Police badge numbers: accountable parties call for context

Channel 4 – Police badge-covering condemned

The chief inspector of police describes some of the behaviour of police officers at the G20 protests as “unacceptable”.

Taking questions from MPs on the home affairs select committee, Mr O’Connor also said it was “totally unacceptable” for police officers to conceal their number IDs, as several of them appeared to be doing during the protests.

But London Mayor Boris Johnson has been defending the overall police handling of the protests.

Boris link here.

I think it’s entirely fair to expect an inquiry into the police not wearing badge numbers, the frequency with which this happened on the day and in general, and the possible causes behind it. Ditto for the known use of unnecessary force and the not-unrelated use of ‘kettling’ as a tactic.

Also, most of the negative PR concerning the police has resulted from their own efforts to skew the debate!

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Bishopsgate Police Station

Bishopsgate Police Station (via)

Bishopsgate Police Station. Bishopsgate Police Station. Bishopsgate Police Station.

Continue reading

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Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is clearly faking it for ‘smeargate’

YouTube – Paul Staines, smears and ‘smeargate’

Days after the 2006 podcast featured in this clip, it was revealed that the target of these smears had sex with men, and Paul Staines fronted up to the world (behind his mask, natch) and asked; “Did it hint enough?”

So on top of everything else, Paul Staines needs it explained to him that being homosexual/bisexual does not make you a paedophile.

(Paul also seems to think that having a dash of minority about you makes it impossible for you to be racist, but that’s for another time.)

The only thing that makes this smear from Paul Staines (and Alex Hilton) in any way rare is the fact that we have audio of it, because Paul Staines regularly publishes peristant smears on his website, and I’ve had to take action over these myself recently:

Stephen Tall – Paul Staines: not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy

Paul Staines is a libertarian who will happily peddle smears that undermine governments, any government and any political party. That’s his role, and one he is eminently comfortable fulfilling.

Paul Staines also has a vested interest in upping page views in order to boost his advertising revenue via the banner advertising network MessageSpace (in which he plays a murky but integral part), and he must know the value of the page loads generated by his policy of allowing people to smear just about anyone under comments on his website. Only a fool would fail to recognise the draw of a widely-read website that allows Westminster wannabes to share unsubstantiated rumours…. and/or how unsubstantiated rumours evolve into ‘open secrets’ via the simple process of repetition from multiple* sources.

(*Or single people pretending to be multiple sources, right Paul?)

Paul Linford – Smeargate was a car crash waiting to happen

Back in 2007, Guido spent months attempting to convince his blog’s many readers that Gordon Brown had been photographed on a rocking horse wearing a nappy, and to utilise the power of search engine optimisation and Google to spread this ridiculous tale across the entire internet. It even made it onto Wikipedia, and when I tried to remove it, some patsy came along and reverted my edit.

He also gave house-room to a sock puppet called “Stanislav” who suggested, in one particularly disgusting post, that the Prime Minister had been steadily driven mad by the strain of repressing his “homosexuality” over many years – part of a deadly serious attempt by the right to fix the idea of Gordon as a “weirdo” in the public’s mind.

None of this in any way excuses the suggestion that David Cameron is suffering from some embarrassing health complaint. But it does put it into perspective, and should serve as a corrective to those tempted to hail Guido as the new conscience of British public life.

Paul Staines’ repeated claim that he is not responsible for the content of comments because he doesn’t read them is eighteen flavours of flatulence, not least because he’s pretty damn quick to delete any comments that highlight less-than-flattering data about him and/or his close mates.

It’s also a bit of a fib, because he’s led the little ‘rocking horse’ game himself by commenting about it and
blogging about it. Under his main nickname and everything. This time.

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is a hypocritical spin-doctoring smear merchant, an unapologetic drunkard, a danger to shipping… and our new sheriff.

After years of nicking stuff from Private Eye and then loftily sniffing that he does not even read that magazine, he’s now being heralded in some places as its replacement.

Of course, this absurd level of praise comes to us from the site of the same man who now touts Alex Hilton as the natural choice to fill the void left by the departure of Derek Draper, so there’s a very real possibility that some or all of what you’re reading could be influenced to some small degree by self-serving political/professional propaganda.

(Sorry to go off like a totally nutty conspiracy theorist and all that.)

UPDATE – This is an unrelated item that belongs here anyway. More on Iain ‘half of the story‘ Dale later.

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Ian Tomlinson died of abdominal haemorrhage

BBC – G20 death was not heart attack: A police officer has been interviewed under caution for manslaughter after a new post-mortem overturned the cause of Ian Tomlinson’s death… Now a fresh examination has found he died of abdominal haemorrhage, not a heart attack, as originally thought. Lawyers for the family said the new post-mortem raised the likelihood of a manslaughter charge… “Dr Cary’s opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained. Dr Cary accepts that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but states that in his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have contributed to the cause of death.” … The [coroner Dr Cary’s] statement concluded that both the opinions remained provisional and subject to further investigations and tests. In a response, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said: “Following the initial results of the second post mortem, a Metropolitan police officer has been interviewed under caution for the offence of manslaughter as part of an ongoing nquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson.”

As per the last post, I’m going to need a moment. With you shortly.

Newcomers to this (if there are any) will want to start here, check this category for more, and watch this video:

UPDATE – People are going to be very angry about this, but I want to stress that there is something here that has not changed, and I’m going to use a comment I made before this latest coroner’s statement was issued to help others appreciate it:

[Please understand that I normally quote and link to sources, but this was a rare political debate at the site involved, such things are generally (if gently) discouraged at that site, and I’m not entirely sure if “I told you so, Stan!” is a place that I want to go to.]

forum grab

There were multiple assaults at the G20 protest events. Most of them resulted from the practice known as ‘kettling’, which is claimed to have a calming effect of crowds, but appears to be used to justify the use of violence against protestors… whether that’s at an individual or institutional level in unknown at this point.

(One peek at the medic laying into protestors with a baton from behind the police line is enough to make many worry about the state of Teh State, but further images show a fellow officer trying to restrain him showing that some parts of the system are still working as they should.)

Further, we also have video evidence of two officers clearly abusing/exceeding their authority, and both of these officers had obscured badge numbers.

The officer who back-handed and batoned the woman the day after Tomlinson died was wearing epaulette covers designed for this purpose:

what a guy

None of this has changed.

But a full, undiluted and independent inquiry into both practices should now be regarded as a certainty. We shouldn’t have to march on any police stations to get it.

[Let’s hear it announced in very good time, please, police and government peeps. Don’t make us stalk chase you.]

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Iain Dale: the return of the naked vicar

Iain has made good on his subtle threat to go back to unregistered comments (see comments here, and do note the timing).

I once made the mistake of telling Iain how much it meant to me personally that he had finally taken the responsible step of introducing comment registration on his Blogger.com-hosted site. My exact words at the time were “it’s 80% of the problem between us” and he was quite struck by this revelation.

Not only does this act stink of petty revenge, but regardless of what he claims, he knows what the most likely effect will be now he has removed the main obstacle to those who use multiple identities in his comments. This is an escalation that he is dressing up as a minor bit of housekeeping:

Iain Dale – Parish Notice: The Sequel: Following yesterday’s events I have been pre-moderating all comments. I have had several emails from people suggesting that if I am doing that, I might as well re-allow anonymous comments. A few weeks ago I did a poll of readers which showed that by a 53-40 margin you wanted to see that facility restored. I decided that this was not a big enough margin to do it, as the current system seemed to be working well. However, I do think that if I am pre-moderating there is more of a case for it. I should make clear that this is not an invitation to unleash the dogs of war…

But this won’t help him any more than comment moderation will, as I have pointed out to him personally and explained publicly in this updated version of the ‘fan club’ post.

He’s wasting his time and putting his readers through needless inconvenience(s). And using them a bit, too, if we’re to be honest.

And he’s having them on if he’s making this out to be a rush attack or mass invasion. It’s far more elegant than that, and completely justified.

(Why send 100 messages when we can simply make him worry about the 1 comment in 100 to the point where he actually reads all of what he publishes?)

I wonder how Iain will deal with people pretending to be me pretending to be other people? I can tell you from experience that this is now bound to happen in the climate he’s created.

And what’s his exit strategy? He can’t keep moderation on forever, and he knows from past experience that (a) he can’t possibly hope to keep up with comment free-for-alls, and (b) it’s only a matter of time before his anonymob goes sour on him again.

And why is he going through all of this when all he has to do is engage like a sensible person and discuss our recent disagreement(s) and/or the many claims he has published about me (and others) that he cannot back with evidence?

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

Mail server down

All email to bloggerheads.com has been temporarily suspended in order to keep the site stable during the clean up after an exceptional spam attack today (a coincidence that I can assure you has little to nothing* to do with Iain Dale).

If you wish to reach me by email before tomorrow, please use the gmail address:

bloggerheads DOT com AT googlemail DOT com

If you have sent an email today and I have not answered you, then you will have to wait until tomorrow or resend your message via Gmail.

Cheers all.

(*I say ‘little to nothing’ rather than ‘nothing’ because some people have reacted to Iain’s side of the story by submitting my email address to BNP newsletters and the like, so there’s an incremental influence, but I mention that merely to be accurate. I wouldn’t want to play it like the vicar and give a false impression of who has been doing what.)

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Paul Staines withdraws false claims… will Iain Dale do the same?

Last night I ran out of patience with both Paul Staines and Iain Dale and their repeatedly publishing/allowing false claims about me on their respective websites. Typically, these are often confused with banter or abuse (or deliberately presented as banter or abuse), but I made it clear to Paul Staines yesterday that I would no longer be tolerating the repeated claim that I am a paid servant of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government, because it simply isn’t true.

Paul Staines has now removed a large number of these false claims from his website, and I’ll conduct a further check later (it may take a while as this been going on for years) but he has acted on everything on the shortlist of archived entries I made privately last night (i.e. a list that Paul has not seen), so he is taking this seriously and actively seeking out relevant errant entries. Good.

And I did it all without the help of a lawyer.

(If you spot any more, let me know, as we have an agreement that no such claim is to be tolerated on the order-order.com website ever again.)

Compare this to the actions of Iain Dale, who refuses to even discuss this matter (or any other), and is now winding his readers up and publishing false claims that I’m a mental case, along with further allegations/implications that I’m only upset about false claims that I’m in the pay/employ of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government because… erm… I’m in the pay/employ of Tom Watson, the Labour party or the government!

This pigheaded publication of outright lies on his site about me and others while I am banned from responding should give you some idea why I might have cause to re-dial Iain about 40 times last night (while he was busy being hilarious and deleting comments from me but not about me on his site). I wasn’t going to stand for it any more and I wanted the ‘in pay of’ matter at least settled immediately. I still do.

The ‘threats’ he speaks of are actions I will be forced to take if he continues to publish false claims about my integrity (again) and now mental state (again) on his website.

Again, I will be trying to resolve the conflict without turning to libel lawyers, but Iain’s appallingly dishonest escalation today isn’t leaving me much choice.

REMEMBER: FFS, as with Staines, I’m not asking Dale for a front-page apology or a humiliating climbdown… I know he’s far too precious for that. All I asked him to do last night was remove claims about me from his website that he could not back with evidence, and he wouldn’t even bloody well talk to me. He still won’t, even when he’s blogging about me *and* and letting his readers slag me off under comments…. which is, you know, a major part of what I’m upset about in the first place.

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The Iain Dale Fan Club

The Iain Dale Fan Club started at midday on April 16, 2009, after Iain Dale stood by and allowed me to be smeared as a paedophile*, refused to discuss that, banned me from the comments on his website for daring to press the matter, and then refused to remove further false claims about me published on his website.

[*MINI-UPDATE (22 Apr) – Here’s a handy summary of all of that for you.]

Iain failed to understand at the time that the only thing making his ban effective was my refusal to ‘sock-puppet’ on his Blogger.com-hosted website like so many of his supporters.

So… The Iain Dale Fan Club begins with nine honorary members and nine rules:

Iain Dale Fan Club

The Iain Dale Fan Club Rules

The first rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is you do not talk about the Iain Dale Fan Club.

The second rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is you do not talk about the Iain Dale Fan Club.

The third rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that membership is by invitation only.

The fourth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you must earn your invitation by getting Iain Dale to lose his temper and/or delete your comments over a fair challenge to any of his false/misleading/incorrect claims a total of five times (i.e. to earn your five ‘points’ to start).

The fifth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you can earn a bonus two points toward your starting five – once – if Iain misses the point and/or loses his temper to the point where he specifically accuses you of trolling and/or of correcting/challenging his false/misleading/incorrect claims only because you want to be a member of the Iain Dale Fan Club.

The sixth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that – if you are invited – you must, when instructed, create an alternative identity (i.e. a sock-puppet) or series of same and only make comments of the following variety on the main website of that notorious blog-cheat and thin-skinned Tory propagandist…

Directed at Iain, his writing, or items that he has endorsed:
– gushing praise
– naive, unquestioning agreement

Directed at Iain’s enemies and those who dare question his wisdom under comments:
– childish, puerile and/or witless put-downs
– vicious attacks

The seventh rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that you must not ‘sock puppet’ on any other site ever, ever, ever. No excuses.

The eighth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that the ninth rule will not be revealed to you until an invitation has been issued and initiation is complete.

The ninth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is [classified].

Here we go, folks. Hang loose for a few hours or days depending on your schedule. No sense us all turning up at once and being too conspicuous, like.

UPDATE – A quick update for non-members from a comment made elsewhere, which is probably worth a mention here given the naked vicar’s narrative:

Iain once admitted to me that he often lets comments go live and conversations go on without really reading/checking them (not mine, obviously). Even with moderation on, he will often let through maybe 20 at a time without checking them first (not today, obviously). This is not a very clever, safe or considerate thing to do. I’ve been on the wrong end of it far too often, and I am now going to make sure that Iain won’t be doing it again for a long, long time.

I we don’t have to break a sweat or any laws or any Blogger.com rules to do it, and it won’t matter if Iain has moderation switched on or off. The people ‘auditioning’ will look like regular (if sceptical) newcomers, and identifying Fan Club members will be problematic to say the least. If he makes good on his subtle threat to go back to unregistered comments, that just makes life easier.

Iain also once admitted that, despite his many claims of ‘NuLieBore’ sock-puppetry on his site, he considers himself completely incapable of tracking who is really saying what at any given time, and he couldn’t reliably identify a sock-puppet if he tried. In other words, he just yells ‘sock puppet’ at people he doesn’t like and lets his mates get on with being however many people they please.

If you think that sounds like a lousy way to run a site, you’re right… but the good news is that this shitty tactic is about to get a lot more complicated for Iain, too.

UPDATE (15 Sep 2010) – A private discussion (that, sadly, went nowhere constructive led to me revealing the grand and glorious secret rule to Iain Dale as a sign of good faith, and a summarised version follows:

CLASSIFIED: The ninth rule of the Iain Dale Fan Club is that the instruction to create an alternative identity (i.e. a sock-puppet) or series of same and only make comments of the following variety etc. etc. on the main website of that notorious blog-cheat and thin-skinned Tory propagandist will never be issued, because sock-puppeting is wrong, and only tossers like Iain Dale and his supporters do it, or rely on others to do it for them.

So, now the secret’s out, the Iain Dale Fan Club is no more.

To explain it to the passers-by, newcomers and laymen out there; my main concern about what Iain Dale portrayed as comment ‘maintenance’ at the time (and long before this) was that he was allowing anonymous comments from supporters, but would sneer at anonymous comments from critics, or not publish them, and even accuse/half-accuse other critics of being behind them without any evidence, often blurring the line between abuse and criticism in the process. Often we would do this to the extent of allowing his site to be used as a platform for serious smears, accusations and implications submitted by people he could never hope to identify… but only if the accusations were against his critics and/or (dramatic sting) The Left.

Taking Dale at his word that it was not him personally behind these anonymous comments, it was my intention to complicate and thereby discourage his reliance on them; to inject doubt about who or where suspicious/OTT anonymous comments seemingly in his favour might be coming from. This is what he described as a ‘DOS’ attack at the time.

The Iain Dale Fan Club also served as a way to encourage interested parties (recruited as members) to stay away from Iain Dale’s site at this time; members were forbidden from leaving comments on his site until a certain instruction was issued… and they knew that instruction would never be issued. I did not want them needlessly embroiled in a flame war, anonymously attacked, or tempted to comment anonymously themselves (to avoid being called a ‘stooge’ or my ‘bitch’, for example). Granted, it did contain material encouraging potential ‘recruits’ to challenge Dale repeatedly (if openly and fairly), but I did not expect this to lead anywhere, didn’t hear from any potential recruits, and any one of us could have shut it down at any stage by revealing Rule #9.

My only regret is never knowing how many suspicious/OTT comments Dale deleted as a result (that he would not have deleted prior to this); but I do know he did not dare to disengage moderation for months after this, which greatly hampered his little game of allowing unacceptable content ‘unintentionally’ (see: How Iain Dale libelled Tom Watson (and me))

[*NOTE – The ninth rule has been ever-so-slightly updated in the interim, but only to give Iain Dale the benefit of the doubt when he claims not to have made any anonymous comments on his own site. Some harsh language has also been removed or moderated for reasons of propriety.]

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Iain Dale plays the victim, yadda yadda yadda

“So he’s now going to launch a spamming initiative against me or try to instigate a DNS attack.” – Iain Dale

This is an incorrect assumption at best. Given Iain Dale’s past history, it is more likely to be a lie.

My solution to the problem of Iain Dale is far more elegant, and quite legal, I assure you.

Also, Iain has revealed that he did indeed listen to the many messages I left with him begging him to help me make a true and efficient statement to police regarding the Glen Jenvey claims that I’m a convicted paedophile, and those asking when exactly he would be removing other false claims about me hosted on his website

Iain refused to cooperate on both fronts,and his portrayal of multiple messages is a dishonest. one. I’m amazed that he would parade this version of events in front of his readers and still not address what he has done.

[UPDATE – If you really think you’re being harassed, Iain… call the police! I’m sure they’ll appreciate you giving them less than half of the story just like you’ve just done to your readers. Dickhead.]

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The Downing Street conspiracy to ‘get Dale’

Take a look at what Paul promises to publish here, on live television on 27 March. It’s quite specific:

Paul Staines: I’ve seen the briefing paper done by Downing Street; “How to get Dale”

Derek Draper: Well, publish it.

Paul Staines: I will publish it this afternoon

Paul Staines still hasn’t published this. No-one has. But Paul Staines and Iain Dale have been using the old trick of using story momentum* to peddle outright lies and falsehoods to their readers and the media.

(*When you’re seen as the ‘good guy’ in a fast-moving story, often people stop asking you for evidence when you claim X, Y or Z, and will just take you at your word. Witness Nadine Dorries telling outright fibs on SKY News; a story I’m still chasing on the basis that I’m aware of two clear lies, and have evidence of the first, but I’m seeking evidence for the second lie, which is actionable if it turns out to be as it was described to me.)

They have also been blurring the line between the emails that have been published and this unseen email/document that they claim exists, but will not produce.

There is even sufficient evidence for us to suspect that this evidence does not even exist:

Iain Dale submitted to the Mail on Sunday a false claim about Tom Watson being CCed on the ‘smeargate’ emails, and claims he found out too late to stop it from going to print. (How unfortunate.) He then failed to undergo a comprehensive correction and retraction on his own site, while repeatedly implying that Watson was involved in ‘smeargate’.

In other words, Iain Dale knowingly misled his readers for at least a day and a half, as many of them will have recalled reading the claim, but will not have been aware that this claim was false and had been withdrawn (until after Tom was forced to issue legal letters, in which case a few people might have caught the resulting teeny afterthought/update on this post)

Meanwhile, Iain Dale continues with his claim that there was a Downing Street led conspiracy against him specifically, but he has still yet to produce the emails/documents he claims exist that prove this.

Where’s his evidence? Or is he again taking the word of the same ‘trusted source’ who told him Watson was CCed on the ‘smeargate’ emails?

I’ve made it clear that I wouldn’t use Carter Ruck myself, but while Tom Watson is taking the quite understandable measure of issuing legal letters to those publishing these false claims and persisting with a narrative no longer supported by evidence:

Paul Staines is making out that it’s all part of his grand conspiracy theory and/or that Tom’s a libel bully, and, after I dared to point out that he had no evidence to support his claim, published numerous false claims – also unsupported by evidence – that I’m secretly in the employ of Tom Watson and/or the Labour party and/or the government. This is a false claim that has been repeated often on his site, Staines has yet to remove these false claims from his website/archives, despite a very clear demand that he do so. (What’s he waiting for? A legal letter so he can make me out to be a libel bully, too?)

Iain Dale is playing along with the ‘libel bully’ game (in the same post where he admits the ‘error’ as if it were in passing!) *and* deleting mentions under comments (not from me) of generous Tory patron Lord Ashcroft objecting to what is published about him but instead of demanding the customary retractions, deletions and/or apologies, attempting to shut down an entire website (i.e. being a libel bully).


After pretty much standing by and allowing me to be smeared as a paedophile, Iain Dale refused to discuss the issue, and banned me from his site to avoid discussing it and to keep the information from his readers. He is now quite dishonestly claiming that he is not discussing this on the basis that I am banned (see how it works?) and also deleting any question about the evidence he claims to have but won’t show us, and/or the false claims hosted on his website that claim or imply that I’m secretly in the pay/employ of Tom Watson and/or the Labour party and/or the government.

Staines looks like he might just be ready to be reasonable, at least about some of the false claims he’s published about me.

Iain Dale might need a little something special.

[Psst! Experience the rich, undiluted hypocrisy of unapologetic drunkard Paul Staines smearing Damian McBride as an alcoholic.]

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