Pre-emptive Policing 153

I am deeply concerned about pre-emptive policing,  or arresting people who might be going to do something wrong.  I frankly don’t believe the BBC’s claim that intelligence indicated that anti-G8 protestors in Soho had weapons, or at any rate I do not believe it was honest intelligence.  I note there are no reports of these weapons actually having been discovered.

The rounding up, arresting and beating of groups of protestors before they had even begun to protest is so taken for granted in London now that I can find no reflection in the media of the outrage I feel.  If an old duffer like me feels completely alienated from the authoritarian state in which I find I now live, how do younger, more radical people feel?  There seems a terrible divide between the corporate-political elite surrounded by their massive Praetorian guard at Bilderberg, and everybody else.  Society is not stable.

The BBC has lost all sense of self-knowledge.  Yesterday it displayed scenes of police beating protestors for no apparent reason on the streets of London, which was presented as protecting innocent shoppers on Oxford Street.  This immediately followed very similar scenes of police beating protestors on the streets of Istanbul, which was portrayed as a terrible act of anti-Western suppression.  Irony is dead.

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153 thoughts on “Pre-emptive Policing

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  • Donald MacDonald

    I tweeted about this at the time. Absolute scandal. This isn’t creeping authoritarianism, it’s leaping authoritarianism.

    Time for a revolution. The British establishment will never change itself, it needs to be changed by radical action. The Scots leaving the Union may just save democracy in the British Isles.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    I seem to remember the police first started implementing Orwell’s ideas on Thoughtcrime during the big miners’ strike, when they arrested flying pickets before they’d even left home. And what year was that? 1984

  • Loz

    Pre-Crime Punishment Enforcment

    Police stopping people protesting = Dictatorship

    I feel your pain Craig

  • Steve

    I’m glad you’ve posted on this as I was thinking exactly this yesterday. The article in The Standard last night was outrageous. And to see the police over reaction is living proof that they are only interested in low fruit instead of tackling real crime. Hopeless.

  • antony goddard

    I read about mass arrests in the UK during the late 1980s as a means of controlling ‘acid-house’ parties. Although I was never interested
    in attending these events, and did not particularly like the mind set of those who went to ‘acid-house’ it still seemed upsetting that the government chose the route of heavy muscle based policing for these
    events which by the nature of their suppression became riotous assemblies, with the riots being started by the police themselves.

    The Thatcher regime went to considerable trouble to outlaw acid-house with legislation condemning music with ‘loud repetitive beats’ and suchlike. The population as a whole did not seem to object.

  • CyNick

    Individually the average person will not approve of such police state tactics, but when it comes time to actually do anything about it very few care, in my less than humble opinion. We are bombarded with so many distractions (TV, internet, apps, making ends meet) and for most of us we are still just comfortable enough to not risk this to do anything.
    Basically we either consciously or subconsciously know we’re living in the Matrix and dirty empire maintaining wars and policing are the things propping it all up. Things we all really know to a lesser or greater degree but don’t say:

    * Rich white collar types do not do time for even the largest and lethal crimes (HSBC, financial crisis, Blair, Bush, etc);
    * Poor are exploited, marginalized, scapegoated and sacrificed (Tea Party).
    * Middle-class are taxed, brainwashed and kept comfortable and busy enough to prevent trouble. (The Guardian)
    * Media and especially BBC are puppets to preserve above. (see work of Media Lens)
    * Most wars are about resources (got to admire Trump’s honesty).
    * Climate change is probably true and we’re all going to hell on a hand cart, but hey, this environment stuff is all very well but I mean what about jobs?
    * People like Assange, Snowden, Manning, you just cause trouble and risk breaking the Matrix. And you make me feel bad and cause my head to hurt.

    I honestly believe that police in UK will soon disappear and murder people openly and will meet minimal resistance for doing so. They must have done something wrong! I mean that Menezes should not have been “looking like a terrorist” and living here.
    Sorry about depressing tone, but feels about right today… doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to right the wrongs.

  • Komodo

    I think Nevermind put his finger on it in the last couple of days: our protesters are naive to think that, the police aren’t usually slightly ahead of their planning. One of the most important aims of public action has to be to publicise the cause at issue. The police effort is aimed at preventing this. Pre-emptive detention is wholly logical in this context. The most effective protests, such as Taksim, come right out of the blue, unite disparate groups with a clearly articulated grievance, and are so massive as to be unignorable by the media – indeed to attract foreign media. Arresting people who haven’t done anything wrong comes too late to affect the common purpose, and is seen across the world.
    We should not be protesting at Bilderberg or G8. The protests are easily anticipated by government, as easily neutralised and at this stage only attract minority interests. We should instead be protesting being governed by a cabal of complacent Etonians and their obsequious hangers-on, who have converted this country into a cash cow for very rich people who do very little of what most of us consider to be work. This concept attracts cross-party support, and unites UKIP and the Socialist Workers. The Turkish protests began with the proposed re”development” of a recreational area of some charm in a city rather short on recreational areas: ostensibly nothing to do with the motor for the current eruption, which was not too different from what the majority of UK citizens are suffering right now: a government imposing policies which have not been democratically tested.

    The Turks, if I can generalise, are a damn sight more persistent than we are. They are much more comfortable with acting together for a common cause, if the cause is big enough. And perhaps they are braver. But should we ever decide to emulate them – it will be a zeitgeist thing, not organised by agitators on Twitter – God help our rulers.

    Rant ends.

  • Flaming June

    I agree Craig. Sky News were worse though. They were covering it live well before the BBC got on to it. Their harpie Kay Burley sounded like the Met’s PR dept at times especially when the incident occurred on the roof of the empty Beak Street premises.

  • Bena


    The suppression of civil liberties in Britain is now so commonplace that few notice it. If activists are beaten by police on the streets of London, it part of the routine of the police preventing disruption to shopping. If demonstrators are kettled for several hours (i.e under indiscriminate street arrest without access to food, drink, toilets), it is the most practical way of clearing space for people to “go about their business.” Etc.

  • Komodo

    …a government imposing policies which have not been democratically tested and which benefit only its close associates

  • Tony

    What is apparent from your observations here and from the revelations about Prism and telephone call interceptions is that the general public is now perceived as high-risk and possibly now a greater threat to the ruling elite than traditional perceived enemies – traditionally Johnny foreigners who are easily identifiable because they don’t speak English and look different from us.

    They are scared that the general public might finally work out that the forces which are supposed to keep us quiet and under control are insufficient to do the job without getting a lot tougher, a lot nastier and keeping a very close eye on what we might be up to in any collective sense. The best way to keep this giant sleeping is more simple: not to abuse us with bad government. Phoney austerity measures, unjustified wars thousands of miles away and high unemployment at home may look attractive strategies to keep us under control, but they are misguided and will instigate civil unrest which modern communication systems enable more efficiently than ever. Megalomaniac monitoring does not remove the problem which does not need to be a problem in the first place.

    This all started out as part of the “War on Terror” after 9/11 and changing regimes which did not do what they were told, but has mutated into a totalitarian clamp-down on the general population in case we rise up and threaten the plans and power of the elite. Look at Turkey, look at Egypt, look at Greece. I believe gross civil unrest in these countries was not part of Washington’s and Whitehall’s plans for the world, and they are frightened it may accelerate closer to home if they do not assert their authority over us.

    Many of us thought that World War II put an end to fascism – but it seems a tough nut to crack.

  • Indigo

    “If an old duffer like me feels completely alienated from the authoritarian state in which I find I now live, how do younger, more radical people feel”?

    Sometimes I think that we ‘old duffers’ are more outraged and “alienated” by the “authoritarian state in which [we] now live” than many younger members of our society. Having less experience they unquestionably accept the society in which they live … and they’re well conditioned by the media.

    I note KinfofWelshNoir’s post on the miner’s strike … he’s right but, bizarrely, I felt that after this disgusting abuse of police/state power things could only improve … how wrong I was.

    Disappointment is the strongest of emotions.

  • lwtc247

    I would love to see British people spontaneously form their
    OWN parliament, make up of ordinary people who participate
    debate and implement it’s findings, totally ignoring rotten Westminster.
    Why not? It would be a high level of freedom and democracy, no?
    (In the absence of shariah of course)

  • Abe Rene

    @Craig “I frankly don’t believe the BBC’s claim..”

    (Gasp) The BBC lying? Frank Gardner, OBE deliberately telling an untruth?

    Evidence that some of these protestors are nutters comes from footage of police having to stop one throwing himself off a 65-foot roof.

  • lwtc247

    @ Komodo
    “We should not be protesting at Bilderberg or G8.” – Most certainly we would. It’s a sign to all that there is resistance to what’s going on. The problem is that people think protest is the be-all and end-all of resistance. It’s not… it’s just the beginning, and it’s LONG past being the step that we should be on.

  • Passerby

    Many of us thought that World War II put an end to fascism – but it seems a tough nut to crack.

    What a refreshing degree of optimism on display?! A very clear example of the success of the mis-education program that is passed as “education”.

    WWII was fought over which brand of fascism is to be imposed. The competing fascist could only settle their differences in the only way they know; kick the crap out of each other. That is of course their constituents got the crap kicked out of them, the fascist bosses just sat back and wound up the respective demographies to go to war; kill each other, destroy whatever they had for public use, and enrich their patrons and sponsors.

    Hence the never ending praise of war; without the military industry our technology would not have advanced as far! As far up whose jacksie is never mentioned or explored, but hey fascists always tell a good story and stick to it; “we went to war to fight fascism” yeah I should cocoa too.

  • nevermind

    Komodo has said it, the general public has to wise up and yes Tony, it is us they fear most.

    If demonstrations were happening all over the country, rather than conveniently all in one place, easy to handle, then it should be possible to show their establishment bias and friendly relations with the hacking media, not to speak of the police federation, an animal of its own kind.

    I have seen a broken down G4S security wagon yesterday in Rampant Horse Street, central Norwich, most likely full of consumer loot, it was guarded by two policemen, their car blue light flashing, a moment were the crass bias in policing was in full public view and people did recognise it, some made comments.

    Organising locally at meetings were people know each other, not on the phone or online. Organise local groups and plan your actions, then put them in a drawer and wait for the right moment. Act decisively and instant, be non violent and respect others in your group and the general public you are disturbing. Always explain yourself to the public but do not let this stop you from doing what needs to be done.

    My concern is with activists, as Craig said, they get disillusioned and dulled down, so keeping activists safe from the start should be a goal. You can do actions without the police knowing, its totally down to your own preps.

    Far from talking about what could be done, that’s down to individual areas discussing their own scope, I merely point to the fact that decentralised actions are safer for activists.
    a very important point to make……
    Aim to make the public laugh, thoughtful points brought over with humour are always remembered by people.

    here is an example. Toms top down tour of County Hall Norfolk, with commercial contracts at full view in Norfolk Property Law offices open to all and sundry.
    He was charged but his court case dismissed as too much faults of the council would have come out.

  • John Goss

    KingofWelshNoir, agreed, pre-emptive policing has been going on for thirty years and nobody knows when the knock on the door is going to come any more. If you are a Muslim it is even worse. The most serious example I can think of is what the police initially did, and the government continued to do, to Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan who collectively spent 14 years in UK prisons without charge before being sent to supermax “torture” prisons in the United States. Blair’s illegal war led to a selective abolition of habeas corpus applied only to the British Muslim community.

    I have made the following FOI request on behalf of Syed Talha Ahsan. I would appreciate it if anyone with an interest in seeing justice done and a fair response from the FCO would click the Follow button to show that other people have an interest in getting answers to some of the questions raised.


  • lwtc247

    Some activists get disillusioned as their activism achieves nothing because they never step off first base of the resistance diamond. Protest, obstruct, go where you’re told not to go, refuse to pay tax (The US and British govt are funding terrorism by the way, it’s only right to refuse to pay) refuse to vote, withdraw your money from the banks. That will see change get moving – particularly the latter.

  • Jives

    Words pretty much fail me at how utterly fucked up it all is.

    Every day seems to bring forth another boot in the balls for sanity,basic human decency and Truth.

    It cant go on like this.

    We are in a time of definitions.

    Choose wisely.

  • Komodo

    @ Komodo
    “We should not be protesting at Bilderberg or G8.” – Most certainly we would. It’s a sign to all that there is resistance to what’s going on.

    Factional demos are easy to characterise as the actions of a small, and by implication, eccentric, minority. Which, in purely numerical terms, is usually the case.

    “What do we want?”
    “An effective Tobin tax on financial transactions to pay for the cost to the community of injudicious trading in the City”
    “Eh? Just a minute, have to look it up…oh…hey, you’re Communists , aren’t you? When do we want it?”

    The problem is that people think protest is the be-all and end-all of resistance. It’s not… it’s just the beginning, and it’s LONG past being the step that we should be on.

    It’s the step we are on, though. More deprivation will be necessary to change the political climate. Looks like that, at any rate, is being ensured by our betters, which is why I think there’s a chance for general, rather than factional protest.

    I agree with Nevermind, not for the first time. The public mood isn’t altered by watching demonstrators on TV, and it isn’t altered by shouting the odds dogmatically (like me). It’s altered by people talking to people they can trust and believe and respect, who are saying what they have for some time been on the verge of thinking.

  • Komodo

    Lwtc – Add to your list -“stop buying stuff you don’t actually need.”, and I agree with you to some extent. However, some means of fouling up the works simply result in legislation designed to unfoul them and penalise you. Choose wisely, indeed.

  • Flaming June

    O/T but you have written about this outrageous injustice before Craig. From the two Davids.

    Chagos marine park is lawful, High Court rules
    Posted by The Editors on June 12, 2013, 10:54 am

    A UK government decision to create a marine park in the Indian Ocean has been upheld by the High Court.

    The controversial reserve was set up around the UK-controlled Chagos Islands in 2010, with commercial fishing banned in areas.

    Former residents said it would effectively bar them from returning because fishing was their livelihood.

    The islanders were evicted in the 1960s to make way for the US Air Force base on the largest island, Diego Garcia.

    Sitting in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting ruled the marine protected area (MPA) was “compatible with EU law”.

    This latest challenge is part of the islanders’ long-running legal battle for the right of return.

  • Flaming June

    Will the PSNI react in the same manner to the likely protests at Lough Erne where CameraOn and his G8 mates meet up on the 17th?

    I learnt last night that there are major plans to despoil the very beautiful surroundings of the Lough to frack out 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which will involve erecting over 60 pads (wellheads).

    Local opposition is growing.


    G8 summit: Irish trade unions call in human rights monitors
    Union congress fears erosion of right to protest amid Northern Ireland’s largest-ever security operation to guard world leaders in County Fermanagh

    Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
    Tuesday 11 June 2013 16.16 BST

    and more here. £4m for the fence!

  • Runner77

    While there is some truth in the view of a cynical corporatist elite exploiting everyone else, I suggest that that underestimates the problem. Corporate ideology is much more deeply rooted within us than this ‘them vs us’ understanding of the issue implies. Here’s an analogy, from environmental theorist John Rodman:

    “Some modifications seem difficult and paradoxical to reverse. The buffalo herd in Stanley Kramer’s film “Bless the Beasts and Children’ thunders out of the pen, released by the daring efforts of a group of heroic boys, only to stop and graze peacefully on a nearby hill, allowing themselves to be rounded up and imprisoned again. Elsa, the Adamsons’ pet lioness, ‘born free’ and then tamed, must be laboriously trained (sic!) to become a wild predator before she can be safely released. Of such ambiguous stories is the mythology of the human condition in the ‘post industrial’ age composed.”

    As Rodman suggests, we (industrialised) humans are peculiarly blind to our own blindness – perhaps because we hubristically assume that we (i.e. humans) are ‘in control’. It seems to me that paradoxically, we won’t regain any degree of control until we realise the extent of our current powerlessness, and correspondingly, the actual power of the system which transcends our awareness.

  • Jives

    Pre-emptive policing eh?

    Whatever next?

    The pre-emptive exoneration of the police at the ‘independent’ inquiry before any crime has occurred?

  • Villager

    June, why don’t you use the flaming inverted commas on your key board? Or you may recall Jon, the moderator’s very recent advice:

    8 Jun, 2013 – 2:12 pm
    I see there was some discussion earlier about how to quote from other sources, so it is clear what is your own prose and what is a quote. To do it, use the {blockquote} tag (but use angle brackets rather than braces). Better yet, wrap with both {blockquote} and {em}. So, use this (substituting angle brackets of course):

    {blockquote}{em}Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt{/em}{/blockquote}

    And that will look like this:

    Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt


    One would like to be able to spot readily what you are saying separately from what you are quoting, without having to sift it out. Hope a couple of more clicks is not too much to ask for?

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