Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Family of Ian Tomlinson appeals for witnesses to what happened to him

About 50 minutes [12:45 BST] ago PA released an appeal for witnesses from Ian Tomlinson's family.

From the BBC: (the link was placed at the bottom of the UK section of the site). The full report does not make it clear to the reader that the IPCC has moved from a position of merely 'assessing' whether to hold an investigation to actually holding one.

A statement from the family said: "Ian was a massive football fan and would have looked distinctive in his Millwall top.

"He was probably on his way back from work to watch the England match and got caught up in the crowds.

"People are putting pictures on the internet, writing on blogs and talking to journalists.

Ian Tomlinson

Ian Tomlinson

"But we really need them to talk to the people who are investigating what happened.
As followers of the case, and this blog, will know, countless witnesses have already come forward, but this has not until recently been reported widely across the media or initially taken seriously by the authorities - something which some of us have been campaigning about.

Now with the family's renewed appeal as well, the investigators should be able to gather enough evidence to get a very good idea of what happened to Ian Tomlinson.

IPCC calls in City of London police for Ian Tomlinson investigation

Independent Police Complaints Commission opens investigation into killing of Ian Tomlinson.
Not a word of contrition from the "hang 'em and flog 'em" media for the slurs against protesters, but the pressure has paid off ... so far. And whatever the outcome of the 'IPCC-managed' investigation of the police into the police, we are going to need a full public inquiry.

The IPCC press release in full:


For Immediate Release

PR 1487 IPCC managing investigation into death of Ian Tomlinson

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is managing an investigation by City of London Police into the circumstances of police contact with Ian Tomlinson, who died near to the G20 protests on Wednesday 1 April 2009. This decision will be kept under review as the investigation progresses.

Mr Tomlinson’s death was referred to the IPCC on 1 April, following which IPCC investigators have looked at many hours of CCTV, examined statements and police records and spoken to independent witnesses. A post mortem carried out by a Home Office pathologist on Friday evening revealed that Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack.

IPCC Commissioner for London Deborah Glass said:

“Initially we had accounts from independent witnesses who were on Cornhill, who told us that there had been no contact between the police and Mr Tomlinson when he collapsed. However, other witnesses who saw him in the Royal Exchange area have since told us that Mr Tomlinson did have contact with police officers. This would have been a few minutes before he collapsed. It is important that we are able to establish as far as possible whether that contact had anything to do with his death.”

Just after 7pm on 1 April, Mr Tomlinson can be seen on CCTV walking up King William Street and approaching a police cordon opposite the Bank of England. It is believed he wanted to get through the cordon to continue his walk home from work. Police officers refused to let him through.

A short time later, Mr Tomlinson can be seen on CCTV walking around the corner into Royal Exchange Passage. A number of witnesses have described seeing him there, getting caught up in a crowd and being pushed back by police officers. This is the aspect of the incident that the IPCC is now investigating.

Minutes later he is seen on CCTV walking back onto Cornhill from Royal Exchange Passage.

Mr Tomlinson walks for about three more minutes, before collapsing on Cornhill. The CCTV shows that Mr Tomlinson was not trapped inside a police cordon at any stage.

Several members of the public state that they tried to help Mr Tomlinson. Others reported the incident to nearby police officers. CCTV shows police officers forming a cordon around him near a group of protesters so that the police medics could give first aid.

They then carried Mr Tomlinson on a stretcher through the Cornhill / Birchin Lane cordon and continued first aid. An ambulance then arrived and he was taken to hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Witness Appeal

Commissioner Deborah Glass continued: “The investigation is continuing to look through CCTV footage to see whether the incident inside Royal Exchange Passage has been captured and we already have a number of witness accounts from the area. However, I would ask anyone else who saw Mr Tomlinson at about 7.20 p.m. or who may have taken a photo of him around that time to contact us so that we can build up a full picture of what happened.”

Anybody who saw Mr Tomlinson in Royal Exchange Square is asked to contact the IPCC on 0800-096 9071 or email Tomlinson@ipcc.gov.uk.


Territorial Support Group killed Ian Tomlinson like Special Patrol Group killed Blair Peach?

You would have thought by now that top cops would know when it's wise to just shut up.

I say this because yesterday we were treated to the spectacle of none other than Ian Blair, former head of London's Metropolitan police (the City of London has its own police force - are far more civilised bunch altogether) telling us how misunderstood the police investigating the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence in south east London were. Well I'd hate to see what a deeply prejudiced racist and sexist police force looks like then. And in case you think Blair it out of step the new Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, got in his attacks on the anti-racists first with the absurd claim that there are 'only a few pockets of stupidity and bigoty left' when it comes to institutional racism in the police.

A glance back over a month or so of police-related headlines throws up some problem areas for the defenders of the peace.

Lets leave aside incidents such as the serial rapists that go undetected despite much evidence virtually presented to the police, and consider these four instead: the beating of Babar Ahmad, asked 'where is your God now?' as the Territorial Support Group went about its work - this same individual officers have been involved in another 60 similar incidents of violent assault on black and Asian people; the white and black van apartheid in a racist set up at a west London Community Support Officer station; the attack on protesters in the Hyde Park underpass in a January solidarity with Gaza demo; and finally the case of Charles de Menezes. These crimes - even if they aren't recognised by the state as such - bring together the inter connectedness between official racism (despite the diversity chat), police racism and public order.

Our examples show the way in which the police are always on the leading edge of whatever is the latest fashion in the racism of divide and rule, in the case of Babar Ahmad a vicious brand of Islamophobia.

The impulse for the constant regeneration of institutional racism, by the authorities in general and the police in particular, is social control. At root the state exists to maintain the power and rule of a minority fundamentally in an exploitative relationship with the majority.

So when our capitalist state feels challenged, as it certainly does at the moment, then the less consensual side of the state is revealed more sharply, most dramatically in recent times during the miners strike in the mid-80s, but also in smaller examples such as down the Hyde Park underpass this Janaury and, sadly, in more deadly ways as in the death of Ian Tomlinson on the recent G20 protests.

Doing a horrible job can make you a horrible person, leading to the retention problem that has always been a feature of police recruitment. You either join the 'canteen culture' and all its concurrent racism and sexism, or you leave. The modern and diverse veneer that the top officers keep polishing is perpetually tarnished by a grubby reality of oppressive policing.

And it is the Territorial Support Group (TSG) more than any other section of the police in the big cities that is also at the cutting edge physically, from the housing estates to the protests - as well as being on the ball ideologically in the Islamophobia stakes, as we saw earlier. They are the Special Patrol Group reborn. This was a similar police 'public disorder suppression formation' in the 70s made up of squads of officers that went around beating people up, especially on demos. They killed Blair Peach at an Anti Nazi League demo against the nazis National Front in Southall in 1979.

So the TSG squads on duty in the City of London will have readily assimilated the fodder of the media - that all protesters were likely to be 'violent anarchists', after all there had been a 'bomb plot' (actually more like preparations for a fireworks display)on the eve of the G20 protests.

In the 1970s the police were often sympathetic to the National Front and did their utmost to defend its intimidatory marches and violent racism, similarly wound up by politicians and media to take on the left-wing extremists. The state, at that time, made it a question of 'defending public order' but the anti-fascists won through mass mobilisation. At the start of the 21st century defending public order increasingly means defending the poor witch-hunted bankers and big business from the rest of us. Our rulers will want to keep hold of, if not expand, the arsenal of powers the police have been given to date.

Today the public order battle has seen the enmeshing of a raft of legislation to criminalise working class kids to 'fight crime', with the war on terror undermining detention without trial and a steady build up ever more draconian public order laws over the past decades, providing the people with seemingly overwhelming coercive powers.

But there has to be a certain level of consent in society on how, and upon whom, they use this monopoly of violence. As workers fighting for jobs are threatened with jail and bankers who have stolen billions retire to spend more time with their money it begs the question is the state the neutral arbiter between citizens or does it have a built in structural bias? I think you know what we think.

So in the end all that was needed to send the TSG attack dogs into a frenzy was the red blood of two weeks of media headlines reporting on apparently threatened violence.

As more people take to the streets over the coming months of this economic and social crisis the authorities will be doing there utmost to maintain social control, predicting as they have a summer of discontent and the media-inspired hysteria certainly helps maintain this 'state of fear'.. As in 1979 the police had been given a licence to kill. 'Violent anarchists' and 'Muslim extremists' - young male Muslims were targeted by police on the Gaza demos - become easy meat.

Ian Blair should keep a bit quieter because the similarities between the rush to get out a later discredited story in the Charles de Menezes shooting is what's happened in the case of Ian Tomlinson. New commissioner, same old tricks.

And it's all out of the Goebbels play book - get lie in early and often: 'police tried to help, protesters threw missiles, bottles', although Sky News may be changing tac on that.

Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson's tragic killings were both crimes waiting to happen. Enough is enough.

Israel and Palestine: Peace or Perpetual Conflict?

This video is from a public debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It took place on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 at the University of San Francisco.

The two invited guests to participate in the debate were the Israel Consul General, Akiva Tor and professor As'ad Abukhalil.

about the guests:

Akiva Tor- Akiva Tor has recently taken up the post of Israel Consul General to the Pacific Northwest. In his previous position as World Jewish Affairs Adviser to the President of Israel he began the organization of the World Jewish Forum, a presidential initiative for creating a pan-Jewish strategy for stemming assimilation and decline in Jewish life. Tor has served as Director of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and as Deputy Director for Palestinian Affairs. He was a Wexner Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and has written and lectured extensively on Jewish values in the foreign policy of Israel.

As'ad Abukhalil- AbuKhalil was born in Tyre, Lebanon, and grew up in Beirut. He received his B.A. and M.A. in political science from the American University of Beirut, and a Ph.D. in comparative government from Georgetown University. AbuKhalil is a tenured professor at Cal State Stanislaus and a visiting professor at UC Berkeley. In addition, he has taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, California State University Stanislaus, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. AbuKhalil describes himself as "a former Marxist-Leninist, now an anarchist", a feminist, and an "atheist secularist". AbuKhalil is vocally pro-Palestinian, describes himself as an anti-Zionist, and supports one secular state in historical Palestine. He is an opponent of the Iraq War. He is critical of Israeli government, of United States foreign policy, of Saudi Arabia, of both Fatah and Hamas, and of all rival factions in Lebanon. Abukhalil also writes for the Angry Arab News Service, angryarab.blogspot.com/

Thanks to fightingforcrayons