Another Mad Tale of Police Brutality

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/03/police-not-guilty-babar-ahmad

This is the case involving terrorist suspect Babar Ahmad, arrested in 2003 and still in custody.  The Grauniad doesn’t mention whether there is any substance to the arrest.  There’s a reasonable account at Wikipedia -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babar_Ahmad

Hang on – we’re in the middle of 2011 and the guy is still in prison, convicted of nothing?  WTF!  Isn’t this the very kind of legal behaviour we despise?

I don’t know the guy.  Even in the Wiki story, he would have been a better target than a convenient Brazilian, but there isn’t much I can find out.  There some stuff about 5th Fleet movements and vulnerability to RPG attacks – which isn’t far from Neddy Seagoon buying an insurance policy on the English Channel and trying to set it on fire.  You come across so many Jihadis in our universities (often on complaint from female students) it’s hard to know what kind of other threat they pose.  Four Lions  is about right.  I was close to one who killed twice, but couldn’t get authorities to take me seriously until after the murders.  I’ve taught them abroad too and generally been treated well (one punch to an ear, one knife taken off idiot in someone else’s class).  They have more of a case to answer in a number of ways we ignore than most think.

The first is there is justification for action against oppression.  The second is there is no justification for their dire use of religion (which their academics confirm).  The third is there is no justification for their dismal attitudes towards and ‘use’ of women, or our avoidance of this.  The fourth is our lack of recognition of how lovely and humble the many decent people in their cultures are.  The fifth is our responsibility for the whole mess.

 

We don’t have much of a record of catching the real beasts of terrorism until after the tragedy.  Ahmad could be an absolute bastard – but it’s clear we can’t be told or he isn’t – our principles are that he should thus be free.

The response to his claims of being subject to very unnecessary force (70-odd injuries) is predictably farcical along standard lines.  Denial, heroism by an officer proclaimed after internal non-enquiry, more denial, then a pay out of £60K and finally a trial after an investigation so long after-the-fact as to be absurd.

At the trial the usual ruse of keeping allegations and facts from the jury shames the system.  The  Grauniad reports:

‘The conclusion of the case means it is possible to report that two of the officers found not guilty – Jones and James-Bowen – had 40 separate allegations of assault against them between 1993 and 2007, the majority involving black or Asian men. The allegations, which came to light during the civil proceedings, had been found to be unsubstantiated following inquiries. In a separate case Jones was found not guilty of racially assaulting two teenage boys who had accused him of taking them into the back of a police van and shouting abuse about their ethnic backgrounds in front of his colleagues’.

I have no truck with prejudice, including the prejudice of anti-racism.  I did not like the grim, squalid black people and Asians I tended to work amongst as a cop – scum to a man locked up.  I’d say the same of my own ‘ethnicity’.  I don’t even think my own culture is the best I’ve lived in, though it’s much better than some.

Our culture is prejudiced and so are our cops.  Big deal – get over it.  Research done on this is so feeble we should ignore it.  The race card needs to go.  There are reasons to suspect it’s working in reverse.  Are we really saying that some religious profanities prior to a couple of trigger finger movements that killed Osama matter?

Our cops have to be allowed to go in hard and fast when needed.  If I was a victim of such noble cause I wouldn’t complain if they said sorry, even if in the form of being offered a bottle of scotch by a black officer saying, ‘Here, Honkie, this’ll ease the pain’.  These issues are blinds.

Remember ‘justice delayed is justice denied’?  ‘Rather the guilty man walk free than one innocent man go to jail’?

What this case demonstrates is that our legal system is in a mess.  The key issue is that of timely investigation by independent people.  This clearly did not happen.  We didn’t convict on claims of brutality against the Irish either – one wonders what might have been had the juries known they were innocent.

In this case allegations and facts concerning the police officers were hidden, but not the’ identity’ of the ‘terrorist’.  What these officers did or didn’t do hardly matters in comparison with the system’s failings.  If the allegations are as bullshit as any made against me or other cops I worked with, I wish them well.  I’m much happier to see them in the job than those who failed to deal with this properly at the proper time.  These people should be facing discipline now, not the ‘famous four’.  They too have already been denied either just desserts or justice and should be left alone.

 

Sensible Drug Policy Remains a Fiction

We rely on Fiction far more than we are prepared to admit.  The UK was once a major drug grower and  trader whilst insisting on Prohibition at home.  The Opium Wars and all that – though the trade was still going on after 1900.  There’s information on Wikipedia and you can read up for free at the Gutenberg Project (get the Google gadget – it’s great source of old books).  We gave interest free loans to Indian growers and were involved in later manufacturing, product  diversification and delivery.  Monies concerned are listed in official government financial statements.

Heroin was once a currency, used by the Chinese hierarchy to buy goods and services and we competed with this.  The trade goes on, having merely changed its form.  Until we understand this, we cannot sort out the problems.  The arguments are written in moral posturing and panic.

The trade needs to be decriminalised, but the criminality involved still needs to be dealt with.  Currently, key evidence lies in possession – take this away and police will find it even more difficult to deal with the nuisance, violence, exploitation and other matters that should be the real concern.  Alternatives are available – and the current system does not work at all well.  Most cops will say privately it’s like cutting a head off the Hydra.

Prohibitions are not all bad – we prohibit murder and other behaviour.  If prohibition worked reasonably well in the drug arena, I would vote for it (not that one can vote on anything that does matter).  Give and take would be involved in my decision.  I would want anyone to be free to take clean drugs, yet also do not want anyone to live near the nuisance druggies usually cause – and so on.  Questions as to whether we would all end up as druggies if the stuff was freely available are pertinent, as is whether this would be a bad thing.

Many of the old rackets are now legalised – numbers to national lotteries and so on.  Booze and fags … and key here is the stuff being taxed.  All sorts of stuff is peddled at us that is no good for us – from fast-food and snacks to ‘Quantum Jumping’ and Scientology.  It’s very sad to see children die because they steal Daddy’s stash, but they also die drinking bleach from under the sink.

David Malone (http://golemxiv-credo.blogspot.com/) puts forward a speculative and interesting piece on what may be involved with the drug trade.  It would be interesting to account for what is involved in the trade as a whole – the lifehistory of atoms grown as drugs and their progress in destroying lives and creating banks – something like Julian Barnes’ history from the earthworm’s point of view.

I’m struggling with a change in my diabetes at the moment and am losing weight.  Some sad experience on opium, an experience ‘forced’ on many poor people, might almost help!  In some places, drugs are cheaper than food, life miserable enough for balls of opium to be preferable to another form of daily grind.  One can find the same round the corner, if prepared to look.  Life is so great, even some of the ‘successful’ blow themselves away on white and brown powders.

It’s true, that as you blow some Bolivian marching powder up your nose, that you are, in part ‘responsible’ for some of the war-scale deaths in South America – but you are ‘responsible’ for much squalor in eating a tin of tuna.  I wonder, at least, whether a trade that ends up with some scumbag cutting his product with ‘Vim’ and creates banks, is both worse and bigger than we know.  The current mess stops someone in pain getting some ‘medicinal herb’, allows various scum a living, kills, ruins lives and the rest, makes ‘responsible bwank’ profits and encourages criminality.  We need to have its economics in public circulation, remembering this wasn’t the case in our exploitation of China.  The drugs, of course, are in public circulation.  Easier to get than the real arguments.

Decriminalisation arguments need to demonstrate how much criminal, shit behaviour will be controlled and what steps can be taken to ensure the money-grubbers don’t find other ways to ‘trade and bwank’.  We would not just be taking on street scrote in this.  Decriminalsation might well need new laws to deal with shit behaviour – and has in the Dutch attempts.  Such law is likely to be administrative law (ASBOs are an example).  This is a challenge to vested interests in our ludicrous courts and their fanny-farting over celebrity secrets and evasion of access to very serious problems faced by ordinary people harassed by the drug gangs and soundblaster terrorists.

Off-beam, we might look at video games and Internet pornography in the same light.  The entrepreneurs are good at selling us shoddy shite.  Why is this so easy?  Banks appear in poor towns where there is no market, and money made in all kinds of dubious industries eventually puts us in its thrall, leeching from our work.  The drugs and prostitution people buy up hotels, catering and so on (good studies on Amsterdam).  We end up working for the ‘power’ this money brings, if indirectly.  Drugs are just one example of accumulation that is not about a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.  We need to question who makes the money and why so many get involved, for pay that is less than the minimum wage, generally welfare supported.  They would still need money to buy legal drugs, and we would be taking their livelihoods away.  What might they do?  Steal your TV rather than flog other crap?

The difficulties are no reason not to go for radical change.  We need to break through the off-the-shelf arguments of moral panic and chronic self-interest.  If agriculture is 4% of world GDP and criminality, including drugs is higher, what is going on?  It’s much cheaper to have a day out on drugs than to make a trip to Blackpool.