Finally..the truth about the brutality at Barton Moss

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The Salford Star on the community resistance to fracking in the Winter of 2013/14 at Barton Moss Salford Greater Manchester….

“About ten minutes into the slow lorry walk the regular officers who had been policing the peaceful protest were replaced by the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit (TAU), which seemed determined to cause alarm and distress by forcing people to “walk” at a ridiculously fast pace, creating a stampede situation.

Carmel Shiels, who lives in Irlam and had come down to Barton Moss Lane to see what was happening, couldn’t believe what she was witnessing. She told The Salford Star:

“I’m a local resident, a peaceful person, I’ve never demonstrated before in my life, I’m not a politically aware person, just easy going, believe the Government, believe people, but do you know what? I am staggered by what I’ve seen. It breaks my heart. I came down, watched it go by stood on the side and just cried watching the police just pushing people down the footpath”.

This was just one account from one witness to the extreme brutality that was meted out on a daily basis to ordinary everyday people objecting to fracking in the heart of their community amongst their children and loved ones. It’s one of the most deplorable untold stories in the social history of these islands but the truth will finally be coming out this week.

This will not be the “truth” as told in one of the most shocking cover ups witnessed for many years when the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioners “independent panel” report into the policing at Barton Moss was slammed by Solicitor Simon Pook for declaring that “claims of police violence have not been substantiated” when all anybody has to do to this day is search YouTube “police brutality barton moss”.  The real truth will be told this week by a group of academics at the launch event of “Keep Moving!” to be held in Manchester on the 24th and Liverpool on the 25th. I personally have no idea who these people are but I don’t doubt that they are among the many thousands of people who witnessed the events at Barton Moss and having been sickened to the bottom of their stomachs decided that they couldn’t let such abhorrent behaviour go unchallenged. All I know is that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” and it looks as though some “good men” are finally doing something. This is also on the back of District Judge Richard Sanders recent slating of the police conduct at Barton Moss in finding two defendants not guilty being “entitled to demonstrate, were entitled to walk along Barton Moss Road” them having been pointlessly dragged through the courts like many many others. Most of these pointless court cases have now collapsed, two years later, with folk having had that permanent weight on their minds throughout this time.

This isn’t a matter of historical record though, indeed, it’s even more relevant today than perhaps it was when this whole episode was subject to an insidious national media censorship as a multitude of British Isles communities are currently under attack from the evil fracking industry. From County Antrim in Northern Ireland to North Yorkshire on the mainland down to Surrey in deep England the drills are going in and brave folk will inevitably resist. The police will be using exactly the same tactics there as they did at Barton Moss which they imported from Balcombe as they only seem to have one gear, the no expense spared facilitating of a dangerous industry in the face of overwhelming opposition of the people who they are sworn to protect.

These brave British communities will now be able to see the full reality of what they are about to face. They will be dismissed as “campaigners” and “protesters” with the mainstream media doing its very best not to mention that in reality it will be local people trying to defend their land and loved ones. When they attempt to peacefully protest they will have their basic human right to do so trampled all over with violent arbitrary arrests, ridiculously prolonged police cell time and area banning orders in an attempt to thin the ranks of objectors at the fracking site. The police may even be accused of operating smear campaigns as at Barton Moss but worst of all the local Police and Crime Commissioner may instigate a whitewash inquiry into events.

Worst of all because that’s such a despicable and dismissive insult to the people who have clearly witnessed the most disturbing scenes and been through the kind of trauma that no peaceful British community should ever have to go through. But maybe in the fullness of time some angels will come along who will not be able to stomach such injustice and just like at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester this Wednesday where the truth will come out for the heroes of Barton Moss, the true story will also be openly told about all of the brave people who have put their bodies on the line to defend this land against the foul fracking industry.
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Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

Many of the heroes of Barton Moss have had swingeing fines imposed upon them. If you can help with these PLEASE DO

EDIT

The main stream media’s first reportage on this by the Guardian on the sexualised violence used by the police on Women at Barton Moss

PDF of the full shocking report HERE
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#PublicInquiryNow

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Frack the so called BBC

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They say that you can tell as much about what corrupt news organisations fear by what they don’t report on, as what they do. I have no idea who they are and indeed I may have even made them up but I generally go with what’s intuitive, fill in the blanks and attribute my twisted logic to a shadowy they.

On the evening of the 21st of January 2016 the regional BBC news program, North West Tonight, didn’t report that Trafford “Tories model” Council unanimously voted to reaffirm their ban on fracking choosing instead to run items on a middle aged couple introducing a Tuk Tuk to Chester’s transport system and an award winning chippy in Crewe which will hopefully confirm to readers that I couldn’t possibly be making this shit up.

Not only did the TORY led Council vote 56 to 0 with 4 off fishing to reaffirm their fracking ban they also agreed to approach the Oil & Gas Authority to remove the recently announced PEDL for the area and more importantly to directly challenge the Secretary of State for Energy Climate Change effectively going to war with their own party over the Tory’s flagship energy policy. Trafford Council are one step short of calling themselves Naomi Kleins Earth Warrior Army and setting off in a campervan convoy to man a Community Protection Camp at the #UptonBlockade against the evil iGas. But according to the BBC this isn’t news.

Perhaps at this point I should provide a bit more background information for those less frack aware. A PEDL or more precisely a Petroleum Exploration and Development License is given to fracking companies, ironically by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They’re drawn up in huge blocks of land meaning that all a fracker has to do is negotiate access with your freehold owning neighbour and you can suddenly find that you’ve got a towering fracking rig at the end of your garden replacing the former glorious views of the Pennines or herds of Wildebeest sweeping majestically across Knutsford Common.

It’s important to mention at this point that the Borough of Trafford was already subject to a PEDL but that particular tranche of land was mostly based around an already heavily industrialised part of the hood. It’s also important to mention that Trafford Borough Council subsequently passed a motion banning fracking until it can be proven safe essentially banning it forever as the process has been proven to be highly dangerous on multiple levels.

Fast forward to December 2015 and the latest round of PEDL awards and vast areas of Greater Manchester and North Cheshire have now been sold off. Most importantly the entirety of Trafford Borough’s hugely affluent Altrincham, Timperley, Bowden and Hale famous for being the residential choice of Manchester United football stars such as Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs. This is quite literally a whole other ball game.

Quite obviously spooked by this development one of the very first things that Trafford Council does in 2016 is to call a meeting to discuss this development and reaffirm its ban on fracking. They’re most likely aware of a poll conducted in the Manchester Evening News that showed that 97% of Mancunians are against fracking, bearing in mind that it’s almost impossible to get 97% of Mancs to agree upon anything.
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However, even though the new PEDL affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK’s third City the BBC somehow decided that this wasn’t newsworthy and that a chippy was. Now although as a Northerner I find it hard to argue about the reportage of a top drawer “chippeh” I would have thought that a quarter of a million South Mancunians would have appreciated being told that their Council was prepared to go to war with Westminster and their own party to try and stop them and their families from being poisoned and their currently booming property prices being reduced to the equivalent value of a 3 bed semi in Raqqah.

The BBC have form when it comes to fracking, especially regional BBC. They’ve repeatedly smeared folk who protest fracking as “professional protesters” or “out of towners” minimising and most often ignoring the fact that anti fracking Protectors have huge local support. They’ve attempted divide and rule tactics reporting on an incident of apparent violence towards a local Woman by anti fracking protesters which was not only shameful but highly dangerous.
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In the meantime Judge Sanders has slammed the extreme violence that was routinely meted out to locals and Protectors from all over the UK and the World by the most brutal “policing” at Barton Moss, the shameful #UKfrackingscandal The BBC reported upon none of this, well, they reported that accusations of police brutality had been made by sending their reporter out for a lovely day with the police to report back that everything was lovely. There’s footage of it on YouTube. It would be comedy gold if it wasn’t so wtf?!?

Only recently during the latest anti fracking community blockade at Upton the BBC have done their very best to make the Community Protection Camp look completely detached from the local community failing even to report that a local Councillor was arrested at the eviction of the camp by iGas and their henchmen.

In the meantime they wheel out their procession of “Professors”, one to tell us that the worst that we can expect from fracking is a bit of bother on the school run to just recently when a “Professor” stated that fracking has a very small earthquake risk when Oklahoma has already experienced hundreds of earthquakes this year alone during an ongoing earthquake epidemic as folk there pray that the big one isn’t next. I recorded the BBC North West Tonight program that he said this on just to replay it over again to make sure that he really did say this.
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It’s against this backdrop that you have to judge the BBC’s non reporting of the Trafford Council decision, the non reporting of the New York State fracking ban, the Oklahoma earthquakes and the two months that it took for them to finally report the Porter Ranch catastrophe in Los Angeles. Especially don’t expect a Panorama expose on fracking any time soon.

When presented with their glaring own goal over the non reporting of the Trafford decision the BBC amateurishly wriggled and struggled. Either that or a cleaner started manning their Twitter feed getting into a hoo ha with folk. If you’re going to work for state TV you have to be very thick skinned about it and churn out the bullshit with your head firmly down, don’t engage with people whatever you do otherwise it all goes bandy. BBC’s argument was that they’d already reported the Trafford Council fracking ban from way back when. Other peoples argument was that the latest PEDL now affects hundreds of thousands of Mancunians and that the Council found it serious enough to gather and vote unanimously to oppose it.

In the Twitter exchange it was remarked that what with the BBC’s staunch defence of having been so extensive in their fracking coverage recorders were being set that very night for their reporting on Bolton Council declaring that fracking will never be allowed on Council land and would be opposed.

Of course this never featured on BBC North West Tonight. Instead there was an item about a Goat that gets taken for a walk on a lead.

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….there was no report on the Bolton Council fracking shun.

The BBC is one of the most insidiously evil organisations in this land because it feeds on the trust of ordinary Brits who still, in their thousands, implicitly trust it and it could be easy to get frustrated with them but it’s pity that should be reserved. Due to the obvious restrictions placed upon them they can’t report on one of the greatest stories in the storied history of these isles. How after an industry had rampaged its way across vast swathes of America and Australia it was stopped here, in “Jerusalem”.

Stopped in its tracks by an army of “crusties and colonels” as somebody wrote. People from all walks of life working tirelessly against the multi billion dollar oil and gas industry with oiled up politicians and police that will beat you out of the way if you dare protest. It’s a story that’s now entered British legal history, British folklore and will travel down through time but the BBC in all it’s love of a cheesy schmaltzy community story can’t even report on it which is deliciously circuitously karmic.

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

Saving your sacred land from fracking…the Salford way

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It’s very hard not to declare our Salford Mosses safe from fracking today on this Earth Day as something quite remarkable and pivotal has happened on the last 3% of British Lowland Mossland in existence. A fantastic Salfordian Gentleman is dedicating a substantial building on his Mosses business complex as a Mossland education centre. This may not sound like much but it’s a part of the journey in a battle to save Salford Mosses that began when the despicable frackers iGas first concreted over land that our forefathers sweated blood over to reclaim from bog.

The first part of that journey involved Salfordians and dear friends from around the UK routinely putting their lives and liberty on the line in the daily battering through of the fracking convoys replete with their gnarly and brutally impatient riot cop escort. Folk weren’t enduring freezing forced marches and impromptu facial grinding into wintery wet concrete for financial reward or kudos but because they had a love for a land so precious that few could understand it. Folk were fighting for a land where they saw their first Barn Owl quartering a moss field or where they took endless Summer bike rides as a kid or perhaps disappeared into the embrace of a Mossland lane to avoid a spot of bother with the authorities…there were myriad reasons why Salford Mosses held a place in people’s hearts.

The second part of our fight back against fracking was the vehement assertion that there WAS a better way, not even focusing on the simple basic fact that fracking makes no economic sense whatsoever, what with it essentially being a Ponzi scheme. Rather, those opposed to fracking argued the value of what fracking would inevitably destroy. Not only are the Salford & Manchester Mosses a postage stamp piece of the last 3% of British Lowland Mossland in existence (yes, I know I’m repeating myself but that probably warrants repeating) they also contain some of our most endangered bird and wildlife species. You could at this point put a J R Ewing accent on and say “how purdy, but that ain’t oil money baby” but you’d be overlooking the distinct possibility that the Mosses could very easily qualify for a UNESCO listing on its historical value alone with Stephensons miracle railway sailing through her to the North and the engineering wonder of the Manchester Ship Canal gliding through to the South. Lancashire Wildlife Trust have recently bought pretty much the entire South West corner of the mosses and are building what will become the new Martin Mere of the North….
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….in fact it will be better. Walking across its ancient dark soil today a Yellow Wagtail freshly returned from Africa almost blinded me with its sunflower dazzling yellow….
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….and when Common Cranes fully return to our mosses to perform their graceful mating dance for the first time since the era of Henry VIII we’ll be beating folk away from visiting our land with a stick. Our mosses, if treated in a less Neanderthal way could be a source of sustainable income generation, local jobs forever and a unique carbon sink of an area treasured by the folk of Lancashire for generations to come rather than the toxic crime scene of a modern day 15 year “Harrying of the North” by incompetent and corrupt buffoons. Even the Normans whilst pillaging the North for 20 years raising everything to the ground would have probably baulked at destroying a Mossland carbon sink at a time when carbon in the atmosphere is a bit of a problem…they just wanted to kill EVERYTHING not kill themselves?!?

“The Natural Beauty of the Salford & Manchester Mosses”

Our Salfordian lad’s premises of which I bring you news is just half a mile along from the Lancashire Wildlife Trusts site at Little Woolden Moss. From there he’ll be running his new Mosses Community Centre to stage mosses nature walks to the Lancs Wildlife site and all over the mosses. He’ll be reaching out to the other Farmers in the area to build bird hides on their land to watch the enormous flocks of Lapwings pee wit and acrobatically display their affection for each other, to set aside wild flower borders to encourage farmland birds, bees and butterflies. He’ll be looking to run sessions for local Children to pond dip in his many pools and just generally get out and about on the moss nurturing a whole new generation of Salfordians with a love and appreciation of the natural beauty on their doorstep. Who knows what else could happen from there, community farming perhaps, renewable energy projects, maybe even Bez of the Reality Party filling the joint full of bees after we’ve completed part three of our journey in the Salfordian way to fight fracking…take their power away from them 🙂

There’s every possibility that Bez will take Hazel Blears safe Labour seat of Salford & Eccles, in fact, if you’ve got a spare Tony Benner I’d put it on the Bezster because thanks to Labours attempts to frack the living crap out of us they’ll most likely be losing a seat thought safer than Robert Mugabes ZANU PF seat in his hometown constituency. On a wider front, Lancashire and the Fylde Coast in particular are currently in open revolt over fracking, just don’t expect to see it being reported on the main stream national media. Being assaulted by fracking has also lead to a new form of politics in the North West typified by Frack Free Lancashire member and The Northern Party’s candidate MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys planting a tree along Barton Moss Road at the site of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp on Earth Day 2015.
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Just over a year ago James was knocking around a grubby (although beautiful) anti fracking camp in a freezing field delivering pizzas asking what he could do to help…fast forward just over 12 months and he’s running for Parliament for a Northern secessionist party stating a clear cut and unequivocal case for a cleaner more environmentally friendly future for Lancashire.

This beautifully circuitous journey by James is also reflected by the owner of our new eco-hub on the mosses, a fella whose passion for the Salford Mosses has been proven and tested by the love, sweat and investment that he’s already put into his land. With his site becoming a kind of hippy version of the Normandy Beaches, from that “bridgehead”, combined with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust site, and in conjunction with a reinvigorated local love for the land we’ve got the complete recipe for any British community to beat the frackers. If you can just inspire a complete reconnection with your local land that may have been lost within some folk whilst harnessing the love and passion of the folk that never did lose it there’s no way on Earth that your land is getting fracked just as our land in Salford is now never ever going to get fracked……

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

“The welfare of the people is the highest law”….Salford

Something brutal this way comes…

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So it’s game on for fracking 60% of the UK then, the Tories are obviously “all out for shale”, Labour believe that you can regulate the unregulate’able and unless the Greens go for a violent but carbon neutral takeover of Government there’s a high likelihood that you’ll have a fracking rig suddenly rock up in your life straight after the election.

If you’re wondering why fracking is the Elephant in the room when it comes to election issues it’s because it’s a repeatedly banned, ground shaking, toxic shitting, water polluting giant of a fracking Elephant that WILL routinely run your Children over and trash your countryside but way way more than that, fracking won’t be talked about as an election issue because of the extreme violence that will soon be visited upon poor unsuspecting English communities in order to enforce it.

Fracking won’t become part of the national election discourse even though the story of the political maelstrom that it’s caused in a major part of Lancashire would set alight an election that’s gone down in political history as one of THE most bland and lifelessly moribund election run ups ever…but the system/political elites won’t allow the nation to fully engage with fracking as they know that not only would they have to defend the indefensible, they’d also be acknowledging that you can’t fit a cigarette paper between the fracking establishment parties.

At this point what happened at Barton Moss, Salford needs revisiting not just because so few in our land actually know what happened there, but because the same will soon be happening all over England.

When the frackers attack your land somebody will resist. Somebody will get a tent out and park themselves at the fracking pad. Some places in England will have 100’s camping out with the whole of the local community getting involved….
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Some places will be just be Mad Fred and his Jack Russell but to some extent or other every single frack site will be resisted in England.

It won’t matter though because you will be battered out of the way.
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It won’t matter if you’re a heavily and clearly pregnant Woman, you will be dragged around and manhandled by bigass cops. It won’t matter if you’re an elderly Gent with a disability, you will be violently shoved into a ditch and have bones broken.
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It won’t matter if you’re a slight, elegant, Nymph of a Lady you will be punched in the face and have your head ground into freezing concrete on a brutally cold Winter road.
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It won’t matter that you are decorated in the defence of your Country and that you consider the anti fracking battle to be the most important battle you’ve ever fought in your life.
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It won’t even matter if you’re a teenage girl doing a school project on fracking, you will be violently dragged away from your screaming Nan and slung in a van and treated like an animal for as long as they can possibly get away with it.
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All of this will happen in front of livestreaming cameras but they just won’t care, they will brutalise you and arrest you for day after day after day. They’ll hold an “inquiry” into the reports of “police” brutality and find that no excessive force was used and that a few procedural things need tidying up even though all you have to do is go on YouTube and search “police brutality barton moss” and you can see hour after hour of police brutality towards the young and the old.

Surprisingly some local media outlets have taken an anti fracking stance however, mostly your local rag will take every opportunity to smear your community protection camp and the people there, calling them “out of towners”, threatening to the “locals”, drunks and folk with mental health issues……
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……when in actual fact they’re the bravest of the brave living in medieval and barbaric conditions that you wouldn’t put a dog out in.
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Your local BBC channel may well also put a “journalist” onto the multitude of complaints of “police” brutality and most likely he’ll also spend the day being chauffeured around by the “police” and given full access to the Rich Tea biscuits?!?! Yes, that really did happen…..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3DUAjFkxAFU

In reality and away from the main stream media families will be giving over pots and pans, linen and bedding, local handymen will be building roadside dwellings and dropping off pallets, families will be cutting back on meals so that they can give to the camp and all the time that awesome community spirit will be tempered by brutal arrest after brutal arrest and pointless court case after pointless court case.
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With these deranged lunatics that “lead” us putting the Infrastructure Act into law (which by the way, legally enshrines the maximisation of fossil fuel extraction breaking their other “law” limiting our carbon emissions?!?) one has to assume that if it’s now “law” that fossil fuel extraction is maximised, that to protest against fracking is therefore against the law so this writers advice would be to just stand by the roadside and look immensely sad. Of course we all know that’s not going to happen, especially in Lancashire.

This writers best guess is that fracking will continue to blight the lives of community after community until the frackers hit the sweet spot and we get an English “Bentley”. Bentley, NSW Australia, was a classic case of the oil and gas industry getting it horribly wrong. Whereas you can frack pretty much where you want up in Queensland’s BIG Country where Queenslanders are a pretty laid back bunch, the New South Welsh are a different breed entirely. The Northern Rivers area is part of their dna, they fuken LOVE their land, they were never ever going to have her fracked and they turned out in HUGE numbers to just stop the frackers in their tracks. The NSW authorities were just about to send 800 fully kitted riot cops into the Bentley camp but someone figured that it would be such a PR horror show for them that they cancelled the cops at the last minute.

England will inevitably have its own Bentley, it’s inevitable that the frackers will sooner or later pick on a fully socially connected and fully mobilised community who will absolutely point blank refuse to be fracked and at that point it’ll get super fruity.

Until then, unless the Greens or an NGO seriously up their game don’t expect fracking to make any national election debate but do expect our thoroughly captured “politicians” to take this election as a mandate from the people to frack them and definitely expect horrors to be visited upon your otherwise peaceful communities……..

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter@MancunianSpring

Anti-Fracking Electoral Parties in England

The Green Party

TUSC

Left Unity

The Reality Party

The Pirate Party

***Since publishing this article the State of Maryland has joined the ever growing list of legislatures that have banned fracking….. http://ecowatch.com/2015/04/10/maryland-passes-fracking-ban/