|Hackney rioters and police in hand-to-hand combat|
Youths ransack area and use burning vehicles, bricks and bottles as violence moves from Mare Street and London Fields to estate
guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 August 2011 21.35 BST
Source: guardian.co.uk Link to this video
The Pembury Estate became the epicentre of violence in Hackney, east London, as local youths took control of the area from 6pm, using burning vehicles and debris as barricades.
The disturbance had moved to the estate from nearby Mare Street and London Fields, the scene of earlier looting.
Police were overwhelmed. Forming a line several hundred metres away, they watched as youths ransacked the area.
A van was broken into and driven into a wall. Within minutes, it was on fire. A motorbike was overturned and set ablaze beside another burning car.
There appeared to be more women participating in the riot than on previous nights, with some forming lines to help ferry debris for the flaming barricades. There were no TV cameras in sight, as crews struggled to access the scene of rioting.
Bystanders and a number of journalists were also attacked; a photographer was dragged to the ground and beaten by four youths. People taking pictures were asked if they were "Feds" and some mobile phones were smashed.
Attempts by police to quell the situation around 8.30pm failed.
As lines of dozens of riot police marched into the estate, they were met by a hail of bricks, stones and bottles. At times there was hand-to-hand combat, as youths ripped off tree branches and used sticks to club police, who quickly retreated.
Youths used wheelie bins to ram riot police who, although in large numbers, were not in control. Twice, isolated police officers escaped serious injury. One officer became detached from his unit, tripped, and was attacked by a mob with sticks. He was rescued by colleagues seconds later.
In a more serious incident, a police officer in a solitary parked vehicle was attacked. His car windscreen was entirely smashed as a young man scaled the roof and pounded it with a brick. Surrounded and unable to see out of his window, the officer drove his smashed car through the crowd, and a hail of stones and bottles.
Bystanders cheered. "I've been wanting to see us do this to the Feds for years," said one man, in this thirties.
Around 8.45pm, the crowds dissipated. Hundreds were chased across Hackney Downs park by mounted police.
|London Riots: Blame Twitter -- or BlackBerry Messenger?|
By MARK SCHONE
Aug. 8, 2011
PHOTO: Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London.
Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London Aug. 7, 2011.
As riots continue throughout London, British police have threatened to bring charges against those who use social media to incite looting and violence.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanaugh confirmed to U.K. media that officers were looking at Twitter as they investigated the riots, which began after the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London on Thursday.
But some observers have noted that the social media that has really helped "organize" the looting is not Twitter or even Facebook, so central to uprisings throughout the Arab world earlier this year. Many of the teenagers running through London's streets are communicating by BlackBerry Messenger.
Just before Duggan died Thursday, he sent a final message to his girlfriend via BlackBerry Messenger, "The Feds are following me." Ever since, according to Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe, "while Twitter has largely been the venue of spectators to violence and is a handy public venue for journalists to observe, it would appear the non-public BlackBerry BBM messaging network has been the method of choice for organising it."
Butcher notes that BlackBerrys cost less than smartphones and that BBM is both essentially cost-free and invisible to police. In order to communicate, BBM users must exchange PINs, but their conversations are private. They can spread their PINs via SMS, Twitter or other means.
BlackBerry made a specific effort to market its product among black youth in London, recently sponsoring a "secret gig" in London featuring top U.K. rappers.
Blogger Jonathan Akwue said he didn't quite understand the appeal of BlackBerrys among London teens until his "far cooler 17-year-old nephew" explained that BBM was "the main reason for their popularity." The rioters seem to be as young as the BBM users. More than 200 alleged rioters have been arrested so far, and two thirds of those for whom ages have been given are 21 or under.
Akwue was the first to note that BBM messages had been circulating since the Duggan shooting. "BBM was also the channel used to spread the word that the riot had started," wrote Akwue, "and from what I can tell on Twitter, it appears to be the means by which communications continue to be shared." Both Butcher and Akwue have archived reams of messages in which Londoners use Twitter to talk about BBM's role in the violence and looting, and even to offer to retweet BBM pins.
"Sending out BBM broadcasts about linking ukp at 4 pm to cause more havoc," writes one tweeter. Another says, ":o jd sports Tottenham hale just got robbed go on bbm to see da pics!" Another writes, "People had in their bbm status 'Going Tottenham riot, who's on it" like it was a casual street party. A fourth said, "According to my bbm, now something's starting in wood green."
Most telling perhaps are tweets that say, "BBM Where Ma News of Da Day Comes From" and "The news ain't even showing the extent of what's actually happening on the streets of tottenham? BBM is doing da ting right now!"
"Technology is ruining us," concludes tweeter Jessica Kennedy. "Bare man organizing riots over bbm."
Research in Motion, the manufacturer of BlackBerry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News. RIM's Patrick Spence, managing director of global sales and regional marketing, issued a statement saying, "We feel for those impacted by this weekend's riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can. As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials."
London Riots: Blame Twitter -- or BlackBerry Messenger? - ABC News
|London riots: world reacts to city's 'hungry mutiny'|
The riots in London have made headlines around the world - here's a round-up of the coverage from our international correspondents.
The front pages of Spain's El Pais and Portugals Publico newspapers
By John-Paul Ford Rojas
2:26PM BST 08 Aug 2011
Pictures and descriptions of the disturbances feature prominently in the Australian media, reports Bonnie Malkin, with Sydney's tabloid Daily Telegraph newspaper running the picture of a burning double-decker bus on page two.
The paper says: "We can be thankful that Sydney is not on such an edge that anarchy is but a protest away. As events in London demonstrate, not every major city enjoys our cohesive qualities."
An opinion piece posted on the Australia Broadcasting Corporation's website asked: "Where were the statesmen as London burned?:"
It continued: "London burned and meanwhile prime minister David Cameron fiddled with the foil on a bottle of pinot grigio in Tuscany; deputy prime minister Nick Clegg quietly recovered at home from his getaway in sunny France; and chancellor of the exchequer George Osbourne remained ensconced at a hotel somewhere in Beverly Hills.
"Britain's already shaky confidence in its leaders, several of whom have spent the summer trying to wriggle free of their association with the hacking scandal, will be further disturbed by the determination of the nation's powerbrokers to cling to the sun bed.
Italy's Corriere della Sera runs the story on page one, reports Nick Squires, with a photo of a policeman silhouetted against a burning building.
The newspaper describes a "night of urban guerilla war" in a city "struggling to deal with youth gangs and incapable of resolving its latent conflicts".
It adds: "London is not just the fairy tale of Kate and Pippa. There's also Tottenham..."
Il Messagero compares the scenes in Tottenham to the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, Beirut during the Lebanese civil war and the troubled banlieues of Paris, as well as the riots that hit the UK in the 1980s under the Thatcher government.
With London the home to tens of thousands of Poles, Poland’s media has given extensive coverage to the riots, writes Matthew Day. Leading newspaper Rzeczpospolita blames the “failure of multicultural society”.
Russia’s state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper describes the violence as a "hungry mutiny" taking place in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, amid falling living standards, higher food prices, and joblessness, reports Andrew Osborn.
It makes a comparison with the "French scenario" when several years ago youths in Paris took to the streets for weeks on end, burning cars and clashing with police.
The Moskovskie Novosti newspaper called the trouble “a pogrom” and quotes a shop assistant originally from Africa saying: “I can imagine this kind of thing happening in Somalia but to see it in London was strange."
Most of Spain's national newspapers make room for the story on their front pages, says Fiona Govan, with El Pais using a large image of burnt-out cars and describing the disturbances as "racial violence".
La Razón has a photo of a burning building, captioned “Night of violence in London”, describing Tottenham as a depressed area and talks of police impotence.
Portugal’s Publico newspaper has a large photograph of riot police marching in front of a burning building and describes tension on the streets leading to a scene of devastation.
The riots have attracted prominent coverage in New York, reports Jon Swaine. On Sunday, two spectacular photos of a London bus and high street shops in flames made up half of page 12 of the New York Post, with an accompanying story headlined "Rioters run wild in London". The New York Times ran a fairly lengthy dispatch from Ravi Somaiya, one of its London correspondents, on page 7, titled "Shooting by police sets off riot in London".
Today The New York Times features a large picture of Tottenham Allied Carpets' burned out shell as its front page image, with the caption "Aftermath of a riot". The second wave of disturbances prompted a longer piece from Somaiya on page 4, titled "London sees twin perils converging to fuel riot".
"Frustration in this impoverished neighbourhood, as in many others in Britain, has mounted as the government’s austerity budget has forced deep cuts in social services," he wrote. "At the same time, a widely held disdain for law enforcement here, where a large Afro-Caribbean population has felt singled out by the police for abuse, has only intensified through the drumbeat of scandal that has racked Scotland Yard in recent weeks and led to the resignation of the force’s two top commanders".
The Washington Post said the "sprawling metropolis" had suffered its "worst bout of civil unrest in years".
London riots: world reacts to city's 'hungry mutiny' - Telegraph
|London riots: BlackBerry to help police probe Messenger looting 'role'|
Met police claim popular, encrypted and free Messenger service fanned riots in Tottenham and helped organise looting
guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 August 2011 19.20 BST
BlackBerry has promised to help police investigate claims its Messenger service helped fuel and organise riots and looting in Tottenham, north London.
The maker of the BlackBerry, Research in Motion, said on Monday night that it would co-operate with a police investigation into claims that its popular BlackBerry Messenger service played a key role in organising the London riots.
Scotland Yard vowed to track down and arrest protesters who posted "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages on the service, and the social networking websites Twitter and Facebook.
Patrick Spence, the managing director regional marketing at Research In Motion (RIM), confirmed that the BlackBerry manufacturer had contacted police to assist with the investigation.
However, the statement prompted fears from some BlackBerry users that their private messages could be handed over to the police.
"We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can," Spence said. He added that RIM complies with UK legislation on the interception of communication and co-operates fully with the Home Office.
RIM refused to comment further or answer a series of questions on the statement.
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) appears to be the favoured method of planning the unrest that has swept across north London since Saturday evening. Unlike text messaging or Twitter, BBM is a free, private social network where almost all messages are encrypted when they leave the sender's phone – meaning that many messages are untraceable by the authorities.
RIM can be legally ordered to hand over details to police of users suspected of unlawful activity. However, the Canadian company would be likely to resist those demands and the content of users' inflammatory messages would be encrypted. The manufacturer has previously insisted that even it cannot unscramble users' messages when sent on the devices.
Although Twitter and Facebook have played a key role in past unrest in the capital, the Tottenham riots are thought to be the first in the UK so heavily orchestrated using BlackBerry Messenger.
The "broadcasts" – which are sent instantly from one-to-many BBM users – have been reposted and amplified on Twitter and Facebook. Evidence of rioters planning where to hit next spread quickly on the networks as the police struggled to keep up.
One BBM broadcast posted on Monday evening appeared to urge protesters to go looting in Stratford, east London. "If you're down for making money, we're about to go hard in east london tonight, yes tonight!!" it said. "I don't care what ends you're from, we're personally inviting you to come and get it in. Police have taken the piss for too long and to be honest I don't know why its taken so long for us make this happen. We need a minimum of 200 hungry people. We're not broke, but who says no to free stuff. Doesn't matter if the police arrive cos we'll just chase dem out because as you've seen on the news, they are NOT ON DIS TING. Everyone meet at 7 at stratford park and let's get rich."
Another broadcast implored protesters to "unite and hit the streets" in Kilburn, north-west London. On Sunday BBM users were urged to head to Oxford Circus for "pure terror and havoc & free stuff".
Steve Kavanagh, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said that "really inflamatory, inaccurate" messages on Twitter were mainly to blame for the disorder. "Social media and other methods have been used to organise these levels of greed and criminality," he said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Asked whether those behind the messages could be arrested, Kavanagh said: "Absolutely." He added: "That investigation is already under way and that is exactly the sort of thing we are looking at."
The main Facebook page set up in memory of Mark Duggan, the Tottenham resident whose death last week triggered the weekend riots, on Monday sought to distance itself from the violence.
The tribute page, which had close to 10,000 fans at the time of writing, on Saturday called for users to share videos and pictures of the torched double decker bus and police cars "to send the message out as to why this has blown into a riot".
On Monday the page struck a more conciliatory tone as unrest spread further across the capital. "If people cared about this 'Tribute' page, they will stop burning & looting. Those who encourage it, well you need to grow up. Mark's family do not need this!" those behind the page posted.
|Iran Calls on Britain to Avoid Violence against Protesters|
TEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran on Tuesday called on London to avoid violent confrontation against protesters as unrests continued in Britain over the killing of a young man in London.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast urged the British police to exercise restraint against protesters.
Mehman-Parast asked the British government to start dialogue with the protesters and to listen to their demands in order to calm the situation down.
He also called on the independent human rights organizations to investigate the killing in order to protect the civil rights and civil liberties.
Tensions remained high in Tottenham following the shooting on Thursday of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, which sparked the first riots in London.
The unrest began on Saturday when a few hundred people gathered outside a police station in Tottenham to protest against the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan on Thursday.
Meantime, violence escalated across London and spread to three other major British cities, as authorities struggle to contain the country's most serious unrest since race riots set the capital ablaze in the 1980s.
In unprecedented scenes of rioting in London, buildings were in flames in Croydon, Peckham and Lewisham in the city's south, while protests continued in the streets of Hackney in the east, Clapham in the south, Camden in the north and Ealing in the west.
Scotland Yard said it had deployed an extra 1700 officers to deal with the London unrest.
Police said on Tuesday they had made 239 arrests over the three days, including an 11-year-old boy.
At least 35 police officers were injured in the unrest at the weekend.
|Computer hackers have defaced the official website of BlackBerry owner Research In Motion, in a retaliatory attack over the company's pledge to assist the police investigation into the London riots.|
Our colleague Josh Halliday has more details:
The Inside BlackBerry blog was hacked into on Tuesday afternoon by a group calling themselves TeamPoison. In a statement posted on the BlackBerry website, the hackers said:
You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment ... if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don't think that the police will protect your employees, the police can't protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don't be a puppet..
p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says "the blackberry employees are innocent" no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police.
The hackers said they defaced the website "in response" to this statement made by RIM on Monday: "We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."
A spokesman for RIM said the firm was looking into the apparent website hack.
|Interviewer: "Peter Power, if I could start with you. The Metropolitan Police this evening saying 'they will be robust'. What is the most important thing you think they can do if we get scenes similar to last night?"|
Peter Power: "Well I think the first thing to bear in mind before we answer that direct question is that viewers all around the world looking at the United Kingdom right now will think that somehow this is an English version of the so called Arab Spring, or somehow wide spread insurrection. The truth of it is it's probably less of a cathartic outburst of pent up anger and much more a whole swathe of youngsters across the country detecting an enfeebled police service and therefore no fear of prosecution."
Interviewer "Given that sence of no fear you talk about there, what should 'robust' mean?"
Peter Power: "Well that's the next question. The prime minister stood outside number 10 and used that very word. I'm not sure he knows what that means. Because what it really means is the police should now reverse in the United Kingdom their normal way of doing things. Almost all senior police officers are fully signed up to the doctine that the use of force is the last resort. It's now got to turn right the way round. We are now going to have to use force as a first resort. That could, in extreme circumstances, mean firing rubber bullets and things like that. So when the prime minister says 'use force', 'be robust', that does mean inevitably that people will end up in hospital. It's a change of tactics at a considerable distance from what we used to do."
|The young people involved in this spate of violence are beyond the conventional alienation of repressed labour. Instead, they suffer from a deeper, more dangerous alienation of being utterly surplus to capitalist requirements, irrelevant and ostracized, and thus doomed to subsist on the margins, functionally illiterate, without hope or aspiration. That is a mode of being which is no longer capable of recognizing ethical constraints or boundaries, precisely because the state has already breached its contract of citizenship to them. The shooting of Mark Duggan, and the underbelly of class and race inequality it followed, was merely a match to a flame that has already burned for too long.|
Burning Britain: Riot Fever as a Symptom of Systemic Failure «
|UK riots: London in lockdown, but violence flares across UK|
Rioting erupts in Salford, Manchester and Birmingham, while Nottingham police station firebombed
Sandra Laville, Vikram Dodd, Alex Hawkes, Matthew Taylor and Peter Walker
The Guardian, Wednesday 10 August 2011
Two police officers in body armour and drafted into London from Cleveland police force stand guard with a Met police officer on Oxford Street. 16,000 officers are in the capital and rubber bullets have been authorised.
Riots and looting spread widely across England on Tuesday, with police waging running battles with gangs in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Nottingham, even as the biggest police deployment in UK history appeared to have at least temporarily quelled further significant trouble in London.
Following widespread chaos in the capital throughout Monday night, described by Scotland Yard as the worst UK urban violence in living memory, a newly-returned David Cameron ordered 16,000 police onto the city's streets, also granting officers the option of using plastic bullets, which have never been previously fired on the British mainland.
Amid intense pressure on police resources the military were taking an increased – though still indirect – role. Some of the 1,500 officers drafted into London from elsewhere were housed at army barracks, and Essex police used some army vehicles as backup transport.
The tough tactics had at least a temporary impact, with little trouble reported in London. Large parts of the city nonetheless remained in virtual lockdown, with thousands of shops and businesses closing early and some boarding up windows.
In contrast, groups of masked and hooded rioters looted dozens of shops in Manchester and adjoining Salford, consistently evading riot officers and setting shops on fire. Greater Manchester police admitted they had struggled to regain control of some streets from "criminals running wild", calling it the worst unrest in the city for 30 years.
There was sporadic but long-running trouble in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, while a police station in Nottingham was firebombed by a gang of dozens of men.
Later, there were reports that a gun was discharged towards officers in Aston, Birmingham. West Midlands police said an officer, in an area not previously connected to the rioting, heard what he thought was a shot fired. They immediately dispatched a firearms team to the scene.
Beginning a day of drama, David Cameron, stood in Downing Street hours after returning from holiday and pledged to flood the capital with more than double the number of police.
The public should expect to see "many more" rioters arrested from now on, the prime minister said. Parliament would be recalled on Thursday to debate the trouble, he added. Shortly afterwards Cameron chaired a meeting of the Cobra security committee at which it is understood he and the home secretary, Theresa May, discussed the possible use of plastic bullets, water cannon and other tactics.
Any decision on using plastic bullets will be up to senior police officers. If used, it would be the first time they have been fired at rioters in the UK outside Northern Ireland. It forms part of a wider reversal of tactics by Scotland Yard after criticism of its response so far. Senior police sources told the Guardian on Tuesday that for the first three nights of trouble officers in London were told to stand by, watch and wait rather than actively seek to arrest rioters and looters. But after anger from the public – who witnessed officers seemingly doing little as youths ran unchecked, burning and looting– and Cameron's intervention, those orders were changed to leave officers free to tackle troublemakers.
The Met's acting commissioner, Tim Godwin, and his senior team authorised the tougher tactics after watching Monday night's events from their operations centre. In the early hours of Tuesday, the decision to use heavily armoured Jankel vehicles to clear the streets of Clapham Junction, south London, was the first indication of a radical change of plan.
"The officers on the streets wanted to do nothing more than go in and arrest people as they were in the act of breaking into property, looting and robbing. But they had been told not to and it was just not acceptable," said a source. "That has had to change."
A parallel crackdown has begun to track down rioters and looters, with police releasing a gallery of those believed responsible for trouble, including CCTV stills of very young men and women, some with faces clearly visible. So far, Scotland Yard officers have arrested 685 people, with 105 charged. In total, 111 officers and five police dogs, have been injured.
Monday's trouble saw the first confirmed death, when a 26-year-old man was shot in the head in Croydon.
Police investigating a large fire which destroyed the House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon on Monday night have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, Scotland Yard said.
Another man is fighting for his life after being attacked by rioters in Ealing, west London. "Where will this end?" said Jalil al-Mohammed, whose Croydon greengrocers shop was looted. "This boy has died and all these shops have gone. It affects everybody not just the shop owners."
The chaos has brought a series of knock-on effects, including the cancellation of Wednesday's football friendly between England and the Netherlands at Wembley. This weekend's start of the Premier League season is also in doubt, with several fixtures in the capital under threat.
The scale of the trouble brought other politicians back to London along with Cameron. Also newly returned were Nick Clegg and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, both of whom endured a sometimes hostile reception on walkabouts. Clegg was booed by a crowd in Birmingham while Johnson, in Clapham Junction, saw an off-the-cuff speech interrupted by cries of "Where were the police?"
The first rioting began on Saturday in the wake of a protest in Tottenham, north London, following the fatal shooting by police of a local man, Mark Duggan, two days earlier. On Tuesday the Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed that initial ballistics tests suggested Duggan had not opened fire on the police before he was killed, although the illegal firearm he was carrying was loaded. The IPCC said Duggan suffered gunshot wounds to his chest and right arm.
The rioting could cost taxpayers £100m, according to the Association of British Insurers, with police authorities having to pick up insurance costs. The Riots (Damages) Act 1886 specifies that if damage is caused by people "riotously and tumultuously assembled", local police authorities are required to compensate victims.
|Ahmadinejad: Britain Crackdown Unacceptable|
by Naharnet Newsdesk
10 August 2011, 14:03
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday strongly condemned what he called the "savage" crackdown by British police on rampaging youths, the state television's website reported.
"This savage treatment of people is absolutely unacceptable, and British statesmen must hear the voice of the people and grant them freedoms," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
"British politicians should look to help their own people instead of invading Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to plunder their oil."
Ahmadinejad said part of the British public has "lost its patience and become frustrated," and urged London to "get on the people's side and change their management, instead of using such approaches."
He criticized the U.N. Security Council for remaining "silent" over the developments in Britain, which is experiencing its worst unrest in decades.
Riots raged into a fifth day on Wednesday as youths ran amok in Manchester and the industrial Midlands, but London was quiet after British Prime Minister David Cameron boosted the police presence in the capital to 16,000.
Scotland Yard said early on Wednesday that 768 people had been arrested and 111 police officers have been injured in the disorder.
"Even if one hundredth of these crimes were to happen in countries opposed to the West, the United Nations and other organizations claiming to defend human rights would vehemently decry it," Ahmadinejad added.
"The stage has now been set for testing the U.N. Security Council to see whether it will condemn one of its own permanent members," he added.
Looters have caused mayhem including in Britain's second largest city Birmingham, where three Asian men died early on Wednesday after being hit by a car.
Reports said they had just left a mosque and were protecting their neighborhood in the central city.
Ahmadinejad: Britain Crackdown Unacceptable - Naharnet
|We were suckled on the milk that they soured|
Told the future was ours
And then disembowelled and disempowered
Weve been disgraced, deafened and deflowered
Our brains brutalised and our defiance devoured
|London Police’s Response to Riots Handcuffed by Force’s History|
By Robert Hutton, Ben Edwards and David Goodman -
London’s Metropolitan Police have endured three decades during which they’ve been accused of institutional racism and inappropriate use of force. Yesterday Londoners said they weren’t being aggressive enough in quelling riots across the city.
Less than a month after the force was rocked by the resignation of two of its most senior officers over the phone- hacking scandal at News Corp.’s now defunct News of the World newspaper, the Met said the night of Aug. 8 was “the worst” it had seen “in current memory” as shops were looted and set on fire, sometimes while officers looked on.
“There’s a fear of being seen to over-react,” said Peter Power, a former superintendent in the Met who policed riots in Brixton in south London in 1981 and is now in the government’s Crisis Management Steering Group. “A series of controversial reports have left the police feeling demoralized and emasculated. They don’t know whether they’re a force or a service. What we need now is a force.”
Police attempted to regain the initiative yesterday by deploying 16,000 officers overnight in London to deter a fourth night of rioting, up from 6,000 the previous evening. Having already employed armored vehicles, the forces’ commanders said they wouldn’t rule out the use of rubber bullets.
In one incident on the night of Aug. 8, television pictures showed rioters in Hackney in northeast London stealing wooden planks from the back of a truck and then smashing the windows of a bus, yards from a line of police in riot gear. The bus moved off only when a passer-by stopped to pick up the trashcan blocking its way.
The force has frequently been the brunt of politicians’ criticism in recent years. Its last two commissioners, Ian Blair and Paul Stephenson, have both been forced to resign, Stephenson over the phone-hacking fallout and Blair following a clash over policies with London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The judgment of officers was called into question when a homeless newspaper seller died after finding himself passing through police lines during 2009 demonstrations, and again when a Brazilian electrician was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot dead in 2005. In 1999, an inquiry into the mishandling of the 1993 murder of a black teenager found the police were “institutionally racist.” This week’s riots were sparked by the police shooting of a black man, Mark Duggan, as they were attempting to make an arrest.
Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday recalled Parliament to address the country’s worst rioting since the 1980s. While more than 500 people have been arrested, shopkeepers and residents of areas subject to looting said the police response was ineffective.
“The police weren’t doing enough, they were just watching,” said Abdul Sadek, 37, manager of health-food store Holland & Barrett in Hackney. Closed-circuit television pictures from his shop showed youths kicking the door in and looting the store. “It was like a standoff.”
Down the road the O2 phone shop had its shutters bashed in. Staff had fled in the early afternoon. “You can’t blame the police but they’ve lost control,” said Harris Zafar, 24, the manager. “It’s like a war zone.”
Serkan Kaya, who works at the nearby Ali Baba burger bar, said at one point in the evening he’d seen rioters fleeing from a group of locals. “A group ran past being chased by people from around here,” he said. “People started fighting back because police couldn’t do anything so they were protecting their shops themselves.”
‘Pretty Good Job’
Stephen Timms, a Labour Party lawmaker who represents an east London district that saw some rioting, defended officers in his area.
“My impression is that the police did a pretty good job of containing things yesterday,” he said. “Things were moving so fast, and flaring up in different places.”
Cameron, who returned early from his vacation in Italy on Aug. 8, signaled he wanted the police to take a tougher line. “It’s quite clear we need more, much more, police on our streets, and we need even more robust police action,” he told reporters outside his Downing Street office yesterday.
Power questioned whether the prime minister would back officers who took him at his word. “Does he know what that means?” he said. “That means people looting and rioting will end up in hospital. Is he prepared to defend police in those circumstances?”
London Police’s Response to Riots Handcuffed by Force’s History - Bloomberg
|Looters threaten and attack residencies in Cairo|
Sat, 29/01/2011 - 15:32
Looting has been reported in different districts across Egypt.
In Alexandria, at least eight police stations were set on fire on Saturday and prisoners released. Thugs were seen carrying wooden window frames and gates as well as sanitary ware that they took out of police stations.
In the Maadi district of Cairo, residents living next to the Carrefour shopping mall--which was looted on Friday--told Al-Masry Al-Youm by phone that they saw thugs approaching their buildings.
Similar reports were relayed from the Mohandessin area in Cairo, where thugs reportedly attacked houses.
In the affluent quarter of the Fifth Settlement to the east of Cairo, residents also reported thugs cordoning their buildings and threatening to break in. Six armored vehicles have been deployed in the neighborhood, according to eyewitnesses.
However, no military deployment was witnessed in other districts, which led to a scare among residents.
Protesters have been attempting to organize popular committees in endangered areas in order to secure neighborhoods.
Looters threaten and attack residencies in Cairo | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt
|11 October 2010 Last updated at 13:41|
Officer given life for boy's murder in Greek riot case
Undated photo of Alexandros Grigoropoulos Witnesses said Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot deliberately
A Greek policeman has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a schoolboy in 2008, an incident that sparked mass unrest.
A court in the town of Amfissa convicted Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, of intentionally killing 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
He was shot dead on 6 December 2008 in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia.
Korkoneas's patrol partner, Vassilios Saraliotis, 32, was given a 10-year jail sentence for complicity.
The riots that followed the killing saw cars being set alight and shops looted in a number of cities. Hundreds of businesses in Athens were targeted and the second city of Thessaloniki also saw serious unrest.
Further rioting took place on the first anniversary.
The decision, by the smallest possible margin, to convict Epaminondas Korkoneas of murder closes one of the darkest chapters of recent Greek history and is a source of considerable relief for the country's socialist government.
Anything other than a guilty verdict could have triggered a violent response from the country's youth, many of whom regard the police with suspicion, mistrust and outright hatred.
The outcome is a source of grim satisfaction for the family of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who had fully expected "The Rambo of Exarchia" to be convicted of murder.
Alexandros's mother Gina Tsalikian, who runs a jewellery store in Athens, was highly distressed by attempts by Korkoneas's defence team to paint her son as a troublemaker and the verdict helps to restore his memory.
Two judges and one juror had backed a lesser verdict of manslaughter with possible intent.
The nine-month trial heard that Korkoneas had fired three shots, during an altercation with youths on the streets of Athens.
His lawyer said these had been warning shots - responding to a hail of missiles - and cited an autopsy report indicating the boy had been hit by a ricocheting bullet.
However, witnesses and relatives testified that Korkoneas had deliberately taken aim and fired.
At the trial in January, Alexandros's mother, Gina Tsalikian, said the two defendants were "monsters in the guise of men".
Responding to the verdict, her spokesman, Capt Andreas Constantinou, said: "The family is happy with the outcome of the court proceedings. Justice has been done.
"Of course, Alexandros is not coming back, but at least what is important for the family is that his good name has been restored."
The trial was moved from Athens to Amfissa - a small town 200km (120 miles) west of the capital - to deter attacks by anarchist groups that had vowed to kill the two defendants.
Exarchia is a rebellious district, popular with self-styled anarchists, and there are frequent clashes with police.
The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Athens says the chairman of the residents' association there, Manos Koufouglou, had told him he welcomed the verdict.
But Mr Koufouglou said that while tensions had eased, the people of Exarchia remained unhappy that the armed Special Guard unit to which Korkoneas belonged had not been disbanded.
"Police violence goes on," he told our correspondent. "The government has not done enough to reform the police.
"There will be a demonstration to mark the anniversary of the murder. We will not forget."
BBC News - Officer given life for boy's murder in Greek riot case
|Syria and Libya criticise David Cameron over UK riots - video|
Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, has compared the riots in England to the violence in his country. More than 2,000 people have been killed in Syria in a bloody crackdown by Bashar al-Assad's regime on pro-democracy protesters.
Libya, whose government's violence against civilians in rebel-held areas prompted military intervention by Nato, called on David Cameron to step down. The Libyan prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, described the UK's disturbances as a 'popular uprising'
Syria and Libya criticise David Cameron over UK riots - video | UK news | guardian.co.uk
|David Cameron considers banning suspected rioters from social media|
PM says sites such as Twitter and Facebook 'can be used for ill' and that broadcasters should hand footage of riots to police
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 August 2011 13.01 BST
Social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger are thought to have played a role in organising riots across the UK.
David Cameron has told parliament that in the wake of this week's riots the government is looking at banning people from using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook if they are thought to be plotting criminal activity.
The prime minister said the government will review whether it is possible to stop suspected rioters spreading online messages, in his opening statement during a Commons debate on Thursday on the widespread civil disorder for which MPs were recalled from their summer recess.
Answering questions after his statement, Cameron said the home secretary, Theresa May, will hold meetings with Facebook, Twitter and Research In Motion within weeks to discuss their responsibilities in this area.
The prime minister also said that broadcasters – including the BBC and Sky News – have a responsibility to hand unused footage of the riots to police.
Past attempts to force broadcasters to hand over their footage have been met with fierce resistance. On Wednesday, the BBC's head of newsgathering, Fran Unsworth, said voluntarily giving unused footage to the police would damage broadcasters' editorial independence.
"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill," said Cameron.
"And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.
"I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers."
"Police were facing a new circumstance where rioters were using the BlackBerry Messenger service, a closed network, to organise riots," he said. "We've got to examine that and work out how to get ahead of them."
The prime minister made the announcement as he vowed to do "whatever it takes" to restore order to the nation's streets after four nights of unprecedented civil unrest.
A move to disconnect potential rioters would mark a huge shift in Britain's internet policy, with free speech advocates likely to accuse the government of ushering in a new wave of online censorship.
Scotland Yard has made a string of arrests of people suspected of inciting the violence across England by using BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook.
Cameron urged Twitter and Facebook to remove messages, images and videos that could incite more unrest across the country. "All of them should think about their responsibility and about taking down those images," he said.
"There was an awful lot of hoaxes and false trails made on Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger and the rest of it. We need a major piece of work to make sure that the police have all the technological capabilities they need to hunt down and beat the criminals."
Jim Killock, the executive director of online advocacy organisation Open Rights Group, said Cameron risked attacking the "fundamental" right of free speech.
"Events like the recent riots are frequently used to attack civil liberties. Policing should be targeted at actual offenders, with the proper protection of the courts," Killock added.
"How do people 'know' when someone is planning to riot? Who makes that judgment? The only realistic answer is the courts must judge. If court procedures are not used, then we will quickly see abuses by private companies and police. Companies like RIM must insist on court processes.
"Citizens also have the right to secure communications. Business, politics and free speech relies on security and privacy. David Cameron must be careful not to attack these fundamental needs because of concerns about the actions of a small minority."
Hampshire police on Wednesday arrested three people on suspicion of using Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger to incite violent disorder in Southampton. Those arrests are thought to be the first directly linked to the use of the popular BlackBerry instant messaging service. A number of arrests have been made of people suspected of inciting violence on Facebook.
David Lammy, the MP for riot-stricken Tottenham, on Tuesday appealed for the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion to shut off its BlackBerry Messenger service after claims that it played a key role in organising the unrest.
Research In Motion declined to comment.
|Police clash with vigilantes in Eltham|
Thursday 11 August 2011
Channel 4 News Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson reports from Eltham, one of the only areas to see continued trouble five nights after riots began. But there was confusion over who was fighting who.
It was, as the phrase goes, a major police presence on the streets. All we had heard were the usual Twitter messages about vigilantes coming out in Eltham in south east London "to protect their community".
This is a phrase you hear rather a lot of in some parts of England just now.
So it was that in the central crossroads of Eltham they certainly had come out in force. Crowds of young men and (mostly male) teenagers and crowds of police. Scores of police transit vans. Many from Wales, judging by the badges.
In two pockets close to the central crossroads, two groups of men - not teenagers this time. White men, roughly from their twenties into their forties. You quickly heard them randomly abusing the several hundred police gathered here, along with chants of "E... E... EDL" (English Defence League).
You quickly heard them randomly abusing the several hundred police gathered here, along with chants of "E...E...EDL".
The local pubs had been asked to close for the evening, and all the shops and food places bar a rather fine Chinese had agreed to do so.
So the stage was set, it seems, for a rather bizarre confrontation: these chanting men had come, we were told, to protect their streets. The police had come to protect their streets. And here were the two groups come to protect the streets by confronting each other.
Only a matter of time
Thus it was only a matter of time.
As it happens we were in precisely the "right" place for the first of a number of cans and bottle to come hurling in from the EDL chanters to the riot police.
That was the signal for them to act, steadily and gradually charging out from the central crossroads to retake an area several hundred yards down the roads reaching out from it. Gradually the crowd of perhaps a hundred or so men legged it at every police push.
The officers had dogs but did not use them. We saw one arrest, but basically the "vigilantes" never allowed the police to get near enough and the police themselves appeared pretty happy with things being that way.
In an hour or so it was all over and these men had melted away into the night.
Police clash with vigilantes in Eltham (Reuters)
So who were they? Were they an organised EDL outfit? Well, hard to know since whenever we were close to them they threw bottles and other objects at us and the police - or simply ran away as fast as they could.
Local people standing watching all this divided into two distinct groups. The first insisted these were local Eltham men come out to "defend our community" from would-be rioters, and on the whole these people seemed pretty angry at the vast police presence which seemed to have been mounted to prevent them doing the police's job.
The other camp insisted these were not locals at all but outsiders - EDL - coming into the area to stir up racial tension and mix it with the police or anybody else.
"Lewisham," they told us darkly. You quickly sense on the streets here there is little love lost between Lewisham and Eltham, for reasons I could not entirely fathom.
Channel 4 News FactCheck counts the costs of the riots
EDL, vigilantes, locals
Tony Begsley described himself as an EDL member from nearby Dartford and said these were not EDL people but people using the EDL name to stir up trouble.
"I've come up to video them because they're using the EDL name and they are nothing to do with EDL - just using the name to jump on the bandwagon," he said.
"They're all locals but they just don't want all these police down here. They want to manage their own streets."
That, like much else in terms of who these people are and why they were here, and how they were protecting their community by attacking policemen who had come here to do the same thing, will be hotly contested in this areas.
Adrian, a local resident, said: "There's just no reason for this. These are grown men. They're just trying to get a reputation for themselves, for their gang or whatever. There's just no need for it. They're just putting themselves up as idiots."
"They should send them out to Afghanistan," said another."That's where the Englishmen are. They're just coming into this area to cause trouble."
Whatever they are about, it presents a new potential challenge for outside police forces - in this case from another country (Wales) in many cases - who do not know the area but who do now know that potentially, there is more to this disorder than simply bunches of kids looting because they think they can get away with it.
Police clash with vigilantes in Eltham - Channel 4 News
|House of Commons|
Thursday 11 August 2011
The House met at half-past Eleven o’clock, notice having been given by Mr Speaker (Standing Order No. 13.)
[Mr Speaker in the Chair]
The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): With permission, I would like to make a statement. First, let me thank you, Mr Speaker and right hon. and hon. Members for returning. When there are important events in our country, it is right that Parliament is recalled and that we show a united front. I am grateful to the Leader of the Opposition for the constructive approach he has taken over the past few days. I have tried to speak with many of the Members whose constituencies have been affected, and I would like to pay particular tribute to the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy) for his powerful words and actions over recent days.
What we have seen on the streets of London and in other cities across our country is completely unacceptable, and I am sure that the whole House will join me in condemning it. Keeping people safe is the first duty of Government. The whole country has been shocked by the most appalling scenes of people looting, violence, vandalising and thieving. It is criminality, pure and simple—and there is absolutely no excuse for it. We have seen houses, offices and shops raided and torched, police officers assaulted and fire crews attacked as they try to put out fires. We have seen people robbing others while they lie injured and bleeding in the street, and even three innocent people deliberately run over and killed in Birmingham. We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets, and we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order and to rebuild our communities.
First, we must be clear about the sequence of events. A week ago today, a 29-year-old man named Mark Duggan was shot dead by the police in Tottenham. Clearly, there are questions that must be answered, and I can assure the House that this is being investigated thoroughly and independently by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. We must get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and we will.
Initially, there were some peaceful demonstrations following Mark Duggan’s death and understandably and quite appropriately the police were cautious about how they dealt with them. However, this was then used as an excuse by opportunist thugs in gangs, first in Tottenham itself, then across London and in other cities. It is completely wrong to say there is any justifiable causal link. It is simply preposterous for anyone to suggest that people looting in Tottenham at the weekend, still less three days later in Salford, were in any way doing so because of the death of Mark Duggan. Young people stealing flat-screen televisions and burning shops—that was not about politics or protest, it was about theft.
In recent days, individual police officers have shown incredible bravery and have worked in some cases around the clock without a break, and they deserve our support and our thanks. But what became increasingly clear earlier this week was that there were simply far too few police deployed on to our streets, and the tactics that they were using were not working. Police chiefs have been frank with me about why this happened. Initially, the police treated the situation too much as a public order issue, rather than essentially one of crime. The truth is that the police have been facing a new and unique challenge, with different people doing the same thing—basically, looting—in different places but all at the same time. To respond to this situation, we are acting decisively to restore order on our streets, to support the victims of this terrible violence and to look at the deeper problems that led such a hard core of young people to decide to carry out such appalling criminality. Let me take each in turn.
|First, restoring order. Following the meetings of Cobra that I chaired on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again this morning, we have taken decisive action to help ensure more robust and more effective policing. As a result of decisions made by Metropolitan police Commissioner Tim Godwin and other police chiefs up and down the country, there are now more police on the streets, more people being arrested, and more criminals being prosecuted. The Metropolitan police increased the number deployed on the streets of London from 6,000 to almost 16,000 officers, and this number will remain throughout the weekend. We have also seen large increases in deployments of officers in other affected areas. Leave in affected forces has been cancelled, and police officers have been bussed from forces across the country to areas of greatest need. Many businesses have quite rightly released special constables to help, and they performed magnificently as well.|
More than 1,200 people have now been arrested across the country. We are making technology work for us, by capturing the images of the perpetrators on CCTV, so even if they have not yet been arrested their faces are known and they will not escape the law. As I said yesterday, no phoney human rights concerns about publishing these photographs will get in the way of bringing these criminals to justice. Anyone charged with violent disorder and other serious offences should expect to be remanded in custody, not let back on the streets; and anyone convicted should expect to go to jail.
|Courts in London, Manchester and the west midlands have been sitting through the night, and will do so for as long as is necessary. Magistrates courts have proved effective in ensuring swift justice. The Crown courts are now starting to deal with the most serious cases. We are keeping under constant review whether the courts have the sentencing powers they need, and we will act if necessary.|
As a result of the robust and uncompromising measures that have been taken, good progress is being made in restoring order to the streets of London and other cities around our country. As I have made clear, nothing should be off the table. Every contingency should be looked at. The police are already authorised to use baton rounds. As I said yesterday, while they would not be appropriate now, we do have in place contingency plans for water cannon to be available at 24 hours’ notice.
|Some people have raised the issue of the Army. The acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police said to me that he would be the last man left in Scotland Yard with all his management team out on the streets before he asked for Army support. That is the right attitude and one I share, but it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that every future contingency is looked at, including whether there are tasks that the Army could undertake that might free up more police for the front line.|
|Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill, so we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.|
I have also asked the police whether they need any other new powers. Specifically on facemasks, currently they can only ask for them to be removed in a specific geographical location and for a limited time. I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to require the removal of face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity. On dealing with crowds, we are also looking at the use of existing dispersal powers and whether any wider power of curfew is necessary.
Whenever the police face a new threat, they must have the freedom and the confidence to change tactics as necessary. This Government will always make sure they have the backing and political support to do so. The fight back has well and truly begun, but there will be no complacency. We will not stop until this mindless violence and thuggery is defeated and law and order is fully restored on all our streets.
Let me turn to the innocent victims. No one will forget the images of the woman jumping from a burning building, or of the furniture shop that had survived the blitz but has now tragically been burnt to the ground; and everyone will have been impressed by the incredibly brave words of Tariq Jahan, a father in Birmingham whose son was so brutally and tragically run over and killed. Shops, businesses and homes—too many have been vandalised or destroyed and I give the people affected this promise. We will help you repair the damage, get your businesses back up and running and support your communities.
Let me take each in turn. On repairing the damage, I confirm that any individual, home owner or business that has suffered damage to or loss of their buildings or property as a result of rioting can seek compensation under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, even if uninsured. The Government will ensure the police have the funds they need to meet the cost of any legitimate claims, and whereas normally claims must be received within 14 days, we will extend the period to 42 days. The Association of British Insurers has said it expects the industry to be paying out in excess of £200 million, and has assured us that claims will be dealt with as quickly and constructively as possible.
On supporting business, we are today setting up a new £20 million high street support scheme to help affected businesses get back up and running quickly. To minimise the costs facing businesses, the Government will enable local authorities to grant business rate relief, by funding at least three quarters of their costs. We will defer tax payments for businesses in greatest need, through Time to Pay and other practical support. And for houses and businesses that have been the most badly damaged, we have instructed the valuation office to immediately stop liability for council tax and business rates.
A specific point was raised with me in Wolverhampton yesterday—that planning regulations make it difficult for shops to put up protective shutters. We will weed out unnecessary planning regulations to ensure that businesses can get back on their feet and feel secure as quickly as possible.
On supporting local communities, I can confirm that the Bellwin scheme to support local authorities will be operational. However, to ensure that urgent funding is immediately available, we are today establishing a new £10 million recovery scheme to provide additional support to councils in making areas safe, clean and clear again. The Government will also meet the immediate costs of emergency accommodation for families made homeless by the disturbances. The Secretaries of States for Communities and Local Government and for Business, Innovation and Skills have made available to the House details of all those schemes today. Of course, the situation continues to evolve, and we will keep any additional support under close review.
Finally, let me turn to the deeper problem. Responsibility for crime always lies with the criminal. These people were all volunteers; they did not have to do what they did, and they must suffer the consequences. But crime has a context, and we must not shy away from it. I have said before that there is a major problem in our society with children growing up not knowing the difference between right and wrong. This is not about poverty; it is about culture—a culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities.
In too many cases, the parents of these children—if they are still around—do not care where their children are or who they are with, let alone what they are doing. The potential consequences of neglect and immorality on this scale have been clear for too long, without enough action being taken. As I said yesterday, there is no one step that can be taken, but we need a benefit system that rewards work and is on the side of families. We need more discipline in our schools; we need action to deal with the most disruptive families; and we need a criminal justice system that scores a clear, heavy line between right and wrong—in short, all the action that is necessary to help mend our broken society.
At the heart of all the violence sits the issue of the street gangs. Territorial, hierarchical and incredibly violent, they are mostly composed of young boys, mainly from dysfunctional homes. They earn money through crime, particularly drugs, and are bound together by an imposed loyalty to an authoritarian gang leader. They have blighted life on their estates, with gang-on-gang murders and unprovoked attacks on innocent bystanders.
In the past few days, there is some evidence that they have been behind the co-ordination of the attacks on the police and the looting that has followed. I want us to use the record of success against gangs from cities such as Boston in the USA and, indeed, from the Strathclyde police in Scotland who have engaged the police, the voluntary sector and local government. I want this to be a national priority.
We have already introduced gang injunctions, and I can announce today that we will use them across the whole country for children and for adults. There are also further sanctions available beyond the criminal justice system. Local authorities and landlords already have tough powers to evict the perpetrators from social housing. Some local authorities are already doing this. I want to see others follow their lead, and we will consider whether these powers need to be strengthened further.
I have asked the Home Secretary to work with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and other Cabinet colleagues on a cross-government programme of action to deal with this gang culture and to report to Parliament in October.
I believe that we should be looking beyond our shores to learn the lessons from others who have faced similar problems. That is why I will be discussing how we can go further in getting to grips with gangs with people such as Bill Bratton, former commissioner of police in New York and Los Angeles. Of course, the problem is not just gangs; there were people who saw shop windows smashed and who thought that it would be okay just to go in and steal. It is not okay, and these people, too, will have to face the full consequences of their actions.
In the past few days, we have seen a range of emotions sweep this country: anger, fear, frustration, despair, sadness and, finally, a determined resolve that we will not let a violent few beat us. We saw that resolve in the people who gathered in Clapham, Manchester and Wolverhampton with brooms to clean up our streets. We saw it in those who patrolled the roads in Enfield through the night to deter rioters. We saw it in the hundreds of people who stood guard outside the Southall temple, protecting it from vandalism. This is a time for our country to pull together.
|#Enfield: 100 white men, 30s-40s, sprinting along Hertford Rd. Shouts of "Get the Pakis." 11:43 AM Aug 9th via Twitter for BlackBerry® Retweeted by 100+ people|
| @ScorchersLife Skywalker|
Im hearin there's a march against young black ppl in enfield, are you seein where this has gone, all kinds of prick jus rationalising fuckry
9 Aug via UberSocial for BlackBerry
| @ScorchersLife Skywalker|
These same people marching in Enfield are the same fuckin football hooligans that fight people week in week out at white hart lane
9 Aug via UberSocial for BlackBerry
| @ScorchersLife Skywalker|
So now every closet racist in Enfield thinks they have an excuse to cause pandemonium, are you seeing how serious this has all got?
9 Aug via UberSocial for BlackBerry
| @ScorchersLife Skywalker|
People think I'm chatting shit, well here's the Tottenham Hotspur firm marching down Hertford road #FACT http://lockerz.com/s/128116001
| @ScorchersLife Skywalker|
NO I AM NOT STEREOTYPING because I got a call from 1 of my pals that's part of the Spurs firm telling me how disgusted he is by his own pals
9 Aug via UberSocial for BlackBerry
If you're from Edmonton/Enfield you'll know there are no shops to loot or protect there so wa gwan really? Where is it they're 'protecting'?
9 Aug via UberSocial for BlackBerry
|To the law-abiding people who play by the rules and who are the overwhelming majority in this country, I say, “The fight back has begun. We will protect you. If you’ve had your livelihood and property damaged, we will compensate you. We are on your side.” To the lawless minority, the criminals who have taken what they can get, I say: we will track you down, we will find you, we will charge you, we will punish you. You will pay for what you have done.|
We need to show the world, which has looked on, frankly, appalled, that the perpetrators of the violence we have seen on our streets are not in any way representative of our country, or of our young people. We need to show them that we will address our broken society and restore a sense of stronger morality and responsibility in every town, in every street and in every estate. A year away from the Olympics, we need to show the world the Britain that does not destroy, but that builds; that does not give up, but stands up; that does not look back, but always looks forward. I commend this statement to the House.
Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab): I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and for his decision to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that Parliament be recalled. Whatever we disagree on week by week, month by month, today as a House of Commons we stand shoulder to shoulder, united against the vandalism and violence we have seen on our streets. The victims are the innocent people who live in many of our cities, who have seen their homes and businesses destroyed, their communities damaged and their confidence about their own safety undermined. There can be no excuses, no justification. This behaviour has disgusted us all. It cannot be allowed to stand; we will not allow it to stand.
I join the Prime Minister in mourning the loss of life, including those killed in London and Birmingham. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died—with people such as Tariq Jahan. We stand with him because he is the true face of Britain—the Britain of which we are all proud.
I also thank our brave policemen and women throughout this country for the work they have been doing on our behalf, and all our emergency services. We salute them for their courage, their dedication and their willingness—yet again—to put themselves in harm’s way for all of us and all our communities. Thanks to them, a degree of order has been re-established on our streets, but all of us in all parts of the House know what the public want and what they are entitled to: a return to normality, as well as order.
Normality does not mean shops having to shut at 3 pm because they fear looting. Normality does not mean rushing home because you are scared to be on the streets. Normality does not mean being fearful in your own home. People want to have back the most fundamental of all liberties: the ability to go about their business and lead their lives with security and without fear. They have a right to expect that and we have a responsibility to make it happen. To do that, Parliament needs to do its job. We need to unite against the violence and to be the place where we examine and debate frankly all the issues involved—how we have got here, what it says about Britain and what the response should be.
On policing, I agree with the Prime Minister that this is a job for the police, but will he say what functions he thinks the Army might be able to perform to relieve pressure on the police? Will he confirm that the significant additional operational costs that the police now face will be funded from the Treasury reserve and so not place extra pressure on already stretched budgets? Will he also confirm that the increased presence on our streets, which he said would remain in place to the weekend, will remain beyond the weekend, until the police can be confident that the trouble will not recur?
The events of the past few days have been a stark reminder to us all that police on our streets make our communities safer and make the public feel safer. Given the absolute priority the public attach to a visible and active police presence, does the Prime Minister understand why they will think it is not right if he goes ahead with the cuts to police numbers he has planned? Will he now think again about that policy?
On criminal justice, the public are clear about wanting swift, effective and tough action to send a message about the penalties and punishment that follow from the violence that has occurred. We must see swift progress from charge to trial in these cases. Can the Prime Minister confirm that there is the capacity in the courts and among our prosecutors to deal with cases swiftly, not just for first appearance, but throughout the trial process, including when people get to trial? It is right that the Crown Prosecution Service is taking into account the aggravating circumstances within which the horrendous criminal acts that we have seen took place in recent days. Does the Prime Minister agree that magistrates and judges need to have those circumstances at the front of their mind so that those found guilty of such disgraceful behaviour receive the tough sentences that they deserve and the public expect? As the Prime Minister said, we have also been reminded about the importance of CCTV in catching those responsible, so will he undertake to look again at his proposals on CCTV to be absolutely sure that they in no way hinder bringing criminals to justice?
Thirdly, we need all our cities back on their feet and operating as normal. That work began—I pay tribute to the heroism of the thousands of volunteers who reclaimed our streets and showed the true spirit of those cities and our country. I welcome what the Prime Minister said and all the different elements of help that he announced. Can he reassure us that the help that is provided will meet the need, and that there will not be an arbitrary cap on the amount that he announced if it turns out that further resources are required? Can he assure us that these funds will flow straight away so that people can get on with rebuilding their lives and communities?
Fourthly, on the deeper lessons that we need to learn, the Prime Minister said in 2006:
“Understanding the background, the reasons, the causes. It doesn’t mean excusing crime but it will help us tackle it.”
To seek to explain is not to seek to excuse. Of course these are acts of individual criminality, but we all have a duty to ask ourselves why there are people who feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from wanton vandalism and looting. We cannot afford to let this pass and calm the situation down, only to find ourselves in the same position again in the future.
These issues cannot be laid at the door of a single cause or a single Government. The causes are complex. Simplistic solutions will not provide the answer. We can tackle the solutions only by hearing from our communities. What the decent people I met on the streets of London and Manchester told me and will tell the Prime Minister is that they want their voice to be heard. They want us to go out and listen to them in thinking about the solutions that are necessary. Before any of us say we know all the answers or have simple solutions, we should all do so.
Will the Prime Minister explain how those in areas affected will have their voice heard as the Government seek to find solutions to the issues that we have seen? Does the Prime Minister agree that there must be a full independent commission of inquiry swiftly looking at what has happened in recent days and what lessons we need to learn—not an inquiry sitting in Whitehall hearing evidence from academic experts, but reaching out and listening to those affected, the decent law-abiding majority affected by these terrible events? They deserve and need to be heard.
We need to look at and act on all the issues that matter—the responsibility we need from top to bottom in our society, including parental responsibility; an end to a take-what-you-can culture that needs to change from the benefits office to the board room. The Prime Minister is right. We need a sustained effort to tackle the gangs in our cities—something we knew about before these riots. In the consideration that the Prime Minister gives to how we tackle gang culture, will he look urgently at the Youth Justice Board report published last June, which had a series of recommendations about what the Government should be doing to tackle gang culture?
Of course, as we look at the solutions we need, questions of hope and aspiration are relevant—the provision of opportunities to get on in life that do not involve illegality and wrongdoing. When we talk about responsibility, we must not forget ours, not to the tiny minority who did the violence, but to the vast majority of law-abiding young people. They are a generation—this is not about any one Government—worried about their prospects and we cannot afford to fail them. We cannot afford to have the next generation believe that they are going to do worse than the last. They should be able to do better. That is the promise of Britain that they have a right to expect.
In conclusion, successful societies are built on an ethic of hard work, compassion, solidarity and looking after each other. Ours must be one society. We all bear a share of responsibility for what happens within it. It is right that we came back to debate these issues. It is right that public order must be paramount, but it is also imperative that even after order and normality are restored we do not ignore the lessons that we must learn. We cannot afford to move on and forget. To all the people who have been in fear this week, to those who have lost loved ones, homes and businesses, we owe a duty to ensure that there is no repeat of what we have seen. That is our responsibility to the victims and to the country, and the Opposition will play our part in making it happen.
The Prime Minister: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said today, but also for what he has said in recent days, and, if I may say so, the way in which he has said it. He made a number of points.
First, the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to praise the emergency services and the work they have done. It is particularly remarkable that in spite of the fact that fires have been started in many cities across our country, there have been no casualties from those fires. That speaks volumes about the professionalism and brilliance of our firefighters nationwide.
The right hon. Gentleman rightly says that it is important that as soon as possible we get our high streets, cities and towns back to a real sense of normality. That has to start with the increased police presence so that people feel the confidence to go out and enjoy their towns and cities, and I believe that that will happen, so that our cities become the great and bustling places that we want them to be.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about the police, the courts, communities and the deeper lessons, so let me just say a word about each. I chose my words on the Army carefully. None of us wants to see a break away from the great British model of policing where the public are the police and the police are the public, but Governments have a responsibility to try to look ahead at contingencies and potential problems, and to start asking about potential problems and difficulties in advance. That is exactly what Cobra has done—for instance, by simply asking whether there are tasks, such as some simple guarding tasks, that could be done that would free up police for more front-line duties. This is not for today, or even for tomorrow; it is just so that there are contingency plans in case they become necessary.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about operational costs. Of course, the Treasury reserve is being used. He asked about policing numbers beyond the weekend. Deployment must be an issue and a matter for police chiefs. They will want to assess the intelligence and the situation before making those decisions, but they should feel free to deploy as many police as they need for as long as they need. What matters most of all, more than anything else, is restoring order on our streets.
The right hon. Gentleman raised the issue of police budgets, and I am sure that this will be debated. Let me just make a couple of points. Over the next four years, we are looking for cash reductions in policing budgets—once we take into account the fact that there is a precept that helps fund the police—of 6%. I believe that is totally achievable without any reductions in visible policing, and a growing number of police chiefs are making that point.
Let me make two additional points on that. Today we still have 7,000 trained police officers in back-office jobs. Part of our programme of police reform is about freeing up police for front-line duties, and that is why I can make this very clear pledge to the House: at the end of this process of making sure our police budgets are affordable, we will still be able to surge as many police on to the streets as we have in recent days in London, in Wolverhampton, in Manchester. It is important that people understand that.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about the courts system and whether we can surge capacity in our magistrates and Crown courts. Yes, that is exactly what Cobra has been asking for in recent days. On sentencing, I chose my words carefully. Of course, it is for courts to sentence, but the Sentencing Council says that those people found guilty of violence on our streets should expect to have a custodial sentence.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about CCTV. We fully support CCTV. We want to regulate it to make sure that it is used properly, but it has been immensely valuable, as I have seen for myself in police control rooms up and down the country.
The right hon. Gentleman asked whether there would be any cap on the money that is available for communities. Of course, the Riot (Damages) Act has no cap at all, and because we are allowing the 42-day period people will be able to apply to the police and the Government will stand behind the police.
When it comes to the deeper lessons, the right hon. Gentleman is right. He quoted a speech that I made when I said that explaining does not mean excusing, and he is right to say that the causes are complex. I hope that the debates we will have on the causes will not immediately fall into a tiresome discussion about resources. When there are deep moral failures, we should not hit them with a wall of money. I think that it is right that the absolutely key word that he used, and which I used, was responsibility. People must be responsible for their actions. We are all responsible for what we do.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman asked how we will listen to communities and what sort of inquiry is necessary. As I found when talking with many Members on both sides of the House, who are deeply in touch with their communities, their police forces and police chiefs, one of the first things we can do in this House is properly bring to bear all the information we are hearing from our communities, and I understand that the Home Affairs Select Committee is going to hold an inquiry. I think that we should ask a parliamentary inquiry to do this work first. I thank him for the general tone of what he said and hope that we can keep up this cross-party working as we deal with this very difficult problem.
Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle) (Con): Why have our police been dispersing these hoods so that they can riot in other vicinities, instead of rounding them up? Does the Prime Minister remember that in 1971, at the peak of the opposition to the Vietnam war in the United States, the US Government brought 16,000 troops into Washington, in addition to the police, who rounded up and arrested the rioters and put 40,000 of them in the DC stadium in one morning? Has he any plans to make Wembley stadium available for similar use?
|The Prime Minister: I want the Wembley stadium to be available for great sporting events, and I think that it is important that as we get back to a sense of normality those sporting events go ahead. My right hon. Friend makes an important point, and to be fair to the police—we should all think carefully before starting to criticise police tactics when they are the ones on the front line—they now say that to begin with they spent too much time concentrating on the public order aspects and not enough time concentrating on the criminality aspects. It has been the greater police presence on the streets and the greater number of arrests that has helped to bring this situation under control. One police chief told me yesterday that it is time to tear up some of the manual on public order and restart it. He said, “We have done this many times in the police and we will do it again and get it right.” It is in that spirit that we should praise British policing.|
Several hon. Members rose —
Mr Speaker: Order. A great many colleagues are seeking to catch my eye, which is entirely understandable. I want to accommodate Members, but I issue with particular force my usual exhortation for brevity.
Mr David Lammy (Tottenham) (Lab): I welcome what the Prime Minister has said about the death of Mark Duggan and about compensation for victims. In Tottenham, 45 people have lost their homes, which were burnt to the ground. They were running out of their homes carrying their children in their arms, and their cry is, “Where were the police?” We can have this debate today, but it is no replacement for hearing from the people themselves. Will the Prime Minister come to Tottenham and speak with those victims and the independent shopkeepers, hairdressers and jewellers whose businesses are lying in cinders? Will he also commit to a public inquiry to consider why initial skirmishes were allowed to lead to a situation in which the great Roman road, Tottenham high road, now lies in cinders?
The Prime Minister: I will certainly take up the right hon. Gentleman’s invitation to go to Tottenham and hear about that for myself. When I visited Croydon, I found real anger on the streets about what happened and how it could be allowed to happen. There was a lot of questioning about police tactics and the police presence. As I said in my statement, to be fair to the police, I think that to begin with, because of the situation with Mark Duggan, they were hanging back for a very good reason, but they clearly understand and accept that that went on for too long and that their presence needed to be greater, more robust and needed to protect people’s homes and shops. We will now do everything we possibly can to get those people re-housed quickly and ensure that that money is available, and I know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has been in touch with almost all the local government leaders affected and we will keep that up. In terms of what inquiries are necessary, I think that we should start with the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry. We should let it do its work and take it from there.
|August 10, 2011 · 2:00 PM|
The London Riots and the Liberal Crypto-Fascist Aftermath
You don’t need me to go ond on describing the events of the last few nights, because we all know what has happened. We’ve all been glued to our TVs, giving ourselves square eyes while being spoonfed reactionary bile from news reporters intent on crushing reasonable (read: Leftist) opinion in favour of their own gleeful coverage of the rioting. These events are being treated as if they were a form of entertainment rather than the presentation of serious facts with a really existing social context.
The army of Big Society ideologues look to clean up London
Public opinion has seen a massive shift to the right. This has been demonstrated by the thousands of tweets and Facebook messages calling for violent retribution to be enforced on those caught rioting instead of a sensible call for us all to understand the social conditons that have led people to riot (be that consumer ideology, thuggery or general disaffection). This deeply conservative shift has been surprising, but perhaps it shouldn’t be.
What this really shows is the inherant contradiction in postmodern liberal ideology. Indeed, there seems to be a nasty undercurrent of middle class resentment towards disenfranchised, perhaps working class, youths expressed in the aftermath of the riots. The ideological manipulation at the heart of the clean up operation doesn’t help. As my compadre and Birkbeck classmate Jacob Bard-Rosenberg of The Third Estate puts it:
Sifting through the tweets tagged with #riotcleanup there is swift equivocation: at once the physical act of clearing rubble from the streets merges with the act of cleansing the street of black youths. The cleaning of streets amounts to the wiping away of traces of social unrest. Cracks in society are smoothed over and at once an oppressed underclass is rendered invisible again.
While I agree with Jacob’s sentiment about #riotcleanup being about “cleansing”, “cleaning”, and “wiping away the traces of social unrest”, I think this is more obviously about people expunging their own class resentment by using traditionally racist tropes to conceal an underlying classism and racism, rather than blatant racism in itself. The news channels have called on ordinary people (often white, almost always middle-class) to stand in as social commentators. This isn’t unusual in an age where everybody has access to global communication networks, where everybody has a voice, where everybody seems intent on using that voice to shout as loudly as possible.
What is unusual, however, is language used by those interviewed. Here, rioters have been described variously as “animals” and “feral rats”. The point concealed here is that the people doing the rioting are unclean, diseased, or subhuman not simply because they are black, not simply because they are working class, but because they refuse to do what white middle class people, who own the clean, shiny, shops being looted, expect people to do. Our repressed desires for stability in the face of rapid social change seem to be embodied by the great unwashed left behind by middle class expectations to come out of the recession and the spending cuts unscathed. This is nothing more than an illusory idea of “progress” made by taking tough economic decisions that will direct the fortunes of those who need public services, and yes, jobs, the most. In the wake of the riots, however, this “progress” proves itself to be even more of an illusion than we already thought it was: it is middle-class self-hatred seeking to erase its own working-class past. The connection between folksy wartime cheeriness expressed in the Keep Calm and Carry On sentiment, which conceals a brutality, fear and hardship experienced predominantly by white working-class people, and #riotcleanup is no coincidence.
Ultimately, these riots, and the public opinion garnered by their constant coverage, have allowed people who normally self-identify as “liberals” to show their true colours. Calls for use of water cannon, rubber bullets, or, worse still, bringing in the army and instating martial law, come largely from people who usually claim to be society’s most permissive and the most tolerant. Instead, these people are proving themselves to be postmodern crypto-fascists, churning out folksy, yet bilious, petty bourgeois bigotry. Just check out your own twitter feed and Facebook page if you don’t believe me. The problem here is the massive contraction between this supposed liberal permissiveness and the need for security which is expressed in the emerging authoritarian streak without being synthesised by a formal liberal doctrine.
It’s a culture of excessive tolerance that sees “liberals” being the first to overtly celebrate other peoples’ cultures and the supposed plight of minority groups. But, in reality, conceals their unnerving fetishisation of their own liberal indulgence, of their own act of tolerance. Here, people use a form of relativising liberal historicism to cleanse themselves of their own guilt for seeing themselves as belonging to a culture whose past is rooted in racist, imperialist exploitation. As such, they renounce their own culture in any way that can, and they are the first to scream about how disgusted they are by the obvious racism of the BNP and the EDL. These people reject the “imperialist” universalisation of cultural norms (homosexuality, women’s rights, their own free-speaking liberal agenda) but wilfully ignore that agenda when confronted by bigotry espoused by people who belong to the supposedly downtrodden minorities they so fetishise: homophobic currents in, for example, Pentecostal Christianity, of which many followers are black West Indian people or misogyny in, for example, certain prominent strains of Islamism.
But when it comes to the riots, it seems that the liberals are the first to denounce the rioters as being dirty, ugly, demonic, feral, disgusting. All this despite the fact that the people using this language know that many of the rioters are often young black males. All this despite the fact that they know about the history of prejudice in British society, and in the police, directed towards young black males. All this despite the fact that they know about the ways in which racists describe young black males. As such, these people don’t seem to understand the political position they claim to hold, and they are the first to sell out to reactionary authoritarianism when things get rough. It is ideology at its most obvious: people see through these commands and yet choose to follow the script anyway.
Perhaps the worst element of this concealed prejudice is that thse liberal-fascists are blind to the class divides in which they themselves participate. This finds particular expression in the gentrification of areas like Hackney, which saw rioting on Monday night, where ordinary working-class and lower-middle class people are being driven out by ever-rising rents and property prices. Why? Because namby-pamby permissive liberals want to live in artfully dishevelled low-rent ex-council pads because they like the “brutalist bohemian aesthetic”. What they forget is that these places, like the Pembury Housing Estate which was overrun on Monday night, are social housing projects designed for poor people by rich people who didn’t have to live in them.
Jacob continues, writing that
The reward offered for such action [helping out with the clean up operation] is “true community”, or “community spirit”. In the face of such rampant dehumanization, these new communities, the battalions of #riotcleanup, reassert their supposed true humanity. And such a new humanity is a badge to be worn with pride. It is forgotten by many that it is premised on exclusion, on the sweeping away of neighbours. Raise your broom to the sky and create the world anew, a world without unrest in the face of poverty and oppression. A world in which black youths, and the real antagonisms of society, are consigned to oblivion.
It’s not just about young black males. It’s about class. But those things still kinda go hand in hand, huh?
The London Riots and the Liberal Crypto-Fascist Aftermath | Geist Bites
|Now I was at the Ealing riots from the start when the first attempt to smash McDonalds window was made. Let me tell you this, the police made the situation worse. Now don't get me wrong they were under pressure but their tactics were flawed. The rioters congregated on Uxbridge Rd, (which is not residential) in front of the high street banks and other corporations such as McDonalds and Sainsburys. As soon as the riot police arrived they forced the rioters down St Mary's road and other quiet residential roads with small family businesses, houses and cars. The crowd became increasingly frustrated at being moved along by the police and sadly they took their anger out on the little shops with no shutters! Cars were set alight and the crowd were unchallenged by the police (which is why some residents took matters into their own hands and tried to remonstrate with the crowd, unfortunately one of these residents was attacked and is now fighting for his life). My friend and I decided to walk back to Uxbridge Rd which was now full up with police vans and police but no rioters. The police would not allow us to enter the road and they told me they had orders to make Uxbridge Rd 'sterile'.I told them we were not rioters and said that while they were doing this the rioters were running amok down St Mary's Rd. I explained that fires had been started and were likely to spread to peoples houses and that small businesses were being looted. I told them they needed a police presence there. They told me they were not allowed to move from Uxbridge Rd and they told us to turn around (back towards the trouble hotspot). The police left the rioters to wreak havoc for hours, eventually as I had predicted, a shop caught fire and the fire spread to the flats above and next door to it. The extent of the fire damage caused also shows that the police did not treat the fires with enough care and urgency. Surely a fire is more of a risk to the public than a few smashed windows? I also spoke to a few youths who were in the process of smashing a coffee shop window (opposite the YMCA). I simply said 'bruv, look at what your trying to break into! It's a coffee shop, a family business, there's nothing of any real value in there!" One of them looked at me, looked at the sign on the shop and said, "for real, you're right". They then left it alone and walked away. A few minutes later another group of youths got onto an abandoned 65 bus and proceeded to drive it recklessly until it fortunately came to an abrupt halt in front of a lamppost. This would not have happened if the crowd had not been moved! We need to talk to the youth, understand, relate and help them. Not criminalize them and treat them like they are hardened, feral thugs!|
|Riot boy's family is kicked out of home: Suspected looter and his mother are the first to be punished with eviction|
Daniel Sartain-Clarke and his mother served with eviction notice
Suspect's mother says he 'was in the wrong place at the wrong time'
Wandsworth Council the first to service eviction notice
Online petition crashed after asking if looters should lose their benefits
Works and Pensions Minister puts together plan to deprive convicted rioters of benefits
Host of local councils vow to follow suit and boot out looters from homes
By Jack Doyle
Last updated at 10:08 PM on 12th August 2011
A suspected looter in this week’s riots and his mother are being thrown out of their council home.
In the first case of its kind, Daniel Sartain-Clarke, 18, and his mother have been served with an eviction notice as council bosses seek to turf them out of their £225,000 taxpayer-subsidised flat.
Sartain-Clarke is charged with violent disorder and attempting to steal electronic goods from the Currys store at Clapham Junction, South London, on Monday night.
Tough justice: Police arrest a man for looting in Clapham Junction in south London on Monday
Tough justice: Police arrest a man for looting in Clapham Junction in south London on Monday
Under housing rules his mother – as the tenant – can be evicted from their two-bedroom flat in Battersea if anyone living there is involved in criminality.
There is likely to be a flood of similar cases as council leaders across England respond to public demands that looters face the toughest penalties possible.
In another day of dramatic developments:
A serving paratrooper was remanded in custody charged with looting a £1,900 electric guitar in Manchester;
The Ministry of Justice revealed that the arrest total had reached 1,600, and that 796 of those had already been before courts;
Police were in revolt against the Government after criticism of their handling of the crisis by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary;
Fresh revelations emerged about the gangster background of Mark Duggan, whose death sparked the riots.
Sartain-Clarke was arrested after more than 100 looters went on the rampage on Monday night. For two hours the mob ransacked mobile phone stores and sports shops such as Foot Locker and JD Sports.
He appeared before magistrates in Battersea on Wednesday accused of burglary and violent disorder, and was remanded in custody with two co-defendants.
Crime doesn't pay: An online petition demands welfare-dependent rioters convicted of offences linked to disorder should surrender their state handouts
Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council which issued the eviction notice, said he wanted the ‘strongest possible action’ taken against rioters and looters.
‘This council will do its utmost to ensure that those who are responsible pay a proper price,’ he said. ‘Ultimately this could lead to eviction from their homes.
‘Our officers will continue to work with the courts to establish the identities of other council tenants or members of their households as more cases are processed in the coming days and weeks.
‘Most residents on our housing estates are decent law-abiding citizens who will have been sickened at the scenes they witnessed on their TV screens this week.
‘As much as anything else we owe it to them to send out a strong signal that this kind of violence will not be tolerated.’
But Sartain-Clarke’s mother said her human rights had been ‘taken for granted’.
Feeling the strain: An online petition asking if looters should lose their benefits crashed after 100,000 people logged on to vote, sparking a Commons debate in the process
She said: ‘I understand there are people who have got to face justice because all this has been madness and savagery.
‘But, I believe our human rights have been completely taken for granted. Daniel was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘As a mother I’m not responsible for my son’s actions and they are penalising me for his actions.’
The Spanish-born part-time worker said the decision had left her ‘very upset’ and she did not know where they would go if she and daughter Revecca, 8, were evicted.
Aftermath: A shop damaged by fire in Clapham Junction following Monday night's riots
Youths loot a Carhartt store in Hackney
Rioters break into a local chemist in Croydon stripping the store bare before police moved in to secure the area
Smash and grab: Looters help themselves at a store in Hackney (left) while a local chemist in Croydon, right, was completely trashed
Other councils are believed to be cross-checking names of alleged looters who have appeared in court this week with housing lists, and dozens more cases could emerge in the coming weeks.
On a visit to Manchester, David Cameron repeated his determination to see looters evicted from council houses.
‘If you live in a council house, you’re getting a house at a discount from what other people have to pay and with that should come some responsibility,’ he told BBC North West Tonight.
‘For too long we’ve taken a too-soft attitude towards people who loot and pillage their own community. If you do that you should lose your right to the sort of housing that you’ve had at subsidised rates.
‘Obviously, that will mean they’ve got to be housed somewhere else. They’ll have to find housing in the private sector and that will be tougher for them, but they should have thought of that before they turned on their own community.’
UK riots: Daniel Sartain-Clarke's family first to be evicted by Wandsworth Council | Mail Online
|Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets|
by David Harvey
11 August 2011
“Nihilistic and feral teenagers” the Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.
The word “feral” pulled me up short. It reminded me of how the communards in Paris in 1871 were depicted as wild animals, as hyenas, that deserved to be (and often were) summarily executed in the name of the sanctity of private property, morality, religion, and the family. But then the word conjured up another association: Tony Blair attacking the “feral media,” having for so long been comfortably lodged in the left pocket of Rupert Murdoch only later to be substituted as Murdoch reached into his right pocket to pluck out David Cameron.
There will of course be the usual hysterical debate between those prone to view the riots as a matter of pure, unbridled and inexcusable criminality, and those anxious to contextualize events against a background of bad policing; continuing racism and unjustified persecution of youths and minorities; mass unemployment of the young; burgeoning social deprivation; and a mindless politics of austerity that has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the perpetuation and consolidation of personal wealth and power. Some may even get around to condemning the meaningless and alienating qualities of so many jobs and so much of daily life in the midst of immense but unevenly distributed potentiality for human flourishing.
If we are lucky, we will have commissions and reports to say all over again what was said of Brixton and Toxteth in the Thatcher years. I say ‘lucky’ because the feral instincts of the current Prime Minister seem more attuned to turn on the water cannons, to call in the tear gas brigade and use the rubber bullets while pontificating unctuously about the loss of moral compass, the decline of civility and the sad deterioration of family values and discipline among errant youths.
But the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians cheat on their expenses, feral bankers plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone’s bills, shopkeepers price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world.
A political economy of mass dispossession, of predatory practices to the point of daylight robbery, particularly of the poor and the vulnerable, the unsophisticated and the legally unprotected, has become the order of the day. Does anyone believe it is possible to find an honest capitalist, an honest banker, an honest politician, an honest shopkeeper or an honest police commisioner any more? Yes, they do exist. But only as a minority that everyone else regards as stupid. Get smart. Get Easy Profits. Defraud and steal! The odds of getting caught are low. And in any case there are plenty of ways to shield personal wealth from the costs of corporate malfeasance.
What I say may sound shocking. Most of us don’t see it because we don’t want to. Certainly no politician dare say it and the press would only print it to heap scorn upon the sayer. But my guess is that every street rioter knows exactly what I mean. They are only doing what everyone else is doing, though in a different way – more blatently and visibly in the streets. Thatcherism unchained the feral instincts of capitalism (the “animal spirits” of the entreprenuer they coyly named it) and nothing has transpired to curb them since. Slash and burn is now openly the motto of the ruling classes pretty much everywhere.
This is the new normal in which we live. This is what the next grand commission of enquiry should address. Everyone, not just the rioters, should be held to account. Feral capitalism should be put on trial for crimes against humanity as well as for crimes against nature.
Sadly, this is what these mindless rioters cannot see or demand. Everything conspires to prevent us from seeing and demanding it also. This is why political power so hastily dons the robes of superior morality and unctuous reason so that no one might see it as so nakedly corrupt and stupidly irrational.
But there are various glimmers of hope and Light around the world. The indignados movements in Spain and Greece, the revolutionary impulses in Latin America, the peasant movements in Asia, are all beginning to see through the vast scam that a predatory and feral global capitalism has unleashed upon the world. What will it take for the rest of us to see and act upon it? How can we begin all over again? What direction should we take? The answers are not easy. But one thing we do know for certain: we can only get to the right answers by asking the right questions.
Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey » Blog Archive » Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets
|These riots reveal some unpalatable home truths|
We've created a culture where fear and greed roam unchecked at all levels. If we don't like it, we ought to make a change
guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 August 2011 17.05 BST
Local men place flowers at the scene where three men were killed while protecting their area 'standing shoulder to shoulder' during riots in Birmingham.
There's nothing like fear and hatred to sharpen the senses. The riots have shown Britain some unpalatable truths about itself, making it impossible to hold on to a certain Whiggish story about social progress which, in the teeth of the evidence, we have persisted in telling about ourselves.
As the violence unfolded in Tottenham, it appeared to be following a familiar pattern. A young black man is killed by the police. The "community" protests. Violence ensues. By Monday, that story had definitively broken down. The crowds burning cars and breaking into shops were, as a friend drily put it, "a triumph of multiculturalism". Clearly another explanation had to be sought.
Suddenly we are talking again about class. The fantasy of classless Britain has floated around in our national consciousness at least since the 1980s, when it was supposed to be made flesh by mass home-ownership and the chance to own shares in BT. In recent years that fantasy has been sustained by cheap credit, which has offered the illusion of material prosperity to a nation that privately has long known it was falling behind.
In a society that has abandoned or devalued most forms of mutual assistance in favour of a solipsistic entrepreneurialism, it's hardly surprising that, faced with the end of the good times, people help themselves. Fear and greed are our ruling passions. That's true of the kids smashing shop windows to steal trainers. It's also true of the MPs fiddling their expenses, the police officers taking backhanders, the journalists breaking into phones. Why wouldn't they? Why wouldn't any of us? The example has been set by our new masters, the one per cent for whom and by whom we're governed. The ability of powerful actors in the financial markets to socialise risk while privatising profit appears, to the financial peasantry, indistinguishable from organised crime. No reason for the rest of us to stand on ceremony.
One may object to this rhetoric (bankers = looters) on the grounds that markets have social utility, or that bankers don't beat up shopkeepers (they don't have to) and sometimes give to charity. One may also feel that any attempt to understand the rioters' motivations risks shading into justification. The strongest objection to any argument based on social conditions is the oft-made one about individual responsibility: whatever the prevailing economic or social situation, not everyone chooses to behave in a particular way, whether that's insider trading or knocking over Evans Cycles. However, it's hard not to think we've made a culture in which the strong and swift are encouraged to feel they bear no responsibility towards the halt and lame. Now, as the wheels fall off the global financial system, fear and greed are free to roam unchecked, without bothering to mask their faces.
The average Briton is a frightened, precarious and lonely little entrepreneur, jealous, not just of the banker living high on the hog, but of the "good immigrants", the Sikhs and Turks and Bengalis standing shoulder to shoulder outside their shops and mosques and gurdwaras, ready to repel attackers. Strapped for cash and stripped of organic community (leaving aside the question of whether that ever existed), we're left to clothe ourselves in the rags of class identity and class hatred. The poor hate the rich and the "feds" who enforce their laws. The rich hate the poor, who frighten them.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to see a large number of supposed social liberals revealing their true colours on Monday night, tweeting and bleating for curfews and water cannon and rubber bullets. Early in the evening, watching social media, I was seeing variants of the same joke: "I'm in Chiswick/Hampstead/Dulwich Waitrose and there's a RIOT! They've run out of POLENTA!" The smug sense of disconnection (this is nothing to do with me, or my comfortable middle-class life – it is an affair of the poor, in places I choose not to go) was soon replaced by panic. "WHERE IS THE ARMY?" Screw civil liberties, time to declare martial law. How easy it would be to install fascism in this creaky little country! No need to torch the Reichstag – all you'd have to do would be to burn a few more sports shops.
It was galling to watch people who had recently praised the street fighters of the Arab spring finding their inner Mubarak, people who had been shocked (shocked!) that Middle Eastern dictators would switch off the internet, now calling for BlackBerry Messenger (which they'd just found out about) to be shut down. One might applaud the community spirit of the riot cleanup people, but feel uncomfortable about the motivations of the blond broom-carrier pictured wearing a tank-top with the hand-drawn slogan "looters are scum". It's OK to call people scum this week, particularly while demonstrating one's own civic virtue. Go on, blond lady, let your hate-flag fly.
Soon enough the gutted buildings will be demolished and the 24-hour courts will wind down, and we will try to pretend we didn't let our hoods slip, revealing how frightened of each other we are. Once, a powerful woman told us there was no such thing as society and set about engineering our country to fit her theory. Well, she got her way. This is where we live now, and if we don't like it, we ought to make a change.
|Police revolt against David Cameron's reform agenda|
Prime minister forced to retreat after calling riot tactics timid as ICM poll shows public side with police
Patrick Wintour, Sandra Laville and Vikram Dodd
guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 August 2011 21.18 BST
Police with mourners at the scene of a hit and run incident in Birmingham in which three men died.
Senior police officers were in open revolt over the government's police reform agenda on Friday, reacting furiously to criticism of the way they handled the riots, and turning their fire on the home secretary, Theresa May, after she suggested she had instructed the police to take a tougher line.
Faced with an onslaught from all levels of the police, David Cameron tried to beat a retreat, lavishly praising the force after he and May had described police tactics in the Commons on Thursday as timid and highlighted police admissions that their initial plans to counter looting had been misguided.
Cameron is understood to have phoned Tim Godwin, the acting Metropolitan police commissioner, on Friday and the message was posted on the Met's internal communications system for its staff.
It read: "The prime minister has this morning telephoned the temporary commissioner, Tim Godwin. He wished to express his personal thanks and admiration to the entire command team, gold, silver, and bronzes – and all the many officers and staff who have worked so hard during the recent disorder."
May said on Wednesday she had insisted that special constables be mobilised and all police leave should be cancelled, remarks that were seen to threaten the cornerstone of police operational independence.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, described the role of the politicians as "an irrelevance", pointing out that by Monday the police had decided to mobilise huge numbers of officers in London.
He said he briefed Cameron about the decision after the prime minister returned from holiday on Tuesday morning. Derek Barnett, president of the Police Chief Superintendents' Association, also said the return of the politicians did not make any difference.
"The decisions to deploy police officers in large numbers was made well in advance of politicians becoming involved," he said, adding that the point of politicians returning from holiday was only to give "a sense that there is now someone back in charge of the country and offering political leadership".
Asked about claims by Cameron that policing had been too timid, Godwin said: "I think, after any event like this, people will always make comments who weren't there."
He insisted that the changes in tactics and police numbers were due to commanders, not politicians. "I think the issue around the numbers, the issue around the tactics – they are all police decisions and they are all made by my police commanders and myself."
Political sources described Orde as incandescent with Tory attempts to take credit for toughening the police line, adding that it underlined his fear that government plans for elected commissioners will politicise the police.
The sources added that Orde was still interested in becoming the new Metropolitan police commissioner, but only on his own terms.
The row came as an ICM poll for the Guardian showed that the public sided with the police and not the politicians over the handling of the riots. The poll conducted this week shows that less than a third of voters think the prime minister or the London mayor, Boris Johnson, have performed well.
Only 30% say Cameron has done a good job, against 44% who say the opposite. For Johnson, the figures are 28% good job and 38% bad. But, 45% think Godwin has done well, against 27% who say he has not. The ICM poll also showed most are concerned that the police, facing 20% cuts in budgets, already do not have enough resources.
After a meeting of the government's Cobra committee, Orde told MPs: "Let us be clear about one thing – the distinction between policing and politics remains. The police service will make the tactical decisions and quite rightly we must and should be held to account."
Earlier this week he had ridiculed a suggestion by Cameron that water cannon should be put on standby, saying they would be entirely useless.
Orde revealed he had urged May to hold a conference on comparative international policing styles, adding pointedly: "I sense if we do that, the British model will come out well on top."
Bill Bratton, the former US policeman admired by Cameron and credited with cleaning up New York, said he has agreed to help the UK government on how to deal with gangs. Bratton, who is now chairman of private security firm Kroll, spoke to Cameron by telephone on Friday to discuss the matter.
"I'm being hired by the British government to consult with them on the issue of gangs, gang violence and gang intervention from the American experience and to offer some advice and counsel on their experience," Bratton told Reuters last night. Downing Street said Cameron thanked Bratton for agreeing to a series of meetings in the UK this autumn to share his experiences tackling gang violence. Bratton will provide counsel "in a personal capacity," it said in a statement.
"This is a prime minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do," Bratton told Associated Press. "He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I'm very optimistic."
Mr Bratton and Cameron are expected to meet next month to continue their talks.
Orde set himself against Cameron's plans to allow outsiders to join the force at high ranks, saying: "The leadership of this service understands policing. We all started where our brave officers were the other day. We start at the bottom, we move up and we learn and we move on."
He also contradicted Cameron's claims that 20% cuts to police budgets in the next four years would have no impact on police visibility. He said: "Chief constables have minimised the impact on the frontline. We will have to have some very honest, straightforward conversations with government in years three and four. We have to understand what sort of service we want and what we want it to do, and not do."
Peter Hain, the former Northern Ireland secretary who worked with Orde in Northern Ireland, offered his strong support, saying: "He is a reformer that stands up for his officers and tells it like it is in a non-party political way. The Conservatives would be mad not to appoint him Metropolitan commissioner if he wants the job, but he will do it only on his terms."
Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire, opened another front against government plans to introduce elected police commissioners to oversee chief constables, with elections due next May at a cost of £100m. He said the mutual aid programme which saw 16,000 officers put on to the streets of London would not work with elected commissioners.
"Mutual aid relies upon the unfettered ability and operational discretion to do things for the greater good rather than for local popularity. The surge the prime minister talks about can only be achieved by coordinating assets across 43 forces. If there are elected police and crime commissioners this will not happen. Each will have been elected on different political platforms and there will be all sorts of parochial decision making about their priorities."
Despite the scale of the riots, and claims that the police mishandled the initial disorder in Tottenham, public trust in the police seems uniformly strong. Overall, 61% of those polled say they are confident that the police enforce the law fairly, uniformly and without prejudice, while 36% say they are either not at all (10%) or not very (26%) confident.
There is some evidence that younger or poorer people are less likely to trust the police than older or better-off ones, but in all categories, a majority are satisfied.
However, the public are less confident about the police's ability to keep order. A majority say they think the police lack sufficient resources. The finding could add to opposition to cuts in police numbers and funding. In the Commons on Thursday, Cameron came under fire from the Labour leader Ed Miliband and some backbenchers over plans for cuts.While 41% say they are either very (6%) or quite (35%) confident the police have been given adequate resources, 56% say the opposite.
People on lower incomes are the most likely to think the police are under-resourced.
|Harris made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. He is considered to be one of his personal friends. He is said to have played a role in convincing Cameron to contest the party's leadership in the summer of 2005. His ties to Cameron came under scrutiny two years later when it appeared that Andrew Feldman, a political associate of his and a fellow donor to Cameron's leadership campaign, used Harris's name to claim privileges accorded to active members of the House of Lords (which Harris, his peerage notwithstanding, had never been). A report in The Independent newspaper quoted a senior member of the Lords Privileges Committee as suggesting the allegation shows how fundraising "pollutes our politics".|
|Mystery of Cameron's chief fundraiser and his Commons pass|
By James Macintyre
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
David Cameron's "chief fundraiser" is gaining access to exclusive hospitality facilities inside the Palace of Westminster by using a researcher pass allotted to a Conservative peer who has no parliamentary office and asks for no research, The Independent has learnt.
Andrew Feldman, an old university friend and tennis partner of Mr Cameron, is listed by Parliament as a "temporary research assistant" to Lord Harris of Peckham, a multimillionaire Tory donor and businessman who is chairman of Carpet-right. Last night, Mr Feldman said that he had "not been asked to conduct any research and have not done so".
A senior member of the Lords Privileges Committee said the news that a party fundraiser was using a parliamentary security pass shows how fundraising, "pollutes our politics".
The development will come as a personal blow to Mr Cameron after his worst period yet as Conservative leader. Mr Feldman, 41, and Lord Harris, 64, are both personal supporters of and significant donors to Mr Cameron. In May 2005, after the Tories' defeat at the last general election, Lord Harris reportedly hosted a dinner at which he and Mr Feldman urged Mr Cameron to stand as Michael Howard's successor.
Lord Harris, whose wealth is estimated at around £285m, then donated £90,000 to Mr Cameron's campaign for the leadership. Mr Feldman also donated through his family-owned, multi-million pound womenswear firm, Jayroma.[b] Last year he was appointed deputy treasurer by Mr Cameron with a brief to draw in party funds.
Soon after his appointment he was at the centre of a "cash for access" row, after being named as the chairman of a leader's group in which wealthy supporters could hold meetings with Mr Cameron in his House of Commons office after Prime Minister's Questions, for a membership fee of £50,000 per year.[/b]
In March, the commissioner for standards and privileges wrote to Mr Cameron asking him to explain "the use of your parliamentary office for this purpose".
News that Mr Feldman is using a parliamentary security pass shows he is still able to entertain guests in Parliament, and will be embarrassing for Mr Cameron, who has called for moves to "clean up politics "in the wake of the cash-for-peerages affair.
Researcher passes give access to the Palace of Westminster's subsidised bars, restaurants and meeting rooms. The House of Commons and the House of Lords make the ideal setting for impressing and entertaining guests, several of whom can be brought in with the passes.
Lord Harris was unavailable for comment last night.
Mr Feldman said: "Lord Harris has asked me to be available to do any research he might require. At this stage, however, I have not been asked to conduct any research and have not done so." He denied that he had brought "actual or potential" donors into parliament.
It is unsurprising that Mr Feldman has not been too busy as a " researcher". The parliamentary monitoring website theyworkforyou.com says Lord Harris has not once spoken in a debate, nor received any written answers to questions in the past year. Asked about Mr Feldman's role in the party, a Tory spokesman said: "He works extremely closely with the treasurer, Michael Spencer."
Lord McNally, a member of the Lords Privileges Committee, said: "The use of passes by fundraisers is yet another example of how pressure on political parties to raise ever larger sums from private sources pollutes our politics and makes capped and policed state-funding cheap at the price." The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: "Researcher passes are exactly that: passes for researchers. They are not freebies to be handed out to those raising funds for political parties."
Mr Feldman is not necessarily breaking any written rules. This is because of a system that is "open to abuse" by individuals seeking to take advantage of it, according to a member of the privileges committee.
Mystery of Cameron's chief fundraiser and his Commons pass - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
|Mr Feldman's firm, Jayroma, had a turnover of £36m last year and posted a gross profit of £7m. After distribution costs and more that £3m of administrative costs, this was reduced to an operating profit of £314, 212. The highest paid director, presumably Andrew Feldman, received £910,285.|
Jayroma would be just another fairly low-key family business - four of the five directors are Feldmans - were it not for its connection to Orka, a Macedonian textile firm. In September 2003, Orka Holdings arranged for Mr Feldman and David Cameron, to attend the England-Macedonia football international in Skopje. Orka picked up the tab for a four-day stay at the Aleksandar Palace hotel, where the England team were staying, and also for the match itself. Mr Cameron declared this hospitality in the register of members' interests and wrote about the "junket" in his Guardian Unlimited diary blog at the time.
What neither Mr Feldman nor Mr Cameron would have been aware of at the time was that the owner of Orka, Jordan "Orce" Kamcev, was later to come under criminal investigation. Mr Kamcev is a controversial figure in Macedonia. Aged 35, married twice and divorced twice from the daughter of the mayor of Skopje, he is regarded locally as a playboy. "He behaves like a character from the cheapest Latin American soap opera," says Zoran Jacev, former head of Transparency International in Skopje.
Orka holdings, was created by Jordan's father, Ilija, from the privatisation in the 1990s of a former state sports clothing company and the Kamcevs are big political players in the country. The Macedonian prime minister opened the business's new Skopje factory in 2002; it was said to have cost €10m in investment, including, according to local media reports, €500,000 from Mr Feldman's Jayroma.
Jordan Kamcev has been under criminal investigation for tax evasion and VAT fraud. After leaving the country last year, he returned in December, reported himself to police at the Bulgarian border and spent 12 hours in a Skopje prison before being bailed for €70,000. Since then he has been in legal limbo, though he has not been charged. Regarding the Okra connection, one Tory colleague countered that Tony Blair was a friend of the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who has his own legal difficulties. "Andrew certainly doesn't make a habit of hanging out with shady characters," he added.
Mr Feldman is declining to talk to the media about his new role. A party spokeswoman said that in his new post Mr Feldman would ensure that gifts and loans were "completely transparent". Of the trip to Macedonia, she said this had been "totally declared" and took place long before criminal allegations were made.
Fashion tycoon and tennis partner charged with keeping new Tories afloat | Politics | The Guardian
|He took his seat in the House of Lords on 20 December 2010, as Baron Feldman of Elstree, of Elstree in the County of Hertfordshire.|
|He was rewarded with the chairmanship of the Leader’s Club, a controversial society where for £50,000, donors get access to Mr Cameron.|
In 2008 Mr Feldman was promoted to chief executive of the Conservative Party, and widely tipped for a peerage under a Cameron government.
That August, Mr Feldman was with George Osborne in Corfu when a potential donation to the Tories from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon, was discussed. Donations from foreign nationals such as Deripaska are illegal.
Mr Feldman allegedly suggested that the tycoon could channel funds through his British company.
Thanks to the presence of the future chancellor of the exchequer, Mr Feldman’s involvement was largely forgotten in the ensuing storm.
It was a fortunate escape from the limelight for Mr Feldman, who impersonates Elvis Presley in his spare time. But his latest business venture may turn out to be a high-profile heartbreak hotel.
Andrew Feldman: The David Cameron aide with Macedonian connections - Telegraph
|David Cameron aide wins government contract in state Tory leader backs for EU|
One of David Cameron’s closest aides won a valuable government contract in Macedonia, the Balkan state that the Conservative leader has said should be invited to join the European Union.
Conservative Party fundraiser Andrew Feldman leaves his west London home Photo: CATHAL MCNAUGHTON
By Holly Watt and Jon Swaine in Skopje, Macedonia
11:10PM GMT 05 Feb 2010
Andrew Feldman, the chief executive of the Conservative Party and a university friend of Mr Cameron, was in a consortium awarded a contract to build one of the country’s few five-star hotels.
Mr Feldman, who raises funds for the Tory leader, won the contract despite having no previous experience of building or running a hotel. He now stands to profit from the deal, which was signed in the summer of 2007.
The Conservatives denied that Mr Feldman had influenced party policy on Macedonia or been involved in a London meeting between Mr Cameron and its prime minister in November last year.
Mr Cameron has been one of the most vocal backers of Macedonia being allowed to join the EU and Nato. Within four months of the hotel deal being signed, Mr Cameron called on American politicians to back Macedonia in his first official visit to Washington.
Last November, Mr Cameron held a private meeting with the Macedonian prime minister – a key figure in the awarding of the hotel contract – at which he is understood to have pledged his support for the country’s membership of the international bodies. Joining the EU is worth billions of pounds to the small eastern European country.
Macedonian politicians have accused their government of corruptly awarding the valuable hotel contract — at below the initial price — to Mr Feldman. The deal was referred to the Macedonian “department for organised crime and corruption”.
Nikola Gruevski, the Macedonian prime minister, has been closely involved with the deal and was pictured with Mr Feldman at a ceremony to begin construction work on the property.
Mr Feldman introduced Mr Cameron to Mr Gruevski during a previous visit to Macedonia – a trip described as a “junket” by the Conservative leader. The trip was largely funded by Jordan “Orce” Kamcev, a controversial Macedonian playboy also linked to the hotel deal.
Mr Kamcev has faced criminal charges, some relating to alleged tax evasion, and his company has been accused of credit card fraud. Charges were dropped when Mr Gruevski was elected prime minister.
Slagjana Taseva, the president of the pressure group Transparency International’s Macedonian office, has claimed the Feldman hotel deal was against the government’s rules. “This was an illegal deal,” said Ms Taseva, a former government anti-corruption chief. “The firm awarded the contract did not fulfil the tender conditions. It should not have been allowed to participate in the bidding process, let alone make the deal. A complaint was made, but both the public prosecutor and the state anti-corruption agency, all politically appointed, rejected the allegations.”
Mr Feldman is chief executive of Jayroma, a clothing firm founded by his father. Jayroma is thought to be worth several million pounds and has previously donated money to the Conservative Party and Mr Cameron’s 2005 leadership campaign.
Mr Kamcev was previously one of Jayroma’s main suppliers, sending clothes from factories in Macedonia. The decision to sell a prime area of government-owned land in the centre of Skopje, the Macedonian capital, for an upmarket hotel was made within months of Mr Gruevski’s election in August 2006.
An advertisement for the tender was published in March 2007 in two Macedonian newspapers and the Financial Times. Any bidder had to operate at least 250 four or five-star hotels around the world and also had to have built a hotel. Very few companies could meet the criteria and nobody bid for the tender. It was then re-advertised in Macedonian papers – again to no avail. The government then entered exclusive negotiations with a partnership called HLH Macedonia. Macedonian politicians suspect that the deal was deliberately structured to ensure that HLH won the contract despite being apparently ineligible. HLH Macedonia was formed in July 2007 just days before the hotel contracts were signed. It was jointly owned by Mr Feldman’s firm, a small British hotel company and a Liechtenstein trust. The contact details for the consortium in Macedonia were office buildings owned by Mr Kamcev.
Jani Makraduli, the vice president of the Macedonian assembly, alleged the hotel deal was “corrupt”. The hotel is due to open early next year with 200 rooms and has been leased by the hotel firm which owns the Radisson brand. It is estimated to be worth up to £26million.
Mr Feldman flew straight from a ceremony that began work on the hotel, to join George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, on holiday in Corfu. It was during this holiday that the pair met the businessman Nat Rothschild and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch.
The deal was investigated by the Macedonian Public Prosecution Office which concluded that government guidelines had been followed. However, it did find that the “basic conditions” of the tender had not been met.
Last night Mr Feldman said: “I utterly refute any allegations of impropriety by myself, Jayroma London Ltd or any other companies or individuals involved in this transaction.
“Jayroma London Ltd’s total investment was £450,000 and any profit it will make will be just a proportion of that. The Justice Department in Macedonia investigated and found absolutely no evidence of any impropriety.
“Neither Orce Kamcev nor Nikola Gruevski had any involvement with the bidding consortium. I have never at any point discussed anything to do with this transaction with anyone actively involved in the Conservative Party ... I was unaware that any meeting with Mr Gruevski had taken place in 2009.”
A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: “It is long-standing Conservative Party policy that we support the enlargement of the EU to all the countries of the western Balkans, including the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Any suggestion that this position is somehow linked to Andrew Feldman’s business is as offensive as it is ridiculous.”
David Cameron aide wins government contract in state Tory leader backs for EU - Telegraph
|London riots: Metropolitan Police is more service provider than a force|
The Metropolitan Police has ceased to operate as a force and is more of a service provider, according to retired senior police officer and crisis management specialist Peter Power.
London riots: Metropolitan Police is more service provider than a force
Police arrest a man for looting in Clapham Junction
By Peter Power
7:15AM BST 14 Aug 2011
Back when I joined the force, every officer had to commit to memory the words of Sir Richard Mayne, the founder of the Metropolitan Police.
"The primary object of an efficient police," he said, "is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed.
"To these ends, all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquillity, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful."
Judged by those standards, the quality of policing when things started to go wrong last week has, despite exceptional courage and dedication on the front line, fallen grievously short. So what went wrong?
Twenty years ago, I was involved both at the sharp end, confronting rioters, and then in trying to analyse what had happened and come up with new ideas on strategies and tactics.
This was a period when the police were moving – or rather drifting – from the cosy but unrealistic image of Dixon of Dock Green, towards a more answerable, but more politically correct, culture, initiated first by Lord Scarman in his report into the Brixton riots.
Many of Scarman's recommendations were sensible – yet their effect has been to turn a force into a service, leaders into managers, and criminals into customers.
To give just one example, Scarman insisted on the need for more regular liaison meetings between police and community. Those who want to indulge in wide-scale looting obviously have no interest in a cosy chat with the local coppers; so instead, a curious mix of enthusiastic but ineffective community representatives turned up.
During my time in Brixton, the chairman was the local vicar, presiding over attendees from such disparate groups as the Association of Jewish Ex Servicemen. Quite how that was to defuse future rioting, no one was really sure.
On one issue, Scarman did come down on the police's side, clearing the Met of "institutional racism". But in 1999, Sir William Macpherson conducted another major review, following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and came to the opposite conclusion.
Among a series of sweeping changes, he set up "performance indicators" to monitor the future handling of racial incidents, and how satisfied different ethnic groups were with police behaviour.
The intention was noble – but the result of such constant self-criticism, and of other causes célèbres, such as the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005 and the death of Ian Tomlinson in 2009, was a dispirited police force, dominated by a politically correct culture that all but extinguished the last flickering light of any esprit de corps. It had truly stopped being a force, preferring instead to now be a 'service provider'.
The consequence of such changes is that managers are promoted above inspirational leaders, and that the force is crippled by a devotion to community consent in a country that has become a patchwork of discrete and often intolerant communities. As P.J. Waddington says in his book 'The Strong Arm of the Law': "The legitimacy of the police in Britain has traditionally been founded not upon conformity to popular wishes, but upon impartiality." No senior police officer, fearing the heavy hand of the Macpherson thought police, would dare agree today.
This mentality helps explain what happened at the start of events last week - noting the streets were only recovered by the police when they at last returned to being a force.
The injuries sustained by many officers show that we have plenty of men and women prepared to be truly brave when needed. But it's not surprising that the officers in charge thought it safer to wait for orders from the top, rather than use their discretion to act swiftly to protect people and property. Many otherwise very competent and dedicated senior officers are hamstrung by the widely held doctrine that any use of force is only the very last resort [bollox plenty of force was used on the student and at the G20]– not an ideal philosophy to apply when confronting a riot.
Even when force is eventually resorted to, it has to be "reasonable". But what does that mean in such a context? How many blows of a truncheon can an exhausted constable, who might have spent the last few hours fearing for his safety, land on a rioter who refuses to obey his commands? One? Two? Three? What is the requisite level of disobedience or provocation before force can be applied? Should the officer have to issue a ticket inviting the culprit to complain?
The effective absence of police from the streets in the hours after that tragic shooting in Tottenham, and the spreading message that they took no interest, served to compound the view – held by many within the feral underbelly of our cities – that the police have become enfeebled and fearful of confrontation. Small wonder that a few months ago, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary discovered that fewer than 60 per cent of police services had properly tested their mobilisation plans for scenarios like this.[But no doubt the Met had]
Worse, the legacy of the past week may yet be more damaging than the initial impact.
Not only will the middle classes feel they are no longer protected, but the temptation towards vigilantism based on geographic or faith communities will only exacerbate the problems already faced by the police. As for the officers themselves, the perception of a lack of support from government, threats to their pay, and a clutch of other fears, had already provoked widespread pessimism; in a recent poll of 42,000 personnel, 98 per cent admitted that their morale was low. That is hardly a recipe for the stability and security that the nation craves.
Peter Power is head of Visor Consultants, and sits on the Cabinet Office's Crisis Management Steering Group
London riots: Metropolitan Police is more service provider than a force - Telegraph
|MI5 joins social messaging trawl for riot organisers|
Intelligence agency asked to crack encrypted messages – especially on BlackBerry Messenger – to help police
Vikram Dodd, Richard Norton-Taylor and Josh Halliday
guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 August 2011 20.12 BST
A looted O2 mobile phone store in Tottenham Hale. MI5 has joined the hunt for riot organisers who used smartphone messaging.
The security service MI5 and the electronic interception centre GCHQ have been asked by the government to join the hunt for people who organised last week's riots, the Guardian has learned.
The agencies, the bulk of whose work normally involves catching terrorists inspired by al-Qaida, are helping the effort to catch people who used social messaging, especially BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), to mobilise looters. [I suspect the whole Muslim terrorist meme will continue to fall by the wayside, not needed anymore]
A key difficulty for law enforcers last week was cracking the high level of encryption on the BBM system. BBM is a pin-protected instant message system that is only accessible to BlackBerry users.
MI5 and GCHQ will also help the effort to try to get ahead of any further organisation of disturbances. The move represents a change as officially MI5 is tasked with ensuring the national security of the United Kingdom from terrorist threats, weapons of mass destruction, and espionage, with the police taking the lead on maintaining public order.
However, they have a statutory right to target criminals or those suspected of being involved in crime, officials have said.
Police struggled to access the BBM network last week, though some who were sent messages planning violence were so outraged they passed them on to law enforcement agencies.
GCHQ's computers and listening devices can pick up audio messages and BBM communications. MI5 and the police can identify the owners with the help of mobile companies and internet service providers. The agencies can intercept electronic and phone messages, identify where they have been sent from and their destination. That allows other investigations to take place and other efforts to develop intelligence.
One source said: "The hope is this will boost the intelligence available. It always useful to get some boffins in."
In his speech on Monday David Cameron made no mention of his threatened clampdown on social media. Last week in the House of Commons emergency debate, he said: "There was an awful lot of hoaxes and false trails made on Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger and the rest of it. We need a major piece of work to make sure that the police have all the technological capabilities they need to hunt down and beat the criminals." One of MI5's functions under the 1989 Security Service Act is to support "the activities of police forces … and other law enforcement agencies in the prevention and detection of serious crime".
MI5 intercepts communications though officially can only do so with warrants signed by ministers. It seeks technical help from GCHQ.
GCHQ's functions, according to the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, include "to monitor or interfere with electromagnetic, acoustic and other emissions and any equipment producing such emissions and to obtain and provide information derived from or related to such emissions or equipment … "
It can do so "in support of the prevention or detection of serious crime".
On its website, MI5 stresses such a distinction: "For the most part the activities of domestic extremists pose a threat to public order, but not to national security. They are generally investigated by the police, not the Security Service."
For law enforcement, the difficulty with BBM is that it boasts semi-private – and instant – access to a network of like-minded users.
BlackBerry handsets are the smartphone of choice for the 37% of British teenagers, according to Ofcom. BBM allows users to send the same message to a network of contacts connected by "BBM pins". For many teenagers, BBM has replaced text messaging because it is free and instant.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, many BBM messages are untraceable by the authorities. And unlike Facebook, friends are connected either by individual pin numbers or a registered email address. In short, BlackBerry Messenger is more secure than almost all other social networks.
So-called "broadcasts" can be sent to hundreds of disparate users within minutes, away from the attention of law enforcement agencies.
In the 12 years since it released the first BlackBerry, Research in Motion (RIM) has built a formidable reputation for the impenetrable security of its smartphones. RIM has always struggled to explain to the authorities that, unlike most other companies, it technically cannot access or read the majority of the messages sent by users over its network.
One of the biggest problems for law enforcement in the digital age is the inability to get real-time access to messages sent by potential criminals.
In England, RIM has said it will actively cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate those behind the unrest. Although it cannot hand to police the contents of rioters' messages, it can disclose information that could assist any investigation.
A clause in the Data Protection Act allows RIM to disclose the names, contacts and times of prominent BlackBerry Messenger users in a certain area and at a certain time.
|UK riots: police could get new curfew powers, says Theresa May|
Home secretary says it is time to consider whether police need power 'to impose a general curfew in a particular area'
Alan Travis and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 August 2011 12.07 BST
Theresa May says police may get power ‘to impose a general curfew in a particular area’.
New powers allowing police to clear the streets and create "no-go" areas for the public are being considered, the home secretary, Theresa May, has said.
May said it was time to consider whether the police needed a power "to impose a general curfew in a particular area" in the aftermath of last week's riots.
The home secretary said the government was also contemplating tougher powers to impose curfews on individual teenagers under the age of 16.
In a speech in London, she said the power to declare a general curfew was needed because existing dispersal powers only allowed the police to declare a "no go" area with advance notification.
"In the fast-moving situation we have seen in the last week, we need to make sure the police have all the powers that are necessary," she added.
Asked about the curfew powers, May said: "It's something that we're going to look at to address whether, and to what extent, we may need to change the law.
"There are two issues – one is the availability of curfew powers in relation to individuals who are under the age of 16, and the other is whether … at the moment the curfew powers are specific in terms of individuals and attached to individuals, and it's whether more general powers are needed.
"I think we need to look at dispersal powers as well, because those do require an upfront designation of an area.
"It's clear to me that, as long as we tolerate the kind of antisocial behaviour that takes place every day up and down the country, we will continue to see high levels of crime, a lack of respect for private property and a contempt for community life."
She said the police "need to have the legal powers to take robust action against criminals", adding: "They also need strong leaders – single-minded crimefighters who get to the top and measure their own performance on nothing but taking the fight to lawbreakers.
"I want police officers to hear this message loud and clear: as long as you act within reason and the law, I will never damn you if you do."
May praised officers who put themselves in harm's way during the riots, saying everyone owed them "a debt of gratitude".
She added that controversial proposals to replace police authorities with elected police and crime commissioners from next year, and the introduction of a new National Crime Agency, were now more important than ever.
The home secretary also defended her decision not to delay the appointment of the new Metropolitan police commissioner to enable a foreign national, such as Bill Bratton, to apply for the job.
She is also writing to Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, saying forces should be given clearer guidance on tactics, pre-emptive action, the number of officers trained in public order policing, the need for forces to assist others, and the appropriate arrest policy.
O'Connor warned earlier this year that more than two in five forces were unprepared to help police major protests.
May rejected calls from senior officers to reconsider the government's 20% cuts to police budgets in the wake of the riots.
"I am clear that, even at the end of this spending period, forces will still have the resources to deploy officers in the same numbers we have seen in the last week," she said.
"It's clear to me that we can improve the visibility and availability of the police to the public.
"It's more important than ever that we do so, because we are asking the police to fight crime on a tighter budget."
|London riots: Met chief Tim Godwin considered shutting off Twitter|
Police wanted to disable Twitter at the height of the riots and may seek the power to do so in future, the Metropolitan Police's top officer told MPs today.
By Mark Hughes, and Raf Sanchez
12:52PM BST 16 Aug 2011
Speaking before the Home Affairs Committee, Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he and his senior management team at Scotland Yard discussed a shutdown "a few times" but discovered they did not have the legal power to do so.
Mr Godwin told MPs: "I contemplated seeking the authority to switch it off. The legality of that is very questionable. We did not request that it was turned off but it is something we are pursuing as part of our investigative strategy."
Later he revealed that he has had discussions with the government over whether the law should be changed to allow police forces to disable social networking sites at times of crisis.
Keith Vaz, the committee's chair, said he "did not realise" that the police had even considered the option but said it should be looked at because social media had allowed "people to turn up at very short notice to demonstrate and riot".
"We should look at whether we should give power to the police to order social media sites to behave in a certain way," Mr Vaz said
In an emergency debate in Parliament last Thursday the Prime Minister said that social media sites could be closed if they were being used to coordinate violence.
"We are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality," he told the House of Commons.
Also speaking at the committee hearing, Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police officers, said there was almost "non-existent pre-intelligence" that indicated the riots were about to break out.
"What we saw, fundamentally different in my assessment, was almost non-existent pre-intelligence, this was spontaneous rather than organised," he said.
Conservative MP Louise Mensch sparked fury on Twitter when she suggested the network could be shut down during riots.
|Facebook ban for teenager who encouraged rioters|
Youth barred from social networking sites for 12 months after posting 'come on rioters' rallying call
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 17 August 2011 14.49 BST
A 17-year-old who posted a Facebook message saying "come on rioters" has been banned from social networking sites for 12 months.
Appearing at Bury St Edmunds youth court, the teenager, from a nearby village, admitted sending menacing messages on Facebook.
Magistrate Graham Higgins also ordered him to complete 120 hours' community service, a 12-month youth rehabilitation order and observe a curfew between 7pm and 6am for three months.
The court heard that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wrote the message at 9.45am on 9 August. It read: "I think we should start rioting, it's about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about and ruining this country.
"It's about time we stood up for ourselves for once. So come on rioters – get some. LOL."
Prosecutor Lucy Miller said the college student had 400 friends on Facebook, some of whom replied to the message calling him an idiot.
She said: "The police were alerted and when they arrived he had already deleted the post."
Defence solicitor Paul Booty called on the magistrates not to be influenced by hysteria surrounding the recent disorder.
He added: "There has been a strong kneejerk reaction and lots of misinformation, including apparent orders, which turned out not to be true, that all parties should be given custodial sentences.
"My concern, not necessarily for this case but for cases up and down the country, is that there will also be an awful lot of appeals."
He said his client, who has a previous conviction for actual bodily harm, had made a mistake and the comment had been a foolish prank.
The boy's mother told the court: "He is normally a good boy but, like all teenagers, he has his stupid moments."
Speaking to magistrates, the boy added: "I meant it as a joke which is why I wrote LOL at the end."
Higgins said that custody had been at the forefront of his mind but that the curfew order would act as "custody at home".
|PM defends Facebook jail term|
5:43pm UK, Wednesday August 17, 2011
David Cameron has defended the courts' decision to send a "tough message" over the riots, despite growing Liberal Democrat unease.
Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, both received four-year jail terms for inciting disorder on Facebook - the toughest sentence yet since riots broke out in English cities.
The decision has divided politicians and threatened to expose coalition tensions over how best to deal with offenders.
Reacting to the decision, the Prime Minister said: "You weren't in court, I wasn't in court, it's up to the courts to make decisions about sentencing.
"They've decided to send a tough message and it's very good the courts feel able to do that," he added.
Most Conservative MPs have broadly welcomed the robust response despite growing feelings among many Liberal Democrats that the sentences are disproportionate and inconsistent.
Four-year jail terms are usually handed down for offences such as grievous bodily harm.
There are rumblings that this robust justice is the result of political pressure.
One Lib Dem source said: "We're uneasy about the sentencing and equally uneasy about politicians imposing on the criminal justice system."
Mr Cameron has been clear he wants those involved in the riots to go to jail and Home Secretary Theresa May suggested juvenile offenders be stripped of their anonymity.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told Sky News the prison sentences for Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan were justified.
"The place where you live, the place where you shop, the streets where your children play, should feel safe," he said.