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UK Police Spying Began With Animal Rights Activists

Green Is The New Red | 27.10.2009 15:02 | Animal Liberation | Climate Chaos | Repression | World

There has been a slew of incredible, and disturbing, reporting by the UK Guardian recently on how police have rebranded activism as “domestic extremism” and “domestic terrorism.” [1] Environmental activists, antiwar activists, animal rights activists and many more groups have been targeted. Specifically, police have gathered personal information on thousands of activists who simply attend protests or political meetings, and created massive national databases.

For instance, this “spotter card” was distributed to police officers in preparation for protests at Britain’s largest arms fair. According to the Guardian: [2]

"These so-called “spotter cards” are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations."

One of the individuals featured at ‘H’ is Mark Thomas, a comedian and political activist. He has no criminal record. In a column, he noted how this scaremongering reflects truly misplaced priorities: [3]

"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."

Perhaps the most important bit of information, I think, is buried a bit in the story. According to this investigative piece by the Guardian: [4]

Acpo’s national infrastructure for dealing with domestic extremism was set up with the backing of the Home Office in an attempt to combat animal rights activists who were committing serious crimes. Senior officers concede the criminal activity associated with these groups has receded, but the units dealing with domestic extremism have expanded their remit to incorporate campaign groups across the political spectrum, including anti-war and environmental groups that have only ever engaged in peaceful direct action.

If you’re familiar with this site and the Green Scare, [5] you know that one of the key points I try to hit home, repeatedly, is that environmental and animal rights activists may be among the first targets in these political crackdowns, but they will not be the last. By the admission of some government officials in the UK, this has clearly been the case.

Whether or not that has been the official policy in the United States, the same dynamic is at play. If we do not stop the terrorism rhetoric, legislation, court cases and scare-mongering in its tracks, no activist and no social movement will remain untouched.

Of course, you could always just continue listening to the soundbites of police and government officials, like this one from Anton Setchell, who is in charges of the “domestic extremism” unit in the UK. People who find themselves on the databases, he says, “should not worry at all.”


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Display the following 37 comments

  1. Further info — @nti-speciesist
  2. Mark Thomas?!?!! — Ruby
  3. There is no special animal rights "case" — Another Spectre
  4. Coppers with too much spare time — Interested
  5. meanwhile 200 years ago — peasant
  6. re: Another Spectre — vegan
  7. @Another Spectre — scrumpy
  8. Another Spectre — @
  9. wouldnt apolice force with a priority for democracy& against genocide be helping — Green syndicalist
  10. Don't be dogmatic — Danny
  11. @ @ The Illogical comments are not really that illogical — Another Spectre
  12. paper trail — Danny
  13. DPA Links — Another Spectre
  14. Not Required Back — Danny
  15. The average domesticated animal has a larger carbon Footprint than an SUV — anon
  16. Rights and power relations — vegan
  17. Time to Eat the Dog — A Scientist
  18. 'Time to eat the dog' — Danny
  19. @ A Scientist — ARC
  20. @A Scientist — scrumpy
  21. The energy used by the SUV, however, is gone forever? — confused
  22. Miners. Muslims. Irish people. No one from AR sent to Guantanamo.....However : — Mandy in Camden
  23. @ Scrumpy I would never admit to how good a scientist I am — A Scientist
  24. Another Spectre — @
  25. Carbon footprint of domestic animals @another spectre — Lynn Sawyer
  26. Scientists — vegan
  27. @Lynne Sawyer With all due respect — Another Spectre
  28. SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion — Danny
  29. Climate Change and Animal Rights — Another Spectre
  30. Bad science — Danny
  31. Factors in global warming — Another Spectre
  32. Overlap — Danny
  33. The Special case for Animal Rights is still not proven — A Spectre
  34. Fox News Science special — Danny
  35. How would you know if I am a scientist? — Another Spectre
  36. @another spectre — Lynn Sawyer
  37. criticism without substance — Lisa