Domestic Extremists

I think the essence of the current expose of our police state is in Mark Thomas’ piece-

The Metropolitan police circulated the card specifically for the Docklands biannual arms fair in London to help its officers identify “people at specific events who may instigate offences or disorder”. Which is such a flattering quote I am thinking of having it on my next tour poster. While being wanted outside the arms fair, I was legitimately inside researching a book on the subject, and uncovered four companies illegally promoting “banned” torture equipment. Questions were later asked in the Commons as to why HM Revenue & Customs and the police didn’t spot it. Though, in fairness, none of the torture traders featured on the spotter card.

It’s all about who is perceived as the enemy and who is not, and who has power and who does not. That we expect more of the police is testament to the effectiveness of corporate media and their incessant cops shows that eulogise mythic heroes with badges. They are doing a job and the job is what the people with the most capital tell them it is, now that shouldn’t be the case in a democracy.

All three units divide their work into four categories of domestic extremism: animal rights campaigns; far-right groups such as the English Defence League; “extreme leftwing” protest groups, including anti-war campaigners; and “environmental extremism” such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid campaigns.

So as a vegetarian, anti-imperialist with an eco-socialist bent, it’s suspicious I get 3 out of 4. If I was pro-war, loved vivisection and ran a hedge fund this new secret police project would work out just peachy for me. A political secret police force, are we sure when the Berlin Wall came down that wasn’t actually a successful invasion by the Stasi? Seems only the EDL makes it as unacceptable right wing behaviour (although to be fair surely they would also qualify as special needs too? An issue for social workers as well as the police).

Concern about the environment (y’know that thing we all live in and without we’d sort of die) the beasties within it (that includes us) and a disliking of the propensity for some of the human beasties to kill and torture others so they can steal their stuff makes me a dangerous subversive, a domestic extremist. My conscience can sit a whole lot better with that than it could if say… I were a policeman. The warning from recent history is Neoliberalism leads to a police state, it can only survive through an authoritarian repression of the disempowered, poor and disenfranchised, dissent is necessarily crushed. The challenges that face the human race are vast, our own life support system is in danger but those who cause the worst damage also hold the most power and Change is naught but a brand for election marketing purposes. The repression of those with a vision of the future that is not just Mad Max writ large is suicidally stupid, but that’s not even in contention. What happens now happens because it keeps the ruling class & corporatocracy where they believe they should be and if that leaves the vast majority of the human race utterly fucked, well that’s where the whole police thing comes into play (and internationally the military). These reports show they are just diligently laying the groundwork to maintain control on behalf of the criminals who are causing this crisis, through ACPO & their familiars they are choosing to do this more enthusiastically then ever. As Chief Constables socialise with corporate CEO’s it is inevitable they identify with them, their world view and their solutions, not to mention the big wodges of cash to be had. I don’t think most people want it this way, I don’t think people of good conscience want to have to treat the police as a hostile occupying paramilitary force, just as rank and file ought to realise this is inevitable if this continues.

Get The Fuck Away From Manchester You New Labour Scum!

Manchester will be the first city where people can voluntarily sign up for an ID card, ministers are set to confirm. Anyone over 16 in the city who holds a UK passport will be able to apply for a card from the autumn at a cost of £60.

“ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists,” the home secretary will say.

Whoa there you racist numpty, you just slipped, nay sandwiched ‘illegal immigrants‘ between ‘criminals‘ & ‘terrorists‘. So it’s not enough to use bullshit fear mongering to sell your stupid authoritarian scheme you have to trawl for votes from BNP possibles. Protection ‘against… illegal immigrants‘? What, they might break down your door at night, kidnap you, imprison you for months then beat you up in the back of a van and fly you to a hostile regime, oh no wait that would be the Border Agency. Which um answers to er…you, so who protects us, citizen’s and migrants, from them? And thank you for that linguistic tribalism, that we might, as one, be protected against illegal immigrants as if we all naturally agree that people who are here without all the due paperwork are dangerous and to be shunned. Of course bigots often do that, assume everyone else is just as retarded as they are. Way to take the high ground against the fascists, jump in the shit with them and argue over who can be the most hateful.

And we’ll just leave the ‘voluntarily‘ bit, fish in a barrel really that level of witless fibbing especially after y’know, the million dead on war lies, just par for the course for these grifters.

And then there’s Manchester, my home city, Manchester and you think using it as a guinea pig for ID cards is a smart move? Tooling up the plod for Peterloo II are we? We ain’t going out like that. Let it be your stupid scheme’s graveyard. Take it away Percy

‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.’

Update: Oh for the love of crumpets it gets farcically worse, in time they want Snappy Snaps taking our fingerprints! In other words with the scheme not even in operation it is already being privatised. Welcome to the neoliberal Big Brother-

High Street retailers have rejected security fears about giving them the job of fingerprinting and photographing people applying for identity cards. The Home Office has axed plans to set up ID card enrolment centres and instead wants pharmacies, post offices and photographic shops to do the work. Trade bodies representing chains such as Boots and Snappy Snaps told the BBC they can be trusted with the data. It came as it was confirmed that ID cards would be piloted in Manchester.

During the pilot Manchester residents who want an ID card will be able to apply for it online and then attend the city’s passport office for fingerprinting, photograph and possible interview. During the two year pilot phase they will not be able to register for cards at local shops and post offices.

Campaign group NO2ID dismissed the Manchester pilot as a “publicity stunt” aimed at distracting attention from what it claims is a £250m increase in the cost of the project.

Posted in Authoritarianism, NuLabour, Surveillance State. Tags: , . Comments Off on Get The Fuck Away From Manchester You New Labour Scum!

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

Corporate Governance

Government officials handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON before a planned peaceful demonstration, according to private emails seen by the Guardian.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Surveillance State. Tags: . Comments Off on Corporate Governance

Whither The CCTV IPCC?

I asked this last week as I couldn’t believe there were no CCTV cameras in that area, I looked on Google streetview and flickr to see if any pics proved it but none were conclusive and as the last time I was in that locale was about ten years ago filming I needed a more up to date knowledge. Anyway, there are and the IPCC um, well it’s incompetence or lying, take your pick, and whether either was in the service of helping the police, again make up your own mind. Of course if the IPCC are relying on the police to obtain the footage…well looks like they steadfastly wish to avoid learning anything from past disappearances of CCTV footage where police killings were concerned.

Hardwick said on Thursday there was no CCTV evidence of alleged police assaults on Tomlinson. “We don’t have CCTV footage of the incident,” he told Channel 4 news. “There is no CCTV footage – there were no cameras in the locations where he was assaulted.”

This morning the IPCC initially stood by Hardwick’s claims. “Mr Hardwick said there was no available CCTV footage of the incident and we stand by that. Any footage that is available, whether taken by police or by the public, will be fully investigated as and when it becomes available,” it said.

However, at 10.30am, after pictures were published showing cameras in the area, the IPCC changed its stance. “At this point, Mr Hardwick believed that he was correct in this assertion – we now know this may not be accurate,” the IPCC said in a statement. “There are cameras in the surrounding area.”

The IPCC would not comment on why, almost two weeks after Tomlinson’s death and one week after it said its investigators had pieced together his last moments by looking at “many hours of CCTV”, Hardwick had been mistaken about the locations of cameras.

It Was a TSG Officer

And over 48hours later still not questioned, also hilariously the Met claim they didn’t mislead the press.

…sources with knowledge of the inquiry said the officer from the Met’s territorial support group had yet to be interviewed by the IPCC, which declined to confirm or deny whether investigators had spoken to him.

As the Met released a statement insisting the force had not intended to deliberately mislead the public over the death, Nick Hardwick, chairman of the IPCC, defended his organisation’s handling of the case. He revealed the watchdog had received witness statements alleging contact between Tomlinson and police as early as Friday. But it was not until five days later that the IPCC investigation became an independent criminal inquiry, rather than one overseen by the watchdog but conducted by City of London police. The announcement came only after the Guardian handed the watchdog a dossier of evidence indicating that Tomlinson, who was not a protester, had been assaulted as he walked home from work.

Clearly both the police & IPCC were going to sit tight and ignore it, only independent video forced this into the open. A Rotten Force with a corrupted oversight body.

Hardwick also hinted at the significance of the Guardian’s footage when he revealed there were no CCTV cameras in the area where Tomlinson was assaulted.

Is this true, really? In that part of London? Does that mean the cops knew they were in a blind spot so they could crack some heads? Or is it to defuse people asking -where’s the CCTV footage? And what about police helicopter & FIT footage? And what about these-

Pic by fotdmike

Pic by fotdmike @flickr

About the personal video system VV3000. Any of those rolling in the vicinity?

The IPCC previously said-

“The investigation is continuing to look through CCTV footage to see whether the incident inside Royal Exchange Passage has been captured and we already have a number of witness accounts from the area.

So how can you look through footage if there are no cameras? Do they mean none in the immediate area but ones close by might have caught it in their periphery? Or do they mean- Footage Deleted.

Harriet Wistrich, who represents the family of Jean Charles De Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead by police who misidentified him as a suicide bomber, said last night that the Guardian’s video appeared to show strong evidence that a crime had been committed. “In these circumstances, I can’t reason why the officer involved could not be arrested and questioned under caution at this time.”

Obstruction and Censorship At The G20 Murder

Jim Jay has evidence that the police also obstructed the ambulance as it tried to get to Ian Tomlinson, which is something the false statement the police put out through the gullible media accused protesters of. Maybe a good rule with police statements is to assume projection in an attempt to deny their culpability. But also form that post, the police stopped photographers form recording their activity, read the article from the British Journal of Photography, having been caught the Met ‘apologise’ which sounds so lovely and polite until you realise their objective has been achieved and this is after the fact PR. Also ask yourself if the official press were barred and pictures force deleted by police of everyone else then what record to contradict the police falsehoods covering up Ian Tomlinson’s murder, the CCTV? The same CCTV that mysteriously stops working at crucial times & places when the police injure or kill someone? And note the police photograph and film the public constantly for a database they denied existed.

Update: Via HarpyMarx, the cop is on suspension but we learn-

The officer in the video, who was wearing riot gear and whose face was covered by a balaclava, identified himself to his manager and the IPCC yesterday as fresh pictures suggested he had removed his shoulder number and covered his face with a balaclava before hitting Tomlinson with a baton and then pushing him to the ground on Cornhill, in the City of London, last Wednesday.

Shows premeditation to me, bet he’s lawyered up like a mofo.


Reading about aggressive policing at this year’s climate camp in Kingsnorth, one learns about The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) (their site). In their own words-

The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) forms part of the national policing response to domestic extremism, together with the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE), the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) and the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET).

Our focus is to promote a coordinated, consistent and effective approach to dealing with domestic extremism.

NETCU provides the police service of England and Wales and other enforcement agencies with tactical advice and guidance on policing domestic extremism and associated criminality.

We support the business and academic sectors, providing a centralised source of information, advice, guidance and liaison on strategies to withstand domestic extremist attacks.

We also provide Government and our partners in the police service, Crown Prosecution Service and industry with information about trends and types of domestic extremist incidents and crimes.

Getting the idea? Here’s more-

The term ‘domestic extremism’ applies to unlawful action that is part of a protest or campaign. It is most often associated with ‘single-issue’ protests, such as animal rights, anti-war, anti-globalisation and anti-GM (genetically modified) crops.

The majority of people involved in single-issue protest campaign lawfully. However, there is a small minority of campaigners who seek to further their cause by committing criminal offences.

Domestic extremism has become a concern to many organisations because it targets people and their homes, as well as business premises. Domestic extremism moves beyond the bounds of legitimate protest to intimidate individuals engaged in lawful activity and to impose economic costs on legal businesses. As such, it presents a criminal threat that is national in its scope to the UK and its citizens.

In the context of the climate camp Caroline Lucas writes

So, as climate campers hold workshops and debate some of the key issues of our time – peak oil, economic downturn, food shortages – scores of police sweat in their riot gear on the other side of the fence. They all clutch a copy of a pocket booklet entitled Policing Protests produced by the ominously titled National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, which appears designed to provide endless ways of shutting down legitimate protests. One such tactic has been to smash the windows of vehicles parked outside the camp and to try to tow away cars under the Abandoned Vehicles Act.

The police – primarily from the local Medway force but Metropolitan officers are also in evidence – have raided the camp twice now, confiscating items that included crayons, disabled access ramps, marker pens, banners, radios for relaying fire and medical emergency information, the nuts and bolts holding toilet cubicles together and blackboard paint. They have found it necessary to use pepper spray without provocation, and several campers have been arrested and bailed off the site for “obstructing” increasingly aggressive police officers.

Everyone who enters the site is being searched. Police officers are taking anything away that “could be used for illegal activity”, with efforts being made to strip protesters of such hardcore weapons of choice as bits of carpet, biodegradable soap and toilet paper. In the absence of any serious threat, the police clearly found it necessary to justify their presence with an unprovoked attack on personal hygiene. 

When I met with Medway police ahead of climate camp, I asked if officers could be given specific information about the ethos behind climate camp and guidelines on proportional responses. I had hoped that the guidelines would be based on sensible use of discretion and grounds of precedent. I am therefore horrified that police here have used pepper spray, riot gear, physical intimidation, and indulged in bizarre confiscations. It almost feels like an attempt to inflame tensions and provoke protesters into less peaceful behaviour.

So that’s what all that technocrat-ese means in its real world application. The Association of Chief Police Officers (who failed to properly investigate torture rendition flights before giving the government a free pass timed to distract from the damning EU report) help deal with the media for NETCU. There is a NETCU Watch blog (focussed on animal rights mostly) but best of all a copy of the NETCU booklet was dropped by a careless copper (part 1, part 2) or available here (pdf). Which is a crib sheet of the numerous ways that the security forces can demand information or find a way to say you have broken a law and then have power over you, together with how to word things legally so the CPS have an easier job. It’s like an anti-civil rights leaflet for those fuzz who weren’t paying attention at police college. Not unknown, but its presence shows the drive by government, the security forces and corporations with their academic arms to push the law to its limits to control protest. Which is why you should never believe it when a bill is being discussed and seemingly draconian measures are explained away as only to be used in specific or extreme circumstances by cheerful politicians & pundits. The law is now like a menu of opportunities for the security forces to control us, this booklet being the fast food version.

Data Mine

Ministers are to consider plans for a database of electronic information holding details of every phone call and e-mail sent in the UK, it has emerged. The plans, reported in the Times, are at an early stage and may be included in the draft Communications Bill later this year, the Home Office confirmed. A Home Office spokesman said the data is a “crucial tool” for protecting national security and preventing crime. Ministers have not seen the plans which were drawn up by Home Office officials.

Where do they get their ideas?

Ominous Phrase Of The Week

The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation’s most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea’s legal authority.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department’s new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities — such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps.

Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications.

Define ‘resolved’…