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Media War Against G8 Protestors Begins (secret anarchist training camps)

media watch | 12.12.2004 15:40 | G8 2005 | Analysis | Indymedia | Repression | London

The opening shot of a PR war on protest groups has been fired ahead of next years G8 Summit in Scotland, with an article in the usualy quite well balanced Scotland on Sunday, published Sunday 12th Dec 04.

The story "Protesters trained at secret camp to target Gleneagles summit" is a classic pre-protest media story which has been seen both in the UK, the US and other countries. This shows the hallmarks of many similar articles, namely the assertion that the meetings are secret clandestine affairs (or military style 'camps'), rather than the publicaly advertised and transparent nvda and other skills training courses (and quite how you can hold a camp in a community hall is quite beyond me, but then a woskshop in a community hall doesn't sound very exciting does it).

This same story angle was used prior to the Mayday protests in 2001 with the Daily Mail crying "US Training Camps for May Day Rioters" and the Evening Standard screaming "May Day Rioters Train at US Camps" (published 18th april 2001) in reference to the ruckus society ( who promote, wait for it, Non Violent Direct Action or NVDA). The story was given some celebrity spin when Anita Roddick of the Body shop defended direct action training and featured in The Glasgow Herrald, The Telegraph, The Mirror and The Star, almost all of whom called them anarchist training camps.

The same style story had been run previously on April 1st 2001 with a domestic agenda when a carefully stagemanaged and PR powered police operation raided a squat in Brixton. "Anarchist Base Destroyed in Dawn Raid" triumphed the Sunday Telegraph, "Police Raid May Day Riot HQ," affirmed the Sunday Times. For a good run down of the story check

(Note: for a good description of the media hype around the Mayday 2001 protests see

Indeed open clearly advertised activist meetings are often refered to in the mainstream british press as "secret", and often "infiltrated" by an undercover reporter. Here we have the newspaper saying as if it's some scoop "Scotland on Sunday can reveal...", well so could anyone if they just looked at the website where the training sessions are advertised...

and the courses:

So looking at the website pages you see clearly that the venues are yet to be confirmed - hardly secret is it!

The "elite corps" phrase used is of course a much more exciting and dangerous sounding way of saying, they are running courses to teach people workshops skills including groups skills and facilitation skills so that others are more empowered to put on their own workshop trainings. Hardly ninja stuff is it!

Of note here is the 'security consultant' who has been on hand to make the whole story sound more dangerous and threatening. This apparently neutral source gives the impression that because the training courses, erm sorry camps, have been 'discovered' that this represent some kind of new worring information:

"the military-style courses revealed a greater degree of organisation than had previously been recognised, and fuelled fears that violent anti-capitalist protests would erupt"


"The fact that they are having training courses in Glasgow shows how sophisticated they have become."

Of course this all falls down when you realise such course have been run for years in this country and others. The police comment that they know about the courses is of course to be expected and as said before all the info is up on the internet.

What's interesting is the "security consultant" is Stuart Crawford, who runs a PR / Public affairs company specialising in security issues and yes, media communications, based in edinburgh - obviously someone used to spin, but someone perhaps who should be showing a little more knowledge of the truth behind the media sensationalism (see

It's also worth noting that of course the camps are being set up for ANARCHISTS... which is of course yet another classic media hype angle, seeing as no one other than some loony anarchist would be interested in direct action... Of course the truth is that many people from many different political persuaions participate in direct action and indeed direct action training, and will be doing so for the G8 next year. One would have thought that a Scottish newspaper used to covering the direct action blockades at Faslane base each year where Scottish MSP regularly get arrested would have understood this point.

Ah but yes of course, we're now entering into a prolonged silly season for media coverage ahead of next years G8 where no doubt all journalistic standards will yet again be thrown out the window as newspapers scramble for the most sexy sensational scare story. Which would all be quite laughable, where it not for the fact that time after time such press coverage has been seen as the pre-curser to serious levels of repression against protestors.

By the way, it should also be noted that the CCTV disabling and wire cutting "manuals" (erm websites that is ed) are not from the Blatent Incitement Project as claimed by the writer of this article, but are in fact on different websites and just linked from the Blatent Incitement Project website, for example the CCTV pages are on - and quite how they know that "detailed manuals" will be distributed to attendees or what the courses will cover I don't know (though it's clear the journalist has drawn his own conclusions from simply looking at a bunch of web links).

To their credit the newspaper does say that they tried to contact people from the Dissent Network, but I wonder if they tried to contact anyone from the groups organising the training sessions, oh sorry, camps.

Of course there's more to say, like the fact that saying "50,000 protesters fought running battles with riot police in the summit town of Evian" is in fact not a fact at all and a complete fabrication.

Oh well, to be honest I would have expected better from the Scotland on Sunday, and hope that they can do better than the English based papers next year in the run up to the G8.

Here's the full article for note:


Look who's coming to the G8... anarchists start school for havoc

The story "Protesters trained at secret camp to target Gleneagles summit"

Scotland on Sunday
Sun 12 Dec 2004


A TRAINING camp for anarchists will be set up in Scotland within months to maximise damage and disruption during next summer’s G8 summit of world leaders at Gleneagles.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that the first anti-capitalist training session will be held at a secret location in Glasgow in February to create an elite corps of ‘experienced activists’ with the skills to pass on to other demonstrators.

Activists will be taught ‘skills’ including how to form blockades, carry out occupations, destroy CCTV surveillance systems, breach security fences, disable machinery and work as a team to cause maximum disruption.

They will also receive a crash course in ‘legal skills’ and how to act when arrested.

The camps are being organised by the Dissent Network, a loose group of activists which has organised mass protests at previous summits in Europe.

The group’s website makes clear that the July summit, to be attended by US President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, will not be the only target.

It is also calling for "decentralised actions" on oil company installations and political buildings where the security curtain will not be as tight.

Security experts said the military-style courses revealed a greater degree of organisation than had previously been recognised, and fuelled fears that violent anti-capitalist protests would erupt, as they did at previous meetings of world leaders in Genoa and Seattle.

Direct action training camps are being organised by Dissent and a second group, the Blatant Incitement Project, in Sheffield next month and London in March, as well as in Glasgow.

The Dissent Group’s website says that the summit should be a "focus for protest for people opposing war, the destruction of our environment, the abuse of human rights and capitalism".

It adds: "Preparation is key to effective action against the G8. One of the things that made people work together so well at Seattle was the fact that a lot of them had taken part in direct action training months in advance."

The courses are aimed at "people with experience in direct action or civil disobedience" who could then pass on the skills to "stimulate" effective mass action.

The groups says: "Existing ideas include a critical mass [of activists in] Scotland and decentralised actions on energy profiteers. We see the G8 2005 mobilisation as an opportunity to move beyond symbolic protest. This is a call for people to converge on Scotland to disrupt the conference and for action simultaneously in villages, towns and cities worldwide."

Fears over the summit, which will attract global media attention, have already prompted the biggest security operation ever seen in Britain. More than half of Scotland’s 15,000 police officers are expected to be on duty at the three-day gathering of leaders from the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia.

Police leave throughout Scotland has been cancelled for the duration of the meeting and extra officers will be drafted in from England to help secure the 850-acre Gleneagles site and other potential business and political targets in the central belt.

Protesters have vowed to blockade the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the Forth Bridge and landmarks such as Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.

At the training camps, activists will receive detailed manuals on how to break through security fences and sabotage CCTV cameras. Blatant Incitement’s Guide to CCTV Destruction says that all methods described "have been thoroughly tested in practise".

The manuals also give detailed descriptions of how to disable a range of vehicles and cut off power supplies to buildings.

Security consultant Stewart Crawford said it was worrying that the training courses showed a greater degree of "sophistication" than had hitherto been expected.

"The security forces will have learned the lessons of the previous violent protests and so will the demonstrators," he said. "If they failed to get past a certain type of barrier last time then they will have studied it and found a way around it, and will be keen to pass on that information. The fact that they are having training courses in Glasgow shows how sophisticated they have become."

The police operation in Scotland is being co-ordinated by Tayside Police, which said it was aware that the direct action training courses were being advertised.

The officer in charge, Superintendant Brian Powrie, said: "There is a lot of speculation on the internet about what protest groups may do at the G8 summit, around the venue and elsewhere in Scotland.

"Tayside Police is planning a major security operation and one element of that is to ensure that those who wish to protest lawfully will be facilitated, but those who break the law will be dealt with robustly."

The cost of policing the Gleneagles summit is expected to exceed £150m with a heavy military as well as police presence. An air exclusion zone will be put in force over the hotel with fighters on standby at nearby RAF Leuchars in Fife.

Recent G8 summits have been marred by the scale of the protests they attracted. In June 2003, 50,000 protesters fought running battles with riot police in the summit town of Evian, France, and in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 25,000 police and military personnel had to be deployed.

In 2001, protesters rampaged through Genoa in Italy. Hundreds of people were injured and one protester was killed by police.

Last year the summit was hosted by President Bush at Sea Island, off the coast of Georgia. G8 planners prepared to greet any mass protest with overwhelming force, with the deployment of around 20,000 officers from various federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies, including the National Guard. As a result the summit passed without incident.

Scotland on Sunday made extensive efforts this week to contact members of the Dissent Network but no one was available for comment.


THE heads of state or government of the major industrial democracies have been meeting annually since 1975 to deal with major economic and political issues such as

macroeconomic management, international trade and relations with developing countries.

Questions of East-West economic relations, energy and terrorism have been of recurrent concern.

The responsibility of host rotates between members in the following order: France, the United States, the UK, Russia (as of 2006), Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. Throughout the year, the leaders’ personal representatives, known as sherpas, meet regularly to discuss the agenda and monitor progress.

Ministers and officials also meet from time to time to discuss pressing issues, such terrorism, energy and development, and from time to time the leaders create task forces or working groups to focus on issues of concern, such as drug-related money laundering, nuclear safety and international organised crime.

The annual meeting has also been a lightning rod for anti-globalisation demonstrations since Birmingham in 1998. Things turned violent in Genoa in 2001 and a protester died.

High on the agenda for next year will be climate change, trade and Third World poverty.

President Bush and Russian president Vladimir Putin are expected to attend the Gleneagles summit, as are German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, French president Jacques Chirac and EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barosso.

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Display the following 5 comments

  1. propaganda — - -
  2. Block Fox! — Scru the Media
  3. hardcore lunatic spin — American @
  4. Apologies... — Sav
  5. Corporate Media — from the states