Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter candle

Easter candle, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking portraits

Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teacher Dude in motion

Ian Tomlinson - Google Street View debunks IPCC CCTV claims

"The chair of the police watchdog conducting a criminal inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson faced fresh criticism today after it emerged he was wrong to say there was "no CCTV footage" in the area where the alleged assault took place.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said today that Nick Hardwick had been mistaken when he said there were no security cameras around Royal Exchange Passage, the area where a policeman was shown in pri
vate video footage striking Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him to the ground."

View Larger Map

Like many of you I found the assertion that there were no CCTV camera in the area strange considering that so many of the world's surveillance cameras are in the UK and that a capital in which the average resident's image is captured 300 times a day should have a blind spot in so strategic an area. Obviously, being an investigator for the IPCC precludes such mundane chores as actually checking what the police tell you.

After a quick search on Google Maps I found the image you see above which shows the corner of Threadneedle St and the Royal Exchange Passage where the assault on Tomlinson took place. If you zoom into the area just above the red bus and slightly to the right you will see at least one, quite possibly two CCTVs. I find it hard to believe given the seriousness of the operation to police the G20 summit that these resources were not brought into play during the day.

Even stranger that none of those investigating the death of Tomlinson and the 120 other complaints made against the police during that day bothered to actually wander the streets there or even more simply have a look on the internet.

The only good thing that has come out of this whole, sad charade is that the more the police and the IPCC try to wiggle out of their responsibilities the worse it becomes in terms of public opinion.

A video a day keeps the authorities at bay.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ian Tomlinson - Tragedy turns into farce

Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry with the latest developments in the Ian Tomlinson case. For those who do not know Tomlinson died just minutes after being assaulted by police during the G20 summit meeting in London at the beginning of the month. Since then the London Metrpolitan Police have mounted a cover up campaign that has, thankfully, been carried out with Keystone Cop efficiency. Silence, evasion, misdirection and stonewalling have characterised their approach to the case. In addition the Independent Police Complaints Commission have just added to the farce surrounding the death.

At first the police failed to mention any connection between their officers and the death of the unfortunate 47 year - old newspaper seller. Then, when footage came out on the Guardian website showing the assault they attempted to get the video pulled. If that was not enough the IPCC said that there was no CCTV coverage of the event, only to have that absurd claim (we're talking about the heart of London, home to more surveillance camera than virtually anywhere else on Earth) debunked by photographic evidence taken on the day. In addition just four of the dozen or so officers present during the attack have come forward.

With more than 120 official complaints about police violence during the summit pending the latest revelation of a police officer assaulting a woman during a vigil in honour of Ian Tomlinson is just another nail in the coffin of the police's reputation.

The attack takes place at about 3.20 mins. Notice that the officer has hidden his ID number in clear contravention of police rules. Then again; "you're not cop, you're little people".

Thinking of Shakespeare

JULIET: Chain me with roaring bears;
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
O'er-cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,

Monday, April 13, 2009


Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Spring is coming

Spring is coming, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

International journalism 101 - Thailand

Photo by affaire de couronne de Thomas

The media landscape is changing before our very eyes. Once again a major news story can be covered by anyone with an internet connection, often with greater accuracy and more insight than the established media channels. I have been following developments in Thailand over the last few hours and it seems to me the the best source for breaking developments and the background to what has been happening are Twitter, Flickr and blogs.

For more details on what is going on in Bangkok check out

#redshirts on Twitter

"redshirts" in Google blog search and Technorati

"redshirts" in Youtube

"redshirts" on Flickr

Follow these sources for an hour or two and you'll find out as much as most professional journalists (at least non - Thai's) know about what is happening.

I see this tendency set to explode over the next few years as more and more people are able to access the internet via their mobile/cell phones and the world wide web ceases to the sole domain of those with the wealth to buy a computer. Already the number of people who use mobiles in the developing world has skyrocketed. With the spread of lower cost devices which include video and camera capabilities as well as letting you get on the internet then we will have to chance to hear from those caught up in news stories around the world unfiltered by national and international media.

Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self

Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self

Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

It seems that the London Metropolitan Police seem a slittle sluggish in getting officers who witnessed the assault on Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests to come forward. Even now, more than 10 days after his death just four of the dozen or so officers present at the time have come forward to answer IPCC questions.

As a result UK based BristleKRS Blog has been collecting pictures and footage of the incident from the internet in order to find clues as to the identity of the other, shyer witnesses to the attack. As he says himself if they do not come forward voluntarily then others must drag them into the public arena.

"I hope that these pictures might help jog the memory of someone - anyone - who was in London that day. Perhaps you took a photograph of a policeman whom you think you recognise here - a photograph which is clearer, perhaps even showing a number on an epaulette or a helmet. Please do check through your pictures and compare them with these.

Or maybe you weren’t in London on the 1st of April, but you happen to recognise a relative, or an acquaintance from your local, or a neighbour. If you do, please don’t just leave it be.

If enough people - ordinary people, people like us - take the time and trouble to hold those responsible (through their action or their inaction) for the death of Ian Tomlinson, force them to come forward and be held accountable, then we might - just might - help prevent this happening again, only next time to your father, my mother, our friends, our loved ones. Don’t leave it to the IPCC."

So, if you think you can help, please go over to his blog and see the pictures and video he has already found.

The Easter hoildays are here

Spring is here, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Today marks the start of Megali Evdomada or Easter Week in Orthodox calender. There will a whole series of rituals and rites which culminate next Sunday when everyone gets together and eats roast lamb with friends and family. For most Greeks these days are far more important than say, Christmas.

At the moment many people are fasting, in this case abstaining from meat and daily products in the run up to next weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stop! In the name of love before I break your heart.

Make fun of the b#stards. Show them for what they are. Contempt is our strongest weapon.

In memory of Ian Tomlinson.


Riots in Thessaloniki - Greece

Saturday, April 11, 2009

G20 "This is not a riot" - "Wanna bet?"

Friday, April 10, 2009

The police are appealing for witnesses to the death of Ian Tomlinson to come forward

I used to be a contender, I used to be a dinosaur.

Ian Tomlinson - Alexis Grigoropoulos: two sides of the same coin

Symbolic protest over the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos

The similarities between the death of Ian Tomlinson who died during the G20 summit protests and Alexis Grigoropoulos, whose shooting last December in Athens sparked off weeks of rioting across Greece seem to be growing ever stronger. In both cases the unlawful death at the hands of the police was initially met with silence and/or lies.

In the case of Alexis the original official account said that the 15 year old had been part of a group of anarchist who had attacked a patrol car with stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. The officers involved had, according to the police been forced to fire into the air and that one such shot had accidentally killed the teenager. In the case of Tomlinson, the London Metropolitan police said that he had been walking home when he had suffered a heart attack and that attempts to aid him had been met by a barrage of bricks and bottles.

As we know now both accounts turned out to have only the slightest connection with what really happened. In the case of Alexis eye witnesses and later video evidence quickly came out that showed that he had died after having an argument with a policeman who aimed and fired his weapon at him. Likewise in the Tomlinson case eyewitness accounts told of an unprovoked police attack backed up by video footage.

In both Athens and London the vast majority of the mainstream media were quite happy, at first to accept the authorities version of what happened and even embellish their accounts with, as it turned out, literary flourishes that undermined their credibility. Luckily, The Observer and the Guardian kept on hammering away at the story despite official harassment from the IPCC.

Now it seems that both cases are continuing to follow the same pattern of developments. Once the authorities in Athens realised that their original cover story had been blown they decided on another approach in the media battle for the hearts and minds of Joe Public; namely, they thought that they could save the day by mounting a campaign of smear and innuendo that would tar the reputation of the victim and so justify the actions of the officers involved.

Within days much of the Greek press corp published stories from police sources that painted Alexis as a delinquent malcontent who loved nothing more than make trouble in the Exarchia neighbourhood where he died. Indeed the newspapers even went as far as to publish a report by the police officer's lawyer that highlighted his allegedly chequered school record and grades as supposed evidence of the teen's delinquency and so "guilt".

Now we see the same thing with Ian Tomlinson. The police have seen their attempt at a cover up blown so wide that even their supporters in the media cannot help anymore. Faced with media scrutiny of their actions stories are now appearing in the right wing press that have tried to smear Tomlinson, attack his character and so justify the officer who killed him.

It is claimed that he had been drinking heavily and had gone out of his way to provoke officers who were operating under very difficult circumstances. What such reports fail to mention was the widespread use of indiscriminate violence (including attacks on a Channel 4 camera crew) by the police to control the situation and the use of "kettling" which allowed tensions to rise that would have been dissipated had protesters been allowed to leave.

Again the hope is that such accusations will make us forget the video footage which showed Tomlinson attacked as he was walking away from the police. Even if what the newspapers say is true then do the police have the right to treat people with such contempt during what had been , despite intense provocation, a mainly peaceful demo?

My only hope is that the tactic backfires as badly in London as it did in Athens. Then the claims by the police not only managed to add to the feeling of anger felt by many taking part in the protests but also disgusted many who had up to that time remained undecided as to whether the police had done something wrong.

For more information check out the Ian Tomlinson Wiki page here and the Alexis Grigoropoulos page here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Greek communist party (KKE) rally in Thessaloniki

The leader of the Greek communist party (KKE), Aleka Papariga was in town today to rally the faithful. It seems more and more obvious that Greece is about to enter a pre - election period. The present conservative government's slim one seat majority in parliament was reduced still further when one of the ruling New Democracy's MPs, former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis became the subject of a parliamentary enquiry over allegations that he demanded kickbacks for handing out subsidies to ferry companies operating to the Greek islands.

It seems more and more likely that as well as Euro - elections the country will go to the polls in the near future to elect a new government.

"It's the lie that gets you" - Oliver Stone's Nixon.

A man dies in full view of hundreds, the victim of a violent attack by a masked man. His death captured by an untold number of cameras in the area. Yet nothing happens. No charges are brought, no one is arrested, the police carry on as usual. The mainstream media is content to accept the police account and so spread the official version that makes no reference to the events leading to the death. Some go one better and embellish their accounts with lurid details that will win them brownie points with editors and chime in perfectly with the prejudices of their readership/ viewers.

However, the voices of those present start to be heard almost immediately on the internet, more more they speak out until some in the mainstream press picks up on it, at least the more honourable part of the press corp, yet still there is silence from nearly everyone else in the media. The UK channels either downplay the death or simply content themselves with replaying the police's report which seems to be more and more the product of a cover up than an initial, perhaps incomplete version of what happened.

Then videos come to light which definitively disprove the official version and eventually, unable to ignore the story anymore the major TV channels rush to air "exclusive footage" a week after they had originally received it. Like Captain Renault in Casablanca .

"Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

An officer comes forward knowing full well that his colleagues cannot hide what has happened anymore. His superiors once more issue bland reassurances of justice being done, even whilst they scramble to make sure that no such beast will ever see the light of day.

Balaclava clad thugs beat and harass people for days on end and we wonder why somebody died? It was surely a matter of time with such tactics that some idiot with a badge and an attitude would choose the wrong target, cross an invisible line that separates intimidation from outright violence. Ian Tomlinson's death was not a "tragic accident" or the result of the actions of "an overzealous officer" but rather the inevitable consequence of giving armed men carte blanche in dealing with crowds.

The officer must be cursing his luck at this moment, "Why me? I mean we were all doing the same thing?" And he is right, up to a point. In the days leading up to Tomlinson's death there were any number of similar incidents which did not end in tragic death.

Hopefully, it will be the lie that gets them. Hopefully, it will be the culture of silence and "corporate solidarity" that seals their fate, at least in the eyes of the public. As far as the courts are concerned we all know what will happens when "inconclusive evidence" rears its ugly head.

Ian Tomlinson - Killed for being in the wrong place, killed for being just that little bit too slow, killed for trusting the police not to use violence without cause.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A day late and a dollar short - Channel 4 on Ian Tomlinson

More footage has come to light that show the attack by London police on Ian Tomlinson just minutes before he died. Today ITN/Channel 4 aired video taken during the assault that once again contradicts the official version that said that Tomlinson died of natural causes and made no mention whatsoever of any police involvement in the death.

What really makes me angry is the fact that a major media outlet waited an entire week before it decided to release a visual record of what, could in all honesty be called an unlawful killing. In addition not one officer came forward until other footage published in the Guardian today came to light. Every officer who witnessed this killing decided that they could avoid not only their duty but also knowingly break the law in order to cover up the actions of a colleague.

There are so many comparisons I could make with the police shooting of Greek teenager, Alexis Grigoropoulos in December. Lies, cover ups, media indifference to anything other than the official police line are just some of the common points. The big difference is that people here didn't take such behaviour laying down.

Is it just me or does that fact that balaclava wearing men spent days beating peaceful protesters in the centre of a European capital with impunity strike you as deeply disturbing? Dark portents indeed.

"And was the holy lamb of God"- Jerusalem

Easter is almost upon us, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land


The Ian Tomlinson case - A wake up call for traditional media

If looks could kill.

After an embarrassingly long gap the mainstream media in Britain has finally woken up to the fact that there was something amiss about the death of Ian Tomlinson during last week's G20 summit protests. Initially, newspapers on the right of the UK political spectrum gleefully lapped up police accounts of beserker anarchists pelting officers and first aiders attempting to help Tomlinson, 47 who had apparently collapsed due to a heart attack whilst walking home from work through the protests in central London.

However, almost immediately images and accounts from people present started to circulate on the internet which contradicted the official account of what supposedly happened to Ian. Eyewitnesses spoke of efforts by demonstrators to help despite harassment and threats by the riot squad units in the vacinity. Thankfully, The Observer ran a story exposing the inconsistencies in the official version and video has been posted by The Guardian which shows a clearer idea of what really happened. That Ian had been the victim of an unprovoked attacked by a balaclava wearing officer who struck him from behind and shoved him to the floor just minutes before he died.

Still, questions still remain about what happened next. In the video Tomlinson seems to be shocked though basically unharmed, yet according to extra footage shown by the BBC the next thing we see is him surrounded by officers supposedly there to protect him whilst first aid was administered.

With so many video cameras around do the police really think that they will be able to cover this up the same way they did with Jean Charles de Menezes. One thing is certain though, they will try their best to make sure that the truth doesn't come out. Nor will they deal with the problem of heightened levels of police intimidation and violence that seem to accompany any large scale protest in the UK nowadays. If the Chinese, North Korean or Iranian authorities used these tactics the press would be screaming about suppression of civil liberties, yet when practiced by "good, old English bobbies" they are considered perfectly acceptable by much of the British press.

Time and time again I have heard members of the traditional media cry that bloggers and others who get their news out via the internet do not check their facts, are unreliable and prone to simply write whatever they like irrespective of what the truth of the matter is. And yet these same media professionals are just as likely to let stories like the Tomlinson case ride rather than do their job. They'd much rather simply copy and paste the official line and settle for a quite life than ask awkward questions that might get them in trouble with the editor/owner.

In such a situation what exactly is the advantage of their much vaunted professionalism and supposedly superior insight in the world of news gathering? Thankfully, there now exist a parallel system of reporting which can act as the mainstream media's conscience, should they care to listen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gimme Shelter

I have Silence of Our Friends to thank for rescuing this video that I made just after the last national elections here in Greece in 2007. I posted it on Youtube only to have it pulled after " a third party" complained about my choice of music. For some strange reason it is still available on the blogs to which it was posted.

The clip consists of photographs I took during the 2007 campaign and, to tell you the truth, brings back a whole raft of memories, not all of them pleasant as I was the victim of an unprovoked attack by the MAT (Greek riot police) during a peaceful demo. I guess the case of Ian Tomlinson struck a raw nerve as, I suppose I could have suffered the same fate. Instead I ended up with a broken nose, dislocated shoulder and enough bruising to ensure I didn't get a good night's sleep for weeks after.

Unlike Ian, I was given the opportunity to turn my anger into something more productive.

Ian Tomlinson - There are lies, damned lies and official accounts

Thankfully we live in a world were not just the authorities but also you and I can record what goes on around us. I think that the London Metropolitan Police have yet to grasp that our love of high tech Orwellian style surveillance equipment cuts both ways and they too are constantly in the eye of a media storm.

Of course, I was sure that the death of Ian Tomlinson who died minutes after an unprovoked attack by officers during the G20 summit demonstrations had also been recorded on one of the innumerable cameras that cover central London but now it turns out that a number of participants in the protests also recorded the attack and were able to get the message out unfiltered. Today's Guardian has footage taken of riot police hitting Tomlinson as he was quietly walking away from them, his hands in his pockets. Just minutes later he was dead, the victim of a heart attack according to official version of events.

The police announcement released soon after his death mentioned nothing of the attack and and indeed sought to blame protesters for supposedly impeding attempts by ambulance crews and officers to provide first aid. It seems there are lies, damned lies and official accounts.

It is interesting to note just how similar was the official reaction to Tomlinson's death to that of 15 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, shot by police in Athens last December. In both cases the police gave out reports that was almost entirely at odds with eye witness accounts and later evidence. Yet much of the mainstream media choose to accept the official interpretation at face value even though those present told a different story. Also in both cases video footage came out that quickly disproved the version given by officers involved.

Killing in the name of

Unfortunately, I believe that we are likely to see a similar outcome in both cases and those responsible for both deaths are unlikely to get the punishment they so richly deserve. They'll find ways to worm their way of the fact that they are reason two people died without cause.

We will hear the same tired cliches such as "exemplary police behaviour", "professionalism" and that "they did an excellent job under very trying conditions". Words like "restraint" and "regrettable mistake" will be thrown around all the while the real villians of the piece will quietly merge into the background.

Just remember that your mobile/cell phone with its ability to take photos and video just may be your best weapon when the authorities next try to cover up incidences of their bad behaviour. It might not help in court but it will where it matters in people's hearts and minds.

Ian Tomlinson - There are lies, damned lies and official accounts

Thankfully we live in a world were not just the authorities but also you and me can record what goes on around us. I think that the London Metropolitan Police have yet to grasp that our love high tech Orwellian love surveillance equipment cuts both ways and they too are constantly in the eye of a media storm.

Of course I'm sure that the death of Ian Tomlison who died minutes after an unprovoked attack by officers during the G20 summit demonstrations had also been recorded on one of the innumerable cameras that cover central London but now a number of participants in the protests also recorded the attack and were able to get the message out. Today's Guardian has footage taken of police hitting Tomlinson as he was quietly walking away from them, his hands in his pockets. Just minutes later he was dead, the victim of a heart attack according to official reports.

The police report released just after his death mentioned nothing of the attack and indeed sought to blame protesters for supposedly impeding attempted by ambulance crews and officers to provide first aid. It seems there are lies, damned lies and offical accounts.

Just remember that your mobile/cell phone with its ability to take photos and video just may be your best weapon when the authorities next try to cover up incidences of their bad behaviour.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lydia thinking

Lydia thinking, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Minas Papadopoulos - photographer

, originally uploaded by minαs.

I thought I'd post this video by my friend, Minas, who is, in my opinion, one of the city's most innovative photographers.

Ian Tomlinson: "You have the right to be beaten. If you wish to give up this right, we will do it anyway"

During last week's G20 summit protests, Ian Tomlinson, 47 an employee in a newsagent's in the City died of a heart attack whilst on his way home. At least that was the official account of what happened according to the police at the time. Some other reports in UK media also spoke of attacks by protesters on officers and ambulance crew who were attempting to provide first aid.

As it turned out none of this is true. A report in the Observer now paints a very different account of what happened last week. According to several eye witnesses present at the time of the incident the Tomlinson had been the victim of a police attack just minutes before he died.

"Photographer Anna Branthwaite said: "I can remember seeing Ian Tomlinson. He was rushed from behind by a riot officer with a helmet and shield two or three minutes before he collapsed." Branthwaite, an experienced press photographer, has made a statement to the IPCC.

Another independent statement supports allegations of police violence. Amiri Howe, 24, recalled seeing Mr Tomlinson being hit "near the head" with a police baton. Howe took one of a sequence of photographs that show a clearly dazed Mr Tomlinson being helped by a bystander."

Also the circumstances in which Tomlinson was initially treated contradict official accounts. It now seems that few, if any objects were thrown by protesters at the police when they came to see what had happened.Indeed if the video below is to be believed then members of the riot squad attacked and harassed those providing first aid (click here for a full account by Indymedia).

Given the lies and misleading statements presented by the London Metropolitan police during the inquiry into the death of Brazilian national, Jean Charles de Menezes, shot eight times while sitting on a tube train I'm sure the authorities will find a way to avoid taking responsibility for Tomlinson's death. Practice does makes perfect in any kind of cover up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Greek general strike - April 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Running GIMP on Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger

GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop and one of the best open source programs on the internet. Usually, I use it on my antiquated Windows laptop but lately I have also been trying to get it to work on my Mac ibook and it has been a very frustrating experience. Finally, today with the help of one of my computer - minded students we finally cracked it. So, hats off to Anna for showing so much patience and in return I have promised to show her how to use GIMP on her Mac.

So, here we go with my own attempt on how to get GIMP to run on Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger). All the hard work has been done by others on the internet so I'm just collating their efforts so they make sense to less technically minded souls.

1 Download GIMP for OSX 10.4 (if you are not sure what version of OSX you are using click on the blue apple in the top left hand corner and then click on About This Mac). You can find it on
Wilber Loves Apple site. Once again you can find out if you have an Intel or Power PC Mac by clicking on About This Mac.

2 Install Gimp.

3 Unfortunately for reason beyond my ken and pay grade you can't just run GIMP as it is and so you need to install Apple's X11. If you are lucky and/or conscientious then you can find this on you initial Tiger installation disc. Alternatively, go to Chris James Martin's blog here and download the two zip files there.

4 Next open the X11SKD.pkg first and then the X11User.pkg file.

5 Now run GIMP.

Just be warned. The first time I did this GIMP took forever to open. Afterwards it was much quicker though.

Even the Devil feels old in this town

G20 - Sympathy For The Devils

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Greek general strike 2009 - γενική απεργεία 2009

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek public services closed down and transport was disrupted across the country Thursday as thousands of workers went on strike to protest government spending cuts.

Greek general strike 2009 - γενική απεργεία 2009

G20 - "This is not a riot"

Greek general strike 2009 - γενική απεργεία 2009

We are definitely living in interesting times. Modes and levels of protest not seen in decades are sweeping many countries in Europe and elsewhere as the G20 leaders meet to discuss our future in London. Here in Greece the country is in the midst of a general strike organised by trade unions to protest the government spending cuts. In Northern Ireland workers have taken over three Ford owned plants, in France bosses of a factory scheduled to close were held hostage yesterday by sacked employees and, of course there have been protests in London.

Yesterday I followed events in Britain via the internet and once again I have come to the conclusion that the mainstream media are being outclassed by their internet rivals. The coverage of the demonstrations by the BBC ranged from the misleading to the trite and once again the established channels blindly accepted the official version given the police and authorities and resorted to long distance reporting via telephoto lens and imported "experts" who no more about what's happening down in the streets than I do here in Greece.

Even the coverge of the events inside the summit amounted to little more than gossip and observation more suited to a beauty pageant than a high level political event. I think I heard the same old statistics repeated hundreds of times. I wonder if anyone went to bother to check out if they are true or just decided that endlessly recycling press releases is easier than doing some first hand research.

Thankfully, I was also following events via Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and blogs which gave me a much more rounded view of events including the excesses of the police whose use of "kettling" (hemming in large groups of people for hours on end) seemed to be tailor made to create tension.

In addition, We also have video footage of the way in which UK riot police went out of their way to provoke violent response from protesters in the Climate Camp in Bishopgate.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

G20 protests everywhere

G20 protests everywhere, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

For the latest updates check out #g20 and #imcg20 on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Press Freedom:Collateral Damage

I was following the #G20 hash on Twitter in order, like the UK police, to keep abreast of the latest developments concerning the G20 summit protests in London when I came across a short documentary, Press Freedom: Collateral Damage which shows the increasingly systematic harassment of camera operators, photographers and journalists by the police in Britain. As the National Union of Journalists site says;

"The NUJ had already submitted written evidence to the committee’s Policing and Protest inquiry. In his oral evidence, Jeremy highlighted issues such as journalists being denied access to report on demonstrations, the removal and deletion of data and the excessive use of stop and search powers against journalists.

He also highlighted some of the violent consequences faced by journalists going about their work, including details of past physical assaults.

The committee went on to question Jeremy about the surveillance of journalists by the police’s Forward Intelligence Team, which was set up to monitor the activities of people under suspicion of criminal activities."

I remember talking with a reporter here in Thessaloniki and they told me the same kind of thing; that the police have been becoming more aggressive in there treatment of photographers and people with video cameras.

I suppose that this is another spin - off connected with the rise of the internet and the ability of people to post their own stories to a wider audiences. In the past only a few could get their news out, usually via the mainstream press. As a result there were ways of making sure that potentially embarrassing images of police misbehavior could be quietly surpressed with an appeal to the editor/owner's sense of civic duty combined with veiled threats concerning the possible difficulties their journalist could face getting access to police sources in the future. Nowadays, however, such obstacles can be easily circumvented by posting such material on a site which means that everyone carrying a camera maybe a potential "enemy".

In addition the rise of citizen journalism means that many of those who cover demos, protests and the like are not subject to the traditional rules of engagement that covered reporters in the past and so unburdened by a political line set down by the channel/paper/station are free to report what they see.

Ανοιχτή Σύγκλητος στο Α.Π.Θ

Ψήφισμα για τη διευθέτηση του θέματος των εργολαβιών στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης (ΑΠΘ) εξέδωσαν οι πρυτανικές αρχές, έπειτα από ανοιχτή Σύγκλητο που πραγματοποιήθηκε για το θέμα αυτό.

Στο ψήφισμα αναφέρεται ότι το ΑΠΘ δεσμεύεται να ασκεί όλα τα δικαιώματα που του παρέχει ο νόμος αναφορικά με τις τρέχουσες συμβάσεις εργολαβίας, ώστε να μην παραβιάζεται από τους εργολήπτες η κείμενη νομοθεσία (εργατική και ασφαλιστική) για τους εργαζόμενους στο πανεπιστήμιο με εξαρτημένη σχέση εργασίας, να τηρούνται οι συναφθείσες συμβάσεις και να ασκεί τα νόμιμα δικαιώματά του, όταν διαπιστώνει ότι υπάρχουν παραβιάσεις των συμβάσεων.

Ανοιχτή Σύγκλητος στο Α.Π.Θ

Monday, March 30, 2009


Priest, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Clarinet player

Call on the Greek government to set up an independent commission of inquiry

Greek police shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros-Andreas (Alexis) Gregoropoulos in Athens on 6 December 2008. A longstanding history of human rights violations committed by police in Greece was highlighted by the shooting and by the conduct of officers policing subsequent demonstrations in December 2008 and January 2009.

Following these events, Amnesty International has received numerous reports of such violations by police in the context of policing the protests, including excessive use of force and firearms, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and denial of prompt access to legal assistance. Complaints of such violations have also been received from children.

Amnesty International believes that the authorities' response to the killing of Alexis Gregoropoulos and the protests which erupted in the aftermath of his death should not end with the ongoing police and judicial investigations.

In this context, a strong message must be sent to the Greek government that no one can be above the law - especially those charged with enforcing it.

Take Action. Join Amnesty International in urging the Greek government to set up an independent commission of inquiry, mandated to investigate the full circumstances surrounding the death of Alexis Gregoropoulos and the police response to the demonstrations and the riots that began on 6 December.

Έκθεση "καταπέλτης" κατά της ΕΛΑΣ

Για "σοβαρές παραβιάσεις ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων" επικρίνει την ελληνική αστυνομία η Διεθνής Αμνηστία και καλεί την κυβέρνηση να κάνει έρευνα.

Σε έκθεση της που δημοσιοποιήθηκε τη Δευτέρα, η Διεθνής Αμνηστία αναφέρει ότι η αντίδραση της αστυνομίας στις ταραχές του Δεκεμβρίου στην Αθήνα υπήρξε "το αποκορύφωμα της συνταγματικής παραβίασης στην προστασία των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων".

Υποστηρίζει επίσης ότι μετά τον τερματισμό των ταραχών τον Ιανουάριο έλαβε πολλές καταγγελίες (για την παραβίαση ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων από την αστυνομία) τις οποίες έθεσε υπόψη του υπουργού εσωτερικών Προκόπη Παυλόπουλου.

Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση δε έχει απαντήσει στην έκθεση της Διεθνούς Αμνηστείας.

Ωστόσο, διπλωματικές πηγές υποστηρίζουν ότι η αστυνομία επέδειξε εξαιρετική αυτοσυγκράτηση, αν λάβει κανείς υπόψη τις περιστάσεις.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A song for the G20 summit - London

With the G20 summit in London almost upon us any suggestions about a suitable official anthem?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour - 2009 Greece

Earth Hour is almost upon us

Earth Hour

Here in Greece Earth Hour will start in about 20 minutes (8.30pm). We'll be switching off the power in a while. Join us.

Making the world safe for Gucci

The press here in Thessaloniki has been full of stories on the recent clamp down on crime. According to the Greek national daily newspaper Kathimerini, the authorities carried out 1912 checks, reported 386 violations and made 67 arrests. I happened to be in town at the time and as far as I can tell the police's efforts seemed to be once again a "round up the usual suspects" affair in which the plain clothes and uniformed officers chased the African street vendors who sell knock-off bags and other accesssories in the centre.

In the meantime last night thieves attempted to steal a ATM located inside the Praktiker DIY super store by throwing a hand grenade at it, two large stores were attacked midday in the centre, a bank was firebombed in Euosmos and the body of a young woman was found floating in the harbour.

I think we're moving more and more towards a model of law and order that befits a banana republic in which the kind of crime that affects ordinary people is met with indifference and incompetence but in which public order offenses get the lion share of police time and resources. Perhaps this government is, in fact despite its chronic inability to plan more than five minutes ahead, getting ready for the future, knowing full well that there is going to be massive resistance to the inevitable cuts in public services and that the rich are going to be more and more the target of protests as times get harder.

According to the Kathemerini and Eleutherotypia the government is planning to double the number of riot police.In addition the Athens police authorities are creating rapid response teams to police the upscale shopping districts in the centre of the capital even while crime rates in the rest of the city are going through the roof.

The present conservative New Democracy administration cannot fund a US style New Deal because they have already borrowed heavily and even more recklessly lied about financial fundamentals such as the extent of the country's debt load and growth projection to such an extent that the government's macro - economic data is now considered unreliable by EU auditors and potential creditors. The result is that future loans can only be secured at cripplingly high interest rates and that the government will have no alternative but to sell off public assets and cut spending. Both of which will lead to massive public unrest.

Hence the increase in riot police units.

On the other hand, it is comforting knowing that in a world beset by crisis and mayhem the market for high end Italian accessories remains safe under the vigilant eye of the authorities.

New City dress code goes into effect ahead of G20 demo

How not to look like a banker

City workers are being advised by police to dress down during the G20 summit next week, in case they're targeted by protesters.

For the latest updates on the G20 demonstrations check out the #g20 hash on Twitter and "G20" on blog search engines such as Technorati. These are great resources for anyone who wants to get an impression of what's going on in the streets as well as the news rooms.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring is here

Spring is here, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Acrobatics in Modiano

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Europe's financial frostbite

It suddenly occurred to me that Europe is responding the current economic crisis in a manner akin to the way human body reacts to extreme cold. In the case of frostbite blood flows away from the extremities such as fingers and toes to the areas nearer the chest.

It seems that those economies further from the continent's economic core seem to experiencing something similar. Capital seems to be flowing away from the peripheries towards the continent's "heart". Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, much of Eastern and South Eastern Europe are heading towards deep recession with massive declines in economic output. Let's hope that we avoid the next step;

"In extreme cold, or when the body is exposed to cold for long periods, this protective strategy can reduce blood flow in some areas of the body to dangerously low levels. This lack of blood leads to the eventual freezing and death of skin tissue in the affected areas."

Using Youtube to teach EFL/ESL

Recently I have been using short video clips from the internet in my lessons. Nothing too long, just two to three minutes of real life listening practice which helps students to get used to a variety of speaking styles and subjects. As you can imagine the possibilities are endless as far as teaching opportunities are concerned, but here is one idea that can be applied quickly and with very little preparation.

The videos should be short (60 - 120 seconds), visually varied (not just talking heads) and ideally about subjects the students have knowledge of.

Lesson plan

1 Explain to students that they are going to see a short news story but without sound. Their job is to make guesses about what is happening. If the class is upper intermediate and above the students do this individually, otherwise they work in groups.

2 The individuals/groups work with others to compare their guesses.

3 Now tell them that they are going to be reporters and find out more about the story for their local newspaper. To do so they have to ask five questions with these words;


4 Students write down questions, you might want to help out at this point as this is a problem area for many learners.

5 Now play the video again this time with sound and students write down their answers. If the answer wasn't covered then get the students to think of their own.

6 Now explain to the them that they are going to write the headline and first paragraph to the story. You might want to do yourself as an example.

Follow up exercises

- Write the rest of the story.

- Students video an interview with each other pretending to be those involved.

- Find their own stories to show the class next lesson.

- Follow up the story from other sources on the internet.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

25th March parade - Thessaloniki

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.