Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Domestic Extremist Living In Police State and Nervous about It.

On 15 October 2011 I attended the formation of Occupy London. The peaceful demonstration was kettled by the police and for long stretches of that day, Occupy was physically isolated from passersby. Kettling is illegal in the UK unless it is limited in scope and duration and it addresses an actual threat of violence. There was no threat of violence. (There was a 15 minute scuffle around 12:15 by maybe 4% of the participants that ceased almost immediately).

Because the police illegally kettled, and specifically stopped me from walking down the street - telling me I was a threat to public order because I had a sign that said "Justice is possible", I complained to the Met. That was denied. I complained to the IPCC, who told the Met to perform an investigation.  The Met took  almost a year, and only issued their report when I sent many stroppy emails to the IPCC. On the day that the Met issued their report (having never interviewed me, and concluding that there had been no illegal containment) my work email was compromised. It appeared that someone was trying to get past my work firewalls and download my Outlook .I was suspicious.  

I was suspicious because during the Almost a Year period, a few things happened. First, I attended a Met Police special meeting for Wifi providers in advance of the Olympics as part of my job. People were referred to as "subjects" and many large ISPs and the Met seemed to have a close working relationship handing information back and forth about them. In chatting to people at the meeting, I found that my belief that the police were not monitoring people's activity on the internet was completely naive. One consultant laughed at me and said there was a large group of people for whom the Met monitored everything they did. 

During that period, I also found out about Finfisher, the spyware sold to sovereigns by the UK company Gamma. Finfisher disguises itself as a Mozilla Firefox upgrade. It is untraceable by anti-virus software. Gamma has servers in 38 countries in the world. Once Finfisher is in your computer, the owner can turn on your Skype camera and microphone, can see everything in your computer (including watching you compose your emails). There is every reason to believe that Finfisher is widely used against civilians in both the US and the UK, but of course, we have no transparency in our government- no way to find that out.  It's not like the mainstream media is asking any questions. 

The Met has an awful recent history in the UK - we know that undercover agents have been, as far back as the 70's - assigned to infiltrate movements. Like anti-war groups, environmental groups, social justice groups. They have fathered children and tried to mount smear campaigns. Separately, we know many of them took money from journalists in exchange for providing information (the News of the World scam). We have no idea how many of them are out there now, but we know that there is a National Domestic Extremism Team, that "monitors" 9000 people. We don't know what this monitoring amounts to, but we do know that if the stories of the whistleblowers are indicative, there has been a concerted effort by the UK police to stop people from enjoying peace and privacy, the right to assemble and the right to speak. 

I remember standing around a fire at the Finsbury Park camp one night. I had just addressed the General Assembly of Occupy at its All UK Conference on my hare-brained idea of a Christian-Occupy alliance. I had been interrupted frequently by a noisy drunk. Around the fire though, an old woman from green protests said that she had swiped the noisy drunk's bottle, and that it only had water. She thought the helicopters hovering endlessly overhead had been timed to dip and make communication difficult whenever certain people addressed the assembly. Well, I was chilled. How could anyone be so evil as to create impediments to a movement that sought real democracy and real justice? I didn't want to believe it. Unfortunately, I think now the noisy drunk and the helicopters were there to disrupt the conference, prevent ideas forming, abort a movement for justice before it formed. 

. I have been asking the IPCC and the Met to please comment on whether I personally was under surveillance and they refused to answer. I made a freedom of information request for files held on me and I was told my file was too long to be photocopied. I mean, the whole thing is just creepy. 

So recently it came to light from a whistleblower that when a black man was murdered by white men with no provocation some time ago in London, undercover cops tried to get "dirt" on the dead man's family to smear his name. Perhaps in response to that, the policed commissioner had a webcast where he answered questions from the public. During the hour long webcast, to which Bernard Hogan-Howe, the police commissioner, was fifteen minutes late, he answered cherry-picked questions - softballs, easy ones. He wouldn't answer any questions about domestic extremists, the number of undercover agents active now, the number of FB and twitter accounts kept, the backlog at the IPCC . . . in fact, no one in the government is doing anything about the Met's lawlessness. Not even asking questions.  A whistleblower says the Met is spying on 9000 people, most of whom have no police record (and of the ones who have a police record, it is mostly from being arrested unjustly for protesting) and no one does anything. And the commissioner for the police feels no compulsion to address this issue with the public, to even have a good answer, to do anything at all.  They are untouchable. They are above the law. 

This is what makes me conclude I live in a police state. The government does nothing in the face of police corruption, injustice and illegal activities. There is literally no recourse for me and everyone else they are spying on. My favourite question that the Met didn't answer was how they differed from the Stasi. 


2 comments:

  1. Very good last question there. We want to believe we are exaggerating but we are not.

    I became politically active since they closed my childs school on Cambridge (cuts). I'm working with Left Unity at the moment. We have to work on basic constitutional matters...monarchy, House of Lords. DEMOCRACY in solidarity Kathrine

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