What Rates? What Is Ignored And Why?
Rixon Stewart – Updated April 15, 2004
Wednesday night prime time TV and the images of a dying man, filmed by CCTV in a Hull police station, were pre-eminent on the BBC. Christopher Alder’s death was captured as it happened and Dr Nat Cary, a Home Office pathologist who gave evidence at the Soham murder trial, was of the opinion that he died as a result of police indifference, and maybe even criminal negligence.
Originally, Christopher was arrested for disorderly conduct in a hospital, where he was being treated for head injuries sustained in a street fight. After being dragged into the police station, Christopher was left lying unconscious in the charge office, while police attended to charge details and made small talk. It was only after some minutes that an officer noticed he had stopped breathing. Thereafter, galvanised into action the police called an ambulance and tried administering medical assistance.
However, the fact that Dr. Nat Cary’s evidence was critical in the conviction of Ian Huntley should raise some alarm bells. So too should the fact that the documentary was made by the maker’s of the Secret Policeman, a program that sought to expose racism in the police.
Indeed it all follows an increasingly familiar pattern. Where shocking images are played and replayed to prepare the public psychologically, for things they would have once deemed unacceptable. It happened with September 11, which prepared the way for the “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq. And it happened with the coverage of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, which suitably smoothed the way for a package of draconian “anti-racism” legislation.
Moreover, it bears all the hallmarks of trauma based mind control techniques. Where hapless victims are exposed to repeated traumatic shocks: to induce changes in behaviour and perception, often with the subjects completely unaware of what they have been through. It is indeed worth asking if the mainstream media might not be employing such techniques?
A recent episode occurred when Manchester police became heavy handed when arresting a drunken vandal, using sprays and ultimately delivering kicks to his head, in an effort to subdue him. It was a nasty, dirty fight in a dim lit street but hardly a lead item on prime time national news.
Or so it may have seemed at the time.
Appearing relatively unscathed in court later, Delbo King admitted causing criminal damage and resisting arrest, was fined and given a days detention. Although he acknowledged his guilt, King said that police used excessive force in arresting him.
That may have been true but what it was what happened thereafter that was interesting. A nearby video camera had captured King’s arrest, forcing Greater Manchester Police to admit that an officer “had been removed from front line duties pending an investigation.”
The following night King’s arrest was lead item on BBC’s nightly news broadcasts. While video footage of police arresting the former paratrooper, who had just trashed a bus shelter, was lead news item on BBC’s main rival ITN. Incredibly, taking precedence over everything else that day, including the latest episodes in the “War on Terror”.
Admittedly, the task of allocating prominence to news stories – what is given precedence and what is not – is something of an esoteric art. But clearly, video footage of police arresting a drunken hooligan was deemed more important than anything else that day.
The next morning national newspapers followed with more prime coverage and you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was much ado about nothing, except for the fact that King was black. For along with repeated broadcasts of King’s arrest came a familiar refrain. Not only were police using excessive force to arrest him – which is debateable given the nature of back street brawls – they were also motivated by the spectre of “racism”.
At least that was the unspoken implication in many of the reports.
It all falls into a clearly discernable pattern. It began with the coverage of the Stephen Lawrence murder, and the subsequent Macpherson Report, and like the above it sounded a familiar theme.
In Stephen Lawrence’s case, apart from the officers who initially investigated his murder, and who were branded ‘racists’ themselves as a result, everybody ignored the fact that Stephen’s white killers had stabbed a white guy on the same street a few weeks before killing Stephen. The victim in the first attack refused to press charges, probably out of fear, but everyone: the judicial inquiry, journalists and TV commentators ignored this one salient point (1).
Yet without exception, the mainstream media continues to characterise Stephen’s murder as “racially motivated”. Six years on and the BBC put an undercover reporter into a police training college for a documentary, The Secret Policeman (2), in an effort to expose any vestiges of racism in the force. True some pretty incriminating stuff was found: and as a result some were forced to resign and good riddance too. But what was not shown?
Video cameras were also used by police in the Lawrence inquiry, to capture film of his killers going through the motions of stabbing. Again it was pretty incriminating and broadcast on prime time news as evidence of “racism”. But what wasn’t shown was that residents in the area of Lawrence’s murder had told police that his killers were a gang. And to get into the gang you first had to stab someone. So regardless of race, Stephen’s killers were going through the motions of a gang initiation.
So if the media were able to transform a gang initiation into a race attack, could they turn a violent arrest into a “racially motivated” incident? This is all the more pertinent a question, because the makers of The Secret Policeman echoed the same theme in their documentary on the death of Christopher Alder, Death on Camera.
Although there was no clear-cut evidence of any such “racism”, the documentary was at pains to show and re-show Alder’s last few moments, in agonising detail.
Like King, Alder was black and the unspoken suggestion was that his death could have been avoided. Indeed police indifference and inattention were obvious factors in his death but the underlying implication was that Alder's death was “racially motivated”.
In consequence Britain’s Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced a review of the case and this writer suggests that this ultimately portends the passage of further, draconian legislation.
In effect we are seeing two apparently conflicting strategies at work. On the one hand the spectre of “racism”, whether real or implied, is being used to force through the passage of new legislation. And, of course, nobody can argue against that without the risk of being accused of supporting “racists”. While on the other hand the passing of these laws is being further assisted by the supposed terror threat, again either implied or contrived. And of course, nobody can oppose such legislation without accusations of weakness in the face of terror.
But perhaps we should expect nothing else from a Home Secretary who is blind, a disability that is an asset in his job. For few would expect such draconian legislation from someone so afflicted. Which is why David Blunkett is an ideal choice for Home Secretary, a position from where he can steer the passage of potentially repressive legislation, while disarming critics with his blindness.
Remember that, for this is the man who wants to detain anyone associated with the fictional al-Qa’idi, whether or not they have any proven involvement in terrorism. And who can argue with that, for like they say: justice is blind.
(1) The Stephen Lawrence Affair
(2) The Secret Policeman
Last updated 21/04/2004