Saturday, 4 April 2009

Bring police to account for G20 violence that sees protester die - eye witnesses


From Richard Lawson's blog [see comment] - poet, inventor, Green Party Parliamentary candidate and medical practitioner

Ian Tomlinson: What happened?

Picture of Ian Tomlinson courtesy of Jasper Jackson (I think)

First, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Mr Tomlinson's family at this dark time. I know what you are going through.

Obviously the full facts will have to wait for the coroner's inquest, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission report, but we do have some eyewitness accounts to piece together, and we should do this now to offset the distorted picture being put out by the corporate media. They have an advantage in being able to give false impressions in the heat of the moment, which are then cleared up with small print retractions and corrections later.

The Guardian has a good report:

Pictures seen by the Guardian, and corroborated by witnesses, suggest that Mr Tomlinson initially fell to the ground by a window of 11 Royal Exchange, outside the Mont Blanc shop, in front of five riot officers.
A subsequent picture shows him being lifted off the floor by a protester.
Seconds later, he is seen walking past a line of police dogs. He is believed to have collapsed again close to the junction of Birchin Lane, near a Starbucks and Office Angels.
Jackson said Mr Tomlison was then surrounded by police officers who were pelted with at least one missile.
"There were a couple of people throwing bottles in that general direction," he said. "But they were told to stop doing that by the crowd. In fact, some people in the crowd threatened to kill them if they did anything to disrupt the treatment."

Further account from the Guardian report:
"Jasper Jackson, 23, from London, who photographed Mr Tomlinson's collapse, said he had been standing in front of a line of police dog handlers minutes before he fell over. "The picture I have of him is of him stumbling in front of the protesters and in front of the police dogs looking dazed," he said. "He had a glazed look on his face. Then it was drawn to my attention that somebody shouted to the police with a loud hailer that there was a casualty and said, 'Can we get a medic?' ""
"Another witness, Fran Legg, said she and a friend had rushed to help Mr Tomlinson after they realised he was not well. "People were calling out: 'Please, we need medics over here'," said the 20-year-old student, from Tavistock, in Devon. "Someone called an ambulance." Her friend put him in the recovery position and noticed he had blood on his face and was losing consciousness.

Legg said protesters were calling for people to move back and give him space as eight police officers arrived. By the time the ambulance reached the scene 10 minutes later, Mr Tomlinson was very white and could hardly breathe."
"two demonstrators who had travelled from Manchester told how they saw paramedics attempting to resuscitate the 47-year-old.

"The officers were white as sheets," said Andy Bowman, a 24-year-old PhD student. "The blood had drained from their faces. They were giving us conflicting stories about what had happened; some of the officers were saying he had a blow to the head and some were saying he'd collapsed of a heart attack."

His friend Thomas Barlow, 26, said: "Some of the police were taking their helmets off, looking shocked.

"We were crossing the road and accidentally looked round and saw it.

"Someone called out, 'That person's hurt', and we went to have a look.

"The policemen around us tried to force us on very quickly.""


Here is another account, but it seems sketchy and emotionally charged:

"One female witness who wished to remain anonymous talked of “police brutality and heartlessness” and directly implicated members of the police force in the “murder” of the protester who, in tributes left outside the Royal Exchange in the city, was described as a “hero.”

She spoke of the “unwarranted” attack made by “masked policemen in riot gear.” After being struck in the head by a police baton she said the man was then bloodied and left unconscious on the street."


But this account is very hard to discount:

"My boss (yes, a senior manager at the bank I work at!) went over last night to see what was going on. He literally was next to the man who collapsed and died. He swears NO ONE was throwing a thing. And that the reason the police couldn't get to the guy was because the cops were using dogs against the protesters and the protesters were running away from them (towards where the guy was). Now interestingly, my boss said the guy looked about 50. The man who died went to the ground and started convulsing. So he seemed to think it was natural causes. But other than that bit, every single thing the police have said is wrong.

I will ask my boss to contact the solicitors, as he is a senior manager at the bank and a very unimpeachable source (in that the police can't say he was involved in any way or had any sympathies to the protestors - they can't just brush him off). But I won't hold my breath. He's a good man, but it may be too difficult for him to do (i.e. to stand up)".

And finally, here is Andrew Kendle's report from Red Pepper.
"A few minutes later, one of the protesters, a man in his 20s or 30s, collapsed on the pavement. The guy was totally out of it when I went to take a look at him. Protesters informed the police, and then allowed the police to carry the man back to their lines using what looked like a tarpaulin to carry him away. Twenty minutes or so later, after the police had used their dogs and more riot cops to clear Cornhill Street back up to Bishopsgate, two ambulances came up Grace Church Street and were let down Cornhill by the protesters and police to attend to the injured. I have since been able to confirm that the person who died was the one I saw".


Various participants in the City of London demonstrations on April 1st have come forward as witnesses to the collapse of a man later identified by authorities as Ian Tomlinson. Four different university students witnessed the collapse of Mr. Tomlinson. "He stumbled towards us from the direction of police and protestors and collapsed," said Peter Apps. "I saw a demonstrator who was a first aider attend to the person who had collapsed. The man was late 40s, had tattoos on his hands, and was wearing a Millwall shirt."

While the first aider was helping the man, another demonstrator with a megaphone was calling the police over so that they could help.

Natalie Langford, a student at Queen Mary, said "there was a police charge. A lot of people ran in our direction. The woman giving first aid stood in the path of the crowd." The running people, seeing a guy on the ground, went around them.

Another demonstrator had already called 999 and was getting medical advice from the ambulance dispatcher. "Four police with two police medics came. They told her [the first aider] to 'move along'.", said Peter Apps. "Then they pushed her forcibly away from him. They refused to listen to her [the first aider] when she tried to explain his condition."

The first aider, who did not wish to be named, said "The police surrounded the collapsed man. I was standing with the person who'd called 999. The ambulance dispatcher wanted to talk to the police, the phone was being held out to them, but the police refused."

Another witness, Elias Stoakes, added "we didn't see them [the police] perform CPR."

Other people who had tried to stay with the collapsed man were also pushed away.

All of the witnesses deny the allegation that many missiles were thrown.

According to Peter Apps, "one bottle was thrown, but it didn't come close to the police. Nothing was thrown afterwards as other demonstrators told the person to stop. The person who threw the bottle probably didn't realize that someone was behind the ring of police." All the witnesses said that the demonstrators were concerned for the well-being of the collapsed man once they realized that there was an injured person.

Natalie Langford said "when the ambulance arrived the protestors got straight out of the way."

These witnesses are happy to give media statements.

They can be contacted through this press liasion email:

See video of two of the witnesses giving their statement.


Here is another account:

Another protester, who refused to give her name, said she was with the dead man shortly before he died.

She said they were being chased by police dogs when the man in his 30s tripped and hit his head on the pavement at about 7.30pm.

She said: “Police dogs chased us all over London. We were running for about half-an-hour before the guy fell.

“We saw paramedics try to treat him. They said he was ok and he tried to get up but fell over again.”


Those are all the eyewitness accounts I have seen, collected here in one place (they are also scattered in the blogs below).

Naturally they are inconsistent, because in any crowd situation, it is difficult to see what is going on beyond your immediate vicinity, and in an adrenaline charged situation with Bob Broadbent-Copper's kettling tactics in force, it is even more difficult to make out what is going on, but the urge to try to make some kind of sense of it is irresistible.

If Ian Tomlinson was on his way back home and got caught up behind the cordon, he would naturally have gone up to the Rioting Police and demanded to be allowed to continue on his way.

The question is - did they hit him? Blood is only mentioned in one account. However, a clout on the temple need not break the skin, but can break the temporal bone, causing a sub-dural haemorrhage to collect in the subsequent minutes, and the description of Ian looking dazed, falling, being helped up, and finally collapsing is consistent with that. The nervous behaviour of the police is also consistent with that.

On the other hand, he could have fallen and hit his head when the police charged.

I stress that this is pure speculation, because we do not know if he was hit with a baton or fell because of police charge. Either way, if the autopsy finds a sub-dural, the police are going to have some explaining to do. They have the advantage of being able to get together and create a consistent account among themselves, which the courts will tend to believe rather than accounts from demonstrators. That is why it it vital that any eyewitnesses come forward. Please, please do not think "There is no point in giving evidence, the system will not listen to what I have to say". Your evidence is vital, and if enough evidence is brought to bear, the courts will have to come to the right conclusion. A man died here, and also democracy and civil liberty received a blow. Your evidence can help Ian's family to know what happened, and also can help to roll back the spectre of brutal police repression of dissent.

George Galloway Canada ban desicion on advice from terrorist organisation

Terrorist organization that planned to bomb Concordia University advised Canadian government to ban MP George Galloway

An organization that planned to blow up Concordia University, and that the FBI, the U.S. State Department, and U.S. courts have branded a 'terrorist organization', has given advice to the Harper government that led Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to barring a British MP from Canada.

A Kenney spokesman said Kenney first heard about British MP George Galloway's visit from a Jewish Defense League (JDL) March 16 letter.

The Jewish Defense League, is categorized by the FBI as a "right-wing Jewish terrorist group", founded in 1968 by ultra Zionist Meir Kahane. Kanahe then founded the terrorist group Khach in Israel. JDL leader Meir Weinstein (no relation to the author) boasts of getting the Canadian government to ban Galloway.

Mr. Galloway, labeled a terrorist threat by the Conservative government, is freely touring the U.S. now. Galloway is scheduled to speak in four Canadian cities from March 30 to April 2 on "Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar". He plans to speak against the Conservative government's war in Afghanistan and uncritical support for Israel, which is why his Canadian defenders - and even some opponents - feel he is banned from speaking here.

The JDL can now claim further success because Concordia University just forbade a planned Galloway live video feed into their auditorium, citing Canada's banning his entry into the country.

The JDL's well documented history of terrorism

It is impossible that the Harper government is unaware that the JDL's terrorism designation given how earnestly Canada and the US share such information, and how public information of some of their dozens of domestic terror acts is. (See here)

The US State Department designated the JDL's Israeli affiliates, Kach, founded by Kahane, and the Kahane Chai, named in honor of Kahane after his murder, as "foreign terrorist organizations" - a decision recently upheld by a US Appeals Court. The Israeli Cabinet declared them terrorist organizations in 1994.

Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians praying in a mosque in Hebron. The Jewish Defense League's states, "We view Dr. Goldstein as a martyr in Judaism's protracted struggle against Arab terrorism. And we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League".

The JDL is still active with Hebron's Jewish settlers, most visibly remarkable for its hate graffiti such as: "Arabs to the Gas Chambers". (See here)

In a 1986 study of domestic terrorism, the US Department of Energy concluded: "For more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States. Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 persons and wounded at least 22."

Despite their terrorist designation, and the post 9-11 war on terror, JDL leaders, members and chapters still function unhindered by security agencies in North America. One can only attribute it to the similarity between the JDL's ideology and our governments' Middle East and Muslim policies.

In 2001, JDL leader, Canadian Irv Rubin and another member were convicted of planning a terror attack in California against an Arab American congressman and a mosque. Rubin was also accused of planning to bomb Concordia University. Both JDL members were murdered in prison, although authorities claim Rubin's slashed neck and two-story fall was a suicide.

Rubin's death appeared to be the end of the JDL in North America.

The JDL resurfaces in fertile Canada

Canadian Jewish critics of Israel have noted the Harper government's numerous unholy alliances to contain opponents of its Middle East and Afghanistan policies. Some believe that the little known Canada-Israel Security Agreement maybe behind the Galloway ban. Certainly, the Conservatives have provided a political terrain that is now fertile for the JDL to operate.

It is contemptible that the Conservative government for "national security reasons" bans outspoken anti-war critic and Palestinian supporter British MP George Galloway while allowing a known terrorist organization a free pass to operate in Canada and advise their policies.

Given that Concordia University's Security Department is run by a former RCMP officer, we should question their readiness to accept such a politicized chain of events leading to the University banning the Galloway video feed.

The recent past appears forgotten and forgiven for the JDL, which resurfaced in Toronto two years ago. Meir Weinstein answered the question by The Jewish Press if the JDL in Toronto adheres to the ideology of Meir Kahane? "I will always be a loyal disciple of Rabbi Kahane. Our ideology is based on the Jewish Idea as taught by Rabbi Kahane."

Last year Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) leader Bernie Farber's opinion on the JDL was "they have the right to exist" as long as they behave. The Canadian Jewish News on March 20, 2009 wrote the " CJC commends government for denying George Galloway entry to Canada".

The Jewish B'nai Brith and the JDL both targeted the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) in 2007 to prevent them from debating a motion critical of Israel. The JDL is now going after the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for similar reasons. Liberal aide Warren Kinsella appeared last week at a meeting organized by the JDL as a surprise guest.

In last week's interview on British Channel 4 TV with George Galloway, JDL leader Meir Weinstein threatened any Canadian who attended or supported Galloway's presentation would be "monitored" by the Canadian government. (Video here)

Perhaps the Conservative government is testing whether Canadians still care about their rights, or Canada's policies in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Canada sinks into infamy when its government labels its enemies terrorist, while coddling its allies who are real terrorists.

Scott Weinstein is a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada
He can be reached at : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Ian Tomlinson post mortem leaves unanswered questions

Marching against police brutality and media lies this afternoon, from the Bank of England to Bethnal Green police station, in memory of Ian Tomlinson

Post-mortem finds that Ian 'died of natural causes' says City of London Police spokesman.

Some unanswered questions: watch these eye witnesses testimonies from two protesters standing next to Ian before he collapsed.

Attack inside Israel on border police barracks

Israel has killed two resistance fighters today at the Gaza border fence, according to Palestinian medics who recovered the bodies. Possibly another Islamic Jihad op. Later in the day a Palestinian woman open fired at a border police barracks in southern Israel and was killed, according to the Israelis. Israel fears the woman could have come from the West Bank opening up a new campaign of attacks on the ground within Israel, not just by rockets from Gaza.

She could also have come from within Israel itself, but they don't like to admit to this possibility and admit the reality of the growing radicalisation among Palestinians living in Israel - the state's second-class citizens.

Fighting police brutality at NATO Summit Strasbourg

More repression - but we're uniting the struggles and fighting back for the right to protest and resist, from Strasbourg to London to Gaza.

Stop BNP nazis trying to spread hate, lies and violence in Croydon and Sutton

The nazis were trying to hold a picket of the Lunar House immigation office in Croydon today. The government refused to ban the hatemonger's event but has cut off relations with the mainstream and middle of the road Muslim Council of Britain. Don't let these BNP thugs in suits hold pickets and set up stalls in New Addington unopposed. We must disrupt their 'outreach' campaign plans for the forthcoming European elections.

To get involved go to Unite Against Fascism and see The BNP have stolen our Spitfires!
The BNP stall organiser is Charlotte Lewis:

“New Addington is by far the best area in Croydon for the BNP,” said Ms Lewis. “Members of the public openly expressed their desire to keep New Addington British and save Central Parade from becoming Islamified,” she said.

Someone has asked GS what the connection is between the BNP and Gaza - Israeli Fascists march in um-al-Fahm

Shutdown Hackney army recruitment show room

Don't send our kids off to war - Give them real jobs

Protest 1.30 Sat 4 April , Kingsland Shopping Centre (opp. Dalston Kingsland Station)

Called by Hackney Stop the War Coalition

Addressing what the G20 didn't talk about - jobs not bombs!

A busy demo day today. Off to Enfield now to support the car workers occupying their factory.