Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ecoterrorists and thought crime

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Henry Porter does a good job on his blog of analysing the mass arrest on the weekend:
"Let us be clear that the people arrested yesterday, who have all now been released on bail, have manifestly not committed any crime of trespass. Second, they possess inalienable rights to assembly and protest."
The Indy pulls out one of its increasingly rare examples of good journalism (although it didn't last more than a day on their front page) with this observation:
"At power stations, as at airports, conflicting rights and interests converge: the commercial rights of the owners and operators, the rights of the paying customer, and the right of protesters to make their case. If our civil liberties are to be preserved, the right to protest is as important as the other two."
The BBC fail to offer any meaningful analysis of the comments from the people they interview, letting this example from an industry stooge go unchallenged:

David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said campaigners' calls to stop burning fossil fuels made no sense. "If you suddenly close down our power stations that would be a suicidal policy. The economy of the UK would be seriously disrupted. And there would be social implications of that. It's a nonsensical approach to the problem.""

I'm fairly confident that the protesters' advocation of "suddenly closing down power stations" is a product of their despair of effecting change in any other way. In fact they have only reached the stage of direct action because years of calling for a shift to sustainable, renewable generation technology to reduce emissions, based on overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates that such a shift is absolutely essential to mitigate climate change, have been essentially ignored by the government. Our government is taking no significant action to mitigate climate change. If you want an example of a nonsensical approach to "the problem", there it is.

As for the "economy of the UK being seriously disrupted", I'm sure someone conducted an exhaustive study into the economic impact of climate change a few years ago that concluded it was imperative for our economic stability we take significant pre-emptive action to limit its effects. Now what was his name? Stone? Staine?

From the other mainstream media, The Torygraph engages in nothing more than straightforward churnalism, The Times at least mentions the attempt by campaigners to defend their actions in court with claim to be "acting in the interests of humanity" and its yet more churnalism from the Daily Heil.

So, all in all a pretty major fail from most of the MSM with only the last bastions of journalism at the Indy and Graun holding out any hope for a deeper investigation into the police's authoritarianism. It falls to the Indymedia site to gather eyewitness testimony and any sort of insight into the event.


Addition:

The Graun raises the game with Alan Rusbridger's editorial.


Addition 16/04/09:

The Graun pushes the game to a new level with this analysis on CiF from David Howarth. Many of the outstanding questions I had over this action are answered, including whether shutting down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station would have resulted in power cuts across the Midlands and eactly how "dangerous" these protests would have been to protesters, plant workers and police. One of the most interesting points addressed by Howarth is the absurdity of the superintendent's justification of the pre-emptive strike on the grounds of "efficiency". Supt Hanley claims that if the protest succeeded the police operation would have been "prolonged". Well boo-fucking-hoo, says Howarth, that's the whole point of direct action protests: Not to cause harm but to peacefully inconvenience and obstruct (obviously I am paraphrasing). That the police consider this to now be a valid justification for their actions reveals how threatened our right to peaceful protest is.

David Howarth rules.

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