British police spied on De Menezes, Lawrence families


This music video is called Roger Waters – The ballad of Jean Charles de Menezes (subtitulado en español).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Police stored information on a relative attending a funeral

Kashmira Gander

Thursday 24 July 2014

The Metropolitan Police secretly held information on 17 grieving families running justice campaigns for murdered family members, a report has revealed.

In his latest report from Operation Herne, investigating the conduct of undercover officers from Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon said on Thursday that “emerging evidence” showed the Stephen Lawrence Campaign and a number of other families were mentioned in secret records.

This video from Britain is called Stephen Lawrence: Justice For A Murdered Son Part 1.

And this video is the sequel.

The campaigns ranged between 1970 and 2005, and were the result of people who died in police custody, died following police contact, or were murdered, he said.

Officers were in the process of telling the families concerned, and would share the knowledge and information held “where possible”. More families may emerge in time, the document adds.

The relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes are among those implicated. The Brazilian electrician was shot dead by police in 2005 after he was mistaken for a terrorist suspect, and his family are currently considering legal action against Scotland Yard following the report’s findings.

The Stephen Lawrence Campaign, and references to the death of Cherry Groce, which sparked the Brixton riots, and Ricky Reel, who died in mysterious circumstances in 1997, were also found.

An account of an unnamed individual planning to attend a funeral was among the information stored, despite the document acknowledging: “there was no intelligence to indicate that the funeral would have been anything other than a dignified event”.

Mr Creedon said the information should not have been retained unless it prevented crime or disorder, and admitted bereaved families are like to find the findings “distressing” and “inexplicable.”

While the report found no evidence that covert operations targeted grieving families or justice campaigns, it heavily criticised the fact that information that had no relevance in preventing crime.

This 23 July 2014 video from Britain is called Police ‘spied on Ricky Reel’s family’.

Sukhdev Reel, who fought for answers about the death of her son Ricky Reel in 1997, told Channel 4 News on Wednesday, prior to the publication of the report: “Rather than them helping us pick up the pieces trying to find out what happened to us they were spying on us.

“I don’t understand it, I just feel I’ve been stripped of my dignity… I feel really angry,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the Jean Charles De Menezes Family Campaign said it was “shameful” that the Metropolitan police had spied on the legitimate campaign activities of a grieving family “who were simply trying to get the answers they deserved after their loved one was killed by police officers.”

Mr Creedon was called in to lead an inquiry into the SDS after a series of allegations were made about the unit, including that officers used the identities of dead children without permission and tricked women into serious sexual relationships.

It was also accused of having infiltrated campaign groups close to the family of murder victim Stephen Lawrence and gathering information to “smear” his relatives.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, from Scotland Yard, stopped short of apologising to the families, but said: “I regret enormously the distress that has been caused.”

He added he had been moved by interviews with Sukhdev Reel, Ricky Reel’s mother.

“There have been a number of families out there for whom this has caused much distress. I was moved by the interviews with Mrs Reel last night, and that’s why it’s so important that we are clear about the facts of what actually happened.

“There are very clear criticisms about what subsequently happened to the information gathered by individual officers, and I am not surprised by that.

“The decision to retain information or not is a challenge and getting the balance right is difficult.”

The next stage of the report that will continue for another year will be an assessment on culture of the SDS and allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families. Intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005 and affected families including those of Jean Charles de Menezes and Stephen Lawrence: here.

THE family of murdered young Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and the bereaved mother of teenager Ricky Reel yesterday condemned undercover spying on their campaigns for justice: here.

See also here.

SUKHDEV REEL’S description of how sick she felt on learning that her family had been spied on by police after the death of her son Ricky is gut-wrenching. The fact that a secret unit in the Metropolitan Police could collect information on campaigns set up by bereaved families displays a previously unimagined level of depravity: here.

Members of a secret police unit that illegally gathered information on grieving families are unlikely to face action, Derbyshire’s chief constable, Mick Creedon, has said: here.

Police have admitted they may have used the body of Christopher Alder for “training purposes” for years after his family believed they had buried him. And now the cops’ watchdog has said it will not investigate the revelations: here.

German government okays spying on USA, Britain


This video is called ‘Third Strike’ Gets Top US Spy Booted From Germany.

Translated from the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily in Germany:

July 23, 2014 18:30

Intelligence: Berlin wants to monitor allied intelligence services

In the future, counterintelligence should also include friendly countries: According to information from Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR television, the Federal Government has decided to observe US American and British intelligence on German soil as well.

By Christoph Hickmann and Georg Mascolo, Berlin

In the future, the federal government also wants to monitor allied intelligence services in Germany. After months of discussions, the Chancellor’s Office, Interior and Foreign Ministry agreed according to information from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR on this project. The so-called 360-degree view will allow it to keep also American and British agents on German soil in view. So far, counterintelligence of the German Verfassungsschutz secret service was especially against the Russians, Chinese and Iranians.

The decision, said to have been reached by the Chancellor’s Office Minister Peter Altmaier, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, (both CDU party) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), is regarded as a direct response to recent revelations of espionage allegations against the United States secret service CIA.

An employee of the German secret service BND has already confessed to having worked for two years for the United States as an agent; a suspect employee of the German Defense Ministry denies such accusations vehemently. The boss of the CIA station in Berlin has by now been forced to leave Germany because of these incidents.

Germany begins spying on Britain and America for the first time since 1945. Government responds to a series of spy scandals which began last year with revelations that the NSA had bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone: here.

British government helps Bahrain dictatorship persecuting dissidents


This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.

From Middle East Eye:

Has Britain become Bahrain’s lapdog?

Alastair Sloan

Tuesday 22 July 2014 19:31 BST

Bahraini human rights activists are speaking out about increasing persecution at the hands of the British authorities

Could it be possible that the British government is now acting as Bahrain’s political policeman? Yes, according to Bahraini exiles living in London – most of whom have fled persecution in their homeland and now claim the British government is giving them a hard time for it.

Suspicions were first raised to me earlier this year, when two fleeing activists were detained and nearly deported back by suspiciously over-zealous UKBA officials at Heathrow airport. Both had strong asylum cases, but the seeming prejudice against them may well point to a wider pattern of discrimination.

Mohammed Ahmed, a prominent blogger and media fixer had been arrested and tortured in August 2013. He had previously been arrested and beaten in April 2012, whilst working with a journalist from the Sunday Telegraph, and because of his pro-democracy activism had a history of nasty run-ins with Bahraini security services. In February of this year, he decided he’d had enough and ran for London.

His travelling companion, Hussain Jawad was chairman of the prominent rights group the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights. He too was arrest by Bahraini security agents in November 2013, shortly after he lodged a formal complaint against the government, claiming that they were harassing human rights defenders. Over 50 bloggers across the world demanded Hassan’s release during his arbitrary detention in Bahrain where he spent 46 days in prison before being bailed. Upon his release, Jawad too decided he’d been left no other option but to flee.

Amnesty International declared Jawad a prisoner of conscience, even setting up a publically available website to detail his case, as did Frontline Defenders, an international charity which supports the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders across the globe. Yet, on arriving at Heathrow in February, both men were taken aside by UKBA officials. They were taken to separate detention centres outside London and found themselves in medium security prisons, operated by UKBA for detaining and deporting illegal immigrants.

It quickly emerged that the pair had been placed on a special programme called DFT (Detained Fast Track), a process designed for uncomplicated cases where the applicant clearly has no right to asylum and needs to be returned as soon as possible. They were denied legal aid and had their case labelled all but hopeless, despite the fact they knew they had strong grounds for asylum and would face likely persecution, incarceration and the threat of torture upon their return.

Were it not for an 11th hour intervention by specialist solicitors, Jawad and Ahmed would have faced almost certain deportation. As it is, they were released a few days later and are currently proceeding forward with their applications.

Speaking to Bahraini leaders and activists living in London (there are perhaps five hundred exiles who have fled here), they clearly believe that the UKBA detention was politically motivated, and that the Bahraini community is being “systematically targeted,” by, they suspect, the British government acting on behalf of the Bahrainis.

The detention of Ahmed and Jawad, one exile told me, was a display by the UK and Bahraini governments to show the democracy movement who was in charge.

These are strong allegations, but when asked, the spin doctors in the Home Office dismissed the allegations, explaining that they couldn’t comment on individual cases.

This is odd as the Home Office is often very vocal about terrorists like Abu Hamza or Abu Qatada, or indeed hunger-striking Isa Muazu last year, leading one to conclude that they only respond when it suits them.

When you highlight this little discrepancy though, the Home Office does have an answer. It seems that they merely don’t comment routinely on cases – so a case of one rule for terrorists and another for human rights defenders.

In May, more evidence emerged that the British could be doing the bidding of the Bahrainis, and that what had happened to Ahmed and Jawad may well be routine.

On 30 April, two Bahraini exiles living in London were raided by a counter-terrorism unit from the Metropolitan Police. It was 6:00 am. Their families were also detained. Both were charged with terrorism-related offences, which, according to the human rights activists, were most likely fabricated by the Bahraini authorities.

Given the sensitive nature of the raid, it is suspicious that a Twitter account in Bahrain tweeted about the men’s arrest at 4:00 am, two full hours before Metropolitan Police kicked down their doors in London.

“Urgent: British authorities arrest Iranian agents (Safawi) and Karim Almahroos and Abdul Rauf Alshayeb is now being handed over to Bahrain,” tweeted @mnarfezhom.

The @mnarfezhom account is, according to the research and advocacy group, Bahrain Watch, most likely operated by a member of the ruling al-Khalifa family, and functions as a cyber-vigilante, mobilising die-hard royalists.

There have also been other signs that the relationship between Bahraini human rights defenders and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office have in their words become “hostile”.

Desk officers in the FCO are regularly briefed by global human rights defenders. Nearly all of these meetings invite a participatory mood in which organisations large and small can air their concerns in a receptive environment.

This vital lobbying opportunity has increasingly been choked off to Bahrainis. In a conversation with an official in May, an activist swears that UK authorities parroted Bahraini regime propaganda. When asked why the regime was tear-gassing so excessively each night, the UK officials allegedly said that “the attacks by the Bahraini police are just self-defence against the Molotov cocktail throwing youth.” This line is all too familiar to those reading the Bahraini state press.

When the activist retorted by saying that the youth throw Molotov cocktails because of the harsh police tactics that on occasion prove fatal, the officer allegedly replied: “Well, it’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it?”

But could it really be true that the British government is aiding and abetting the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy to perpetuate its oppression? This is incredibly hard to prove but it would not be the first time that British officials have got their hands dirty to keep the al-Khalifas in power.

Colonel Ian Henderson, a colonial era British policeman who worked for the al-Khalifa family for nearly thirty years, was investigated in 2000 by the Home Office for his alleged complicity in torture while in Manama. Eventually, no charges were filed, but UK journalist Robert Fisk wrote a scathing expose that unearthed widespread instances of abuse.

If this kind of behaviour has and is happening, it is likely a case of “I scratch yours, you scratch mine.” Bahrain itself is small and not that energy-rich, but it is a key part of the GCC which all but controls OPEC. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and to a lesser extent Kuwait, have sunk vast resources – from money and fuel to soldier and weapons – to prop up the al-Khalifas who they see as a bulwark against Iranian and Shia expansion in the region.

There are also large geo-political gains to be made by keeping the Khalifas on the throne. Bahrain is conveniently positioned in the Gulf and is seen as a vital base for protecting key shipping lanes. The British and American presence in the Middle East is generally based in and coordinated out of Manama harbour, and billions in expensive defence equipment is stationed there.

While these are underlying factors for the possible collusion between the British and the Bahrainis, a new large-scale defence contract was thrown into the mix at the start of the year, which could explain why we have seen this more hostile attitude.

Negotiations about the highly-prized British BAE Systems £4bn deal to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, had been unusually tense.

There have already been suggestions that this tension may have led to unusual and secretive government “favours” being introduced to buttress the deal. Defence sales by British companies are assisted by UK government operatives from the highest levels.

Speculation on what these “sweeteners” could have been, has so far centred on the Muslim Brotherhood investigation announced by No.10 shortly after the Saudi arms deal went through. The timing played nicely into the political aims of Saudi Arabia’s rulers, and there was subsequent outrage from ambassadors, newspaper columnists and MPs, who all denounced this as and shameful “favour” for the Saudis.

But the Muslim Brotherhood investigation might not have been the only unusual favour discussed and the timing of the first reports of Bahrain persecution would also help to explain the growing mistrust, bad blood, and of host of allegations that have started flying around.

Alastair Sloan  focuses on injustice and oppression in the west, Russia and the Middle East. He contributes regularly to The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye. Follow Alastair’s work at www.unequalmeasures.com.

U.S. Highlights Bahrain Sectarianism in New Religious Freedom Report: here.

Is blogging ‘terrorism’ in Cameron’s Britain?


This video says about itself:

UK Terrorism Law: Detention of David Miranda

25 August 2013

This video by Chaninat & Leeds law firm discusses the detainment of David Miranda at Heathrow airport under the UK Terrorism Act. It is inferred the reason for his detainment was due to his partner, Glenn Greenwald‘s reporting of the Edward Snowden situation.

The speaker is Anna Power, an experienced UK solicitor, and a journalist for Chaninat & Leeds, a Thailand law firm specializing in litigation in Thailand.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

UK definition of terrorism ‘could catch political journalists and bloggers

Terror law watchdog says police and prosecutors have exceptional powers that must be confined to ‘their proper purpose’

Alan Travis, home affairs editor

Tuesday 22 July 2014 08.39 BST

The current British definition of terrorism is so broadly drawn that it could even catch political journalists and bloggers who publish material that the authorities consider dangerous to public safety, said the official counter-terrorism watchdog.

David Anderson QC, the official reviewer of counter-terrorism laws, said Britain had some of the most extensive anti-terrorism laws in the western world, which gave police and prosecutors the powers they needed to tackle al-Qaida-inspired terrorists, rightwing extremists and dissident Northern Irish groups.

“But if these exceptional powers are to command public consent, it is important they need to be confined to their proper purpose, and recent years have seen a degree of ‘creep’ in parliament that could be reversed without diminishing their impact”

In his annual report to be published on Tuesday, Anderson is expected to give three examples of how the terror laws were too widely drawn.

They included “actions aimed at influencing governments”, hate crime and what he called the “penumbra of terrorism”.

On the first, Anderson said Britain’s laws treated politically motivated publication of material thought to endanger life or to create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public as a terrorist act if it was done for the purpose of influencing the government.

He said in other European and Commonwealth countries the bar was set much higher and there must also be an “intention to coerce or intimidate”.

The watchdog said: “This means political journalists and bloggers are subject to the full range of anti-terrorism powers if they threaten to publish, prepare to publish something that the authorities think may be dangerous to life, public health or public safety.”

He warned that they could be branded as terrorists even if they had no intention to spread fear or intimidate, and those who employed or supported them would also qualify as terrorists.

The definition was so broad it would even catch a campaigner who voiced religious objections to a vaccination campaign on the grounds that they were a danger to public health.

The laws were so widely drawn that they now included preparatory and ancillary offences including “terrorism-related activity”, which were only used when a crime had been committed and so were unnecessary.

These definitions were so “overbroad” that they could catch a family member “who supports someone who encourages someone else to prepare an act of terrorism and could easily be limited by the home secretary”, the watchdog said.

Anderson said Britain quite rightly had very tough counter-terror laws that the public accepted so long as they were used only when necessary.

“But they can currently be applied to journalists and bloggers, to criminals who have no concern other than their immediate victim, and to those who are connected with terrorism only at several removes,” he said.

“This is not a criticism of ministers, prosecutors or police – who as a rule exercise either their remarkably broad discretions with care and restraint. But it is time parliament reviewed the definition of terrorism to avoid the potential for abuse and to cement public support for special powers that are unfortunately likely to be needed for the foreseeable future.”

Blacklist: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist: here.

British nazi fuehrer Griffin resigns


This music video is called Spike JonesDer Fuehrer’s Face.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Knife-happy ex-teacher boots out BNP Griffin

Tuesday 22nd July 2014

NICK Griffin has been ousted as leader of the far-right BNP, it was announced yesterday — only to be replaced by a disgraced former teacher.

The move, agreed at the party’s national executive at the weekend, follows disastrous results in recent European and local elections.

Deputy chairman Adam Walker is to replace Mr Griffin at the helm of the racist party.

Mr Walker has a lifetime ban from teaching after he chased three boys in his car and slashed their bike tyres with a knife.

Hope Not Hate activist Matthew Collins told the Star that the move had been predicted by the campaign group as far back as May.

“The BNP is in an appalling state,” said Mr Collins. “Griffin has absolutely no purpose at all — he’s finished.

“We can expect some more bloodletting in the coming months.”

Mr Griffin has been made party president, according to the BNP website. Former party leader John Tyndall was offered the same job when Mr Griffin ousted him in 1999.

See also here. And here.

RICHARD REYNELL reports on changes at the top of one of Britain’s most odious fascist organisations following electoral defeats and internal bust-ups: here.