Thursday, July 17, 2014

World Chamption boxer uploads my video

2 times World champion boxer Amir Khan has uploaded my video of Swansea campaigners to his Facebook page. The video shows activists taking direct action in Tesco's for selling Israeli goods. 

Within 2 days it already has 7500 likes and hundreds of comments and has been shared more than 5000 times.

Power of celebrity endorsement!

a screen grab from Amir Khans facebook
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

BBC radio- about solar powered cinema in a caravan

I was on BBC radio this evening talking about our Solar Powered Cinema
You can listen to the chat here

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

Friday, July 04, 2014

Our tiny movie house- Sol Cinema

Last weekend we took our unique cinema to Glastonbury festival and showed dozens of short films to 1000 people over the event. We can fit 8 people in at a time so it was a lot of showings, with red carpet treatment, popcorn, usherettes and surround sound and projections.

We call it is the Sol Cinema and it is also 100% solar powered. We are a mini-plex as we give audiences 3 screens to choose from. We are next in Lewisham in London on July 12th. Details on Sol Cinema website

The Sol Cinema crew for Glastonbury

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

The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance- being shown on July 11th in London

Film maker Nia Pora invites you to the preview of the documentary project I have been working for the last months: The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance.
It's going to be screened next Friday, July 11, 8.30pm, at the Rich Mix, and I also highly recommend the other two films being shown that night: Corumbiara by the great educator and filmmaker Vincent Carelli and Toxic by the journalist Felipe Milanez.

These films will give you a very deep understanding of some key issues the Amazon rainforest, and it's people, have been currently facing.

The short documentary The Mundurukus Indians - Weaving Resistance, directed by Nayana Fernandez, will be featured at the Amazon Film Fest on Friday 11th July, 8.30pm.

The film documents the resistance of the Mundukurus community to protect their living environment against the construction of a series of dams on the Tapajos River, a project that will cause the destruction of local biodiversity and disruption of the way of life of thousands of Amerindians.

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

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Our ISP is suing the Government internet spies

Sue the Internet Spies


The ISP I have used to host undercurrents for nearly 20 years is going to sue the Spies.

GreenNet with 6 other ISPs from around the world are calling for an end to GCHQ’s attacking and exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain mass access to private communications. The complaint, filed by Riseup (US), GreenNet (UK), Greenhost (Netherlands), Mango (Zimbabwe), Jinbonet (Korea), May First/People Link (US), and the Chaos Computer Club (Germany), along with Privacy International, is the first time that ISPs have taken collective action against GCHQ.
Seven internet service and communications providers from around the world filed a legal complaint today, calling for an end to GCHQ’s attacking and exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain access to potentially millions of people’s private communications.
The complaint, filed by Riseup (US), GreenNet (UK), Greenhost (Netherlands), Mango (Zimbabwe), Jinbonet (Korea), May First/People Link (US), and the Chaos Computer Club (Germany), along with Privacy International, is the first time that internet and communication providers have taken collective action against GCHQ’s targeting, attacking and exploitation of networks maintaining communications infrastructure.

Cedric Knight, of GreenNet, said “Snowden's revelations have exposed GCHQ's view that independent operators like GreenNet are legitimate targets for internet surveillance, so we could be unknowingly used to collect data on our users. We say this is unlawful and utterly unacceptable in a democracy. Our long established network of NGOs and charities, or simply individuals who value our independent and ethical standpoint, rely on us for a level of integrity they can't get from mainstream ISPs. Our entire modus operandi is threatened by this illegal and intrusive mass surveillance.”
Read details here

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

Funding for your film

The call for the BERTHA BRITDOC CONNECT FUND is now open, taking applications until September 1st. The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.

THE FLEDGLING FUND deadline for letters of interest is coming up: July 16th. Their grants support outreach and audience engagement for social issue documentaries and range from smaller planning grants to implementation grants for projects that have a clear plan ready to launch.

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FUND for grants across all stages of development, production, post-production, and strategic audience engagement. Deadline: July 8th, 2014

HARTLEY FILM FOUNDATION provides support through seed grants for documentaries that the Foundation fiscally sponsors. Hartley awards grants for documentaries in the areas of world religions and spirituality, on a rolling basis.

Submit your project to CPH:FORUM, CPH:DOX's international financing and co-production event by August 1st and get the chance to win a 15000 Euros cash prize, meet international key players & much more.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Alternative to the World Cup- Sol Cinema

Sol Cinema- the smallest movie theatre in the World
Rather than watching the World Cup, Sol Cinema are off showing inspiring short videos in our little cinema. We accommodate 8 people

Sol Cinema- the smallest movie theatre in the World

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to open an ethical bank account

Triodos Bank has been funding community-owned renewable energy projects in the UK since 1996. The projects provide clean energy for communities and the income from generating electricity has also funded local improvements. These have included renovating village halls, purchasing ground for sports fields, supporting clubs for local children, and creating safe public footpaths along busy roads.

Triodos Bank’s lending is only possible through its savers. The funds placed into Triodos savings accounts by Friends of the Earth supporters have been lent to environmentally sound, socially conscious enterprises including community-owned renewable energy projects - providing jobs and income for people, while striving to free the UK from dependence on dirty energy.

Friends of the Earth said
Thanks to everyone who has already opened an account with Triodos. The bank has made a donation to Friends of the Earth for every account opened at the link below. Doing this has already triggered donations of over £4,100 for Friends of the Earth since March (the donations received last year totalled more than £10,000).

Open an account with Triodos, deposit £100 or more and they'll donate £40* to help with our work. The donations we receive from Triodos will help us to continue our campaigning work, including our efforts to save Britain’s bees and prevent fracking.
Apply now for an ethical savings account.

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

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Is Google on the wrong side of history?

My article about how Google is wiping Marijuana off their platforms has been published in Weed World this month. But my readers can read it here.

Is Google on the wrong side of history?
Thirty five years before eBay or amazon the world’s first online transaction was a bag of marijuana. In 1971 students at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory chose weed for this seminal act of

Four decades later, ‘ganjapreneurs’ are being pushed offline by the corporations. While the sale of cannabis seeds, or the weed itself, can be entirely legal within a sellers borders, go online and it all changes. Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have all banned the promotion of anything related to marijuana.

Google hasn’t just limited the ban to their online searches either. The corporate giant also owns YouTube, controls 66% of the smart phone market and created Google+, which is now the 2nd largest social network in the world.

Google's official Adwords policy doesn't allow the ‘promotion of illegal drugs, legal or synthetic highs, herbal drugs, chemicals and compounds with psychoactive effects, drug paraphernalia, or aids to pass drug tests.’
Google specifically cites marijuana as one of the several drugs for which it does not allow adverts. But what Google says and how they act appears to reflect the current laws surrounding the herb: plenty of contradictions.

According to financial reporters Bloomberg, cannabis use is high amongst the tech geeks in California’s Silicon Valley (where Google is based). This may explain why the charitable unit of Google gifted a Michigan medical marijuana advocacy group $120,000 worth of its services. Michigan Compassion is now able to promote medical marijuana use through the AdWords platform (the plain-text advertisements that pop up to the right side of any given search result). Yes, the same Adwords which explicitly bans adverts for anything related to marijuana.

Seed companies, meanwhile, are waking up to find that they have suddenly been pushed offline. The Google owned YouTube is deleting thousands of videos connected to marijuana. A growing number of seed companies have complained that their entire collection of videos have been deleted and their YouTube accounts closed. A spokesperson for Netherlands based company Spliff Seeds said, “I tried to contact YouTube but didn’t get any reply. I also tried to contact several community managers in Google and YouTube groups but without any success. I still don't know why our channel is blocked. We didn't start over because we don't want to get more penalties.”

In March 2014, the UK based Freedom Seeds had their entire catalogue of videos deleted. Their news reports consisted of exclusive interviews with Europe's top cannabis breeders and insider reports from Cannafest in Prague and Spannabis in Barcelona. Both their YouTube and Google+ business accounts have since been terminated.

Following days of frantic correspondence, a spokesperson for Google informed Freedom Seeds, “Due to your page advertising cannabis seeds it has been locked out for promoting a regulated good, thus it won't be unsuspended.”

A spokesperson for Freedom Seeds said, “Google and YouTube need to have clear guidelines and apply it to everyone. Randomly terminating the account of our seed company, which is entirely legitimate in the UK, is unfair and unjustified. There are many cannabis related channels on YouTube so why single us out and shut us down? Everything we do is 100% legal in the UK and we trade quite openly.”

With more than 1 billion unique users visiting the video platform each month, YouTube is an integral part of any company’s marketing strategy. When POT-TV had their YouTube account terminated it hit them hard as they lost their entire list of 10,200 subscribers and their 300 videos. The Canadian online channel was funded with revenues from Marc Emery's cannabis seed selling business.

POT-TV Editor Jodie Emery wrote at the time, ‘We're very upset about this, as our presence on YouTube was very strong and we had hundreds of thousands of views.’

Dutch headshop and cannabis seeds seller AzariusTV also had their YouTube account terminated. A spokesperson for AzariusTV explained, “Rather than being angry, we’re just quite sad. Sad that in the year 2014, people are still so very scared of smartshop and headshop items and feel the need to censor us.”

Despite being presented with many terminated YouTube channels, Google refuse to admit that they are forcing marijuana off their platforms.

A spokesperson for Google said, “It's not accurate to say that Google has an active policy of deleting marijuana / cannabis related videos from our platform.”

The common problem behind most of the terminations appears to be Google’s own social network platform. Many of these issues having occurred after YouTube users were forced to join Google+ if they wanted to make comments on any video.

Despite the number of examples of weed related YouTube channels being deleted shortly after joining Google+, the corporation denies any link. Google insist that their policies are consistent across both YouTube and Google+.

Google stated, ‘Once something is flagged, the team review whether the content breaches the community guidelines. Irrespective of the platform, the analysis should be the same.’

Cannabis Country is a website for news, information, and reviews on everything related to cannabis. Based in the USA, they used Google+ to promote their views. However within weeks of creating their YouTube channel in February 2014, their accounts were suspended. A spokesperson for Cannabis Country explained that their channel didn't even have any video content when it was deleted, “I had no videos at all so I don't see how I could have broken any rules regarding copyright or inappropriate content.”

One UK based seed company did succeed in having their account reinstated after being terminated. They offered advice to other companies but didn’t want to be named, in fear of Google retaliation. A spokesperson said, “This is all to do with Google+, not Youtube. I would recommend not posting on Google+. Problem is you can't get YouTube unless you have a Google+ account. If anyone gets a notification that the Google+ profile is suspended they must reply and fight their case.”

A quick search on YouTube revealed dozens of videos showing how to disconnect Google+ from your YouTube channel. This indicates just how unpopular the social network is amongst video uploaders. With marijuana being legalised in many countries across the world, Google is very clearly standing on the wrong side of history.

A spokesperson for Freedom Seeds in the UK summed up his frustration, “Most of these anti-cannabis decisions are being made by reactionary, narrow minded, right wing American businessmen who are forcing their opinions on the rest of the world. Visa, MasterCard and most of the banks are also following the same agenda. These are the last people who should be making moral judgments on my business.”

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't join Withoutabox

Any festival organiser or film maker will come up against Withoutabox.
Now owned by Amazon, they are causing real harm.

Withoutabox is a monopoly that is causing serious harm to independent film using unfair and anti-competitive business practices to drive up entry fees making it harder than ever for film festivals to survive.

Here is the ugly truth you may not know about Withoutbox. This information is taken directly from their website or information they email to festivals.
They demand nearly 20% of the entry fees that they get from the festivals! This causes festivals to dramatically raise their prices to make up for this incredibly greedy commission. Even if your festival attracts people, you may not have all your operations costs covered, and many festivals have gone bankrupt after using Withoutabox.
They charge a mandatory set-up fee just for a festival to be listed on the site, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2000. Again, this causes festivals to jack up their entry fees to compensate for these costs.
They force festivals to buy a “Marketing Package”, the cheapest of which starts at $750 and goes all the way up to $3,500 per month. Most festivals can barely survive as it is without having to be forced to buy so called “marketing packages.” The majority of these “marketing packages” are basically are just a very spammy email that they send out to an aging database of filmmakers.
For non-profit festivals that do not have entry fees, Withoutabox charges $2000 to be listed on their site. From non-profits!
They force festivals to place a link on the festivals’ website as prominently as the festivals’ own Call For Entries link so that they can poach submissions from organic traffic that originates outside of Withoutabox. Why should festivals be forced to redirect organic traffic to Withoutabox and then pay 20% of those entry fees to them?
From their rules: “A link to the Withoutabox submission form must be placed prominently on partner websites, call for entries materials, and any related email announcements. Placement of wabLINKs on partner websites must be as prominent or more prominent than any in-house submission method options
Withoutabox stifles competition and severely limits the options of filmmakers by requiring complete exclusivity and monopolistic control. If you dare use another third party submission processor other than Withoutabox, they will send you a letter demanding that you immediately cease using any competitor or you will be kicked off their site.
Withoutabox partnerships are exclusive so no other third-party submission sites may be utilized concurrently.
This drastically restricts competition and perpetuates a monopoly where festivals are forced to charge higher and higher entry fees to make up for these severely encumbering rules.
By the time festivals pay all the mandatory fees and the nearly 20% commission, it is very possible that Withoutabox will have made more money than the festivals who work tirelessly to promote and foster independent film.
Withoutabox forces festivals to give mandatory “discounts” to filmmakers that pay Withoutabox membership fees. This causes festivals to raise their entry fees to compensate, which is passed on directly to the filmmakers. They then require filmmakers to pay costly membership fees directly to them in order to have access to these so called “discounts.” The worse part is that if the filmmaker does not pay for the discount then Withoutabox just keeps the so called discount anyway. Some say this is tantamount to fraud.
Withoutabox holds the festivals entry fees they receive for up to 45 days so they can earn interest on the fees before paying festivals their share.
Withoutabox does not allow festivals to offer entry fee coupons or discounts to filmmakers that might undercut the prices offered on Withoutabox.
Buried in their terms of Service, Withoutabox makes outrageous claims on the intellectual property rights of entrants. This forces festival organizers have to deal with the fallout of such hidden consequences of using Withoutabox.
From their Terms of Service: “You grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license right to use, copy, reproduce, transmit, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display any information, data, Work, or any other information associated with your Work (collectively the “Submitted Materials”) you submit to us via the Services in any media or format.
They have a hostile and unresponsive customer service model. In fact, Withoutabox has one of the worst reputations of bad customer service you are ever likely to find. Try calling them. Oh, that’s right. They don’t list a customer service phone number publicly and they can take over a week to reply to a single email. Basically, their approach toward customer service reflects the contempt with which they treat their festivals and filmmakers.

And much more...find out more here

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sheffield Live! TV Recruiting now...

Sheffield Live! TV
Recruiting now...

Want to work in Sheffield's new cross-platform media operation? We're recruiting Enterprise Advisors, a Technical Manager, and a Head of News.

For details and how to apply see:

Our goal is to establish an inclusive and sustainable local media service which will inform, educate and entertain - encompassing television, radio, and our website, that shows what is vibrant and distinctive about Sheffield, that meets the public interest in local news and information, and that offers a platform for local opinion and creative expression.

With a planned launch date for Sheffield Live! TV of autumn 2014 on Freeview, and a news operation starting from July via our new website and through Sheffield Live 93.2FM, we are seeking to recruit talented, passionate staff committed to help make our vision become reality.

Full job descriptions for the above roles as well as details of how to apply at

Closing date: 19 May 2014

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

Thursday, May 08, 2014

From online popularity to mainstream TV

One of the popular online series I produce is A-Z of Bushcraft which showed how to enjoy the woods in style.
Filming for ITV
Our presenter Andrew Price had many offers from mainstream TV to take part in their shows. He has now landed the main presenter in ITV's Coast & Country.
Andrew Price on left on ITV
In the most recent series, Andrew Price travels to North Wales and discovers all about the brewing process at the Purple Moose Brewery. Watch here

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

How the mainstream media lies..

Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes fact..this is the line that so many of the main newspapers take. Here are just 2 high profile examples in which the newspapers print lies but luckily the subjects had the money to fight their corner (and win)

Russell Brand has accepted "substantial" libel damages from the Sun on Sunday's over the false claim that he cheated on his girlfriend Jemima Khan.

The paper's publisher has apologised and agreed to pay Brand his legal costs and damages, believed to have been at least five figures. Brand has said he would put these towards "what he considers to be diverse, just and decent causes".

The Daily Mail has printed an apology to the author JK Rowling in which it states that it has paid her substantial damages over an article that claimed she had told a misleading "sob story."
The article, published on 27 September 2013, suggested she had falsely accused churchgoers of stigmatising her because she was a single mother. It was headlined "How JK's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her.
Brand and Rowling have the cash to fight but what about all the campaign groups who don't and are labelled anarchists, terrorists etc by papers?
Don't believe all what you read is the mantra.

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

A very clever advert

Some of the most interesting videos/music/cultures emerge when 2 styles blend.So this advert makes a clever use of that..

New York City fashion models came prepared to shoot a sexy commercial. Then the director asked them to do the impossible...

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

Friday, May 02, 2014

My first film- in 1994

The first film I worked on was You've Got to be choking in 1994. The photo above showed me (in the red wearing a green and white hat which I lost in the Police scuffles) and 300 people occupying the houses to stop the demotion to create a new road.

Our film won the Okomedia award in Germany and was about the M11 link road protest. This was a major anti-road protest in Leytonstone, London in the early to mid-1990s opposing the construction of the "A12 Hackney to M11 link road", also known as the M11 Link Road.
Me in 1994 filming on a very cold roof in January
In 2007, the BBC reported that the cost of the M11 link road doubled due to the intervention of protesters. The road is now one of the most congested in the UK.

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

Heavy duty Cherry topped Desk for sale

This desk has served Undercurrents for 10 years and now sadly has to go. It has a cherry wood top and is sturdy, unique and hand made.

It was made 10 years ago and apart from a sanding and re-oiling it is good to go.
Size is 6feet (183cm)lo g x 49inch (125cm) x32 inch (82cm) high

Would suit a work bench as heavy duty legs
It is bolted with steel bolts so comes apart easily. £350 Ono
More details on Gumtree here

Collect Swansea centre. Contact me on 07973 298359 or to view

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Pitch your film in 10minutes Submit by: 28th May

10x10, the doc-in progress workshop for indie filmmakers, is back for 2014.

Screen up to 10 minutes of your non-fiction work-in-progress and receive 10 minutes of directed feedback from the discerning Doc/Fest audience. It might be a fundraising trailer, a key scene or excerpts from a rough cut; you might want feedback on character, story or approach.

Crucially, 10x10 is:
 - not a pitching forum, or a financing workshop 
- ALL about the filmmaking

Submit by: Wednesday 28th May 5pm
For full details on how to enter, please see here

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

Russell Brand aims to bring down Government on June 21st

Comedian and activist Russell Brand has announced he will speak out against spending cuts and austerity at a huge march being planned against the Coalition Government on 21 June.

Brand, famous for his “don’t vote” spat with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman, has now thrown his weight behind the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Britain’s fastest growing movement against cuts - saying he will speak at its first national demonstration in London.
And he has laid down a marker to Ministers and MPs, warning:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity.”
He will join tens of thousands of demonstrators who plan to start their march from outside the BBC headquarters in London in protest at the broadcaster’s lack of coverage of anti-austerity actions, nationally and regionally.

The protest then heads for Parliament Square, where Brand will join other speakers calling for millions to join people’s assemblies across Britain, and attacking what he condemns as the “toxic swindle” of austerity.

He will demand an alternative to the Coalition Government saying the people “can organise a fairer more just society than they can”. 

In a hard hitting statement announcing his plans to speak at the demonstration, he told his seven million Twitter followers, and Assembly activists:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity. Austerity means keeping all the money among people who have loads of it. This is the biggest problem we face today, all other problems radiate from this toxic swindle.
“We can organise a fairer, more just society than they can, these demonstrations are the start, it will be a right laugh.”

In a new move to keep the no cuts movement high on the agenda, the People’s Assembly is also holding a “Stand Up Against Austerity” comedy benefit night at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 7.
Tickets are already on sale for the gig featuring the country’s best and most influential comics including Jo Brand, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Stewart Lee, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Jen Brister, Jason Manford, Marcus Brigstocke and Robin Ince.  
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Arts sponsorship by OIl Corporatons?

This week, theatrical protest group the Reclaim Shakespeare Company invaded the British Museum and held a surprise performance challenging BP's sponsorship of the popular Vikings exhibition.

The performance aimed to point out the irony in the fact that an oil company accused of recklessly plundering natural resources is sponsoring an exhibition about some of history's most famous looters and pillagers. BP provides less than 1% of the museum's annual income but gets huge amounts of positive publicity in return, helping to hide its destructive extraction activities and its government lobbying against clean energy. The full story can be seen here:

Channel 4 News coverage of the action can be seen here:

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

I won another battle with YouTube

I won another battle with Youtube when they claimed one of our films was using a Hindi tune called Khalse Di Fateh (Vol.6) .

It was nothing like the tune (a Latin American Rap) used in our film 2012 The Mayan Word so after a few emails to and fro with Youtube, they quietly dropped their claims and re instated our film.

So it seems like Indian music companies trying a scam to get advert revenue. One to look out for. Watch the movie here

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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nigel Farrage was not a Punk

A photo bouncing around the social media shows UKIP fuckwit Nigel Farrage as a Punk in the 1980's. Unsurprisingly it is a fake but it has probably boosted his credibility amongst some of the simple minded folk we live amongst.

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

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.