Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine flu: If you suspect it, report it.

Family infected with Swine flu

A England-wide ban on movement of all non - essential personnel is in place after a family of four in Surrey were found to be infected, possibly with the virulent Guildford strain of Swine - flu

Some 60 neighbours on the estate close to the village of Wanborough near Guildford have tested positive for the disease which wreaked havoc in 2001.

A 3km protection zone has been put in place around the premises.

High Chancellor, Adam Sutler cancelled his holiday in Dorset and took part in a meeting of government's Cobra emergency committee.

In accordance with legislation, all infected cases in the Surrey area will be resettled, Norsefire Chief Medical Officer Desmond Rennolds said.

The estate has been under restrictions since late on Thursday when symptoms were reported.

Mr Rennolds confirmed the outbreak after samples were taken from the home.

She said: "We are trying to form a picture of where the infection may have come from but at the moment it's very early stages.

"It is the absolute priority at the moment to prevent further spread, and piece together information about how it might have got there in the first place."

Scientific analysis of the virus could be available late on Saturday, but it may take longer depending on the exact strain of the disease involved.

“ Even the words 'Swine flu' will send a chill through the spine of every household in the country ” Tom Vonner, Moral Alliance said.

The Cobra committee was reconvened and met for 50 minutes on Saturday to review the latest developments.

Mr Rennolds has advised people across the country to examine their neighbours carefully and immediately report anything suspicious.

As well as the 3km protection zone, there is also a 10km surveillance zone where nearby all suspected cases are monitored.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mass surveillance: We spy because we care.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009





Tens of thousands of people throughout the UK have been trained to deal with the aftermath of subversion to respond to an attempt to challenge Norsefire to lessen its impact

The attempted uprising in Enfield has shown we need to be prepared throughout the country to deal with a subversive incident and to minimise its effects.

We have studied every act of sabotage and plot against the Party to learn everything we can about how to improve our resilience.

Thousands of emergency services workers and key officials have been trained and equipped to deal with an incident, including attacks with chemical, biological and radiological weapons.

Every region in the country has plans to deal with a subversive act and ensure a return to normal as soon as possible.

Lynn Shaw is head of the Office of Political Orthodoxy (The Tree). She says:

“We test and exercise our plans regularly. It’s vital for people to work together and know each other, so that when they respond to an emergency they work well together and trust each other’s decisions.”

Training goes beyond officials to store, pub and club managers, who all work in crowded places that might be targeted by subversives.

England prevails - V For Vendetta updated

Honoured and humbled by the trust you have given me, I speak to you for the first time at our conference as High Chancellor of this country.

No one could have foreseen all the events that England has been through since June.

But tested again and again the resilience of the English people has been powerful proof of the character of our country.

Early on a June morning, two cars were found parked and packed with explosives in, London.

They were put there to bring terror and death to men and women who would do nothing wrong but be out with their friends, walk on our streets and visit our capital.

But from the bomb disposal experts who courageously risked their lives, to the Londoners who defiantly went on with their lives, that day the world witnessed the resolve and strength of the English people.

And when the Muslim terrorists tried to attack the country's biggest airport, they were answered by the courage of the police and firefighters and a baggage handler named John Susan. He came to the aid of a policeman under assault from one of the Islamic terrorists.

England Prevails

Later John told me it was instinctive, he was doing what was right.

That man, that hero John Susan is here with us today and on behalf of our country - John, we thank you.

Every citizen who answered the call of the country - policemen and women, our security and emergency services, our health services - all left their mark on this island's story by keeping us safe. They are the pride of England.

Just as our armed services with bravery and heroism every single day also make us proud. We mourn those who have been lost and we honour all those who in distant places of danger give so much to our country.

It was in these early weeks, in the wake of the worst flooding in almost 150 years, in county after county, we saw the English pull on their boots and pull out their boats to rescue neighbours and strangers.

And together they went to work to clean up the streets, sweep out the shops and reopen the schools. Long after the waters have receded the memory of their quiet strength remains.

They too showed the character of England: communities where buildings can be damaged and even destroyed but our spirit is indestructible. They too make us proud of the extraordinary resilience of ordinary English people.

Strength through unity, unity through strength.

And then on an early August morning in Surrey, a doctor went out to treat to his patients and what he saw terrified him, made him remember back to 2001 when all across our countryside clouds of smoke scarred the sky and for many in cities and villages, family dreams were turned to ash.

During the outbreak this summer, our health official, scientists, and public officials in SO15 cancelled their holidays. To fight the contagion doctors worked day and night. And they have done it all over again this month and continue to do so. Their actions live out our shared understanding that our world is threatened by invisible enemies surrounds, that stalk our towns and cities.

And as we saw again this summer there is no answer to the spread of infection or to Islamic terrorist attacks that can strike at any time, anywhere in any part of our country.

And sharing this same small island, we will meet our environmental, economic and security challenges not by splitting apart but when we as England stand united together.

So my sense of talking to people in all parts of these lands is that instead of leaving us pessimistic, these three months make us more optimistic about what we the English people at our best can do.

Our response was calm and measured. We simply got on with the job.

England has been tested and not found wanting.

This is who we are.

And there is no weakness in England today that cannot be overcome by the strengths of the English people.

So don't let anyone tell us England is not equal to every challenge.

Strength through unity, unity through faith.


For the full transcript of High Chancellor Adam Sutler's speech click here.

The sad thing is that to change these ads and speech by the current UK government into a speech straight out of V for Vendetta required me to alter less than 50 words. One hard knock, a few months of hard times and who knows what awaits us? To see the movie click here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Working together for a safer Oceania

Orwellian dreams, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't rely on others. If you supect it report it.

"We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. [...] we make the brain perfect before we blow it out."

Updating the classics. This week 1984

Updating the classics., originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Counter Subversion Command

Oceania faces a terrorist threat which is truly global in nature.

Post-2000 the Ministry of Love's world renowned Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Office of Political Orthodoxy undertook an unprecedented number of counter-terrorist investigations in the Oceania and abroad.

These investigations, combined with the terrorist attacks in Airstrip One in July 2005 - which claimed 52 lives - starkly demonstrated the increasingly complex nature of the work carried out by the two specialist branches.

Even before the tragic events of 2005 the Ministry had started to review how these commands operated and interacted with one another to deliver a counter-terrorist response.

Following this work it was agreed to create a new bespoke, multi-faceted, single counter-terrorism command - not restricted in design or look by existing structures, with a better capability and capacity to meet ongoing and future threats.

As a result the new Counter Subversion Command was created. This has taken over the roles and responsibilities of the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Office of Political Orthodoxy and was launched on October 2 2006.

The new command brings together intelligence analysis and development with investigations and operational support activity.

It builds on the world-wide renowned expertise and professionalism of the former Anti-Terrorist Branch and the office of Political Orthodoxy which for many years have been at the forefront of the Ministry's counter-terrorism effort.

And as always the overriding priority of the new command is to keep the public safe and do all it can to ensure that Oceania remains a hostile environment for terrorists and dissidents.

The Counter Subversion Command provides a full operational capability with teams of officers immediately available to respond to any type of incident or investigation.

It is also known as "SO15", an internal police service designation reflecting the fact that it is one of a number of Specialist Operations branches within the Ministry of Love.

Anti-terrorist poster

Counter Subversion Command is responsible for:

* To bring to justice those engaged in terrorist, domestic extremist and related offences

* To provide a proactive and reactive response to terrorist, domestic dissidence and related offences, including the prevention and disruption of anti - Party activity

* Support the National Co-ordinator of Terrorist Investigations outside the Inner Party

* To gather and exploit intelligence on dissidence and protest in Oceania.

* To assess, analyse and develop intelligence to drive operational activity

* To engage in the covert monitoring of Oceania's communities in order to understand their concerns and to provide reassurance and support where needed

* To provide specialist security advice and services internally and externally

* To provide an explosive ordnance disposal and political purification capability in Oceania

* To assist the Party Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service in fulfilling their statutory roles

* Assisting in the protection of Ingsoc interests overseas and the investigation of attacks against those interests

For more details check out the Counter Subversion Command website.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Terrorism. If you suspect it, report it.

Terrorism. If you suspect it, report it., originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

"DAC Peter Clarke, head of the The Ministry of Love's Anti-Terrorist Branch said, “Everyone who lives in Oceania, or visits the country for work or pleasure, has a role to play in making it as difficult as we can for terrorists to operate here. We can all help by being vigilant and aware of what is happening around us. If it seems suspicious to you, please make that call.

”This publicity campaign is not a response to any specific threat, but I would urge the public to continue to remain alert. We cannot afford to be complacent.”

The four week campaign is intended to encourage people to have the confidence to trust their instincts and report any suspicious bags, vehicles or behaviour to the police immediately by informing the nearest available member of the Party.

Posters will be displayed on bus shelters, roadside sites and at train stations across the nation, with press adverts to appear in the major Party newspapers. The campaign is reinforced by a thought-provoking radio advertisement on Minitrue 1.

The campaign has been developed in partnership with Oceania Transport Police, Airstrip One Police, The Ministry of Truth, The Ministry of Love and the Ingsoc Office."

To find out more details at the Ministry of Truth website click here.

Video macht frei

Video macht frei, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, April 24, 2009

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

To create your own billboard check out

UK policing tactics at G20 summit get international praise

Met chief: G20 police deserve praise despite Tomlinson death

Sir Paul Stephenson says death of passerby is disturbing but crowd 'containment' tactics have received international acclaim

The commissioner of the Metropolitan police went on the offensive today, defending his officers for an "astonishing" police operation during the G20 that he said had received international praise.

Sir Paul Stephenson said his comments were made in the context of a man having died during the demonstration, and of footage that was deeply concerning. But he went out of his way to praise what he said were an overwhelming majority of officers who carried out a professional job on the day.

Picking out the territorial support group (TSG) – which is at the centre of two IPCC investigations into Ian Tomlinson's death and an assault on a woman protester – Stephenson said it was a specialist unit the Met relied on.

"These and others are our first line response to some of the most difficult and challenging situations," he said.

The commissioner, who has spoken personally to TSG officers in a bid to raise their morale, said all knew they were individually accountable for their actions.

He said officers who were found to have deliberately hidden their numbers would be severely disciplined. "If someone is trying to deliberately avoid being identified and their reason is so they can behave inappropriately, criminally, then of course they could face the sack," Stephenson said.

He planned to tackle the problem of police identification by examining whether every officer should wear name tags.

The commissioner said there were supervision problems with some groups of officers and he wanted this improved. "The overwhelming majority did [wear their numbers]. There is not sufficient concentration on intrusive supervision.

"That is what I believe in. It is the job of supervisors to go and find out how good your people are so that you can say well done and sometimes to find out where they are going wrong."

The commissioner spoke as a pathologist was carrying out the third postmortem on Ian Tomlinson's body. It was done at the request of lawyers for the TSG officer seen in footage obtained by the Guardian apparently attacking Tomlinson. The Met will be present at the postmortem after receiving advice from its lawyers.

The IPCC is investigating the circumstances of Tomlinson's death; a second incident in which a TSG sergeant is seen hitting a woman protester; and a third case that resulted from another complaint from a protester about police violence.

Stephenson has asked for a review of all footage in the Met's possession. This is being carried out by the Met's department of professional standards. Denis O'Connor, Her Majesty's inspector of constabulary, has been asked to examine the tactics used by the Met for public order events, specifically the issue of containing demonstrators for several hours.

Stephenson said the use of containment had begun after a demonstration in June 1999 when protesters caused £13m worth of damage. "The policy of containment has come from our history. As a consequence of this we … developed a policy of graduated control which at some point may involve containment. If there is a better way to do it we are up for learning it, but we don't know of a way."

Stephenson said he had received acknowledgment from police forces internationally for what the Met achieved during the G20.

Sir Paul Stephenson says death of passerby is disturbing but crowd 'containment' tactics have received international acclaim

"Part of the headlines should be … astonishing operation pulled off by the Met who did a first-class job," he said.

"The overwhelming majority of officers, whatever the stress or provocation, carried out their duties in a professional manner and I want to give them credit for what they achieved." He said his comments were in the context that some of the footage he had seen caused him deep concern, and the Met was cooperating with the IPCC to help provide the answers that Tomlinson's family wanted.

Stephenson said the Met had never misled anyone in the aftermath of Tomlinson's death. He said the scene where he collapsed was secured, sealed off and treated as a crime scene and the press statement the Met released in the aftermath of the death was approved by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

From the Guardian

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fight crime. Buy a video camera

400 - nil

I was going to write today about what happened last night in the Athens district of Exarchia when the MAT (Greek riot squad) tried their own version of "kettling" following a petrol bomb attack in the neighbourhood. Like their UK counterparts the police attempted to seal the area and then attacked anyone slow enough to be caught up in the cordon. As a result two students at least have been hospitalised with broken bones after being beaten by officers following their arrest, according to Greek bloggers.

According to that hotbed of anarcho - communist propaganda, The Economist 400 people have died in the last decade following contact with the police. Yet not one has ever been convicted of manslaughter, let alone murder. Is anyone placing bets against the officer who beat Tomlinson just before he died making that 401 - 0? With watchdogs like the Independent(?) Police Complaints Commission on the case it's a wonder that there has been an investigation at all.

It would be easy to write them off as toothless, but their wanton attempts at misleading the public, (CCTV? What CCTV?), surpressing video and conjuring up "favourable" evidence have shown them to be morally and legally compromised. Leaders such as Kim Il Sung , Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein could only have dreamed of such diligence by their functionaries.

Still, never mind the charade will go on, probably at the cost of millions to show that Great British Public that what they saw with their own eyes in the video did not, in fact happen, and if it did it was certainly not what it seemed and that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for why masked members of the police are quite within their rights to attack people from behind while they are walking away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Living in the past

I've been laid up with a chipped bone and a sprained ankle and hence the retreads over past photos and glories, Still, stillness has its advantages. I have been going through lots of the photos I've taken recently and listening to music I'd forgotten about that used to mean so much to me when I was younger.

Watching the watchers

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.


Escape, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard est morte

Drowned world, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Like many I first came aware of the work of J. G. Ballard because of the Steven Spielberg's movie, Empire of the Sun. The film, which was based on Ballard's book of the same name then led me to read his science fiction novels such as the Drowned World, Drought and later works of satire/social critique such as High Rise and Crash, all of which I would recommend as they deal they most interesting of topics, us.

Beyond the fantastical settings was always the idea that weirdness, violence, conflict and outrage were just a sharp knock away, that if fate realigned itself by just a few degrees we could all become demons.

A man whose life was as fascinating as any work of fiction died yesterday after a long fight with cancer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter candle

Easter candle, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking portraits

Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teacher Dude in motion

Ian Tomlinson - Google Street View debunks IPCC CCTV claims

"The chair of the police watchdog conducting a criminal inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson faced fresh criticism today after it emerged he was wrong to say there was "no CCTV footage" in the area where the alleged assault took place.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said today that Nick Hardwick had been mistaken when he said there were no security cameras around Royal Exchange Passage, the area where a policeman was shown in pri
vate video footage striking Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him to the ground."

View Larger Map

Like many of you I found the assertion that there were no CCTV camera in the area strange considering that so many of the world's surveillance cameras are in the UK and that a capital in which the average resident's image is captured 300 times a day should have a blind spot in so strategic an area. Obviously, being an investigator for the IPCC precludes such mundane chores as actually checking what the police tell you.

After a quick search on Google Maps I found the image you see above which shows the corner of Threadneedle St and the Royal Exchange Passage where the assault on Tomlinson took place. If you zoom into the area just above the red bus and slightly to the right you will see at least one, quite possibly two CCTVs. I find it hard to believe given the seriousness of the operation to police the G20 summit that these resources were not brought into play during the day.

Even stranger that none of those investigating the death of Tomlinson and the 120 other complaints made against the police during that day bothered to actually wander the streets there or even more simply have a look on the internet.

The only good thing that has come out of this whole, sad charade is that the more the police and the IPCC try to wiggle out of their responsibilities the worse it becomes in terms of public opinion.

A video a day keeps the authorities at bay.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ian Tomlinson - Tragedy turns into farce

Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry with the latest developments in the Ian Tomlinson case. For those who do not know Tomlinson died just minutes after being assaulted by police during the G20 summit meeting in London at the beginning of the month. Since then the London Metrpolitan Police have mounted a cover up campaign that has, thankfully, been carried out with Keystone Cop efficiency. Silence, evasion, misdirection and stonewalling have characterised their approach to the case. In addition the Independent Police Complaints Commission have just added to the farce surrounding the death.

At first the police failed to mention any connection between their officers and the death of the unfortunate 47 year - old newspaper seller. Then, when footage came out on the Guardian website showing the assault they attempted to get the video pulled. If that was not enough the IPCC said that there was no CCTV coverage of the event, only to have that absurd claim (we're talking about the heart of London, home to more surveillance camera than virtually anywhere else on Earth) debunked by photographic evidence taken on the day. In addition just four of the dozen or so officers present during the attack have come forward.

With more than 120 official complaints about police violence during the summit pending the latest revelation of a police officer assaulting a woman during a vigil in honour of Ian Tomlinson is just another nail in the coffin of the police's reputation.

The attack takes place at about 3.20 mins. Notice that the officer has hidden his ID number in clear contravention of police rules. Then again; "you're not cop, you're little people".

Thinking of Shakespeare

JULIET: Chain me with roaring bears;
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
O'er-cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,

Monday, April 13, 2009


Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Spring is coming

Spring is coming, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

International journalism 101 - Thailand

Photo by affaire de couronne de Thomas

The media landscape is changing before our very eyes. Once again a major news story can be covered by anyone with an internet connection, often with greater accuracy and more insight than the established media channels. I have been following developments in Thailand over the last few hours and it seems to me the the best source for breaking developments and the background to what has been happening are Twitter, Flickr and blogs.

For more details on what is going on in Bangkok check out

#redshirts on Twitter

"redshirts" in Google blog search and Technorati

"redshirts" in Youtube

"redshirts" on Flickr

Follow these sources for an hour or two and you'll find out as much as most professional journalists (at least non - Thai's) know about what is happening.

I see this tendency set to explode over the next few years as more and more people are able to access the internet via their mobile/cell phones and the world wide web ceases to the sole domain of those with the wealth to buy a computer. Already the number of people who use mobiles in the developing world has skyrocketed. With the spread of lower cost devices which include video and camera capabilities as well as letting you get on the internet then we will have to chance to hear from those caught up in news stories around the world unfiltered by national and international media.

Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self

Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self
Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

It seems that the London Metropolitan Police seem a little sluggish in getting officers who witnessed the assault on Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests to come forward. Even now, more than 10 days after his death just four of the dozen or so officers present at the time have come forward to answer IPCC questions.

As a result UK based BristleKRS Blog has been collecting pictures and footage of the incident from the internet in order to find clues as to the identity of the other, shyer witnesses to the attack. As he says himself if they do not come forward voluntarily then others must drag them into the public arena.

"I hope that these pictures might help jog the memory of someone - anyone - who was in London that day. Perhaps you took a photograph of a policeman whom you think you recognise here - a photograph which is clearer, perhaps even showing a number on an epaulette or a helmet. Please do check through your pictures and compare them with these.

Or maybe you weren’t in London on the 1st of April, but you happen to recognise a relative, or an acquaintance from your local, or a neighbour. If you do, please don’t just leave it be.

If enough people - ordinary people, people like us - take the time and trouble to hold those responsible (through their action or their inaction) for the death of Ian Tomlinson, force them to come forward and be held accountable, then we might - just might - help prevent this happening again, only next time to your father, my mother, our friends, our loved ones. Don’t leave it to the IPCC."

So, if you think you can help, please go over to his blog and see the pictures and video he has already found.

The Easter hoildays are here

Spring is here, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Today marks the start of Megali Evdomada or Easter Week in Orthodox calender. There will a whole series of rituals and rites which culminate next Sunday when everyone gets together and eats roast lamb with friends and family. For most Greeks these days are far more important than say, Christmas.

At the moment many people are fasting, in this case abstaining from meat and daily products in the run up to next weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stop! In the name of love before I break your heart.

Make fun of the b#stards. Show them for what they are. Contempt is our strongest weapon.

In memory of Ian Tomlinson.


Riots in Thessaloniki - Greece

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

I used to be a contender, I used to be a dinosaur.

Ian Tomlinson - Alexis Grigoropoulos: two sides of the same coin

Symbolic protest over the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos

The similarities between the death of Ian Tomlinson who died during the G20 summit protests and Alexis Grigoropoulos, whose shooting last December in Athens sparked off weeks of rioting across Greece seem to be growing ever stronger. In both cases the unlawful death at the hands of the police was initially met with silence and/or lies.

In the case of Alexis the original official account said that the 15 year old had been part of a group of anarchist who had attacked a patrol car with stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. The officers involved had, according to the police been forced to fire into the air and that one such shot had accidentally killed the teenager. In the case of Tomlinson, the London Metropolitan police said that he had been walking home when he had suffered a heart attack and that attempts to aid him had been met by a barrage of bricks and bottles.

As we know now both accounts turned out to have only the slightest connection with what really happened. In the case of Alexis eye witnesses and later video evidence quickly came out that showed that he had died after having an argument with a policeman who aimed and fired his weapon at him. Likewise in the Tomlinson case eyewitness accounts told of an unprovoked police attack backed up by video footage.

In both Athens and London the vast majority of the mainstream media were quite happy, at first to accept the authorities version of what happened and even embellish their accounts with, as it turned out, literary flourishes that undermined their credibility. Luckily, The Observer and the Guardian kept on hammering away at the story despite official harassment from the IPCC.

Now it seems that both cases are continuing to follow the same pattern of developments. Once the authorities in Athens realised that their original cover story had been blown they decided on another approach in the media battle for the hearts and minds of Joe Public; namely, they thought that they could save the day by mounting a campaign of smear and innuendo that would tar the reputation of the victim and so justify the actions of the officers involved.

Within days much of the Greek press corp published stories from police sources that painted Alexis as a delinquent malcontent who loved nothing more than make trouble in the Exarchia neighbourhood where he died. Indeed the newspapers even went as far as to publish a report by the police officer's lawyer that highlighted his allegedly chequered school record and grades as supposed evidence of the teen's delinquency and so "guilt".

Now we see the same thing with Ian Tomlinson. The police have seen their attempt at a cover up blown so wide that even their supporters in the media cannot help anymore. Faced with media scrutiny of their actions stories are now appearing in the right wing press that have tried to smear Tomlinson, attack his character and so justify the officer who killed him.

It is claimed that he had been drinking heavily and had gone out of his way to provoke officers who were operating under very difficult circumstances. What such reports fail to mention was the widespread use of indiscriminate violence (including attacks on a Channel 4 camera crew) by the police to control the situation and the use of "kettling" which allowed tensions to rise that would have been dissipated had protesters been allowed to leave.

Again the hope is that such accusations will make us forget the video footage which showed Tomlinson attacked as he was walking away from the police. Even if what the newspapers say is true then do the police have the right to treat people with such contempt during what had been , despite intense provocation, a mainly peaceful demo?

My only hope is that the tactic backfires as badly in London as it did in Athens. Then the claims by the police not only managed to add to the feeling of anger felt by many taking part in the protests but also disgusted many who had up to that time remained undecided as to whether the police had done something wrong.

For more information check out the Ian Tomlinson Wiki page here and the Alexis Grigoropoulos page here.

Greek communist party (KKE) rally in Thessaloniki

The leader of the Greek communist party (KKE), Aleka Papariga was in town today to rally the faithful. It seems more and more obvious that Greece is about to enter a pre - election period. The present conservative government's slim one seat majority in parliament was reduced still further when one of the ruling New Democracy's MPs, former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis became the subject of a parliamentary enquiry over allegations that he demanded kickbacks for handing out subsidies to ferry companies operating to the Greek islands.

It seems more and more likely that as well as Euro - elections the country will go to the polls in the near future to elect a new government.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"It's the lie that gets you" - Oliver Stone's Nixon.

A man dies in full view of hundreds, the victim of a violent attack by a masked man. His death captured by an untold number of cameras in the area. Yet nothing happens. No charges are brought, no one is arrested, the police carry on as usual. The mainstream media is content to accept the police account and so spread the official version that makes no reference to the events leading to the death. Some go one better and embellish their accounts with lurid details that will win them brownie points with editors and chime in perfectly with the prejudices of their readership/ viewers.

However, the voices of those present start to be heard almost immediately on the internet, more more they speak out until some in the mainstream press picks up on it, at least the more honourable part of the press corp, yet still there is silence from nearly everyone else in the media. The UK channels either downplay the death or simply content themselves with replaying the police's report which seems to be more and more the product of a cover up than an initial, perhaps incomplete version of what happened.

Then videos come to light which definitively disprove the official version and eventually, unable to ignore the story anymore the major TV channels rush to air "exclusive footage" a week after they had originally received it. Like Captain Renault in Casablanca .

"Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

An officer comes forward knowing full well that his colleagues cannot hide what has happened anymore. His superiors once more issue bland reassurances of justice being done, even whilst they scramble to make sure that no such beast will ever see the light of day.

Balaclava clad thugs beat and harass people for days on end and we wonder why somebody died? It was surely a matter of time with such tactics that some idiot with a badge and an attitude would choose the wrong target, cross an invisible line that separates intimidation from outright violence. Ian Tomlinson's death was not a "tragic accident" or the result of the actions of "an overzealous officer" but rather the inevitable consequence of giving armed men carte blanche in dealing with crowds.

The officer must be cursing his luck at this moment, "Why me? I mean we were all doing the same thing?" And he is right, up to a point. In the days leading up to Tomlinson's death there were any number of similar incidents which did not end in tragic death.

Hopefully, it will be the lie that gets them. Hopefully, it will be the culture of silence and "corporate solidarity" that seals their fate, at least in the eyes of the public. As far as the courts are concerned we all know what will happens when "inconclusive evidence" rears its ugly head.

Ian Tomlinson - Killed for being in the wrong place, killed for being just that little bit too slow, killed for trusting the police not to use violence without cause.

A day late and a dollar short - Channel 4 on Ian Tomlinson

More footage has come to light that show the attack by London police on Ian Tomlinson just minutes before he died. Today ITN/Channel 4 aired video taken during the assault that once again contradicts the official version that said that Tomlinson died of natural causes and made no mention whatsoever of any police involvement in the death.

What really makes me angry is the fact that a major media outlet waited an entire week before it decided to release a visual record of what, could in all honesty be called an unlawful killing. In addition not one officer came forward until other footage published in the Guardian today came to light. Every officer who witnessed this killing decided that they could avoid not only their duty but also knowingly break the law in order to cover up the actions of a colleague.

There are so many comparisons I could make with the police shooting of Greek teenager, Alexis Grigoropoulos in December. Lies, cover ups, media indifference to anything other than the official police line are just some of the common points. The big difference is that people here didn't take such behaviour laying down.

Is it just me or does that fact that balaclava wearing men spent days beating peaceful protesters in the centre of a European capital with impunity strike you as deeply disturbing? Dark portents indeed.

"And was the holy lamb of God"- Jerusalem

Easter is almost upon us, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Ian Tomlinson case - A wake up call for traditional media

If looks could kill.

After an embarrassingly long gap the mainstream media in Britain has finally woken up to the fact that there was something amiss about the death of Ian Tomlinson during last week's G20 summit protests. Initially, newspapers on the right of the UK political spectrum gleefully lapped up police accounts of beserker anarchists pelting officers and first aiders attempting to help Tomlinson, 47 who had apparently collapsed due to a heart attack whilst walking home from work through the protests in central London.

However, almost immediately images and accounts from people present started to circulate on the internet which contradicted the official account of what supposedly happened to Ian. Eyewitnesses spoke of efforts by demonstrators to help despite harassment and threats by the riot squad units in the vacinity. Thankfully, The Observer ran a story exposing the inconsistencies in the official version and video has been posted by The Guardian which shows a clearer idea of what really happened. That Ian had been the victim of an unprovoked attacked by a balaclava wearing officer who struck him from behind and shoved him to the floor just minutes before he died.

Still, questions still remain about what happened next. In the video Tomlinson seems to be shocked though basically unharmed, yet according to extra footage shown by the BBC the next thing we see is him surrounded by officers supposedly there to protect him whilst first aid was administered.

With so many video cameras around do the police really think that they will be able to cover this up the same way they did with Jean Charles de Menezes. One thing is certain though, they will try their best to make sure that the truth doesn't come out. Nor will they deal with the problem of heightened levels of police intimidation and violence that seem to accompany any large scale protest in the UK nowadays. If the Chinese, North Korean or Iranian authorities used these tactics the press would be screaming about suppression of civil liberties, yet when practiced by "good, old English bobbies" they are considered perfectly acceptable by much of the British press.

Time and time again I have heard members of the traditional media cry that bloggers and others who get their news out via the internet do not check their facts, are unreliable and prone to simply write whatever they like irrespective of what the truth of the matter is. And yet these same media professionals are just as likely to let stories like the Tomlinson case ride rather than do their job. They'd much rather simply copy and paste the official line and settle for a quite life than ask awkward questions that might get them in trouble with the editor/owner.

In such a situation what exactly is the advantage of their much vaunted professionalism and supposedly superior insight in the world of news gathering? Thankfully, there now exist a parallel system of reporting which can act as the mainstream media's conscience, should they care to listen.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gimme Shelter

I have Silence of Our Friends to thank for rescuing this video that I made just after the last national elections here in Greece in 2007. I posted it on Youtube only to have it pulled after " a third party" complained about my choice of music. For some strange reason it is still available on the blogs to which it was posted.

The clip consists of photographs I took during the 2007 campaign and, to tell you the truth, brings back a whole raft of memories, not all of them pleasant as I was the victim of an unprovoked attack by the MAT (Greek riot police) during a peaceful demo. I guess the case of Ian Tomlinson struck a raw nerve as, I suppose I could have suffered the same fate. Instead I ended up with a broken nose, dislocated shoulder and enough bruising to ensure I didn't get a good night's sleep for weeks after.

Unlike Ian, I was given the opportunity to turn my anger into something more productive.

Ian Tomlinson - There are lies, damned lies and official accounts

Thankfully we live in a world were not just the authorities but also you and I can record what goes on around us. I think that the London Metropolitan Police have yet to grasp that our love of high tech Orwellian style surveillance equipment cuts both ways and they too are constantly in the eye of a media storm.

Of course, I was sure that the death of Ian Tomlinson who died minutes after an unprovoked attack by officers during the G20 summit demonstrations had also been recorded on one of the innumerable cameras that cover central London but now it turns out that a number of participants in the protests also recorded the attack and were able to get the message out unfiltered. Today's Guardian has footage taken of riot police hitting Tomlinson as he was quietly walking away from them, his hands in his pockets. Just minutes later he was dead, the victim of a heart attack according to official version of events.

The police announcement released soon after his death mentioned nothing of the attack and and indeed sought to blame protesters for supposedly impeding attempts by ambulance crews and officers to provide first aid. It seems there are lies, damned lies and official accounts.

It is interesting to note just how similar was the official reaction to Tomlinson's death to that of 15 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, shot by police in Athens last December. In both cases the police gave out reports that was almost entirely at odds with eye witness accounts and later evidence. Yet much of the mainstream media choose to accept the official interpretation at face value even though those present told a different story. Also in both cases video footage came out that quickly disproved the version given by officers involved.

Killing in the name of

Unfortunately, I believe that we are likely to see a similar outcome in both cases and those responsible for both deaths are unlikely to get the punishment they so richly deserve. They'll find ways to worm their way of the fact that they are reason two people died without cause.

We will hear the same tired cliches such as "exemplary police behaviour", "professionalism" and that "they did an excellent job under very trying conditions". Words like "restraint" and "regrettable mistake" will be thrown around all the while the real villians of the piece will quietly merge into the background.

Just remember that your mobile/cell phone with its ability to take photos and video just may be your best weapon when the authorities next try to cover up incidences of their bad behaviour. It might not help in court but it will where it matters in people's hearts and minds.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lydia thinking

Lydia thinking, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Minas Papadopoulos - photographer

, originally uploaded by minαs.

I thought I'd post this video by my friend, Minas, who is, in my opinion, one of the city's most innovative photographers.

Ian Tomlinson: "You have the right to be beaten. If you wish to give up this right, we will do it anyway"

During last week's G20 summit protests, Ian Tomlinson, 47 an employee in a newsagent's in the City died of a heart attack whilst on his way home. At least that was the official account of what happened according to the police at the time. Some other reports in UK media also spoke of attacks by protesters on officers and ambulance crew who were attempting to provide first aid.

As it turned out none of this is true. A report in the Observer now paints a very different account of what happened last week. According to several eye witnesses present at the time of the incident the Tomlinson had been the victim of a police attack just minutes before he died.

"Photographer Anna Branthwaite said: "I can remember seeing Ian Tomlinson. He was rushed from behind by a riot officer with a helmet and shield two or three minutes before he collapsed." Branthwaite, an experienced press photographer, has made a statement to the IPCC.

Another independent statement supports allegations of police violence. Amiri Howe, 24, recalled seeing Mr Tomlinson being hit "near the head" with a police baton. Howe took one of a sequence of photographs that show a clearly dazed Mr Tomlinson being helped by a bystander."

Also the circumstances in which Tomlinson was initially treated contradict official accounts. It now seems that few, if any objects were thrown by protesters at the police when they came to see what had happened.Indeed if the video below is to be believed then members of the riot squad attacked and harassed those providing first aid (click here for a full account by Indymedia).

Given the lies and misleading statements presented by the London Metropolitan police during the inquiry into the death of Brazilian national, Jean Charles de Menezes, shot eight times while sitting on a tube train I'm sure the authorities will find a way to avoid taking responsibility for Tomlinson's death. Practice does makes perfect in any kind of cover up.