UK police now wearing body armour routinely?

December 29, 2010

Maybe I’m just terribly out of touch on this matter, and it’s generally known already – but it seems that cops in the UK are now wearing body armour as a matter of routine.

I got this from a Press Association report reproduced on the Guardian website. On Monday 27 December, in Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, a 29 year old guy who has not been named yet, made threats to a neighbour. The neighbour called the police, and 2 officers attended. No firearms were seen yet, so the cops were unarmed (UK police generally don’t go round carrying guns). The unnamed alleged bad man saw the cops, produced a pistol and opened fire on them; one was hit in the lower back, which could have caused very serious injuries or even death if the cop was unprotected. Luckily for him, he was wearing body armour; so according to West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, the officer suffered just “torso and abrasions which were caused by the ricochet of the armour.”

Sir Norman went on: “If he hadn’t been wearing body armour, it would have undoubtedly caused serious injury in an area where there are a great number of vital organs.”

The alleged shooter apparently had a history of violence, so maybe that is why the cop was wearing body armour. But I’m not so sure about that. I have a feeling that police officers, at least in West Yorkshire, are now wearing body armour as a matter of course. The recent huge increase in knife and gun crime certainly makes my theory more believable.

So what can we glean from this tidbit of info? Well, if you are the type of person who shoots coppers, don’t go for the usual body mass area. Shots to the head, or maybe the legs and feet, are now necessary.

The same thing applies to evil criminal knife users: a stab to the chest ot stomach will probably be blocked by armour. Stick your blade in the officer’s neck instead: if you stick someone in the side of the neck then rip the blade back out, there’s a good chance you’ll sever major blood vessels and death will ensue rapidly. Alternatively, the face (especially the eyes) makes a good target. I don’t know about the groin: a blade in the bollocks is no laughing matter, but body armour may protect the testicles too. I’d need to know more about the make and model of body armour used by West Yorkshire cops – can anyone help here?

Please note: I am not suggesting that anyone should harm police officers. Cops are there to protect society (ie you and me) from evil crims and predators. They are, on the whole, the good guys and, on the whole, deserve our respect. Everything I wrote above is for general informational purposes only. I repeat: DO NOT SHOOT, STAB, OR IN ANY OTHER WAY HARM POLICE OFFICERS. IT IS WRONG.

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Do you want Rupert Murdoch to rule the world?

December 27, 2010

If, like me, you don’t want Australian-born tax-dodger Rupert Murdoch to take over the world, like the baddie from some appalling James Bond movie, sign this petition today! Or before Friday 31 December anyway, as that’s when the petition will be presented to the government.

It’s true that the petition may have no effect – chances are “Dave” Cameron will use it as toilet paper to wipe his fat complacent arse. But it might generate a little more public awareness of what damage Murdoch has inflicted on media in the USA, and how he will be able to do the same kind of crap in the UK unless we do something about it.

So take a precious minute or two to click on that link (here it is again, in case you can’t be bothered to scroll back up again), fill in the appropriate boxes and hit (or , or whatever the stupid button is labelled. Go on, make a horrible man feel a little more hated this new year!

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2600’s Emmanuel Goldstein says that “Anonymous” DDOS attacks/protests are bad… FFS…

December 23, 2010

Emmanuel Goldstein, aka Eric Corley, editor of the hacker magazine 2600 and presenter of the weekly podcast and New York WBAI radio show “Off The Hook”, said on this week’s show that he thought the DDOS attacks being aimed at anti-Wikileaks organizations like Amazon by so-called members of the pseudo-group “Anonymous” are bad, counterproductive and basically a hypocritical way to protest against censorship. What I understand from his argument is that he thinks censoring the censors is just as bad as Wikileak’s opponents attacking the messenger instead of the message.

Thing is, Emmanuel is wrong wrong wrong. I see the widespread use of tools like LOIC (the “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” program) to mess with companies like Amazon, Mastercard, PayPal and others who’ve decided to stop doing business with Wikileaks, as similar to the flash protests which saw massive chain stores like Top Shop in the UK being forced to close because the stores were suddenly filled with hundreds of students and other victims of government cuts who think the owners of these stores, like Sir Philip Green the billionaire owner of Top Shop cynically avoids paying tax by being officially “domiciled” in some tax haven country, while he advises the government to make massive cuts in public spending. The flash protests at billionaire tax dodgers’ businesses, and the denial of service attacks on companies who’ve been unmasked as agents of US foreign policy, are the new way of getting our voices heard. In 1968, workers and students in Paris protested together against their government’s obscene policies, and direct action in other countries forced change; now, in the age of the internet, these new forms of protest are being tried, to see if they can bring about the social change that the whole world urgently needs.

To be honest, I’m a little worried that something has been done to Emmanuel by Wikileaks’ Swedish governmental enemies. During the show he told us a story about a shopkeeper whose CCTV system caught images of the Stockholm suicide bomber – and he actually said that CCTV is good because it can film these kinds of events. The bombing was a tragedy, obviously; but Emmanuel would usually recognize that any good resulting from CCTV is just a by-product of our Orwellian 1984-like surveillance culture. It’s pretty ironic that Emmanuel took his name from the character Emmanuel Goldstein in the novel 1984 – a mysterious, manufactured bogeyman created to justify Big Brother’s totalitarian control of society.

“Off the Hook” is usually a great show, and I’d normally recommend it to anyone with at least a couple of brain cells to rub together. But if Big Brother really has done a number on Emmanuel Goldstein… yikes, where did I put my tin-foil hat?!!!

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EFF on direct action against internet censorship

December 22, 2010

Recently, the Wikileaks case has brought the subject of online censorship into the limelight: Amazon and EveryDNS withdrawing their services to Wikileaks, apparently due to US government pressure, has brought up some important questions: just who “owns” the internet? Is it right that access to “sensitive” info should be cut, even though that info doesn’t really compromise “national security” but just embarrasses politicians?

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has compiled a list of tools and schemes that can be used by individuals in a “direct action” type fashion. The EFF doesn’t advocate stuff like Distributed Denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks or tools like the LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) that make DDOS attacks easier to engage in; but the list includes tools and services like Tor(an “anonymizing overlay network”), BitCoin(a decentralized internet currency) and the Dot-P2P Project(an “alternative DNS hierarchy that resists censorship”).

These tools and services will make it much harder for any central authority to limit our access to information. And as the EFF cocedes in the article, its list is nowhere near exhaustive – there are a lot of other projects that do similar stuff. If you are anti-censorship, check out the article then do a bit of googling of your own to arm yourself. We may need these tools sooner than you think!

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So WTF is genocide then?

December 21, 2010

I find this ridiculous. A brief summary of the story: East European EU states that had suffered appalling crimes against humanity when ruled by Communist regimes – Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic – want a law created that will make denial of Communist atrocities illegal, in the same way that some states have made denial of the Nazi Holocaust a crime.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m no fan of Holocaust denial laws; they are a direct contravention of freedom of expression. If I don’t believe that the Nazis killed millions of Jews, why shouldn’t I be allowed to say so? It’s like how the Inquisition treated Galileo for saying the Earth orbited the Sun.

No, what annoys me is the reason given by the European Commission and various experts for rejecting this law. Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff said “For all the terrible crimes of the USSR, you can’t compare the people who built Auschwitz with the people who liberated it. Nazi Germany would probably not have been defeated if it weren’t for Russia.” He gave the USSR a free pass for its murder of millions of people because its was the army that liberated a site of other mass murders. Where is the logic in that?

One reason given for the European Commission’s refusal was that the mass murders carried out by Communist regimes were not “genocide”. Matthew Newman, the EU justice spokesman, said: “The bottom line is, obviously, what they [the communist regimes] did was horrendous, but communist regimes did not target ethnic minorities.” It seems that the industrialized slaughter of millions of human beings is genocide only if its victims belong to a particular ethnic minority.

This means, of course, that a massive part of the Nazi Holocaust was not genocide. It was genocidal for the Nazis to kill the Jews and the Gypsies – but their slaughter of homosexuals, political dissidents, the handicapped, were just regular murders. WTF?

From the Guardian article:

According to Lithuania, whose foreign minister leads the campaign to create a new law, the EU’s understanding of genocide should be extended to include crimes against groups defined by “social status or political convictions”.

Andrius Grikienis, a spokesman for Lithuania’s mission to the EU, said: “During the first years of Soviet occupation, Lithuania lost more than 780,000 of its residents. 444,000 fled Lithuania or were repatriated, 275,697 were deported to the gulag or exile, 21,556 resistance fighters and their supporters were killed and 25,000 died on the front.”

By comparison, he said: “More than 200,000 citizens of Jewish origin were killed by Nazis and their collaborators.”

Do the math, then tell me: why is it okay to deny the murder of 780,000 people, but wrong to deny the murder of 200,0000? Where’s the logic in that?

Lithuania wants the definition of genocide to be extended to include crimes against groups defined by “social status or political convictions”. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. But West European politicians are suggesting that this movement is an attempt to trivialize or justify anti-semitism. So it’s “anti-semetic” to say the murder of 780,000 Lithuanian dissidents and “enemies of the state” was genocide? I suppose there is a kind of twisted logic to this. It’s okay to say the murder of thousands of people in the WTC Twin Towers was an act of “terrorism”, but the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Iraq or Afghanistan is not “terrorism”. I think it was Noam Chomsky who said the control of language is thought control. So be careful what you think about!


Wikileaks.org is back up! Not a *huge* victory for freedom and common sense – but a victory nevertheless

December 15, 2010

On 3 December, we reported that you could no longer reach the Wikileaks site by using the wikileaks.org URL. Well, that is no longer the case: aim your browser at “http://wikileaks.org” and you get rerouted to http://mirror.wikileaks.info/ – one of the many, many mirrors that sprouted after the USA’s clumsy efforts to limit free speech. Not a major victory by any means. But a victory nevertheless.

In other (Wikileaks/Assange-related) news: Julian Assange is still in prison even though he was granted bail yesterday. The Swedish prosecutors have appealed against the bail ruling, claiming that he would pose a major flight risk. I’m not sure how the Swedes think he’ll flee: Assange’s face must be one of the best known in border security circles, plus they have his passport… but as things stand, he must remain in HMP Wandsworth for at leat another couple of days while this judicial circus runs its course.

This case is highlighting the problems with the new European arrest warrant system. Usually, it is only possible to extradite someone if the crime he’s accused of is also a crime in the country he’s “hiding” in. As far as I can tell, Assange’s alleged crimes are not illegal in Britain (what the Swedes call “rape” and “sexual molestation” are very different to the UK’s definitions – I believe one of the charges relates to Assange refusing to use a condom; the complainant admits that the sex was consensual, so how in hell can this be called a crime? He didn’t force her to have unprotected sex).

Anyway, a blog like this one is not really a good place to discuss the intricacies of Swedish law. But what I will say is this: Sweden has got very accommodating rendition agreements with the USA. If Assange is extradited to Sweden, it won’t be long before he ends up in America. And if you look at what politicians are saying about Assange it’s pretty clear he won’t receive a free trial and he’ll end up on a slab.

But do these people really believe that Assange is Wikileaks? The leaks will continue, regardless of his fate. All that will happen is that Assange’s colleagues will improve their security and anonymity. Killing (or imprisoning) Assange will not kill Wikileaks. And all politicians need to beware: if they treat Assange like a piece of shit, the leaks will become more and more damaging to the so-called “liberal” European “democracies” who are currently baying for his blood. So watch out, fools: the day of reckoning is nearly upon us… and you.

UPDATE: I just noticed this, a page that lists the very many sites that are mirroring Wikileaks in an attempt to stop the authorities ever again closing them down. Well, when I say “stop”, I actually mean “make it very difficult”. The USA has already demonstrated the length of its reach. But when Wikileaks is mirrored in a huge number of countries, some of whom dislike America intensely, the job of censorship becomes much more difficult.

There’s also info on the page about how you too can mirror Wikileaks on your web server. I say go for it! I think it’s about time that the USA learned what “democracy” actually means: rule by the people for the people; not rule by a bunch of rich geezers on behalf of their billionaire buddies. Or is my dictionary out of date?

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Wooh! No plans to deploy water cannons on the streets of England… for now.

December 14, 2010

Well, Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, has rule out the use of water cannon in the policing of student protests, saying there was no legal authority for their use on the streets of England and Wales. But the overall message was clear: May has no plans to use water cannons right now; but circumstances change, and police tactics must also change to deal with the ever-evolving problems.

Look what Commander Bob Broadhurst, the head of Scotland Yard’s public order branch, had to say on the matter after May’s speech:

“There has been a great deal of speculation over the weekend about the Met using water cannons. There are no current plans to use water cannons on the streets of the capital but we would be foolish if we did not take time to look at tactics such as this to see if it might be appropriate in the future.

In other words: the water cannons are on their way. Get ready for a soaking, boys and girls.

May also took the opportunity to blame the violence on an “organised group of hardcore activists and street gangs” who had infiltrated the protests. Government ministers always do this: they say the majority of demonstrators are there for a good time, but a hardcore of evil anarchists and street gangsters turn peaceful demonstrations into warzones.

“Some students behaved disgracefully. But the police also assess that the protests were infiltrated by organised groups of hardcore activists and street gangs bent on violence.

Evidence from the other recent protests shows that many of those causing violence were organised thugs, as well as students. It is highly likely that this was also the case last week,” she said.

May made mention of the attack on the Duchess of Cornwall (the adulterous “whore” who shagged Prince Charles while he was still married to Diana – remember that awful recorded phone conversation in whch he said he’d like to be Camilla’s tampon? Ugh!): she said “some contact [was] made” when the Duchess of Cornwall was struck through the window of her royal car (ie she got a well-deserved slap). The Metropolitan police inquiry into the attack on the car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla is due to report by this Friday but May warned that, for security reasons, the public details of the report are likely to be limited. No pix of the ugly woman’s war wounds then. Shame!

May revealed that 35 people had been arrested so far and expected the number to rise significantly. So far the mugshots of 14 of “key perpetrators of violence” have been published. The Met are to continue to publish pictures of other key individuals over the next week. All very interesting. But what about the police officers who used excessive violence and concealed their identification numbers? After the police actions that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson (an innocent passerby, not a demonstrator or rioter), Met police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for officers to cover or remove their shoulder tags bearing identification numbers. Yet a number of officers at this latest “riot” were seen with ID numbers concealed – look at this Youtube video. And what about the cop who slugged Alfie Meadows across the head with a truncheon – an attack that left Alfie needing emergency brain surgery. Will a mugshot of the offending officer be posted on the internet? Of course not: May used the standard cop-out answer when asked about this. She said that she was unable to comment as the Independent Police Complaints Commission had begun an investigation into the incident that had left him seriously injured.Yeah right.

May even defended the controversial “kettling” tactic, where police officers in full riot gear and armed with long batons corner groups of demonstrators and hem them in, even refusing to release peaceful demonstrators with major health problems. Even little children and old-age pensioners are forced to stay in the “kettle”. One woman asked a cop where she was supposed to go if she needed the toilet. The leering swine pointed down at the road surface in front of him.

It’s hard to blame individual officers: after all, they are merely following orders issued from on high. Then again, it’s very easy to blame those bobbies: they chose to join the force; they chose to obey the evil orders.

A little advice for those among you who might attend a demo where the water cannons are brought out: make sure you take with you a nice, dry set of clothes in a waterproof bag. When the filth shoot you with water, they’re hoping that you’ll become cold and dis-spirited and piss off home. If you go change into something dry then come back to continue demonstrating/rioting/whatever, the cops will become very confused. Remember, most cops are thick as pig shit (why else would they join up?); when faced with a situatuion that their orders don’t cover, most will just walk in ever-decreasing circles until they disappear up their own bottoms. So don’t let the assholes scare you. Believe me, they are probably more scared of you.

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