With the new Public Order Bill we are sleep walking into a Police State
Two Israeli Palestine Action Activists Denied Bail by Bristol Crown Court as the Police & Courts Defend Elbit (WarCrimes“R”Us)
At the same time as Priti Patel is introducing legislation to further restrict and clamp down on the Right to Protest, the Metropolitan Police, who are a Political Police, have deliberately refused to investigate multiple breaches of COVID Regulations by Boris Johnson.
At the same time the Metropolitan Police have taken no action against Police Officers Guilty of Sexual Assault of 2 Black Children.
Last Monday two Israeli Palestine Action activists were remanded in custody by Bristol Crown Court. Palestine Action has taken direct action repeatedly against Elbit Systems, the Israeli firm which should be renamed WarCrimes“R”Us. Their success in closing down Elbit’s Oldham factory has enraged the Police and Political Establishment.
The Public Order Bill would allow the Police to put innocent people on electronic ankle tags and ban them from attending marches and demonstrations. These are police state measures.
Individuals would be prohibited from attending demonstrations if they have been convicted on two occasions of protest-related offences. These measures are a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights which is why the government is also proposing scrapping the Human Rights Act 1998.
People given such orders can also face other restrictions, including on their online activity, who they can talk to and where they can go.
People who want to attend a protest need not have ever committed any offence in order to be given “protest banning order” by the police.
Under the Public Order Bill, police will be given powers to monitor campaigners using electronic GPS tags, restrict their Internet activities and prevent them from attending protests. These are measures that would be condemned in Russia, Iran and China yet they are being proposed without a word of concern by that faithful servant of the British Establishment, the BBC.
After the shocking Police attacks on women at the Clapham vigil for Sarah Everard and the attack by Bristol Police on demonstrators against the last Police Bill, these are the latest measures that this government is taking to outlaw basic democratic rights. Effective protests are now being prohibited.
As a first step there is a Change.org Petition Don’t electronically tag innocent people for attending protests but petitions are ignored by this government of the rich and powerful. I have also submitted a Parliamentary Petition.
The Public Order Bill is due to receive its second reading in the Commons. Civil rights group Liberty said the provision marks a “significant expansion of state surveillance on protesters” as the authorities will receive powers to monitor the activities of campaigners to ensure that they are complying with the order.
Liberty described the provision as “unprecedented and highly draconian,” warning that the orders would amount to “a ban on named individuals” fundamental right to protest.”
The police will be able to fit activists with ankle tags, which can be imposed for up to 12 months and perhaps longer if the order is renewed.
The Bill also proposes expanding stop-and-search powers and creating a new “locking on” offence, which would criminalise protesters who use bike locks or chains to secure themselves to each other or to objects.
Home Secretary Priti Patel’s justification is that the Bill is intended to tackle a “rise in criminal, disruptive and self-defeating tactics from a supremely selfish minority.”
Amnesty International warned that these proposals will “seriously curtail human rights” and has called on MPs to reject the legislation in its entirety.
Labour has also voiced opposition to the measures, with the front bench tabling a motion to block the Bill. However we know that Starmer has a police state mentalilty. We need a guarantee that a Labour government in its first parliamentary session will repeal both this Bill and the previous Police Bill.
Protest is a right, not a gift from the state. These proposals are inherently undemocratic and need to be resisted by all means necessary. See Activists could be tracked by GPS under draconian Public Order Bill
Police Assault on Black Children
If the Police are reluctant to investigate Elbit and Boris Johnson’s crimes there are ‘crimes’ that the Police do investigate and that is when Black children are suspected of committing them. Then they are only too eager to abuse their powers to the full.
In December 2020 there were two sickening incidents in which the Police, let us not beat about the bush, sexually assaulted two 15 year old girls in school.
Olivia, a mixed-race girl, was handcuffed and had her underwear cut off in the presence of male officers. Olivia, who is autistic, subsequently tried to kill herself after a police strip search while she was menstruating.
Olivia was arrested with friends in December 2020 after having a disagreement with two boys who called the police claiming they were victims of an attempted knife-point robbery.
She said her daughter was searched at the scene and nothing was found, but was still taken into custody. She claimed she warned police her daughter had autism, learning difficulties and was self-harming.
Olivia was held in custody for more than 20 hours before being found to be in possession of a sharpened stick and a small blade, which her mother said was for the purpose of self-harming.
Six officers forcibly stripped Olivia, banged her head against the floor and carried out an intimate search in the presence of male police officers. According to her mother:
“She spent a lot of time in her room and she continued to self-harm in secret. And then, a few weeks later, she attempted suicide.”
Olivia later appeared in court accused of possession of a bladed weapon and was found not guilty after magistrates accepted the items were used for self-harming.
The Metropolitan Police said it was investigating a complaint from the girl’s mother. In other words they did absolutely nothing about it until the case was publicised.
Unbelievably Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told File On 4 that strip-searches help to keep children safe while in custody.
What did the Met do? Did it immediately suspend the officers pending their prosecution? Not a bit of it. When the assault came to light the Met referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the so-called police watchdog. Given the record of the Police Lapdog it is unlikely to have anything to fear.
This followed news of another case, Child Q, a 15-year-old black pupil who was also menstruating. She was strip searched by female officers, also in December 2020 after being wrongly accused of possessing drugs. This sparked protests and a widespread backlash.
The Met on that occasion said an investigation was underway that would “determine the appropriateness of the search and the way that it was conducted”. One wonders what there is to investigate.
A spokesperson for the police stated that it was investigating a complaint from Olivia’s mother but “We have also received notification of a potential civil claim and therefore are unable to comment further at this stage” which is also a lie. A civil claim doesn’t stop you responding.
There is one demand that we can make. That schools should stop inviting police onto their premises. The Police do not protect school kids they are a threat to them, especially if they are Black.
Meanwhile in Bristol, the Police were more than eager to protect WarCrimes“R”Us, who sometimes go by the name of Elbit Systems, for criminal damage. The so-called incident happened at Elbit in Aztec West on Sunday May 15 and all nine were charged overnight with burglary with intent to commit damage and criminal damage to property (valued at over £5,000) and remanded in custody. Police claimed that “intruders” had damaged a business premises.”
On Monday 23 May 7 of them were released on bail with onerous restrictions but two of them remain in custody, the pretext being that there is a risk they may flee abroad, although the Police are more than capable of keeping their passports. They are:
Ø Ronnie Barkan, who is currently being held at HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Rd, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8PS 0117 372 3100 Prisoner Number A4443EV and
Ø Stavit Sinai who is being held at HMP EastwoodPark, Falfield, Wotton-under-Edge GL12 8DB, ( 01454 382100 Prisoner Number A4440EV
See Palestine Action Press Release
- Palestine Action have called for greater resistance in the face of repression, urges supporters to join the campaign to ‘Shut Elbit Down’, marking Elbit as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘running scared’.
- An ongoing campaign for the prisoners’ release
The Action was on Nakba day, which commemorates Israel’s forcible expulsion, i.e. ethnic cleansing of ¾ million Palestinians in 1947-8. They occupied and damaged the Bristol HQ of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms company. It is only the two Israeli activists, Stav Sinai and Ronnie Barkan who remain in custody.
Throughout its nearly 2 years of existence, Palestine Action has been subject to a campaign of state repression and intimidation. However, the taking of political prisoners has set a concerning new precedent. In response, the group has promised ‘no backdown to the crackdown’, and called for heightened direct action against Elbit, who produce drones, ammunition, and chemical weapons. The company supplies the Israeli occupation military with 85% of its drone fleet.
The Police prefer to take action against those who try to prevent war crimes rather than the war criminals themselves.
This is part of the growing Police repression of direct action activists.
The move to greater repression has come after victory for the campaign in January, when direct action and community organising permanently shut down Elbit weapons factory in Oldham, Manchester. Palestine Action has seen constantly growing support both domestically and internationally, and it is suspected that these events have been in response to the success of the campaign. The British state is heavily allied with Israel and fears resistance to the Israeli arms trade in Britain. Notably, a delegation of Israeli police were recently received by the Metropolitan police, presumably to share tactics and strategies.
A Palestine Action spokesperson said:
Supporters can write letters to the two prisoners (email to [email protected]), or join protests in Bristol demanding their release. Anyone and everyone who longs to see a free Palestine: Now is the time to join Palestine Action, resist the crackdown, and Shut Elbit Down.”
Bristol HQ Action Press Release:
If you would like any further information on Palestine action, please contact [email protected]
Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down and for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid.
For previous actions please see:
Company profile on Elbit Systems:
Detail on Al-Aqsa mosque attacks: Israel storms Al-Aqsa, beats Palestinian worshipers to make way for Jewish settlers – Mondoweiss
Role of Elbit drone in killing of four children playing on Gaza beach in 2014:
More on the death and destruction inflicted by Elbit’s drones upon Gaza:
Undoubtedly it is the actions of Direct Action Groups like Palestine Action, Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain that have led to the government attack on democratic rights and civil liberties. Coupled with the potential for an upsurge in trade union action.
Palestine Action activists who have been prosecuted so far have either been acquitted or had the charges against them dropped. It is clear that the actions against Elbit, whose only purpose is to prevent Israeli war crimes is lawful and proportionate.
Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion were acquitted and members of Insulate Britain released from prison in January after a string of convictions were overturned as a result of a decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Ziegler and others.
It is not a crime to commit a minor offence in order to prevent a greater evil. If someone breaks a door down in order to rescue a person inside a burning building, no one in their right mind would expect them to be charged with criminal damage. Yet the Police have done their utmost to protect Elbit’s right to commit war crimes.
Contrast this with Boris Johnson, who attended at least 6 parties at 10 Downing Street, in flagrant breach of the COVID Regulations that the Tories themselves introduced. The Police refused to issue penalty notices for any of them bar Johnson’s presence at his own birthday party. Indeed they have refused even to investigate his attendance at other parties that others were fined for. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that political considerations were paramount even though I’m not aware that the Prime Minister has any sort of legal immunity.
The Metropolitan Police initially refused to investigate any crimes. Their reason being that they don’t investigate “retrospective breaches of the law”! Presumably this was because the Met only investigate crimes after consulting Mystic Meg! The so-called Independent Office for Police Conduct rejected a complaint from Baroness Jones.
It was only when the Sue Grey Report was imminent that the Met began an investigation whilst at the same time telling her not to produce a full report. The inevitable inference is that the Police wanted to protect Johnson.
Press Release from the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
RELEASE ANTI-APARTHEID CAMPAIGNERS NOW!
We congratulate Palestine Action for their part in opposing Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation and war crimes.
We join Palestine Action in their call for the release of their activists who have been refused bail and remanded in custody, including two Israeli dissidents who have taken direct action against the Israeli arms’ manufacturer, Elbit Systems.
The Israeli war machine is not only responsible for the slaughter of Palestinian people but commits crimes internationally: armed the Rwanda genocide, and more recently armed the Myanmar genocide of the Rohingya people — where Elbit upgraded Myanmar’s F-7 fighter jets.
People in the UK are increasingly aware of the frightening influence of the apartheid state of Israel in British politics.
Israeli influence can be seen in last week’s declaration by Home Secretary Priti Patel of her “unflinching and unequivocal” support for Israel. In 2017 she was forced to resign from the cabinet, as UK International Development Secretary, following the exposure of her secret meetings with Israeli officials, which included a proposal to divert British aid to the Israeli military in the illegally annexed Golan Heights.
The official opposition is also guilty of bowing to Israel. UK Labour leader Keir Starmer declared “I support Zionism without qualification”. His Labour Party campaigned door to door in the London Borough of Barnet with the pro-apartheid Israeli Labour Party (ILP) during the recent council elections. Senior Labour figures and ILP representatives discussed campaign tactics together. In fact, one new Labour councillor from that campaign is a former employee of the Israeli embassy.
We are outraged at the partisan decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to deny bail to pro-Palestine activists.
We welcome Palestine Action’s opposition to Israeli militarism: we must oppose all Israeli crimes, including the murder of beloved journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and last week’s murder of 17-year-old Amjad al-Fayyed, and the arrest, torture and killing of children by the militarist and racist Israeli state.
Drop all charges! Release the anti-apartheid campaigners now!
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (UK)