Saturday, 31 July 2010

Anti-American riots in Kabul

RIOTERS in the Afghan capital have set fire to two US embassy vehicles shouting "death to America" after one of the 4x4s smashed into a civilian car killing a number of passengers, reports Aljazeera.

Police fired into the air to disperse the crowd of angry Afghans who threw stones and chanted "death to Karzai" in reference to Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

Security forces were concerned that the deadly traffic accident could lead to widespread rioting.

Nato's International security assistance force (Isaf) said it had dispatched a quick reaction force to the area outside the American embassy and near Afghan and US army bases in the centre of Kabul.

Outside of the capital, the guerrilla war of resistance against the US-led occupation continued, with six American soldiers killed in a series of attacks, bringing this month's death toll to at least 66, making July the deadliest month for American forces in nearly nine years.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Marching into the City

AROUND 200 protesters gathered outside the DPP's office in London on Friday and then staged a spontaneous march to the spot where Ian Tomlinson died in April 2009.

"No justice, no peace, fuck the police!" roared out continuously from the lively crowd as it made its way across Southwark Bridge and into the City of London, blocking busy roads as it went and leaving office workers gawping in surprise.

The police held back, no doubt under strict instructions not to create a PR disaster by breaking any heads - this time.

With an excellent selection of speakers at the meet-up point, this was an empowering and badly needed action.

It is worth noting that the banners, including a very prominent one declaring "Fuck the law, not the poor" sparked a number of supportive honks from passing lorry drivers at Southwark Bridge. The tide of public opinion is definitely on the turn...

Ian Tomlinson protests spread

MORE protests against the Ian Tomlinson scandal have been called in the last few days.

In Newcastle, there will be a demonstration at the central police station on Friday July 30.

Said a spokesman: "Let's show solidarity here in Newcastle to all those who suffer police violence. Meet 1pm at Monument, from there we'll go round the corner to the station to picket it and hand out leaflets etc."

In Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, there is to be a protest outside the Crown office and Procurator Fiscal in Chambers Street at 12 noon on Friday.

In Bristol there will be a demo outside the Crown Prosecution Service at Froomsgate House in Rupert Street on Friday at noon.

Meanwhile, campaigners in Norwich have already held a vigil outside the Bethel Street police station.

In San Francisco, USA, there is to be a protest outside the British Consulate in Sansome St on Friday, 12 noon to 3pm.

The London protest is at 12 noon Friday 30th July, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 9HS.

Monday, 26 July 2010

International call-out for Ian Tomlinson protests

A CALL has gone out for international solidarity in a day of protest against the British state's decision to allow its police to get away with killing Ian Tomlinson.

A protest is being held outside the Director of Public Prosecutions' office at Rose Court, Southwark Bridge, London, from 12 noon on Friday July 30.

But the action is also set to go international, with likely protests at British embassies, High Commissions, British Trade Offices and other British interests globally.

Says a statement on Protest.Net: "The lesson? The police internationally are there to enforce the law, not to abide by it. They are happy to kill and cover-up their crimes.

"The British state believes this and all other cases of police killings such as the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes will be forgotten and ignored because the victims are poor.

"We demand justice! Everyone to the streets! Never forget Never forgive!"

US comes a Cropper in Iraq (again)

YET another humiliating own goal has been scored by US occupation forces in Iraq.

Reports The Guardian: "Iraqi forces were today posting 'wanted' photos of four alleged senior al-Qaida figures who escaped last week from the US-built Camp Cropper prison along with the warden suspected of helping them flee.

"The four alleged terrorists and their jailer drove out of the prison deep inside the US military's main base in Baghdad on Tuesday, four days after American generals marked the handover of the installation to the Iraq government with the presentation of a giant gold key."

Sunday, 25 July 2010

TSG are 'shock troops of repression'

THE POLICE unit that killed Ian Tomlinson are "the shock troops of repression" and effectively immune from prosecution.

That is the conclusion of an article by the weekly direct action newsletter SchNEWS following the shock news that no charges are to be made over the 2009 G20 protest death in London.

States the article: "As SchNEWS has witnessed, this kind of casual dishing out of violence is completely normal for police in this situation - but not always seen by millions on film.

"The G20 protests were deliberately corralled in a ‘kettle ‘ around the Bank of England. As the day wore on the police became increasingly violent. What happened to Ian was, apart from its tragic consequences, an experience shared by many.

"Immediately after the news of Tomlinson’s death surfaced the Met’s PR machine whirred into motion. We were told by a dutiful mainstream press that a man who had had no violent contact with cops had died of a heart attack while officers attempted to resuscitate him.

"Lies were spread that these life-saving public servants were under a hail of bottles hurled by a filthy anarchist mob. Despite the fact that the media should have learned their lesson during the Menezes affair (see SchNEWS 508, 552, 647), once again they reported the lies verbatim.

" The cop who struck Tomlinson and pushed him over has now been named as PC Simon Harwood, part of the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG).

"This is a specialised forced entry and public order unit of the Metropolitan Police – created the day after the notorious Special Patrol Group was disbanded in the wake of the death of Blair Peach, another man clubbed to death for being on the wrong demo at the wrong time, this time in 1979. The inquiry into his death has never been made public.

"The TSG has gained its own share of infamy as the most macho and aggressive section of the most macho and aggressive police force in the UK. This is the same outfit that Sgt Delroy Smellie belongs to, caught on camera striking out at Nicola Fisher who was brandishing a carton of orange juice at the time. ( ).

"It is clear that the casual use of violence is endemic in the unit and others like it. A total of 283 TSG officers had been investigated over 547 allegations of misconduct during the year 2008-09.

"Of these, 159 allegations were of assault. It is of course extremely useful to those in power to have at their disposal these shock troops of repression, and for them to be effective they must be guaranteed immunity from prosecution."

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Disgust as police get away with G20 killing

A WAVE of anger and disgust has swept the UK after the authorities announced there would be no prosecution of the policeman responsible for Ian Tomlinson during the 2009 G20 protests in London.

Police originally lied, claiming the newspaper vendor had suffered a heart attack after being caught up in a demonstrating crowd, but video footage emerged clearly showing him being hit by a baton wielded by PC Simon Harwood and pushed to the ground.

Now, 16 months later, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced that there is not enough evidence for a conviction for anything other than common assault, for which the time limit has conveniently expired.

Deborah Coles, of Inquest, called for an inquiry into the actions of all the public bodies involved in the case, reported The Independent.

She said: "The eyes of the world will be looking on with incredulity as yet again a police officer is not facing any criminal charges after what is one of the most clear cut and graphic examples of police violence that has led to death.

"This decision is a shameful indictment of the way police criminality is investigated and demonstrates a culture of impunity when police officers break the law."

The verdict from the public was overwhelming, as witnessed not only by the 1,000 plus comments in The Guardian and on Twitter, but on mainstream media websites.

For instance, one comment on Sky News stated: "OMG! A man commits a criminal offence, it's caught on camera, a man dies, another man is under review for being incompetent at his job, 15 months pass by and at the end of all that the cops decided no one is reponsible for anything! Here's me a week or so ago wondering how idiots can support Mr Moat."

Wrote another: "This is an absolute disgrace! Had it been the other way round, and it had been the copper pushed to the ground, only to die minutes later, you can bet your life the book would have been thrown at the one doing the pushing. Another nail in the coffin that is justice in this pathetic excuse for a country."

A reader of London's Evening Standard commented: "Placing the Police above the law shows why there is such contempt for them. If you start with the basics, there is a clear case for common assault, if it had been the other way around, who would be in jail at the moment?

"The Police are no longer servants of the People, but are instead the instruments of control of an Authoritarian State."

Added a Daily Mail reader: "All this does is undermine public opinion to an even lower level, I never thought I would fear the police as I do now. No longer public servants but licensed thugs that can literally get away with murder."

The announcement came five years to the day after the police shot dead innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes on the London tube - a crime they also got away with.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

US moves military forces to Central America

THE USA is secretly sending large numbers of military forces to Central America - probably to impose its control on the region.

Reports Jamie Way of Narco News: "In a controversial decision that is likely to fan the flames of regional tensions in Latin America, Costa Rica recently granted the US permission to move 7,000 troops and 46 warships (along with their accompanying planes and helicopters) into Costa Rican waters.

"Officially, the act is considered to be part of the 'Drug War', which appears to be increasingly more war-like in nature due to such actions and mounting violence in Mexico and Colombia. Costa Rica’s neighbors, however, see the massive military presence as a potential base for regional strikes.

"Due to the long history of US intervention in Latin America (perhaps most notably in neighboring Nicaragua), the region is clearly justified in its concern over the disproportionate and virtual invasion of troops into an area that could potentially provide such a logistical and geographic striking point.

"Internally, many Costa Ricans are questioning the military presence and its impact on the nation’s sovereignty. One party, the United Social Christian Party, has even brought forth a claim questioning the constitutionality of such an act.

"While the media speculates about war against Iran, US solidarity activists are concerned about the near to total media blackout of news about the escalation of US militarism in our own hemisphere. "

Monday, 19 July 2010

Troops sent to quell new French riot

ABOUT 50 travellers armed with iron bars and hatchets have rioted in the small town of Saint-Aignan in central France after police shot a man dead, reports the BBC.

Violence erupted when the crowd, some of them masked, tried to force their way into a police station in the town in the Loir-et-Cher region.

In the ensuing riot, a bakery was trashed, three cars torched and trees, traffic lights and road signs damaged.

Three hundred soldiers were brought in to restore order.

Nobody is believed to have been hurt during the incident, which appears to have no connection with rioting in the eastern city of Grenoble over the weekend, which began after police shot dead an armed robbery suspect there.

The confrontation lasted some four hours before the rioters left town, France's L'Express newspaper reports.

At Saint-Aignan, the travellers were protesting at the death of a 22-year-old man shot by police, reportedly as he tried to run down two of their officers.

Prosecutors say the man failed to stop his vehicle at a checkpoint and dragged a gendarme on the bonnet for 500 metres (yards). The gendarme escaped with light injuries.

Arriving at a second checkpoint, the driver allegedly then charged the two gendarmes on duty there, one of whom opened fire and killed him.

Both gendarmes were taken into custody after the incident but released without charge.

French TV channel TF1 News reports that the shooting occurred in the town of Thesee, near to Saint-Aignan.

"It was a settling of scores between travelling people and the gendarmerie," Saint-Aignan's mayor, Jean-Michel Billon, told AFP news agency after the riot.

He was quoted by L'Express as saying he was concerned the rioters were still close to the town and might return.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Anti-police riots hit French city

RIOTERS have exchanged gunfire with police in the French city of Grenoble, setting fire to shops and cars after police shot dead a man accused of robbing a casino, reports RTE News.
Youths torched between 50 and 60 cars in the southeastern French city, as well as construction equipment and two shops, while police arrested a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, police said.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux was to visit the city this afternoon, his ministry said.
The rioting started after a memorial service for 27-year-old Karim Boudouda, who died 24 hours earlier in a shootout with police after allegedly holding up the Uriage-les-Bains casino near Grenoble.
Shortly before midnight, a group of around 30 youths armed with baseball bats and iron bars attacked a tram in Boudouda's working class district of La Villeneuve and forced the passengers to get out.
Police intervened to protect the passengers, and the youths began torching vehicles and attacking police who responded with tear gas.
A couple of hours later a youth emerged at the front of the rioters and fired a shot at police, who returned fire four times, police spokeswoman Brigette Jullien tolsaid.
Nobody was injured in the riots, police said.
By this morning order been restored in La Villeneuve, and police could no longer be seen on the neighbourhood's streets.
According to police union SGP-FO, violence has been on the rise in recent months in Grenoble.
'Police are at breaking point,' said regional union chief Daniel Chomette, who called for reinforcements.
The casino at Uriage-les-Bains was the third to be attacked in southeastern France and Switzerland since late March.
An alleged accomplice of Mr Boudouda escaped during the shootout and is still on the run. Police found between €20,000 and €40,000 in the back of the getaway car.

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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Riots in Argentina after death in police cell

RIOTS have broken out in Argentina after a 21 year old ''committed suicide' in a police cell, reports Angry News From Around The World.

The young man was arrested outside a bowling alley and, two hours later, was found hanged in his cell.

A demonstration outside the police station in the town of Salliqueló in western Buenos Aires province nded in chaos: people burned tyres and a car and the police cracked down with rubber bullets and tear gas.

The suspicious death of Gilberto Giménez, a boy who had come from Mendoza few months ago and worked as a bricklayer caused a stir among the inhabitants of Salliqueló.

According to reports, the boy was arrested on Sunday for incidents on public roads, and two hours later, was found hanged in his cell.

Fabian Attorney investigating the cause Arcomano revealed this morning that the autopsy report "clearly indicated" that the cause of death was "suicide by hanging." That matches the version supported by the police.

However, the victim's father, Carlos Fernandez, it was not a suicide. "My son was bruised all over. They had cut his neck and disfigured him," the man told the cable channel Todo Noticias (TN).

The contestation caused commotion among the inhabitants of the town, located 500 kilometers west of Buenos Ayres.

The protest began last night, near 22 hours in front of the police concerned. First 150 people gathered, but that number was increasing over time. There were burning tyres and a Ford k, so firemen had to go to work.

"We put out the fire but the people, who were very angry, tried to stop us. The fire did not affect any property ", they said.

The protest was initially suppressed with tear gas, but continued to grow. Until later, police received reinforcements from other cities of Buenos Aires which added gas and rubber bullets, and dispersed the neighbours in the midnight hours.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Moat case reveals UK hatred of police

THE DEPTH of anti-police feeling in the UK has been dramatically revealed by a wave of admiration for killer Raoul Moat.

The authorities are showing signs of panic as tributes have flocked in to the nightclub doorman who went on the run after killing his girlfriend's new partner and controversially committed suicide as he was hit by new super-powerful police Tasers.

Reports The Daily Mail: "David Cameron turned up the pressure on Facebook last night after the website defied demands to take down sick messages of support for gunman Raoul Moat.

"The Premier attacked the social networking site for doing nothing to prevent hundreds of people posting tributes to the killer.

"In the Commons, an angry Mr Cameron said Moat was a 'callous murderer' and undeserving of sympathy.

'There should be sympathy for his victims, and for the havoc he wreaked in that community; there should be no sympathy for him.'

"But last night Facebook was refusing to take down the 'RIP Raoul Moat You Legend!' page - even though many of its members are openly attacking the policeman Moat blinded and saying they wished he had killed more people.

"Many of them suggest Moat was justified in killing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, while others say he should have killed policemen.
"Terrianne 'Courtney' Robinson wrote: 'He's a ******* LEGEND for attempting to kill the police – should have taken a lot more down with him! R.I.P Big Man.'

"Neil Robinson said: 'Cameron should be more concerned about the way his Plod's handled the whole thing. People that are leaving flowers are showing their respect for a man who was wronged badly by the system. He stood up to the system and they don't like it'."

Similar views can be seen in comments on sites like YouTube, where video tributes to Moat have been posted.

Says one: "i think you'll find that people do not admire this guy but sympathise with the way his situation was handled by the gun-totting and heavy handedness of the police which is blatently and clearly getting out of hand much too often year after year and the public don't like this idea of totalitarianism

"unfortunately though the police have lost so much face and respect for the way they behave in countless cases of accidental death, corruption, burying evidence etc (and getting away with it without proper inquiries) that there is rise of dislike towards them more than ever it appears.... and when the facts of this case appear to be buried (as in there is NO video evidence mysteriously btw, any may day, any event there are ALWAYS police cameras) it adds to the untrust towards them"

Adds another: "I was ruined by police corruptly covering-up local government corruption, with no access to justice. www_fast4truth.blogspot_com/
This is why people loathe police - they lie, and the system laughs in our face, while grinding our faces in the dirt to pay for their inflation-proof salaries."

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Reclaiming a culture of resistance

THE IDEA of a culture of resistance is being deliberately erased from simplistic media reporting of struggles across the world.

That's the view of Ramzy Baroud, distinguished Arab American commentator and author, most recently, of 'My father was a freedom fighter’ published by Pluto Press.

He writes in the Khaleej Times: "Resistance is not a band of armed men hell-bent on wreaking havoc. It is not a cell of terrorists scheming ways to detonate buildings. True resistance is a culture. It is a collective retort to oppression.

"Even those who purport to sympathise with resisting nations often contribute to the confusion. Activists from Western countries tend to follow an academic comprehension of what is happening in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Thus certain ideas are perpetuated: suicide bombings bad, non-violent resistance good; Hamas rockets bad, slingshots good; armed resistance bad, vigils in front of Red Cross offices good.

"Many activists will quote Martin Luther King Jr., but not Malcolm X. They will infuse a selective understanding of Gandhi, but never of Guevara. This supposedly ‘strategic’ discourse has robbed many of what could be a precious understanding of resistance – as both concept and culture.

"If resistance is 'the action of opposing something that you disapprove or disagree with', then a culture of resistance is what occurs when an entire culture reaches this collective decision to oppose that disagreeable element - often a foreign occupation."

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Police under attack in Nothern Ireland

POLICE in Northern Ireland have come under attack in a number of incidents over the weekend.

Reports The Belfast Telegraph: "Colleagues had to help two officers escape from their car in Ballymena on Saturday night after a man wielding an axe smashed the windscreen.

"The officers were responding to reports of suspicious activity in Kew Gardens shortly after 1am yesterday when their car was surrounded by a group of people.

"A man armed with an axe smashed the windscreen while another man was seen carrying a machete. Two male police officers escaped the vehicle with the help of colleagues who arrived at the scene.

"One man in his 20s and another in his 40s were arrested later yesterday morning.

"Meanwhile, police were attacked by stone throwers while investigating reports that petrol bombs were being thrown in the Ballybeen estate in Dundonald.

"Shortly after 10.40pm on Saturday the PSNI received reports that petrol bombs had been thrown in the Craignish Crescent area. Officers responding to the incident came under attack from people throwing stones and other missiles.

"Three petrol bombs were thrown at police vehicles, but no damage was caused and no one was injured. Inquiries into the incident are continuing.

"Later, at around 12.40am, two petrol bombs were thrown onto the carriageway at Ballybeen."

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Riot follows cop killing verdict

RIOTERS trashed parts of Oakland, California, in protest at the verdict in the trial of a cop who shot dead unarmed Oscar Grant.

Reports The Guardian: "At least 100 people were arrested after looting and confrontations with police in Oakland last night and early today. The protesters ignored a plea for calm by the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"The policeman, Johannes Mehserle, 28, was found guilty yesterdayof involuntary manslaughter. The jury rejected the prosecution case that it was murder.

"YouTube showed footage of Mehserle's shooting of Oscar Grant, 22, who had been lying on the platform in a railway station on 1 January 2009, surrounded by police after a fight. Mehserle claimed he had thought he had reached for an electric Taser rather than his gun.

"The case became a cause celebre in the US, with its echoes of the treatment of Rodney King, a black man whose severe beating by police in LA in 1991 was captured on video. The subsequent acquittals of four LAPD officers sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

"Police deployed in Oakland in riot gear yesterdayand shops boarded up their windows in anticipation of a repeat of the rioting that took place in the immediate aftermath of Grant's shooting. Up to a thousand protesters took to the streets last nightand early today, some wearing masks with images of Grant's face. A banner was unfurled proclaiming 'Oakland Says Guilty'.

"Rioters, some dressed in black and wearing black masks, smashed shop and car windows, helped themselves to goods ranging from jewellery to groceries and trainers, and attacked police lines. Journalists were also attacked.

"The Oakland police chief, Anthony Batts, told a press conference: "This city is not the wild, wild west. This city will not tolerate this activity." He blamed anarchists coming from outside Oakland. "We started taking a number of rocks and bottles. We then made a dispersal order."

"Grant's family expressed disappointment with the verdict and said he should have been found guilty of murder. The verdict means the jury thought Mehserle had been criminally negligent but had not intended to kill Grant. "My son was murdered, and the law hasn't held the officer accountable the way he should be," Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, said.

"Mehserle, who is to be sentenced next month, could face anything from five to 14 years in jail. John Burris, a lawyer representing the family, described it as a "compromise verdict". Burris said: "The system is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an African American male. No true justice has been given." The trial was held in Los Angeles because of the tension in Oakland and neighbouring San Francisco.

"Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, told Reuters: "We are outraged that the jury did not find guilty of murder in a case that is so egregiously excessive and mishandled"."

Thursday, 1 July 2010

G20 leaders are criminals says author

THE neoliberal leaders who met at the G20 summit in Toronto are nothing more than global criminals.

That's the view of Canadian author and Toronto resident Naomi Klein in her latest column published in The Guardian.

She writes: "My city feels like a crime scene, and the criminals are all melting into the night, fleeing the scene. No, I'm not talking about the kids in black who smashed windows and burned cop cars on Saturday.

"I'm talking about the heads of state who, on Sunday night, smashed social safety nets and burned good jobs in the middle of a recession. Faced with the effects of a crisis created by the world's wealthiest and most privileged strata, they decided to stick the poorest and most vulnerable people in their countries with the bill.

"How else can we interpret the G20's final communique, which includes not even a measly tax on banks or financial transactions, yet instructs governments to slash their deficits in half by 2013.

"This is a huge and shocking cut, and we should be very clear who will pay the price: students who will see their public educations further deteriorate as their fees go up; pensioners who will lose hard-earned benefits; public sector workers whose jobs will be eliminated. And the list goes on."

She adds: "Already, workers, pensioners and students have taken to the streets against austerity measures in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Greece, often marching under the slogan: 'We won't pay for your crisis.'

"The G20 is an ad hoc institution with none of the legitimacy of the United Nations. Since it just tried to stick us with a huge bill for a crisis most of us had no hand in creating, I say we take a cue from Martin and Summers. Flip it over, and write on the back of the envelope: Return to sender."

Bangladeshi slave workers rise up

THE brutal reality of life for the Bangladeshi workers who make cheap clothes for Britain's high streets was exposed yesterday, reports the Daily Record.

It says: "Thousands of them took to the streets of the capital, Dhaka, yesterday to demand a rise in wages as low as £9 a month - only to be met by burly riot cops with batons.

"The police targeted kids caught up in the violence. One cop swung his baton at a tiny child, towering over his victim as the boy crouched in terror.

"And another viciously kicked another skinny urchin while the youngster lay screaming on the ground.

"More than 15,000 workers joined the protests, said to have begun after a boss beat up a female employee.

"The trouble spread to dozens of factories and the cops hit back with water cannon and tear gas as the demonstrators blocked roads. Witnesses said at least 30 people, including 10 policemen, were injured.

"Dhaka's deputy police commissioner, Salim Jahangir, said: 'There are 15,000 to 20,000 workers massing in the street. All workers in the area have walked out'.

"The workers - 90 per cent of whom are women - want at least £48 a month.

"But the official minimum monthly wage is just £17. Many bosses ignore it, and the charity War On Want say some workers get only £9. Workers' leaders claim many women are forced to work 16 hours a day, then wait up to two months to be paid."