Boycott the Independent on Sunday

The paper blames the dead victim Ian Tomlinson. No person with a shred of decency should buy or subscribe to Independent on Sunday. If you want to read Robert Fisk or Patrick Cockburn’s reports, do so online. Don’t waste your money on this pseudo-liberal, conformist shit-rag. Editor-at-Large Janet Street-Porter writes an execrable apologia for police brutality in today’s paper where she warns readers that ‘before we put the police in the dock, it might be worth considering what Mr Tomlinson was doing that night, and what state of mind he might have been in’. The situation, she tells us, is ‘a great deal more complicated’.

But what exculpatory evidence does she proffer?

Mr Tomlinson was an alcoholic who lived in a bail hostel around the corner from me in the City of London. He’d tried and failed to stay away from booze, but I make no judgement about that [MIA: What is the relevance, then, of this information to the case at hand?]…Knowing that he was an alcoholic is critical to understanding his sense of disorientation and his attitude towards the police, which might on first viewing of the video footage, seem a bit stroppy.[MIA: So she is making a judgment about that; worse, she feels qualified to pronounce on Tomlinson’s ‘attitude’ from the mere seconds of available footage]… Witnesses say Mr Tomlinson appeared to be drunk, he wasn’t coherent and couldn’t move very well… It had been a long and trying day for the police. Mr Tomlinson wound them up when he didn’t get out of the way. [MIA: Perhaps it had also been ‘a long and trying day’ for Tomlinson and the police wound him up when they ‘didn’t get out of the way’, but this tool is only willing to give the perpetrator the benefit of a doubt]

In short, Tomlinson was asking for it. Not least, because he was a down-and-outer who was ‘wearing a Millwall shirt, smoking a cigarette, and he’d had a few drinks’. Street-Porter inverts the demands of homicide investigation in focusing on the actions and the state of mind of the victim rather than the perpetrator. And she does all that in the guise of actually standing up for the little guy. Her headline blares that ‘Tomlinson was no saint’. Presumably one has to be a saint now to earn immunity from the Police’s abuses of authority.

I would urge all readers to write to the Independent and express your disapproval in the strongest terms possible. I would also encourage other bloggers to highlight this issue and to help end the media’s complicity with the progressive erosion of civil liberties.

This odious creature must feel the heat. She is sick.

letters@independent.co.uk
editor@independent.co.uk

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

8 thoughts on “Boycott the Independent on Sunday”

  1. I have read the Janet Street-Porter article that you take selective quotes from, and it does not read to me in the same way that you state at all. Perhaps if I commented using just as selective quotes then the opposite situation would be shown to the one above.

  2. Interesting how desperate the right-wing writers are to distract us from police violence to the state of Ian Tomlinson. Who cares whether he was drunk, alcoholic, living in a hostel. Who cares…the man is dead..

    The facts are that the man was walking away from a line of police with his hands in his pocket, doing nothing, which merits a whack with a baton and a hard shove to the ground. That resulted in a death.

    That is what we should be concerned about not the state of the man.

    But people like Street-Porter and Richard Littlejohn, who sneer with contempt and hold moral judgements, they are not interested in the facts they are interested in spinning a lie, trashing a dead man and letting the violent cops off the hook. This is the MO of these people, they have done it in the past and will do it again.

    Again, we shouldn’t be surrpised the state and the media trash the reputation of the dead, they did it with Jean Charles de Menezes, Clinton McCurbin (cops said he was on drugs..his family organised an independent autopsy..and shock! horror! no drugs in his system…but the lie had already been spun in the media).
    This is what the right-wing do to protect the cops.

  3. I’m with earwicga, this isn’t a smear on Tomlinson, this is a perfectly clear explanation about how his background and state of inebriation, rather than justifying the assault, actually make it harder to justify it.

    Knowing that he was an alcoholic is critical to understanding his sense of disorientation and his attitude towards the police, which might on first viewing of the video footage, seem a bit stroppy.
    […]
    Mr Tomlinson was wearing a Millwall shirt, smoking a cigarette, and he’d had a few drinks. He didn’t look anything like the people the police had corralled into a confined space around the Bank of England that night. They were mostly younger, middle class, and worlds apart from a working-class bloke whose face seemed older than his years after a life on the street. One perfunctory glance ought to have shown officers that he was completely harmless.

    She’s explaining how “They thought he was a protester” and “He was asking for it by deliberately provoking the cops” are complete rubbish, based on the very information people are trying to smear him with. It needs to be said.

  4. How nice of her. Is that why she began her article by declaring him ‘no saint’? Are only saints exempt from police brutality?

    how his background and state of inebriation, rather than justifying the assault, actually make it harder to justify it.

    I presume that is why she showed such concern for what he rather than what the police was thinking or doing that night. When she warns you that ‘before we put the police in the dock, it might be worth considering what Mr Tomlinson was doing that night, and what state of mind he might have been in’, there aren’t all that many ways to interpret that, now are there?

  5. Ever wondered how people like Littlejohn and Street-Fishwife get on Newsnight and Any Questions every other week?

    Wonder no more.

    They’re arseholes that’s why!

    Another man done gone
    I didn’t know his name…
    I don’t know where he’s gone…

    Let the words of the old spiritual keep them awake at night.

    Had they any regard for justice instead of their big fat pay cheques these scum bags would be rounding on the Met for the way they targetted and murdered Jean-Charles de Menezez and then true to form lied profusely about it afterwards.

    Given that public protest is likely to gather pace still more as the recession bites we at least need be in little doubt as to where the Indie and establishment press stand on our right to defend ourselves against the police state.

    In the unlikely event that public protest turns the tide then Grub Street creatures like Littlejohn and Street-Fishwife can fend themselves in the gutter where they belong.

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