“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Met Police

UCU’s Quibbling Over Definitions Of anti-Jewish Racism.

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Mark Gardner at the CST eviscerates the UCU’s NEC and their failure to deal with anti-Jewish racism:

“People who carp and quibble over definitions of racism often have ulterior motives; and even more so, when they seek to outlaw the mere suggestion of a certain definition of racism.

When the British National Party shouts “Rights for Whites” whilst urging racism against non-whites, you know what kind of self-serving hypocrisy you are dealing with. In the context of Jews and antisemitism, however, you have the striking phenomenon of far left organisations and individuals who bitterly oppose racism and are very quick to see and oppose it in all sorts of places: but are deeply and actively hostile to mainstream Jewish perceptions on antisemitism.

Step forward, then, the Executive Committee of the University and College Union (UCU), who have proposed a resolution for UCU’s forthcoming conference to banish all use of the “working definition of antisemitism”, which was drafted for law enforcement and human rights agencies by the anti-racism watchdog of the European Union, the European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC, now renamed Fundamental Rights Agency) back in 2004/2005. It is not that the UCU approves of antisemitism, far from it: but its disapproval of antisemitism comes strictly within its own terms and its own guideleines, and appears utterly subordinate to its own ideological wordview.

UCU’s NEC: Antisemitism, We Don’t Want A Policy

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Looking back, from my earliest days I was a trade unionist, active in many unions in lay positions and committed to trade unionism. Equally, I have always had a high regard for academics and scholars, as a book lover, but I am dismayed at the posturing and intellectual stupidity coming out of the University and College Union’s (UCU) National Executive Committee.

UCU’s NEC have submitted a motion to Congress which essentially says: “Antisemitism, we don’t want a policy and won’t listen to anyone who wants to discuss it”.

This motion only reinforces the view that UCU are institutionally antisemitic, that is, they are unable and unwilling to counter anti-Jewish racism within their own organisation.

In many ways, UCU remind me of the Metropolitan Police of yesteryear, when they were confronted by evidence of institutional racism within the police services.

However, the Met Police did not, if I remember correctly, respond by saying:

“The Race Relations Act is stifling debate on immigrants, blacks and other foreigners. We, the Met Police, reject its usage and it should not be used in educating people against racial prejudice or internal disputes within the Police Service.”

NO, the Met Police didn’t say that, but in this motion that’s essentially what UCU are arguing concerning anti-Jewish racism.

The Met Police acknowledged they had a problem with racism, which is considerably better than UCU have done.

So we have the anomaly of a Union for academics, staff and others in the educational sector unable to face up to anti-Jewish racism, whereas even the awful, often violent and thugish Met Police have done something against institutional racism, but not UCU:

“70 EUMC working definition of anti-semitism – National Executive Committee

Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.

Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.

Congress resolves:

1. that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)

2. that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved

3. that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination.”

It is hard to think of greater intellectual turpitude, an inability to deal with anti-Jewish racism, and why those in the educational sector should consciously choose to go down this path is beyond me, but let us refesh our memories as to what institutional racism is:

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.
The Macpherson report

“Institutional racism is that which, covertly or overtly, resides in the policies, procedures, operations and culture of public or private institutions – reinforcing individual prejudices and being reinforced by them in turn.”
A. Sivanandan, Director, Institute of Race Relations

“If racist consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs or practices, that institution is racist whether or not the individuals maintaning those practices have racial intentions.”
The Commission for Racial Equality

Perhaps instead of playing political games UCU’s NEC would be better off admitting the obvious, the institutional racism within UCU and dealing with it, or at the very least making an effort, as the Met Police did a decade ago.

Update 1: Engage has more, David Hirsh is very good on these issues:

“The EUMC definition says it may, in some contexts, be antisemitic to accuse Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to their union; to say Israel is a racist endeavour; to apply double standards; to boycott Israelis but not others for the same violations; to say that Israeli policy is like Nazi policy; to hold Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel. All of these things have been going on a lot inside the academic unions for the last eight years. Instead of addressing the antisemitic culture, the leadership of the union now proposes to alter the definition of antisemitism. The union wants to carry on treating ‘Zionists’ as disloyal; singling out Israel and only Israel for boycott; holding Israeli universities responsible for their government; allowing ‘Zionist’ union members to be denounced as Nazis or supporters of apartheid.

The precise form that bullying typically takes within UCU is that people who complain about antisemitism are accused of doing so in bad faith in a dishonest attempt to outlaw criticism of Israel. The antisemitism isn’t seen, isn’t acknowledged, the accuser is accused; and Israel is blamed for the unseen and unacknowledged antisemitism.”

Ian Tomlinson, Murdered By the Police.

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I had been meaning to do a post on the death of Ian Tomlinson, but couldn’t quite get around to it for various reasons.

So here is a compilation of some pertinent posts on his murder :

Ian Tomlinson and Misconduct in Public Office.

Ian Tomlinson: police escape prosecution.

Ian Tomlinson Campaign: Time For Something Different.

The Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign.

The Ian Tomlinson decision is a travesty of justice.

Oh, and don’t forget the video of the attack on Ian Tomlinson.

Written by modernityblog

25/07/2010 at 21:53

Jean Charles de Menezes

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Written by modernityblog

22/07/2010 at 11:09

Blair Peach And Officer E.

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English understatement is wonderful, it’s a bit confusing for “foreigners”, even native English speakers as it were, but when you read the reports of Blair Peach’s murder it pops up time after time, but not in a good way.

Rather than state the obvious fact that Blair Peach was murdered by a policeman news reports invoke English understatement to diminish the severity of Blair Peach’s murder.

A few examples, over at BBC News:

A police officer is likely to have “struck the fatal blow” which killed a protester in west London 31 years ago, a Scotland Yard report reveals.

Anti-racism activist Blair Peach died after he was hit during clashes with police officers in Southall in 1979.

The previously secret report attaches “grave suspicion” to an officer, who it says may also have been involved in a cover-up along with two colleagues.

The Metropolitan Police said no officers would face further action.”

Well, it certainly wouldn’t have been anyone else.

There were no National Front around that area and groups of police officers were periodically going into the crowd and streets in a very aggressive fashion (ops, English understatement again) that is attacking people with truncheons.

So when Blair Peach suffered a head injury from a blunt object it doesn’t take Inspector Morse two weeks to work out who would have done it, a group of Metropolitan Police SPG officers, and only them.

The Metropolitan police were culpable for Blair Peach’s murder and no invocation of English understatement will change that.

Update 1: I should have added that successive governments and the Metropolitan police have blocked the publication of the Cass report, which was written between July 1979 and May 1980.

Yes, that’s correct. Its publication was deliberately obstructed by politicians and police officers for over 30 years. Even a comparatively recent freedom of information request in 2008, was rejected.

Update 2: The Cass Report is here, in a rather sloppy format (a lot of scanned type written pages) which doesn’t lend itself to easy reading, plus the fact it has been redacted.

Update 3: The Indy on the Cass Report:

“The officers involved made “false statements” regarding details surrounding his death, a previously secret report found.

Met police chief Sir Paul Stephenson said the report made “uncomfortable reading” but despite this the force insisted that nobody involved would face prosecution.

Mr Peach’s partner Celia Stubbs said the findings “vindicated” her belief that the activist was killed by police.

The document – written by Commander John Cass, a former senior officer at the Met’s internal complaints department, singled out the actions of the three officers, named as E, H and F.

He wrote: “The most serious aspect of this case has, without doubt, been the obstruction of the investigating officer in execution of their duty.”

Commander Cass recommended the three officers should face prosecution.

He added: “I strongly recommend that proceedings be taken against Officer E, Officer H and Officer F for obstructing police in the execution of their duty, conspiring to do so, and attempting or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”

Mr Peach was struck on the head during the protest on April 23 1979. He died in hospital of head injuries the next day.

Some 14 witnesses reported seeing him being hit by a police officer.

The names of the officers and witnesses involved were removed from the report for legal reasons.

Police insisted this had not been done to prevent embarrassment to the force.

The report said it could “reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow”.

It continued: “The attitude and untruthfulness of some of the officers involved is a contributory factor. “

Update 4: Not unsurprisingly an ex-former Inspector in charge of the SPG group tries to blames someone:

“In July, former Scotland Yard inspector Alan Murray, who led a unit of the Special Patrol Group, said that he believed Mr Peach was murdered or unlawfully killed, but not by police.

Mr Murray, now a 59-year-old Sheffield University lecturer, denied killing Mr Peach and said he did not believe anyone in his unit was responsible. The former officer said the inquiry was flawed and a verdict of death by misadventure at Mr Peach’s inquest was “inappropriate”.

The Metropolitan Police reiterated that despite the findings of the report none of those involved would face further action for Mr Peach’s death.”

Update 4: What was in their lockers?

“Some of the statements given by the six officers contradicted each other. Others, warned Commander Cass, felt like a cover-up.

Officer F, the van’s driver, said that E and H had “got out of the carrier on the corner and went straight into the crowd”.

Officer F’s police station locker was searched and investigators found a lead cosh, and other truncheon-like weapons. He denied having them with him at Southall.

Officer E was subjected to lengthy questioning because the circumstances indicated that he could have been responsible for the blow. When detectives accused him of trying to mislead them, his solicitor advised him not to answer any more questions.

“[Officer E] has not given a credible account of his movements and it is disturbing,” Commander Cass wrote.

“There was no doubt that he was suffering from stress which together with his driving personality attaches to him grave suspicion, if not as the officer responsible but for concealing it.

“He has since transferred from the Special Patrol Group. He is a [redacted] and I have reason to believe he was well thought of with potential for high rank.”

But Commander Cass said there was insufficient evidence to charge any officer with the death.

“Whilst it can reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow, and that that officer came from carrier 1-1, I am sure that it will be agreed that the present situation is far from satisfactory and disturbing.

“The attitude and untruthfulness of some of the officers involved is a contributory factor.”
He went on: “The most serious aspect of this case has, without doubt, been the obstruction of the investigating officer in the execution of their duty.”

“It can be clearly seen from the various statements and records of interviews with these officers that their explanations were seriously lacking and in the case of Officer E, Officer F and Officer H, there was deliberate attempt to conceal the presence of the carrier at the scene at the vital time.”

Update 5: The Sause has excellent background information:

The identities of the six officers who travelled to Beachcroft Avenue where Peach was attacked in patrol van Unit 1 have been dedacted from the report despite the fact they attended an open inquest a year after Peach died.

The dedactions are likely to have been made because the force has not found conclusive evidence that the six officers named by Cass were the most likely to have inflicted the fatal blow.

Inspector Alan Murray was in charge of Number One Unit SPG on the day of Peach’s death. He resigned from the force in the Summer of 1980 to join his brother in a jewellery business in Scotland. He is now now a lecturer in corporate social responsibility at Sheffield University.

The other officers in the van were PC Anthony Richardson who had been with the SPG for six months; PC Michael Freestone, who claimed he was transferred out of the unit because it was “politically expedient; PC Raymond ‘Chalkie’ White, the van driver; PC James Scottow believed to have told Peach to get ‘on your bike’ after the blow and Sgt Anthony Lake who was driving a second van.

A PC Greville Bint, part of Unit One, is understood not to have been among the officers whose identities was dedacted. He gave conflicting evidence to the original inquest about where he got in and out of the van at the time of Peach’s death.

Durnig a search of SPG lockers Bint was found to have been in possession of a lead weighed plaited leather covered stick, Nazi regalia, bayonets, German awards and medals from the first and second world wars. he was transferred out of the riot squad to Brixton in June 1979.

The names of the officers in Unit 1 are recorded in David Ransom’s book, The Blair Peach Case: Licence to Kill which was published by the Friends of Blair Peach Committee. The six officers named by the Cass report were leaked to the Lobster magazine and also published in the Sunday Times.”

Update 6: ITV News has fair coverage:

Update 7: This clip provides a reasonable report of why problems started in Southall, the Met Police’s desire to protect the NF:

Update 7: Remembering Blair Peach: 30 years on by Chris Searle from 2009 is a must read.

Update 8: Thanks to Entdinglichung, here’s is Linton Kwesi Johnson – Reggae Fi Peach 1980, a rather nice tune:

Update 9: Bob has some good links.

Written by modernityblog

27/04/2010 at 13:52