October 30, 2009


Do watch Channel 4s Dispatches program about public order training in the wake of Tomlinson and the G20. I thought it was a very good programme. I have written a lot about my feelings towards all this, if you have missed my great wisdom click the police tag below.

There are some good blog reviews at
The Tone of Our Oppression
Random Blowe
Ramblings of a Scottish Student
and Paul Lewis in the Guardian


October 26, 2009



There is a bit of a hoo har about todays Guardian front page which has pictures from Police "Spotter cards" of activists who were well known in 2005. This is old news which I can't take too seriously.

These guys used to take pictures of me, which I have been a bit indignant about here on occasion but I am not really too bothered. I can totally justify everything I am doing, it is all within the law and with the intentions of making the world a better more informed place, so if "intelligence" people in uniform who exhibit limited intelligence want to behave like paparazzi, you know, fuck them. I don't care.

I know a couple of the people on this card. They aren't violent or dangerous, they are quite principled though. Someone on facebook was saying they were annoyed about The Guardian printing their photographs. She got this letter back:

We're sorry that you have a concern about our publication of the police spotter card today. We did consider all the issues very carefully before deciding it was the correct thing to do. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and that feedback from people whose faces appeared on the front-page, but this email is adderssed to people who have questioned the decision.

We made it clear that no-one pictured on this card had done anything amiss other than attend demonstrations, which is their right.

It is extremely important to be able to show the general public just what the police are doing by way of stigmatising demonstrators.

These are all pictures of people who have decided to attend public demonstrations, precisely in order to make public their own political views. They are therefore people who have voluntarily gone into the public arena to engage in political action.

Naturally, we don't want anyone to suffer any detriment for their beliefs. We believe that many of the people on that card will be pleased to have now contributed towards exposing and helping stop this kind of police behaviour. They will not primarily have been thinking of themselves, but of the benefit to the causes they believe in.

It is important to bear in mind that no-one personally asked us to black out their faces beforehand, although we circulated our plans to those members of the protest community we could find. A few people claimed that unidentified third parties might object, which is not a basis on which we could proceed.

The other important factor is that the faces on this card have already been published in the media before. They were shown in detailed close-up in the film 'Taking Liberties', which was distributed in cinemas and is available to buy as a DVD. The makers of the film describe the film as a "surprise box office hit". As many will be aware, one of the people on the screen holds up the "spotter card" to the camera and there is a clear view of everybody on it.



Most if not all the people on this card would have been well aware of that.

Some on the card say there was some sort of agreement that we would not publish the "spotter card" unless there was permission from all of you and failing that, we would blur some of the images.

Some background - we have carrying out research for this series since June. A few months ago, there was an idea that we should try to contact all the people on the card and interview them. At that time, the idea was to print some biographies of the individuals on the card to draw out various points - such as - the obviously important issue of how many people had criminal records. As it turned out, seven people on the card called me. It was clear that we were not going to be able speak to all on the card. As the project evolved, we abandoned the idea. During that process, we spoke to people on the card on the understanding that we would not name people if they did not want to be. As it turned out, we did not name anyone on the card, except Mark Thomas who wrote a comment piece about the card - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/oct/25/doth-i-protest-too-much

It should be clear from the general thrust of the articles that we are looking to highlight the wrong-doing of the police, not the protesters. The publication of the card helps to tell many in the wider public what is actually going on here. Many in the protest community have complained that the mainstream media have ignored what the police have been doing. We hope that you will recognise that the Guardian has in the past year published a series of articles which have helped to expose police wrong-doing. The articles on Ian Tomlinson and the treatment of protesters at Kingsnorth are two examples of these.

We recognise that some of you are upset but we hope that you will have a better understanding of why we published the card.

Rob Evans
Paul Lewis
The Guardian

UPDATE: Hoo-Har here

UPDATE: Suspect "A"


October 22, 2009


If I meditate enough to get on this boat and see you in the water struggling I will run round looking for life belts I promise.

I can't get into this big deal about Nick Griffin on Question Time. The only sane journalism I've seen about the whole thing was in The Telegraph. I don't have a TV. I'll watch it later but I'm sure it will be a total let down for all these people getting so excited about it. A new friend of mine over on Facebook who grew up in Dundee, a refugee from Chile said

“Well if the Labour party abandon the working classes what do they expect?”

Corruption has let in extremes but are they a threat or serious contenders when it comes to power? I have never seen the point of banning people. Get Mr Griffin in. Get Mr Choudharry in. What is the problem? Do you think all these power dressing chicks in the West End are going to run out and buy Burkahs? I don't think so. x amount of Muslims believe in a world wide Islamic state. They do. x amount of pasty honkies on council estates want a white Britain. They do. That's not news.

Mind you, it was news on Panorama earlier in the week. Very interesting news but I am still unsure as to the conclusion, x amount = more than Trevor Phillips can see from his ivory tower? I wouldn't be surprised. The guy is blatantly an idiot in the wrong job, but still- the undercover journalists were being constantly hassled by the same small group of people, and there were white people on the same estate who looked out for them, and really stood out as heroes in this film. Both journalists said that they hadn't experienced this sort of racism before, so that must be a good thing right? Anyway very brave journalism which made for a seriously watchable programme.

In other news, we were watching a coupla Jesus reruns the other day back to back as someone had put out dvds of Jesus Christ Superstar (The 1973 version) and The Last Temptation of Christ which I hadn't watched before. I must admit that once I had stopped laughing I thought JCSS was actually quite good musically, and the message was OK too. I didn't realise there were so many blokes in the seventies who could hit such high notes. Must have been the tight trousers. I was thinking Ian Gillan all the way through listening to the Jesus rendition but I was still surprised to find he sang the part on the original album. I think this guy does a better job though.

Both of these films rightly point to the Judas part of the story as something questionable, though The Last Temptation is rubbish. I only watched it because someone told me that the reason it was blasphemous was cos Jesus gets a blow job on the cross at the end.

What a stupid story. Jesus feels guilty because he is the only Jewish person who will make crosses for the Romans? Err... Great start! Mary Magdelene blames him for the fact that she became a prostitute after he dumped her or something? err.. OK. Where are we going with this?

Jesus, played by Danile DeFoe (who is a shite actor at the best of times) questions whether he is the messiah or not. He asks John the Baptist, a head banging cult leader who gives him a big gay kiss on the lips to make sure. After this he heads off into the desert and does some Crowley ritual, gets tempted by the devil (who appears as a snake, a lion, a tree and a flame) comes back and starts with some really bland parables. The crowd quite rightly think his parables are lame and tell him to fuck himself.

Judas is this no nonsense character who tries to keep this self doubting nutter-Jesus on the right path. He isn't into the idea of crucifixion at first, he'd rather over throw the Roman occupation, but fuck it- as its you Jesus and you asked so nicely.

Just as Jesus finally makes it up on to the cross a little girl walks through the crowd, takes his nails out and helps him down.

“Am I the messiah?” he asks.

“No. Now stop torturing yourself and try to be normal for fucks sake”.

So Jesus is normal, he has a family with a woman. He has a family with her sister too. The angelchild hangs around just in case he backslides into his previous self torturing ways. Eventually Paul turns up in his town and tells the story of Christ crucified. This obviously offends Jesus as he knows the real story. Paul, runs after him and says the crowd prefer his fiction, reality isn't important. All the time I am sitting thinking

"Why the fuck did anyone write this story? Will it have any meaning whatsoever at the end?"

Anyway, Jesus on his deathbed which coincides with the Romans burning Jerusalem gets visited by his elderly disciples who out his angel as one of the devils who tempted him earlier (The flame one). He crawls out of the house, begs God to rewind time and put him back on the cross, which God does, making Jesus happy. And this film was nominated for awards. It won awards. What a load of wank. Its not blasphemy, its bollocks- and no blow job on the cross for Jesus either.


October 19, 2009

Moderates and Extremists

Ed Husain of the Quilliam Foundation argues that the government's Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) strategy, also known as Prevent, should target Muslims he describes as Islamists whether or not they are suspected of terrorism or violent extremism because, he says, they are extremists and "provide the mood music" for the 7/7 bombers and others who threaten the British public with violence.

Although there is no credible evidence to support this view it is one that Husain shares with influential thinktanks including Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion in the UK and Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum in the US. On this account, regular Cif bloggers Inayat Bunglawala and Anas Altikriti are described as "extremists" and "subversives" who should be targeted and stigmatised in the same way as terrorists inspired or directed by al-Qaida.

Charles Moore and Dean Godson of Policy Exchange, have explained that this is a re-make of a 1980s Thatcherite counter-subversion strategy in which Husain is cast in the role of Frank Chapple the "moderate" trade union leader who was, they suggest, used to discredit and undermine the "extremist" miner's trade union leader Arthur Scargill. Husain, they argue, can help defeat Altikriti, Bungalwala and their colleagues in the same way...


October 17, 2009



A very interesting account of the G20/Tomlinson affair


People Using Guns in America

The barren rangeland, suggestive of Afghanistan, was to become an Islamic fighter training base.

Kassir expected to be welcomed by Muslim recruits, eager to learn the ways of war.

Instead, he got an Islamic leader from Seattle, a mentally impaired 18-year-old and two women more interested in canning jars than jihad.


October 12, 2009


Jason Parkinsons filming from Manchester


The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said today the Obama administration was reassessing the relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaida, but denied any change of strategy on Afghanistan had occurrred.

Clinton's comments came after reports that the president's security advisers were pressing him to shift the focus of the war from the Taliban in Afghanistan to al-Qaida in Pakistan. The Taliban issued a statement last week claiming they posed no international threat, in an apparent attempt to put daylight between themselves and al-Qaida...


October 10, 2009

English Defence Youth

I missed this. English Defence League address charges of racism and burn a swastika.

UPDATE: BBC News from Manchester


The announcement drew gasps of surprise and cries of too much, too soon. Yet President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday because the judges found his promise of disarmament and diplomacy too good to ignore...

NASA: Moon bombing provides 'the data we need'

October 08, 2009

One in four is Muslim

A report from an American think-tank has estimated 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world - with 60% in Asia.

The report, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, took three years to compile, with census data from 232 countries and territories...


October 06, 2009


Opens: 9.10.2009 – Ends: 25.10.2009

Location: 3-6 Acklam Rd, London, W10 5YU MAP

Entrance: £1 before 6pm – £3 thereafter

A 15000 square foot open air exhibition of Street Art, giant Sculpture and Installations, fully licensed for 1250 people, underneath the West Way Road Bridge next to Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, London.

Following the success of their debut show ‘Behind the Shutters’ at the infamous Cordy House, the Mutate Britain team are pleased to announce One Foot in the Grove, an exhibition of painting and sculpture located in the heart of West London on the Portobello Road.

October 05, 2009


I'm not sure if this was written by Paula Newton, who once called Atilla "A seriously scary guy" or Andrew Carey who I met up with once a while back but I think the title of this CNN blog post about McChrystals visit to London sums up the troubles of Afghanistan, and of maintaining the focus of American action there- No bumper sticker slogan will solve it

...Our manner of operating distances us physically and psychologically from the people we seek to protect. You need to connect with people,” says McChrystal adding, “We’ve under resourced our operations, in some areas we’ve underperformed, in some areas we’ve under-coordinated. We’ve struggled with unity of effort, national agreements, chains of command that are complex to say the least.”

What he did not admit so openly is that any more engagement with the Afghan people will inevitably lead to more military and civilian casualties in the short term.

But General McChrystal did begin articulating a new mission statement for Afghanistan. He said winning there doesn’t mean beating the Taliban but making the Afghan people safe and secure.

And he divulged two other things that commanders rarely say publicly: We can’t debate a new strategy forever, three months tops, and reconciliation with the Taliban is inevitable...



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October 01, 2009


I bought the Suday Times but only got round to reading this today. A Sunday times journalist has spent time talking to grieving families all over the country.

...During his time in Afghanistan, part of Hale’s duties included the so-called TRM-ing of soldiers who had been in fierce firefights with the Taliban or who were showing signs of stress after tense patrols in which colleagues might routinely be blown up or shot.

TRM-ing, or trauma risk and management, is a fairly new concept and Hale was at the forefront of the army’s efforts to identify those at risk of post-traumatic stress before it is too late. “Mark would talk to the guys after firefights . . . He’d say, ‘it’s okay to feel this’, or ‘it’s okay to feel that’. If boys have seen friends shot, sometimes they dirty themselves and he’d have to impress on the others that you can’t take the mickey out of someone in that situation. It happens and it’s okay. And it’s okay to cry too.”

Did Hale need TRM-ing himself? Brenda had been distressed at the news that he was being posted to Afghanistan and never quite got over the nagging feeling that something awful would happen: “He’d done the Falklands, he’d done Iraq, he’d done Bosnia and Kosovo . . . I’d never had that feeling before but suddenly I just thought: you can’t keep going to these places. I said to him last summer, ‘One day your luck’s going to run out’.” ...