You might like to check out this link to some Guardian research.
I’ll copy and paste to the bottom of this comment just in case it disappears.
My immediate thoughts are that people protest issues which they feel the existing system has failed to address. If civil liberty, free speech and the right to peacefully protest are among those issues, you’re a bit stuffed, really, aren’t you?
Also gob smacking is the notion that campaigning against war makes you ‘Extreme Left-Wing’. Even if we limit ‘anti-war’ to the ones UK PLC desires to wage (wage being an interesting term, when one considers the assets of said company are ourselves) that still amounts to a whole heap more ‘Extreme Left-Wing’ers in this fair isle than previously imagined. Weren’t there about 2 million of them actually taking to the streets in protest before our corporate nation attacked Iraq? Well they’re stitching that shut. You’ll all be on CCTV this time, on police records, and every other database that serves corporate interest.
Also worth making the point: if the majority of the UK population are ‘anti-war’, and are therefore classified Extreme Left wing, what does that make the minoriy of people classifying them? just a thought.
Finally – check out the closing comments and justifications. These people are spending £9 million (that’s the bit they’re admitting to) of your money compiling a database for private interest of good, peaceful people, classifying them as pre-criminals (the ‘pre’ bit can be dropped at will very, very soon), and opening them to further surveillance and intrusion as though they had committed a major crime. There must be a compelling and watertight case for doing so, right? Or the Police and all associated with the suggestion would throw the whole thing out, if only as a complete waste of time and resources.
Now go and look at that justification. Unbelievable. Literally.
If every sentence doesn’t scream ‘Danger! Danger!’ at you, then you’ve been living somewhere else for a very long time now.
What’s the solution?
My gut feeling is that this database has been underway for years already. It will go ahead even if a huge furore erupts now and they say it has been dropped. It won’t be. It’s been admitted to being valuable. All that will happen is that it will be funded from somewhere else, and collated by a new committee, so it disappears behind the accountability smokescreen again.
We can’t stop it. So the only solution is to render it completely bloody useless. Let’s get half the population on it in one form or another. If it’s too inclusive, and doesn’t have enough real definition to differentiate a violent hoodlum from a peaceful protester then it’s no use to anyone. If you’re anti-war in any sense, and know other people who are; if you care about the environment enough to object to people are hell bent on ruining it, then get yourself listed. There’s already a Facebook Group – start with that and then let’s find a way to get everyone we know on that list. And let’s appropriate their definition. If there really were millions of Domestic Extremists in this country, it would scare the shit out of them.
Here’s that text, just in case the link is down.
Police compiling database of ‘domestic extremists’
(AFP) – 6 days ago
LONDON — Police are compiling a database of “domestic extremists” who participate in demonstrations and marches, the Guardian reported on Monday.
The database, which includes details of activists — including photographs and vehicle details — features people seen at public demonstrations, for example anti-war rallies and environmental protests, the paper said.
The policing of demonstrations became a major issue following the G20 protests in April.
One man died when he collapsed after being hit by an officer and police also faced criticism for employing the controversial technique of “kettling” — the compulsory containment of large crowds.
The Guardian said senior officers said the term “domestic extremism” could include activists suspected of committing minor public order offences, such as civil disobedience.
Three national police units responsible for combating “domestic extremism” are run by the police committee for “terrorism and allied matters,” the daily said.
The committee gets nine million pounds in public funding and employs around 100 people.
The main unit is the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which maintains the central database holding information supplied from forces around the country. It routinely deploys surveillance squads at rallies.
NPOIU works with the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit and the National Domestic Extremism Team.
The Guardian said the units had four categories of domestic extremism: animal rights campaigns; far-right groups; “extreme left-wing” protest groups, including anti-war campaigners; and “environmental extremism”.
A spokesman for the units said people on the database “should not be worried”.
“There are lots of reasons why people might be on the database,” he said.
“Not everyone on there is a criminal and not everyone on there is a domestic extremist but we have got to build up a picture of what is happening.
“Those people may be able to help us in the future.
“It’s an intelligence database not an evidence database.
“Protesting is not a criminal offence but there is occasionally a line that is crossed when people commit offences.”
Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.