Policing the non-existent threat of eco-terrorism

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Millions upon millions of Pounds the British government spends on policing a terror threat that does not really exist, and I am sure the governments of other European Union countries so the same.

While there are some extremists amongst some groups of environmental activists who work by direct action most are peaceful demonstrators. Nevertheless, they too are being watched and even young children are forcibly strip-searched when going near demos with their parents.

Obviously, those small boys and girls are carrying nasty weapons with which to disrupt power station and what-have-you. Mind you, scaring peaceful demonstrators and ec-warriors is a lot easier than actually fighting real crime and hunting real terrorists.

Spying on environmental activists and eco-warriors serves no one's interests but that of the big corporations, whether power utility companies or others. So, let's end this insult to democracy. Then again, our democracy is a fake one anyway.

According to even the experts in the field the do not see and claim never to have said that any environmentalist is going to or has committed any violent acts.

So why then all these highly secretive operations and the harassment of people attending such demonstrations against coal-fired power stations, etc.? Well the answer can be found above, I should think. It is easier.

There does not seem a single proven instance of a planned attempt in the UK to harm people in the cause of defending the environment, something which is in sharp contrast to animal rights campaigning, where there has been plenty of violence. But every year a shadowy body spends most of its £5m budget on countering a non-existent threat that officers call eco-terrorism.

The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) employed the undercover officer Mark Kennedy, who was embedded and bedded for seven years among peaceful green activists. Kennedy claims that it has supervised 15 other undercover agents on the same mission.

But what is that mission? Well, they can't tell and won't you. NPOIU is run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, that is to say by ACPO. But ACPO, as Simon Jenkins pointed out, is not a police force or police service but it is a private limited company, beyond democratic scrutiny, and government scrutiny, and not subject to freedom of information laws. Not that the FOI laws have any teeth in the first place and we are still nearly as bad off as far as the secrecy in government and elsewhere is concerned as we were in the 1970s and 1980s.

While ACPO receives much of its funding from the British government, it is not accountable to the public in any way, shape or form. It thus appear like a state-sanctioned private militia, fighting public protest on behalf of corporations, by means of special undercover units and operations.

ACPO is, while a limited company, basically, a club of British chief police officers, or should we call it a “Lodge”, who work very much in secrecy.

Kennedy, the undercover officer who was seconded from the Metropolitan Police to this ACPO unit says his superior officer told him that the information he gathered "was going directly to Tony Blair's desk". While we may not have any proof for this it does sound feasible and plausible, as it fits in with the paranoid style that Blair imported into British politics.

The police are fighting (on whose orders) – often without obvious justification – to shield destructive companies from both unlawful and lawful challenges and their actions during some recent demonstrations, such as at the G20 summit in 2009, and others, should be proof enough.

The police, and here especially ACPO, which is not a police force but a club of senior police officers, is completely out of control as far as environmental activists and protesters are concerned, while they allow corporations to get away with murder, literally.

The new Con-Lib coalition government under Cameron and Clegg claims to be concerned about both civil liberties and law enforcement and keeps talking about freedoms and all such jazz.

If it is truly committed to these principles then it will strip the Association of Chief Police Officers of its powers and its funding, shut down the units it runs, and launch an inquiry into the alleged collusion between senior police officers and large corporations. But I am not holding my breath. Blue may suit me as a color as far as clothing is concerned but not in the face.

© 2011