Daily Archives: April 8, 2009


Lies and Innuendo in the Ian Tomlinson Case 98

The American tourist who captured on video what may have been the second assault on Ian Tomlinson by the Police, has done us a great favour.

I have been on several demonstrations in Central London in the last few years, and like everyone else who has done that, I have got used to the experience of being constantly filmed. Central London – and particularly the area around Bishopsgate – is fully covered by CCTV. In addition you had at the G20 demonstration scores of police cameramen filming from every vantage point at a demonstration. I have no doubt that on the recent huge Gaza demo I was filmed every step for two miles.

Let me be quite plain. I do not believe that there was no official footage of the police assault on Ian Tomlinson. Just as the security cameras in Stockwell station and on the train were “Not working” in the Jean Charles De Menezes case, I accuse the Police of subverting the video evidence.

So thank God for that American tourist – and thank God he went to the Guardian rather than to the Police. If unanswerable video evidence had not now been produced, what lies do you think we would now be being told?

A lie can be delivered by innuendo. The so-called “Independent Police Complaints Commission” – whose investigations in this case are being conducted by the City of London Police – had put out a statement saying that “it appeared that Mr Tomlinson had contact with the Police.” If we had not seen the video, what image does that conjure up in your mind?

Mr Tomlinson did not have contact with the Police. He had contact from the Police – they came up behind him when he was just walking down the road, and without warning hit him with a baton. This was in fact Mr Tomlinson’s second contact from the Police – he had already been turned away from his route home by another police cordon, and it is possible he was mishandled there too.

New Labour trolls are active all over the web – including in comments on my earlier post here:

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/04/brutal_murder_o.html#comments

We will see more of these attacks on Mr Tomlinson in the next few days, just as Jean Charles De Menezes’ character was slurred (illegal immigrant, drug addict – all untrue).

The claim that Tomlinson died of a heart attack brought on by alcohol is pathetic.

I hope that the family are now getting good advice, and I for one would be happy to donate to a fund for an independent autopsy. Under New Labour we cannot trust the official one.

We also need a radical reconstruction of a police force which thinks it can attack and kill members of the public with impunity, and of the legal framework in which they operate. The legal system has ruled in terms that police may kill people and then may lie about it in court.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2008/12/the_disgraceful.html

We have reached the stage in the UK where we need a revolutionary change. We have to sweep out the old order of corrupt politicians whose one guiding principle is to keep their own snouts in the trough: of City bankers who are multi-millionaires from their bubble scams and whose lifestyles and jobs the ordinary people are now supporting by a massive tax and debt burden, while nobody guarantees the jobs of those ordinary people who fund it all.

We have to realise that the end of the centuries old prohibition of torture by agents of the state is of a piece with the freedom of the police to maintain the system of power by fatal force, in both cases without consequence. You cannot separate this brutalisation of power from the illegal war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of our own soldiers, on the basis of a lie but really to secure oil.

The whole system stinks from the head like a fish. And people are starting at last to understand where the smell comes from.

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Institutional Racism in Israel 31

I have frequently compared Israel as a state to apartheid South Africa. Citizens of the country are defined and confined by race. it is not just that all ethnic Jews, wherever they were born, have a right to live in Israel whereas many ethnic Palestinians who were actually born in Israel do not. Jews in Israel have a right of immigration for their spouses; arabs in Israel do not. Arab Israelis are actually forbidden by law from marrying Palestinians outside Israel. Many Arab communities are physically cut off by barbed wire.

It is worth reading this interview with Dr Hatim Kanaaneh. The interviewer, as is frequently a problem with pro-Palestinian groups, does not couch his questions in neutral terms but in pejorative terms which may put off the neutral reader. Try to get over that, and just concentrate on the substance of what old Dr Kanaaneh, who uses language with care and neutrality, has to say.

Here are some key parts:

Discrimination is a built-in part of life and the laws of the country. Remember that what we are dealing with here (and the basic issue of contention in the conflict between Zionism and all of us native Palestinians) is a conflict over land.

As a Palestinian I am disqualified by law from equal access to land ownership or use. This is given a deeper expression in the form of the Law of Return granting any Jewish person anywhere in the world automatic citizenship with all the benefits that accrue with it of access to land, housing, financial and social assistance, and to the symbols of the state while no Palestinian who is not born here can dream of ever becoming a citizen.

Recently laws were passed specifically to prevent our children from marrying other Palestinians and from the right to bring their spouses under the standing laws of family unification applicable to Jewish citizens.

The absolute majority of land we, the Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel since its establishment in 1948, once owned has been confiscated for the benefit of our Jewish co-citizens through a maze of some three dozen laws specifically designed for the purpose. Were it not for the 1976 uprising that has come since to be commemorated as Land Day, we would have lost the remainder. We, nearly one-fifth of the total population of Israel, now own about 3 per cent of its land. After all, we are dealing with what has been defined by Zionism as “the land of Israel” in an ethnic sense, a definition that excludes us, Palestinians. The last stroke in the continuing saga of disenfranchisement is the requirement from us to pledge allegiance to Israel as the state of the Jews. And once we take such an oath, it would be up to the same racist crowd to define what constitutes a breach of it, a process inevitably leading to our expulsion one way or the other.

Our youth, unlike Jewish youth, are exempt from conscription. Positions from which they are disqualified on this basis when they seek employment run the gamut from civil aviation all the way down to the manufacturing of ice-cream.

The worst part of the daily discrimination that we meet with is the fact that much of the final decisions on so many little items are left to the discretion of low-level bureaucrats. These, by and large, have been brought up on a deeply self-centred world-view that sees the world as one of constant struggle between “us”-the-Jews and “them”-the-goyim and considers one’s duty as serving his own people. This, of course, leaves me out of “the favours” many officials consider it their duty to do their clients. Intentional obstructionism is more often what we face.

Another area in which this phenomenon is evident is the differential implementation of the law. Take, for example, the practice of house demolition within Israel. Mind you, we are not speaking here of the savage collective punishment practised by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians in the occupied territories. We are speaking of the practice of demolition of homes built without permit within Israel proper.

In absolute numbers there are more illegally constructed structures in Jewish communities, but the demolition is practised almost exclusively against Arab home owners. The basis for the construction of homes without permit is also rooted in discriminatory practices in the laws of zoning which in many cases have retroactively criminalized all residents of many villages whose existence predated the state itself. Such “unrecognized villages” are frequently the site of home demolitions.

The cumulative end result of all the openly discriminatory laws, the hidden disadvantages, and the differential application of the rules and regulations are clearly seen in comparative figures from officially published data of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.

As a public health practitioner I can point to the single most telling indicator of the well-being of a community, that of infant mortality rate (IMR), or the number out of a thousand infants born in a certain year who die before their first birthday. This statistic regarding the most vulnerable segment of a population reflects such community attributes as the income level, the level of education, the sanitation, etc.

The relative ratio of the IMR between Arabs and Jews in Israel has run at the level of almost exactly 2 since statistics were ever collected on both groups. In the last decade it has been on the rise, a reflection of increasing discrimination. One could look at many other statistics such as the level of poverty, education, housing, etc. and the gap is obvious, but IMR sums it up best.

It is worth reading the whole interview carefully. Israel now has a Foreign Minister from a party whose major election platform was the need for further action against Israeli Arabs.

http://www.redress.cc/palestine/atibbs20090408

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