Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Rodney Berman lies exposed

The FoI request obtained by Kevin Brennan on our behalf 
(All available further down this page) shows
  • the Council delaying response far beyond the legal 21 days from Kevin Brennan's letter on 9th Dec., claiming it wasn't received till 20 Dec., doing nothing till 30 Dec., though assembled by 31 January, not approving it for Kevin Brennan till 17 Feb.
  • heavy redactions of names to conceal leading Councilllors and police involvement in the action
  • prior planning to stop an Occupycardiff camp wherever it started on public land. There was no mention of protecting the castle walls from damage – the story invented by Rodney Berman for the Council meeting. He lied to the full Council meeting of 17th Nov.) when he declared
“We have no problem with people protesting peacefully, but we are talking about the castle walls, the bottom of which is Roman. If you think it’s OK for people to be banging things into the wall then I don’t think the people of Cardiff will agree with you.” ReadMore 
  •  decision to involve the Police on 1st Nov.
  •  Rodney Berman was informed on 9th Nov., prior to the 11th Nov. camp, that no enforcement action had been taken against any of the other 8 or so camps around the country
What's missing
  •  no documents showing how the police were called in, nor how the decision was taken to deploy large numbers of police etc.
  • Neil McEvoy's name is redacted (unlike Berman, Judith Woodman and Nigel Howells); either he has been sidelined, despite claims at the camp that he'd been in consultations all that afternoon, or he insisted his name was covered up.
Time to Challenge
Rodney Berman for lying to the November Council meeting
Neil McEvoy for covering up his name
South Wales Police to disclose their discussions with the Council and why they deployed huge forces on the pretence of a Parks Byelaw being infringed.

Kevin Brennan MP press release
The decision to remove Occupy Cardiff protestors from the surrounding vicinity of Cardiff Castle was taken by the political leadership of Cardiff Council, information obtained by Cardiff West MP, Kevin Brennan, has revealed.
The evidence which was revealed following a freedom of information request by Mr Brennan appears to be at odds with claims that they made no decision to remove the protestors and only exercised an existing bylaw to remove tents from the site.
But internal council emails show that the final decision to remove the protestors was made after the Council Chief Executive Jon House, consulted the political leadership of the Lib Dem-Plaid council.
In one email to his senior managers, Jon House says, “Having gone down with Martin Hamilton to see for myself – we took the decision with political consultation to have protestors removed.”
Speaking after receiving the Freedom of Information Request, Mr Brennan has called on the Lib Dem-Plaid leadership at Cardiff Council to apologise.
“I think the Lib Dem-Plaid council owe the protestors and the public an apology for trying to give the impression, through the media and full council meetings, that removing protestors was solely a police decision and that the council only sought to remove the tents,” said Mr Brennan.
“This cynical pantomime has been the council’s own creation and could have been avoided if the Lib Dem-Plaid leadership had been straight with people about their decision to remove the protestors.”

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Defend the Right to Protest - Drop the Charges

Sign the petition here 

On 11 November 2011 the police violently broke up a completely peaceful protest on the green outside Cardiff Castle by Occupy Cardiff (part of the world-wide Occupy movement against inequality and injustice in the financial system). They ‘kettled’ the demonstrators in a subway and arrested six people.

Eric Jinks and Jason Simons were charged under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act with “failing to leave the land, namely CARDIFF CASTLE, as soon as reasonably practical”. They appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court on Wednesday February 8th 2012 and if convicted face a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment.  The trial date was set for June.

The police action is an assault on everyone’s rights to express ourselves publicly and peacefully protest and is therefore a threat to the democratic rights of everyone in Wales. We call for the charges against Eric and Jason to be dropped, and for the Police to cease to use this legislation to restrict democratic protest.