Video shows undercover agents assaulting man filming them at Montreal G20 protest

04/07/2010 — 0 comment(s)
Police "agents provocateurs" attempt to infiltrate family-friendly march in Montreal; MPP Amir Khadir denounces police tricks

Montreal, 3 July 2010 -- A man arrested at Thursday's march against police repression around the G20 Summit has come forward to reveal that he was assaulted by undercover "agents provocateurs" when he attempted to film them.

While 1,000 Montrealers, including many parents with young children, marched to denounce the abusive police treatment of G20 protestors, Montreal police apparently attempted to introduce agent provocateurs into the march. The provocateurs were spotted trying to enter the march on Sherbrooke Street, but were forced out by attentive march organizers. Two videos of the group of provocateurs were posted on youtube on Friday:

"They were big guys, looking like thugs. In fact, they looked very much like the police provocateurs who were caught on video carrying rocks at the protest against the Security and Prosperity Partnership in Montebello,
Quebec in August 2007," stated Scott Weinstein, who decided to bicycle over to film the group when informed of their presence.

When he caught up to them, the provocateurs were walking one block east of the march, on St-Dominique, parallel to most of the children and babies who tended to be near the end of the march.

"The police had no business playing these games and threatening violence, especially when so many children were present," explained Weinstein, a health care worker and photographer. "Their strategy is totally unacceptable."

The group quickly surrounded Weinstein, grabbed him and attempted to take his camera from him. He refused to let go. They dragged Weinstein to the sidewalk and kneed him until he could no longer hold onto the camera. "I knew they wanted to erase the evidence, especially since I didn't hide I was filming them. I made sure not to touch them, instead I tried to protect myself in a fetal position and screamed for help."

Janet Cleveland, a psychologist, was leaving the march and returning home when she heard screams. "I saw 5 or 6 burly young guys dressed in black forming a tight circle around someone, holding his hands behind his back and pushing his face to the pavement while he screamed for help. It was scary - my first thought was that they might be skinheads beating somebody up. There was no way to tell the difference. But they told me that they were police and that I should stay away."

Cleveland stayed to watch as Weinstein was forced into a police car and then alerted Quebec Solidaire MPP Amir Khadir, who also attended the march. Khadir intervened with the police immediately after the arrest to denounce the arbitrary, abusive and illegal character of Weinstein's arrest.

"Quebec citizens expect the police to respect the democratic rights of people who demonstrate", stated Khadir. "Dissent and opposition are not only permitted in this country, but must also be protected and celebrated. I am particularly proud of people like Scott who protest peacefully to denounce the abuse and violence of police repression in Toronto. It is unacceptable that Montreal police use the same tricks that led to the excesses of the security agencies in Toronto," he stated.

Three police ethics commission reports in April 2010 found that filming the police is legal.

Weinstein was released the same evening but faces bogus charges of assault with a weapon. According to a police spokesperson, his bicycle was the weapon. However, as events revealed, Weinstein's real "weapon" was his camera: when police returned it to him, all video and photo material had been erased.

Luckily for Weinstein, a bystander caught the incident on camera and posted it to youtube. Weinstein is trying to get in touch with this person.


An Open Letter to the Israeli Defense Forces

06/06/2010 — 0 comment(s)
Dear Israeli Defense Forces

Just wanted to say that I thought it was real nice of you to welcome that so-called "humanitarian aid flotilla" into your waters (they are your waters, aren't they?) in such a restrained manner.

After all, you could just have fired a few missiles into them and sunk those pesky ships. That would have been so much easier, and saved you so much trouble. And it wouldn't have put your nice friendly helpful soldiers in harm's way either.

Never mind that the rest of the world (well, the common people anyway) may have criticised you a little bit. After all, what would they know? And its not as though their opinions matter anyway. I mean, they're not really part of the Master Race like yourselves are they?
And at least you could be assured that your stalwart friends in the American government (and indeed our own wonderful UK government) wouldn't do or say anything to harm your interests.

But no, you chose the much kinder, compassionate (and, it has to be said, braver) option of sending your heroic soldiers to intercept that so-called "humanitarian aid flotilla" in your waters (they definitely are your waters, aren't they?).

And for all your effort; your thoughtfulness and tolerance; what greeting do you get?

Those nasty little "activists" (and we all know that "activist" is really just another word for "terrorist" don't we?) actually have the nerve to try and stop you boarding their ships. Oh the cheek of it!
To think they imagined they had some sort of right to try to stop you, soldiers of the great well-armed Master Race, from boarding their common-or-garden civilian ships just beggars belief.

Next thing you know they'll be trying to claim they were only acting in self-defense! When its quite obvious to everyone that the whole thing was set up deliberately to provoke you. And that all the tens of thousands of pounds worth of aid on board was simply a ruse. Damned clever these activists terrorists.

And they actually had the audacity to use weapons against you! Real nasty dangerous hoses, and slingshots and stuff. Must have been terrifying indeed. A true ordeal. Lucky you guys just happened to have your guns with you and managed to shoot a few of them... several times so I understand. Just to make sure they were actually dead I suppose. Wise move.

The thing you don't want to pay any attention to is when some naive people suggest that if you hadn't tried boarding the ships in the first place then your oh-so-brave soldiers wouldn't have been attacked.
No, don't pay any attention to that. After all, likely not a grain of truth in it.
I'm sure if you hadn't boarded those ships they would certainly have attacked all your boats and stuff, and forgotten all about delivering that so-called "aid" (all that tens of thousands of pounds worth of stuff) to Gaza. Probably thrown it overboard in fact. What with it being a ruse and all... just to provoke you.

After all, its not as though the Gazans need it, is it? What with you looking after them so brilliantly. And helping to repair all the damage and alleviate all the suffering that... er... you may have inadvertently caused. Not with any malicious intent of course. Oh no.
Problem is, the Gazans are so ungrateful. Its not everyone that has the chance of having a Master Race look after them and care for them, is it?
Last time I recollect it happening was somewhere in Europe a good, oh, 70 or so years ago. Guess you learned a lot from them, eh?

Though, if I may make a suggestion? It might be better to warn your wonderful soldiers that next time they go fully-armed against defenceless civilians those same defenceless civilians may just be silly enough to try to take the weapons away from your lads... what with not having any guns of their own and so forth. Just sayin'.

Of course I fully understand that's not the sort of thing you'd normally expect to happen. Unarmed untrained civilians tackling brave well-trained fully-armed soldiers... whatever is the world coming to? Next thing you know people will be calling out for justice and "being called to account", and independent investigations, and other such silly notions.

Though those civilians weren't totally unarmed, were they? As you so helpfully inform us. Just as well you managed to photograph some of those really scary weapons they had with them.
That scarf-type thing for example. I'd rather not try to imagine what use they'd put that to. Probably try to strangle someone with it or something.

And those CDs! Wow! If they were thrown frisbee-style I guess they could quite easily take someone's eye out. Or at least leave a nasty scratch. Unless the wind catches them of course. Little chance of that happening though... as there's never any wind at sea is there?

And what about that axe? Soon as I saw that photograph of it I shuddered. Real evil-looking thing. Not the sort of thing you'd expect to find on a boat at all really. I just hope you managed to get a photograph of someone actually using it against your oh-so-brave soldiers.

Talking of photographs however... here's a useful little tip (speaking as a photographer myself you understand, and only trying to be helpful). Next time you ask your people to take photographs that could conceivably be used as some sort of evidence it might be an idea to get them to reset the date and time on the cameras first. Usually to be found in the menu settings that will be displayed on the LCD screen under something like "date/time".

Otherwise some nasty suspicious types might check the exif data embedded in the photographs and try to question the credibility of the images... implying maybe that they weren't taken quite when (or even where) you said they were. Have to watch out for those sort of things you know. Not that you'd ever fabricate, or deceive, or manipulate the truth of course, would you?

Though I do think you've missed a trick, if I may say so.

What about the WMD? All terrorists have weapons of mass destruction nowadays, surely. I mean, you can't be a proper terrorist nowadays without at least some tiddly little WMDs. Not a self-respecting one at least. (Um... you have WMD as well, don't you? The only Middle East state to have them I do believe. Though why you'd need them is a bit of a puzzle to me. Guess its to protect you from all those nasty smelly neighbours of yours, with their sticks and stones and stuff. Still, I suppose its all part of being a Master Race and dominating everyone else.)

Anyway, those WMD. There's bound to have been some on board. Especially as some of those terrorists, as you so helpfully informed us all, had links to Al Qaeda. And even if you hadn't found any you could always have said you had "intelligence" that suggested there were some. Isn't that what all self-respecting States do nowadays? I mean, no-one minds a little deception now and then, just between friends.

By the way, this would be the same Al Qaeda that was oh-so-active in Iraq before your friends the ever-so-truthful Americans brought law and order to that country, would it?

You know, Osama bin Laden's highly organised and absolutely terrifying outfit. According to what your friends the Americans say, anyway.

Talking of whom, what about Osama bin Laden? Are you sure he wasn't on board one of those ships as well? After all, he seemed to turn up pretty much everywhere else.

And what about the "Rachel Corrie" then? You know, that silly little ship that was named after some woman or other. That lass who rather carelessly got herself run over by one of your bulldozers whilst it was going about its customary business of knocking someone's house down. I'm sure you must remember her?

Anyway, the "Rachel Corrie". Whatever were you thinking of? No guns? No bloodshed? No massacre?
Come on now, surely you can do better than that? Don't tell me you've been paying any attention whatsoever to all those silly little protests around the world? And what other governments have been saying. The Turks for example. No, surely not. When have you ever done that?

But, if you don't mind my saying, you've slipped up badly with the "Rachel Corrie". Tarnished your hard-earned reputation as a rogue state sort of thing. But I'm sure you'll soon be back on track again.

Well, I guess that's about it for the moment.

Oh, there was one other little thing. Something you may not have thought of, but I'm sure it would help out enormously with maintaining that reputation you've worked so hard to acquire.

Fashion! There... bet you'd not thought of that. You really should think about changing your uniforms to something more appropriate. The colour for example. Black would be really good. And jackboots. Nice shiny black jackboots. Maybe an armband too. And you could have little insignia... those metal badge things all the best soldiers have pinned to their jacket collars. A skull and crossbones for example.

Just a few ideas for you to mull over.

Yours very sincerely,

(Also published at yet another blog)

Israelis subdued captain by pointing gun at a child

05/06/2010 — 0 comment(s)

Dubai/Cairo: According to a report in The Guardian, an Algerian activist, who gave her name as Sabrina, revealed that Israeli troops pointed their gun at a one-year-old Turkish child in front of his parents to force the captain of the Mavi Marmara to stop sailing.

Many reports have emerged from among the 124 activists who crossed over into Amman, Jordan, yesterday.

In an interview with Sky News, IT professional Hasan Nowarah, from Glasgow, described the moments as the Israeli troops descended on the ship.

"All you could see was screaming and bullets. Out of the blue as I looked around our ship, all I could see were hundreds of Zodiacs. Hundreds of Zodiacs full of soldiers, and big ships, lots of ships, and I believe as well submarines in the sea."

Kuwaiti MP Walid Al Tabtabai said the Israelis were "brutal and arrogant".

"Israelis roughed up and humiliated all of us, women, men and children," he said.

Algerian Izzeddine Zahrour said Israeli authorities "deprived us of food, water and sleep and we weren't allowed to use the toilet".

Read the full story here

Israel Fired On Gaza-Bound Ship Before Boarding

04/06/2010 — 0 comment(s)
From The Huffington Post...

A reporter and producer for the Arabic news organization Al Jazeera who was on board the Gaza-bound aid flotilla during Monday's deadly raid gave a firsthand account of the grisly scene aboard the ship to the network Thursday.

According to Jamal ElShayyal's account of the raid, the Israeli military had fired on the Mavi Marmara before boarding the ship. "It was evident there was definitely fire from the air, because one of the people who was killed was clearly shot from above -- he was shot, the bullet targeted him at the top of his head," ElShayyal said. "There was also fire coming from the sea as well." This account differs from the one given by the Israeli military.

The reporter also describes being mistreated by officials alongside other civilians before his Thursday release.

Eyewitness accounts of the Israeli atrocity

The BBC (not particularly well-known for criticising the Israelis, or indeed providing unbiased reporting about repression of the Palestinians) has published the following eyewitness accounts of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla that occurred during the early hours of 31st May.

Activists describe Israeli raid on Gaza aid convoy

UK Gaza activist Sarah Colborne - ship raid 'surreal'

Inevitably the Israeli spin machine has kicked into high gear, their principal line seeming to be:

Israel maintains its commandos were attacked first. Officials say soldiers were confronted with "knives, clubs and other weapons" when they landed on the Mavi Marmara and they opened fire in self-defence.

Even were that true (which, given the Israelis' predilection for distortions and downright lies, I very much doubt) it rather begs the question of what the hell were they doing launching an armed assault on, and boarding, civilian ships in what I am led to believe were international waters?

Under such circumstances my view is that the passengers and crew of those ships were fully justified in seeking to defend themselves and seeking to repel the boarders... using whatever means they had at their disposal.

And quite clearly those means did not include firearms. So, even if there were some microscopic grain of truth in the Israeli allegations how then do they justify such a disproportionate response?

At time of writing the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie that was part of the original flotilla is still on its way to Gaza, due to arrive at about 0800 Saturday morning (5th June).

Pointless speculating on what the Israelis may or may not do. Optimists may believe that, following the publicity and worldwide protests in response to the Israeli attack on the main body of the flotilla, they will be more restrained in the morning.

Personally, I doubt it. The Israelis are not well-known for improving their behaviour in response to world-wide condemnation of their actions.

Edit 04.06.2010 @ 20:41 -- This too, from The Guardian...
Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range

Edit 05.06.2010 @ 01:09 -- And this, from
From tear gas to bullets: Gunshots shattered call to prayer

(Also published at yet another blog)

The real story from Mavi Marmara

From the Morning Star...

The Israeli massacre of unarmed campaigners aboard a ship carrying aid to Gaza is the "Sharpeville and Soweto of the Movement for Palestinian Solidarity," one of those who survived the bloodthirsty assault has said.

Speaking to the Star from Istanbul shortly after his release from an Israeli jail British campaigner Kevin Ovenden, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara - the boat that bore the brunt of a terrifying raid by gun-toting Israeli commandos - described the attack as a "murderous assault" and "an act of political terrorism."

Read the full story here.

Sea blockade of Gaza was "temporary" 15 years ago!

From Redress Information & Analysis...

Stuart Littlewood asks:

“Mr Hague has been a Friend of Israel since his school days. Prime Minister David Cameron reminded MPs that he too counted himself a Friend of Israel. Why on earth do they and so many others in government champion a racist, rogue state?"

and considers

"a little-mentioned blockade of Gaza: an interim, five-year agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority in 1995 – probably under duress – but still in force, allowing the Israelis “to weave a tangled web of security zoning in Gaza's coastal waters” and leaving them in charge offshore, where there is a massive gas field."

Read the full article here