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[Nettime-nl] Fwd: FC: Genoa protester tells of beatings, abuse, retinals
Gerard Drosterij on Tue, 31 Jul 2001 23:39:37 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-nl] Fwd: FC: Genoa protester tells of beatings, abuse, retinalscans by cops



>X-Sieve: cmu-sieve 2.0
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>Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 14:45:50 -0400
>To: politech {AT} politechbot.com
>From: Declan McCullagh <declan {AT} well.com>
>Subject: FC: Genoa protester tells of beatings, abuse, retinal scans by cops
>Cc: alaidh {AT} yahoo.com, rabbit {AT} cownow.com
>Sender: owner-politech {AT} politechbot.com
>Reply-To: declan {AT} well.com
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>X-Author: Declan McCullagh is at http://www.mccullagh.org/
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>
>[Obviously we don't know if this is pure fabrication, but it does have the 
>ring of truth -- outrage over life-threatening beatings and then repeated 
>annoyance over being served ham sandwiches instead of a vegan meal. The 
>activists who have been trade summit-hopping aren't stupid, and through 
>the Independent Media Centers are reasonably well connected. They now know 
>that they can get beaten, tortured, robbed, and perhaps even killed by 
>cops. (Yes, there were persistent reports of police brutality at previous 
>protests, including the GOP convention, and I wrote about them at the 
>time. But they were mild compared to these charges.) So the Black Bloc and 
>even their less-extreme allies have some obvious options: (1) Stay home; 
>(2) Hope that other cops won't be as thuggish and sadistic as the Italians 
>allegedly are; (3) Buy hundreds of X10 cams and stream live footage from 
>activist HQ to a secure server in another jurisdiction; (4) Erect 
>defensive fortifications at activist HQ and arm themselves heavily for 
>when the cops arrive with the nightsticks out. --Declan]
>
>********
>
>Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 12:33:58 -0400
>From: Bonnie <rabbit {AT} cownow.com>
>To: declan {AT} well.com
>Cc: Bonnie <rabbit {AT} cownow.com>
>Subject: Italian police scan retinas of protestors
>
>Check this out. The rest is pretty bad, but note that they also
>did retinal scans on the protestors.
>
>Bonnie
>
>
>-----Forwarded message from Fitzhugh MacCrae <alaidh {AT} yahoo.com>-----
>
>FYI-
>
>
>STATEMENT OF
>JONATHAN NORMAN BLAIR
>
>I declare that this is a true and honest statement
>which I have written
>on
>Friday 27th July 2001. I permit it to be used by other
>individuals and
>agencies
>who support me and all the other people arrested at
>the Scolastico  A.
>Diaz
>and surrounding area on the night of Saturday 21st
>July 2001. I state
>that I
>wish to sue the Italian police for illegal arrest,
>kidnapping and
>torture and I ask
>for support in doing this. Please contact me via
>e-mail.
>
>I went to Genoa to participate in the mass
>demonstrations against the
>G8 and
>its policies. I went because I believe in a free and
>equal society with
>people
>living in harmony with each other and the ecological
>system. I flew out
>with my
>friend Dan McQuillan on Tuesday 17th July (our return
>flight was on
>Monday
>23rd July) on Ryan Air from Stansted to Genoa.
>On Saturday night we were staying at the Scolastico A.
>Diaz. The school
>was
>having renovation work done on it but as far as I was
>aware, it was
>legally
>occupied and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.
>It was directly
>opposite
>the media centre and the Genoa Social Forum
>administrative base.
>It was a big building with several floors, old with
>high ceilings.
>Through the
>front doors was a large hallway. On the left was a
>ramp leading up to a
>line of
>computers. To the left of that were stairs leading to
>the first floor
>where
>Dan and I were staying.
>The room we stayed in had a window view onto the
>courtyard at the front
>of the
>school and was directly opposite the media centre with
>a narrow road
>in-between.
>I went to bed about 12 o'clock on Saturday night.
>Staying in the room
>was Dan
>and a guy from New Zealand who I now know to be Sam
>Buchanan. I was
>dozing off
>and then I suddenly heard a crashing, roaring sound
>coming from
>outside. I
>quickly got out of my sleeping bag and looked out of
>the window. I saw
>a mass
>of police made up of squads from various cities (I
>know this from the
>documents that the judge gave me when I was released)
>filling the
>street
>outside.
>One of my memories was of the police with shields
>charging down the
>street
>followed by 2 police vans. There were people in the
>street shouting and
>screaming. It was a nightmare of sound. I presume that
>this is the
>point that
>Mark Covell (another UK national) was critically
>injured by the police
>as he
>was crossing the street.
>I began rapidly putting my clothes on and looked out
>of the window
>again. I saw
>the police van ram the school gates. We began to push
>our bags into the
>corner
>of the room hoping that if they came along the
>scaffolding that the
>police
>wouldn't see us. I heard people screaming in pain from
>downstairs. It
>took
>about a few minutes before the police smashed down the
>door to our
>room.
>They smashed our door down and had a large
>searchlight, which they
>shone into
>the room. As soon as they saw us they were on us.
>There was maybe about
>a dozen
>of them, it was complete chaos. Dan was completely
>battered by them all
>down
>his left side, he had his wrist broken and he had
>blows to the head.
>Sam was
>battered over the head three time  when I met him in
>the prison
>afterwards, he
>said that each time he was hit that it was like in a
>cartoon book as he
>saw
>stars and sparkles from the force of the blows. I
>received blows while
>we were
>on the floor and have bruises, but nothing in
>comparison with the
>others. I
>don't know how long this lasted, maybe just a couple
>of minutes, maybe
>a bit
>longer. I could feel the venom and hatred from them.
>They eventually left the room and as we lay there in a
>pool of blood
>they threw
>some of the window frames and other furniture on top
>of us. It was as
>if they
>were the destroy squad and then a minute or so later
>came the
>'retrieval'
>squad. They told us to get out of the room and as we
>went down the
>stairs the
>police were lined up and were hitting us with their
>batons. It was as
>if they
>had gone berserk and they were getting in each others
>way trying to get
>to
>us.
>We moved down the ramp into the main hall area. We
>were told to get on
>the
>floor and had to lie kneeling on the floor, head down
>and arms
>stretched out in
>front. At one point someone who I assume had been
>badly beaten up
>outside was
>brought into the hall on a stretcher. This lasted
>about maybe 15-20
>minutes (it
>was difficult to tell the passage of time in this
>situation) till the
>medical
>workers and ambulances arrived. Dan was bleeding
>heavily.
>The ambulance crew arrived and began ripping up
>cardboard boxes to make
>splints
>as they did not have enough equipment to deal with the
>number of broken
>bones.
>Of the 93 people arrested, over 60 went to hospital
>and remember, this
>was
>not for minor injuries but for broken bones and head
>trauma. One man
>was
>completely battered down his back and did not go to
>hospital.
>Dan was put on an ambulance trolley and I was holding
>his hand and
>helping
>him.
>I demanded to go with Dan to the ambulance because he
>was in such a
>state and
>could not speak Italian. The police were reluctant to
>let me leave but
>the
>paramedics insisted that I came. With them we made our
>way to the
>ambulance
>outside. As we were leaving the building, the police
>tried to rip a
>money belt
>off Dan. I unclipped it so they wouldn't hurt Dan
>further. One cop
>began
>flicking through the money belt and we haven't seen it
>since. It
>contained
>Dan's passport, at least one credit card and several
>hundred pounds of
>English
>and Italian money.
>We were taken to the Galliera (?) Hospital, in Genoa.
>In the ambulance
>the crew
>were really friendly to us, in the hospital with
>police around they
>were not.
>It felt like a police state with police in complete
>command. I sat in
>the
>waiting room while Dan was being treated. I felt
>terrified. I saw a pay
>phone
>and had a phone card on me. I rang my girlfriend Mel
>and another friend
>about
>Saturday 1.10am British time. I left a message that we
>had been
>attacked and
>that I was OK but Dan was in hospital badly injured.
>When trying to
>make a
>third call I was stopped by a police officer.
>The people taken to hospital had fairly serious
>injuries and had to sit
>on
>chairs waiting. The police had taken over the
>hospital. As I understand
>it
>people with such traumas (eg head injuries) should be
>under medical
>observation
>for 24 hours. There was a group of about a dozen of us
>in the hallway,
>under
>police guard. They then started moving us to a police
>van. I had to sit
>on the
>floor for the journey. Dan was also in the van. We
>were driven to a
>holding
>centre called Bolzenato (I was told later by other
>prisoners  I am not
>sure if
>this is the correct spelling or name). It did not
>appear to be an
>official
>police station or prison. It was a place of a terror
>and fear.
>On getting out of the van the first thing we had to do
>was to put our
>hands up
>and face the wall with legs apart (in a spread-eagled
>position). The
>police
>were kicking our feet apart if they thought that our
>feet were too
>close
>together. One police officer who kicked my legs looked
>about 18 years
>old (I
>was old enough to be his father!). We were made to
>face the wall in
>this
>position and there was a row of us. A police officer
>came behind me and
>speaking English in an Italian accent said 'who is
>your government'.
>The person
>before me in the row had answered 'Polizei', so I said
>the same. I was
>afraid
>of being beaten. I think at this point they took our
>names and
>addresses.
>They then took us to a cell. The cell was quite large
>with a high
>ceiling,
>heavily barred windows and high doors. We were told to
>sit down with
>our backs
>against the wall. People in the cell, especially young
>people were
>crying a lot
>of the time. They were traumatised. I tried to lock
>inside myself, stay
>calm
>and strong.
>At one point we had to stand with our hands against
>the wall, arms up
>for an
>hour and 15 minutes with police screaming abuse at us.
>For all I knew
>there was
>a police officer behind me with a truncheon ready to
>beat me across the
>back.
>There were different voices screaming abuse, I was
>lucky I didn't
>understand
>Italian. My hands and arms went dead, I felt strange
>sensations in my
>palms. It
>was helpful to me to meditate, to focus my mind. It
>was physically hard
>to
>keep that position for even a short length of time.
>Dan with a broken
>wrist and
>head injuries also had to do this.
>The cell itself was freezing, the floor had ceramic
>tiles and it was
>cold even
>in the daytime. I had on a cotton shirt and jeans
>only. Dan was wearing
>shorts
>and a thin shirt, he did manage to get a sleeping bag,
>I can't remember
>where
>from, but we all shared it. At one point the police
>took Dan out of the
>cell.
>We didn't know what was going to happen to him. Later
>on I heard this
>woman
>shouting 'please help me, please help me' over and
>over. This was
>torture, it
>was psychological and physical warfare. The torture
>consisted of:
> Physical abuse (blows etc)
> Sleep deprivation
> Having to endure cold temperatures with no
>protection
> Food and water deprivation
> Refusal to have any access to outside world
> Forced into spreadeagled position
> Verbal abuse
> Extreme intimidation (eg people disappearing and
>then screams start)
>Anyone in there who looked punk or scruffy was getting
>a really hard
>time.
>There was an American guy in there in his 30's, I saw
>his back on
>Tuesday and
>he was completely battered, all over his back. He'd
>said that when the
>school
>was raided he was beaten on his back. Every time they
>beat him they cut
>some
>more of his dreadlocks off till they'd cut all his
>locks off. A woman
>said
>that
>when she was attacked by the police (at the school),
>they cut off a
>lump of
>her
>hair (and her appearance was very straight). It felt
>like they were
>taking
>trophies.
>A man said that he was beaten on the back when he had
>his arms up.  I
>was hit
>in the face when the police were strip searching me,
>it was an
>open-handed
>blow. Dan said it was important to scream when the
>police hit you in
>order to
>deflect them from beating you further.
>The most threatening police officers there we called
>the 'grey
>monsters'. They
>were enormous, similar to bouncers. They had grey
>uniforms, body
>armour, and
>big boots.
>Whenever you had to go to the toilet, a police officer
>(sometimes a
>'grey
>monster', sometimes another type of officer) would
>'escort' you by
>holding the
>flesh at the back of the neck and walking you so you
>were bent over,
>sometimes
>almost bent over double. You were unable to see
>anything or know who
>else was
>there. With at least two of the cells, they hung
>sheets over the doors
>so you
>could not see inside at all. I remember seeing one
>cell through the
>corner of
>my eye with I think two people inside with their arms
>up the walls. It
>was
>scary.
>I was held in these conditions from about 5 am Sunday
>morning till 6 am
>Monday
>morning, about 24 hours. Later I found that other
>people were held for
>longer.
>During this time we suffered sleep deprivation. Groups
>of police were
>standing
>at the door and at the window, shouting across the
>room, yelling and
>laughing.
>I saw Dan and another prisoner being spat on by police
>officers.
>The floor was freezing cold with no blankets. For the
>first six hour we
>had no
>food or water. About midday they brought us two very
>small biscuits
>each.
>Later
>on in the afternoon they gave us about dozen ham rolls
>which we shared
>between
>the fourteen of us. I would have thought that they
>knew many of us were
>vegetarian.
>We had to stand with our arms up facing the wall 3 or
>4 times but there
>was no
>attempt to question us (although as far as I know,
>some prisoners might
>have
>been interrogated  I just did not hear of this
>happening). They also
>kept
>counting us and asking our names frequently, which
>often seemed to be
>nothing
>more than a deliberate disruption.
>I had now been without sleep since Saturday morning (I
>had only just
>gone to
>bed when the police raided), by Monday night I was
>hallucinating and
>became
>very paranoid. Many people had similar experiences.
>One man did not
>know that
>he was even in Genoa, he was in such a state.
>Depriving people of sleep
>was a
>completely deliberate policy by the police. Every half
>an hour to an
>hour they
>would begin shouting and yelling. At no point were we
>allowed access to
>a
>lawyer.
>The police began processing people about 3am (?) on
>Monday morning. I
>was
>photographed directly onto a laptop, and they also
>used an eye camera,
>presumably to take a retina scan and I was
>fingerprinted. I was asked
>to strip
>and squat.
>Eventually I was put into a cell on a bus and cuffed
>tightly to another
>prisoner. It was around 6 am when we in this bus (I
>believe that it was
>the
>first bus, the prisoners whose surname started early
>in the alphabet
>like
>mine)
>were taken to Pavia prison. As we were taken up the
>stairs into the
>prison I
>received a blow to my back by a prison officer in a
>dark section of the
>stairwell. It was around maybe 9 am Monday morning
>that I was taken to
>a cell
>on my own. There was a mattress and blanket and
>thankfully it was
>warmer. It
>sounds odd but I was relieved to be in prison. At a
>later point I was
>taken to
>another cell. I was given pasta with meat in, even
>though I had told
>the
>prison
>officer that I was vegetarian.
>Between coming into the prison on about 7 am Monday
>and leaving it at
>about
>6pm
>Wednesday I had no exercise even though I requested it
>on many
>occasions.
>Dan managed to see a lawyer sometime on Tuesday. He
>bought back news of
>a
>30,000 strong demonstration it Milan against the
>shooting and the
>beatings by
>the Italian police and the fact that there was massive
>opposition to
>this
>brutal repression. It was very encouraging for me,
>sometimes I believed
>that
>maybe we might have been forgotten about even though I
>knew that was
>not true.
>   He also managed to send out a telegram. I requested
>a lawyer and
>consulate
>access and to be able to send a telegram, I completed
>the relevant
>forms but
>was not granted any of my requests. It wasn't until
>later on Tuesday
>about
>6 pm
>that I received a telegram from my girlfriend Mel.
>On Wednesday morning Dan was taken off to the judge,
>as were many other
>prisoners. I started getting worried and I expected
>the worse, maybe
>that I
>would have serious charges brought against me and that
>I would be
>framed by
>the
>police.
>But later on Wednesday afternoon I was taken in front
>of the judge, who
>had
>arrived at the prison. There was a lawyer present from
>the Genoa Social
>Forum.
>I had to explain to the judge about the nature of the
>arrest, and
>whether I
>had
>any connections to the black block. This interview
>took about 10
>minutes. I
>was
>then taken back to my cell and then brought in front
>of the judge again
>after
>15 minutes. The judge said the arrest was illegal and
>that there would
>be no
>charges made against me, and that I was free to go. I
>was released at
>about 6
>pm on Wednesday evening into police detention.
>There were about 60-100 people protesting outside the
>police station
>gates,
>they stayed there till at least 4.45 am the next
>morning to clap and
>cheer as
>people were being released. That was fantastic and I
>know all the
>prisoners
>really appreciated that active solidarity.
>I was met by lawyers from the Genoa Social Forum and a
>lawyer called
>Marie
>Louisa (?). The Germans who were detained were
>deported to the German
>border.
>The Germans had a large escort of police to take them
>to the border.
>One
>Lithuanian guy had no money, passport or documents and
>the Lithuanian
>consulate
>were not contactable. I gave him some money and asked
>the lawyers to
>look
>after
>him. Local people brought us food and clothes. The
>consulate staff were
>also
>there to meet us at the prison and they stayed with us
>all the time in
>the
>police station for which I am grateful.
>We were all released without charge, yet we have been
>banned from
>entering
>Italy for 5 years. But this is from an illegal arrest.
>The reason given
>was
>that I am 'a danger to public order and security'. The
>lawyers made
>many
>protests against the imposed deportation order and we
>collectively
>protested
>against the it, however we were taken to a Milan
>airport and basically
>left
>there with no passports or money, all we had was a
>letter from the
>police. We
>had to pay for our own flights for our own
>deportation.
>Despite the fact that we were being deported by the
>italisan state, we
>had to
>each buy our own tickets costing 230 each  we arrived
>at Heathrow on
>Thursday
>morning.
>
>In conclusion, it felt like the beginning of a police
>state, like how,
>for
>example, Pinochet seized power in Chile. There was no
>rule of law or
>any
>regard
>for constitutional rights. The police were genuinely
>the government.
>But I do
>not blame Italian people for this, many Italian people
>gave me much
>solidarity
>and support  I blame the Italian police and the
>Italian state for what
>happened
>and I call upon them to be bought to account for their
>completely
>unacceptable
>actions.
>I would like to end by saying that I am not
>intimidated or frightened
>by this
>police brutality. I am determined that the police and
>their political
>masters
>will not get away with this. There have been hundreds
>of thousands of
>people
>all around the world supporting us and opposing the
>G8. There is a huge
>push
>for change and I am proud to be part of it.
>
>Signed  Jonathan Norman Blair
>Friday 27th July 2001
>
>
>
>
>
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