Tomlinson killer “held his head in his hands” when he saw himself on video.

02/07/2012

Simon Harwood, the copper who killed innocent non-rioter Ian Tomlinson in London on the day of the G20 protests in 2009, “held his head in his hands” when showed video footage of his unprovoked attack, and said to his boss “I think it’s me.”

So why was Harwood so distraught?  Was it because he only then realised that he was the police officer who attacked Tomlinson, from behind, completely unprovoked?  Or was it because he knew the game was over – here was undeniable proof that he was the killer – and now he was likely to have to face the music?  I bet cops everywhere hate the fact that advanced video technology has become so affordable – whenever a cop crosses the line, he can’t be sure that someone’s shooting it for posterity.

Isn’t it odd that Harwood wrote in his notebook that during the demo he had used his baton sparingly and only to defend himself and to prevent rioting… yet here is video footage showing him strike Ian Tomlinson in the back of the legs then shove him forcibly to the ground when Tomlinson was walking away from him?  Inspector Williams was asked at length by Mark Dennis QC, prosecuting, whether it was proper police procedure to strike or shove a protester who might be walking away from police lines. All Williams could come up with was that it depended on the situation. “It’s very hard to answer a hypothetical situation,” he said.

Come on, Williams… tell us how it can ever be right to attack an innocent man from behind when that man is clearly cooperating with the police and walking away from their lines.  If  Harwood gets found not guilty for this, I predict another wave of rioting – specifically anti-police rioting.

Simon Harwood, the cop who attacked Ian Tomlinson shortly before his death

 
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Years of riots to come, warns former London police chief

07/12/2011

Lord Stevens,a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has warned that “Britain may face years of public disorder fuelled by the economic crisis, with police battling to keep control of the streets.”  The Guardian says this view is shared by many high-ranking cops.  Stevens says that he initial riot in August, in Tottenham after a police shooting, should have been anticipated, and that during the summer riots police had been “acting a day behind”‘ events.

Stevens believes that rising unemployment, and provocative police tactics like the widely-criticised “stop and search” powers, will lead to both peaceful protests and violent rioting in the future.  Unfortunately, the government doesn’t accept this.  A government source said the cause of the riots “was not deprivation and distrust of the police, it’s about getting free stuff.”  The government believes that tougher policing and heavier sentencing will prevent further trouble.

The government are making a big mistake in rejecting Lord Stevens’ comments.  Stevens was a pretty good cop, as far as cops go.  He was the last Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who served his full term – in other words, he didn’t have to resign because of corrupt or incompetent performance; something that none of his successors have managed to do.  And what I find very interesting is that he presided over an inquiry into allegations in Northern Ireland of collusion between the British Army, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and loyalist terrorists in the murder of Irish Nationalists – an inquiry which concluded that there had been collusion that resulted in the murder of Nationalists, and of protestants who had been mistaken for Nationalists or Catholics.  It is not very common that a senior officer will come to such conclusions about fellow officers – indeed it took Stevens three inquiries before he would accept what the evidence told him.  But he did finally accept the truth that fellow officers were indeed capable of conspiring to murder innocent civilians, which indicates he is someone who seeks and tells the truth.  He has also been an influential advisor to both Labour and Conservatives.  So why is the government rejecting his comments now?  Because they don’t chime with what the government wants to believe – whether he’s right or not is irrelevant to the government.

Stevens warned the government not to be “insulting” or “arrogant” in dismissing the work of the panel of academics and former police chiefs that he will chair – and the government have immediately responded with arrogance.  Is there any point in his panel actually producing a report?  The government will just do what they want anyway – to hell with the truth.

 

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Rioters say anger with police fuelled summer unrest

05/12/2011

Riot in Toxteth, 2011

The London School of Eonomics and the Guardian have released the results of a study that asked people involved in the riots across England this summer why they rioted.  You can check it out here.

A lot of commentators think the report is worthless because it simply consists of criminals blaming the police for their own criminal activity.  I can understand why readers might think this – but I also thiink these critics are wrong.

This study is important and interesting simply because it listened to the perpetrators for once instead of focusing on the victims. If we want to know why the rioters why they rioted, we have to ask them, not their victims. Their stated reasons/excuses may well be after-the-event self-justification, but if we poke about in the bullcrap we will find some important facts.

For one, “gangs” had little/nothing to do with the rioting. So we can see the lie in the government’s attempts to use the riots as evidence why anti-gang legislation is necessary.

The stop-and-search angle is also important. Let’s not forget that the vast majority of those stopped and searched by the police are not convicted of any crime uncovered by the searches. These police actions are, probably accurately, perceived by poor young people as harassment or even provocation.

Rather than looking at the report for excuses, let’s look for reasons. There’s nothing wrong in searching for the truth.

Worryingly, the report says there might be more riots to come.  Apparently, four out of five participants in the summer unrest think there will be a repeat of the violence.  This might be just the bravado of youth; then again, it could be a prediction straight from the horse’s mouth.  It’s certainly something that deserves the attention.  But so do the poverty and the biased policing that certainly helped fan the flames of August.

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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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G20 “murder cop” to face misconduct charges over Ian Tomlinson death

29/11/2010

Doubtless some of you will remember that on 1 April the G20 meeting of the world’s economic superpowers was held in London.  Such an event requires heavy policing, to protect the delegates and their cronies from evil demonstrators.  And on that day, a man named Ian Tomlinson died as a direct result of police action.

Unfortunately for the police, a couple of circumstances surrounding the death quickly came to light: the entire episode was caught on CCTV; and Tomlinson was not a demonstrator, he was a newspaper seller trying to get home after a hard day’s work.

The police officer who attacked Tomlinson, PC Simon Harwood of the Metropolitan Police’s infamous Tactical Support Unit, is not going to face criminal proceedings related to the killing of Ian Tomlinson – this despite the fact that Harwood’s unprovoked attack on Tomlinson from behind is clearly visible on the many videos that have been posted on the internet (for example here.  There are plenty of other examples online, as even a cursory Google search will find).

But even though Harwood isn’t going to see a court room from the “wrong” (or should that be “right”?) side of the dock, it has been announced that he will face a Police Complaints Commission into his alleged misconduct during the attack.  During the brutal attack, Harwood wore a balaclava to hide his face, and had concealed his badge number – all signs that he knew he was doing something wrong.

The PCC decision to accuse Harwood of misconduct equivalent to manslaughter is likely to place additional pressure on Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, who controversially decided the officer should not even be prosecuted for assault.  Now Starmer will have to explain why he decided that Harwood should not be punished for what was undoubtedly an illegal attack.

The way Harwood has been protected up to this point has sent a very clear message to other coppers: they can be as brutal as they want, even up to the point of murder, and the establishment will protect them.  Now I just hope that the misconduct hearings are held in a properly transparent manner, so other bully-boy cops will learn from this experience.  No one is above the law – especially the police.

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UK government say unemployed must do “unpaid work”… but where’s all this work going to come from?

17/11/2010

For years the Conservative Party have wanted to force unemployed people to “earn” their benefits by doing unpaid work.  And finally (in a coalition government with the Lib Dems, strangely enough) it seems they are going to achieve their goal.

The Work and Pensions Secretary (and failed former party leader) Iain Duncan Smith has announced in a white paper that he wants the unemployed to undertake unpaid work or lose benefits, dressing up these draconian plans as a necessary step to cut welfare costs as well as to break what the government is calling the “habit of worklessness”.  The government are trying to suggest that people prefer to live in poverty on the derisory Jobseeker’s Allowance (£51.85 a week for those under 25 and £65.45 for those over 25 – what riches!)  rather than take a job.  And this crazed plan is apparently going to end the “culture of dependency”.

What IDS has neglected to tell us is where exactly this unpaid work is going to come from.  The plan glosses over this detail, saying that “charities, voluntary organizations and companies” will provide these jobs.  This totally ignores the fact that voluntary organizations don’t want people to work for them reluctantly – people who volunteer to work for nothing do so because they want to help the organizations in question and the quality of their work is therefore much higher than what will be done by those who are there under duress.  And as for the companies who will provide the unpaid jobs: if there is work that needs to be done, why haven’t these companies already employed workers to do them?

This plan is an outrageous attempt to provide the Tory Party’s corporate allies with a way to get around the minimum wage.  Instead of advertising these jobs to willing workers who would, by law, be entitled to a living wage, these companies will fill the posts with people who will have to work for nothing.  How the hell can the Tories and their corporate friends get away with this?

And why are the Lib Dems going along with this?  After the destruction of the traditional Labour Party by Blair and his “New Labour” lackeys, some of us thought that the Liberal Democrats were the only progressive party left.  But now they’ve joined the Conservatives in coalition government, we can see Nick Clegg and his colleagues for what they really are: just Tories under a different name.

Democracy in Britain has been dying for many years.  Now it has been shot in the back of the head and buried in an unmarked grave.  We desperately need to take back the power that is rightfully ours.  But the ballot box will get us nowhere.  We must use alternative methods to rid ourselves of the greedy and evil men and women who claim to rule in our name.

 

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