unlawful; and about whose interests are really being served by devoting such extravagant police resources to preventing peaceful disruption to major polluters, companies whose core activities are driving us ever closer to the precipice of catastrophic, runaway global warming.
Lord Soley and his chums at BAA are fond of saying that if we don't expand Heathrow everyone will just fly from Frankfurt or Schipol. Not without a fight they won't. Frankfurt is the second largest airport in Europe; Fraport (who own the airport) and the German government are trying to build a new runway to massively increase capacity.
The only problem is the 250,000 m2 of protected forest that cheekily grew where they want to plonk the tarmac. For seven months activists have been squatting the forest, building tree platforms and floating rafts to resist attempts to chop down the forest. The protestors have vowed to defend every tree and every hut. Some of them have a history of anti-expansion protests: twenty five years ago there was a massive site battle over the second runway. Then the German Government swore there wouldn't be any more runways. Where have we heard that before?
January 2009 is bringing threat of eviction - and they need all the help they can get. If you're kicking about and fancy building some metaphorical bridges, why not head over? There's more background info and directions to the camp on their website (in english), and a whole bunch of pretty photos as well. Bus tickets to Frankfurt via Eurolines are about 50 quid.
Is the Government scared of taking climate activists to court now? Just two weeks after the widely-publicised and successful trial of the ‘Kingsnorth Six’, three Plane Stupid Scotland cases were dropped by the Scottish Crown Courts in one week.
The ‘Kingsnorth Six’ were found to have a ‘lawful excuse’ to cause damage to climate-destructive Kingsnorth coal fired power station because they were acting to protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection" from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning coal.