Tag Archives: Climate Camp

Policing the police: Electro Hippies expose NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU

The Free Range Electro Hippies Collective has just released ‘NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU: Britain’s Secretive Police Force’, a guide to three of the police organisations currently being used to suppress dissent – the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, the Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit, and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

The role of NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU –

* The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit,
* The Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit, and
* The National Public Order Intelligence Unit
– all parts of a private organisation (ACPO) that is exercising public functions in relation to policing policy

– can be seen from two extreme points of view:

* groups working on policy and in a policing support role to protect the public; or,
* under the guise of countering “extremism”, developing policies to crack down on campaigning groups in a way that could be seen as the kernel of what could eventually become a truly “secret” police force.

This report examines what NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU are, and poses the question as to whether private organisations working unaccountably outside of the mainstream police service are compatible with the operation of a free, open and accountable society.

The full guide is downloadable as a PDF:

» Britain’s Secretive Police Force (via the Electro Hippies website)
» Britain’s Secretive Police Force (via Bristle’s Blog)

The Electro Hippies Collective has also put together a facsimile of NETCU’s ‘Policing Protest Pocket Legislation Guide’, presumably recreated from the copy lost by a police officer at Climate Camp last year:

» Policing Protest Pocket Legislation Guide (via the Electro Hippies website)
» Policing Protest Pocket Legislation Guide (via Bristle’s Blog)

Please read and distribute.

(Tip o’ the titfer: NETCUwatch)

G20 Climate Camp witnesses wanted for complaint against police

Does anyone have any footage or photos of the evening attacks by police at the north end of the Climate Camp – a number of us were beaten by police at the corner of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street in the evening maybe around 9 /10ish. Particulary looking for footage of a woman wearing a red jacket sitting on the road who was beaten and had her head crushed between 2 riot shields – needed for evidence to make a complaint.

No contact details given, so if you can help perhaps drop a comment to the end of this message on IndyMedia with a contact email.

Watching the police: Attack on the G20 Climate Camp (part 2)

Police attack peaceful Climate Camp, 1/4/9

So, having looked for (and found) likely candidates for the locations mentioned by oimelnikov, I turned back to the footage of the police attack on Climate Camp in Bishopsgate to see if they were also correct about the units involved.

To the bottom of the screen for the most part is a large bloc of police officers in full blue boilersuit & visored helmet riot duty get up. In addition they mostly seem to be armed with see-through riot shields:

Police attack peaceful Climate Camp, 1/4/9

As we can see from the pictures above, this ‘blue bloc’ seems mostly to be a mix of officers wearing helmets marked either “MP TW” or “MP U55”. This would appear to indicate that they are Metropolitan Police divisional officers from the Twickenham sector and members of serial 5 of Territorial Support Group 5.

Towards the top of the screen are mostly officers wearing high visibility jackets over their uniforms, with black riot shields instead of transparent ones:

Police attack peaceful Climate Camp, 1/4/9

As the pictures show, their helmets are marked with the “KB” prefix. In addition, some officers wear tabards which also bear the “KB” prefix. This indicates that they are divisional officers from the Barking sector of Barking & Dagenham policing borough. [ETA: After initially identifying ‘KB’ as Barking sector of Barking & Dagenham borough, I subsequently lost the reference for this, so queried the identification. However, I have since found a list of ‘Met Police Subdivision’ identifying codes on the National Archive website, which would seem to be a fairly authoritative source.]

It is also interesting to see in amongst the Barking contingent (from whence, judging by the video footage, some of the most savage baton beatings were given out) a police cameraman and minder (identified by “EG” for ‘Evidence Gathering’ on the dark blue tabard to the right of the picture below):

Police attack peaceful Climate Camp, 1/4/9

Whether the video footage shot by EG7 finds its way – unedited – into the public domain, or whether it gets ‘lost’, or else accidentally stored next to a really, really powerful magnet, is a question which only time will answer.

One final thing of note: the video captures what looks like a tactical conflab between senior officer on the ground before they order their troops to attack the Climate Camp:

Senior TSG officers confer before clearing Climate Camp, 1/4/9

The officer to the right of that group, wearing the red epaulettes on his shoulders, can apparently later be seen in the video to the rear of the TSG 5 contingent, flanked by three officers each wearing white epaulettes:

Police attack peaceful Climate Camp, 1/4/9

Could this be Inspector Giel, commander of TSG 5’s serial 5 (as identified on this TSG command structure diagram, found online here), along with his three sergeants?

So, to wrap up, per the YouTube comments by oimelnikov, there are clearly TSG 5 officers – or certainly those wearing TSG 5’s helmets – on duty at the attack on the Climate Camp. There is a police station with a seemingly large garaging capacity in Clapham at an address near to two roads with ‘Larkhall’ in their name, and a park called Larkhall. So far I have not been able to positively identify any officers bearing TSG 4 insignia, but the address in Catford does lead us to a large police vehicle compound. In addition officers bearing the identifying mark “KB” which denotes that they are based in Twickenham and Barking are clearly visible all from the same policing borough.

ETA:

Someone has forwarded me a link to a photoset on Flickr which shows the KB police contingent (the ones in the hi-vis jackets to the top of the picture) getting stuck in to the hippies. From these photos one can clearly make out some of their warrant numbers:

  • CJ177
  • CC050
  • CW364
  • CC614

(There are also a couple which are less clear – possibly CH454 and one ending in 103?)

» Watching the police: Attack on the G2 Climate Camp (part 1)

My posts on G20:

Monday 30th March

Tuesday 31st March

Thursday 2nd April

Friday 3rd April

Sunday 5th April

Tuesday 7th April

Watching the police: Attack on the G20 Climate Camp (part 1)

I’m sure we all know to take YouTube comments with as big a pinch of salt as we would IMDb discussion board posts, but this is quite interesting. It was posted to the video on YouTube of the brutal clearing by police of the peaceful G20 Climate Camp on Bishopsgate (11,846 122,495 views and counting – and that’s just this copy), by oimelnikov:

Most of the attackers are from 5TSG and 4TSG (the call signs on their helmets are U5 and U4), based in Clapham (Larkhall Road) and Catford (Aitken Road) respectively.

Well, this intrigued me. To start with, I had a look to see if I could find possible sites for Territorial Support Group (TSG) bases at the locations mentioned. Each TSG (there are five in total) comprises five operational serials, plus support staff. Each serial splits across three vans, with nine per van. That means we’re looking for locations for TSG 4 and TSG 5 that each can garage at least 15 vans and more than a hundred coppers.

Now, there doesn’t appear to be a Larkhall Road in Clapham, though there is a Larkhall Lane and a Larkhall Rise. However, Clapham police station is on the corner of Union Grove and Smedley Street – which then leads on to Larkhall Lane and is also close to Larkhall park:

Clapham Police Station, Union Grove SW8
Clapham Police Station, Union Grove SW8
Clapham Police Station, Union Grove SW8
Clapham Police Station, Union Grove SW8

Judging by the pictures, the police station compound does seem to occupy a large footprint, with the building at the back looking like it could be vehicle workshops or some such similar.

[ETA: Please disregard the above – TSG 5 is in fact based just down the road at 157 Larkhall Lane SW4 6RE, in a large compound bounded by Smedley Road and Union Road, where the main entrance is. Please see the later post on the ‘G20 death cop’ going on the sick for details.]

Down in Catford, at the end of Aitken Road, is a large gated compound which operates as the SE garage of the Traffic Operational Command Unit, though other Metropolitan Police units also seem to be based there, in the main building and in adjacent offices:

SE Garage, Catford
SE Garage, Catford

So, looking at all this, oimelnikov’s comment seems to have some merit.

» Watching the police: Attack on the G2 Climate Camp (part 2)

Update:

Channel 4 News is now claiming that Officer ‘A’ – the one who assaulted Ian Tomlinson shortly before he died – was wearing a helmet marked ‘U41’, indicating a TSG officer from serial 1 (commanded by Inspector Dyer) of TSG4, based at Aitken Road, Catford.

[Edited to add update, Thursday 23/4/9]

Police brutality at peaceful Climate Camp In The City on G20 Day 1

Reuploaded from the original on IndyMedia.

ETA:

I originally posted up the following as a comment accompanying a link to the video on Ian Bone’s blog, but seeing as someone else has cross-posted the text elsewhere, I might as well add it here too:

There is a very clear video of the police violently wading into the hippies at the climate camp on Bishopsgate up on IndyMedia.

Whatever you or I might think of the politics of the climate camp, or indeed of fundamentalist non-violence, the video lays bare the function of the police force in all its naked, violent, powermonger-protecting glory.

And the individuals who choose to join the police, who then – day by day, situation by situation – choose to carry out orders which include, as here, acting as an anonymous, homogenous bloc of brute force, beating, bloodying, slavering over peaceniks who don’t even defend themselves despite the shields and the batons, well… I think we all know what sort of people they are. I think we all know how big and brave they are when they face anything resembling a fair fight.

ETA:

My posts on G20:

Monday 30th March

Tuesday 31st March

Thursday 2nd April

Friday 3rd April

Sunday 5th April

Tuesday 7th April

The Great Brutish Bobby: Politically-motivated, disingenuous and without conscience

Photojournalist Jason N Parkinson has posted up an excellent short documentary on the police harassment of media workers covering the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth last August:

In August 2008, environmental protestors set up camp in Kent, England, to protest the current and newly proposed E-On coal-fired power stations at Kingsnorth.

Part One of two films, Covering Climate Camp documents not the protest movement, but the journalists trying to cover the story for independent and mainstream news organisations.

In some of the worst scenes of police interference the press were subjected to stop-and-search, harassment, aggression and violence, which led to the National Union of Journalists and the industry media publically slamming the police on the grounds of press freedom restriction.

Part Two of two films, Covering Climate Camp continues to document the press coverage and subsequent press freedom restrictions. As the policing gets heavier, journalists trying to cover the story for independent and mainstream news organisations face surveillance, harassment, endless stop-and-searches and assault – they are even followed by a police unit to a McDonald’s restaurant.

Tip o’ the titfer: Marc Vallée

Green scare UK: Observer wages police’s proxy war on eco-activists

Police warn of growing threat from eco-terrorists

Fear of deadly attack by lone maverick as officers alert major firms to danger of green extremism

By Mark Townsend and Nick Denning

(The Observer, 9 November 2008)

Police have warned of the growing threat of eco-terrorism after revealing they are investigating a group which has supporters who believe that reducing the Earth’s population by four-fifths will help to protect the planet.

Officers from a specialist unit dedicated to tackling domestic terrorism are monitoring an eco-movement called Earth First! which has advocates who state that cutting the Earth’s population by 80 per cent will ease pressure on other species. Officers are concerned a ‘lone maverick’ eco-extremist may attempt a terrorist attack aimed at killing large numbers of Britons.

The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, which collates intelligence and advice to police forces, has revealed that eco-activists are researching a list of target companies which they believe are major polluters or are exacerbating the threat of climate change.

The unit is currently monitoring blogs and internet traffic connected to a network of UK climate camps and radical environmental movements under the umbrella of Earth First!, which has claimed responsibility for a series of criminal acts in recent months.

A senior source at the unit said it had growing evidence of a threat from eco-activists. ‘We have found statements that four-fifths of the human population has to die for other species in the world to survive.

‘There are a number of very dedicated individuals out there and they could be dangerous to other people.’

Earth First! says its mission is ‘about direct action to halt the destruction of the Earth’ and advocates ‘civil disobedience and monkeywrenching’, tactics that include sabotage and disruptive behaviour. The movement has links to US environmental extremists which have waged a campaign of violence in America, including the firebombing of a string of 4×4 car dealerships in California in 2003 and alleged arson attacks on other property.

The anti-extremist unit has already alerted a number of major companies which have been accused of being carbon polluters with advice on how they can withstand being targeted by eco-terrorists. Companies are thought to include airport operator BAA, an international mining conglomerate BHP Billiton and firms connected to UK coal-fired power stations.

‘They are doing research of possible targets, looking at shareholders and financiers. For example, they could research an airline and see how many of its aircraft are not environmentally friendly,’ said the NETCU source.

Although green extremists have yet to embark on an orchestrated campaign of violence in the UK, officers warn that they may be about to launch a campaign of intimidation and fear aimed at disrupting businesses. ‘For some people, if they can justify it in their minds, then it’s a noble cause even if it’s a criminal action. They haven’t started yet, but we believe they will come up with a strategy and tactics,’ said the source at the unit, who described the movement as well-funded and organised.

A spate of recent attacks, for which Earth First! supporters have claimed responsibility, has included vandalism of branches of seven German banks such as Deutsche Bank and Allianz AG. The actions were apparently because the banks hold shares in UK Coal, which plans to build new coal-fired power stations.

A statement on the Earth First! website explains the attacks by saying: ‘Exploitation of the environment and people by the state and industry go hand in hand. They cannot be separated and both must be attacked. Social war, not climate chaos.’

Another attack hit a quarry in Staffordshire which belongs to Bardon Aggregates, a company hat also owns a controversial quarry at Glensanda on the north-west coast of Scotland. The Scottish quarry is accused of spoiling the Highlands environment. The Earth First! website states: ‘We slashed tyres, stripped paint jobs, glued locks and trashed conveyor belts. All the earth movers were hit and many of the cement and aggregate trucks. This action cost us very little but should cost Bardon thousands.’

Among the network of groups under the Earth First! umbrella are various climate camps. Last August police found a stash of knives and weapons beside one such camp in Kent. Protesters, however, said they had nothing to do with the weapons and accused police of launching a ‘smear campaign’.

A spokesman for Derby Earth First! said the movement was strictly non-violent, if not always law-abiding. He said: ‘If someone does ecological damage we would perhaps break the law and protect the ecology, but the ecology also includes humans.

‘We’re all about communities. Capitalism is the problem and we want to return to a more sustainable time. But we are not about reducing the population, that is just scaremongering by the police.’

The rise of eco-extremism coincides with the fall of the animal rights activist movement. Police said the animal rights movement was in ‘disarray’ and that its ringleaders had either been prosecuted or were awaiting prosecution, adding that its ‘critical mass’ of hardcore extremists was sufficiently depleted to have halted its effectiveness. Last Thursday a prominent animal rights activist accused of planting petrol bombs at Oxford University was cleared of possessing an explosive substance with intent.

Reports on the Earth First! Journal website, which tells users how to send encrypted emails, reveals connections to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) which has been linked to a series of violent attacks in the US. ELF was classified as the top domestic terrorism threat in the US by the FBI in March 2001.

The ELF was founded in 1992 in Brighton by members of the Earth First! movement who wanted to form a breakaway group that would use more extreme tactics.

There’s so much that should be said about this, but I don’t have the time at the moment, so here’s a few convenient bullet points:

  • Unnamed, anonymous, uncorroborated source
  • No serious attempt to verify any of the claims
  • No background to NETCU
  • Smear and innuendo used in place of facts and evidence

All in all, an odd ‘news’ story in that there appears to be no news event on which to hang it – it’s almost as though The Observer is simply repeating a line fed to them by NETCU in line with NETCU’s own strategic or tactical objectives. Surely not!

And here’s a few links:

ETA mk4 (Thursday):

Some more links to blogs picking up on this:

Internet coup! NETCU anti-protest guide hits the public domain

Oops! Police at the Climate Camp in Kent have dropped a clanger – or more specifically a copy of their demonstrators=turrists handbook, the NETCU Policing Protest Pocket Legislation Guide (“For Police Use Only”).

NETCU? Who they? Well, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit “forms part of the national policing response to domestic extremism”, and gives advice to individual police forces and other ‘enforcement agencies’ relating to this. There’s even a handy little biography on the inside page of Policing Protest (with even handier contact details):

NETCU provides tactical advice and guidance on policing single-issue domestic extremism. The unit also supports companies and other organisations that are the targets of domestic extremism campaigns. NETCU reports through the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) to the Association of Chief Police Officers Terrorism and Allied Matters – ACPO(TAM) committee.

National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU)
PO Box 525, Huntingdon, PE29 9AL
Tel: 01480 425091
Fax: 01480 425007
Email: mailbox@netcu.pnn.police.uk
Web: http://www.netcu.org.uk

Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to public authorities in England and Wales. Under the Act, organisations listed in Schedule 1 to the Act – either by name or by description – have to provide public access to information they hold. NETCU is not a public authority as defined by Schedule 1 and therefore there are no obligations on NETCU to disclose information under the Act. Police forces are advised not to release this guide following freedom of information requests.

Edition 2 – November 2007

It could be seen as a successor to projects such as ARNI, the Animal RIghts National Index which was subsequently rolled out to encompass a wide range of environmental and social activists.

One can also see it in the context of the ‘Green Scare‘, the post-COINTELPRO pursuit of the ELF and others in the United States.

And let us also consider NETCU’s targeting of groups it considers to be engaged in ‘tertiary terrorism’ (most notably animal rights campaigns such as SHAC).

From creating databases which log the activities of entirely lawful groups and individuals, through to the arbitrary casting of politically-motivated behaviours beyond the spheres of the lawful, unlawful or criminal into the less rationally-bound romper room labelled terrorism (with all its attendant emotional responses); that is the nature of the NETCU game.

In other words, through bureaucratic manoeuvring, artless sophistry and ideologically-motivated authoritarianism, NETCU shifts the goalposts for what passes for legal protest. Thus a terrorist is not defined by her or his actions, but by having been labelled a terrorist (by way of ‘domestic extremist’). Thus terrorism is not “the systematic use of terror, esp as a means of coercion” (Penguin Pocket English Dictionary, 1990), it is any activity undertaken by those previously defined by the new terms of reference as ‘terrorists’.

That the NETCU website is liberally sprinkled with pictures of yogurt-weaving peace marchers, clowns(!) and, erm, the Countryside Alliance should give an indication of exactly whom the organisation considers a ‘domestic extremist’ – that’s right, pretty much anyone who ever dares dissent from the Westminster-approved script.

So read the Policing Protest book and find out how you should behave in future lest you accidentally become a dangerous terrorist.

Links: