Tag Archives | UK riots

Court Bans BBC From Broadcasting Film About U.K. Riots

Reminiscent of Chinese authorities’ attitudes towards attempts to shed light on Tiananmen Square. The Guardian reports:

The ruling from a judge prevented the docu-drama, which had been due to be broadcast at 9pm on Monday, from being broadcast “by any media until further order”. The channel’s executives were forced to pull the film, which is based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder.

For legal reasons, the Guardian cannot name the judge who made the ruling, the court in which he is sitting or the case he is presiding over. However, it is understood that lawyers for the BBC strongly object to his ruling, the nature of which is believed to be highly unusual.

The script from the programme, written by the award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe, was produced from verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted as part of the Reading the Riots study, which conducted confidential interviews with 270 rioters.

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UK Government Considers Using Nerve Gas For Crowd Control

Photo: Athens Indymedia (CC)

Photo: Athens Indymedia (CC)

Via the Independent:

Leading neuroscientists believe that the UK Government may be about to sanction the development of nerve agents for British police that would be banned in warfare under an international treaty on chemical weapons.

A high-level group of experts has asked the Government to clarify its position on whether it intends to develop “incapacitating chemical agents” for a range of domestic uses that go beyond the limited use of chemical irritants such as CS gas for riot control.

The Royal Society working group says the Government shifted its position to allow the development of more severe chemical agents, such as the type of potentially dangerous nerve gases used by Russian security forces to end hostage sieges.The experts were commissioned by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, to investigate new developments in neuroscience that could be of use to the military. They concluded that the Government may be preparing to exploit a loophole in the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing the use of incapacitating chemical agents for domestic law enforcement.

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Ancient Greeks Help Explain The Rioting Of Modern Britons

riotsDr. Mark A. Wolfgram writes a fascinating letter to the Financial Times:

Sir, The August 17 commentaries by Richard Florida (“The inchoate rage beneath our global cities”) and John Kay (“Why the rioters should be reading Rousseau”), as well as the excellent Financial Times series on “The Squeezed Middle”, are all making important observations about a similar social, economic and political factor — inequality. Inequality is a fact of human societies built on hierarchies. We come to accommodate ourselves to different levels of inequality, as long as we feel that our society, overall, is at some level just.

In a recent academic work, “A Cultural Theory of International Relations”, Richard Ned Lebow goes back to ancient Greek thought on human motivations and argues that we need to reintegrate their notion of spirit into our understanding of human behaviour. The Greeks argued that humans are motivated by both appetite (the pursuit of material goods), as well as spirit (self-esteem, respect).

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UK May Block Facebook And Twitter To Quell Riots

riotsFollowing another night of disorder in a country beset by deep inequality, corruption in the halls of power, and scant opportunity for young adults, the conservative regime in Bahrain has threatened to cut off access to social networking websites until the unrest subsides. Oh sorry — this is the news from England. Via Raw Story:

In a move that calls to mind the start of the most serious unrest in nations across the Middle East over the last year, David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, told Parliament Thursday that authorities may shut down social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, in hopes that it would return calm to their streets.

The remarks came one day after British authorities discussed turning off the messaging function on BlackBerry phones, which they suggested may remove a tool protesters and rioters were using.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media,” Cameron told Parliament.

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London Riot Fire Destroys Warehouse Containing 150 Indie Record Labels’ Inventory

piasukA creative tragedy of immense proportions in London, as a fire has wiped out a massive distribution warehouse that housed the physical stock of most of the U.K.’s seminal independent music labels. Some of the labels will cease to exist, and some may have lost their entire back catalogs of vinyl. Via Pitchfork:

A Sony distribution warehouse in North London was burned to the ground around during the third night of riots in the UK, as the BBC reports. The 200,000 square-foot center housed the entire inventory of PIAS UK, the primary distribution hub for more than 150 independent labels.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, but all inventory is feared lost. XL/Beggars, Warp, Rough Trade, Domino, 4AD, Sub Pop, Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Drag City, Thrill Jockey, FatCat, Kompakt, Mute, Ninja Tune, Vice, and Soul Jazz are among those affected.

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Austerity And The UK Riots

riotsAre the riots that have engulfed North London and elsewhere linked to the recent slashing of funds for education, social services, and youth centers? The London Review of Books blog says, duh, yes:

Anyone who says the riots don’t have anything to do with the cuts should have a read of ‘Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009’, a discussion paper issued under the auspices of the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s international macroeconomics programme and currently doing the rounds on Twitter, which looks at the relationship between budget cuts and civil unrest across Europe since the end of the First World War:

The results show a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not the key factor.

So much for ‘criminality pure and simple’.

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