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{xtypo_quote}The big spin machine could be set in motion. Suddenly (the source turned out to be the German press agency DPA) a horribly mistranslated quote by one of the speakers on stage at the closing manifestation appeared in the media. Walden Bello, a well-known representative of the critical Southern globalization vision, had words put into his mouth claiming he had called for violent resistance (, to "bring the war into the demonstration because with peaceful means we will accomplish nothing". This suggested that Bello (and with him the entire organization of the march) was calling for violent resistance. In reality Bello had called attention to the war in Iraq and argued for the protest to include this because "without peace there can be no justice". Hundreds of media repeated the DPA-version. Media activists immediately got to work publicising this scandal and spreading the true content of Bello's speech, which lead to an apology by Der Spiegel, but the damage had already been done. {/xtypo_quote}

ith proper wars it is a well-known occurrence for one side's propaganda department to try and spread the most horrific stories about the other party. The opposition are depicted as brutal barbarians who ravage children and should be opposed at all cost. In military jargon this is known as 'psyops'. During the protests against the G8 in Heiligendamm there were clear indications of a similar strategy. In this case the infamous ''black block'' played the part of the barbarians. This is a biased summary of the misinformation and its effect.

 'A number of persons were arrested because they were carrying a banner with the slogan, "Free All Prisoners!" as they passed by a prison on their way to a demonstration. The Police judged this as incitement to actively help people break out of prison.' (Source:

(A proper layed-out version of this article with links and pictures can be found here:

NB: Many links in this article link to German language sources.


Two years ago, during the protests against the G8 in Gleneagles in Scotland, we had to pay an unexpected visit to the police station in Stirling because one of the Dutch activists had lost his passport. While we were in the waiting area we saw an electronic news display on the wall constantly making announcements about the protests. To our surprise there were horrendous stories about violence against the police, which I almost certainly knew were not true or at least grossly exaggerated. Suddenly that classic urban myth popped up: demonstrators had supposedly attacked one of the officers with a knife! At almost every large confrontation between police and protesters this story surfaces, although there has never been any evidence of it actually occurring.


During 'Heiligendamm' two police officers supposedly suffered knife attacks.( As usual some of the press willingly repeated this report without checking if it actually happened. You can count yourself lucky if there is any mention it is based on a police report (1). It is remarkable that the media almost never ask for proof. These rumours are mostly launched amidst an enormous chaos of events, giving the reporters no time whatsoever to check on statements. If they did they would find the police unable to present the alleged 'victims', because they don't actually exist.

When the dust has finally settled it only concerns one incident among many, not worth rectifying or investigating. You certainly don't want them considering that sort of thing and then constructing 'evidence', which happened for example in Genoa during the G8 protests there in 2001 (2). 

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