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Britain - Police State? II
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 19:54    Post subject: Britain - Police State? II Reply with quote

This is the new Thread, asking the question, Britain - Police State?

The old one is here:
http://www2.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24998&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 20:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - starting this off, what do people think about this "pre-emptive" action:

Quote:

Police arrest 114 people in pre-emptive strike against environmental protesters

Police have carried out what is thought to be the biggest pre-emptive raid on environmental campaigners in UK history, arresting 114 people believed to be planning direct action at a coal-fired power station.

The arrests - for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass - come amid growing concern among campaigners about increased police surveillance and groups being infiltrated by informers.

Nottinghamshire police said the raid on an independent school in Nottingham was made just after midnight this morning. The force said it seized "specialist equipment" thought to be linked to a planned protest at nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, a coal plant owned by the utility company E.On.

No group has claimed responsibility for the alleged demonstration.

Experienced campaigners said no group had claimed responsibility for the alleged demonstration because they could face charges of conspiracy and a possible jail sentence.

Activists said emails setting out planned action could be used by police to prove conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage, as could any equipment or documentation found during the arrests, or other evidence of coordinated preparations.

No formal details of the proposed action have been released, but campaign veterans speculated that the demonstrators could have been planning to chain themselves to the conveyor belts taking coal into the power plant in an attempt to stop the turbines when fuel ran out.

The tactic has previously been used by activists at Ratcliffe and another E.On coal plant, at Kingsnorth in Kent.

The secretive nature of the operation is similar to previous actions organised under the umbrella of the Climate Camp network, a loose affiliation of independently-organised protest groups, but nobody from the movement could be contacted today.

Nottinghamshire police said the 114 people arrested were from across the country. "In view of specialist equipment recovered by police, those arrested posed a serious threat to the safe running of the site," police said. "There were no injuries during the arrests and the police investigation is ongoing."

Some of those arrested were taken to police cells in Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

E.On issued a statement saying: "We can confirm that Ratcliffe power station was the planned target of an organised protest during the early hours of this morning.

"While we understand that everyone has a right to protest peacefully and lawfully, this was clearly neither of those things so we will be assisting the police with their investigations into what could have been a very dangerous and irresponsible attempt to disrupt an operational power plant."

The arrests follow a growing number of demonstrations and "direct actions" by campaigners angry at government plans to expand airports and build a new generation of coal-fired power stations with no firm commitment to capture and store the emissions.

As well as chaining themselves to conveyors, protesters have scaled the cooling tower at Kingsnorth, blockaded E.On offices, protested at events sponsored by the German-owned company, stopped a coal train and invaded or blockaded several airports around the country.

There has also been increasing concern about police tactics. Last month, a Guardian investigation revealed police were targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years.

Policing of the recent G20 protests has also come under scrutiny after newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson died following, according to video evidence, was an attack from behind by a police officer.

Some environmental activists said there was a suspicion the arrests in Nottingham followed a tipoff from a police informer inside the campaign group. Others pointed out that the size of the protest group made it more vulnerable to information leaking out during routine police surveillance.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "In the light of the policing of the G20 protests, people up and down the country will want to be confident that there was evidence of a real conspiracy to commit criminal damage by those arrested and that this was not just an attempt by the police to disrupt perfectly legitimate protest per se."

Nottingham city councillor David Mellen said the police raided the privately-run Iona School at Sneinton as the result of "an intelligence-led operation".

He said: "I don't know whether it was the school itself being used or the car park. Neighbours reported a lot of noise after midnight. It seems to have been used as a rendezvous for people from a wide area."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/13/nottingham-police-raid-environmental-campaigners
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jimv1Offline
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 21:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't there news of a terrorist incident the day after Jacqui Smith's husband was caught out? I vaguely remember something about a prison and a helicopter but as I thought it would be international news for a week or so I'd catch up later. What happened to this frightening story?
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 22:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Wasn't there news of a terrorist incident the day after Jacqui Smith's husband was caught out? I vaguely remember something about a prison and a helicopter but as I thought it would be international news for a week or so I'd catch up later. What happened to this frightening story?


I don't recall this story at all I'm afraid. I did vaguely remember something about a helicopter prison break recently but a quick Google indicates it took place in Greece in February. No terrorist connection as far as I can see,
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 22:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimv1 wrote:
Wasn't there news of a terrorist incident the day after Jacqui Smith's husband was caught out? I vaguely remember something about a prison and a helicopter but as I thought it would be international news for a week or so I'd catch up later. What happened to this frightening story?

Did you mean, this story?
Quote:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5081316/Al-Qaeda-terrorist-prisoners-plotted-to-escape-in-hijacked-helicopter.html

Al-Qaeda terrorist prisoners plotted to escape in hijacked helicopter

Al-Qaeda terrorists in a British jail were caught planning to escape in a hijacked helicopter.

Daily Telegraph online. 31 Mar 2009

Accomplices on the outside were to hire the helicopter for "business" then force the pilot to land in prison at gunpoint.

Nine Muslim inmates plotted to kidnap the jail imam during prayers with weapons hidden in the prison mosque.

According to the plan they would then move to a sports field using the imam as a shield and be picked up by the helicopter.

Wardens at Full Sutton prison in Yorkshire, acting on a tip-off, went to the plotters' cells hours before the escape attempt was due to start.

The nine, including convicted terrorists, will now be transferred to other jails.

A source told the Sun: "This would have been one of the most damaging escapes ever. The intelligence was very strong and from a good source. It had to be acted on immediately.

"It involved some of the most dangerous al-Qaeda terrorists in jail, all of whom are a massive threat. It had been planned for months and the use of a helicopter shows it was sophisticated."

The prison holds notorious terrorists like Omar Khyam who plotted to blow up Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent.

Security sources said the jail imam was innocent.

The source added: "The imam is a respected figure for his ability to embrace all faiths.

"But that makes him a target for the extremists in this jail who want to convert Muslims to their warped views."

A spokesman for the Justice Department confirmed a possible plot had been uncovered on Friday. He said the Prison Service was investigating.

I've no idea! What did happen, next? confused
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 22:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've no idea! What did happen, next?


Well, as the inmates at the centre of the alleged plot were moved to other prisons, presumably nothing.

I don't see anything especially sinister in this story. There's a long history of prisoners attempting to escape by helicopter - sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. It's not especially surprising that a group of inmates facing long sentences might hatch a plot involving an escape.

It is was intended to distract attention from Jacqui Smith's expenses claims it clearly wasn't very successful as JS is still in the press while this story has sunk without trace.
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 13-04-2009 22:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pre-emptive strike, eh? It's almost like something out of the plot for Minority Report.
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PostPosted: 14-04-2009 00:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:
Pre-emptive strike, eh? It's almost like something out of the plot for Minority Report.


I guess that there was nowhere suitable for a routine bit of kettling.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 14-04-2009 06:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quake42 wrote:
OK - starting this off, what do people think about this "pre-emptive" action:

Quote:

Police arrest 114 people in pre-emptive strike against environmental protesters

...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/13/nottingham-police-raid-environmental-campaigners

More on this story, from the Independent.
Quote:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/were-police-spies-behind-mass-arrest-of-activists-1668252.html

Were police spies behind mass arrest of activists?

More than 100 people detained before power plant protest. Direct action group vows campaign will go on

Independent Online. By Jerome Taylor. 14 April 2009

The Residents of Sneinton could have been forgiven for thinking that a mass jail-break had just occurred in their normally quiet red-brick suburb of Nottingham when they looked out of their windows in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Shortly after midnight more than 20 riot vans disgorged scores of police officers, backed by dogs, who charged into the car park of a privately owned school off Sneinton Dale, the main thoroughfare running through the suburb.

Over the next three hours police rounded up more than 100 people, bundling them en masse into the vans before eventually driving them down to police stations around the city.

But yesterday's dramatic raid was not sparked by a mass breakout or a terror alert. It was the latest in a long line of running battles between police and direct action climate change campaigners.

Except this time there was one startling difference. Police had finally managed to infiltrate a direct action group and for once actually knew where a protest would happen before it took place, prompting the first mass pre-emptive arrest of environmental campaigners.

Last night activists who specialise in direct action admitted that they might have been penetrated by police agents after years of running rings around law enforcement with bold publicity stunts and meticulously planned operations of their own.

"This is pretty much the first time that the police have been able to pre-empt a mass demonstration and it does raise the prospect that they have used spies," said one veteran activist. "As the anti-coal movement gathers momentum the police reaction seems to be getting stronger and more aggressive. The same thing happened with the anti-road movement in the 1990s."


Nottinghamshire Police have released few details about exactly what took place in the early hours of Monday morning other than to say that they arrested more than 100 people who were allegedly planning some form of direct action on the nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station.

A spokesman for the force said "specialist equipment" had been found in the school and that 114 people had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

It is thought the demonstration was being organised by activists linked to the Climate Camp group, which organised the attempted blockade of Kingsnorth power station in Kent, where large groups of environmental activists were able to defy heavy security to stage publicity demonstrations against some of Britain's most polluting industries. Over the past 12 months direct action groups have stepped up their campaigns against the coal industry. In June last year, 29 protesters stopped a coal train from entering Drax power station in Yorkshire while last year's Climate Camp was held at Kingsnorth power station to highlight opposition to any increased use of fossil fuels.

Sources inside the environmentalist movement have told The Independent that Ratcliffe-on-Soar was being targeted because it is owned by Eon, the same energy company that is hoping to build a second generation coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.

One activist, who asked not to be named, said: "This is all part of a wider movement against coal and Eon specifically. This protest may have been busted but there will be many more."

For many of the residents of Sneinton, the sheer number of police officers involved made many of them suspect that there was an anti-terrorism operation in their neighbourhood.

Mark Hill, 44, was walking back from town to his home near the school when he noticed a convoy of police cars and vans rush by.

"There were no sirens or anything," he said. "The first thing I thought was that it must be terrorism. I couldn't think of anything else that would need so many police. They brought people out from the school and put them into vans. I could hear them singing as they were led away but I don't know what they were saying."

Susan Lawson, 56, who lives opposite the school, said she had seen lots of people going in and out of the school over the weekend before the police arrived.

"Last night I heard car doors banging and I looked out and there were all the police – I have never seen so many police," she said. "I would say about 20 vans, plus cars. They had dogs with them as well. The vans kept coming back to pick up more of them."

Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station has been targeted by protesters before. In April 2007 the East Side Climate Action group managed to slip through the security cordon allowing activists to lock themselves to essential coal machinery and conveyor belts for five hours.

The use of undercover agents to infiltrate political groups, in the UK, is not new. The question remains, is a new level of State activity being mobilised against grass roots activists, environmentalists and anti-capitalists, under the cloak of anti-terrorism?
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jimv1Offline
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PostPosted: 14-04-2009 09:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my fears about the growing surveillance state has been how it will affect the psyche and well-being of the public...well....


Quote:
Nation's growing unease 'hindering recovery'

A growing culture of fear triggered by widespread misconceptions about the risk posed by threats such as crime and terrorism is exacerbating the economic downturn and hindering recovery, according to research published today.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) study finds that a catalogue of fears are eroding confidence, diminishing the quality of life for millions of people and damaging mental health.

Fear is overriding logical thinking, while anxiety levels are rising as a result of financial uncertainty, the report concludes. It suggests individuals and institutions are avoiding risk, too afraid to invest, spend or lend, creating economic paralysis.

"The current financial crisis is having an adverse effect on the nation's wellbeing," says the report, Facing the Fear. "Two-thirds of [people] polled said they are experiencing some fear and anxiety as a result."

In the first two months of this year the country's largest charity dealing with anxiety, Anxiety UK, reported a doubling of calls to its helpline, a spokesman said.

Often exaggerated are fear of crime, terrorism and loss of community, the MHF finds. Increased access to information about possible threats to security via 24-hour news and the internet contribute to unease among the general population.

The report lambasts politicians, public bodies, the media and business people for what it calls institutionally-driven fear fuelled by scaremongering use of "worst-case scenario" language around issues such as knife-crime, MRSA and terrorism.

Policy responses such as the spread of CCTV are counterproductive and merely add to people's anxieties. "The UK now has 4.2m [CCTV cameras], more than the rest of Europe put together, but this has not led to people feeling safer," it warns.

A majority of respondents (77%) told the MHF the world has become a more frightening place in the past 10 years. More than a third (37%) feel more frightened than they used to. More women than men (43% compared to 30%) report an increase in their fears. Young people also seem to be more susceptible. Three quarters of those aged 18-34 say they are anxious or frightened some of the time, compared to 65% of over-55s.

Andrew McCullough, the foundation's chief executive, said the government needed to reassess how it communicated risk to the public. "This report shows that fear is having a serious negative impact on the mental and physical health of the nation. A mental health promotion campaign would be of immense public benefit."



http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/apr/14/mental-health-study-fear
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 16-04-2009 14:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Police intimidate Austrian tourists and force them to delete photos of busses, as well as, bus and tube stations, taken in unfashionable suburbs, citing the fight against terrorism.

You can't make this stuff up.
Quote:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/16/police-delete-tourist-photos

Police delete London tourists' photos 'to prevent terrorism'

Austrian tourist who photographed bus and Tube stations says 'nasty incident' has put him off returning to London

guardian.co.uk. Matthew Weaver and Vikram Dodd. 16-04-09

Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city's sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as "modern sculpture".

But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was "strictly forbidden". The policemen also recorded the pair's details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

In a letter in today's Guardian, Matzka wrote: "I understand the need for some sensitivity in an era of terrorism, but isn't it naive to think terrorism can be prevented by terrorising tourists?"

The Metropolitan police said it was investigating the allegations.

In a telephone interview from his home in Vienna, Matka said: "I've never had these experiences anywhere, never in the world, not even in Communist countries."

He described his horror as he and his 15-year-old son were forced to delete all transport-related pictures on their cameras, including images of Vauxhall underground station.

"Google Street View is allowed to show any details of our cities on the world wide web," he said. "But a father and his son are not allowed to take pictures of famous London landmarks."

He said he would not return to London again after the incident, which took place last week in central Walthamstow, in north-east London. He said he and his son liked to travel to the unfashionable suburbs.

"We typically crisscross cities from the end of railway terminals, we like to go to places not visited by other tourists. You get to know a city by going to places like this, not central squares. Buckingham Palace is also necessary, but you need to go elsewhere to get to know the city," he said.

He said the "nasty incident" had "killed interest in any further trips to the city".

Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and a Green party member of the London assembly, said she would raise the incident with the Met chief, Sir Paul Stephenson, as part of discussions on the policing of the G20 protests.

"This is another example of the police completely overreaching the anti-terrorism powers," she said. "They are using it in a totally inappropriate way.

"I will be raising it with the commissioner. I have already written to him about the police taking away cameras and stopping people taking photographs and made the point that if it was not for people taking photos, we would not know about the death of Ian Tomlinson or the woman who was hit by a police officer."

A spokeswoman for Metropolitan police said: "It is not the police's intention to prevent tourists from taking photographs and we are looking to the allegations made." The force said it had no knowledge of any ban on photographing public transport in the capital.
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 16-04-2009 18:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The use of undercover agents to infiltrate political groups, in the UK, is not new. The question remains, is a new level of State activity being mobilised against grass roots activists, environmentalists and anti-capitalists, under the cloak of anti-terrorism?


I suppose the question is whether there was a genuine threat to power supplies. If there was, then the use of anti-terrorism powers is not necessarily unreasonable. I have my doubts as to whether this was the case.

Quote:
Police intimidate Austrian tourists and force them to delete photos of busses, as well as, bus and tube stations, taken in unfashionable suburbs, citing the fight against terrorism.

You can't make this stuff up.


Indeed, although I don't see much of a conspiracy here - more likely to be confused officers unclear of the new laws on photography. I hate to say it, but I wonder whether some of the rather exaggerated coverage from journalists on this stuff has been counter-productive, with police believing the hype that previously acceptable photography in public places has been banned.
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PostPosted: 16-04-2009 20:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A spokeswoman for Metropolitan police said: "It is not the police's intention to prevent tourists from taking photographs and we are looking to the allegations made." The force said it had no knowledge of any ban on photographing public transport in the capital.

I took a picture of a bus just yesterday. And today I uploaded some shipping photos onto the net.....

But they'll never take me alive, mwah-ha-ha-ha!!! Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: 16-04-2009 20:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well seeing as our emails, phone calls and websites we visit are being stored on record for years to come, I'd just like to say here and now that the Police are doing a difficult job wonderfully. And also, as laws entitle the Police and Government to possibly look at our contributions on this site retrospectively, I'd like to add that I cannot praise them enough. Fastidious in their approach, they're rooting out the terrorists, dissenters and protestors. While some would say the protestors are legitimate in their ideals and actions, these actions could inconvenience the normal members of the public in the usual running of their lives.
We should consider ourselves lucky we have the freedom to be consumers in a society where the supermarket loyalty cards can provide us with a detailed breakdown of the goods we buy so we don't forget, that the police know that DNA at a crime scene is intangible proof that we were there and is not from our borrowed or stolen coat and that the Home Secretary is the very epitome of a breed of intelligent and informed Stateswomen the electorate hoped she would be.

It's also a very good thing that Gordon Brown is keeping an eye on the issue of London policing personally instead of delegating the matter to those who may be less informed of their responsibilities as defenders of Justice within the House.

Yayyyyyy to all of them.

Long may it continue.
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PostPosted: 16-04-2009 20:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimv1 wrote:
Well seeing as our emails, phone calls and websites we visit are being stored on record for years to come, I'd just like to say here and now that the Police are doing a difficult job wonderfully. And also, as laws entitle the Police and Government to possibly look at our contributions on this site retrospectively, I'd like to add that I cannot praise them enough...

Rolling Eyes It's too late to start brown-nosing now! We're all doomed! Shocked
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