Violence and the State 425


The state rests its power on a monopoly of violence. Indeed, in the final analysis a state is nothing but a monopoly of violence. Even when a state does good things, like tax to provide healthcare, it ultimately depends on its ability to employ violence to enforce the collection of the tax. Arrest and imprisonment is, absolutely, violence. We may not recognise it as violence, but if you try to resist arrest and imprisonment you will quickly see that it is violence. Whether or not blows are struck or arms twisted to get someone there, or they go quietly under threat, confining somebody behind concrete and steel is violence.

I use the case of tax evasion and healthcare to show that I am merely analysing that the state rests on violence deliberately. I am not claiming that the violence of the state is a bad thing in itself. I just want you to recognise that the state rests on violence. Try not paying your taxes for a few years, and try refusing to be arrested and go to court. You will, ultimately, encounter real violence on your person.

John Pilger gave a harrowing account of the everyday application of state violence at the Free the Truth meeting at which I spoke last week. Here is an extract from his speech describing his visit to Julian Assange:

I joined a queue of sad, anxious people, mostly poor women and children, and grandmothers. At the first desk, I was fingerprinted, if that is still the word for biometric testing.

“Both hands, press down!” I was told. A file on me appeared on the screen.

I could now cross to the main gate, which is set in the walls of the prison. The last time I was at Belmarsh to see Julian, it was raining hard. My umbrella wasn’t allowed beyond the visitors centre. I had the choice of getting drenched, or running like hell. Grandmothers have the same choice.

At the second desk, an official behind the wire, said, “What’s that?”

“My watch,” I replied guiltily.

“Take it back,” she said.

So I ran back through the rain, returning just in time to be biometrically tested again. This was followed by a full body scan and a full body search. Soles of feet; mouth open.

At each stop, our silent, obedient group shuffled into what is known as a sealed space, squeezed behind a yellow line. Pity the claustrophobic; one woman squeezed her eyes shut.

We were then ordered into another holding area, again with iron doors shutting loudly in front of us and behind us.

“Stand behind the yellow line!” said a disembodied voice.

Another electronic door slid partly open; we hesitated wisely. It shuddered and shut and opened again. Another holding area, another desk, another chorus of, “Show your finger!”

Then we were in a long room with squares on the floor where we were told to stand, one at a time. Two men with sniffer dogs arrived and worked us, front and back.

The dogs sniffed our arses and slobbered on my hand. Then more doors opened, with a new order to “hold out your wrist!”

A laser branding was our ticket into a large room, where the prisoners sat waiting in silence, opposite empty chairs. On the far side of the room was Julian, wearing a yellow arm band over his prison clothes.

As a remand prisoner he is entitled to wear his own clothes, but when the thugs dragged him out of the Ecuadorean embassy last April, they prevented him bringing a small bag of belongings. His clothes would follow, they said, but like his reading glasses, they were mysteriously lost.

For 22 hours a day, Julian is confined in “healthcare”. It’s not really a prison hospital, but a place where he can be isolated, medicated and spied on. They spy on him every 30 minutes: eyes through the door. They would call this “suicide watch”.

In the adjoining cells are convicted murderers, and further along is a mentally ill man who screams through the night. “This is my One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” he said.

When we greet each other, I can feel his ribs. His arm has no muscle. He has lost perhaps 10 to 15 kilos since April. When I first saw him here in May, what was most shocking was how much older he looked.

We chat with his hand over his mouth so as not to be overheard. There are cameras above us. In the Ecuadorean embassy, we used to chat by writing notes to each other and shielding them from the cameras above us. Wherever Big Brother is, he is clearly frightened.

On the walls are happy-clappy slogans exhorting the prisoners to “keep on keeping on” and “be happy, be hopeful and laugh often”.

The only exercise he has is on a small bitumen patch, overlooked by high walls with more happy-clappy advice to enjoy ‘the blades of grass beneath your feet’. There is no grass.

He is still denied a laptop and software with which to prepare his case against extradition. He still cannot call his American lawyer, or his family in Australia.

The incessant pettiness of Belmarsh sticks to you like sweat.

You can see John give the speech here:

Assange’s “crime”, of course, is to reveal the illegal use of force by the state in Iraq and Afghanistan. That the state feels the need to employ such violence against somebody who has never practised violence, is a striking illustration that violence constitutes the very fabric of the state.

Just as we are not conditioned to recognise the violence of the state as violence, we do not always recognise resistance to the state as violence. If you bodily blockade a road, a tube station or a building with the intention to prevent somebody else from physically passing through that space, that is an act of physical force, of violence. It may be a low level of violence, but violence it is. Extinction Rebellion represents a challenge to the state’s claim to monopolise violence, which is why the Metropolitan Police – a major instrument of state domestic violence – were so anxious to declare the activity illegal on a wide scale.

Ultimately civil resistance represents a denial of the state’s right to enforce its monopoly of violence. The Hong Kong protests represent a striking demonstration of the fact that rejecting the state’s monopoly of violence can entail marching without permission, occupying a space, blockading and ultimately replying to bullets with firebombs, and that these actions are a continuum. It is the initial rejection of the state’s power over your body which is the decision point.

Just as I used the example of tax evasion and healthcare to demonstrate that the state’s use of violence is not always bad, I use the example of Extinction Rebellion to demonstrate that the assertion of physical force, against the state’s claim to monopoly of it, is not always bad either.

We are moving into an era of politics where the foundations of consent which underpin western states are becoming less stable. The massive growth in wealth inequality has led to an alienation of large sections of the population from the political system. The political economy works within a framework which is entirely an artificial construct of states, and ultimately is imposed by the states’ monopoly of force. For the last four decades, that framework has been deliberately fine-tuned to enable the massive accumulation of wealth by a very small minority and to reduce the access to share of economic resource by the broad mass of the people.

The inevitable consequence is widespread economic discontent and a resultant loss of respect for the political class. The political class are tasked with the management of the state apparatus, and popular discontent is easily personalised – it concentrates on the visible people rather than the institutions. But if the extraordinary wealth imbalance of society continues to worsen, it is only a matter of time before that discontent undermines respect for political institutions. In the UK, once it becomes plain that leaving the EU has not improved the lot of those whose socio-economic standing has been radically undercut, the discontent will switch to other institutions of government.

In Scotland, we shall have an early test of the state’s right to the monopoly of force if the Westminster government insists on attempting to block a new referendum on Independence, against the will of the Scottish people. In Catalonia, the use of violence against those simply trying to vote in a referendum was truly shocking.

This has been followed up by the extreme state violence of vicious jail sentences against the leaders of the entirely nonviolent Catalan independence movement. As I stated we do not always recognise state violence. But locking you up in a small cell for years is a worse act of violence on your body even than the shocking but comparatively brief treatment of the woman voter in the photo. It is a case of chronic or acute state violence.

Where the use of violence by a state is fundamentally unjust, there is every moral right to employ violence against the state. Whether or not to do so becomes a tactical, not a moral, question. There is a great deal of evidence that non-violent protest, or protest using the real but low levels of physical force employed by Extinction Rebellion, can be in the long term the most effective. But opinions differ legitimately. Gandhi took one view, and Nelson Mandela another. The media has sanitised the image of Mandela, but it is worth remembering that he was jailed not for non-violent protest, but for taking up violent resistance to white rule, in which I would say he was entirely justified at the time.

To date, the Catalan people and their leaders appear firmly wedded to the tactic of non-violence. That is their choice and their right, and I support them in that choice. But having suffered so much violence, and with no democratic route available for their right of self-determination, the Catalans have the moral right, should they so choose, to resist, by violence, the violence of the Spanish state. I should however clarify that does not extend to indiscriminate attack on entirely innocent people, which in my view is not a moral choice.

All of which of course has obvious implications should a Westminster government seek to block the Scottish people from expressing their inalienable right of self-determination following the election. Which fascinating subject I shall return to once again in January. Be assured meantime I am not presently close to advocating a tactic of violence in Scotland. But nor will I ever say the Scottish people do not ultimately have that right if denied democratic self-expression. To say otherwise would be to renounce the Declaration of Arbroath, a founding document of European political thought.

As western states face popular discontent and are losing consent of the governed, one of the state’s reactions is to free up its use of force. Conservative election promises to give members of the UK armed forces effective immunity from prosecution for war crimes or for illegal use of force, should be seen in this light. So also, of course, should the use of agents not primarily employed by the state to impose extreme violence on behalf of the state. The enforcers of the vicious system John Pilger encountered were employed by Serco, G4S or a similar group, to remove the state one step from any control upon their actions (and of course to allow yet more private profit to the wealthy). Similar contractors regularly visit strong violence on immigrants selected for deportation. The ultimate expression of this was the disgusting employment by the British and American governments of mercenary forces, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, to deploy brutal and uncontrolled violence on the local population.

The pettiness of the election campaign, its failure to address fundamental issues due to the ability of the mainstream media to determine and manipulate the political agenda, has led me to think about the nature of the state at a much more basic level. I do not claim we are beyond the early stages of a breakdown in social consent to be ruled; and I expect the immediate response of the system will be a lurch towards right wing authoritarianism, which ultimately will make the system still less stable.

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425 thoughts on “Violence and the State

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  • Ralph

    Mentioning Catalan & Scotland wrt self-determination should have you Craig, in full agreement and support for the people of the former (Eastern) ukraine, who voted democratically for independence – just like the Crimeans did – the DPR & LPR, both now republics, and upon whom violence was inflicted on the orders of the satanic usg, with, of course, the full backing of the british govt.
    The irony is totally lost on the yanks that those in the 2 Donbass republics, took up arms for very similar reasons as their own claim to independence from the then king george 3.

    • Jannie

      The geopolitical goal in the Ukraine is EU/NATO expansion eastward, bringing Western military power onto Russia’s borders. If there’s a repeat of Barbarossa, the Russians won’t have the time and space to react.

      • David

        ….won’t have the time and space to react….

        Mebbe – but taking into account this (excellent) 2017 popular music video
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDsFKOrLWhU

        and perhaps also considering the arrest of Pentagon (BAE/DIA) expert Henry Kyle Freese for passing information to a CNBC journalist about, allegedly, the same subject as the song above, well, please invade Eurasia without me, thanks.

        more at https://americanmilitarynews.com/2019/10/us-govt-intelligence-analyst-arrested-for-leaking-secrets-to-the-media

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Jannie December 4, 2019 at 15:42
        A major ‘surprise’ attack on Russia would mean Europe (including the UK) would almost instantaneously become a nuclear cinder, and most of the US shortly after.
        Medium and short range nukes would do for Europe and it’s US and NATO bases, and hypersonic missiles, nuclear subs and nuclear drone subs devastate the US, Australia and New Zealand, and any other countries that had sided with the Great Satan’s aggression.
        So the nearer to Russia’s borders NATO gets, the more certain it is for world destruction if a deliberate or even accidental military episode ensues.

        • bevin

          The notion that there could be a repeat of barbarossa is the sort of thing that earns generals the reputation of always preparing for the previous war. Which in this case was 80 years ago.
          NATO is pressing on Russia’s borders for reasons which it barely understands itself, reasons of the ‘we’re here because we’re here’ kind.
          And they forget that pressing against Russia’s borders means that Russia is pressed up to theirs. And that, in an era in which all the dynamism geopolitically is in the east, and their ideological hegemony- the blue jeans and washing machine philosophy- is fading fast, it is NATO which could do with a buffer zone.

          • SA

            “The notion that there could be a repeat of Barbarossa is pure fantasy.”
            As Barbarossa was such a big failure it is unlikely that it will be repeated, but other tactics could be used. European nations seems to be obsessed with fighting Russia throughout history, the most recent invasion between 1990 and 2000 almost succeeded but ended again in failure because of Putin.

          • Tom Welsh

            War has changed utterly since 1941 or even 1945. Anyone who wants a quick refresher should consult Andrei Martyanov’s books on the subject.

            Barbarossa was astonishing at the time for its lightning pace – hence the term “Blitzkrieg”. Yet it took several months from the outbreak of war for the German forces to approach Moscow.

            Today, Russian doctrine states clearly that, if a foreign attack takes places against Russia or its allies, thermonuclear retaliation will take place.

            Instead of months, the attacker will get 20 minutes. (Less for the unfortunate soldiers, sailors and airmen in the front line).

          • SA

            “(Less for the unfortunate soldiers, sailors and airmen in the front line).”

            This may not of course apply because these individuals will be totally useless if their command posts are taken out.

      • Dungroanin

        Yes and No
        Yes. They want access to Russias mega resources – the global robber barons and their bankers don’t like a ‘No.

        Ukraine has been robbed blind by US ‘National Interests’ and signed up to onerous Bonds.

        They want peace with Russia and be part of the Shanghai Co-Operative Organisation that is tying Eurasia together. They know they were sold a pup and won’t be the giants in the EU.
        They finally cottoned on that the Yanks plan was to fuck em over from the beginning, to split their territories to the Poles, Hungarians and yanks.

        That is why they voted for Zelensky and that is why he is able to fuck off the Azovs and Banderists. He knows Putin and the SCO is Ukraines best hope – as does that other country that straddles Europe and Asia- Turkey.

      • Michael McNulty

        The Yanks have put up the Iron Curtain II, this time facing east, and couple that with their highly-controlled news they became the enemy they kept warning us about.

  • Glasshopper

    I wonder if Scottish Independence supporters have been watching the Brexit fiasco. Sobering stuff.
    We’ve heard so much about soft and hard versions and all the permutations in between. Of course the deal that an “independent” Scotland would be offered would be so soft and spongy as to be meaningless. Not to mention the cost.
    So when Indyref3 comes along, after it becomes apparent that the SNP were talking out of their hats and that neither the EU nor the UK has any intention of caving in to their desires, the confirmatory referendum will be a shoo-in for the unionist side.

    • Republicofscotland

      “I wonder if Scottish Independence supporters have been watching the Brexit fiasco. ”

      You obviously haven’t going by the rest of this comment.

      • Glasshopper

        Meanwhile the IFS have just torpedoed the good ship Sturgeon, pointing out that an independent Scotland would produce austerity on steroids.
        Not that it would happen anyway. Indyref3 will be hardwired into the result of an Indyref2 win, and would arrive at the point when it was obvious that the SNP were full of you know what.

        • Republicofscotland

          Well according to the GERs figure Scotland in the union has blackhole worth billions. Of course 24 of the 25 figures are guessimates and only apply to Scotland as part of this union.

          You see the union is very bad for Scotland, so we must break it sooner than later.

  • Jannie

    One reason why the political/corporate class needs to flood the West with Third World migrants: dilute resistance and move the focus of indigenous peoples from their rulers to the invaders.

    • Republicofscotland

      Or its more likely that we (The West) has for decades pillages their assets destroyed their economies, caused civil wars and invaded murdered, and butchered their denizens to keep their countries from fulfilling their potential.

      So the citizens of those countries in turmoil have fled to Europe, and illicit people smuggling has made some unscrupulous traffickers rich in the process.

      The West, lately, the Great Satan (USA) leading the way, has brought mass immigration on itself, we are reaping what we sowed.

    • Squeeth

      No, it’s because the locals aren’t breeding enough to replicate the economic status quo. Western European states are exploiting US wars of racial extermination to harvest external labour, same as Sauckel, Speer and Himmler did in the mid 40s.

  • N_

    Trump has thrown a tantrum in London and he is running back to the US early.

    Let’s hope he tweets about the NHS on his way to the airport.

    The Tory party and its Foreign Office must have done an enormous favour for the nutter to stop him saying “Damned right, we gonna pick what we want to buy in NHS. We gonna do a tremendous deal for our people. It’s true!” But he still might say it.

    If this guy ever has to be cross-examined, he’s not going to be able to cope with it. He’ll kook out, like James Forrestal. But I’m told an impeached US president isn’t obliged to attend his own impeachment trial. So much for “high crimes and misdemeanours”.

  • Leonard Young

    No state should have secrets which hide state crimes. Assange is wholly different from Shaylor, Mahon, Manning, Snowdon and many others who were whistleblowers but elected to be employed by their respective states in the military or connected organisations. Assange is not a whistleblower, but a publisher, who broke no rules of employment and who never compromised himself in the first place by taking a job in the organisations the others whistle-blew on. A large number of his published documents were also published by the Guardian and several other prominent newspapers in Europe and the US. But none of their editors or owners are in prison awaiting extradition.

    Millions of UK citizens have been bombarded with character assassinations about Assange (which they believe) based on a case which has been dropped several times through lack of prime facie evidence. The very newspaper (Guardian) which announced him as a hero and pleaded with Assange to give it exclusive rights to re-publish his data, then turned tables on him when he refused that exclusive, demonstrates itself to be a tantrum-throwing, bitter, hypocritical journal that utterly betrayed its former hero-worship of Assange. Since then the Guardian has been a leader in the assassination of Assange’s character, portraying him as a deranged narcissist and sexual offender even though not a single charge, let alone trial, has been brought against him.

    Assange is therefore as crime-free as any other citizen, but it seems any citizen can be arrested and jailed by the US for extradition on a whim. That means you and I could also be slammed into Belmarsh for publishing the truth about US state crimes, or for any random reason. The conditions under which Assange is held are a fundamental breach of human rights and rules about remand prisoners. His cutting off from access to lawyers, documents, and computer, and permanent isolation, is appalling.

    He is being treated worse than the most monstrous serial killer – yet all he did was publish the truth.

    Editors of several newspapers and broadcasters have escaped Belmarsh or similar institutions because they can claim they only published what was already in the public domain, but in practise they are secondary publishers of what the UK and the US regard as state secrets. Rather than continuing to character-assassinate Assange, all those editors should offer themselves for extradition in order to test the absurdity of Assange’s case.

    For those who say Assange is getting what he deserves, you really need to examine your willingness to comply with fundamental breaches of due process, and imagine what it would be like for you if for some reason you found yourself incarcerated for simply telling others that a state has committed crimes.

    • Tom Welsh

      “No state should have secrets which hide state crimes”.

      Yet all states that have ever existed have done precisely that. One might argue that, indeed, being able to commit hideous crimes in secret and without any risk of accountability is the main reason for having a state.

    • Tom Welsh

      “For those who say Assange is getting what he deserves…”

      I think those are the same people to whom Benjamin Franklin referred when he said that,

      “They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”.

  • Brianfujisan

    The so Called Bulleti of Atomic Scientists think Nicola is Playing to just her Base in Scotland Regarding WMD’s on the Clyde. That’s Factually Wrong

    ” A third answer might be that, from the British perspective, there is nothing to deter. If a large-scale war caused by Russian aggression is inconceivable, then deterrence and retaliation are irrelevant. That’s hard to buy though, since on the continent, European leaders are seeing a greater need for nuclear deterrence, not a lesser one.

    Perhaps the best explanation, however, is not strategic, but political. Although a majority of British citizens support nuclear weapons, a consistent minority has long opposed having or using them. So Nicola Sturgeon might just be telling her base what they want to hear.

    I felt compelled to reply –

    ” Hello From Scotland.. In Fact, From the Clyde.. Just to fill you in, Nicola, and 50% of Scots Support an Independent Scotland.. And Nuclear WMD free Scotland.. Whilst maybe just over 50% of Scots want Independence.. The Vast majority of us want WMD’s out of the Clyde …It’s Not a Flippant issue to Scotland.”

    • michael norton

      As NATO throws a seventieth birthday party both Scottish made super carriers are berthed adjacent in Portsmouth for the adoring Elite to fawn over.
      Projected State Power at its most terrible.

      • Wikikettle

        Michael Norton. The projected power of the two carriers, after they eventually get their full compliment of F35 jets, will be paper tigers, with fragile rotten eggs in both baskets. As much a waste of billions as the Dreadnaughts of WW1. Which bankrupted the old empire.

        • Spencer Eagle

          During a 1982 congressional hearing, legislators asked Admiral Rickover how long American carriers would survive in an actual war, Rickover replied: ‘about 48 hours, maybe a week if they are in port’. But still they build them.

          • SA

            Carriers are only meant to project power against weaker nations. They are useless in a superpower conflict.

          • michael norton

            There is a term known as “carrier battle group”
            not only the obvious show of power but backed up by the submarine fleet, which does not have to be in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier.

  • Peter Hayes

    To mix together non-violent civil disobedience with violent political movements as though there is no hard and fast moral distinction is quite wrong. It is not just a matter of tactics. If you embark on violence in the name of “the Scottish people” (or any other “people”), you have to be secretive about what you are up to. And if you are secretive, how will you know whether or not “the people” support you in this violence? You might like to fondly imagine that they do, but assuredly not all of them will. Some of “the Scottish people” (or whichever “people”) will oppose you, And if you are not sufficiently secretive (and they are brave enough), they will tell the police about you. What will you do about such opponents? Are they now going to be stigmatized as non-people, as “informers” and “traitors”, and become further victims of your violence on behalf of the “people”? And where will all this end?

  • Dungroanin

    Today the msm narrative manufacturers suddenly ignore the main event a week and a day away from D-Day, after banging on non-stop about how Labour.

    Lol.

    Tories only hope is to reduce turnout . There is one more debate to come in which Bobo will be bobo for all to see.

    The first lot of postal ballots will be in and their votes will have been illegally observed by the private co running it.
    They will see the flood of Labour votes arriving.
    More important the latest Cabinet Office poll will be in, confirming the real numbers on the ground across the country – I bet the civil service will have been working up the Labour policy plans and not be caught short as they were in 2017.

    What happened at the Palace yesterday- was there a meeting between Trump and Corbyn?
    No reports.

    Trump the outsider and hated by media and establishment in his campaign and presidency daily – has more affinity with the equally vilified Corbyn than many would think!
    Don’t forget the British DS and the sis is under the fco that had Johnson incharge when they conspired to stop Trump – do you really think he is going to forget that?

    The msm is trying to tell the people there is nothing happening and to become apathetic.

    The REVOLUTION is NOT being TELEVISED!

    • Tom74

      Yes, the establishment clearly getting desperate. I picked up the Standard today (well, it’s free) and there was no election coverage at all! Labour close to hung Parliament territory, even if the support of opposition parties isn’t being understated (which it probably is) and without taking into account tactical voting. So I guess their only hope is to demoralise opposition supporters or hope they forget to vote.
      All the more important we all turn out next week and defeat the Tories.

      • Marmite

        Hoping people forget to vote?

        Yeah, I still haven’t received my poll card. I guess the spooks know that I am no Tory.

        But wondering what per cent of the population, or which postcodes, have been left off the mailing list this time around.

    • George McI

      If Corbyn does win the election, will the media continue to NOT televise that? Or will they say that Boris won? Or will they say that Hitler won? Going by the wall-to-wall hysteria manufacture, it seems to me that a sizable portion of the population or, at least, of the media, are convinced Adolf is still alive, and that e now has scraggy white hair and a beard. And should the Corby victory arrive, I reckon the press will have stirred themselves up into such a frenzy that they will no longer put any limitations on their fake news department i.e. their main department. Mass exodus of British Jews as concentration camps spring up along the M1. That kind of thing.

    • Ken Kenn

      Dungroanin

      There is a video out there which suggests that Dominic Raabid has seen the postal ballots.

      Naive soul that I am I thought that postal ballots would be opened past 10pm on the night of the GE.

      I have referrefd to the Scottish lad who posted up a mobile phone video of ‘ neglected ‘ ballot papers during the Scottish referendum.

      The Tories apparently were going to wait until postal votes ” were in ” before publishing their crap Manifesto so my Spidey senses were on alert when I heard that.

      What are the rules for postal votes please and when are the envelopes opened?

      • Dungroanin

        ‘..the privatisation in 2010 of the management of Britain’s election system, including counting, handling postal votes and reporting.’

        ‘There might be a rationale for privatising the NHS and even a warped ideology that wants to privatise education, but privatising the elections of a country, where directors are leading, high profile politicians are the creations of a corrupt credo leading to suspicions, quite rightly so, of vote rigging.’

        ‘It should be of little surprise that objectors have questioned the rationale of awarding contracts to Idox with strong links to one political party and about the ‘creeping privatisation’ of elections that has since all but been fully privatised at lightening speed.’

        ‘According to ‘whatthepoliticinsdontsay‘ -The contracts were awarded to ensure private control of all Scottish elections for the three year period covering the EU election, the general election, the EU referendum and the Scottish Elections which allow IDOX to control, open, count and put forward “postal” ballot papers to be put into ballot boxes right up to the 10pm deadline.’

        ‘IDOX plc (this from the IDOX website homepage) “is a supplier of specialist information management solutions and services to the public sector and to highly regulated asset intensive industries around the world in the wider corporate sector. IDOX got the privatisation contract for election management and counting in the UK.”

        Peter Lilley’s company IDOX was given contracts across Scotland by SNP and Labour councils to quietly privatise the entire electoral process, control of postal votes and election counts across Scotland for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

        By May 2013 IDOX boasted they already had control of elections and voter registration across the UK in the privatisation of all elections, an astonishing feat given the timescales involved.’

        https://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/privatising-elections-referendums-accusations-fraud-rigging/

        There is no independent oversight. What made me suspicious was how the polls in the referendum were saying 55/45 remain until the last minute; a report that a million postal votes were NOT returned; and the extremely high turnouts in some counting areas – in excess of 80%! Which is unheard of in any mature democracy that does not have mandatory voting.

        There is more academic stuff. There is more about Idox and their international conglomerates ‘business’.

      • Dungroanin

        Oh and btw this is what the EC recommended procedure was in 2011.
        https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdf_file/Postal-vote-opening-process-single-Final.pdf

        This part of the flow chart is particularly hillarious
        ‘Keep the ballot papers face down at all times. Don’t look or allow others to look at the votes on the ballot papers. Place ballot papers in the postal ballot box or appropriate receptacle and proceed to Stage 5.’

        I demand an international independent body be called in immediately!

  • Xavi

    The Irish experience of a century ago showed the British state and ruling class has no compunction whatsoever even about ignoring a landslide democratic mandate for independence. It would have even less scruple about disdaining the authority of any independence referendum it itself had not sanctioned — particularly if led by a contemptuously anti-Scottish bully like Boris Johnson. Nor would the British state have any problem recruitng the world’s oligarch owned media to its side judging by the worldwide establishment media take on Catalonia.

    If independence minded Scots did take up arms against state forces they would also face an international black propaganda barrage that would seek to delegitimize their cause in the eyes of the world.

    That is why independence minded Scots should not deceive themselves that a Tory victory on the 12th would provide an express route to independence. Only Corbyn would offer that.

    • Dungroanin

      ‘Fake Suicide Vest’

      It was probably a fake bullet proof vest that the perp thought he was wearing.

      As pointed out above suicide bombers are supposed to have their brains liberated ver messily – but that wouldn’t look goid on the telly and papers having goo all over the pavement, would it?

        • Nick

          But even with that being the case there was a strange lack of claret.
          And had that been thought to be a real suicide vest they would never have shot him…it is not procedure in any shape or form.

          • Nick

            To clarify that last point they would have quickly backed off,created a safe perimeter. And certainly not fired at point blank range into what was considered a suicide vest. Throws doubt to me that there was a “vest”

          • Spencer Eagle

            ‘Armed police are not allowed to perform a headshot.’….that’s simply not true.

          • Nick

            It’s why they shot a man wearing explosive vest,allegedly through said vest,instead of headshotting him. And that is coming from a source who served in both forces and armed unit. It was procedure.

  • Brianfujisan

    Pass Me the Sick Bucket.. I seen a Clip of all the NATO clowns onstage at the end of the Summit.. A Fkin Piper was there.. It was good to see yesterday around a thousand protesters against NATO / Trump

    Meanwhile there’s this brilliant expos from
    Double Down News-

    EXPOSED: The Secret Elite Group Worth £50 Billion Funding the Tory Party | Peter Geoghegan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTJ43O8ZUfE

    • Ken Kenn

      NATO is the ultimate modern day ” Body of Armed Men (sic) and from its inception it has bombed and invaded and brutalised the world into alleged Democracy.

      whether the nations want it or not.

      I think Lenin called the League of Nations as a ” Kitchen of Thieves.”

      NATO is the modern version of McDonalds.

      Fast food to fast ‘intervention’

      It should have disappeared when the Cold War ended but we have gone from the fridge to the freezer.

      It should be re-named PATO as it now includes the Pacific and the south China Seas.

      Of course the MSM think that it protects ‘us’ whatever ‘ us ‘ means?

      It has never protected any other nations other than the US.

      It’s an American construct and nothing else and defends US interests and no-one else.

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    Since this is about state violence, was anyone as disturbed as I was over the apparent summary execution of Usman Khan. The initial news reports were very unclear but there was a picture of Khan lying on the sidewalk with a policeman pointing a gun at him and I can only assume the policeman then shot him. I know Khan murdered a number of innocent people and that there was a large fight with him which included members of the public who disarmed him. I later heard that he was wearing some kind of vest which turned out not to be explosive and I would have thought if it had been, Khan would have detonated it long before he was lying on the sidewalk.
    I was reminded, oddly, of the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980 when the released captives walked out of the embassy protecting one of the attackers because the military had killed all the others and were intent on killing the remaining attacker. This was true humanity shown to the surviving attacker (who went on through the justice system to be tried, sent to prison, and released long ago) by the captives and has long since been papered over and forgotten. But compassion did exist in quiet places even back then even with the Northern Ireland troubles.
    London, I understand, has become a very violent city and the responses to violence seem to have become more and more intrusive and violent. I have been following Rory Stewart’s (dare I mention his name) twitter blog regarding his bid to be mayor of London and some of his comments appear to support this view. The police responses are heavy handed and alienating to residents. But this kind of state sanctioned violence seems to be everyday in England and just seems to be ratcheting up and up.
    The treatment of Julian Assange is just another very blatent example of the attitude that the state can do what it wants, when it wants to whomever it wants, even to perfectly innocent people.

    • Ort

      I had a similar reaction, but I fear that we are in a vanishing minority of what used to be called (and maybe still is called) “bleeding hearts”– presumably it’s the blood loss from our hearts that accounts for our lily-like livers. 😉

      I’m a US resident, so I have witnessed the increasing general acceptance of police and state-security officers committing summary executions. The imperative to speedily deploy lethal force seems to be a common denominator in Western law enforcement, so it may partly be put down (excuse the expression) to common “modern” law enforcement training.

      In the US, it has become standard accepted practice for law enforcement agents to “shoot first and ask questions later”. This reprehensible policy is augmented by corresponding leniency in oversight and jurisprudence. A police office need only claim that the “suspect” (victim) made some threatening move, e.g. “he reached for his waistband”; the broadest iteration of this exculpatory premise dictates that a police officer need only claim to have a fleeting subjective impression that the “suspect” presented a threat of harm to justify the execution.

      When the magic word “terrorist” is involved, the use of lethal force is effectively mandatory. In the US, after every reported “terrorist attack”, active and retired law-enforcement officers proliferate like mushrooms after a spring rain in mass-media outlets (including foreign-based networks like RT). These experts almost always superciliously justify the execution; there is always some detail that can be cited as good cause for the use of lethal force, especially since the experts insist that the only fair and accurate way to understand the encounter is by seeing it through the eyes of an honorable police officer who must make split-second decisions in a “life and death” situation.

      I presume that the victim’s “fake suicide vest” was sufficient to justify giving him the proverbial “seven in the noggin”. Second-guessing the executioners, or even expressing skepticism and doubt about the peculiarities of the incident, is often criticized and derided as impermissibly unpatriotic, or evidence of a sort of civic rudeness and ingratitude.

      Indeed, “this kind of state sanctioned violence seems to be everyday in England and just seems to be ratcheting up and up”. Sadly, it isn’t just England. High-minded concepts of humanity and compassion have been eroded in the face of brutal “pragmatism”, summed up in bumper-sticker slogans like “there is no alternative” or even “But they started it!”

      • Rosemary MacKenzie

        Thank you for your analysis and fellow feeling. I also did wonder if Khan had not looked Pakistani which I assume he did would he have been killed in this manner. I would think if he had looked “English” he would have survived. Strong element of racism here as in the US. I live in Canada by the way.

        On a more hopeful vain, the practice of “street checks” which predominantly targeted racial minorities by a factor of 6 to 1 has been now banned in Nova Scotia after a legal opinion pronounced it illegal. All files from these checks are to be stripped of their identification and archived. I see Boris Johnson plans to extends the UK version.

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘Indeed, “this kind of state sanctioned violence seems to be everyday in England and just seems to be ratcheting up and up”. Sadly, it isn’t just England’.

        I believe it comes – like so much else – from the USA. More specifically, Hollywood and TV. Although I am great fan of Dirty Harry, it’s obvious that the casual attitude to extreme violence that one finds in “entertainment media” is calculated to harden the mind and dull the sensibilities.

        Many years ago, we allowed a young girl of about ten to watch an episode of “Murder, She Wrote” – about as stylized and inoffensive as a detective thriller can get. We were astonished, and then sheepish, when she cried on hearing of the victim’s death. To her, any death was tragic. Perhaps we should all try to recapture that natural attitude of youth.

      • Godolphin

        Regardless of where you are getting your information, state sanctioned violence seems to be everyday in England, is way off the mark. This recent killing was the third in the UK this year. Admittedly, three times as many as last year.

      • bj

        How does one spot the difference between a ‘fake suicide vest’ (‘fake’ presumably meaning ‘retrospectively fake’) and let’s say a fireplace vest?

        • michael norton

          bj,
          very, very pertinent.
          I would not think the U.K. Security forces take into consideration if a suicide vest is real or fake, they would be trained to only assume they are live.
          As they killed Usman Khan by shooting him in the head ( training) they now have the vest.
          On examining the vest they will be able to tell how real it was made to look.
          They will be able to tell if Usman needed to be strapped into it by third party helpers.
          They should also be checking the knives and gorrila tape for fingerprints.
          They should also be able to make a best guess, if he needed to have the knives strapped to his arms/hands by a third party helper.

          • AKAaka

            I thought I saw the gaffer tape on his chest, didn’t realise the knives were taped to his hands! There are indeed witnesses that appear to confirm this. Very fishy. Wonder what would happen if you taped some crap to some guy’s chest, knives to his hands, then chuck him out a van in London and start screaming he’s a terrorist while kicking the crap out of him.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ bj December 4, 2019 at 23:35
          Or even of blatant lies, like Jean Charles da Silva e de Menezes, who was first described as having ‘wires coming out of his jacket’ to excuse his summary execution whilst being restrained by other policemen. He was, of course, totally innocent.

          • Deb O'Nair

            An interesting contradiction of the police response in the de Menezes execution and the killing of Usman is that the police justified the 7 bullets in de Menezes’ head by saying that they had to make sure he couldn’t activate his non-existent bomb whereas they only shot Usman once in the head.

          • Tony

            He was also described as having jumped over the barrier or something. Video footage later showed that he stopped to pick up a free newspaper!

            Ken Livingstone sought to defend the police action over this.

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘I presume that the victim’s “fake suicide vest” was sufficient to justify giving him the proverbial “seven in the noggin”’.

        The state murder of Jean Charles de Menezes – as I pointed out at the time – established a broad precedent that armed employees of the state may kill anyone they like, any time and place, if they can persuade the authorities that they “felt threatened”.

    • J

      You’re not alone.

      I’m guessing that by the time five or six people had Khan pinned to the ground, sitting on his arms, even if it was real vest a traffic warden could have stepped in and performed an arrest. But then again it’s much easier to cuff someone when you don’t have a sub machine gun in both hands. Revolutionary I know, but what about having firearms officers always accompanied by another unarmed officer, whose job it is to hold the cuffs for whenever shoot to kill isn’t possible? Anyway, criticism of the police not intended, no doubt they were following their orders and well within their operational parameters.

      To see where we’re driving with this, there exist too many video’s of American police executing American citizens as if it were a competitive sport. Police who often turn out to have been corrupt, often on steroids, sometimes trained by military contractors and mercenaries, sometimes trained by Israeli ex-military, equipped with military surplus weapons, gear and vehicles, empowered by military levels of unaccountability, pumped up, pissed off and in no mood to make an arrest. And there are also those, gratefully fewer in number, for whom it isn’t frustration, or rage or boredom, they simply want to kill someone. A badge and a gun are merely means and opportunity. https://reason.com/2019/07/11/this-cop-is-getting-2500-a-month-because-killing-an-unarmed-man-in-a-hotel-hallway-gave-him-ptsd/

      A friend of mine in the software industry saw a woman shot dead under a hail of bullets in California. She’d parked in a car park next to his work then had a lot to drink and fallen asleep. A passer by looking in had spotted a gun, visible somewhere near her in the car and called the police. It was decided too risky to wake her or just to wait, so according to my friend the police emptied their guns into her car while she slept as he and his colleagues watched in horror from the windows of their office.

      I suppose all of this over kill is required to enforce a financial and market system almost as injurious to society as it is generous to the 0.1%. And it must remain so to keep Americans accepting of warrant-less surveillance, imprisonment without charge, unfair employment conditions, 40+ million without any health care, regular resource wars, environmental rape, lead in the water and massive bailouts for the banks. This at a time when hundreds of thousands if not millions of working people are thrown out of their own homes. I’ve read that 800,00 Americans declare bankruptcy every year due to cost of medical care alone.

      Surely every American knows, at any moment should their circumstances be otherwise, it could be them living in virtual shanty towns of the homeless, stretching for miles. It might just as easily be their front door kicked in on the news report early one morning, a swat team piling through. That is more or less what happened to journalist Max Blumenthal a few weeks ago.

      As Craig points toward above, much more of this will be increasingly necessary here, to enforce the kind of unpopular policies the Tories have already indicated they will impose, should they win the election. (And if they do, it will happen in the absence of any functioning ‘fourth estate.’) Although it certainly didn’t begin with Blair, the creeping normalisation of such violence under him will continue accelerate ever harder under the Tories. I remember almost with nostalgia how often I was called a conspiracy theorist back during the Blair years for saying things or warning of things now accepted as facts. And though it all gets worse, nothing else has changed except perhaps the possibility of striking out in a radically different direction with Jeremy Corbyn. He’s certainly got my vote, irrespective of the rump of Blairites.

      But yes, let’s first recognise that none of this is necessary. Let’s keep calling out the bullshit whenever we can. And let us not ever accept summary execution as a necessary cost of doing imperialism. Rant over.

      • Spencer Eagle

        The armed officers you see on foot patrol, at airports and railway stations are always shadowed by armed officers in plain clothes. You see two but there’s always four. It’s to counter the prospect of uniformed officers being overpowered or attacked from behind and their firearms taken. Britain’s biggest and most dangerous street gang constantly rehearses scenarios that will absolve them of blame. I’d bet a penny to a pound that Khan had no ‘suicide vest’, fake or otherwise, just like Jean Charles De Menezes didn’t – right up up until the public enquiry the police and media spun the lie that Menezes did. Khan wasn’t shot because he needed to be, pinned to the ground by several people, he was shot because the police training culture meant that he could.

    • Giyane

      Rosemary McKenzie

      I agree. It was pretty disgusting to see the political bitches on heat rolling in the state violence. Especially after seeing the political bitch on heat Justice Baraister rolling on the injustice she noted out to julian Assange.

      My use of this metaphor I refer to the bloodlust of the Zionists against Islam and anyone who defends it. I would just like to point out that zionism is not supposed to be the allegiance of the British state. And the offence of antisemitism is a purely of a purely rhetorical diversion from this Tory government’s hatred of Islam..

      The Tories bring visciousness and attack into the political discourse.
      Victim playing . One of the most nauseous and untruthful diseases of the Zionists.

  • demoan

    Interesting read.

    Encapsulated by a tweet from Mr Trump during the NATO celebrations;

    ”Great progress has been made by NATO over the last three years. Countries other than the U.S. have agreed to pay 130 Billion Dollars more per year, and by 2024, that number will be 400 Billion Dollars. NATO will be richer and stronger than ever before….”

    ‘Richer’. A cutaway to a mob movie where the gangsters tour the neighbourhood picking up extorted protection money from the community wouldn’t be out of place here. 130 to 400 Billion more year on year is a lot of schools, no? Damn you Mr Putin…..

    • Ralph

      Absolutely pathetic by trump. Would be interesting if the majority of that money is spent on OTHER THAN yank weapons. Then he can have a proper hissy fit (with the yank mic too).
      Also, it’s NOT that other countries should RAISE their military spending to the warmongering usa’s, but that the usa should REDUCE its spending to the average say, of the others.
      Much better then, if he had bragged that he was responsible – rather than irresponsible – for REDUCING the figure by $400 bn.

  • N_

    Who put out the video from Buckingham Palace that made the Trump baby have a tantrum?
    I am going to p*ss myself laughing if, after 95 years, a pro-Remain faction in MI6 publishes an anti-Zinoviev letter in the week that remains before the election and wins it for Labour. I’m not saying that will happen, but what if it does?

    • Ken Kenn

      Maybe the irony might be that the letter refers to Johnson not Corbyn?

      Mayebe some one will have the balls or if a woman the ovaries to publish The Russia Report?

      Bottler Johnson hasn’t.

      The gimlet and shifty eyed Get Brexit Doner has sat on a lot of revelations.

      The MSM do not ask the question why?

      No-one is surprised and the boss of BBC News calls criticism a ” Conspiracy Theory”

      ‘Twas ever thus.

    • Hatuey

      Your analysis is dire, N. Trump is finished and releasing that video makes no difference.

      Boris has been protected all along by the BBC and establishment generally, they’re not going to compromise him now with a week to go.

      That all said, it was a good day for Corbyn. He wasn’t tarnished by being seen with Trump.

      • N_

        MI5 must know who made the video, because it was taken by a person in the room. I doubt many foreign leaders would want to screw their chances of getting another invite to Buckingham Palace…and it wouldn’t be a servant… so I’m guessing it was done from within British spookery…

          • S

            This is not just an accidental clip, they have obviously done some processing on the sound.
            As John Crace in the Guardian points out, it’s very convenient that everyone is now talking about this and not Trump’s endorsement of Boris or NHS sales.

          • Laguerre

            The video is not attributed to CBC but to “media cameras”. I.e. CBC is the publisher, not the taker. They would have claimed the credit, had it been them.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      A welcome development but one entirely swamped by the hounding out of members under the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. I’ve voted SNP for 30 odd years but this time I’m left without an acceptable port to find shelter. Spoilt ballot next week me thinks?
      Reference Irish history, leaders and movements will come and go. O’Connell, Davit, Parnell, etc. were all in some respect flawed. The SNP is clearly not the vehicle that will deliver independence. Time for a new start. A hard headed “populist” movement entirely devoid of toxic, identity politics.

      • Republicofscotland

        Vivian.

        Like many who are not keen on the SNP of late they are holding their noses and voting SNP for the greater cause of independence.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Now is precisely the time to send the message. If not now, when? You’re just advocating postponing the inevitable. The vehicle will not deliver and can’t be fixed. A political party founded to deliver independence, supporting a colonialist state! FFS!
          I think I’ll write in “oppose Zionist colonialism” on my ballot.

          • Republicofscotland

            So if Sturgeon does manage to organise a indyref next year you’ll not vote yes because certain individuals within the party are odious?

            Remember the Yes movement isn’t just the SNP they’re just the tip of the spear.

          • fonso

            Why, would voting in this indyref be restricted to SNP supporters? That would certainly get you the result you want!

        • Republicofscotland

          Yeah Tony you go ahead and spoil your own, I’m hoping Vivian doesnt spoil his/hers though.

          A vote for Labour, the Tories or the LibDems in Scotland is a vote for decades more of austerity among other terrible things.

          • Tony

            I never said that that was what I was planning to do. I merely said that a spoilt ballot paper is better than abstention!

  • alexey

    I think its worth making the distinction between the state having a “monopoly of violence” to the state having a “monopoly on the use of legitimate violence”. Clearly the state doesn’t have a straightforward monopoly on violence as its deployed in practice by lots of non state actors and in most instances of which its not legitimate and criminal. Beating one’s partner, terrorism etc can all be punished as crimes (and thus bring down the retribution of legitimate violence). In fact there’s often some considered legal opinions on what is legitimate and illegitimate violence. Self defence is OK, breaking a would-be burglars legs in advance is not. So when the state commits violence it has to do under at least the pretence of law. I.e. its using violence to compel the tax evader to pay his taxes or the criminal as punishment for a crime. In theory, these seems a reasonable protection against transgressors, and I think the real problems start when the state uses its powers *illegitimately*, most often in . I.e. banging up Julian Assange *on remand* in Belmarsh and ignoring his erstwhile rights while also ignoring that the “crime” is otherwise called “publishing the truth”. (Using private security to do the state’s violence on its behalf as John Pilger notes is of itself quite a step making the perpetrators in the first instance subject to a private company rather than the state and putting one or more step of removal between both legitimate violence and illegitimate violence and state and non-state). As the state is seized more by the very rich and protections are dismantled and the laws are applied unequally, its when the “monopoly on legitimate violence” transforms into tantamount illegitimate violence perpetrated by robber barons who seize what power the state remains with to conduct both violence and law.

    A discussion of structural violence here would illuminate yet more what happens when state violence is outsourced to private hands and used illegitimately by criminals at the top. Stripping resources from the poor to buy off the bankers is a case that this http://www.cradle2grave.co.uk/roll-call roll call illustrates both very succinctly and very sadly.

    • J

      Structural violence is a good term. Also have a look at Slavoj Zizek’s concept of subjective and objective violence with which it is possible to discriminate more acutely between systems and violence.

      The intellectual dishonesty of right wing polemicists comparing Corbyn with the soviet system is clear, right now their preferred government is actually starving (working, worrying and freezing) vulnerable UK citizens to death, when they aren’t killing themselves in despair.

      • N_

        Nobody serious takes Zizek seriously.
        Genuine critique comes from proletarian experience. What do you expect “intellectuals” in an exploitative society to be other than dishonest?
        Did you notice how you refer to the monarchy when you talk about people from Britain?

    • SA

      ironically Assange is being punished exactly for having exposed the illegal and cold blooded murder by US forces Of civilians and journalists. That was his greatest crime.

  • Republicofscotland

    After the Scottish Labour branch office leaders performance on the leaders debate, saw Richard Leonard a life long member of CND say that he backs the £200+ billion pounds renewal of Trident, CND have now distanced themselves from him.

    Meanwhile the Tory branch manager in Scotland Jackson Carlaw, who opposed Brexit has now conformed to his London master Boris Johnsons orders, and switched to Brexit which is now a good thing.

    I’ve laughed more at the absurdity of their positions than Trudeau and Macron did over Trump and his lengthy press conference.

  • SA

    The moneychangers are now convinced of a tory win that the pound is at its highest for a long time against the Euro and dollar.
    Wright, lets all go home then and not bother to vote.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Why was Usman Khan allowed to serve even a lesser sentence than other terrorists of seven years when Judge Alan Wilkie, who retired in 2017, said in sentencing him in 2012 that he was a particularly dangerous jihadist who had long-term plans?

      Did he buy off the counterterrorists?

      • michael norton

        Trow,
        it does seem exceptionally fishy, that almost all the “Christmas terror attack” terrorists have been released early?
        https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cardiff-terror-plot-london-bridge-17346685
        “In the plot for which he was first jailed, Usman Khan and eight other jihadists planned to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a 2010 plot drawn up by al-Qaeda.”

        Of course Boris was not Prime Minister then but was Mayor of London.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          The threat level should have been raised to critical during the campaign, Johnson should have reduced his public appearances to a minimum and the security forces should have been protecting him to a maximum, and following Khan like hawks.

          As it was, a free-for-all occurred in which many more innocents could have easily been killed.

          Some counterterrorism!

          • Pyewacket

            I heard on TV, that there were all sorts of restrictions on Khan and his movements, and that he had visited London before, but was accompanied by an MI5 handler. However, last week he was allowed to travel unaccompanied. With, we are led to believe, a couple of knives, some gaffer tape, and some sort of vest, suicide or otherwise. Surely he would know, that any search of him or his belongings, on route, or when entering the venue, would mean the game was up, and he’d be back in Belmarsh in a blink.

    • SA

      Also surprisingly how did he smuggle two kitchen knives into the building hosting a conference on offenders rehabilitation with convicted terrorists released under license?

      • Pyewacket

        Another question that I think is valid, is how do you gaffer tape knives to both hands ? Doing the first one, ok, easy enough, but the second one presents problems, unless you’ve got help. It’s going to present some difficulty. However, not nearly as difficult as climbing into a sports bag, in a bath, and zipping it shut.

          • michael norton

            The knives are taped to your hands and arms for several reasons, number one, once you are strapped into your terrorist kit and you appear in public, there is no going back, you know it will end in your death, so having an accomplice strap you into your suicide vest and strapping your knives on, is confirmation bias, “I am a terrorist and I am doing this until I am dead”
            The knives are taped to your hands and arms to help prevent ant martial arts experts kicking the knives away from your hands. The knives are also taped to your hands/arms to reduce the effects of being slashed by someones elses knives.
            This is like going back to the Norse “Beserker”

          • SA

            Michael
            Thanks for the mini tutorial. It implies that for this to happen you need an accomplice at the venue. It would be hard to explain going to a conference with knives sticking out of your pocket. As far as I am aware it has not been suggested that there was an accomplice and that he was a lone terrorist.

    • SA

      I wouldn’t believe everything desperate marginal parties say. In the leaders debates the Plaid leader spent more time slagging labour than Johnson and not being clear as to how labour’s policies in Wales may in large parts be due to central Westminster constraints.
      In this blog, many nationalists seem also to attack Corbyn more than Johnson. Nationalism does sometimes cloud the issues.

      • Republicofscotland

        Labours record in Wales is appalling, is it any wonder then that Wales has seen a rise in the call for Welsh independence led by Plaid Cymru.

        I’ve no time for Johnson or Corbyn, though Corbyn would be the lesser of two evils for the people of the rUK.

  • michael norton

    French Police have fired tear gas at protesters in Nantes participating in a nationwide strike, according to local media. The unrest could signal dark days ahead for Emmanuel Macron’s Pro-Austerity Regime.
    Videos purportedly taken at the scene show demonstrators fleeing as large tear gas clouds obstruct the marchers’ path.
    In one clip, shots can be heard coming from the police.
    https://www.rt.com/news/475099-nantes-tear-gas-protests-france/
    Yes it’s not just the United Kingdom where State Violence can happen.

    • Laguerre

      Yeah, according to the TV, there were Black Blocs out to create violence insmall numbers. It’s not usual at trade union demos, more common with the gilets jaunes. I still don’t know who’s paying them.

    • David

      LBC.co.uk’s Eddie Mair had a great wheeze to (accidentally) attack labour on his radio show this evening around 4pm.
      He led his show with a five minute diatribe against Jeremy Corbyn, “marxist” “danger to democracy” “anti-seemite” etc voiced by a trojan tory MEP who has just “resigned” from the BREXIT party in his resignation speech.
      Of course, in the interests of Ofcom’s rules on balanced debates and due impartiality in this election period, Nigel Farage was invited to respond to this forceful and bitter verbal attack against Jeremy. I’ve no idea if Farange did this as I switched off the channel and listened to soothing SCALA Radio instead, as I will not be voting. I feel it is still worth recording these non-violent incidents.

  • Edward

    British prisons have been worse. Oscar Wilde wrote a bleak account of his experience in a British prison and it was grim.

    I think it is rich, but about what you can expect, when Washington lectures China to restrain the police against protestors. From what I can tell, the Hong Kong police are less violent then the U.S. police. In the U.S. we have “Free Speech Zones”, including at the political conventions, as described here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone

    If you want to see political repression, look at how political protestors have been treated at U.S. political conventions.

    • Mosaic

      To the best of my recollection, the first use of a “free speech zone” to corral protesters was the Dem National Convention in Boston in 2004.
      Which is rich, since Boston is supposed to be the Cradle of Liberty.

      It was at this convention that Barack Obama was “revealed” to the general public. The fight over who would actually deliver the Keynote Speech at the convention had been bruising. But the Obama faction won the prize for their boy.

      Just a historical FN on “free speech zones.”

      • lysias

        If you will look at the Wikipedia page on free speech zones, you will see that there were several uses of free speech zones at George W. Bush events before the 2004 Democratic convention.

      • Edward

        I think a “free speech zone” (as opposed to a “police state zone”?) was used at a Democratic convention in South Carolina back in the 1990’s. These zones speak volumes about what our politicians really think about democracy and the constitution. If you can’t have free speech at a national political convention, when can you have it and what difference does it make? Most Americans are probably unaware of these Constitutional atrocities because the corporate press never reports on them or the repression at the political conventions against leftist protestors. I only learned about these zones from Democracy Now.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘…Self-declared interim president Jeanine Anez signed a law that cancels the October 20 presidential election and scheduled a new one for early next year with a new electoral authority. Also, social movements opposed to the November 10 coup against President Evo Morales, came to an agreement with the government to stop the street blockades. So far, about 33 anti-coup government protesters have been killed and hundreds wounded in Bolivia since the coup took place. Most of these deaths and injuries happened after president Anez signed a decree that gives immunity to the military for its actions while engaged in crowd control.
    Meanwhile, former President Evo Morales said from his exile in Mexico that he’s fine with not running for president again in the next election if this helps to pacify the situation in Bolivia. The new interior minister of the coup government, however, has said that Morales should be sent to prison on charges of terrorism…’
    Increasingly, I believe at US instruction, removed political leaders are being imprisoned, or threatened with imprisonment (Brazil, Ecuador, now Bolivia).
    Re immunity, note: ‘…Most of these deaths and injuries happened after (illegal) ‘president’ Anez signed a decree that gives immunity to the military for its actions while engaged in crowd control….’.
    I believe it also gave immunity to the police. Neither of these performed their legal duties to protect voters, voting facilities and MP’s, and their properties. Six of the main military involved who were instrumental in the US coup were trained in the US School of the Americas, and a number of the police in a similar US police training school.

    • Loony

      All sounds quite logical, except…

      Lots of people in Mexico seem interested in leaving Mexico for entry into the US. Many people arriving from Mexico claim asylum in the US on various grounds, including regular citations of the endemic violence of Mexico.

      Presumably there is some reason why Morales has sought asylum in Mexico and not the US? – although your comment provides no indication as to what that reason may be.

    • David

      a quote from another truth reporter
      I was always very much an agent of government long before I worked for them because I believed everything that I heard and everything that I read from official sources, because to me it seemed that they had no reason to lie to us. But through my time in government, as I moved to more and more senior positions and worked more closely with each of the systems, I began to see more evidence that the private truths of what government was actually doing, these things were very different than the publicly presented versions of it.

      from https://truthout.org/video/edward-snowden-in-the-us-i-would-likely-die-in-prison-for-telling-the-truth/

    • Robyn

      Thanks for that YT link. Ray McGovern said Bill Binney has also received a subpoena. Let’s hope they don’t end up in cells next to Chelsea Manning and $1000/day fines to pay if they ever get out.

    • bj

      I cannot thank you enough for that link!

      Today, trying to find it again, when I search Youtube for ‘Ray McGovern’ or ‘McGovern Assange’, this link does NOT turn up.
      So thanks again.

      It’s an extremely important development.

  • John Goss

    My concerns for the abominable State persecution of Julian Assange and his deteriorated health is of absolute concern. For God’s sake make sure you get the Tories out and Labour in. That is the best chance anyone has for social justice – not just for Assange but for all of us.

    I share Rosemary MacKenzie’s concerns regarding Usman Khan’s summary and extra-judicial execution by special members of our security forces. Only by reading the comments below did I have any inkling that knives were taped to his each of his hands. The first thing that occurs to me is how difficult it must be if someone has taped a knife to each hand to get these tapes off. The second thing that occurs to me is what a good piece of proof of his culpability with the camera shots of him with a weapon or weapons he cannot conceal. Who taped them to his hands?

    I am not excusing what he did, or rather what he has alleged to have done. And but for learning about the tape I may not have mentioned the curious story that very briefly circulated in Poland about the hero, Lukasz Koczocik, being a murderer. The story quickly vanished and could have vanished because it was nonsense. Still it was strange, Did anyone else pick up on this?

      • Orford

        I think that there was some initial muddling of reports- it later became clear that the convicted murderer was among the attendees at the event.
        I find it disturbing that there appears to be no surprise at all in the msm that “our” security services were apparently either unaware or unconcerned that a monitiored convicted terror offender was in Central London. Adjacent to London Bridge, during an election campaign.

      • Macky

        No, it’s mentioned;

        “‘I saw that he had two kitchen knives with blades about 8-inches long. One in each hand. One of the knives appeared to be attached to his hand by duct tape. ”

        It does make you wonder, as it was very convenient that he was wearing a suicide jacket..

          • Doghouse

            Here’s the thing with that Metro article and the witness who is described as a ‘tour firm manager’ who you will note is wearing a greenish coat.

            The night of this incident I listened online to a witness who recalled the incident and described himself as a ‘tour guide’ and mentioned he was wearing a green coat. Thing is – and I have for whatever reason experience in dealing with ‘witnesses’, this man recounted at length the entire incident from start to finish without pause for breath and frankly didn’t appear to miss a thing. I commented to my wife who had brought up the link and played it for me ‘is that guy for real?’ He was manna from heaven in witness terms with brilliant recall. Not implying he wasn’t for real simply that his recall was extremely unusual and calm which caused me to raise the question. What I found equally interesting was that there was no ‘adrenaline’, he should have been pumped to bursting for hours, neither was there any mention at all of him being appalled at a person being shot dead under his nose.
            I would have been both pumped and appalled and frankly, stunned. Most people would wouldn’t they? You would be able to hear the impact of the experience in the retelling wouldn’t you? The online witness – and I don’t know it is the same person but sounds it could well be definitely did not appear that way, not even flustered, he was calm and very, very observant.

            He also at that stage made no mention of trying to stamp on the man’s hand/s, what he said was that he tried to kick him in the head. I also do not remember him at all saying that he had weapons taped to his hands. His delivery as a witness was however singular, interesting and memorable and he didn’t even forget to tell us what a wonderful job the police had done. I would have expected him to be flying like a kite, I really would. He is to be commended, it was a lengthy and uninterupted monologue…..

            …….which (if the same witness) appeared to have forgotten the hand stamping and taped weapons but not the head kicking……

    • Doghouse

      Knives taped to his hands? Where exactly did you hear that John, and if its not verifiable should it be repeated as fact?

      I would say the only source that could be considered reliable – and even then with caution – is if that was stated by a senior police officer in an official press conference. Even if it was printed in the mainstream it should be regarded with utmost scepticism until verified as above and that rarely happens. During the Skripal and other incidents people were often quoting as fact – as though stated by police when it wasn’t, rubbish printed in the sounding board media. This drivelsome mainstream tripe is often preceded by some ‘unidentified police source’ which transforms itself into a repeatable fact in the mind of the duped – as will your statement above. So with respect, where exactly did you hear that? If it was in a police conference which I missed then I apologise in advance. It’s an important point no?

      • John Goss

        It is hard to verify. There is the witness. But images, at least those I’ve seen, have his hands obscured and the only footage was brief with one of his hands holding a long knife almost vertically down. That is too blurred to distinguish whether it is taped to his hand but from the odd angle it always seemed to be at I suspect that perhaps it was taped. I am sure there is some good footage and photographs from surveillance cameras and the general public. The authorities have asked members of the public to let them know if they have any photographs or video footage. They asked the same on 11th September 2003 but we have no idea if any of it got back into the public domain. Perhaps it is of no concern of ours.

    • michael norton

      Emmanuel Macron is now facing the start of a long movement against pension reform and austerity
      that brings together hospital workers, teachers, students and even the staff at the Eiffel Tower.
      https://www.france24.com/en/20191205-only-the-beginning-day-one-of-masive-strikes-against-macron-pension-reform

      The Yellow Vest demonstrations have gone on for twelve months and are contunuing in parrallel with these new demonstrations.
      This time it is public sector going off the rails.
      France has more than a million more public sector employees than does the United Kingdom.

      • Loony

        Not only people like this exist, but entire economic systems have incorporated this concept. Take a look at minimum wage calculations in Hong Kong and how they are adjusted lower for people with disabilities.

        I don’t see you complaining about Hong Kong – so naturally there will be a non racist explanation for your interest in disabled people in the UK and your disinterest in disabled people in Hong Kong.

        I know Hong Kong is a far away land but after all the entire economy is underpinned by British “values” – which appears to be one value for you and an entirely different (adjusted lower) value for everyone else.

    • Laguerre

      It’s not state violence. It’s state reaction to violence coming from the demonstrators. Or is it that for you demonstrators are always innocent of responsibility? The model of what’s happening in France is the same as everywhere at the moment, small numbers of violent types inserted into a generally pacific mass of demonstrators. Nobody knows where they come from, but the aim is to provoke a violent response from the forces of order.

      The basic demand in France, to stop reform of the pension system is perfectly understandable, even if it’s not going to work. The rail workers, for example, have grossly privileged conditions, which they’re trying to protect. To quote: “En pratique, les salariés de la SNCF partent à la retraite entre 55 et 57 ans, et ceux de la RATP (Paris métro) de 55 à 56 ans.” People in the private sector have much more reasonable worries, and I sympathise with them. But somebody, like in the case of the gilets jaunes, is putting in small numbers of violent militants to stir things up, and no-one knows who it is.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Laguerre December 6, 2019 at 10:56
        ‘…But somebody, like in the case of the gilets jaunes, is putting in small numbers of violent militants to stir things up, and no-one knows who it is…’
        No one normally knows what sniper shot them, either.
        But no one knows? Work it out to the best of your ability – Cui bono?
        A police inspector was recognised outside Downing Street trying to encourage demonstrators to dismantle barriers. When challenged, he claimed he wasn’t police, and that the police wouldn’t employ someone like him, but he scarpered. Agent provocateurs, simple.
        There is also the less likely possibility that the peaceful demos are used as a cover for violent people to do their thing, but I believe it is far more likely State provocation.

  • N_

    The Labour team around Jeremy Corbyn is outplaying the Tory-BBC team around Laura Kuenssberg 🙂 Labour release a document about Northern Ireland…and Kuenssberg is whingeing that its contents aren’t that surprising or secret. Haha! It’s quite funny to see the Tories outplayed in psychological warfare.

    And there’s more to come, Laura.

  • michael norton

    I think it is less likely that Usman Khan was wearing a Suicide Vest or a Fake Suicide Vest
    but more likely he was wearing a stab proof vest.
    https://www.thesafetysupplycompany.co.uk/p/9055737/covert-home-office-certified-stab-vest—5mm—stab-and-blunt-trauma–needle-protection—black—ve-bav-uc-kr1sp1-bl.html?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=UK%20-%20Shopping&utm_term=4581115203137904&utm_content=All%20Products
    It would be difficult to go on a stabbing spree, wearing a suicide vest, they are bulky and heavy.

  • mike

    State broadcaster today bury Andrew Neil take-down of Bozo, then move tonight’s debate from marginal Southampton to safe Tory Maidstone, which is also a strong Leave seat. Cue packed Tory audience, just like QT.

    Apparently, Jeremy Corbyn will only be allowed to answer questions using semaphore.

    • Dungroanin

      While Agent bobozero will no doubt have his secret earphone plugged in as usual – spaffing DonCummings directly into his brain through it!

      (Sorry there is no time left to be delicate)

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