I’m not standing for this

Go look for yourself… it starts at 3:47 and actually gets worse:

YouTube – G20 Protest April 2nd 09

I’ll be back shortly to comment.

UPDATE – Still absorbing the video. Waiting to calm down. Have some pertinent information:

Telegraph – Met investigates new claims of policeman hitting G20 woman

The Metropolitan officer, who has his identification number covered up*, appears to slap the woman across the face before taking out his baton and hitting her on the legs.

The incident happened a day after another officer pushed over newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, who died of a suspected heart attack shortly after.

[*My emphasis. I have been bitching about this very thing for a while now. We have yet to hear anyone from the Met or the CoL police or the IPCC condemning the practice or even expressing concern at the allegations evidence that it is happening.]

Obviously no one gave the Hill Street Blues speech that morning. Or maybe they did and it was like; “Hey, let’s be pro-active out there!”

UPDATE – Oh dear. In the HSB clip I chose, Sergeant Phil Esterhaus doesn’t sign off with his usual “Hey, let’s be careful out there”… instead he uses the alternative; “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us!”

Now, to business:

We are looking at a kettling in progress. See the photographer trying to leave at 3:20 (i.e. move from the enclosed area to where the press are free to move…to anywhere but the enclosed area unless they want some, too).

The results speak for themselves. As does the CoL officer who urges the media to turn away from a seeing-to or two with the classic; “There’s nothing to see here, is there?”

Yes, there bloody well is something to see there; a second apparent case of assault involving yet another officer with obscured badge numbers. Even your most gung-ho armchair capitalist would have to admit that it’s not the smartest public relations move, at least.

UPDATE – The angle of the video doesn’t make it clear if he slaps her face or chest, so there may be some debate about that if the far right bloggers out there have sufficient protein left in their bodies to lift their aching arms to their keyboards.

If faced with such a debate, it’s easy enough to settle, because the defenders of kettling would have you think that it has a calming effect. So, keeping in mind that the idea is to keep members of the public calm:

You’re a young woman outside a police cordon expressing concern to a police officer about the treatment of a man inside a police cordon.

So, where do you want it; face or tits?

(Well, it’s your fault you swore, you little firecracker. You was asking for it, wasn’t ya?)

UPDATE – Here’s our man. Note the fetching epaulette covers.

what a guy

Eyewitness account by the photographer:

During the afternoon of the 2nd April 2009 on Threadnedle Street near the Bank of England I witnesed the police officer in the photos on this page attack a woman with his telescopic baton. The attack was startling because it was apparently unprovoked. It was also surprising because the police officer concerned is a very large man of perhaps 15 stone, while the woman was very small, perhaps 5’3″ tall. He stepped forwards from a police line and beat the woman hard using both forehand and backhand strokes. I estimate that he hit her between 3 and 5 times. As can be seen in the photographs the officer did not have his number visible. The woman appeared very brave and did not openly show pain.(source)

On YouTube and Indymedia, where these and other photos can be seen, there are a number of claims that this officer’s badge number is or was AB42, but there’s no proof of that at this stage, the IPCC is aware and the need for a man/witch-hunt** is unlikely.

Now let’s hear some noises about how shocking it is that a police officer would hide his/her identity in this way, please. Anyone in authority will do; just a little gasp of disbelief for the cameras and you can be on your way.

[**Mmmmmm… manwich hunt.]

UPDATE – As has just been mentioned under comments:

PA – G20 ‘attack’ officer suspended

Better. Certainly faster. Not much stronger.

I want to start hearing some seriously reassuring messages about this hidden badge number nonsense. Good to see the Lib Dems at least are asking questions. Now all we need are those answers.

UPDATE (15 Apr) – Pardon me if I seem ungrateful, but it’s about bloody time:

BBC – Police begin G20 tactics review

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has asked Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) to review policing tactics. Denis O’Connor will conduct the review after two alleged assaults by police during the G20 protests in London… Sir Paul also stressed all uniformed officers must wear shoulder identification numbers so they can be easily identifiable by the public… Sir Paul said: “It is also the case that a number of complaints have been raised in relation to the tactic of containment and as to whether this achieves that balance. I want to be reassured that the use of this tactic remains appropriate and proportionate. Separately, I have already expressed my concern that the video footage of some police actions are clearly disturbing and should be thoroughly investigated. As well as the post-event investigation into those responsible for violence and disorder, I have also ensured that footage in police possession is reviewed to identify any other matters of individual police conduct that may warrant investigation.” He added that uniformed police officers should be identifiable at all times by their shoulder identification numbers. “The public has a right to be able to identify any uniformed officer whilst performing their duty.”

Posted in The War on Stupid | 9 Comments

Ian Tomlinson assault – IPCC ‘wrong’ about no CCTV claim

Guardian – Police watchdog chief wrong to say no CCTV in area of Ian Tomlinson assault: This morning the IPCC initially stood by Hardwick’s claims. “Mr Hardwick said there was no available CCTV footage of the incident and we stand by that. Any footage that is available, whether taken by police or by the public, will be fully investigated as and when it becomes available,” it said. However, at 10.30am, after pictures were published showing cameras in the area, the IPCC changed its stance. “At this point, Mr Hardwick believed that he was correct in this assertion – we now know this may not be accurate,” the IPCC said in a statement. “There are cameras in the surrounding area.” The IPCC would not comment on why, almost two weeks after Tomlinson’s death and one week after it said its investigators had pieced together his last moments by looking at “many hours of CCTV”, Hardwick had been mistaken about the locations of cameras.

Tch. I’ve already pointed out that this is how conspiracy theories start out, haven’t I? Being thorough and attentive and observant is the simplest part of almost every role related to law enforcement. The public deserves better.

Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment

Share and enjoy my handy Blog Guide

The UK Political Blog Guide [2009]

Blog Guide screengrab

This video contains everything you need to know about the current state of political blogging in the UK in a smidgen over a minute, and stars all of the main players in the grubby-on-all-sides Draper/McBride ‘smeargate’ affair.

PS – Iain Dale and Paul Staines still refuse to show any evidence proving their repeated claims of a Downing Street conspiracy against either or both of them specifically, but they are dishonestly grouping this unseen email with the published email(s) and insisting that they have evidence to prove their conspiracy claim. Iain Dale has already made one false claim about this. There’s every reason to be suspicious about the personal conspiracy claim too, so… Let’s. See. The. Evidence.

UPDATE – Yeah, I noticed this, too; Iain Dale, in a typical abuse of the power that comes with added publicity, used the opportunity to press his false narrative about the right’s dominance of the blogosphere.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, Video | 13 Comments

The smear-merchants behind ‘Smeargate’

To begin with, just let me say this: Derek Draper, Derek Draper, Derek Draper, Derek Draper.

Sorry about that minor foray into the archives. Tim J of Conservative Party Reptile is concerned that I’ve not mentioned Draper enough, and would have you think that I’m trying to excuse Derek Draper’s behaviour or distract you from his deeds, even though I have already condemned his actions and publicly tagged him as the wrong man for the job before Iain Dale and Paul Staines started using Draper’s clumsy underhanded tactics to paint themselves whiter than white (in part before even the emails at the centre of ‘smeargate’, that were sent on Jan 13 and seen by Paul Staines aka ‘Guido Fawkes’ that same day*).

[Psst! In fact, for the most likely explanation for Staines seeing/receiving the McBride/Draper emails on the same day* they were sent, see this entry on my blog about an email Derek Draper sent in Jan 16. In that exchange, Draper appears to accidentally (openly) CC Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith on our conversation instead of (secretly) BCCing them. What I didn’t blog at the time, was the part where Greg Jackson replied to the group without realising that I would be reading his comments about my ‘arrogance’. Draper and his gang are a bunch of keyboard-mashing nincompoops; chances are someone somewhere (probably Draper) CCed/included/emailed Staines or one of his informants thanks to an auto-fill function and a lack of care or common sense. The most likely scenario in the circumstances is that Draper tried to CC/BCC someone on the ‘smeargate’ email(s) but BCCed Staines or one of his informants instead. This is the most likely scenario because it allows for a long period where McBride was unaware of the leak that needed immediate attention, and Draper – who admits himself that he’s a self-destructive arsehole – was willing to gamble that his mistake would never come to light. If that’s the way it happened, it is likely that Draper is still the only person who knows it was his mistake, not least because he still finds himself in a job. In such a scenario, it is equally likely that Draper himself is still unaware of his own mistake, as he is famously ignorant of just about anything to do with the internet and how it works.]

[*MINI-UPDATE (14 Apr) – It turns out there are are conflicting accounts of when Staines was shown these emails (and what he did with them afterwards, and here I’d like to note that Staines’ carefully-phrased/timed denials about him seeking and eventually receiving payment for this story don’t add up to much). Paul Staines may have heard of these emails in Jan/Feb/Mar but not received them until as late as the early days of April. Of course, I can’t ask him about that because he’s a childish query-dodging so-and-so, but this still allows for the ‘accidental CC/BCC’ scenario, but to one of Staines sources, and not Staines himself.]

Tim J also appears to be mistaking ‘fixated’ or ‘obsessed’ with ‘well informed and justifiably concerned’.

Iain Dale and Paul Staines and Derek Draper all represent what is wrong and dangerous in the political blogosphere.

The reason Dale and Staines especially seem so popular is because (a) they manipulate and feed off the mainstream media sewer they claim to be above, (b) they lie and mislead people about their traffic figures, and (c) they individually do get an audience that’s roughly double mine by the ingenious method of telling people what they want to hear, censoring any valid challenge to their claims, and letting people smear anyone who isn’t an ally of theirs under comments.

Oh, and they and their supporters also use and abuse multiple personalities under comments (see two key entries on ‘sock-puppets’ here and here), so for every hundred comments on some days there’s maybe a dozen people in it. It’s very hard to catch people doing this on their own website(s), but Paul Staines has been caught doing it outside his own website (pretending to be supporter, no less), and Iain Dale has a long track record of (at the very least) allowing this sock-puppeting on his site when it is to his advantage and actually using such comments as a weapon in debates/discussions that aren’t going his way (a classic example awaits you here if you have the patience for it). Draper is too new to have any real form here, but he’s clearly a comment cheat, and not above a little sock-puppetry, even if he understands that it’s wrong (which I doubt).

[Psst! Iain Dale once told me that he’d never – never – seen any evidence of my sock-puppeting on his site, even though he’s published many claims to the contrary.]

It should also be pointed out that this stage that being popular/successful does not make you right and not every visit to your website is a vote for you!


While writing this I discovered that Iain Dale published and fed to the media a false claim that Tom Watson was CCed on the ‘smeargate’ emails. He rested on this false claim a repeated demand that Tom Watson explain his inaction… over emails Iain knew he had never seen. This false claim (and demands/narratives very similar to Iain’s) later spread to several newspapers, and influenced many online conversations about this event, on Iain’s site and elsewhere.


In an interview with The Stirrer, Dale confessed there was no evidence to support this assertion. He said, “I do accept that he wasn’t cc’d into the emails.”

He added: “Knowing the layout of that office, I can’t believe he didn’t know about Red Rag, but I can’t prove it.”

When asked why he hadn’t apologised for his error, Dale said that he had only posted it for around 15 minutes on his site on Saturday night, and had even emailed the Mail On Sunday with a correction – which nevertheless repeated the slur.

“I don’t know why they didn’t remove the reference” he said. “I can only assume arrived too late before they went to press.”

So Iain now claims that he originally thought this claim to be true, but then found out he was wrong 15 minutes after he published? Even if this were true – and it is unlikely, as Iain Dale is a shameless liar and the master of the plausible excuse – he still has to explain why he did not immediately correct all of the relevant entries on his site and/or make urgent efforts to correct the other newspapers who had repeated the claim… and why he continued with repeated implications of Tom Watson’s involvement while his readers were under the impression that Watson had been CCed on the emails, when he had not.

(And Iain is complaining because Tom is warning him that if he continues he’ll have to answer for this in court? He can go forget himself. Contrary to what some pseudo-bloggers would have you think, I am not against taking people to court, I am instead against unjust use of UK libel law to silence someone while denying them their day in court.)

Iain Dale and Paul Staines and Derek Draper should also be warned that they now give me no choice but to come at them at 24 frames per second.

Or perhaps 12 frames per second… just to get it out of the way quickly, because the smell of the shit they’ve been flinging is putting me off my blogging.

With you shortly.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

Iain Dale points the finger

Iain Dale -The Silence of “Propah Bloggah” Tom Watson

Tom Watson MP likes to call himself a “Propah Bloggah”. Strange therefore that his blog hasn’t been updated since Friday. All sorts of allegations are being made against him yet he declines to use the obvious medium open to him to refute them. Wonder why that would be, then.

For the record, here is the comment from me that Iain Dale has been repeatedly deleting under his claim that Tom Watson isn’t much of a blogger and/or a coward:

Compare to the silence of “Propah Bloggah” Iain Dale who refuses to discuss his twice allowing opponents to be smeared as a paedophile.

But he does not use the obvious medium open to him to refute this.

Instead, he cries ‘stalker’, and implies that he is contacting police when he is in fact complicating a genuine police investigation by being a childish fool and refusing to discuss what he did or did not do when asked to contact Tory MP Patrick Mercer about the smears (he didn’t, and then lied about it)

Iain Dale has also repeatedly implied that Tom Watson is involved in a personal smear/conspiracy against him without producing a lick of evidence to support this claim. That itself is a smear.

Now Iain Dale is making out that it is Tom Watson who is the coward, when Watson has issued statements (that Dale chooses to ignore) and talked to the press. Meanwhile, Iain Dale he has been avoiding questions about his own involvement in smears for weeks now.

He is dishonestly making out that he is not discussing it here because I am banned from his website, but the truth is he is not discussing it anywhere, and he banned me so he could continue taking comments here without discussing it.

Why did you not take the requested action to prevent to smears about me, Iain? Why did you stand by and allow me to be smeared as a convicted sex criminal?

Tim Ireland

When the time comes for Iain to whine “Tim Ireland has left X number of comments on this site”, keep in mind that what he is really saying is; “X times now, Tim Ireland has asked me to account for my allowing him to be smeared as a paedophile, and X times I have refused to face it while making out that someone else is a blogging coward with something to hide from his readers.”

I can’t blog full details, but Iain is at the moment compelling me to pass his details to the police, simply because he will not answer a simple question. Iain not only knows this, he is even refusing to acknowledge receipt of an email that explains this to him. Again, I cannot give details, but it’s not one of those weak “I’m going to report you to police” threats that Iain is so fond of, but a situation where the only correct moral and legal action I can take at this stage is ask them to ask him about X because he’s not talking to me (because he refuses to speak about X).

This is the most childish stunt that Iain has pulled to date… and that’s really saying something.

Is he really waiting for me to do this so the police can ask him what he told Mercer’s staff and why he didn’t contact Mercer directly as requested? Why? So he can help Jenvey by using the opportunity to tell police I’m a stalker? If so, why hasn’t he done this already if he really thinks it’s true?

If anybody has any better theories, I’d love to hear them, because I have no idea what’s going on in that head of his.

(Psst! We talked recently, in a frank and friendly conversation, and he doesn’t think what I’m doing today counts as stalking at all. Further, he has never truly believed that I have ever really stalked him, and the furthest he would go – before a change of subject – was saying that “sometimes it feels that way”. In short, Iain is smearing me, too. While playing the victim. What a bastard.)

UPDATE – I’ve made it clear elsewhere and will say again here that Dale and Staines have been grouping the published emails with an as-yet-unseen email that they claim exists and proves a conspiracy to smear Iain Dale originating from Downing Street. Apart from condemning the content we’ve seen to date, I’m reserving wider comment on the McBride/Draper smears themselves until all of that evidence has been published, and so far it hasn’t.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

I’m sorry, but Paul Staines *is* homophobic

For the sake of brevity, I must leave to one side the dishonest/one-eyed way in which Iain Dale defended Carol Thatcher, and Iain (again) peddling his self-serving nonsense about political representation in the weblog community, and instead draw your attention to a misleading claim about Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) that Iain has now seen published by two newspapers in two different opinion pieces on the ‘Smeargate‘ story he’s so desperate to be a part of.

I know how these people work because I have been a victim of their covert operations. McBride ordered his attack puppy bloggers, who include Derek Draper, to smear me as a racist after I tried to explain Carol Thatcher’s use of the word ‘golliwog’ in a BBC green room. He did the same with Guido Fawkes, who found himself tainted as ‘homophobic’. – Iain Dale in the Mail

He has accused me of racism and Guido Fawkes of homophobia. How low can you get? It now transpires that these accusations emanate directly from Downing Street. – Iain Dale in the Telegraph

Yes, and the ‘accusation’ that Paul Staines is homophobic “emanate(d) directly from Downing Street” in the same way that this ‘accusation’ now emanates from Bloggerheads.com:

Sometimes, the sky is blue.

Describing Paul Staines as homophobic is not an accusation, but a statement of fact.

Paul Staines still maintains the position that by implying that a certain MP was a paedophile several times in his failed podcast venture ‘Guido and the Monkey’, he was in fact hinting that the MP was gay.

How is it not homophobic to equate homosexuality with paedophilia?

Is it Paul’s position that he was merely confused at the time… and the next morning, and every day up until now?

Or is it Paul’s position that he was merely drunk at the time… and the next morning, and every day up until now?

To equate homosexuality with paedophilia in the way that Staines did is clearly a form of irrational discrimination against homosexual men.

Paul Staines can therefore be fairly described as ‘homophobic’.

End of.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

‘Smeargate’ and paedo-smears

“When is a smear not a smear? Alas, when it is true.” – Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’)

Let me be blunt:

1. I do recall saying that Derek Draper was the wrong man for the job (or what he made his job out to be), and look at what his bullshit has led to.

2. Anyone – anyone – foolish enough to hand this gift to Staines on a platter with a rich creamy sauce of Downing Street goodness deserves to slapped around by this git… at least for a bit.

That said:

All of this ‘Smeargate’ stuff could be true and exactly as Paul Staines says it is and/or as he makes it out to be, but that would do nothing to dilute the hypocrisy of Paul Staines accusing a fellow spin-doctor of being a smear merchant.

Let me give you a quick example of his work from my own personal collection:

I have a popular article on my website that discourages people from starting their own porn websites in pursuit of a fast buck. Paul Staines, seeing this, tells his readers that I “exploit porn for traffic” while knowing the opposite of what this implies is true (and while refusing me a right of reply).

That’s a smear worthy of the description, and Staines spews them out constantly, either through deliberate misinterpretation (see: spin), rumours dressed as humour (see; ‘rocking horse‘), or anonymous sock-puppet comments that he may or may not submit to his own website (as he has been caught doing on others).

Here’s another; implying that Mark Oaten is a paedophile (on the basis that he is gay, because Paul ‘not a homophobe’ Staines would have you think that being gay makes you a paedophile).

Any outrage you hear from Paul Staines and his followers is bound to be fabricated, as they’ve quietly tolerated repeated smears on the order-order.com website and elsewhere for years.

(Speaking of paedophilia and people quietly tolerating smears, Iain Dale is right now accusing Tom Watson of doing to Tory MPs essentially the same thing that he himself did to me recently; Iain was in a unique position to take action when someone posed as a Daily Mail reporter and falsely accused me of being a convicted sex criminal. Despite my plea for help, Iain did not take that action, and then lied about it, and now refuses to talk about it. He claims it is because I am ‘banned’ from his website, but he knows damn well that he slapped the ban on because he did not want to discuss this issue and I dared to press the matter. On top of this, I now have someone claiming that Iain Dale is actively involved in Glen Jenvey’s schemes. I have reason to distrust the claim, not because I think it’s beneath Iain, who will happily stand by and let fellow Tories smear their opponents with false claims of paedophilia, but because they also claim that Iain is helping by “sharing information” when I know he’s got nothing on me, and never has. I have tried to get some kind of response out of Iain Dale about any of this, but he is refusing to answer my emails or take my calls.)

I reserve further comment until I have read the email(s) that Paul Staines offered to publish immediately on television a few weeks back, then decided not to publish, before offering them for sale to newspapers giving them to the NOTW for free because… erm… I’m sure he’ll make that clear later, and explain why he’s not taking legal action against the newspapers making claims like this:

The emails were obtained by the Tory blogger Paul Staines, who runs an internet site called Guido Fawkes, and had been touted to newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, which declined to purchase them. However a number of other newspapers were preparing to publish them on Sunday. – (source)

Oh, and if I haven’t made it clear, I say all of this without wishing to mitigate or excuse any action taken by anyone proven to be involved in what these pompous arseholes have already tagged ‘Smeargate*’.

(*You know, like they’re Woodward and Bernstein… because after years of slinging shit from the monkey cages, they’ve finally found someone stupid enough to sling some turds back. With nametags on them.)

UPDATE – Some related bloggage on a similar theme:

Hopi Sen – The Hypoocrisy… it Burns…
Francis Sedgemore – Why we hate politics (part 99)

PS – Keep an eye out for anonymous comments claiming that I say any/all of this because I’m a paid/unpaid agent of New Labour, Downing Street, Tom Watson, etc…. because that’s a smear, too. Unlike Paul Staines and Iain Dale, I have never at any stage had any secret/undeclared funding/facility arrangements with any party, political player or pressure group. Not that this stops both of these clowns repeatedly publishing claims to the contrary on their respective websites while disallowing any response from the target of this persistent smear.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 9 Comments

G20 event: ambulances arrive, only to be blocked by police

Apr 01 2009 19:37 Police block ambulance(s) going to aid Ian Tomlinson

As with the images purchased by the Daily Mail and Sun newspapers that some bloggers place so much faith in, we only have the cameraman’s testimony and the footage to go on here, but it certainly appears to be in same time and location as the Tomlinson assault and aftermath, and at the very least it shows (as this earlier scene does) that initial reports of protestors impeding medical teams could not have been further from the truth.

Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment

The Daily Mail dissected in song

Chris Cohen – The Daily Mail

I like this so much I’m going to throw in some bonus linky-love for the creator’s website.

While we’re pausing for some entertainment, you’ve probably already seen the fear-mongering billboard generator by now, but you may have missed the best use of it so far.

OK, all done? Right, let’s get back to it, then:

Guardian – G20 assault: how Metropolitan police tried to manage a death

Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Why aren’t these people working to protect us?

I’m not anti-police, as some right-wing scribblers have been claiming or implying.

I’m anti-kettling, certainly, but not anti-police.

But if I’m to retain faith in the Met or any other British police force, then I need to see that the police officers who are responsible for all improper policing at the G20 event can and will be called to account… i.e. not just those who, like Bob Quick, cannot expect any slack from a certain party in opposition. For some reason.

I am genuinely concerned about statements fed to the media by the police that appear to be either prone to misinterpretation, somewhat embellished, lacking in certain key facts, or outright lies.

I am alarmed to think that political pressure is required to prompt even simple suspensions when video footage emerges of police attacking a man from behind and without provocation.

I’m merely disappointed that the officers involved didn’t come forward until after the video came to light, but I am incensed that the reasons they could not be identified by their own superiors (including hidden faces and obscured badge numbers) are not being treated as major issues themselves.

(Psst! I asked a blogging G20 police offer in what circumstances he would regard it to be appropriate for an officer to obscure their badge number. The mix of evasion and implication in his response is less than comforting.)

It worries me that nothing would have been done about this without the video evidence that police appear to have tried to collect/delete or preemptively suppress, especially when – without it – we had media commentators like Iain Dale dismissing the allegations of police violence out of hand and even making a joke about it being such a non-story that the only person in for a battering that day would be Jacqui Smith (ha-ha, let’s all laugh at the dead man get back to the £10 porn scandal and other news that matters).

Even with the video evidence, Tomlinson failed to rate anything but a passing mention in most newsapers yesterday. Blame the tight deadlines if you like, but the fact is that the Bob Quick story first appeared at almost exactly the same time yesterday (7pm) as the Tomlinson video did the night before (6pm), but Tomlinson only made the front page of the Guardian the next day.

Today, Quick’s predicament makes the front pages on… well, pretty much every front page (including the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph, The Times, the FT, the Mirror and The Sun).

Meanwhile, right-wing bloggers are still busy making out that Tomlinson was asking for this in some way (for being drunk, uncooperative, “very much part of the protest” etc.), and – in the same fucking breath – chiding ‘lefties’ for daring to draw any parallels to Jean Charles de Menezes.

(Let’s leave aside for the moment those who scoff from their ivory towers and hold fast to the quite ridiculous notion that participation in pretty much any protest not involving the Countryside Alliance warrants a head-kicking.)

In short, we are being cheated by old media and the ‘leading bloggers’ who claim to be a viable alternative.

Further, now we have the IPCC marching into the offices of the Guardian calling for the removal of this vital evidence from their website:

The Guardian – Policing: Death and denials

In the course of this there must be an account of why, from the moment of Mr Tomlinson’s death, the police misled the news media, and in some cases lied, about what happened. The Metropolitan police’s duty of truthfulness failed on 1 April. Statements were issued on and off the record about the Tomlinson incident, omitting details that must have been known to the police and including false claims. Police representatives subsequently tried to stop reporters doing their jobs, misrepresenting the views of the Tomlinson family. The IPCC misled the media about the case too. And what kind of independent body is it whose first reaction to the Guardian’s evidence on Tuesday night was to call at our offices (accompanied by a City of London policeman) and ask for it to be taken off the website? It is not hard to fear that the pressures encouraged the police to minimise and even deny the truth of what happened to Mr Tomlinson and then to resist, not promote, attempts to reveal it. Either way, the police lost sight of their priorities.

Three essential things should now follow. The first is that the upgraded investigation must provide an authoritative and comprehensive account of Mr Tomlinson’s final minutes, drawing on all available evidence, including police CCTV evidence, and placing it in the context of the G20 policing strategy. The second is that anyone suspected of a crime arising from the investigation into Mr Tomlinson’s death should have to answer for it in court. And the third is that the wider lessons about the policing of public order, the police’s media strategy during emergencies, the working of the police complaints system, and the implications for police training must be learned and systematically applied. The best way to deal with these wider issues is for the home secretary to appoint a judicial inquiry. Remember Mr King’s words. That was not correct policing.

JackP of The Pickards has a post along similar lines, with bolder objectives…

JackP – Ian Tomlinson: Metropolitan Police kill innocent man AGAIN

But more than anything else, the words of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, have proved to me that the Met Police aren’t actually capable of policing.

“On a day like that, where there are some protesters who are quite clearly hell-bent on causing as much trouble as they can, there is inevitably going to be some physical confrontation. Sometimes it isn’t clear, as a police officer, who is a protester and who is not. I know it’s a generalisation but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest.” – Peter Smyth, quoted on BBC News

Peter here quite rightly identifies that some protesters were causing trouble. He then suggests that the police mis-identified Ian Tomlinson as a protester, and that’s why they struck him. What? Peter Smyth’s quote would lead me to believe that he thinks it is okay for the police to baton-strike any protester and hurl him to the ground, whether or not he is actually breaking the law. In the views of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, protester = criminal, and striking Ian, had he been protesting, would have been perfectly legitimate.

That flagrant disregard for the rights of peaceful protesters sums up the Met’s actions.

Jean Charles de Menezes. Ian Tomlinson. That could have been you. That could have been your brother, your father, your friend. Next time it might very well be you or someone you care about, unless we take action to prevent a ‘next time’. Justice must be done, as opposed to the usual response of ‘covering up for police brutality’.

So I’d like to propose my solution.

1. Firstly, any member of any police force found to have lied about police action (or protester action) to be sacked. If this person can demonstrate that they were given incorrect information, then that will be a reasonable defence — provided they can identify who gave them that information, so they can be sacked.

2. Secondly, any member of any police force found to have used violence on an innocent (or violence otherwise inappropriate for the situation) to be charged with the appropriate criminal offense. Being a serving police officer is no defense; if anything this makes it worse as I think we have a right to expect higher standards from our police officers

3. Thirdly, kettling and similar tactics to be deemed illegal, and any police officer who recommends or allows such a tactic to be charged with “behaviour likely to incite a riot” (or whatever the nearest equivalent is) by the Crown Prosecution Service.

4. Fourth, the Metropolitan Police Service to be disbanded. They have proved, more than once, that we cannot trust what they say. They have proved, more than once, that they have caused the death of an innocent man. It’s no good simply replacing the man at the top: the entire root and branch of the organisation needs to be replaced. That isn’t to say every officer needs to automatically be replaced, but the existing command structure has proved not to work, and needs to be replaced. We need a police service in London, but we need a far better one than the Met.

You may think at first that #4 comes on a bit strong. I know I did. Then I read this:

Guardian – G20 death: Met police officer breaks cover

The police officer seen on a video by millions of people assaulting a man at the G20 protests minutes before he died will be questioned by investigators today after coming forward last night.

The territorial support group officer identified himself to his manager and the Independent Police Complaints Commission as fresh pictures suggested he had removed his shoulder number and covered his face with a balaclava before hitting Ian Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him to the ground last week.

But the officer has not been arrested on suspicion of assault or suspended from duty by the Metropolitan police.

If video evidence emerged of me decking some bloke, I’d expect the police to knock on my door eventually.

If that man had died minutes later, I’d expect the police to knock on my door immediately.

If the video also showed that I had taken measures to hide my identity before the assault, I would expect a rather short but awkward conversation about pre-meditation to precede a decision regarding the actual charge(s), but certainly nothing that would take hours to process.

But don’t think for a moment that the system is corrupting itself in order to protect one man; what you see at work here is corruption working to protect corruption… and fuck me if it doesn’t look like going all the way to the top.

As I blogged earlier, a full and independent criminal inquiry into the circumstances of Ian Tomlinson’s death is likely to reveal more than a single bad apple.

And recent events have shown that the police can’t even police their own police:

Independent – New evidence of police attacks on G20 victim

The Metropolitan Police faced fresh allegations of brutality last night after it emerged that a man who died at the G20 protests may have been attacked by riot police three times… Last night the IPCC revealed that a number of the officers caught up in the incident had yet to come forward…. “At the moment the investigation is focused on identifying the officers in the footage. Several have already come forward and all efforts are being made to trace those who haven’t.”

So there’s no record of who was doing what and where, then? No one can work out who the senior officers in attendance might be and/or those officers can’t identify the people operating under (or perhaps outside their orders)? Honestly?

And no immediate suspension of those who (eventually) came forward? Really?

The message the Met and the IPCC are sending the public at the moment is as follows:

A police officer can obscure their badge number, assault a member of a public, and expect to get away with it so long as they keep their mouth shut.

UPDATE (6pm) – BBC – G20 police officer is suspended: A statement from the IPCC said: “The IPCC called for the officer to be suspended. The MPS has now informed us that the officer has been suspended with immediate effect. Although decisions about suspension are a matter for the Chief Officer of the police, when there is an IPCC investigation, the police are obliged to consult with us over the suspension of officers. In this case, we have expressed the view that the officer in question should be suspended from duty, in the public interest.”

This announcement comes to us very late on a Thursday afternoon before Good Friday and a long Easter weekend.

I feel like someone’s just pissed in my mouth. You?

Posted in The War on Stupid | 8 Comments