Friday, August 12, 2011

British government munching to edict new provisions to be more like Mubarak

With the pretext of the recent riots, British PM D. Cameron is proposing that the government (he) could get the right to close social networking sites and text messaging in case of disturbances. All on the grounds that, allegedly (all very unclear) rioters used blackberry messaging and social networking sites like Twitter to extend the riots. 

The latter case is based on someone who said would go with a pellet gun to some riot and showed up with a water gun (and a few, very few, cases like that one). Sure: crazy anecdote but what?

Regarding texting, or more exactly blackberry... it's very difficult to judge. 

One thing that is clear about these disturbances is that they were caused by very few people, in the hundreds (not more than 200 people were reported in any single place and they may well have been the same over and over), and that they thrived because police just stood and watched or did not even show up at all. Looting was participated by many more surely, but this is an epiphenomenon of the riots. 

Not a single rioter has been arrested or even identified as far I know, only looters, in some cases for as little as stealing a bottle of water because because "I felt thirsty".

[Update: here there is a sample of 56 arrested 'rioters' charged at one single court:  most were arrested for burglary (looting), 10 stand to other charges which may be more serious (robbery, assault, carrying weapons, obstructing police) but do not give the vibe of rioter either. Only one stands for arson and reckless driving and might be a true rioter].


In the end you have a feeling of, what is this, a psy-op? How can maybe a thousand poorly organized people (not political, maybe youth street gangs, maybe something else) cause such a huge disturbance across most of England and parts of Wales? And do it overnight?

Because, like in Utöya, police did not show up. 

Who burned so methodically the oft shown Reeves furniture store. In that area (Croydon) there were only the following incidents (following The Guardian's map of every confirmed incident): Trevor Ellis was allegedly found in his car by police dead by gunshots (witnesses claim that police shot him in fact) and the road where both incidents happened was closed by police because of fires in nearby area. Nothing else happened in Croydon that day or through all the riots episode. These two and a half incidents happened in August 8th (second night of the riots) at c. 21:00, so they must be related. Suspicion strikes that at least some of the incidents have not been caused by random people. 

[Note: notice that The Guardian's label on the store's fire is confusing because it's said to be the 9th, but that's when firefighters finally extinguished it, not when it was set alight - check it in some other source if in doubt, I'm certain].

It is possible that Ellis was shot by police (witnesses' word) because they were overwhelmed by suspicion for some reason and reacted hysterically... or maybe they wanted to kill a witness of the burning, of who had made it. Whatever happened it is all very strange.

Mubarak style

Whatever the case on how the riots unfolded, it is clear that the "moderate" and extremist Right are catering on them, much like Sarko did with the much more clearly real riots of France in 2005. 

And, so typically, they are using them as pretext to increase repression. The first measure was to suspend the budgetary cuts on police, and to allow for the first time ever in the island of Great Britain, the use of certain kind of anti-riot gear like rubber bullets. 

Now they come with the idea of exceptional measures against the Internet and text messaging. That is exactly what Mubarak did. And what did he get? That people who might have been watching events unfold through their computers, went out to the streets instead: the only place where one could get information and share it, and many ended up taking part in the protests for that reason. 

In the best case, such a massive censorship was useless. In the worst case, it increased anger and activism against the regime. 

Naturally someone like Cameron must feel identified with Mubarak... they are the same kind of thugs.

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