Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for April, 2009

United Community of Erris, Co Mayo, Remove Shell Nets.

“There is no land that can rightfully be called ‘Shell’s land’. This land is our land”. – Local Resident

rossp

Following a cowardly and vicious attack in the dead of night by Shell mercenaries on Willie Corduff in the early hours of Thursday 23rd April 2009, members of the Erris community assisted by national supporters opposed to the Shell Corrib Gas Project, united at 3pm on Sunday 26th April to rid the Glengad beach and cliffs of Shell nets.
Westy writes: This defiant act is a good reminder of the call out for the Rossport Camp Taking Place Between May 29th and June 1st.  E-mail rossportsolidaritycamp@gmail.com orcall  0851141170 for more info.
Report Continues:

Nets covering mounds of rubble on the Shell site at Glengad were removed also, as Shell security retreated from their usual positions on top of the cliff and inside the perimeter fence surrounding the site.The fence was cut open by local residents who proceeded to remove and shred the nets before carrying them to the gates of the Shell site which was being guarded by quite a large force of Gardaí.

What is now crystal clear in the minds of the Erris community following lies copied and pasted from statements issued by Garda Supt. Michael Larkin and Chief Superintendent Tony McNamara into national media in the last few days, is the collusion between the State, An Garda Síochána, and Shell in the escalation of violent force executed and planned indefinitely against a local community engaged in a fight for its life.

Integrated Risk Management Services (IRMS), Shell’s security at Glengad, headed up by ex-Irish Army Ranger, Jim Farrell, in collusion with An Garda Síochána, are to blame for the vicious attack by up to 10 trained thugs, all dressed in black from head to toe, who beat Willie Corduff into submission, for fear of his life, when he refused to come out from under the wheels of a Shell truck this week. “I thought they were trying to kill me,” Corduff said. “They beat me until I stopped moving and I heard one of them say, ‘Stop now lads, he’s nearly finished.’ “

A Community Meeting on Friday 24th last, called in response to the attack, galvanised the local community who are resolved that they will not allow their community be taken over by trained thugs and killers who want to control this area for Shell, into the foreseeable future. “These boys are here to stay”, said one local resident, “Eamon Ryan is responsible for the importation of these scum into our community. Someone is going to get killed if this goes on and Ryan will be to blame”.

A joint press statement calling for an independent international investigation of recent events was put out from community activist groups Shell to Sea, Pobal Le Cheile, Pobal Chill Chomain and the Rossport Solidarity Camp, this weekend.

The community came together again today to remove the Shell netting at the cliff and on the Shell site at Glengad to demonstrate to Shell and the Government that this community will not be beaten back by the violent force which the State is willing to use against its citizens, for Shell.

“The State has been subverted by Shell, it’s down to the people to protect themselves,” said another local resident. And all community groups are agreed.

More news at http://www.indymedia.ie/mayo

All Welcome at the Upcoming Rossport Solidarity Camp June Gathering 2009 see here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92076

But any time is the right time to come now that Shell have returned to Glengad.

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Fossil Fools Day 2009 – review

Fossil and Financial Fools Day goes global
April 1st saw not only mass protests in London ahead of the G20 summit, but local demonstrations in cities around the UK and across the globe. Under the banner of Fossil Fools Day, activists held protests at banks, energy companies and power stations across the UK, Canada, the USA and South Africa to highlight the twin economic and climate crises.

More action reports and photographs will be added here as they come in.
Email info@risingtide.org.uk with your Fossil Fools Day action report.

In the UK …

Climate Camp in the City

Climate Camp in the City

On the eve of the G20, activists descended on London to highlight the links between the financial and the climate crisis. While the ‘Financial Fools Day’ Street Party got underway outside the Bank of England, the Camp for Climate Action set up camp outside the European Climate Exchange. Their message: “Stopping carbon markets – because nature doesn’t do bailouts”. For the most up-to-date information visit – www.climatecamp.org.uk.

Climate Meltdown

Climate Meltdown

Meanwhile over at the Excel Centre, the Campaign against Climate Change staged a “Climate Emergency” Ice-berg Demo where the G20 were to meet the following day. The action featured a giant ice block sculpted like an iceberg and demonstrators dressed in white with some even wearing strings of ice cubes around their necks. The backdrop to this was provided by ‘Climate Emergency’ placards and panels showing maps and graphs of arctic ocean ice loss. The message was simple : Polar ice is melting much faster then scientists thought and is the most visible symptom of the
frightening speed with which the climate is changing. We will lose the race against climate catastrophe unless action is taken soon.

Greenwash at the Tate

Greenwash at the Tate

Earlier in the week, the oil Goliath BP was felled by a Fossil Fools Day’s David as BP postponed its centenary party at the British Museum to be held on April 1st, due to a demonstration organised by Art Not Oil and Rising Tide, (now rescheduled for May 6th at 6pm, as BP is attempting to resuscitate its broken party on that day.) Earlier on FFD, Art Not Oil’s musical contingent played ‘Celebrate This!’, a new paean to BP, inside and outside the BP-sponsored Tate Britain gallery in London; www.artnotoil.org.uk.

Plymouth Rising Tide at RBS

In Plymouth, Rising Tide penguins super-glued themselves to the entrance of RBS to highlight RBS’s funding of fossil fuels projects. RBS are one of the biggest investors in the fossil fuel industry and provided $16 billion to coal-related companies in 2007 alone. Ann Smith of Rising Tide Plymouth today said: “RBS is now 57% owned by the UK taxpayer. Climate change requires a move to renewable energy, not continued support for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry”. More photos

In Oxfordshire, the early hours of April 1st saw local activists hanging banners from bridges over the A34 between Oxford and Didcot. Banners read “Caution: Climate Change Ahead”, “Give Way to Wind” and “Fossil Fool: 3rd exit” complete with pictures of Didcot Power Station. With Didcot (run by RWE NPower) due for de-commissioning in a few years, it is time to pursue renewable options locally. One of the activists said: “We want not only Didcot, but also the government and the G20 to see the folly of their actions in pursuing unsustainable technology. We have an opportunity to pursue safe, cheap alternatives and ensure a cleaner future. The wise choice would be to grasp
this opportunity”.

In Portsmouth, members of Portsmouth Climate Action Network and the University’s People & Planet group took up position outside the Nat West Bank in Commercial Road to encouraging shoppers to tell Royal Bank of Scotland – NatWest to stop funding climate chaos. Activists said: “It is our money that RBS-NatWest is using to extract tar sands, burn coal and fuel climate chaos. We believe that the only way to prevent dangerous climate change is by investment in renewables, not in dirty coal. We are calling on the public to contact RBS-NatWest and the UK government and tell them what they think about them bankrolling climate chaos.”

A Fossil Fool Award is given to Bournemouth Airport

A Fossil Fool Award is given to Bournemouth Airport

In Bournemouth, members of direct action group Plane Stupid turned up at Bournemouth Airport to give them a Fossil Fool Award for ‘Outstanding contribution to local, national and global pollution’. Tara Bosworth said, “Bournemouth Airport may well be the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Dorset and they are expanding their operations, more than doubling the number of flights, now that’s plane stupid and why they are getting our Fossil Fool award.” A member of the airport staff accepted the award but declined having his picture taken.

Fossil fool themed street theatre took place in both Frome in Somerset and Totnes in Devon. In Totnes, the International Climate Criminal known as ‘Old King Coal’ was put on trial. The prisoner, who is not in good health, was led from The Plains up to the Civic Square where he was tried before a jury of local citizens and schoolchildren. Unfortunately other members of the Fossil Fools Gang, including Oil and Gas, remain at large and are a continued danger to the planet.

Oh, and earlier in the week, the oil Goliath BP was felled by a Fossil Fools Day’s David as BP postponed its centenary party at the British Museum to be held on April 1st, due to a demonstration organised by Art Not Oil and Rising Tide, (now rescheduled for May 6th at 6pm, as BP is attempting to resuscitate its broken party on that day.) Earlier on FFD, Art Not Oil’s musical contingent played ‘Celebrate This!’, a new paean to BP, inside and outside the BP-sponsored Tate Britain gallery in London; www.artnotoil.org.uk

In South Africa …

SASOL is awarded Fossil Fool of the Year Award

SASOL is awarded Fossil Fool of the Year Award

In Johannesburg, Earthlife Africa awarded Sasol (the South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corporation) the prestigious 2009 Fossil Fool of the Year Award for producing 72 million tonnes of CO2 per year (over 15% of South Africa’s total emissions) and for trying to build a new coal-to-liquid power plant. Although Sasol initially resisted accepting the award (one can only imagine why), the efforts of a determined group of protesters finally forced the tainted trophy to be accepted.
More info

In the USA …

Mannequins for Climate Justice at Bank of America

Mannequins for Climate Justice at Bank of America

In Boston, Massachusetts, the “Mannequins For Climate Justice” shut down the Kenmore Square branch of Bank of America. A mannequin was chained to the doors of the bank shortly before opening this morning. The lone mannequin protester, Guy Fox, said, “Even a dummy like me can see that Bank of America’s massive loans to coal companies and support for the epidemic of foreclosures and evictions has to stop now.” Fox further said, “Bank of America seems determined to be so evil it’s almost comical, but people resisting the bank’s practices will have the last laugh. Happy April Fools to all the capitalist fossil fools!”

Marching on Old King Coal

Marching on Old King Coal

In Berkeley, California, a bike ride/march highlighted BP’s $500 million deal with University of California. Under this deal, the oil giant BP is investing $500 million for the university to research biofuels, raising issues of greenwashing, false solutions, and the interaction between a public university and a private corporation.

Trouble under the sheets

Trouble between the sheets

In Asheville, North Carolina, protesters declared Governor Purdue to be in bed with Duke Energy, and demanded the cancellation of the Cliffside coal plant. In response to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ) ruling that Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal plant is a “minor source of emissions”, protesters gathered at noon outside Governor Purdue’s Western North Carolina office in downtown Asheville to demand that she revoke the plant’s permit. In a demonstration organized by Asheville Rising Tide, protesters set up a bed in front of Governor Purdue’s office with people in business suits representing Duke CEO Jim Rogers, DAQ head Keith Overcash, and Governor Purdue under sheets and covered in money. A banner reading, “Governor Purdue in bed with Duke Energy” provided a backdrop to the under-the-sheets liaison.

In Denver, Colorado, a Fossil Fools Day rally of concerned citizens, health experts, and environmental and neighborhood leaders demanded a transition to clean energy. The rally, led by WildEarth Guardians, and joined by Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Clean Energy Action, SafeMinds, students, church members, and affected nearby communities, was held in the shadow of the Cherokee coal burning power plant at Denver’s Heron Pond Natural Area, and called upon Governor Ritter to help Colorado seize clean energy solutions and keep Coloradoans safe from coal. Carrying handmade signs and holding pinwheels to symbolize a transition to clean energy, dozens of citizens demonstrated their frustrations with the status quo and their hope for protecting their future.

In New Orleans, conservation groups, students, and concerned citizens joined forces at Entergy’s headquarters to protest about the company’s plans to expand their use of coal power in Louisiana. “Louisiana’s coast is ground zero for climate change impacts,” said rally organizer Jonathan Henderson. “Entergy should be a responsible neighbor and work to limit coast-destroying pollution and protect rate-payers from future carbon price increases”.

In the spirit of the “Coal Circus,” students from Bowling Green, Kentucky orgaised a ‘Monster Mash’ and a critical mass bike ride.

Students in Tempe, Arizona, also hopped on their bikes and declared themselves “too cool for fossil fools.”

In Canada…

A sad, bad RBC banker

Five actions in one day in downtown Toronto? No foolin!
Rainforest Action Network activists kicked Canadian Fossil Fools Day off with a bang, dropping banners off of a highway, greeting over 4,000 cars (we counted) stuck in deadlock traffic over a period of two hours. From bridges, we broadcast messages about Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)’s financing of the Canadian Tar Sands from our makeshift Pirate Radio station. Our banners read “Pirate Radio 89.9 FM Tune in now” and “Royal Bank creates climate chaos. Renewables not tar sands.” The pouring rain didn’t block our view of car after car reaching for the radio dial as they drove under us.

We began by dressing up and impersonated bank employees. About 16 of us rode elevators for up to two more hours, chatting up other RBC personnel – “Hey, on my way to work today I heard about how RBC is financing the destruction of Native territories in Alberta, causing people cancer and polluting the water! Tar Sands are the world’s dirtiest oil. Did you know that? I had no idea! I’m telling my manager right away!”

Meanwhile, outside the HQ, several more of us leafleted and held banners reading “RBC Creates poisoned water in our community,” “Renewables not tar sands” and “RBC: financing cancer and toxic sludge.”

Back inside, a lone Torontan walked inside the main office with a beautiful bouquet of balloons. I don’t know where he got the idea to release them in the atrium, or how a banner reading “ROYAL BANK CREATES CLIMATE CHAOS” got attached….I also don’t know how they’re gonna get it down.

Later that evening, dozens of activists reconvened outside RBC headquarters alongside “Tarbie,” an oil-soaked version of RBC’s prized mascot “Arbie” who explained to passersby that he and RBC are helping finance one of the fastest growing sources of water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, and how they conflict with the financial giant’s PR promises to promote clean water.

Video

Other Secret Prisons in U.S.

Just watched a programme on “Democracy Now!” about these horrible places called “Communication Management Units”. Basically, they are prisons where people whose communications with the outside world are deemed to be a threat to national security. Inmates are 90% Muslim and Male, but just so the US can avoid charges of racism, they’ve thrown in a few animal rights and environmental activists…those who have also been dubiously convicted are held here also…

The government is using secretive prison facilities on U.S. soil, called Communication Management Units, to house inmates accused of being tied to “terrorism” groups. They overwhelmingly include Muslim inmates, along with at least two animal rights and environmental activists.

Little information is available about the secretive facilities and the prisoners housed there. However, through interviews with attorneys, family members, and a current prisoner, it is clear that these units have been created not for violent and dangerous “terrorists,” but for political cases that the government would like to keep out of the public spotlight and out of the press.

OPENED QUIETLY AND PERHAPS ILLEGALLY

In April of 2006, the Department of Justice proposed a new set of rules to restrict the communication of “terrorist” inmates. The proposal did not make it far, though: during the required public comment period, the ACLU and other civil rights groups raised Constitutional concerns. The program was too sweeping, they said, and it could wrap up non-terrorists and those not even convicted of a crime.

The Bureau of Prisons dropped the proposal. Or so it seemed. Just a few months later, a similar program (now called the Communication Management Unit, or CMU), was quietly opened by the Justice Department at Terre Haute, Ind.

Then, in May of 2008, a handful of inmates were moved, without warning, to what is believed to be the second CMU in the country, at Marion, Il.

Both CMUs are “self-contained” housing units, according to prison documents, for prisoners who “require increased monitoring of communication” in order to “protect the public.”

WHO IS HOUSED AT CMUs?

The CMUs are less restrictive than, say, ADX Florence, the notorious supermax prison for the most dangerous inmates. The supermax holds al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui and Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski.

CMU inmates stand in sharp contrast to the Moussaouis and Kaczynskis of the world, though.

  • They include Rafil A. Dhafir, an Iraqi-born physician who created a charity called Help the Needy to provide food and medicine to the people of Iraq suffering under the U.S.-imposed economic sanctions. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison for violating the sanctions.
  • They include Daniel McGowan, an environmental activist sentenced to seven years in prison for a string of property crimes in the name of defending the environment. He was previously at FCI-Sandstone, a low-security facility, and was transferred without notice to the CMU, and told it was not for any disciplinary reason.
  • And, until recently, they included Andrew Stepanian. Stepanian was convicted of conspiring to commit “animal enterprise terrorism” and shut down the notorious animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, in a landmark First Amendment case pending appeal. The government’s case focused on a controversial website run by an activist group that published news of both legal and illegal actions against the laboratory. He was sentenced to three years in prison, and is currently on house arrest in New York City. Stepanian is believed to be the first prisoner ever released from a CMU.

VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS RIGHTS

Attorneys and prisoners have said that inmates are transferred to the CMUs without notice and without opportunity to challenge their new designation, in what seems to be a clear violation of their due process rights.

“No one got a hearing to determine whether we should or should not be transferred here,” said Daniel McGowan in a letter from the CMU in Marion, Ill.

Similarly, Rafil A. Dhafir said in a letter to his family from the CMU in Terre Haute, Ind., that he was put in isolation for two days before the move. “No one seems to know about this top-secret operation until now,” he wrote. “It is still not fully understood… The staff here is struggling to make sense of the whole situation.”

“We are told this is an experiment,” Dhafir says. “So the whole concept is evolving on a daily basis.”

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

The CMU “experiment” limits prisoner contact with the outside world through a list of restrictive policies. According to prison documents giving a skeleton of CMU policies, called institution supplements, they include:

  • Phone calls: Only one phone call per week, limited to 15 minutes, live-monitored by staff and law enforcement (according to attorneys, this includes the NSA) and scheduled one and half weeks in advance. It must be conducted in English. Other prisoners get about 300 minutes a month.
  • Mail: All mail must be reviewed by staff prior to delivery to the inmate or processing at the post office. This means significant delays in communications (and, in my personal experience, letters frequently not being received by inmates).
  • Visits: Four hours of personal visits per month, non-contact, behind glass, and live-monitored by staff and law enforcement. It must be conducted in English. By comparison, at FCI Sandstone (where McGowan was previously housed) prisoners can receive 56 potential visiting hours per month. I have learned from attorneys and prisoners that when a CMU inmate is transferred to the visiting room, the entire facility goes on lock-down.

For many inmates in federal prisons, phone calls, mail and visits are flecks of light in the darkness. Virtually eliminating all contact with family, friends and the outside world can have a devastating psychological impact on prisoners, and raises serious concerns about basic human rights.

WHY ARE THEY THERE?

It is difficult to discern the rationale behind why some inmates are transferred to the CMU and others are not. For instance, John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” is housed at the CMU in Terre Haute. He pleaded guilty to supporting the Taliban and carrying a rifle and grenades on the battlefield in Afghanistan. However, the government announced last month it is actually easing restrictions on his communication.

In the case of Andy Stepanian, he was one of six codefendants, and by the admission of prosecutors he was one of the minor players in the case. He is not accused of any violent crime or any property destruction, and had no disciplinary problems while incarcerated. Stepanian received the second-lowest sentence of the group, and his codefendants are not in CMUs.

Daniel McGowan’s notice of transfer to the CMU gives some indication of the government’s reasoning. It says that he has been identified “as a member and leader in the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF), groups considered domestic terrorist organizations.”

But in a letter from the CMU, McGowan wrote: “It’s funny–I have like 13 codefs [codefendants] + there are 11 other eco prisoners and I end up here.”

Part of the explanation for his transfer to the CMU, it seems, is that he is a vocal, prominent activist with a large group of active supporters. For McGowan, his near celebrity status within the environmental movement, along with his continued activism, has become a liability. When I attended his sentencing hearing in Eugene, Ore., in 2006, the judge made a point of criticizing his media appearances and his website, SupportDaniel.org.

Attorneys, prisoners and their supporters speculate there may be legal calculations involved as well. The CMUs have been overwhelmingly comprised of people of color since their inception, and lawsuits have been filed alleging discrimination and racial profiling.

“Throwing a few white kids into the mix makes it appear less like an American Guantanamo,” said one attorney who did not want to be identified. “And it also sends the message to the prisoners and to the movements that supporter them. It’s meant to have a chilling effect.”

CONTINUING A TREND

The creation of secret facilities to primarily house Muslim inmates accused of non-violent charges, along with a couple animal rights and environmental activists, marks both a continuation and a radical expansion of the “War on Terrorism.”

First, it is a continuation of the “terrorism” crackdown that Arab and Muslim communities have intensely experienced since September 11th. Guantanamo Bay may be closing. But as Jeanne Theoharis beautifully wrote recently: “Guantánamo is not simply an aberration; its closure will not return America to the rule of law or to its former standing among nations. Guantánamo is a particular way of seeing the Constitution, of constructing the landscape as a murky terrain of lurking enemies where the courts become part of the bulwark against such dangers, where rights have limits and where international standards must be weighed against national security.”

Second, it is an expansion of the lesser-known “terrorism” crackdown against animal rights and environmental activists by corporations and the politicians who represent them. This coordination campaign to label activists as “terrorists” and push a political agenda—the “Green Scare”—has involved terrorism enhancement penalties, FBI agents infiltrating vegan potlucks, and new terrorism legislation like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and it all has proceeded unobstructed and unseen. There has been a near-complete media blackout on the Green Scare, and transferring vocal, public Green Scare prisoners to CMUs sends a clear message that the government hopes to keep it that way.


Politically Timed “Terror” Arrests – the Real Bob Quick Scandal by Craig Murray

“A police state is not a state where the police rule. It is a state where there is no distance between the politicians and police. A police state is a state where a policeman can be caught on camera launching an unprovoked fatal assault from behind, yet not be arrested. A police state is a state where the police raid the parliamentary offices of opposition MPs. A police state is a state where it is the politicians who are making the decisions on who gets arrested and when.”

The mainstream media is in a flurry of excitement over the “Terror” arrests of students in the North West of England. Linked to this is the media feeding frenzy over the resignation of Bob Quick, Scotland Yard’s anti-terror chief. It is important to note that the Quick incident only brought forward the arrests by a few hours.

Yet in all the acres of coverage in the newspapers, and all the hype on TV, nobody seems to have noticed the real story. It was an accident that Bob Quick had his secret document on display as he was photographed entering Downing St. But it was no accident that he was photographed entering Downing Street. No 10 is a Tardis-like building which is far more impressive inside than out, and which seems impossibly large. Its secret is that it links straight through to No 11 and, more importantly, through to the huge Cabinet Office building that runs along Whitehall. The Cabinet Office is the central secretariat of the British government and in effect the office of the Prime Minister. The separation of the No 10 staff and the Cabinet Office staff is a polite fiction.

The government’s major interdepartmental committees meet in the Cabinet Office, including the sexy Joint Intelligence Committee and its sub-committees. One of the fascinating things about the vast Cabinet Office building is that it incorporates parts of the original fabric of the Tudor Whitehall Palace. In the first Iraq War I used to hand carry intelligence reports to No 10, and sometimes had to explain them personally to Mrs Thatcher. I never once took one in the front door. In fact I have only ever walked in the front door of No 10 when accompanying a foreign dignitary or attending a party. The front door is for people the government wants to be seen – hence the permanent stand of photographers which captured Bob Quick. People arriving to brief on secret matters go in through the back door, or more likely through the Cabinet Office. So why did the government want us to see that Bob Quick was entering No 10? The only possible answer is that, had things gone more smoothly in the arrest of the “Terror suspects”, the government would have paraded the footage of Quick entering no 10 as evidence that it was really Glorious Gordon and Genius Jacqui who had directed the operation and saved the world – again.

It is very, very wrong – it violates the whole spirit of the constitution – for politicians to be involved in arresting people. If the police had real evidence that these people are terrorists, then of course they should have been arrested when the Police felt the right moment had come. That moment is when they have sufficient evidence, and are not putting the public at risk by undue delay. That is a technical decision requiring skill, expertise and experience in operational policing. It is a matter of the criminal law. It is absolutely not the business of Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown. But we know that under New Labour the politicians are deciding who should be arrested and when. We know that for sure because then Home Secretary John Reid said in terms that he decided when the arrests should be made in the farcical “Bigger than 9/11”, (though in the event non-existent), “Liquid airplane bomb plot” case. If politicians are going to decide the timing of arrests, then they cannot be surprised or aggrieved if we suspect that the timing of arrests is political. This was definitely the case in the “Liquid Bomb Plot”. I know for certain from my own sources that in that case the intelligence services believed they had been forced by politicians to act too soon. That was quite widely reported at the time. The view that John Reid had acted too early appears proved by a complex series of verdicts brought in by the jury. Less than half of those arrested actually were brought to trial. The jury found that three of the accused did have an intention to commit terror, but had formed no definite plan and specifically cleared them of the charge of planning to down aeroplanes with explosives. Why had Reid jumped the gun? Because the Americans asked him to. With Bob Quick’s predecessor, the disgraced Andy Hayman, giving an official Scotland Yard view that the “Liquid Bomb Plot” was “Bigger than 9/11” and involved plans to fly up to a dozen passenger jets simultaneously into different US cities, the resulting worldwide front page headlines were a Godsend for Bush in mid-term elections. They also enable the government to permanently ramp up the fear factor by the ludicrous toothpaste and shampoo searches that make flying so miserable. In the liquid bomb plot do you remember the massive banner headlines – the full front page of every single tabloid in the UK -about the evil Muslim mother who planned to blow up herself and her baby along with the plane? There was no media reporting at all when she was cleared and released.

The “Suspicious chemical” which police announced they had found in baby bottles was, errr, baby bottle sterilising solution. The reasons why these “Terror raids” might be the subject of political timing could not be more obvious. Both Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown were getting a well-deserved media pasting over the outrageous ripping off of the taxpayer for personal benefit through expense claims. The Metropolitan Police were under extreme criticism for their unprovoked killing of Ian Tomlinson. So this morning, instead of the news headline being the disgraceful fact that the policeman who launched an unprovoked assault from behind on Ian Tomlinson has still not been arrested, the headline is that the police have saved us all from certain death. Let me be plain. I am not saying that terrorism does not exist. I am not saying that those arrested are innocent. I do not know. I am saying that Brown and Smith’s involvement in operational police arrests, and the fact that less than 1% of those arrested under anti-terror legislation in the UK have ever been charged with anything connected to terrorism, gives me the right to be suspicious of what is undeniably, at the very least, politically very fortuitous timing. It is also the arrest of alleged terrorists from Pakistan, at a time when the government is under both parliamentary and criminal investigation for participation in torture of terrorist suspects in Pakistan. The government has responded by arguing that intelligence from torture abroad is necessary to save lives in the UK. I have no doubt that we will find the government arguing that this “terror plot” justifies their case.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/03/fco_finally_adm.html Because of this suspicion, I will be setting a high test for evidence that these arrests really were needed at this time. The accusation is that a bombing campaign was ready for this Easter – ie now. If that is true, there must be explosives and detonators ready, or in the very final stages of preparation. We will see. According to Sky News this morning, police searches so far have discovered photographs of leading buildings in Manchester taken by the students. I studied Russian in St Petersburg. I have photographs I took of the Hermitage, of the Church on the Holy Blood, of the St Peter and Paul Fortress, of the bridges over the Neva, of the ornate underground stations. I studied Polish in Lublin. I have photographs of Lublin castle, of the main shopping street, of the Catholic University of Lublin… I have, in fact, photographs of prominent buildings everywhere I ever studied. And photographis in bars and nightclubs. Why do the police feel the need to feed out to the media the complete non-news of the non-evidence that they have discovered photographs of Manchester in Manchester? Why was it necessary for the Prime Minister to make a statement announcing the arrests? What does that do to the chances of a fair trial? Why was it never necessary to make a prime ministerial statement every time a suspected Irish terrorist – and remember they really did blow up the Arndale Centre in Manchester – was arrested?

There are many genuine and diligent people carrying out counter-terrorism work in the police and intelligence services, working the old-fashioned way with painstaking accumulation of evidence. They do save lives and they should be applauded and supported. They should be free from political interference and distanced from politicians. They may have foiled a genuine plot here. If so they must be congratulated. The Home Secretary –who has not foiled any plots – should have been briefed after arrests were made, and there should be no room for suspicion that politicians had interfered. That would have stuck to the cardinal rule of only telling people who actually have to know about an operation – and the rule of not carting around secret documents for no purpose. The photo leak – which could indeed have jeopardised a security operation which may or may not prove to have been vital – was caused directly by the excessive and completely unnecessary involvement of the politicians in policing detail. A police state is not a state where the police rule. It is a state where there is no distance between the politicians and police. A police state is a state where a policeman can be caught on camera launching an unprovoked fatal assault from behind, yet not be arrested. A police state is a state where the police raid the parliamentary offices of opposition MPs. A police state is a state where it is the politicians who are making the decisions on who gets arrested and when. Craig Murray – Homepage: http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/04/politically_tim.html

plymouth 5 – released without charge

Ooh! Look out for that toxic "Political Literature"!

Ooh! Look out for that toxic "Political Literature"!

“Terror probe police release group Police officer with evidence Investigating officers removed items from a city centre address All five members of a group arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot have been released without charge”

Really? This, as many of us had predicted was the inevitable result of arrests made purely to justify the repressive Police operation in London during the G20.

Police say the final member of the five, a 25-year-old man, was freed on Tuesday night. The man was arrested in Plymouth on 27 March, along with two 20-year-old women, a 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy after police found explosives. Police said investigations were continuing, but those freed were no danger to the public…

…Unike the Metropolitan Police

‘Firework-like devices’ A search of a Plymouth flat after the arrest of the eldest man led to police finding “political literature”. After the flat was searched, a number of “firework-like devices” were made safe by Royal Navy bomb disposal experts. Literature found in the flat was described by officers as political but “not extremist”. The 25-year-old man, the 20-year-old women and the 16-year-old boy are on police bail in connection with other offences. The 19-year-old man faces no further action.

So they found some Climate Camp leaflets and a couple of  Brock’s Bangers…and this is enough to keep 5 people in Custody without Charge for up to a week?

Det Supt John Clements, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The Constabulary is continuing to carry out a thorough and detailed police investigation and, while a large number of items have already been seized and arrests made, the investigation is ongoing. “We would like to reassure the public that at no stage has anyone been released from police custody who poses any threat to the public.”

No shit.

video evidence of police assault on ian tomlinson

Ian Tomlinson's Widow, and Son, Paul. They Want answers

Ian Tomlinson's Widow, and Son, Paul. They Want answers

Click: Video:

Of course, this must just be a mirage, as the the Police said that they didn’t assault him, and they were being pelted with bottles.

Witnesses Statement: Death at G20

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Various participants in the City of London demonstrations on April 1st have come forward as witnesses to the collapse of a man later identified by authorities as Ian Tomlinson. Four different university students witnessed the collapse of Mr. Tomlinson. “He stumbled towards us from the direction of police and protestors and collapsed,” said Peter Apps. “I saw a demonstrator who was a first aider attend to the person who had collapsed. The man was late 40s, had tattoos on his hands, and was wearing a Millwall shirt.”

While the first aider was helping the man, another demonstrator with a megaphone was calling the police over so that they could help.

Natalie Langford, a student at Queen Mary, said “there was a police charge. A lot of people ran in our direction. The woman giving first aid stood in the path of the crowd.” The running people, seeing a guy on the ground, went around them.

Another demonstrator had already called 999 and was getting medical advice from the ambulance dispatcher. “Four police with two police medics came. They told her [the first aider] to ‘move along’.”, said Peter Apps. “Then they pushed her forcibly away from him. They refused to listen to her [the first aider] when she tried to explain his condition.”

The first aider, who did not wish to be named, said “The police surrounded the collapsed man. I was standing with the person who’d called 999. The ambulance dispatcher wanted to talk to the police, the phone was being held out to them, but the police refused.”

Another witness, Elias Stoakes, added “we didn’t see them [the police] perform CPR.”

Other people who had tried to stay with the collapsed man were also pushed away.

All of the witnesses deny the allegation that many missiles were thrown.

According to Peter Apps, “one bottle was thrown, but it didn’t come close to the police. Nothing was thrown afterwards as other demonstrators told the person to stop. The person who threw the bottle probably didn’t realize that someone was behind the ring of police.” All the witnesses said that the demonstrators were concerned for the well-being of the collapsed man once they realized that there was an injured person.

Natalie Langford said “when the ambulance arrived the protestors got straight out of the way.”

These witnesses are happy to give media statements.

They can be contacted through this press liasion email: g20witnesses@gmail.com

See video of two of the witnesses giving their statement: full interview | early clip

Statement in German

Email Contact email: g20witnesses@gmail.com