Britain yet again has done amazingly – £12 million in one day. But keep on giving to Haitians by clicking on the link. Please. The DEC are brilliant at getting the aid directly to the people who need it.
So China did the obvious and executed Briton Akmal Shaikh anyway:
Gordon Brown and other senior British politicians have angrily condemned China for executing a British man said to have had mental problems. Akmal Shaikh, 53, was killed early this morning by lethal injection after being convicted of drug smuggling.
Despite frantic appeals by the Foreign Office for clemency, Shaikh was executed at 10.30am local time (2.30am British time) in Urumqi. Campaigners believe he is the first European in 58 years put to death in China.
Shaikh, a father of three from Kentish Town, north London, was found with 4kg of heroin in his suitcase in September 2007. His supporters say he had suffered a breakdown, was delusional and was tricked into carrying the drugs.
Shaikh learned only yesterday that he would be killed today. He was informed by two cousins, who flew to China seeking a reprieve.
“We are deeply saddened, stunned and disappointed at the news of the execution of our beloved cousin Akmal,” said Soohail and Nasir Shaikh in a statement.
The two men said they were “astonished” that the Chinese authorities refused to investigate their cousin’s mental health on the grounds that the defendant ought to have provided evidence of his own fragile state of mind.
“We find it ludicrous that any mentally ill person should be expected to provide this, especially when this was apparently bipolar disorder, in which we understand the sufferer has a distorted view of the world, including his own condition.”
Amid an angry exchange of words between London and Beijing, the British prime minister said: “I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted. I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken. At this time our thoughts are with Mr Shaikh’s family and friends and I send them our sincere condolences.”
Of course it’s appallling that anyone has been executed for any reason. The state has no more right to take an individual’s life than another individual – it’s barbaric. But consider Brown’s words and then think for a moment about Gary McKinnon – apparently it’s ‘concerning’ that no mental health assessment was undertaken by China of Akmal Sheikh, yet one was conducted on Gary McKinnon – he has Asperger’s Syndrome. For some reason that makes it perfectly ok to extradite him to an uncertain future in the US penal system, despite what effect that is already having on his mental health. It’s a disgusting double standard which says more about Brown and his government’s public support for, and private indifference to human rights, than China’s longstanding disregard for them. Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said:
it was “reprehensible” and “entirely unacceptable” that the execution had gone ahead without any medical assessment. “This execution makes me personally feel sick to the stomach but I’m not going to make idle threats.
“This morning is not the time for a kneejerk reaction. It’s true we must continue to engage with China but it needs to be clear as that country plays a greater role in the world they have to understand their responsibility to adhere to the most basic standards of human rights. China will only be fully respected when and if they make the choice to join the human rights mainstream and incidents like this do not help the international community’s respect or relationship with China.”
It isn’t even an idle threat – it’s an idle remark. China is now so powerful it can disregard any other’s country’s disapproval of its behaviour. China is currently only concerned about increasing its influence and its wealth, not its international respect – it can easily afford to ignore Britain’s diplomatic attack, particularly considering its desperate, self-serving nature; if the British government really cared about Akmal Shaikh they’d prove it by blocking Gary McKinnon’s extradition, but I assure you that won’t happen. Amnesty International said:
Shaikh’s execution again highlighted the “injustice and inhumanity of the death penalty, particularly as it is implemented in China”. Amnesty estimates China executes at least three times as many people as every other country put together.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty’s Asia programme director, said: “Much information about the death penalty is considered a state secret but Mr Shaikh’s treatment seems consistent with what we know from other cases: a short, almost perfunctory trial where not all the evidence was presented and investigated, and the death penalty applied to a non-violent crime.
“Under international human rights law, as well Chinese law, a defendant’s mental health can and should be taken into account, and it doesn’t seem that in this case the Chinese authorities did so.
“It’s simply not enough for the Chinese authorities to say ‘we did the right thing, trust us’. Now there can be no reassessment of evidence, no reprieve after a man’s life has been taken.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said of the execution:
“it is a reminder of how different can be our perspective. We need to understand China (and the massive public support for the execution). They need to understand us.”
They’d do that a lot better if we weren’t sending out such a disgustingly hypocritical message. Gary McKinnon’s extradition must be stopped and he should be tried in the UK (except he wouldn’t be because the Department of Public Prosecutions acknowledges there isn’t enough of a case to answer).
Where is the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)? Why does the US Armed Forces’ anti-gay Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) remain untouched? And now is immigration equality on the back burner too?
House proponents of comprehensive immigration reform unveiled an ambitious proposal last week with much fanfare, but lost in the buzz was that their bill isn’t entirely comprehensive: They intentionally left out protections for gay and lesbian immigrants.
A bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) dealing with family reunification policies for immigrants was completely rolled into the reform package, except for its provisions allowing same-sex partners of permanent residents to qualify for a visa. The decision behind the little-noted change sparked friction between liberals hoping to kick off debate with an all-inclusive bill and Hispanic leaders more focused on keeping religious leaders on board with the plan.
“All the evangelists, Catholics and churches that are part of this were whacking out” over the gay and lesbian provisions, said a Democratic lawmaker familiar with negotiations on the bill.
The lawmaker said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has led the House effort on comprehensive immigration reform, initially “didn’t want to deal with it. At all.” Then he tried to work out a “stupid” compromise whereby the same-sex partner provisions would be in the bill but they wouldn’t take effect for five or six years, said this Member.
But some liberals argued the idea was “really bad” since Hispanic lawmakers have strongly opposed an effort by the Senate to impose a similar five-year waiting period for immigrants to receive benefits under health care reform, said the lawmaker. A multiyear delay for same-sex partners would likely result in “more criticism for this stupid deal than for leaving it out,” said the House Democrat.
The decision was finally made to offer an amendment to the bill when it comes before the Judiciary Committee in February.
Will an amendment materialise in February? The jury’s most definitely out. Is a compromise being worked out whereby the Catholic Church will support a deal on immigration equality as long as it’s covert, as the article goes on to suggest? Or is the current exclusion down to a cultural prejudice of other minority lawmakers? Anyone would think we’re entering an election year in the US. Rachel Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality said:
that her group was “disappointed” not to see the sought-after provisions—but she said Immigration Equality remained hopeful that Gutierrez, a longtime ally of the LGBT community, would support future measures: ” [ W ] e have every expectation that he will continue to work on behalf of our families as lawmakers tackle this critically important issue.”
Speaking as a gay American with a British husband I’m not going to hold my breath.
Democratic Unionist MP Iris Robinson, who last year made horrific comments against gay people has announced she’s standing down as an MP because of ‘depression’:
“Over the years, I have undergone a long series of operations and, though I have never talked about it publicly, I have also battled against serious bouts of depression.
“Only those who have faced similar challenges in life will know the ordeal faced by those who are profoundly depressed, and the distress caused to those around them as they grapple with personality-changing illness. One in four of the population struggle with mental illnesses at one level or another, yet few talk about it openly.
“The stress and strain of public life comes at a cost and my health has suffered. Regrettably, I have concluded, after considering the matter over Christmas and discussing it with Peter, who has always been most supportive and caring, that I can no longer maintain the high standard of service I require of myself, meet the demands of office and cope with the pressures of public life, without my health deteriorating further.”
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Last year Iris compared gay people to murderers and child abusers, and we’re now supposed to be sympathetic towards her because of ‘depression’? I’m sorry, I have no sympathy at all with unashamed homophobes, particularly when they’re elected representatives who make abusive expenses claims against the taxpayer:
Records showed the Robinsons received more than £500,000 a year in salaries and expenses, while a further £150,000 in wages was paid to four relatives – including their daughter Rebekah and son Gareth – for constituency and other work.
With high speed rail we’re behind France, behind Germany, behind Spain, behind Japan, but maybe just maybe that gap is about to narrow:
A new rail terminus could be built in central London under plans submitted to ministers as part of the proposed high-speed rail connection to replace short-haul flights in the UK.
The station would cater for commuters travelling to the West Midlands on the 250mph trains that form part of the government’s plan to get domestic air passengers a year to switch to the north-south rail line. If approved, the line aims to open towards the end of 2025.
Under the plan, to be submitted this week by High Speed 2, the company charged with identifying possible routes and stations, the new London station would handle up to 18 trains an hour, with each train capable of carrying more than 1,000 passengers.
The proposals are part of the initial plan to build a link to the West Midlands, and then to extend the line to Scotland. HS2 also aims to link the station to Heathrow airport and to the channel tunnel rail link, now known as High Speed 1 (HS1).
That’s still a hell of a long way away, but it would be about time if HS2 were to be approved. It’s been strange that a government which has publicly aspired to cutting the country’s carbon footprint hasn’t yet embraced strategies to move away from short haul air travel, and it makes you wonder whether this would finally fit in with viewing all government policies through a prism of their likely impace on the climate. Andrew Adonis has said:
“For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail. But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it.”
I hope then that when HS2 is approved he signals that the third Heathrow runway is dead. Cynical? Me?
Intellectual Property Minister David Lamy shows a similar grasp of the issues around filesharing to Peter Mandelson:
UK Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy gave a speech to the MPAA in Washington DC recently during which he defended Lord Mandelson’s controversial “evolved” plans to disconnect repeat file-sharers from the Internet.
He said the proposal was important in “sending a clear message: when it comes to piracy and infringement, ‘digital is not different.’”
Check out the final link where it shows the research that filesharers buy ten times as much music as they download. Is that really the same as ‘real’ piracy? I don’t think so. And is barring people from the Internet for repeat filesharing, which has hit neither music nor film takings, really the right solution? Finland qualifies Internet access as a human right – what right then should Peter Mandelson have to cut whole families’ access, without even the say-so of a judge or jury? This is continuing spin in the favour of specific corporate interests, and the government should be called for it.
The Digital Economy Bill is a disgusting, illiberal piece of legislation which threatens all of our freedom of speech. It must be stopped, and the first step is by calling it out for what it is.
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill has kicked up a storm worldwide, and it’s so-called Ethics Minister has responded, saying:
The Ugandan minister for ethics and integrity has suggested that the country will ditch its plans to execute gays in favour of life imprisonment.
James Nsaba Buturo said this would allow authorities to rehabilitate gays.
According to Reuters, he said: “There have been a lot of discussions in government … regarding the proposed law, but we now think a life sentence could be better because it gives room for offenders to be rehabilitated. Killing them might not be helpful.”
He denied the country had bowed down to international pressure. World powers such as the US, UK, France and Sweden had all heavily condemned the proposed law and Sweden had mooted the idea that aid could be cut to Uganda.
Instead, Buturo said: “It’s really out of our consultation with various groups, including religious leaders. It has nothing to do with external forces.”
Sure it isn’t. I would hope however that the Western governments which have threatened withdrawal of aid because of this disgraceful attack on human rights will stand for life imprisonment equally as little. Deutsche Welle points out:
The bill, which is yet to be debated in Uganda’s parliament, would have gay men and lesbians sentenced to life in prison for having sex. In cases of sex with minors or sexual acts leading to HIV infection, the penalty would be death. The bill also proposes that anyone who fails to report a homosexual act committed by others would face up to three years in jail.
Insane. State dehumanisation of minorities is what led to the Holocaust. Uganda is clearly indifferent to that; I hope the EU governments are not.
Ultra religious Christian zealot Lillian Ladele has failed once again in her continuing quest to appeal against her sacking for discriminating against gay people:
An Islington registrar who refused to carry out civil partnerships for gay couples has lost her appeal.
The Court of Appeal ruled today that Lillian Ladele had not been discriminated against. She had said she could not hold the ceremonies because of her Christian beliefs.
Lord Neuberger expressed some sympathy for her position but said that in a “modern liberal democracy”, only “very limited exceptions” could be made.
The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ladele, has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court.
The ruling was welcomed by Stonewall.
Director of public affairs Derek Munn said: “Stonewall are pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the right of lesbian and gay people to receive public services from public servants. We are glad that Islington council have seen this through for the sake of their lesbian and gay council tax payers.
“You can’t refuse a service to a person based on their gender, race or disability and you can’t on the basis of their sexual orientation either.”
You may remember civil registrar Ladele was fired by Islington Council for refusing to perform civil partnerships, and then took them to a tribunal, alleging religious discrimination. It’s becoming a reassuringly familiar refrain that appeals tribunals and courts, despite the appalling way in which gay and religious rights have been set against one another by this government, have brooked none of this from her or her ultra religious friends. The Christian Legal Centre however thinks otherwise:
“Civil partnerships were not being discriminated against, they were able to be performed by other registrars. Lilian Ladele has been discriminated against because of her Christian convictions.
“In a tolerant and civil society, we should be able to accommodate different groups.
“There will be serious consequences for religious freedom, conscience, acts and speech if we can’t learn to accommodate different groups.”
Except that wasn’t the issue – it was about Ladele refusing both to abide by her employer’s equal opportunities policy and then refusing different work, when offered, for the same pay. She felt that her religion afforded her what would have been essentially special rights – the right to discriminate in her employment on the grounds of belief. Now noone has suggested that she or any other theist should believe anything other than what they want, but their actions in civil society are governed by civil, not religious law. And despite the flaws in our equality legislation under civil law, she’s not allowed to act in a way that is detrimental to gay people. Accommodating the right to discriminate on the grounds of belief would not be the hallmark of a tolerant and civil society, and it’s something Symon Hill acknowledges:
Christians can welcome the court’s decision. We can emphasise that it is not an affront to Christian values – it is a victory for Christian values. Using traditional Christian terminology, we can point that it is not homosexuality, but homophobia, that is sinful. Those of who have gone along with homophobia in the past can declare our repentance of it.
In Jesus Christ, we have a messiah whose life embodied a message of radical inclusivity, a man who challenged religious hypocrisy and the abuse of power, who socialised with outcasts, broke religious and secular laws and forgave his persecutors as they killed him.
The New Testament’s ethical message is that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). It’s time for pro-equality Christians to make clear that our commitment to equality is not in tension with Christianity, or incidental to it, but flows naturally from it. Occasionally, I hear someone say “Symon’s against homophobia, even though he’s a Christian”. That’s just not true. I’m against homophobia because I’m a Christian.
Hill acknowledges the absurdity of Ladele’s position – her objection isn’t to anything she finds abhorrent to her zealous beliefs, just the gay bits. It’s an intellectually vapid take on religion, and fortunately one which neither the legislature nor the judiciary have any interest in enshrining into law.
You’d think it unlikely that our largest public service broadcaster should become part of the problem in relation to Uganda’s push towards gay genocide, but look at this:
Should homosexuals face execution?
Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question. But this is the reality behind an Anti-Homosexuality Bill being debated on Friday by the Ugandan parliament which would see some homosexual offences punishable by death.
The bill proposes:
Life imprisonment for those convicted of a homosexual act
The death sentence where the offender has HiV, is a “serial offender” or the other person is under 18.
Imprisonment for seven years for “attempted homosexuality.”
The bill claims to ‘protect the…traditional family values of the people of Uganda’, but it has prompted widespread international condemnation.
Homosexuality is regarded as taboo in much of Africa, where it is often regarded as a threat to cultural, religious and social values.
Has Uganda gone too far? Should there be any level of legislation against homosexuality? Should homosexuals be protected by legislation as they are in South Africa? What would be the consequences of this bill to you? How will homosexual ‘offences’ be monitored? Send us your views.
Should Jews be gassed? Would that be going too far? Should there be any level of legislation against Judaism? If the BBC actually posed those questions and asked for people’s views they’d be in breach of all sorts of incitement and hate speech legislation, yet in the name of ‘impartiality’ they’re actually not just prepared to debate the merits of executing gay people, but are prepared to defend doing so:
The editors of the BBC Africa Have Your Say programme thought long and hard about using this question which prompted a lot of internal debate.
We agree that it is a stark and challenging question, but think that it accurately focuses on and illustrates the real issue at stake.
If Uganda’s democratically elected MPs vote to proceed with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill this week they will bring onto the statute book legislation that could condemn people to death for some homosexual activities.
We published it alongside clear explanatory text which gave the context of the bill itself (see above). And as we said at the top of our debate page, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question. But this is the reality behind the bill.
I’ve always used the tag line from ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ to deal with so-called journalism like this: just because there are two sides to an argument doesn’t mean they are both equally true or equally valid. There is no valid pro execution argument here, and to entertain the notion under the guise of ‘impartiality’ is quite simply indefensible. The title is far more than just ‘stark and disturbing’ – by implying it’s a valid subject for ‘debate’ it’s inciteful to homophobic hatred. Join with me and complain here. This blog’s friends at Soho Politico have posted an excellent article with a form letter for you to copy or draw from here.
UPDATE: The title’s been changed to ‘Should Uganda Debate Gay Execution’ but the page is no less offensive or inflammatory.
When Rowan Williams became Archbishop of Canterbury there was a presumption that because he was a more thoughtful, seemingly more liberal man than his predecessor, the Church of England might begin to liberalise from its more recent mysoginistic and homophobic past. Yet at every turn Williams has sought for expediency’s sake to appease the extremists in his camp, so scared is he of leading the Church towards schism. And yet again, with the election of out lesbian bishop Mary Glasspool by the Episcopal Church in the United States, Williams is at it again:
“The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.
“The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees.
“That decision will have very important implications.
“The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”
It’s breathtakingly cynical. At a time when the Anglican Church in Uganda is colluding in the systematic criminalisation of all gay people, the Archbishop is more concerned with a lesbian becoming bishop in America than sending out a message that homophobia is wrong. He hasn’t made a public condemnation of the path Uganda is on at all – instead he seems more concerned with shoring up Christianity’s dwindling role in modern society, saying:
“The trouble with a lot of Government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities.
“The effect is to de-normalise faith, to intensify the perception that faith is not part of our bloodstream. And, you know, in great swaths of the country that’s how it is.”
And yet faith is a problem, he himself uses it justify bigotry, by implying that the primacy of faith is more important than the rational world of human rights. Faith is not part of our bloodstream, it’s an outmoded habit, but it could quite effectively be brought into the mainstream if the organised religions underpinning it had the guts to stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Although cases do exist where this actually happens (I’m thinking the response by the leaders of all Christian Churches in Liverpool to the murder of Michael Causer and the attack on James Parkes), Anglicanism’s leadership still cravenly panders to the worst bigotry rather than displaying any principles at all. As long as that persists, faith will remain a problem.
UPDATE: Williams has now attacked the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, calling it ‘shockingly severe’.
Last January Christianist counsellor Gary McFarlane lost his appeal against dismissal for religious discrimination. McFarlane had argued that as a devout Christian he was entitled not to have to work with gay couples on religious grounds, even though his employer Relate was publicly funded. The tribunal found unanimously against him, arguing correctly that he was fired for not abiding by his employer’s equal opportunities policy, yet he’s tried again:
A Christian relationship counsellor who refused to work with gay couples has lost his appeal for unfair dismissal.
Gary McFarlane, from Bristol, was sacked by Relate last year after saying he would not “encourage sin” in gay and lesbian couples.
He said that he had “overcome” his prejudices against same-sex couples since he began working as a Relate counsellor in 2003, but when beginning training to be a psychosexual therapist, he said his Christian beliefs meant he could not help gay and lesbian couples with intimacy issues.
Let that be the end of the line for this nasty bigot, trying to dress his prejudices up as somehow justified under religious equality legislation. Time for Lillian Ladele to exit the same stage shortly too, I think.
Half of all suspects aren’t using the free legal representation they’re entitled to because of police pressure:
Solicitors questioned by the National Audit Office (NAO) say they believe that the reason half of all suspects do not use their free services is a direct result of the action – or inaction – of the police. This is partly confirmed by further research in the NAO report which finds that solicitors “can experience barriers to accessing their clients” at the police station. Between April and October last year 29 per cent of calls from legal advisers working for the Legal Services Commission went unanswered. Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 the police must inform anyone detained at a police station of their right to a solicitor.
Last night the Law Society warned that police failings jeopardise defendants’ right to a fair trial. A spokesman said: “It is very disturbing that half of suspects in police stations don’t make use of solicitors providing advice for them. It is even more disturbing that 31 per cent do not recall being advised that they have the right to free advice, and that many solicitors consider that it is because of pressure by the police.”
I wish I could say I was surprised. It’s not remotely unusual for the police to convince suspects that they don’t need representation at the outset, stacking the books unjustly in their own favour, and thus denying the suspect fair treatment throughout their experience in the criminal justice system. And it’s amusing watching the argument in the comments section of the article – of course denial of legal representation doesn’t happen at the duty sergeant’s desk – it happens off the record, in the car, a pressurising ‘suggestion’ here, a word on the way into the station there – they don’t like the time it takes for solicitors to arrive, they want an advantage they’re not entitled to and they know how to get it. I’m shocked at the scale of it though, but don’t think for a minute that anything’s going to change; this is the police after all.
The government has been forced by the European Commission to withdraw its religious exemptions to sexual orientation equality legislation after a complaint by the National Secular Society:
The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society, which argued that the opt-outs went further than was permitted under the directive and had created “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.
The commission agreed. A “reasoned opinion” by its lawyers informs the government that its “exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive”.
The highly unusual move means that the government now has no choice but to redraft anti-discrimination laws, which is likely to prompt a furore among church groups.
In anticipation of a possible backlash from the commission, the government has already inserted new clauses into its equality bill. But even if the bill is jettisoned, future governments will be bound by the commission’s ruling.
Under the new proposals being drafted by the government, religious organisations will be able to refuse to employ homosexuals only if their job involves actively promoting or practising a religion. A blanket refusal to employ any homosexuals would no longer be possible.
Too right. It’s already quite mad that religious equality legislation has been passed, equating belief with inherent qualities like age, gender and sexual orientation. But to give an opt out to religion from the same equality legislation that affects everyone else is just appeasement – Peter Tatchell is right later in the article. That appeasement is fuelling the demands of all religious zealots in this country, in the belief that when push comes to shove they’ll be able to get away with not treating everyone equally based on who they are. The religious elements which take issue with this will simply have to grow up. The Christian charity, Care said:
“If evangelical churches cannot be sure that they can employ practising evangelicals with respect to sexual ethics, how will they be able to continue?”
They’ll have to join with the rest of the 21st century, in not discriminating against gay people, or they’ll face prosecution. It’s about time.
Met Police Commander Bob Broadhurst, in charge of the disastrous G20 policing effort in April, appears to have misled Parliament:
Commander Bob Broadhurst, who had overall command of the G20 policing operation, told the home affairs select committee in May that “no plain clothes officers [were] deployed at all” during the demonstrations in the City of London.
It has emerged that 25 undercover City of London police were stationed around the Bank of England to gather “intelligence” on protesters on 1 and 2 April. Broadhurst stands by the evidence he gave to MPs, claiming the deployment of undercover officers was unknown to him.
The proof is on a video on that page. Broadhurst can split hairs all he likes, saying that he was only talking about the Met, when the plainclothes police in question belonged to the CityPolice, but he still told parliament as the man in charge of the entire operation, that no plainclothes police were deployed when there were. And the City Police admitted it:
The assistant commissioner at the City of London police, Frank Armstrong, then told the MP that about 25 undercover officers were deployed during the protests.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the select committee, has written to Broadhurst suggesting the disclosure about plain clothes officers “contradicts” his evidence to MPs. Broadhurst claimed the officers filmed marching among Met and City of London riot police were “evidence gatherers” seeking to identify a certain protester.
It’s a terrible demonstration of just how inept he and the entire operation were that day, particularly when Armstrong continued to undermine Broadhurst:
[Lib Dem MP Tom] Brake said Broadhurst had “inadvertently misled” parliament, thus revealing a “startling lack of co-ordination” in the top ranks. “If plain clothes officers were only deployed to gather intelligence why is one clearly seen brandishing a baton?”
Was the cop in question in the video instructed to brandish that baton or was that rogue behaviour? The fact is the cops were out of control that day, pumped up largely by Broadhurst into an expectation of the need for violence which never resulted from protesters. Today’s report is sorely needed.