The Lives of Others

I would think the fuzz here were exaggerating to make a ‘sale’ but nonetheless the arrogance to assume this role of social control is not to be tolerated in a democracy. They are out of (our) control (if the police ever were).

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash-in-hand payments, according to evidence handed to the Guardian.

In the material, the police claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and say they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and detailed plans of future demonstrations.

The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers, claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and Matilda Gifford, an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid. The officers attempted to recruit Gifford as a paid spy after she was released on bail after a protest at Aberdeen airport last month.

Gifford, 24, said she recorded the meetings in a bid to expose how police seek to disrupt the legitimate activities of climate change activists. She had two meetings with the officers, who said they were a detective constable and his assistant. During the taped discussions, the officers:

• Indicate that she could receive tens of thousands of pounds to pay off her student loans in return for information about individuals within Plane Stupid.

• Say they will not pay money direct into her bank account because that would create an audit trail that would leave her compromised. They say the money would be tax-free and add: “UK plc can afford more than twenty quid.”

• Accept that she is a legitimate protester, but warn that her activity could mean she will struggle to find employment in the future and result in her receiving a criminal record.

• Claim they have hundreds of informants feeding them information from protest organisations and “big groupings” from across the political spectrum.

• Explain that spying for police could assist her if in the future she were arrested. “People would sell their soul to the devil,” an officer says.

• Warn her that she could be jailed alongside “hard, evil” people if she received a custodial sentence.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Surveillance State. Tags: . Comments Off on The Lives of Others
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