Tag Archives: murder

Everard murderer was known to police colleagues as ‘The Rapist’. How long can Cressida Dick stay in post?

Cressida Dick: Platitudes outside a court must not save her from the consequences of her failure to root out corruption and crime among her officers.

How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?

Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?

Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nicknameby colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.

The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.

And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.

The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.

Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.

Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.

Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.

She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.

“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”

But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:

This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).

Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.

Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.

It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.

How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?

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Could ‘tinpot dictator’ Boris Johnson learn a lesson from Haiti – before it’s too late?

Dictator Johnson: but will he learn a lesson from the death of Haitian president Jovenel Moise – or will he carry on attacking your freedoms in the belief that “it couldn’t happen here”?

On the day when Haitian president – and, some say, dictator – Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his own home, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was labelled a “tinpot dictator” in the House of Commons. Do you think the parallel will prompt a rethink?

I don’t.

Moise was accused of being a dictator because he did not hold elections when he was expected to – including legislative elections. As I understand it, this meant Haiti has been left without lawmakers since 2019 and he had been ruling by decree for the past two years.

According to The Guardian,

Allegations of an attempted coup – which Moïse said included plans to murder him – marked the latest episode in his controversial period in power that has been characterised by fraudulent elections, protests, economic hardship, repression and rampant corruption.

Does that seem familiar to you?

In February this year he claimed an attempt to kill him and overthrow his government had been foiled, arresting 23 people including a top judge and a senior police officer and using police to put down political protests after they became violent.

Does that remind you of the Johnson regime?

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, referred to Johnson as a “tinpot dictator” during Prime Minister’s Questions, when he raised the Tory government’s plan for vote-rigging by introducing a system in which voters will have to provide a specific form of identification before being allowed to take part in elections.

Mr Blackford said, “It’s easier to get re-elected if the government can choose the voters rather than the voters choosing the government.”

(I note that Voter ID will not be introduced for elections here in Wales. The Labour-run government here rightly states that electoral fraud is practically nonexistent and could disenfranchise millions of voters in the UK.)

Looking at Haiti, it is easy to see where interference with elections can lead.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking:

“It couldn’t happen here.” Really?

I bet you can think of at least one person in the UK who has died under mysterious circumstances that may have been politically-motivated – and may have been covered up in subsequent inquiries. I can.

It could happen here, just as it could happen in Haiti – as soon as Johnson outlives his usefulness.

And he’s not doing very well with his plan to spread new variants of Covid-19 by lifting social distancing rules, is he?

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Cressida Dick and Met police ‘institutionally corrupt’ in hindering Daniel Morgan murder inquiry

Cressida Dick: next time I publish an image of her I want it to be the mugshot taken after she is arrested.

How will the police be reformed after the damning report on the murder of a private detective – who had been investigating police corruption?

And how can we trust any measures when the current Metropolitan Police Commissioner actively participated in the corrupt cover-up of what happened to Daniel Morgan – and the current Home Secretary wanted to edit the independent report on this fiasco before the public could see it?

Do we all know the story? Morgan’s body was found in a south London car park in 1987, an axe buried in his head. He had been investigating police corruption.

To date, no fewer than five investigations have been conducted into the murder. Nobody has been convicted.

In 2013, then-Home Secretary Theresa May launched an independent inquiry to examine “police involvement in Daniel Morgan’s murder, the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice, and the failure to confront that corruption”.

It also looked into “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them”.

When the inquiry panel tried to publish its report in May, current Home Secretary Priti Patel tried to interfere, saying she needed to see it and may need to censor any part of it that she could claim might affect national security or human rights obligations.

She had no right to do so. The panel objected in the strongest possible terms and Patel had to back down. The report has been published in full today (June 15).

It reveals that the Metropolitan Police is “institutionally corrupt” and singles out Met Commissioner Cressida Dick for personal censure.

Panel chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said the Met’s first objective in its approach to the inquiry was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Daniel Morgan’s murder in 1987.

Its handling of the investigation into Morgan’s death was “institutionally corrupt” and placed concerns about its reputation above its duty to investigate the murder properly.

The Met deliberately misled the public and Morgan’s grieving family.

It delayed handing over vital documents to the inquiry panel, thereby hindering its own work. An investigation that was not expected to take long ended up being stretched out over eight years.

Then-Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick – along with her successors after she was promoted – was responsible for refusing to provide access to this information and never provided a reasonable explanation.

The inquiry panel’s report states [boldings mine]:

“The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his [killer] to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional [in]competence, individuals’ venal* behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.

“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.

“Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

“The Metropolitan Police were not honest in their dealings with Daniel Morgan’s family, or the public. The family and the public are owed an apology.”

A statement by Morgan’s family condemned “a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.

The independent panel made a number of recommendations which include:

  • Law enforcement agencies should be subjected to a newly created “statutory duty of candour”.
  • Metropolitan Police should properly vet employees and have “adequate and effective processes” to establish whether any officers and staff are “currently engaged in crime.”
  • The force should make sure it has the necessary resources to tackle corrupt behaviour among its officers and to ensure police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also sufficiently resourced to investigate such matters.
  • An investigation should be carried out by another police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), looking at police practices and procedures to determine whether “sufficient resources” are available to protect police whistleblowers.

I have absolutely no confidence that any of these recommendations will be honoured by those concerned.

Patel has made a statement in Parliament, saying she has demanded a full response to the report from Dick. I have no confidence that anything these two cook up between them will bear any relationship to the facts; they will try to mislead us again.

If Patel could be trusted to do her job properly, she would have already demanded the suspension of Dick and every other police officer involved in this 34-years-long corrupt cover-up – all of them.

She would then invite law enforcement officers from a completely different place – possibly even from a different country, because I don’t think anybody here can be trusted to be honest – to investigate their roles and determine whether and what criminal charges should be levelled against them.

This is a most serious matter; we are seeing corruption at the heart of the police and government – of an ingrained, institutional nature.

And the Tories – themselves proven to be institutionally corrupt over the last two years of Boris Johnson’s government – are entirely unfit to tackle it.

*Showing or motivated by an inclination towards being bribed; corrupt.

Source: Daniel Morgan murder: Met chief censured for hampering corruption inquiry | Daniel Morgan | The Guardian

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As Taser cop is tried for murder, Patel tells police to start ‘zapping’ criminals

She’s homicidal.

The person most likely to cause criminal deaths is the Home Secretary, it seems.

No doubt the Cabinet Office will tell us it’s all innocent and that we shouldn’t read too much into her choice of words.

But that doesn’t change the fact that, as a police officer accused of murdering a former footballer after Tasering him goes on trial, Priti Patel has told the Police Federation she wants them “going out there and actually zapping the really bad people out there”.

She was telling them to make a show of strength as the UK comes out of lockdown – to clamp down hard on potential criminal behaviour before it has a chance to emerge.

At the very least it is a shocking lapse of taste and good judgement; alternatively, it’s incitement for other police officers to kill their suspects.

Source: Priti Patel tells police to start ‘zapping’ criminals as lockdown laws ease | The Independent

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Sasha Johnson: Five arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

Sasha Johnson: she remains in critical condition after being shot in the head at a Peckham house party on Sunday.

It’s good that progress is being made on the shooting of Sasha Johnson – even if it seems to be accidental.

The first arrest – of a 17-year-old boy – came after a stop-and-search process which led to him being arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

This led police to a Peckham address where three men, aged 18,19 and 28, were arrested on suspicion of affray and possession with intent to supply class B drugs.

And a 25-year-old man was later arrested after a police chase, on suspicion of affray and failing to stop for police.

All five were later also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remain in custody, according to a Met spokesperson.

So these arrests follow what appears to have been a random stop-and-search – a routine that has been criticised for overly targeting black people.

I’m not aware of the skin colour of the people who were arrested but if they were black, I wonder whether the police will try to use this to justify a procedure that is allegedly racist.

And, if these people are connected to the shooting of Ms Johnson at a Peckham house party on Sunday, isn’t it shameful that police could not trace them through – you know – actual detective work?

Of course, if it was them, and if they are black, one major question on our minds should be why they targeted a prominent campaigner in the Black Lives Matter movement at all.

Source: Sasha Johnson: Five held on suspicion of attempted murder – BBC News

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Fury as Patel interferes with independence of report into private detective’s murder

Daniel Morgan: Priti Patel wants to interfere with a report into the murder of a man who had been investigating police corruption. Now, why would she want to do that?

Nothing screams “cover up” quite so loudly as a Home Secretary interfering in the publication of an independent report – especially when it is on the murder of a detective investigating police corruption.

This Writer has been reporting on the murder of Daniel Morgan, practically since I started working on newspapers, and the lack of progress in his case indicates either a monumental failure – or monumental obstruction.

His body was found in a south London car park with an axe embedded in its head in 1987.

The motive for the murder has not been established. Some believe it resulted from a business dispute but following a fresh investigation the Met announced in 2007 that the motive for the murder was probably that Morgan “was about to expose a south London drugs network possibly involving corrupt police officers”.

There are claims that corruption in Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire is also linked to the case.

The independent Morgan panel was set up in 2013 to investigate “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the former News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them.”

Its terms of reference included “police involvement in the murder; the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder … and the failure to confront that corruption”.

And now Priti Patel, the government minister responsible for the police, is refusing to allow the report of an independent inquiry into his murder to be published until she has vetted it, despite not having the right to do so.

It seems she wants to black out any part of the report she says might affect national security or human rights obligations.

The Morgan panel, responsible for the report, has issued a statement attacking the intervention in the strongest possible terms.

It said it had been told the report would not be made public until it agreed to the pre-publication review by government, which breaches the understanding it has about its independence.

The panel claimed the Home Office wanted the right to black out any part of the report it considered may breach “national security” or human rights obligations.

“The Panel was informed yesterday (Monday 17 May) that a publication date will not be agreed until the home secretary and Home Office officials and lawyers have reviewed the contents of the Panel’s Report,” its statement said.

“A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013.”

It added: “The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel’s independence.”

It said: “The panel is disappointed with this position and hopes the matter can be resolved in adequate time for its report to still be published in May while parliament is sitting.”

And it said a senior team from the Metropolitan police had already checked to ensure there was nothing in the final report that jeopardised security.

The Home Office statement on the matter is contradictory.

It states: “The home secretary … has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations. This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it.”

But if Patel is planning to alter the report – in any way – before the public can see it, then she is seeking to edit it.

Daniel Morgan’s brother Alistair has said the panel should take a case to the High Court, to protect its independence.

Let’s hope it does. This case has been going on for long enough that another slight delay won’t make much difference – and resisting Patel’s interference could make the difference between finally having a conclusion and suffering another grubby cover-up.

Source: Anger as Patel delays publication of report into private detective’s murder | Police | The Guardian

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Read this and weep:

Last Saturday, May 8, This Writer put out a request on This Site for supporters of Israel – the people who set out to justify the atrocities committed by the government of that country – to explain why armed Israeli forces had invaded the Al Aqsa Mosque and were shooting worshippers there with rubber bullets and letting off stun grenades on this holy ground.

I received very few responses from such people, which is uncharacteristic for people who usually cannot be prevented from spouting their propaganda as often and widely as possible.

The best any of them could manage was a bit of whataboutery – an attempt to say that it was reasonable because of Palestinian rocket attacks and why wasn’t I bothered about them?

am bothered about them; these screamers always miss the point that none of the violence between Israel and Palestine is acceptable.

There’s also this argument, made by a commenter on Twitter:

Furthermore, it is entirely disproportionate for Israel to use the rocket retaliations against the attack on Al Aqsa, and the forcible emptying of the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem, as a justification for this:

The result:

And what happened next?

Instead of apologising for murdering civilians, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he is escalating attacks on residential areas:

And he meant it:

The result:

It seems the weapons used on these residential areas of Palestine were manufactured in the United States, whose industrialists and government may be deemed to support the murder of civilians by their provision of weapons used to kill them.

It was during the attacks on Gaza that six-year-old Rahaf al Masry was killed by a US missile, aimed by a member of Israel’s armed forces. She was one of many…

… and this murder of children prompted Unicef to make an appeal for sanity – which fell on deaf ears.

The Israeli Defence force has attempted to justify these murders – but the statement would have been laughable if it had not been about the deliberate killing of children. As it is, I think the comment on the statement that I’m publishing here is remarkably restrained:

The only sentence in the IDF statement that strikes This Writer as in any way likely to be true is the last: “Our goal is only to strike terror.”

They’ve certainly done that. They’ve struck terror into the hearts of every Palestinian (yet again), and they have struck terror into everybody watching the development of this atrocity, who has a heart.

Condemnation has come thick and fast:

Those were mild words from Jeremy Corbyn who, despite the sustained and vicious accusations of anti-Semitism against him, continues to be the peacemaker. His hope here was forlorn.

The quote tweet from Haaretz refers to two Israeli deaths, caused by a Palestinian rocket that, it seems, got through Netanyahu’s “Iron Wall”. These deaths are just as deplorable as those of the many more Palestinians who have lost their lives. But who should take responsibility for them? Whoever let off the rocket, certainly. But what about the Israeli prime minister who provoked those people into doing it?

And when is the cycle of violence ever going to end?

Will it only end when Israel has used its overwhelming military superiority to destroy Palestine altogether – wipe its people off the face of the Earth – in the full view of the world and protesting that it is Israelis who are the victims all the way through?

Will it really have to go that far before the other nations of the world publicly acknowledge what is happening there and condemn it? Will they really wait until it is too late?

It seems so.

Look at Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight, pushing the Establishment line that the violence is all the fault of the Palestinians for all she was worth, and getting very short shrift from Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, Husam Zumlot. Labour MP Clive Lewis’s choice of words to quote is right on the button:

Yesterday, in the Queen’s Speech opening the new Parliamentary session, Boris Johnson’s government announced a plan to deny UK citizens the right to protest against Israeli atrocities via BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) in what This Writer can only see as wholehearted support for the murder of Palestinian children:

The alternative, of course, is to be labelled anti-Semitic:

It’s a false accusation; Israel is not the Jewish people, nor has it ever been representative of them all. No doubt there are many Jews across the world who deplore the atrocities committed by the government of that country – including among those in Israel itself.

Taking that as true, then I agree with John Smith, son of the late Labour legend Harry Leslie Smith:

Sadly, if such people exist in Israel, their voices are being suppressed just as much as ours will be if Johnson pushes through his ban on BDS. Instead we are shown Israelis backing the violence – including, remember, the murder of children – to the hilt:

I dare say it is – because those people should be offended, not elated. So should people here in the UK.

Their government is perpetuating a cycle of violence that – as Jeremy Corbyn pointed out – it could end at a moment’s notice.

And our government is implying that we all support these killings by suppressing our ability to protest against them.

How will we ever find peace with monsters like these in charge?

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Chauvin guilty of George Floyd murder – and what it means for people in the UK

Derek Chauvin: this image was taken from video footage of him choking George Floyd to death by kneeling on his throat for nine minutes.

A policeman from the United States has been found guilty of all charges related to the murder of African-American George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced and could spend decades in jail.

The death of Mr Floyd sparked an international wave of protest that resulted in multiple mass “Black Lives Matter” protests here in the United Kingdom and the toppling of statues celebrating slavers – like that of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But here’s the reason the verdict matters directly to people here in the UK:

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

If members of the public hadn’t taken video of Chauvin choking Mr Floyd to death, it is almost certain that Chauvin would have been able to avoid any charges at all; it would have been the word of a few black people against that of a police officer.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, a police union – the Metropolitan Police Federation – has been campaigning to prevent what it calls “trial by social media”.

These people mean the practice of posting video evidence of police misdeeds on Facebook and (particularly) Twitter.

I wrote about this less than a week ago. At that time, I quoted this tweet –

– and added:

“Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

“1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

“2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

“If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

“So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

“But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.”

Well, I reckon they’re going to have all the fun taken out of it now.

Because, after the Chauvin verdict, nobody will have the nerve to suggest banning footage of police brutality from the social media.

Source: George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder – BBC News

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Police kettle women for trying to ‘reclaim’ the streets after policeman arrest for woman’s kidnap and murder

Kettled: hundreds of people – mostly women – were kettled on Clapham Common by police – mostly men.

Could there be a more strident declaration that the UK is backsliding culturally?

After a police officer was arrested and charged for kidnapping and murdering a woman, a vigil was organised on Clapham Common in memory of the deceased and as a mark of defiance against those who would put women in fear for their lives while just walking down the street.

In response, Metropolitan police officers kettled participants – boxing them in so they could not move freely – and then arrested them. Here’s how they carried out the second part of this operation:

The message is clear: in Tory Britain in the 21st century, women should feel afraid – all the time. The police will enforce it.

Possibly worst of all is the fact that the police acted this way not only after one of their number was arrested for the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, but also under the orders of a female commissioner, Cressida Dick.

Dick’s tenure has been controversial from the start – often due to racist behaviour by her officers. This incident has renewed calls for her resignation, with accusations of sexism against people of her own gender.

As I understand it, police say they acted as they did in order to enforce Covid-19-related laws on social distancing. It is unclear how they can say kettling people is consistent with that claim.

My understanding, again, is that people gathered on Clapham Common in spite of the fact that a planned vigil had been cancelled due to difficulty in securing police co-operation. Organisers of the cancelled event, Reclaim These Streets, have released this statement:

Women across the country are deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence*.

From the start, Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so, they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.

All the time they spent fighting us on a legal claim that the Judge agreed should not have been necessary and was caused by the Metropolitan Police’s stance, they could have been working with us to ensure the vigil went ahead in a safe way. The Judge was clear and the Metropolitan Police conceded minutes before the hearing that there was no blanket ban on protest under the current law. They then had an opportunity – and a responsibility – to work with us safely and within the law.

This week, of all weeks, the police should have understood that women would need a place to mourn, reflect and show solidarity. Now is the time for the police and the government to recognise that the criminal justice system is failing women. Tonight it has failed women again, in the most destructive way.

Possibly the most chilling comment on these terrible events came from Boris Johnson, who said he would do “everything I can to make sure the streets are safe”.

He’ll probably impose an armed curfew.

Whatever he does, it will probably backfire because people are angry.

One commentator – aptly – described the situation: “Peaceful protest against violence against women is broken up by state violence against women.”

If that’s how people are seeing it, then in a country that is a seething cauldron of frustration due to Covid-19 restrictions, I fear that feelings are going to boil over and we could see some real confrontations.

And people are seeing it that way:

The woman pictured being arrested, above, is Patsy Stevenson. She was interviewed afterwards and her words capture the feeling of the moment:

Note that she said the next thing that should happen is another protest – and bigger.

With the authorities reacting not only inappropriately but violently – against the victims, I can only see this situation getting worse.

I hope I’m wrong but I know how the current government mistreats ordinary people. Tories will not understand that they cannot expect us to comply with what they say when what they do is harming us.

*Some readers may object to the characterisation of “male violence”. If you are one such person, my advice is simple: get over yourself. These events happened after a woman was attacked and killed by a man. The scenes on Clapham Common involved many men attacking many more women. And the worst of it is that all the men involved have police uniforms. Women have been left in fear for their lives not only because they don’t know whether the next man they see is going to attack them but also because they now know they cannot trust the police to protect them. Many men are saying that they have nothing to do with attacks on women and wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, and that may be true. But that doesn’t mean that no men are responsible for such attacks. Perhaps, until a way is found to ensure that women can once again walk the UK’s streets in safety, all men should take responsibility and try to help, rather than whining that it’s nothing to do with them.

Source: Sarah Everard: Met criticised over Clapham vigil policing – BBC News

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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

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