Home > Uncategorized > Briton Tom Grundy Attempts Citizen’s Arrest On Tony Blair In Hong Kong

Briton Tom Grundy Attempts Citizen’s Arrest On Tony Blair In Hong Kong

Last month, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was interrupted at the Leveson inquiry by David Lawley-Wakelin accusing him of war crimes in the role he played in misleading U.K. into the 2003 Iraq invasion. Recently, another British activist, Tom Grundy, symbolically tried citizen’s arrest on Blair while the former PM was giving a speech in Hong Kong. Grundy said, “I put it to him that he’d caused the death of at least 100,000 people during the Iraq War.” This news really struck me thinking about the recent June 4th candle light vigil in Hong Kong commemorating the 89 Tiananmen protest (which by the way is full of lies in the Western narrative). Where are the candles for this 100k 1 million Iraqis? If they’d joined Grundy in the citizen’s arrest, people could say they at least have principle. [Update June 17, 2012]Make sure to read comments below, including perspectivehere’s analysis on why the video I embedded below from ITN is sympathetic to Blair whereas Grundy’s own version tells a truer story of his own intentions. [Update June 18, 2012]One should also ask why doesn’t the Hong Kong vigil demonstrators demonstrate for the 1967 Hong Kong riot brutally suppressed by the Brits as pointed out in comments below by perspectivehere.

  1. June 16th, 2012 at 07:23 | #1

    Well, if Tom Grundy’s group get millions of funding a year, thing would be very different.

    I have always asked people why out of over fifty minorities group only the TGIE and Turkistan groups are reported? The answer is simple, they got funding from overseas.

    Here are just a sample of minorities in China: Zhuang (16.1 million), Manchu (10.6 million), Hui (9.8 million), Miao (8.9 million), Uyghur (8.3 million), Tujia (8 million), Yi (7.7 million), Mongol (5.8 million), Tibetan (5.4 million), Buyei (2.9 million), Dong (2.9 million), Yao (2.6 million), Korean (1.9 million), Bai (1.8 million), Hani (1.4 million), Kazakh (1.2 million), Li (1.2 million), and Dai (1.1 million).

    As you can see, the afore mentioned groups are not the largest or smallest but they are famous because of publicity. Of course Han Chinese dissident also get quite a lot of funding, so their voices are also heard.

  2. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 08:13 | #2

    This news report makes the protestor look silly and ineffectual, while Blair comes off in a sympathetic, dignified light. I watched it and came away thinking the protestor is kind of useless.

    Why is that? Why did I come to that conclusion?

    Was the news report manipulative? Did the report lead me to that conclusion?

    To try to figure out why I felt the way I did, I watched the video a couple of times, and thought about the way the report is presented. I noticed a few things that slanted the report in a way to make Blair come out looking positive, and making the protestor look ineffective:

    1. Blair’s voice is heard loud and clear. We also hear the Reporter’s voice, the unidentified speaker onstage, and the audience’s laughter, but the protestor’s voice is barely heard at all. The video shows his gesturing, but we have no idea what he is saying.

    2. The Reporter’s words emphasize Tony Blair’s perspective, feelings, and intentions: Blair is “coming under fire”; “being heckled”; “clearly tiring”; “clearly irritated”; “aiming to promote understanding between religions”; and “laughed off the incident.” I come away feeling sympathy to Blair for being attacked, admiration for his foundation’s noble intentions, and thinking that he is magnanimous to the protestor for laughing off the incident.

    3. Blair’s own words make him sound pretty fair and positive. He’s heard thanking the audience for coming, interacts with the protestor on a fair basis, and gives a clear plug for democracy.

    4. The audience and the unidentified speaker onstage are shown to support Blair’s position: The audience applauds Blair’s words and laughs along with his remarks, and the unidentified speaker onstage offers sympathetic words to Blair.

    Here’s a rough transcript of the report:

    ********begin transcript***********

    [ITN Logo Splash]

    [Audience applause]

    Blair onstage: “Thank you, thank you.”

    Reporter: “Tony Blair has come under fire once again, being heckled by a protestor at a talk in Hong Kong…”

    Blair: “Thank you everyone for coming along this afternoon.”

    Heckler: [Indistinct voice interrupts Blair’s words and video shows heckler making gestures].

    Reporter: “The former PM is clearly tiring of the accusations of war crimes which are frequently leveled against him, coming just weeks after a similar incident at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics.”

    “Mr Blair was clearly irritated, that the inaugural speech of his Tony Blair Faith Foundation, aiming to promote understanding between religions, had been disrupted.”

    “But he laughed off the incident.”

    Blair onstage: “Okay, you made your point. Now why don’t you let me get on make mine. Thank you very much. (Audience applauds)

    “You have to go, I’m afraid, so… You made your point, there it is. And that’s democracy for yah.” (Audience laughter)

    Unidentified Speaker: “I’m sure you’re used to this all the time. (Laughs)”

    Blair: “Well, I am used to it, ah….” [Audience laughter and applause]

    Reporter: “Hong Kong born activisit Tom Grundy said he planned to arrest the former PM.”

    [End]

    [ITN Productions Logo]

    *******End transcript********************

    Without knowing anything about ITN Productions and the reporter, I would say that this news report is positive PR for Blair. It seems that ITN Productions has taken what would normally be seen as a negative incident (protestor accusing Blair of war crimes) and neutralized it, while presenting Blair in a positive light.

  3. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 08:27 | #3

    The activist, Tom Grundy, presents his version of the events here.
    http://www.globalcitizen.co.uk/wp/arrest-tony-blair-hong-kong/

    On his site, Grundy puts up a video that he describes as “Reuters footage via Democracy Now (with clean audio)”. Grundy is clearly interested in presenting a video version where his voice is heard (which the ITN report completely ignores). Grundy’s video version also follows up with a brief interview.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8Y9mKdkJ84g

    My reaction upon watching Democracy Now’s report, is far more sympathetic to Grundy, who seems serious, committed, well-researched and worth listening to.

  4. June 16th, 2012 at 08:38 | #4

    @perspectivehere
    Very good analysis. I have always tell people that China got the idea of harmonizing news article from western countries. From the example of this video compare to the one from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8Y9mKdkJ84g

    it is obvious ITN’s version has been doctored to paint Blair in a positive light.

    However, it seems to me the applause is for the protester? What do others think?

  5. Sigmar
    June 16th, 2012 at 09:57 | #5

    Your post has got me thinking: How many people hold a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong during the anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre? Does anybody here know about the numbers, and how the media covers the act of remembrance, if any?

  6. Hong Konger
    June 16th, 2012 at 10:14 | #6

    perspective.
    Obviously Blair will be clearer and have more attention because he’s the main speaker. He’s on stage with a microphone. There’s no manipulating the audio to make the protester less heard. It’s just that he’s not on stage and doesn’t have a mic.
    Hong Kong dealt with this well. Obviously they can’t let random people rush up on stage.
    But the security didn’t manhandle him. Nobody panicked or jumped him.
    Later, he left the event by himself, without being escorted by security or police. And nobody has bothered him since.
    Later, he was interviewed by the local press and got his point of view out.
    Honestly, if this happened on the mainland, any protester would be roughly bundled out of there (if he was Chinese, he’d be thrown into detention) and nobody would have been able to report a peep of it.

  7. Hong Konger
    June 16th, 2012 at 10:32 | #7

    Why does everything here has to go back to 6/4, which has nothing to do with Tony Blair or the Iraq War?

    Why should HKers march against Iraq? While we may be broadly sympathetic to victims there, it has nothing to do with us. We don’t even have a military. There are an infinite number of other tragedies one could commemorate — the Afghan war, African famine, the Sichuan earthquake, the Japan tsunami. But just because you go to one memorial doesn’t mean you don’t care about other issues, too. The argument is not logical.

    6/4 has a special place in Hong Kongers hearts. First, it’s recent enough that many people remember it, particularly watching it on the news in 89 and being frightened. 6/4 caused a huge social change in the years before the handover: namely, the mass exodus to Western nations for passports.
    I remember a rumor on handover day – that the PLA troops they sent down were “6/4 troops.” I doubt it’s true, but it goes to show how deeply this event is embedded in the HK psyche.

    The Hong Kong protest is in large part because China still denies it and it’s still blocked from all media, books, textbooks, etc.
    Many of the demonstrators call for China to stop harassing the Tiananmen Mothers, and to release 6/4 dissidents. The protest draws its power from the fact that this conflict is still being played out today. Beijing just hasn’t let go, yet. It hasn’t been put to rest.

    Also, the more mainland migrants move here, the more fuel is added to the fire. Since the details of 6.4 are news it many of them, the event sparks their curiosity. The protest was once 99% Hong Kongers. Not it’s about 90%-10%. And I think the mainland portion will grow.

    It’s also very close to us. People worry that China will someday censor Hong Kong and introduce “patriotic education” with big chunks missing in modern history. That is why so many parents bring their young children.

    As for the Nanjing Massacre, it was terrible, but much longer ago. And Japan is now considered an ally, and not a threat. A very rough comparison: People in Europe may have Holocaust memorials, but it would be ridiculous if there were still street demonstrations against Germans today.

    Plus, Nanjing Massacre is played up so heavily in Chinese education and media, there’s no fear (as in 6/4) that it will be forgotten.

  8. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 10:42 | #8

    @Hong Konger #6

    “Obviously Blair will be clearer and have more attention because he’s the main speaker. He’s on stage with a microphone. There’s no manipulating the audio to make the protester less heard. It’s just that he’s not on stage and doesn’t have a mic.”

    Have you seen the other video I posted, and reposted by Ray? The protestor’s words are heard very clearly.

    Your explanation is belied by the facts. Obviously.

  9. June 16th, 2012 at 10:54 | #9

    Good for him but the 100k figure is also a lie which unfortunately even well intentioned people like Grundy unintentionally help to spread. The actual figure for dead Iraqis is more than 10X that figure.

  10. Sigmar
    June 16th, 2012 at 11:05 | #10

    @Hong Konger
    “And Japan is now considered an ally, and not a threat.”
    Japan, an ally of Hong Kong? Interesting…

  11. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 11:19 | #11

    Ray :
    @perspectivehere
    However, it seems to me the applause is for the protester? What do others think?

    I think you’re right. The applause begins and continues for a few seconds when Grundy says this:

    “You can’t talk about faith…when you’ve set back religious tolerance decades!” [sustained applause]

    See this video posted by Grundy as recorded on his own mobile phone starting around 0:35 – 0:46, the applause seems to reflect agreement with Grundy’s statement about Blair’s cynical use of “promoting faith”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCE0siAlYWA&feature=youtu.be

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCE0siAlYWA&w=560&h=315%5D

  12. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 11:39 | #12

    @Hong Konger # 7

    Hong Konger :

    Why should HKers march against Iraq? While we may be broadly sympathetic to victims there, it has nothing to do with us. We don’t even have a military.

    The notion that Iraq has “nothing to do with us” is a poor excuse.

    Actually, leading up to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were protests in Hong Kong against the U.S. and British consulates, as this report states:

    “In Hong Kong, ARENA [Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives] and the Committee for Peace Not War joined local NGOs and regional organisations based in Hong Kong in leading a march towards the offices of the US and British Consulate General on January 18 [2003]. The mobilisation, which started at 3:00 PM from the Chater Garden in Central, carried in slogans, placards and streamers the appeal “No War in Iraq!””

    The Guardian has a photograph here.

  13. June 16th, 2012 at 11:59 | #13

    Hong Konger :

    Why should HKers march against Iraq? While we may be broadly sympathetic to victims there, it has nothing to do with us.

    Why should HKers care about 6/4? When 6/4 happened HK wasn’t even under Chinese control. It had nothing to do with you. Why should the west or HK for that matter care about anything that happens inside China?

    Answer: Because these events affects everyone in the world. Because we now longer live in isolated islands and ought to see justice and truth prevail in other parts of the world. Because a descent human being cares about truth and justice whether that concerns issues on his own soil or on another’s.

    Why should you protest against the Iraq war? Umm, maybe because 1.5 million mostly innocent people, women and children included, died because of lies? Perhaps the lives of Iraqis does not matter to you? Perhaps several hundreds of people who died under unknown circumstances in 6/4 matter a lot more to you but for most people in the world that is not as important because there was far less dead and it is more than 20 years ago while the Iraq war and occupation is in recent memory. You probably don’t care at all for the 1.5 million dead Iraqis and the whole country that has collapsed under an aggressive war. You probably only care if your local HK store caries the Prada bags you’ve been “dying” to get a hold of…

    As for the Nanjing Massacre, it was terrible, but much longer ago. And Japan is now considered an ally, and not a threat. A very rough comparison: People in Europe may have Holocaust memorials, but it would be ridiculous if there were still street demonstrations against Germans today.

    You mean like how Israel is still demanding Germany pay it billions of dollars today for Germany’s crimes 70 years ago?

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-to-seek-another-1b-euros-holocaust-in-reparations-from-germany-1.1739

  14. June 16th, 2012 at 12:12 | #14

    It seems to me that from most of Hong Konger’s posts, he or she is an apologist for white supremacy and white imperialism. When a few hundred Chinese people die under unknown circumstances during 6/4 more than 20 years ago, he or she is quick to denounce the Chinese government but when 1.5 million Iraqis die and continue to die in recent memory due to well known circumstances where a whole country was destroyed by western powers he or she is quick to forget and forgive. Let’s all move on! There’s nothing to see here!

    This is indicative of a colonial mentality. After 150+ years of colonialism, it would appear to me that many Hong Kongers have been seriously psychically and spiritually damaged.

  15. June 16th, 2012 at 12:21 | #15

    @Hong Konger
    Please. Tony Blair ordered him to leave. And told him to enjoy the democracy of not being allowed to stay there.

    If it is the Chinese government doing that, you will lament about the cruel speaker stiffling Tom Grundy’s rights to free speech and stay.

    Here’s probably the biggest protest in China in recent years.

    http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news554.html

    http://www.china.org.cn/government/NPC_CPPCC_sessions2008/2008-03/07/content_11916485.htm

  16. June 16th, 2012 at 12:33 | #16

    @melektaus

    There are subjects that the western press big boss alllowed and not. For example, if you are to write on the aniversary of the bonus army and question the roles played by macArthur, Patton or Eisenhower, there would be no takers.

    HKer is indeed practising a double standard known only to himself which he is too blind too see.

  17. Zack
    June 16th, 2012 at 12:55 | #17

    @melektaus
    i wouldn’t be surprised if the British left behind intelligence agents to subvert HK when they left, several ‘pro democracy’ and ‘keeping Tiannenmen alive’ type groups.

    i sincerely hope Beijing is keeping this in mind when they do business with the British; allowing the British to retain their financial power via trade with the soon-to-be the largest economy in the world, would be necessary in the short term, but ultimately, the anglos must be humbled.

  18. perspectivehere
    June 16th, 2012 at 18:00 | #18

    From:

    “Remaking Hong Kong: The 1967 People’s Revolution”

    *****Quote********
    Colonial Makeover in Hong Kong

    Ironically, for a social uprising that had expressed anti-colonial and anti-capitalist sentiments, the end-result of the Communist struggle led to a legitimisation of the existing British colonial capitalist order. However, the demands of the protesters did not go unheeded, as the British colonial authorities were quick to learn their political lessons from 1967. The riots became the wake-up call for the British colonial authorities to begin aggressively re-fashioning Hong Kong in their own image. How could the two-percent European expatriate elite maintain their power and dominance over a ninety-eight percent local Chinese population?

    Immediately following the 1967 uprisings, the British colonial officials began an aggressive campaign to reform their own image and reconstruct the urban imaginary of Hong Kong. Capitalising on the blunders of the Communist protesters, the colonials began to create the mythology of Hong Kong’s colonial capitalist success. With the gradual implementation of minimalist social welfare programs coupled with a pro-British government propaganda campaign, the story of ‘prosperous’ Hong Kong’ began and that is
    unfortunately the only story that most of us recall today. From then on Hong Kong was no longer referred to as a sweatshop and the word ‘colony’ was removed from official public discourse all together.

    Through piecemeal labour and social policy reforms, the British colonials sought to erase their past track record as apathetic colonisers and promote their image as benevolent philanthropists. The 1967 uprisings forced the colonial government to grudgingly introduce long-belated labour laws in the colony (Employment Ordinance 1968) and allowed for the Chinese language to be used in conjunction with English in public offices.

    With the arrival of the new Governor MacLehose in 1971, new social projects were approved includingpublic housing construction, increased school places, introduction of social welfare policy, new town planning, improving medical facilities and the construction of the MTR subway. Hong Kong also witnesses civil service reform? all be it half-hearted – and the establishment of an independent anti-graft
    body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with wide-ranging powers to investigate corruption.

    Alongside these changes, the government actively sought to create the image as legitimate rulers who governed through consent and consultation. A City District Officer scheme conducted regular consultative forums to show how the authorities ‘lent an ear’ to public demands. At the same time the government sought to promote a local culture that erased the memory of 1967 and the mass discontent with the history of British colonial capitalist exploitation. Both Radio Television Hong Kong and Civic Education in schools were introduced at this time to effectively de-politicise the collective memory of the Hong Kong people.

    Remembering 1967 Today

    The now forgotten 1967 uprisings marked the end of old style British colonialism and the birth of a new urban mythology that celebrated Hong Kong under British colonial capitalism. The uprisings were also a major lesson in public relations for the British authorities. They learned that to retain their legitimacy they must at least uphold an image of benevolence. The celebrated ‘Hong Kong success story’ helped articulate a new urban culture that sought to flaunt the colony’s material prosperity and erase the memory of colonial capitalist oppression. Both the colonial and the present SAR authorities would rather have you forget that once upon a time in Hong Kong’s history, the people had the power to shake the authorities down to their knees.”

    ******End Quote*******

    I think it’s hard for people from Hong Kong who have been subjected to decades of pro-British colonial “public relations” exercises to get away from the image of benevolence.

  19. perspectivehere
    June 18th, 2012 at 09:57 | #19

    There is a relatively recent book on the 1967 riots by HK journalist Gary Ka-Wai Cheung entitled Hong Kong’s Watershed: The 1967 Riots.

    Google Books has most of the Introduction and other excerpts posted online. Well worth reading to gain some understanding of the importance of this event in HK history. Due to the sensitivity of the affair, few HKers or anyone else know much about the event, as the British colonial press preferred to ignore it and let it fade away in history.

    Wikipedia lists several names of persons who lost their lives in the riots, many of whom died at the hands of the HK police, either beaten to death or shot:

    Name Age Date Comment
    Chan Kwong Sang (陳廣生) 13 1967-05-12 A Student barber, beaten to death by riot police squad at Wong Tai Sin Resettlement Area.

    Tsui Tin Po (徐田波) 42 1967-06-08 A worker of Mechanics Division, Public Works Department, beaten to death at Wong Tai Sin Police Station after arrest.

    Lai Chung (黎松) 52 1967-06-08 A worker of Towngas, shot by police in a raid, then killed by drowning.

    Tsang Ming (曾明) 29 1967-06-08 A worker of Towngas, beaten to death by police in a raid.

    Tang Tsz Keung (鄧自強) 30 1967-06-23 A worker of plastic products, shot by police in a raid against trade union.

    Lee On (李安) 45 1967-06-26 A worker of Shaw Brothers, died while admitting to hospital from law court.

    Chau Chung Sing (鄒松勝) 34 1967-06-28 A worker of plastic products, beaten to death by police after arrest.

    Law Chun Kau (羅進苟) 30 1967-06-30 A worker of plastic products, beaten to death by police after arrest.

    Here are HK people who died at the hands of the British colonial government, and yet HKers seem to ignore these people. In some sense, the ones who died could be seen as martyrs, whose deaths in the worker protests of 1967 ushered in extensive changes in British colonial rule and created a less unequal society in Hong Kong between the British colonizers and the local Hong Kong people. Yet does anyone in HK mourn for them?

    I’ve never understood why HK memories and sympathies are selective in this way.

    Are those who died under the colonial government in the 1967 riots “unworthy victims” as Chomsky would put it? They died 45 years ago this month, yet there seem to be hardly any mention of any memorials to them. Indeed, I’ve heard nothing at all of anyone anywhere lighting a single candle for them. Are HK people so heartless they do not remember their own people who lost their lives in anti-colonial struggle?

    Or have they simply been propagandized so successfully they have forgotten those people?

  20. June 18th, 2012 at 10:13 | #20

    Thanks for bringing to light the 1967 Hong Kong riot. I’ll update the OP to reflect this material. perspectivehere – always full of perspectives. Thank you!

  21. tomgrundy
    June 19th, 2012 at 00:40 | #21

    I can explain the audio issue and put it to rest… The original footage which you’re seeing on ITV, Telegraph etc… comes from Reuters who I tipped off about my intentions. They attended especially to film my actions, left right afterwards to interview me and I owe it to them for these issues going viral.

    You can hear the original sound on that video – I did not have a mic but Blair did. A day later, I uploaded the footage from my cell phone which I left running for my own protection: http://youtu.be/wCE0siAlYWA I am friends with the staff at Democracy Now in the US who ‘harmonised’ the audio from my phone with the Reuters footage.

    There are some conspiratorial thoughts about ‘truth and fiction’, but the reality is a lot more boring. What could not be heard in the video, I reiterated in the interview, so I’m not disappointed.

    The audience and speakers are shown to support Blair because they did.

    There are, however, some issues with the facts and language used by a few outlets. The BBC called me a ‘heckler’, ITN reckoned I was born in HK and others hinted that Blair was a “victim” of an attempted arrest. The Independent got it wildly wrong in saying Blair had somehow threatened me or lost his temper – in fact, one of his staff members told me not ‘to come any further’. It is also untrue that I was removed/escorted out.

    None of these are a big deal as the aim was to renew awareness and spark debate – and it worked.

    @melektaus – To leave no doubt, I went with the most modest figure from Iraq Body Count which I rounded down to save some seconds.

    I’ll be posting another update on http://www.globalcitizen.co.uk in the next day or so.

  22. Hong Konger
    June 19th, 2012 at 10:15 | #22

    In case anyone was interested, Tom Grundy also blogs at http://hongwrong.com/

  23. June 19th, 2012 at 12:31 | #23

    Tom,

    I realize the number was a rounded down number from the (in)famous IBC. However, there is no estimate in any modern war, major disaster or other kinds of major conflicts that uses the methodology that IBC uses. There’s a good reason for that. It is inaccurate.

    Modern epidemiologists always use statistical methods of surveying to arrive at death estimates. We know that this method is accurate; it is tried and trued. IBC only reports deaths reported in media outlets but it has been known that most deaths in major conflicts are not reported. The death are buried without the media’s attention, in fact without medical examinations, etc. The reason is that when a lot of people die such as in major conflicts or natural disasters, the dead must be buried immediately. The best way that epidemiologists have come up with to estimate deaths is through statistical surveying methods. Two studies (one famous study published in the Lancet) showed FAR more than 100k excess deaths. The two studies supported each other despite using different surveying methods. Modern extrapolations of those two studies till today show that the actual figure is 1.5 million excess violent deaths due to the war and occupation.

    By focusing or only mentioning the 100k figure, we are not doing truth and justice a favor because it so grossly underestimates things and slant reality in favor of the unjust. I would even go so far as to say that giving a range (such as saying “between 100K and 1.5 million”) is still misleading because it suggests that the two end points are equally justified when one end, namely the extreme right end, is far more accurate an estimate.

    All that aside, I admire your courage in attempting Blair’s arrest on behalf of all of Blair’s victims.

  24. tomgrundy
    June 20th, 2012 at 00:42 | #24

    @melektaus
    I don’t doubt anything you’ve said and thought about this beforehand, but unfortunately I had to go for the lowest common demoninator to insure myself against any claims of exaggeration or sensationalism. By stating the base minimum number from IBC (which I understand is based on media reports), it would be more difficult for anyone to doubt or criticise. This is why I said to Blair “at least 100,000 people” – so it’s still accurate.
    Cheers for the support 🙂

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