What’s the EDL gonna do now?

23/10/2013

Last week, co-founders of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll quit the organisation, claiming they no longer wanted to be associated by the Nazi thugs who have joined the EDL. While I find their stated reason to quit being the top boys of the League as disingenuous/an obvious pack of lies, the resignations are interesting in themselves. They are indicative of the signs that the EDL are splintering and losing support. If we ignore the fluke upsurge of interest caused by the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, killed by “Islamist extremists”,  interest in the EDL is waning, with too many mainstream members unhappy with the violence that seems to come with their demos.

Unite Against Fascism is confident that its actions are putting the EDL on the back foot. “The EDL were growing exponentially until they were met by a greater force,” said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF. “They would come with a few hundred and we would have a few thousand who didn’t want them in their town, and they didn’t know what to do.”

Eric Randolph, writing in the Independent, writes the opinion of a recently retired officer with the National Domestic Extremism Unit, that the English Defence League is likely to splinter into smaller regional units with some supporters shifting to more extreme movements. A terrorist-styled cell structure that will keep most members safe even if other cells are compromised. It’s a tried and tested approach that has helped extremists distance themselves from other cells that might have done something bad.

The same former cop says:

“The EDL may survive as separate regional organisations. Most of its activity was at a local level anyway. But prior to the murder of Lee Rigby, it was already seeing a marked decline. One of the reasons was the personal antipathy of regional leaders towards Tommy Robinson – he was not terribly well liked but was accepted as the best leader because he had a certain amount of charisma and cunning.”

The Domestic Extremism Unit is by no means suggesting that a power struggle within the EDL might lead to terrorist or other attacks on the public. They do admit there’s a slight risk of terrorism by right-wing extremists but add: there is a “risk of terrorism” but that’s  limited to individuals or very small groups that are not terribly sophisticated”.

“There have been about 15-18 arrests of people with terrorist paraphernalia and the wherewithal to put them together. Often they have bought the components, but haven’t actually put them together. They see the race war as a matter of time, and want to be prepared.”

Big brave EDL supporters pick on a young Muslim woman.

Big brave EDL supporters pick on a young Muslim woman.

As for Tommy Robinson, he plans to continue talking about the dangers he thinks go hand in hand with Islamism. “I have a passion to combat Islamist ideology and I want to lead a revolution against that ideology, but I don’t want to lead a revolution against Muslims.”

Of course, some wonder what has brought this change in Robinson.  The EDL have always had a problem with Muslims. I reckon we should keep an eye on Robinson.  Leopards’ spots don’t change overnight.  And of course it will be interesting to see what the EDL do now.

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Robin Walker – what a nasty piece of Tory to find on the sole of your shoe!

01/05/2013

I am a member of online campaign groups like 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group. These are groups that ask members what campaigns it should get involved with, then the group will call on its members to send to local MPs. ministers and other such, so our will is focused and targeted and helps ensure that the government and others can’t just ignore us. Divided we are nothing. United we can do anything… well, the government can’t just ignore us.

My local MP is the Tory Robin Walker. Incidentally, his late father Peter Walker (1932-2010) was MP for Worcester until 1992, when he resigned as MP and was sent to the House of Lords to do his masters’ work. Robin has been a pretty engaged MP – he has replied to every email I’ve sent him (he uses official House of Commons writing paper and envelopes – you would have thought that Parliament had discouraged use of snail mail) but only once has he expressed agreement with my point, about the Defamation Bill). Most recently he sent me a (probably form) letter telling me how important it was that the government keep my communication and other logs for all eternity just in case I were a terrorist or paedophile. He wrote:

Communications data is vital for the police in their fight against crime, including serious offences, such as child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism.

Note the use of the “big 3″: child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism”. The suggestion is that opposing the Data Communications Data Bill is, or supports, nonces, pushers and suicide bombers. Thanks Robin; yet another reason to avoid voting for him when the general election comes round.

Right now, I don’t have a clue who’ll get my vote: it won’t be the Conservatives, the Lib Dems are no longer a viable choice…if Ed Miliband can drag Labour back to the left I might put my mark by his name; but how likely will that happen?

Brits are wage-slaves, with mortgages and their children’s educations keeping the populace keeping their nose to the stone, while bankers, corporate directors and other vested interests keep their money in tax havens. But don’t worry: the Conservatives want your personal data, phone logs, emails, bowel movements, whatever, stored for all eternity in a massive computer system that probably fail (as do most government-contracted computer systems do). We’re stuck with this situation unless someone does something about it.

Who’s your MP? Does he care about you? I’d love to see along string of Comments to this post, telling us how our MPs act for our best interests. And my current voting advice regarding the next election: go to the voting station, spoil your ballot (I like to write at the bottom of the voting card “None of the above” and a X in a box next to it), put it in the black box, and be on your way. This is not apathy, this is showing the establishment that the status quo must end.

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Question: Who is/are “Anonymous”? Answer: No one/everyone.

15/03/2011

Just read about the “hacker group” Anonymous’ release of apparently incriminating emails from the Bank of America. This story really annoys me. Not because I’m a Bank of America fan – I’m pissed off with the Guardian for describing Anonymous as a “hacker group”.

The Wikipedia article on Anonymous. describes it well – it says:

is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many on-line community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain.[1] It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.

Anonymous is not a hacker group in the sense you’d usually expect: there’s no organization, no hierarchy, no agreed agenda. Anyone with the required know-how and/or tools can do some cyber-vandalism or cut-and-paste someone’s email, then say it was done by Anonymous.

So who is Anonymous? Everyone. No one. Me. You. Anyone. Please bear that in mind next time you see a report that “Anonymous” did something.

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Government backs away from forest sell-off, like we told them to

17/02/2011

3 days ago (14 Feb) I wrote about the government’s plans to sell off England’s forests. And today (17 Feb) they made a U-turn on the despicable plot. The Guardian tell us that forestry minister Caroline Spelman made what looked like a heart-felt apology on the matter, “a real, full-on mea culpa”, and that she even sounded tearful at times! Not a standard politician’s apology at all.

Of course, the proposed sell-off was a filthy plan, and I’m glad has been called off. But we also have to stay on our guard. It was not a sudden change of heart that caused this U-turn – rather, it was the strength and passion of the calls in opposition that made the government back off. Remember, even though they won’t do it any time soon, the government want to sell the nation’s forests. If they think they’ll be able to get away with it, these plans will quickly be back on the table again. Don’t ever forget that.

If you’re interested, a transcript of the speech is on the DEFRA website.

As you might have guessed, there’s a lot of back-slapping going on amongst the organizations that opposed the plans. If you like to witness or indulge in self-congratulation, you can get a hit of the good stuff at the 38 Degrees site; or, if you’re a Facebooker, you can check out their page.

If you doubt that petitions and activism don’t usually amount to much (like me), maybe this’ll make you a little less cynical. I must confess, this news has lessened my general hatred for the general population. And if you’re one of the logging corporation head honchos who thought they’d struck gold by jumping into bed with Cameron and opting to sleep on the wet patch… HA HA HA!

Unfortunately, going by what has happened before, the government will at some stage table a watered-down proposal that will in essence amount to much the same thing. We need to keep an eye on the slippery rats – they don’t cover themselves from head to toe with vaseline every morning just for the fun of it.

But enough of the doom and gloom! Round One to the People. Come on, Cameron, bring it on. You’re a loser who thinks that being born with a silver dildo up your ass makes you Superman. But you’re not as invulnerable as you think – I’ve got a chunk of kryptonite with your name on it. Wanna come have a look?

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Don’t let the UK government sell our forests

14/02/2011

Today I got an email from the activist group 38 Degrees. The email asked me to sign their petition against the UK governments to sell our national forests to the highest bidder.

Our forests are priceless treasures; they are habitat for countless flora and fauna, and they are beautiful locations to visit and to work in. And they are national forests – they belong to us, not the government.

Nevertheless, the government plan to sell the forests. One of the country’s most valuable assets stands to be auctioned off to private companies. And of course, these companies will expect to make money from the deal, which means that the forests will become just a source of lumber. The majestic trees will become pine floorboards and oak furniture. And when the trees are all chopped down, the forests’ owners will sell the land for residential and industrial development.

I don’t know if petitions really have any effect on government policy. But when I’m asked to sign a petition about an issue that I consider really important, I’ll sign. And I want you to sign too: go to http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests and sign the online petition. If enough of us sign it, maybe the government will have to halt the sell-off. Maybe. But it’s worth the few minutes to sign. Please sign it.

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How to survive a riot…

26/01/2011

With anti-government demos set to continue today, I figured maybe a little guide to surviving demos/riots would be useful. So here I am reproducing some stuff I found on the internet. A lot of it is written from the viewpoint of helping journalists survive such a situation, but there’s plenty there that any demonstrator might find useful. Also, this was written with the post-election demos in Iran in mind; but it’ll still be useful. Especially interesting is the material by “skip” on how to mitigate the effects of tear gas (CS gas). If you can get hold of baking soda or sodium metabisulphate (often sold as “Campden tablets” to sterilize home winemaking equipment), then make up a bottle of 5% baking soda in water, and another bottle of sodium metabisulphate/water solution). I have no personal experience of this, but it seems these solutions can help when you’ve been tear-gassed.

Egyptian demonstrators amassed in central Cairo last night, with reports suggesting many are preparing to return to the streets today.

Okay, so here is my guide to surviving a demo/riot. Please note, I am not encouraging anyone to go out and do bad stuff. But if you’re planning to go out anyway… check out the guide.

RIOT SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR JOURNALISTS

Many advices for Journalist get public how to survive in a War zone how to dress and move not to get in too dangerous situations when working as a Journalist in war zones. Our aim is to limit risk and to take responsibility for anyone working on our behalf in war zones.
As the Iran civil war and street getting somehow more dangerous than a war field and the classical TV Journalist get banned from government to stay in there hotels or leave the country.
The public Journalist report with there mobile YouTube and twitter from the streets. Most of these people have no experience in moving in areas where gunshot snipers from the roof and other crowd weapons are used like tear gas.
In Civil war zones you cant see who is enemy and who is friend many secret agents can be hiden in the crowd. As seen on some pix from iran some Basiji are dressed like civilian demonstrators to eleminate target peoepel.
Sierra Leone Yugoslavia Afghanistan was a similar situation like in iran .

The following is a re-post of a insider from the other side if you have to protest like in Iran it could help you not to get injured by any force.

This is a document that a Iranian-American police officer has put together. He is the member of the SWAT team and he’s an expert on anti riot tactics. he has been watching and studying the videos and the tactics that basij has been using and he put the document together. It would be great to spread this document and pass it on to the kids in Iran. It might save their lives. – SB
Here are some simple ways of defending yourself when attacked by Basij or Security forces.

Anti riot attacks
Once caught by security forces, the best way to break free is by swinging relentlessly in all directions. Keep in mind that security forces have to hold on to you, which means they only can use one hand to deflect the blows. Brass Knuckle is extremely effective when trying to break loose from the grip of security forces. Wooden brass knuckle is strong and simple to make. The image above is a sample of a basic wooden brass knuckle that can be made with a piece of wood, a cutter and a drill. It should not take more than 30 minutes to make a wooden brass knuckle. Wooden brass knuckle is extremely strong, light weight and versatile. Make sure that the top edges are sharp and round.

Motorcycle attacks

Iranian Basij motorcycle units use attack and retrieve tactics which is meant to create fear more than anything else. The same tactic was used by US police forces on horsebacks when confronting the civil right protestors. The advantage of utilizing motorcycles in urban environment is obvious: motorcycles can go places that cars can’t. However, motorcycles have disadvantages which can handicap the force that uses them.

The most effective way of disabling motorcycles is using tire spikes. Though made of carbon cratnor material, the Basij motorcycle tires cannot withstand multiple punctures. The easiest way to spike Basiji’s tires is by using a simple tire spike system called Iron Caltrop. This simple device can be made in a matter of minutes by wrapping two pieces of nail together in a 65 degree angle. By dropping a handful of Iron Caltrop on the ground, you can deflate the tires of Basijis’ motorcycles in a matter of minutes. If you ride, you know how difficult it is to steer a motorcycle with two flat tires.

Tear gas
A fabric socked in vinegar can very well protect you against tear gas. Cover your nose and mouth with the fabric and keep plenty of water around to wash your eyes if you come in direct contact with tear gas. Urban Legend: burning tires will reduce the effect of tear gas. Not true, it actually increases the effect and it smells bad too.
Additional with some swimming glasses you can protect your eyes and sight.
——–
Addition:
Dealing with CS Gas (Tear Gas)
Contributed by skip on July 5th, 2002
(yeah I know it’s a bit old, but it’s just as applicable now as it was back then.)

# Gas mask- only use current military or police designs. Don’t try any old ones you may come across in markets or army surplus stores as many used asbestos in the filters!
# Mask/hood- offer limited protection. Also useful for disguise
# Goggles- for eye protection.
# Neutralizer #1- Carry a bottle of solution made up from water with 5% Baking Soda.
# Neutralizer #2- Carry a bottle of solution made up from water and sodium metabisulphate (sold as Campden tablets used in home brewing). Note, this needs to be made fresh and doesn’t work if over a day old.
# If you are asthmatic tell the people around you before the action starts, so that if when sprayed you have a bad reaction they’ll be able to act appropriately by giving you your medication or getting a doctor.
What to do when sprayed
If you are in the line of spray move backwards out of range rather than sideways where the spray may still be able to reach you. If you are in a building move outside. Your eyesight may become blurred and it is easy to lose awareness of what is going on. Do not run blindly into the arms of the police, or worse still, into traffic. Act calmly and stay aware of your surroundings whilst moving to a safe area.

If possible stand upwind of where the spraying happened and expose the affected part of your body to the wind. This will help disperse the gas quickly.

Flush the affected area of the body with the solution mentioned earlier or just water if this is not available. Do not touch it as you will spread the chemical around and rub it into your pores. It may be possible hat you can rejoin the action right away, as small amounts should only affect you for a few minutes.

ASAP, have a cold shower for 3-5 minutes (hot water opens the pores and allows gas particles in), then proceed with normal showering. Showers flush the chemical away whilst a bath will just re-distribute it.

For gross contamination, wash with Neutralizer as mentioned above.

After the action you should hang your clothes up in a well ventilated area to disperse the last remnants of the gas. When they have hung for a day or so wash them twice- first in cold and then in hot water-and they’ll be okay to wear again.

CS Gas is fat soluble so never coat your skin in petroleum jelly or similar substances for protection as some people have tried. When sprayed do not treat the area with any cream, jelly or ointment, unless advised to by someone who knows what they are talking about. The best treatments are air, cold water and time.
—–
References
Do or Die Editorial Collective. “Do or Die No. 7 Voices from Earth First!”

Headquarters, Department of the Army. Nov. 1985. “FM 19-15 Civil Disturbances”

Hoffman, Abbie. 1996. “steal this book”. Four Walls Eight Windows
——–
Batons
Riot police is trained to use batons. They understand that it’s easy to hit a stationary target and much easier to hit a target that is running away. Hitting somebody with baton is a matter of timing. The worst thing you can do is to run away from baton whirling security guards because it allows them to time the strike perfectly. The most effective way to counter a security guard with baton is to throw off his timing by going directly at him. That’s right. Run away and turn and go directly at him. When you go directly at the guard and close the distance, you completely screw up his timing. A boxer cannot hit a person that is standing 2 inches away from his face. That’s why boxer bounce around. A baton whirling guard is just like a boxer, he needs to time his strikes. By going directly at the guard and closing distance you mess-up his timing and might even be able to take him down.

Riot formation
Basij and police security guardsmen perform best when crowd disperses and becomes separated. The worst scenario for the riot police is when the crowd is together and inseparable. South Korean labor protestors in the 90s were the best organized units in history of rioting. Thousands of them held on to each other (locked arms) and no matter what, they did not let go. It made it impossible for the riot police to disperse them.

Oh, one other thing: you can see this guide is written in English. This will make it utterly useless to the folk out there who don’t know how to read English. So if you can, please translate this into appropriate languages and get your translation out there on the internet. This may be the beginning of the end for US-sponsored dictators like Mubarak.

(If you have any comments or criticisms of this guide, please use Comments to share your thoughts. I very rarely delete Comments, so long as they’re not spam or don’t launch ad hominem (personal) attacks on myself or other blog readers gratuitously. I believe in freedom of speech. Unfortunately, WordPress.com do not believe in freedom expression. So please keep Comments sort of polite and cut down on the profanity. Cheers! ~Martin X)

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Is a Middle East popular uprising starting?

25/01/2011

Well, it’s all kicking off in the Middle East isn’t it? It seems the turmoil in Tunisia has inspired protests against anti-authoritarian governments all over the region. There have been public protests in Cairo, Alexandria and other spots in Egypt, and also reports of similar in Lebanon.

Jack Schenker wrote in the Guardian:

Central Cairo was the scene of violent clashes tonight, as the biggest anti-government demonstrations in a generation swept across Egypt, bringing tens of thousands onto the streets.

Shouting “down with the regime” and “Mubarak, your plane is waiting,” protesters demanded the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship and said they were fighting back against decades of poverty, oppression and police torture. The protests had been declared illegal by the authorities and were met with a fierce police response, as tear gas and water cannon were fired into the crowd and rocks were hurled into the air by both demonstrators and security forces.

“We have never seen anything like this before – it is the first day of the Egyptian revolution,” said Karim Rizk, one of those who joined multiple rallies in the capital. Apparently taken by surprise at the size of protests, police initially stood back and allowed demonstrators to occupy public squares and march through the streets, an unprecedented move in a country where political gatherings are strictly outlawed and demonstrations are normally quickly shut down by security forces. “We have taken back our streets today from the regime and they won’t recover from the blow,” claimed Rizk.

Today’s protests were called by a coalition of online activists, who had declared 25 January a “day of revolt” against the ruling elite and encouraged Egyptians to follow in the footsteps of Tunisia, where mass demonstrations forced President Ben Ali to flee earlier this month. As evening fell thousands of protesters from separate demonstrations converged on Tahrir Square, Cairo’s central plaza, and begun an occupation that continued into the night. Demonstrators waved Egyptian and Tunisian flags, hauled down a billboard for the ruling NDP party and chanted “depart Mubarak” at the 82-year-old leader, who will face presidential elections later this year.

I hope the right thing happens. Of course, what I call “the right thing” may not be the same as what you think is “right”. What do you think?

PS: “The revolution will be online” ~some wise geezer somewhere.

PPS: The lovely Guardian newspaper has provided a little compendium of quotes, by the “great” and the “small”, concerning Egypt, its government and people. A couple of examples:

“We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence. Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” ~Hilary Clinton, praising Egyptian president Mubarak (who has been in power for 30 years! – no true democracy would put up with a government like that for so long).

“In my book, if you get a tenth of the 80,000 people or so who support the initiative online, it will be a success.” ~Issandr el Amrani, blogging on Arabist.net. I saw on the BBC that the Egyptian government estimates the numbers of demonstrators as about 15,000 – nearly twice the number Issandr reckons will ensure success.

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