Tag Archives: police

Jean Charles de Menezes

target_small1You can read the verdict and see the press conference by the family campaign on the website at the end of this press release:

Press statement from the family:
Friday, 12 December 2008

Press statement by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the campaign and their lawyers Birnberg Peirce following the jury’s verdict

“Today is a very important day for our family and campaign for justice. We have spoken to Jean’s family in Brazil and they like us feel vindicated by the jury’s verdict. The jury’s verdict is a damning indictment of the multiple failures of the police and the lies they told. It is clear from the verdict today that the jury could have gone further had they not been gagged by the Coroner. We maintain that Jean Charles de Menezes was unlawfully killed” – Patricia Armani Da Silva, cousin of Jean Charles on behalf of all of the family.

The family’s legal team argued that evidence heard by the jury provided sufficient grounds for the jury to return unlawful killing (murder) in respect of the two police shooters, C12 and C2 as well unlawful killing (gross negligence manslaughter) in respect of the actions of three of the command team. We also submitted that, in accordance with Article 2 (ECHR) the jury should be permitted to return a meaningful narrative verdict that could identify all the police failings that caused or contributed to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

The five legal teams representing supposedly separate interests of the police combined ranks to oppose our submissions, maintain that the evidence only supported a lawful killing or open verdict. The coroner ruled in favour of the police. As a consequence the family sought to challenge the decision, lodging an urgent application at the High Court. Mr Justice Silber considered the challenge in relation to the narrative verdict only but ruled that the coroner had a wide discretion and he would not interfere with his ruling.

The family considered that the coroner had effectively gagged the jury. Any verdict returned by them would have at best limited meaning and would not have the effect of holding the police accountable for any failings. At that stage, having exhausted all legal avenues, the family instructed their legal team to cease participating in the inquest proceedings.

We have lodged grounds to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Silber and our judicial review challenge of the coroner’s decision in respect of unlawful killing remains to be considered.

To date, not one police officer involved has been held personally accountable for failings that led to the death of Jean Charles. In fact the two most senior officers in the command team have been promoted. The law as it stands, effectively provides legal immunity for police officers who shoot innocent people in the cause of protecting the public.

This case raises questions of critical constitutional importance. Should our armed police service be protected from meaningful criticism (let alone criminal sanction) or are the public entitled to go about their day to day business free from the fear that they could be shot dead without warning if mistaken for a suspected terrorist?

For further information and background information visit: inquest.justice4jean.org

Free Lex Wotton – Australian Injustice (International Actions)

Free Lex Wotton: Aboriginal Political Prisoner
International Day of Solidarity
London Rally
12 noon Thursday November 6th
Australia House, Strand, WC2B 4LA

On October 24th an all white jury found Lex Wotton, an Aboriginal man from Palm Island, guilty of ‘rioting with destruction’ for his involvement in the 2004 Palm Island uprising. On November 26th 2004 the people of Palm Island set fire to the local police station, court house and police barracks after a pathologist’s report claimed that the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36 year Aboriginal man in police custody a week earlier was an ‘accident’. Mulrunji died in a police cell, one hour after he had been arrested for being drunk. He suffered massive internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, four broken ribs and a ‘liver that had been ‘almost cleaved in two’ from a huge compressive force.’ Following Mulrunji’s killing, Queensland’s then Premier, Peter Beattie declared a state of emergency. Balaclava clad Paramilitary style police, armed with semi automatic weapons, roamed the streets arbitrarily arresting Aboriginal people. Police unnecessarily tasered several people, including Lex Wotton. Houses were stormed and children were forced facedown onto the ground with guns pointed at their heads.
The officer who arrested Mulrunji, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, claimed that Mulrunji had fallen on stairs. A coroner’s inquest found that Hurley was responsible for Mulrunji’s death, as the injuries were consistent with a fierce beating. However, Hurley was found not guilty for manslaughter (by an all white jury) and has since been promoted to the position of police inspector on Australia’s Gold Coast.
In comparison Lex Wotton is now facing a possible life sentence in prison. He is being held in custody until his next court appearance in the Townsville District Court on November 7. Aboriginal Australians are still over 10 times more likely than non-Aboroginal Australians to spend time in prison, and are significantly more likely to die in prison than non-Aboriginal prisoners.  The over-policing and criminalisation of Aboriginal Australians is a clear continuation of the colonial policies that have been violently enforced on them since the white invasion.
Following Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s apology for past injustices to Aborigines earlier this year many people in Australia and around the World assume indigenous Australians are no longer treated as second class citizens. The continuing unjust imprisonment and persecution of Lex Wotton shows that Aboriginal Australians are still treated with racist contempt.

November 6th is a global day of action to free Lex Wotton. Lex’s friends and family are calling out for people around the world to picket Australian High Commissions and Consulates. Please send any details of demonstrations, solidarity messages and pictures of protest action to freelexwotton@gmail.com. They will all be passed on to Lex inside of prison.

Stand up in solidarity with the people of Palm Island against racism and police brutality!

Police Detention facilities in Southwark, Walworth Rd and Peckham

Our good friends at the Institute of Race Relations provided a link to this report recently released by the HM Inspectorate on Police Detention facilities in Southwark, Walworth Rd and Peckham. It condemns the condition of the holding cells (used for detaining a range of people on suspicion of offences or immigration irregularities, with Southwark almost wholly dedicated to immigration detainees) . The conditions as reported are disgusting. Yet the report reads bizarrely, mixing stunningly bland statements with atrocities – but overall the character of these human sinkholes cannot be hidden. Even the selected quotations from the survey at the end would suggest to anyone who has read Michael Otterman’s expose American Torture (Pluto Press) that there is also an English war crimes indictment to be written. The full report is available here.

There is lots of horrific stuff on conditions and procedures to read, but below I have excerpted only the quotes. The last one I guess is the (state of) exceptional good news!

Report on an inspection visit to police custody suites in Southwark Basic Command Unit
21 – 22 April 2008
by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

Q38 Do you have any other comments about your time in police custody?
Example comments included:
“They called my solicitor to come, but got told to wait a few hours.” (Unknown)
“[I had to wait for a solicitor] god knows how long, over a day.” (Peckham)
“The police were intimidating and not professional and lacked any skills when dealing with
human beings.” (Walworth Road)
“Asked for clean clothes which were brought in, but not given. I had the same clothes on for
almost 48 hours.” (Walworth Road)
“There have been other times when ‘Lights were left on’. The officer in charge seemed to have
a personal conflict against me, saying he would get me ’25 Rothams’ then not and getting me to
sign a notebook with ‘No comment’ on it.” (Walworth Road)
“…the officer made a point of telling me how badly he wanted to keep me in the station and not
give me bail.” (Walworth Road)
“The pillow and blanket smelt of piss.” (Walworth Road)
“…they need to raise their hygiene standards.” (Peckham)
“I was surprised that everything was to the book, I’m used to getting a bashing.” (Walworth
Road)

Metropolitan Police, “Working Together for A Safer London” Performance Information Bureau: Borough Breakdown of Stop and Search under the Terrorism Act in March 2008, released 17/7/08

The Full Report Here, lets you compare Copper’s view of ethnicity with Victim’s declared ethnicity. I include this text with a nod to the Lewisham bus dragnet around the same time, as mentioned previously here.

Justice for Jean Charles

Greetings from London . It is sunny, and no doubt life is good, but today is the anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes – the Brazilian man killed by Police with a Dum Dum bullet to the head – 9 bullets – on the tube at Stockwell three years ago – killed ‘because’ he looked ‘like’ a suicide bomber and had been in a block of flats that were under surveillance… and still no cops punished for it (only a fine for ‘endangering the public’) … There will be a further inquest in September… I am trying to write on this, but the contrast between that horror of all that and Emile’s world is so vast its hard to measure the distance in words.

For a previous scrivening that should be gathered alongside those absurd t-shirt’s that warn us to “Mind the Gap”, see here.

A Metropolitan Police Authority report that came out on friday says the Police have been too slow to improve their surveillance techniques. That is pretty reassuring, huh? Another ‘Independent Police Complaints Division’ triumph – since this was their meagre recommendation ages ago. I agree with the new MPA report that the practice of officers writing up their notes together after a serious incident must end – police also write, we might note. But that this is one of the MPA’s major recommendations, according to Vikram Dodd in The Guardian (18/7/08), seems somewhat lame. This is not yet enough when those who should be held accountable have escaped – Cressida Dick, Commissioner Ian Blair, and the officers who fired on de Menezes – this sorry lot should be indited and tried forthwith before a People’s Tribunal.

Emile gurgles at the thought of that kind of justice. The world would be a better place.

I’m just waiting on a friend

So, the idea is that Trinketization will temporarily become, for the next few weeks, a multi-authored blog about Attack the Headquarters at CCS. I will reconfigure the author privileges soon, just waiting on a chance to teach the wordpress code to my co-conspirators. In the meantime, a randomized comment in the wake of the excellent, smart, but somehow wholly frustrating, Critique of Violence day we had in CCS on monday. This is not a thought through position – just an outburst of sorts. Overall, I thought it was one of our very best days. And the presentations were great.

Time, deferral and waiting were prominent themes. These are important to the Benjamin text, but I wanted to see some wider implications teased out (teased out or beaten like a drum?).

I don’t see how, if we are asking why we do things (Andrew), why we would want to wait (Howard), defer or delay. Interruption and waiting are important, in the circumstances discussed, no doubt, but how about in the context of the relentless murder-death-kill on our screens every night (Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, China, London, Oldham [and Jennifer's UN civilian casulaty figures]). here, the idea of an extended theoretical meditation on the varieties of waiting seems a might problematic. I am all for ponderous slowing down when we need to – and no doubt there are several kinds of waiting: waiting for a train, waiting for a train that is late (more frustrating), waiting for the people in the waiting room to leave because its your job to clean the waiting room (frustration and exploitation), etc etc. But really, don’t we wanna drive the train? Whooo whooo.

So alongside waiting I think we also need to develop the conceptual engagements of ‘seize the time’, ‘attack the moment’, and act (up) now.

Infantile Leftism is contagious I guess. But I noticed that on the day we were talking about Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’ essay, which mentions police power and strikes separately, the parliamentary piggy-pollies of westminster were in a debate that was heading towards new legislation on the right of the Police to strike. I assume this will not at all be a revolutionary general strike – but we should really discuss the cops. I remember somewhere Trotsky said something like ‘a worker in a uniform is just a cop’. Sometimes Leon is not all that bad.

Dragnet Goldsmiths

Another Dragnet tonight, this time directly outside Goldsmiths’ award winning Library (lovingly captured in its Lewisham Way facing facade here by my trusty SPV mobile device…)

Transcribed below are brief conversations with the Police, asking the obvious questions, before the dragnet operation ended (they were wrapping their ‘operation’ up when I came by, so there was a sense of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ – which of course I took as an invitation to linger. After all, I am an Oyster Card carrying member of the great London public, innit).

Opening:

Me: what’s all this then?
Cop A: we are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.
Me: hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this overpolicing?
Cop A: Most people around here welcome this.
Me: no, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks (corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….)

Later:

Me: why do you need so many Police to check tickets on one bus?
Cop A: This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.
Me: Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.

Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:

Cop B: why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.
Bikeboy: Its getting dark and my light is broken
… [some meaningless blather, bikeboy rides off]
Cop C to Cop B: They’ll make up anything round here.

I asked another cop who was in charge:

Me: who is the ranking officer?
Cop D: why, do you need something?
Me: I want to make a complaint?
Cop D: Why?
Me: I think this is overpolicing
Cop D: People think this is the free bus (the 436 aka the free bus).

Next to him, a female cop:

Cop E: You could talk to the sergeant.
Me: Him there?
Cop E: Yes, but he is busy now.
[time passes]
Me: He’s not that busy now?
Cope E: Just tap him on the shoulder.
Me: Surely that’s more your style than mine.

I meet the ranking officer:

Me: This is over-policing, how do I make a complaint?
Cop F: Where do you live?
Me: Why do you want to know?
Cop F: You can complain to the duty officer at your local station,
Me: Don’t you think this is overpolicing?
Cop F: Most people don’t think so.
Me: I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.
Cop F: You are entitled to disagree.
Me: Not for long it seems [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]

And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way. The University is filled with people who have a keen sense of history, but the putrid stench of 1933 was in the air.

Yup, again and again.
.

photogenic coppers in Malaysia Scandal

SUARAM reports:

“Ginie Lim Arrested, All Three Detainees Remanded for 3 DaysFollowing the arrest of Tian Chua and Jalaluddin Abdul Manap yesterday, 15 February 2008 after a submission of memorandum to the King calling for a Royal Commission on electoral system reform, another political activist Ginie Lim with the People’s Justice Party was arrested last night at the Brickfields police station during her visit to Tian Chua and Jalaluddin Abdul Manap who was under detention.

In the Brickfields police station, Ginie Lim was arrested when she took picture of the investigating officer, Inspector Hidayak who ordered several police officers using force to carry away Tian Chua who resisted to be sent into police lockup at about 10.00pm. Inspector Hidayak alleged Ginie Lim of obstructing in the duty of police officers.

Tian Chua and Jalauddin Abdul Manap were sent to lock up cells in Pantai police station while Ginie Lim was sent to lock-up cell in Travers police station, Kuala Lumpur last night.

This morning, the three detainess were brought to the Magistrate’s Court by the police for a 4-day remand application. The police argued that the remand orders for Tian Chua and Jalaluddin were needed to conduct further investigation on others who were involved in the alleged illegal assembly. As for Ginie Lim, the police alleged that taking photographs in the police compound is an offence. However, counsel Gurmit Singh that represented the three detainees argued that the remand application for Tian Chua and Jalaluddin were unjustifiable as the police had completed investigation by taking statement from the two detainees. As for the case of Ginie Lim, Gurmit Singh argued if taking photograph in police station is an offence, the police should just charge Ginie Lim and release her on bail. However, it was dissapointing that the Magistrate decided to grant the police a 3-day remand order on the three detainees. The detainees will be held until 18 February 2007.

On 18 February 2008, the police may apply for release the detainees or apply for further remand order and press charges against the detainees.

Clearly, this is an absolute abuse of powers by the police and deprived the detainees of precious personal liberty unneccesarily and unreasonably. We call on all to continue to call and write to the Brickfields police station and the Inspector General of Police to protest against the abuse of powers and demand for the immediate and unconditional release of the three detainees.”

Bus Prowlers

Another bus dragnet style check on the 436 route today – about 25 police, ticket inspectors and officious looking I presume immigration inspectorate types stopping buses and examining all passengers, paying particular attention to profile groups.

This sort of sting is another perverse pantomime terror, targeting commuters on racial grounds under cover of ticket-checks and ‘protecting’ the citizenry from the threat of terror – the suburban terror threat on the 436 from Lewisham to Paddington. Pah.

Of course they spend half their day standing around chewing the fat (see pic) but this sort of swoop happens too often without comment. And we have to do more than heckle.

No Justice for Menezes

Here is a taster (links not imported) from Lenin’s Tomb… It really is worth going to visit to follow the linkings:

“From the second Menezes was murdered, the police have pulled every means to protect themselves. They have lied about the circumstances of the shooting, they lied about who knew what and when, they lied about and smeared Menezes, they threatened a whistleblower. They sent the killers on a paid holiday, and then the CPS refused to prosecute. Now, the IPCC has produced/leaked its report, after having been altered due to legal threats from the police. …

The IPCC’s report focuses on the aftermath of the shooting, rather than the shooting itself: it is about the issue of who knew what, and when. Its conclusion gives Sir Ian Destroy The Brain Instantly Utterly Blair a free ride, insisting – quite incredibly in my view – that he was ignorant of what had really happened, despite several of his subordinates knowing exactly what happened. AC Andy Hayman is said to have lied to his boss about whether the victim was known to be among the four suspects, thus withholding information that he would certainly have to provide very soon, and that the Commissioner could certainly get from someone else in the organisation. No serious person could believe this. Hayman appears to have been behind a number of decisions, including the issue of a misleading press release on the day of the shooting, despite the fact that it had become clear before the release was issued that the dead person was Menezes and that he was not a suspect. Undoubtedly there was attempted deceit from top to bottom, but this inquiry has presumably done what it was supposed to: handed the public and the Menezes family a single head, for one part of the crime.

No criminal charges have been brought, there has been no public inquiry, and there is to be no change of policy. And this is important: the whole point behind the police’s outrageous conduct during this affair has been not only to defend the institution, but also to ensure that the policy is not questioned. Every bit of quackery from Ian Blair, every obnoxious intervention from ‘experts’ like Peter Powers, every diversion and red herring, has been pushed with the specific intention of maintaining the police’s range of extraordinary powers. And of course, only months after the shooting, the police were permitted to use shoot-to-kill in domestic and stalking cases. The team that killed Menezes would strike again. And let’s not forget that another victim of police shooting has been calumnied as a terrorist who was actually shot by his own brother, and as an evil paedophile. Anyone can be shot at, slandered, lied about, beaten, tormented – anything to keep that fucking policy in place.
…”

Full post here.

More Menezes here.

Tickets Please

Diary entry: Yesterday on a bus trip through New Cross I witnessed police officers explain, in escalating tones, that the demand to know why the bus was being delayed was misplaced because officers were ‘assaulted every day by people without tickets’. This seems perverse and twisted. Travelling in a uniformed strength-in-numbers group of twenty, some of whom were armed, suggests that the excess enthusiasm of the transport police for ‘ticket inspection’ will soon again result in further deaths like that which was visited upon Brazilian tube traveller Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell in 2005. Such a repeat scenario seems especially likely where commanders readily deploy disproportionate aggression if challenged by an impatient commuter. She was young, white, articulate, and had the sense to back down when the ‘pig nation’ flunky in charge raised his voice and muscled up to her. No need to guess that any other appellant might have not got off the bus so freely. We applauded her courage, but somewhat meekly.

Context: On the 11th of May 2007, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) cleared 11 officers of any ‘wrong doing’ in the shooting of Brazilian tube passenger Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell in 2005. The IPCC left four senior officers, including shoot-to-kill Commander Cressida Dick, to await a separate report into issues of ‘health and safety’. Menezes was gunned down on Commander’s orders in the wake of the fear and paranoia the possessed the capitol after the tube bombings of July 7, 2005. An unarmed man slaughtered on his daily commute.

Let me try to address the ‘health and safety’ issues directly. Are we living in a healthy place when the police – indeed armed gangs – aggressively patrol our everyday lives (to serve and protect??). I think of the other nodes of travel which have become over-determined sites in the ‘war on terror’. Of course airports have long been strategic, and the vision of tanks lined up outside Heathrow is always not far off (they were stationed there on high alert in February 2003).

Such is the danger to the health and safety of tube travellers, and other denizens of the city, that by the middle of 2006 the ‘Kratos’ shoot-to-kill policy that targets suspected terrorists had been called upon 250 times, with close use in seven instances (and this is according to Scotland Yard Chief Ian Blair, then also under fire in relation to the bungled Forest Gate raid BBC 3 October 2006).

The ancient figure of Kratos was son of a Titan and said to be the personification of force – that itself is revealing, as an outdated old mythological name is resurrected at a meeting of the political police and MI5 in 2003 (“Panorama” 8 March 2006) to stand in for yet more unregulated police powers (M15 and Kratos are ‘secret’), to be recklessly deployed on public transport. We are the enemy. On the tube, on the buses. And not safe on bikes (see picture, then this).

What shall we do about the explosion of fear and hyperbole that turns the police and their controllers, commanders and apologists into a paranoid armed band of killers?

I do not know her name, but on the bus in New Cross yesterday we were shown the way.

More on Jean Charles de Menezes via search.

Tian Chua & others under attack in Malaysia

Tian Chua is under attack from the Malaysian Government yet again (yawn – the regularity of the Malaysian Police State’s efforts to silence Tian just confirms his name as a sign of integrity that will not disappear). We can add this to a list of ongoing dodgy dealings on the part of the Cabal that rules the penninsula – Tian was previously a high profile internee under the Internal Security Act, which I wrote about here, and is of course not alone. On this new outrage see here, but also here for another Malaysian quibble I have. What are they playing at with these draconian laws and what not? – seems like Malaysian Police are trying their darndest to be as stupid as American, British or Australian ones, but with a twist.

Urgent appeal updates: 5 February 2007

Drop Charges against Four, Declassify Toll Agreements and Repeal the OSA

Tian Chua’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) office in Brickfields had been raided by two policemen at 3.05pm today, 5 February 2007, after questioning at the Bukit Aman police headquarters this morning. Tian Chua, together with three others – Dr. Hatta Ramli, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Ronnie Liu – had earlier been summoned by the police to report to the police headquarters in Bukit Aman at 10am, 5 January 2007 for investigations after they had disclosed a toll concession agreement in early January 2007.

When asked for a warrant at Tian Chua’s Brickfields office, the police informed that none was needed to search under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). As of 3.57pm, the police had also arrived at Tian Chua’s house in Sentul.

We urge you to write and register your strongest protests to the following (see below) on these demands:

1) Drop all pending charges and state harrasment against the four politicians for revealing the toll documents.
2) Declassify all toll agreements between the government and toll concessionaires.
3) Repeal the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
4) Implement a Freedom of Information Act, and recognise the right to access information in Malaysia, especially in matters of public interest.

Please convey your concerns to:

Prime Minister’s Office
Prime Minister: Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Add: Federal Government Administration Center, Bangunan Perdana Putra, 62502 Putrajaya
Tel: 03 8888 8000; Fax: 03 8888 3444

Ministry of Works
Minister: Dato’ Seri Samy Vellu
Add: Tingkat 4, Blok B, Kompleks Kerja Raya, Jalan Sultan Salahuddin, 50580 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2711 1100; Fax: 03 2711 6564

National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam)
Chairman: Tan Sri Abu Talib
Add: Tingkat 29, Menara Tun Razak, Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2612 5600; Fax: 03 26125620
Email: admin@suhakam.org.my ; humanrights@suhakam.org.my

Inspector-General of Police
IGP: Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Add: Ibu Pejabat Polis, Bukit Aman, 50560 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2262 6015; Fax: 03 2272 5613
Email: rmp@rmp.gov.my

Attorney-General of Malaysia
Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia
Add: Level 1-8 Block C3, Parcel C, Federal Government Administrative Canter, 62512 Putrajaya
Tel: 03 8885 5000; Fax: 03 8888 9362
Email: pro@agc.gov.my

_____________________________________________________

More Information:

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA
Address: 433A, Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Telephone: +6 03 7784 3525 Fax: +6 03 7784 3526
Email: suaram@suaram.net Web: www.suaram.net

Celebrities and heroes

Homesickness is hard to sustain when things seem to lurch still further towards cultural doom. This little photogenic scenario did it for me this morning: – a post by Ange from Melbourne where the state watches a little too closely. Howard’s cops having released 28 photographs of people they want to talk to in connection with a recent protest. It makes me feel even more happy that you can see these pics on The Age news site in what looks like a flickr type slideshow format.

“January 18, 2007: In the wake of the protests against the G20 in Melbourne, and as numerous arrests continue to take place, police tonight released a series of photos, each one euphemistically labeled “person of interest.” Police are indeed perfecting their methods of surveillance and control …” [archive S0metim3s]

That bit of surveillance no doubt has more value as a curious juxtaposition with the scenario everyone is watching too closely in London – the Celebitchy Big Brother race & bullying scam. BB/C4 offer us a screen onto which to project the vicious underside of the war on terror. Amply exposed on Lenin’s tomb, from where I nicked the image, but reminding me of things said about other similar distractions from the main game. Despite my previous fascination with BB, this rich Celeb version makes me ‘homesick’ for the unadorned nastiness of the cop-photo-shoppery above. Below I include some choice excerpts from what is an (almost twice as long) excellent post from L-T:

“The whole point of Endemol’s shit-fest on Channel 4 is to force together personalities so incompatible that normal human comity would be impossible, never mind solidarity under the stress of sensory deprivation and constant surveillance. … I suppose we had better be grateful that the recipient of the abuse was not a Muslim. If she was, we’d be hearing from many quarters that Muslims are far too sensitive about legitimate criticism. “Ah, complaing about being called a ‘dog’, is she? What do these Muslims have against canines, I wonder?” Had those who burned the effigy in India been Muslim, we would no doubt be hearing about the sinister Islamic threat to free speech. Not that it matters what religion she adheres to inside the ‘house’, eh? Shilpa Shetty is variously a “dog”, a “Paki” (this bit C4 denies, saying the word was “cunt”), someone who – being from India – must be unhygeinic and eat with her hands, thus giving other housemates “the shits”, someone who both needs to “go back to the slums” and also visit them for the first time and be “real”, someone who is “trying to be white”, and someone who should “fuck off home”. … The reactions have been, er, interesting: Channel 4 greasily asserting that there has been no overt racism, titter titter (as if we didn’t know that they had assessed their candidates down to the last tic, and fully expected outbursts of racism); New Labour politicians covering their already hideously mired flanks by uttering obsequies about tolerance; David Cameron saying that anyone “who doesn’t like this racism, there’s a great regulator, its called the ‘off’ button.” The latter is a curious response, surely designed to tickle the fancy of racist Tories and those obsessed with whatever is called ‘the nanny state’ this week.” [L-T]

1 Comments:

John Hutnyk said…
Feeling a bit Jaded now? It is disappointing me a lot that all over the commentary on the Shilpa Shetty – Jade Goody Big Brother scam people are debating whether its racist or not, class or not, bullying or not [yes, all of the above, of course], but no-one seems keen to see this as a much bigger and more revealing displacement of the unspoken debate and politics we know is right there in front of us but the press and the piggy-pollies refuse to have, or are unable to have. That is the peculiar spin-cycle that makes up the contemporary system-wide racism of the global order. It amazes me that the Prime Minister has to face discussion of BB at question time in parliament, but carries on bombing, killing, destroying Afghanistan, and Iraq, regardless. And with little time for questions of anything that matters, it all gets displaced into television (and The Trial of TB was another example of the same). Even the much beloved Russell Brand suddenly feels the need to preface his comedy routines with seriousness, but does not make the displacement equation. Is it only my dysfunctional take on things that makes me see this as the ‘dream-work’ of the war on terror? For me this is the consequences of foreign policy as clear as day, but we cannot debate that. The double take is cod-outrage, and the February 15 2003 mobilisation against the war remains unanswered. Ahhh, damn it, f only there were opportunities for Davina McCall to interview Blair after he was voted out of the house…

12:04 AM

Thought Crime – its a joy!

At dinner the other day, KK told the story of his recent meeting with a ‘community copper’ on a bicycle who accosted him walking along the street. KK was wearing a beard and a back-pack, and the accusation was “you’e looking a bit serious, lad”. He was in fact thinking of buying fireworks, it being Diwali in England, so perhaps… but no, I think it indicates that everyday life is so much worse than the days when the standard bobby rap of “ere ere ere wots all this then?” would just make us laugh. Times have changed.


And then a former student, now a journalist in Russia, wrote to ask a few questions:

I want to know what you think it’s like working as a lecturer, in terms of motivation, work load, environment and general job satisfaction? Also, I was wondering if you thought there were any qualities that are desirable for people who want to pursue an academic vocation?…

I guess part of me feels a lot of academic research tends to be a bit removed from what’s actually going on now and this may sound a little stupid, but I’m not really sure why or for whom it’s done. But at the same time I’m constantly infuriated at the lack of time for reflexivity in my current job where everything has to be new and glossy so you often seem to churn out the same old bullshit… it would be great if you could give me some idea about what your job’s like and maybe some reasons why people do research in Cultural Studies?

Z, you are asking absolutely the right questions but its almost impossible to reply in anything less than 10,000 words.

I like Gayatri Spivak‘s take on what she does – she sees her teaching as an effort of working to try and change minds – or maybe better said, as Spivak also does (most recently in Naked Punch), as persistent teaching to try to rearrange desires. The first desire that needs rearranging from where I am is the special privilege well-meaning westerners have in desiring to ‘help’ people by intervening in their lives in ways that perhaps do not help so much at all – everyone from Madonna with child to backpackers doing charity work in Calcutta seems to be on a mission… and sometimes (too often) this includes bombing them to ‘help’ them onto the path of democracy. Well that’s a sure fire good example to convince people of the wisdom of our ways…

Does cultural studies help with that? – usually not. But trying to learn to think differently, to think, to think critically, about everything, is the basis of my approach to what I do as well. Or at least as often as I get a chance – in between bullshit production, (blogging; the publication machine) and routinised desk work. Teaching a Marx course that does not look for ‘the answer’ in Marx is a key part of my effort, and I am motivated by, and do enjoy, doing that. Old Beardo says there must be a ruthless critique of everything. This would have to include a critique of teaching too. I mean, how many minds are really changed? There are a lot of people in my class, they seem very enthused, we proceed apace. Yet the Democrats are the alternative to the Republicans in the US and the Tories here in the UK are back on the Immigration warpath. Chavez is only in Venezuela.

And then there is the whole thing about how the university system is a major impediment to any sort of critical intelligence, even as it is perhaps its last refuge. More and more mad administration forms; repetitions of bureaucratic procedure that make triplicate look like the good old days; vocationalisation that turns everything into a line on a CV, a phrase in a job reference, or a network meeting (rather than an exchange of ideas). The privatisation of education is well well well underway. Critical thinking is an endangered species, hidden amidst the overgrowth of accountancy. There is plenty I would like to do, and I write often along those lines in mad experiments which – probably for the better – never seem to work out (see here). But the effort is not unrewarding. I just wish there was some chance to say, sometimes, that things will get better than this. Every now and then it does seems possible – running down the street with a red flag at the head of a 2,000 strong demonstration; celebrating with friends the interventions and minor victories against the horror of mugwump corporate culture (see DisOrient X) … in between there are inspirational talks like that of Michael Taussig’s one on Colour and Terror here last tuesday.

Trouble is that there is never enough time, even to answer let alone ask all the questions (or verse vicer), and I do have to get to the pub, and to get ready for a visit to Sweden to give a talk on the great new Fun^da^mental video, which you can see here.

All good, be well. J.

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News from the makers of ‘Injustice’


News from the makers of ‘Injustice’ – the radical feature length documentary film about the struggles for justice by the families of people that have been killed by the police in the UK. www.injusticefilm.co.uk

1. ‘INJUSTICE’ CD – now available!
The INJUSTICE music CD was launched successfully in London and Birmingham recently (a report of the event will be up on http://www.4wardever.org/ soon!). The final line-up includes shortMAN, Princess Emmanuelle, Hillz Yungsterz , Aricka Douglas & Dub Judah , Yaz Alexander, Jimmy Chiozo, Ebele, WattsRiot feat. Scalper & Mr. Sparkes , Dee, Warhouse, The Tribunes feat. Judy Green & Poetic Justic, Lowkey and Sebastian Jamison. The CD will help raise the profile of the family campaigns for justice, after its launch there will be a touring ‘Injustice Roadshow’ with the Injustice film, family campaign speakers and live performances from the artists. The aim of the tour is to organise, raise awareness and raise funds to support the different family campaigns.

The CD includes some radical rap, hip-hop, roots, spoken word, r&b and much more! If you can help with distribution of the CD or want to host the road show then contact: info@injusticefilm.co.uk The CD is available through our website at http://www.injusticefilm.co.uk/ as well as in record shops in Birmingham, London and beyond.

2. Special screenings of ‘Injustice’Its now five and a half years since Injustice was launched and the film continues to be screened on a regular basis and continues to ahve an impact! In this month alone there are six screenings planned. Details of all public screenings are on the website www.injusticefilm.co.uk

Every year we screen the film to school children as part of National Schools Film Week.
If you know of any schools in the South London area they can see the film free as follows:
17th October 2006 Ritzy Cinema, Coldharbour Lane, LONDON, SW2
10.00am schools only screening followed by Q&A with families & film maker.

Please note this screening is for National Schools Film Week and is not open to the public.
Schools wanting bookings please call: 020 7439 4880 www.nsfw.org
A big thanks to Film Education who organise NSFW for their continuing support.

3. INJUSTICE DVD – translation help needed.We are preparing a new DVD which will include ‘Injustice’ as well as extras covering reports on the film and the family campaigns. We are looking for people that can translate the film into German, Arabic and Farsi.
Get in touch if you can help info@injusticefilm.co.uk

4. United Families & Friends Campaign Annual ProcessionThe United Families & Friends Campaign invites all to this year’s Remembrance Procession in memory of those who have died in police custody, in prison and in psychiatric care.

Saturday 28 October 2006
Rally at Trafalgar Square, Central London
€ Assemble at 1pm for a march to Downing Street.Nearest tube: Charing Cross
Further details: http://www.uffc.org/ or read the following article: www.blackbritain.co.uk/news/details.aspx?i=2296

5. United Families & Friends Campaign leaflet available
UFFC, with the support of the Churches Commission for Racial Justice, has recently launched a new leaflet about their struggles for justice. If you can help distribute these leaflets let us know and we can get the leaflets to you. info@injusticefilm.co.uk or call 07956 629 889

To read about other Migrant Media productions log onto http://www.injusticefilm.co.uk
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[pic is of Jasmine Elvie, mother of Brian Douglas]
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