Saturday, April 19, 2014

J18- the work of an undercover cop

June 18 1999 and the Carnival Against Global Capitalism was a day which shut down the City of London by activists which later led to massive rioting. What is being exposed now is that at least one undercover police man organised it.

JSB5 is the code name for Police Officer Jim Boyling who spied on Reclaim The Streets.

Boyling's abandoned Car
Boyling (on left) organising the carnival with RTS- maps and J18 mask to the right can be seen

PC Jim Boyling
In interviews by academic Dr Missumi (not her real name), whilst researching the new forms of social movement tactics employed during J18, police and city authorities at times seem to contradict themselves about the intelligence received leading up to J18.

“We didn’t know where the demonstrators were going,” said Chief Superintendent Kevin Sapsford of the City of London Police1,” we knew the meeting place was going to be in Liverpool Street Station but from there we didn’t know what was going to happen with the crowds and therefore it was very difficult….They were a very well planned group and as part of that planning we subsequently found out that they were using masks on the day which had information printed on the back about who they should follow... We had an idea, well not an idea that’s the wrong term; it sounds very washy. We had information from the MET and from their websites and from sources of information that initially we thought they were going to try and go to one area and hold that area up. However we didn’t have the information because they kept it so close to them.”

Also interviewed for the PHD was Eddi Botham2 a City of London Police officer on the day he is now the security advisor for the corporation of London. During the interview he shows Dr Missumi a 2 hour long police training video made up of footage from various sources during J18, including Special Branch, Forward Intelligence Team, Police Helicopter and main stream media3. “There was lots and lots of conflicting intelligence reports coming in as to what would be targets, what wouldn’t be targets, “ he tells Missumi, “The police knew there would be vast numbers, far bigger than anything we’d had before”. Yet when images appear of the crowd invading the LIFFE he comments: “We knew they were going to attack the LIFFE building but we didn’t know it was going to be this violent, in all fairness.

The day’s timeline (as documented in the Carnival Against Global Capitalism: Internal examination of police operation, published on the 28rd July 1999) exposes the extremely slow reactions of the police on the day. At 1.40pm the first set of demonstrators arrives at the LIFFE and simultaneously two cars (one of them driven by JSB5) block the road outside the LIFFE (upper Thames Street). Whilst one of the entrances is walled up, at 3.30pm the other is breached by protesters who flood inside and try to get onto the trading floor. The police do not arrive on the scene until 4.15pm.

It seems extraordinary that the LIFFE had no police protection. The chief executive and chairman of the LIFFE made complaints following the day, about the failure to protect the building, and the police report acknowledges this: “The external picture is complex and includes high levels of recrimination and concern about perceived and real failures in police action…A great deal of the external recrimination is predicated on the belief that the police knew about the nature and scale of the violence and its predictable locations before the event. On that basis, there is dismay and anger about what the police did and did not do.”6

Leading up to J18, a booklet and web site explaining the working of the city complete with Map was produced by Reclaim the Streets7. The map listed numerous targets on it, including LIFFE. The police report mentions this map saying: “The existence of the list was carefully considered during the pre-event planning and a number of premises were identified as potentially being more attractive to demonstrators than others. It should be emphasised that the refined list of premises was arrived at by an intellectual exercise and that no information existed which might confirm or deny this thinking. “8

The police report continues: “At the time of reporting it is not known definitively who all the different organisers of the demonstration are…. Importantly no information existed to identify a) the ultimate focus of the demonstration b) the tactical plan(s) of the organisers c) that a violent criminal assault on premises (of the nature and scale of the assault on the LIFFE building) was planned or likely.”9

Two years earlier JSB was in the “logistics” group organising the break away Reclaim the Streets action during the March of Social Justice, co organised with the striking Liverpool Dockers. The plan was to leave the route of the march and squat the old empty department of Environment (Marsham Street) turning it into the “real department of environment”, a space for workshops, discussions, parties etc. On the day itself the building was surrounded by lines of riot police and the “logistics” group had to turn to plan b which of course we had not worked on! In the end an improvised street party took place in Trafalgar square, which ended in scuffles with riot police and evening headlines (provided by police press release) of rioters charged with “attempted murder” when a sound system tried to drive to the party through police lines (the charges were of course dropped) 10 It is now pretty clear where the leak came from. There seems to be no reason that JSB did not pass on information leading up to J18.

The concluding remark of the report is that the police must take “Action to regain the confidence of the business City.”11 One cannot help wonder how the City community would respond 13 years on from J18 knowing that a police officer was at the heart of planning of the action.

This leaves one to speculate as to why, given the intelligence, the police acted as they did. Was it because they needed to criminalise the growing movement with ‘violent’ images of property damage. To ban the demonstration or repress it might have backfired on them and strengthened the movement ? (following J18 the plan for “attrition of groups involved” included several fictional leaks to the press such as the City anarchists stockpile arms story in the Sunday times four months later.)

Was it because this was a new type of action and protest tactics they needed to observe rather than repress, to learn for public ordern policing in the future ? (one of the comments on the Police helicopter soundtrack suggests this 12)

Did the age old turf war and the relationship between the City of London police and the Met have anything to do with it? Roger Gomm (head of Public Order) says that during the day the relationship “was difficult and there were some issues.”13 The City of London Police and the Met have often been in competition, on J18 there were two command structures (City and Met) which was identified by Anthony Speed in his report as “unduly complicated.”14 One of the changes to public order policing implemented by the post J18 review was a single command structure known as BEMBO. “Where-as before you’d have this element of us and them,” Chief superintendent Kevin Sapford of the City of London police told Dr Missumi. “now it’s all controlled from one control room, everybody is on the same channel.”15 Did the Met somehow keep the intelligence about LIFFE to themselves so as to create a crisis which they knew might negatively affect the public image of the City Police and ultimately end their relative autonomy giving the Met more control ?

Whatever the reason JSB’s role in all this is definitely something that the Met want to distance themselves from and it feels crucial that this information is in the public domain before the CPS has time to set a case against him.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Young people funding

The Young Roots programme is for projects that engage young people, aged 
11 to 25, with heritage in the UK.You can apply for a grant of more than 
£10,000 and up to £50,000.

Under this programme, we fund partnerships of heritage and youth 
organisations to help young people shape and deliver their own projects 
in safe environments.

The difference we want to make

Young people are bursting with creative ideas about how to explore and 
care for their heritage.

Whether restoring a vintage motorbike, designing a new nature trail or 
documenting changes to their community over time, through Young Roots 
projects young people make a real difference to the places where they 
live. In the process, their confidence grows and they learn valuable 
heritage and employability skills.

We support applicants to deliver high quality projects for all of the 
young people, staff and communities involved. Young Roots projects 
should achieve all of the outcomes for people and communities listed 
below, and one outcome for heritage.

Outcomes for people

With our investment, people will have:

developed skills
learnt about heritage
changed their attitudes and / or behaviour
had an enjoyable experience
Outcomes for communities

With our investment:

more people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage
Outcomes for heritage

With our investment, heritage will be:

in better condition
better interpreted and explained

Details of how to apply at the link below: 

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Top 20 Movie Theaters in the World.

Today, a Welsh based cinema has been listed by USA magazine, Men's Journal in their Top 20 Movie Theaters in the World.

Men's Journal wrote about Sol Cinema
'a mobile setup that brings the theater to you'

The magazine also praised their 'bespoke ushers that channel Hollywood's Golden Age'

The Sol Cinema from Swansea is a mobile cinema powered entirely by renewable energy.The unique movie theatre tours the UK showing short films at events and festivals.

Full house in Sol Cinema is 8 adults or 10 young people.The Sol cinema is designed for short films up to 10mins which allows a regular turnover of audiences. They will be performing at Glastonbury Festival this year.

Notes to Editors:
Mens Journal Magazine article

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How Capitalism works to keep control of the system

Reposted with the kind permission of the Institute for Precarious Consciousness

In the modern era (until the post-war settlement), the dominant affect was misery. In the nineteenth century, the dominant narrative was that capitalism leads to general enrichment. The public secret of this narrative was the misery of the working class. The exposure of this misery was carried out by revolutionaries. The first wave of modern social movements in the nineteenth century was a machine for fighting misery. Tactics such as strikes, wage struggles, political organisation, mutual aid, co-operatives and strike funds were effective ways to defeat the power of misery by ensuring a certain social minimum. Some of these strategies still work when fighting misery.

When misery stopped working as a control strategy, capitalism switched to boredom. In the mid twentieth century, the dominant public narrative was that the standard of living – which widened access to consumption, healthcare and education – was rising. Everyone in the rich countries was happy, and the poor countries were on their way to development. The public secret was that everyone was bored. This was an effect of the Fordist system which was prevalent until the 1980s – a system based on full-time jobs for life, guaranteed welfare, mass consumerism, mass culture, and the co-optation of the labour movement which had been built to fight misery. Job security and welfare provision reduced anxiety and misery, but jobs were boring, made up of simple, repetitive tasks. Mid-century capitalism gave everything needed for survival, but no opportunities for life; it was a system based on force-feeding survival to saturation point

Some useful insights into how the system stops us taking real action to change it.

Link to article

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Where to recycle VHS video tapes

Sometime soon you will have to face what to do with all those VHS video tapes you don't need anymore.

Some estimates put the total private holding across the country at around 1.5 billion cassettes.

Environmental Media Solutions are able to recycle 100% of tapes, CD’s and DVD’s and their cases. The service is free of charge, though unfortunately we can’t cover postage or shipping costs.

We handle a variation of recordable media, these are
  • VHS
  • Betamax
  • Audio Cassettes
  • Floppy Discs
  • Mini DV
  • CD
  • DVD
  • Games
  • Mini Disc
  • Any old computers, hard drives etc.
You are welcome to drop off your waste at our Bristol facility where we are open Monday to Friday 9am through to 5pm. Please don’t travel too far (unless you are visiting Bristol for personal reasons) as this will add to the carbon footprint of your waste. We can recommend as a courier where you can price up and pay for your parcels before shipping. Interlink will come to your home and collect.
More info here

Help us spread the word. Not many people know about what we do and how we help stop recordable media such as VHS entering landfill.  With your help we can spread the word that there is an organisation where you can recycle these types of waste. Search for Environmental Media Solutions on Facebook, like our page and help spread the word. The world will be a better place for it.
main: +44 (0) 1179 614 724

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Banksy mural shows phone spys

Banksy is on form. His latest mural highlights the spying on our phone calls and emails  by shadowy Government agents.The mural is located just three miles from GCHQ.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Sol Cinema goes on tour in 2014

I am busy getting ready to take our little Solar powered cinema on the road again. Sol Cinema can be seen at Glastonbury so if you have any short films you would like screened, get in touch on

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Anti-Nature filkmmaker makes doco on UKIP

Martin Durkin is a wanker. In 1997 he made a series called Against Nature for Channel 4. It targeted environmentalists, and presented them as ‘the new enemy of science’ and comparable to the Nazis. They were responsible for the deprivation and death of millions in the Third World. Now Channel 4 has paid him to make a film on UKIP and Farrage. Here is Miles King article on the full story.

  Last week I forced myself to watch a Channel 4 documentary “Nigel Farage: who are you?”, made by self-styled “fashionable left-wing film-maker turned wicked libertarian” Martin Durkin. He has previously made such edifying and entertaining pieces as “Against Nature” and “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and regularly accuses greens of being fascists.
Durkin used to be a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, founded by University of Kent radical academic Frank Furedi. As society changed, the RCP morphed into the magazine Living Marxism, until that was forced to close – having accused ITN of faking coverage of the Trnopolje concentration camp during the Bosnia war. I think the idea was that the plucky Serbian holders of the Socialist flame could not possible have been to blame for such outrages – and anybody who suggested they were were labelled fascists, in time honoured Trotskyite fashion. ITN successfully sued LM for libel and it closed down. Almost immediately, the RCP grew a new excrescence called Spiked Online, which continues to exist – using much the same approach as the RCP and LM (Trotskyite entryisim and contrarianism)- but with a radical change in political position. Spiked Online is now a mouthpiece for (far-right?) libertarian commentary having lost its communistic shackles. Irish online Magazine Forth is another outgrowth apparently. Where the LM network gets is funding is as transparent as any other right wing thinktank but corporate funding has been linked to them.

In the Documentary, Durkin seemed a bit disappointed with Farage – complaining that Farage’s anti-immigration stance was mistaken, as the free movement of people was as important as the free movement of capital in this best of all possible globalised market-driven world.

But then again they are different aren’t they? While capital can flow (fly) to tax-havens like the Turks and Caicos, or out of Russia, people cannot or choose not to. Farage (and the far right of the Tory party) through that organ of the outraged right, the Daily Mail, and fellow travellers raised the spectre of millions of Romanians and Bulgarians arriving in our island in January. Could they come? yes they could. Did they come? No they didn’t. Decisions taken by individuals as to whether to move from their home country to another one are not taken lightly, and not necessarily driven by pure economic necessity. I know this: my mum emigrated to England in 1954, from Australia.
Farage sought to portray himself in the doco as a man of the people, a defender of what used to be known as The Man on the Clapham Omnibus. We followed him back to the village in Kent where he was born, brought up, and still lives today. He visited the local pub where he was regaled by his locals. The image of Farage with pint of beer and fag in hand is now well-embedded in the media and it is a familiar trope.
The plan is clear and I guess being led by UKIP’s media expert Patrick O’Flynn: represent Farage as normal, friendly, up for a good laugh and a chat about politics down the local. He is portrayed as a pub politician and we were treated to seeing his public verbal assault on The President of the European Commisson Herman Van Rompuy. We were also witness to Durkin and Farage running around The Strasbourg European Parliament like a couple of naughty schoolboys, sniggering as they filmed where they weren’t allowed to, and catching journalists asleep at their computers. This I imagine was supposed to reflect Farage’s “naughty but nice” cheeky-chappy persona. It appealed to my sense of the absurd, but that was about it.
This image is of course a sham. Farage was born into privilege. His father was a stockbroker and Farage went to a top public school, Dulwich College. At the time a teacher had attempted to prevent Farage from being made a prefect on account of his “racist” and “neofascist” views; he was made a prefect though.
Of course we all do and say silly things when we are teenagers and he may have grown out of these views. Farage went on to make a lot of money in the city, as a metals trader before turning to politics. Consequently Farage has many friends in the city, as the film showed. He loves the city of London – he believes it is a force for good.
Durkin called a number of witnesses to attest to Farage’s character and influence. Right Wing/libertarian commentators Simon Heffer and James Delingpole were both happy to shower him with praise, among many others. Only Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was an opposing journalistic view, while former Labour leader Neil Kinnock was wheeled out and portrayed as a straw man to knock down from his Euro-pedestal (after failing to beat John Major in 1992 he went to Brussels to be a Commissioner.)
I suppose it should not be that surprising that the libertarians are warmish fans of UKIP. While Durkin’s hagiography of Farage is well-timed in advance of the Euro elections, there are other connections. Another member of the Living Marxism network, Ben Pile, who writes an anti-environmental and climate change denial website, is also UKIP’s climate change advisor.

It is no surprise that the now exiled Godfrey Bloom was the UKIP climate change leader – either someone in UKIP has a sharp sense of irony or more likely it illustrates their utter contempt for environmental concerns. Bloom is out, now Roger Helmer is at the err Helm on climate change and Pile is his “expert.” Pile has a BA in Politics and Philosophy from the University of York. Helmer who is now positioned as the leading UKIP MEP after Farage, has in the past been funded by the Oil Palm industry to lobby Brussels to reject criticism of this industry which has to clear rainforest to grow the palms, attack climate change “alarmism” – but counter-intuitively, help portray Oil Palm as a carbon sink – as if that would matter if there were no climate change!
Climate Change denier Helmer is also happy to take public funds to put up solar panels.
Helmer’s climate denier wingman Pile is a regular contributor to Spiked Online, as well as running an Oxford Salon, and speaking at various LM events such as the Institute of Ideas. The LM network has a number of these fronts – the Battle of Ideas, Intelligence Squared. If you look carefully you can see other LM network members turning up in the media on a regular basis, such as Claire Fox on the Moral Maze and Timandra Harkness who turned up as resident reporter on social psychology prog “the human zoo” on Radio 4. Next time you hear see or read something that sounds a bit libertarian or anti-environmental – check out the journalist – you might be surprised how often they turn out to be LMers.
Delingpole in a recent interview with Conservative Home talked about the continuing fight against Cultural Marxism, and included climate change and other environmental regulations in that all encompassing term. Water-melons is another favourite phrase of the far-right – because they are green on the outside by red on the inside (geddit?). I didn’t realise I was a Marxist. Interestingly other fellow-travellers of the LM network include arch climate change sceptic and self-styled “rational optimist” Matt Ridley and anti-green re-wilding advocate (huh?) Peter Taylor.
After the programme ended, I wondered to myself “is UKIP racist”? The party does not officially espouse racist policies in the way that the NF or BNP did (I grew up in East London in the 1970s). But it seems unthinkable that UKIP has not attracted in many who previously supported or were active in those extreme and fascistic parties.
I think UKIP has been clever to focus in on Europe because the issue of skin colour is more nuanced. Those of a certain generation (and most UKIP support comes from the over 50s) will recall that the Brits (or should that be English) had highly derogatory terms for every conceivable ethnicity in Europe. The phrase “w….s start at Calais” I am sure still has a certain appeal to that generation.
This cultural superiority, or perhaps a festering nostalgia for such superiority and a burning resentment at its loss, is a malevolent flame burning inside the popularity of UKIP. No wonder the Romanians and Bulgarians (and of course the Roma) are the target of invective (and hatred from some.) Remember the Roma was as comprehensively exterminated in the second world war as the Jewish peoples.
All this must be further confirmation (if any were needed) amongst mainland Europeans, that we Brits (though in truth it is the English who have the problem) are a very weird lot. We just have no idea that people have been moving around the continent for millennia and that it is nothing unusual for ethnic Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Russians and other Slavs, and others to happily/unhappily co-exist with each other, recognising their differences but also sharing their commonalities. When we forget about our similarities and focus on our differences, this is when the problems arise, whether in Nazi Germany, or post-Tito Yugoslavia. We the “native” English are, after all, mostly Anglo-Saxons – Angles from north Germany/Denmark, Saxons from Saxony. Perhaps what UKIP fears most is recognising our European, Germanic roots.
For some, UKIP are the pantomime clowns of British politics, not taken seriously. This is wrong. They are likely to do well in the European Elections next month, they could even win the popular vote. Their views on Europe may be offensive, but their anti-environmental anti-climate change views are more damaging. And the unholy alliance between UKIP and the libertarian movement, under whatever guise, is something to watch and expose.

photo by Berchemboy [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Undercurrents released our first video 20 years ago this month

It is 20 years this month since we launched our Undercurrents Alternative news on videos.In 1994 internet video streaming didn't exist so it was DIY distribution and VHS was our method.
We reported on the Criminal Justice Bill which both curtailed a growing counter culture and invigorated it by bringing a diverse range of groups together. We also produced an award winning documentary on the M11 Link road resistance.

Last week Zoe Broughton, one of the co-founders of Undercurrents put her tape out and her friendly Robin dropped in to check it out.
Read a history of Undercurrents here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Working this week to put English language teachers online.

I have been working with Tantrwm productions this week. Together we put a global gathering of English Language teachers online in style.

Working on a small budget, small crew and an incredible workload we succeeded in producing 60+ hrs of live streamed video, create a professional TV studio, created 2 mobile video mixing units, produced 2 short films, an app and a website. Yet still managed to fit in parties and get up in time for the next days workload.

One of my favourite sessions was from Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education,Newcastle. He showed how kids learn best when they are put together in groups to play with the internet. Leave out the teachers.

Watch our studio interview with Dr Mitra here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stoned wanderings with a Rhino in Nepal

I have just re-found an article a friend and I wrote for Red Eye Magazine so thought I would share it with you. It was Gonzo journalism.

Nepal- It was hot and we were facing down a two tonne living and breathing prehistoric throwback with a bad attitude. At 6.30am the previous morning it had seemed reasonable to head into the Chitwan jungle with a block of the finest hashish, a half gram of cocaine, a bag of mountain weed, and a quart bottle of Gin. Armed with the latest Sony’s, we were 21st century digital hunters tracking the pixel image of our prey.

However, foot slogging it through the dry heat, in search of Nepal’s most dangerous wildlife had made us both complacent and weary. Lighting up a succession of well packed pipes made it all too easy to forget that wild beasts surrounded us. Just about managing to avoid stepping on the many dozing crocodiles, we recorded the fresh paw prints and droppings from a number of formidable feline predators. The scattered peacocks and monkeys may have added a dash of colour to our wanderings but never even came close to breaking into our reservoirs of adrenaline.

Coming face to face with a full-grown and wild Rhinoceros, (and Chitwan boasts more than 500), guarantees to burst the dam creating a monsoon of anticipation. Eyeballing the beast, one of our tracking guides anxiously whispered that the armour plated beast would charge at 45kmh if disturbed. Meanwhile, tracker number two was busy banging the ground with his bamboo stick while grunting out mating calls. All this within spitting distance of a shortsighted animal that charges first and doesn’t bother about questions afterwards. The good Doctor Doolittle would have been dismayed when the same guide then began chucking rocks in its direction.

Current stoned thoughts, apart from who could outrun whom, included ‘why had we dragged a stack of library books this deep into the jungle?’

How could a paperback edition of Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Songs of the doomed’ help us outrun a horned beast? At least page 303 of ‘The Rough Guide to Nepal’ offers advice on ‘How to stay alive in Chitwan’. Apparently we should prepare to sprint in a zig zag pattern while shedding articles of clothing should the beast puts its head down to charge.

When our guide finally riled the animal enough to react, we lost sight of it in the high grass. Recall that scene from ‘Jaws’ when you know there is a Great White homing in but you have no idea which direction it is coming from? Half expecting to hear those eerie bass chords plucked out of the hot air, we followed the example of our experienced trackers. We ran.

If we had remembered, perhaps we could have called upon the Diety of the Jungle to intervene. That very morning we had stumbled across a shrine to Bakrim, Hindus supreme being of the greenery. Broken remnants of clay chillum pipes still lay scattered from the annual three day worship. Smoking copious amounts of Marijuana while ringing bells displays the locals’ faith in Bakrim’s divine protection. They certainly need all the help they can get during February, when the villagers risk their very lives each year crossing the river to enter the jungle. Dozens have been killed or maimed while cutting and gathering the elephant grass for thatching their roofs. Only this morning, locals preparing to drag huge bundles of grass across the river on their heads had disturbed a sleeping rhino. The shouts of panic could be heard all over as villagers ended up hanging from trees.

Mind you, the animals have every right to be pissed off at humans judging on past atrocities. The highest slaughter record was 145 tigers and 58 rhino’s in one hunt led by the British viceroy of India. King George V himself slaughtered another 39 tigers and 18 rhinos during a hunt in 1911 and their skins are probably lining the floors of stately homes across England to this day. 

Luckily our rhino figured that we meant it no harm or perhaps Bakrim had noted our own Marijuana offerings. Whatever it was, the rhino decided to turn and make its way further back into the jungle leaving a dark tunnel in its wake through the long grass.

Long live the Wilderness!

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Inside a Cannabis Club

A friend from Freedom Seeds has just got back from Spain where he blagged entry into one of the latest Cannabis clubs to sprout up.

He wrote..
Located at the end of an unassuming side street off La Rambla, there’s little hint from the outside of the hubbub going on within Barcelona’s latest smoke-filled cannabis club: Strain Hunters.

Since first officially appearing in Spain some years ago, cannabis social clubs have taken advantage of the country’s more relaxed attitude toward personal cannabis cultivation to create an environment where members and guests can relax and enjoy the fruits of their collective labours in an area of hazy legality.
Read more and see photos..

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Movie- Using minatures to rebuild his imagination

This looks a fascinating film- how a man used action figures to rebuild his imagination after a vicious attack left him damaged.


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

First Marijuana advert is broadcast on TV in the USA

The new video advert from is currently airing on FOX, CNN, and ESPN in New Jersey.

Watch the video advert here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Leprachauns found all over Ireland on St Patricks day

As the Irish celebrate their St Patrick's day, people are spotting more run down Leprechauns. Are they a comment upon the financial crisis? Is it an Irish Banksy at work?

Port Laois

Trinity College Dublin
Temple Bar, Dublin

Obama Cafe, Moneygall

If you are aware of the meaning behind these Leprechauns, please get in touch on

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dead leprechauns being discovered across Ireland

I have been getting reports from Ireland about dead leprechauns being discovered this week. Photos are appearing on social media sites in Ireland.
This Dead Leprechaun was seen outside Blarney castle in Cork today
Just days before Ireland celebrates St Patrick's day, I am getting reports of small dead leprechauns being found with gold coins scattered around them. Does it have a political message? Is it a protest? 
Have you heard or seen any other dead Leprechaun?
  Dead leprechaun at our Lady of Wayside

For those who don't know -a Leprechaun is a type of evil fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, who is a trickster and likes to hoard his gold.

  Dead leprechaun was seen on St Patricia Street Cork city

Ireland definitely squandered it's own gold over these past 15 years. They had a chance to borrow Euros at a cheap rate and invest it building Ireland into a strong independent country. Instead the fools at the top destroyed the econony with corruption and went on a disastrous property boom. Maybe they were really Leprechauns?

A dead Leprechaun in Dublin
cliffs of moher
lough derg

If you hear of any more reports of dead Leprechauns please let me know on

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How World War 1 can be explained as a bar fight

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Centre for Constructive Journalism to launch this year

The first facility of its kind for constructive journalism is to launch in Denmark this year.

The centre, which could open as early as the summer, is the product of a collaboration between two of Denmark’s three journalism schools, following the success of The Constructive News course, which launched last year.
Cathrine Gyldensted, an investigative reporter and Positive News columnist, who ran the course and is part of the working group pioneering the new centre, said the facility will play a major role in driving the constructive news agenda.
“There will be a curriculum for new students and a department for continuous education for more experienced journalists, but research will play an integral role.
“We want to home in on psychology, especially positive psychology, and we’re looking at ways developments in neuroscience can help us. There’s a great deal of interesting research coming from the University of Pennsylvania right now, involving studies using MRIs on consumers of news, to assess the feelings and reactions people have towards news in papers. Such research will give us very important insight on how to create engaging, constructive journalism.”

 Read more here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Undercover Cops TV drama to be produced by Age of Stupid team

The Age of Stupid team joins forces with Simon Beaufoy and Tony Garnett for true-life undercover cops TV drama
Spanner Films announces UNDERCOVERS, a four-part television drama series based on the incredible true story of the police spies who infiltrated British activist groups over the last 50 years and the women who had long-term relationships and even children with the spies.

The Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday announced that there will be a full Judge-led Public Inquiry into these undercover police, who also spied on Stephen Lawrence’s family.

The UNDERCOVERS writing team is Slumdog Millionaire and Full Monty’s Simon Beaufoy, who recently scored another smash hit with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, together with Age of Stupid and McLibel writer/director Franny Armstrong, and former Chumbawamba singer/lyricist Alice Nutter, screenwriter of My Generation and The Accused, who was herself an activist for two decades and knew some of the police spies as friends. Director & cast TBC.

Beaufoy says “This true story of love, politics and betrayal has more drama, suspense and moral complexity than anything we writers can ever dream up. I think it has the potential to be a smash hit in the UK and abroad”.One of the true-life stories is that of activist Helen Steel who was planning a future with her partner of two years, “John Barker”, convinced he was the love of her life. After he disappeared suddenly, not knowing whether he was alive or dead, she spent 18 years searching as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand. Eventually she discovered he was in fact married police officer John Dines, who had taken the name John Barker from a child who had died of leukaemia aged eight, without the parents knowing anything about their dead child’s identity being used by the police.

Helen went on to become one of the two defendants in the infamous McDonald’s libel trial in the ‘90s – the longest-running court case in English history. UNDERCOVERS creator Franny Armstrong followed Helen’s story for almost 10 years in her multi-award-winning documentary “McLibel”, seen by 26 million viewers. Helen is part of the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, ”COPS” ( as well as one of eight women taking legal action against the police (

Franny Armstrong and producer Lizzie Gillett pioneered the now-ubiquitous crowd-funding finance model back in 2004, raising £900,000 for their climate change film The Age of Stupid, which reached No 1 at the UK box office, won a Guinness World Record for the biggest-ever premiere, caused the UK government to change its policy on coal power stations and led to the formation of the 10:10 campaign ( in 42 countries. Franny was named one of the World’s Top 100 women by the Guardian and one of London’s 1000 most influential people by The Evening Standard.

Franny and Lizzie have developed a new crowdfunding model for UNDERCOVERS. The first financing round (£150K) is fully subscribed and the next (£3 million) launches in April 2014.

Franny says “There are very few stories compelling enough to dedicate five years of my life to, but the deeper I get into the world of Undercovers, the more committed I become to making a heart-stopping drama which touches and angers millions of people all round the world.”Legendary producer Tony Garnett (Cathy Come Home, Kes), has come out of retirement to act as Executive Producer: "The arbitrary power of the police seems free of all constraint. They casually ruin the lives of idealistic protesters - mere collateral damage; they routinely lie under oath in court; they trample on ancient, hard won liberties. Maybe when we see their actions brought to life on screen we will collectively be galvanised to assert our rights over them." John Battsek from Passion Pictures, who has produced two Oscar-winning films (Searching for Sugarman, One Day in September) joins the team as Executive Producer: “TV shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and House of Cards are combining impeccable writing, fabulous casting and innovative finance and distribution models to herald a new golden age of TV drama. Undercovers dreams of joining this list and has an ace up its sleeve – our story is true. ”Four further seasons – each focussing on a spy-activist couple from a different activist group in a different decade - are planned if season one is a success.

Lizzie Gillett,

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

International Women's Day - video evening in Oxford March 6th

This month's Film Night is going to be films made by women to celebrate International Women's Day - please bring your films along. Thursday 6th March. All welcome and it's free. 7:30pm-10:30pm. (Bring snacks and drinks to share)

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Bristol Radical Film Festival March 3-9th 2014

From the 3rd to the 9th of March 2014 Bristol Radical Film Festival returns with another packed programme of overtly political documentary and fiction film from around the world.

The Bristol Radical Film Festival was founded in 2011 to showcase contemporary and historical works of overtly political documentary and fiction filmmaking. Organised by staff, students and alumni from the Centre for Moving Image Research and the Film team at the University of the West of England (UWE), the festival also aims to draw attention to a range of other progressive, community-based initiatives in the city. Venues include digital outreach projects, anarchist social centres, drop-in centres for sex workers, political squats, radical bookshops, community bicycle hubs, trade union halls etc.

Get involved

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Video cameras drastically cut Police crime

In the US Rialto police force made their cops wear video cameras. A randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers' use of force fell by 60%.
Read more

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A video letter from Kiev- produced by Kony2012 producers?

As people in Ukraine rise up against violent police and what many are viewing as a corrupt Government but is that story too simplistic? According to some, it is a US backed and organised revolution

This slick video which is a direct plea from the streets to the people of the wider World has gone viral with 5.5million viewings in just 2 weeks. It is a strong message, to the point and powerful- just what all campaign videos should be. But it appears to be produced by the same people who made the Kony 2012 video- a bunch of God Squad, US funded media types.The company made $20m from their Kony2012 video which went viral. Are they planning the same for their Ukraine videos?

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Awaiting justice for being spied upon

John Jordan who was spied upon by undercover cop Jim Boyling is waiting for the decision on whether the reasons can be disclosed. I wrote earlier about Boylings involvement in a riot.

The undercover cop went to court alongside John for a protest where John was found guilty of assaulting a police man. The cop allegedly gave false evidence on oath while pretending to be an environmental campaigner.Years later the case was over turned when it was revealed that there was an undercover cop involved.

John Jordan wrote this week 
'We have to wait for the secret court to meet, they say march ???? and the judge wants to immediately (same day ) have the public hearing !'

So far there have been 15 official inquiries and investigations into undercover cops in Eco-protests. While many women are demanding justice for how they were spied upon, I also know of women who have decided to have nothing to do with the inquiries. They have no faith in the Police finding fault with their
own cops. So these police led investigations have served only to delay and distract. Another farce coming from the Police?

This month the first public meeting about the undercover cops debacle is being held in London.

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Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme (UK)

The Lloyds Banking Group has announced that its Social Entrepreneurship 
programme is open for applications.

The programme aims to support individuals and organisations with project 
ideas to improve local communities. The programme provides two levels of 

•New organisations or projects at an early stage can apply for funding 
of up to £4,000 as well as one year of training and development.

•Established organisations that are looking to scale up their projects 
can apply for funding of up to £15,000 and one year of training.

The closing date for applications is 3pm on the 3rd April 2014.


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Met Office report link floods to climate change

Me filming in 1995 at anti car protests
I have been using video to support campaign groups since 1993. It made sense to help people trying to stop more roads being built (which both actually increases traffic and pollution). Thousands of trees and entire forests were destroyed all over the UK to make way for the Tories massive road schemes (biggest since the Romans). Due to the direct action, many of the roads were shelved by 1999.
Then I supported Reclaim the Streets, a vibrant movement to curb car expansion which all led to supporting campaigners involved in averting climate change (chaos).

All the scientific predictions of floods, high winds, heatwaves and general mayhem has all come true this year. Maybe I should have concentrated on being a plumber or flooding engineer as these skills will probably be of more use in the coming years than being a film maker.

The Met office released a report called Global Perspective on the Recent Storms and Floods in the UK.Finally, they are linking the chaos to climate change too

They write
'...recent studies have suggested an increase in the intensity of Atlantic storms that take a more southerly track, typical of this winter's extreme weather. There is also an increasing body of evidence that shows that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, and that the rate of increase is consistent with what is expected from the fundamental physics of a warming world.'

Yet Media Lens today write that 'no matter how extreme the weather, and how awful the hardships endured by ordinary people in the floods, the culpability of corporate-driven industrial 'civilisation', its inherent ecological unsustainability, and the urgent need for radical changes, must not be addressed in any meaningful way. '

They cite 'a careful analysis by Carbon Brief of 3,064 flood-related newspapers stories, published between the start of December 2013 and 10 February 2014, makes this clear. Their stark conclusion is that over 93 per cent of press stories did not mention climate change (never mind the role of humans in disturbing the delicate balance of climate).'

They end their report with 'unless drastic measures are taken to curb global warming, we will be engulfed by catastrophic climate change.'

I have filmed for 20 years and all Governments have dragged their feet on climate change (probably due to their corporate links). So I don't expect much radical action in the near future so invest in boats and wellies, you are going to need them.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Accidental Death of a Cyclist - Trailer

The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is a new documentary produced by a friend of mine Paola Desiderio. As she told me 'I gave my blood sweat and tears for it' which is a good enough reason to help her film become a success.
In 1998 Marco Pantani, the most flamboyant and popular cyclist of his era, won both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, a titanic feat of physical and mental endurance that no rider has repeated since. He was a hero to millions, the saviour of cycling following the doping scandals which threatened to destroy the sport. However, less than six years later, aged just 34, he died alone, in a cheap hotel room, from acute cocaine poisoning. He had been an addict for five years. This is the story of the tragic battles fought by the most important Italian cyclist of his generation; man verses mountain, athlete verses addiction, Marco Pantani verses himself.  
The Film will use race archive and contemporary news footage, stylised dramatic reconstructions and interviews with Pantani’s friends, family, colleagues, and rivals.
It will be in UK cinemas in April and the feature-length documentary is  telling the story of Pantani's dramatic rise and fall.  

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Performance meets Permaculture at The Green Gathering

The Green Gathering is an inspiring event in Chepstow, South Wales and there is a special offer today on tickets.

July 31-August 3 2014, Piercefield Park, Chepstow. It’s a date.

13.2.14: Order your tickets on St Valentine’s Day (14th Feb) and claim our Valentine Special: Seize The Day‘s sparkly new CD Standing Strong, which is absolutely packed with inspiring lyrics and rhythms.
(That’s just one CD per order, not per ticket! It will be automatically mailed out to you shortly after you order.)

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My first cinegraph

I learned today how to make cinegraphs and this is Dai on his banjo. Very cool technique

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Today is day of Activism Against NSA Surveillance

A broad coalition of activist groups, companies, and online platforms will hold a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA's mass spying regime on February 11th. Dubbed "The Day We Fight Back", the day of activism was announced on the eve of the anniversary of the tragic passing of activist and technologist Aaron Swartz. The protest is both in his honor and in celebration of the victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act two years ago this month, which he helped spur.

London, United Kingdom
Cryptoparty and the launch of an UK coalition to end mass surveillance:
February 11th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Meet at Free Word Centre 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA, London
Meetup page

Brighton, United Kingdom
February 11th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Meet at 68 Middle Street 68 Middle Street, Brighton
Meetup page

Southampton, United Kingdom

Cryptoparty February 11th, 2014
Details: Southampton University
Website: none


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