Domestic Extremist

You live in a state that can’t tell the difference between Extinction Rebellion and National Action, between Judi Dench and Combat 18, and thinks cyclists and vegans and peace activists are a threat to society.

This has a long history.

“Counter-terrorism police placed the non-violent group Extinction Rebellion (XR) on a list of extremist ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent programme, which aims to catch those at risk of committing atrocities, the Guardian has learned. The climate emergency campaign group was included in a 12-page guide produced by counter-terrorism police in the south-east titled Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism, which is marked as “official”. XR featured alongside threats to national security such as neo-Nazi terrorism and a pro-terrorist Islamist group. The guide, aimed at police officers, government organisations and teachers who by law have to report concerns about radicalisation, was dated last November.”

Read the document here:

View this document on Scribd

It’s a real insight to realise that the British state finds actual self-confessed Nazis just as offensive and threatening as schoolchildren worried about climate change.

It’s being presented as all a terrible misunderstanding but it has its roots in the rhetoric of very senior politicians and in the conflation of terrorism and legitimate protest in the west, as states realise that there the economic interests they represent and the destruction they cause are in complete conflict.

The roots of this outrage are many – but we should note three: first the (little noticed) conflation of independence supporting voters with ISIS (Separatists and Extremists) at the last General Election, second the long-standing attacks on environmental protestors in the USA and the militarisation of the police (see Barbarism in Dakota) which is part of a wider pattern in western societies, third the criminalisation of legitimate protest and the new surveillance tools being used against peaceful protesters in England.

We can add to this the disgraceful language of the Prime Minister. As I wrote in De Smog:

“Like in so much of public debate, the Prime Minister sets the tone. As a fortnight of peaceful protest started in London, Boris Johnson called the Extinction Rebellion protestors “importunate nose-ringed crusties in hemp-smelling bivouacs” at an event at Banqueting House for the launch of the third volume of an official biography of Margaret Thatcher.

The Prime Minister’s tone was echoed throughout the media as the full force of the state prepared to come down on people peacefully protesting in defence of our future.

Leo McKinstry in The Sun called them “a deranged fundamentalist religion.” “Extinction Rebellion trades in misery and fear, with suffering as the only route to salvation. Filled with loathing for mankind, there is nothing compassionate about this creed. Its activists warn of climate change disaster, but their own policies would lead to chaos, meltdown and mass unemployment,” he said. McKinstry’s tirade is echoed in the paper’s own editorial, which rather confusingly calls Extinction Rebellion a “Marxist doomsday cult”.

Last year the Telegraph would chip-in with an editorial resurrecting an old trope of confusing peaceful protest with terrorism: “The right to protest does not extend to acting like a terrorist”, it assured its readers.

As we said before: “This has been a strategic part of British policing for a decade, it’s not some clerical error, or typo. We don’t even know what ‘domestic extremism’ really means.”

The phenomenon of framing legitimate protest as acts of terrorism is global, we can see it most explicitly in the Dakota Pipeline protests where 21 year-old Sophia Wilansky had her arm blown off by the police in 2016. 

The process is one in which factors spiral: police claim the need to be militarised in the face of ongoing disruption and protest, political fears about terrorism feed that budget, the surveillance state has to justify itself so turns inwards.

We know from the Spycops Scandal that this has a deep history.

We now know that a body called the SPL (Subversion in Public Life) was established in the 1980s comprising senior civil servants, MI5 and Special Branch. This sought to control and blacklist trade unionists.

As Iain Cobain has written (‘Subversive’ civil servants secretly blacklisted under Thatcher’):

“The majority, 733 people, were identified as Trotskyists, and a further 607 as communists. Forty-five were said to be fascists, and 35 Welsh or Scottish nationalists, “black or Asian racial extremists” or anarchists. MI5 also compiled lists of suspect local councillors and active trade unionists deemed to be of similar concern.”

We know that the police operated illegally in Scotland for a sustained period of time, and that this invasion of civil liberties is still being ignored and covered-up.

We know that the former Chief Constable, Phil Gormley, sanctioned deep cover infiltration by spycop, Mark Kennedy, who deceived environmental activist, Kate Wilson, into an intimate relationship.

The most telling part of the Counter terrorism document is when it explains why XR is considered a threat, it states: “Extinction Rebellion is an anti-establishment philosophy that seeks system change.”

That says it all.








Comments (12)

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  1. Daniel Raphael says:

    Excellent as always, tweeted as widely as I could tag it. Please continue.

  2. Ann Rayner says:

    Where do the Yes movement figure in this? We are seeking system change, after all.

    1. Good question. See Iain Cobain’s reference:

      “The majority, 733 people, were identified as Trotskyists, and a further 607 as communists. Forty-five were said to be fascists, and 35 Welsh or Scottish nationalists, “black or Asian racial extremists” or anarchists. MI5 also compiled lists of suspect local councillors and active trade unionists deemed to be of similar concern.”

      The point for me Ann would be to connect in solidarity all the groups under surveillance / perceived as a threat?

      1. john learmonth says:

        MI5 also keep tabs on far right white nationalists but i presume your more than happy with this ?

        1. John docherty says:

          What on Earth are you trying to babble about . By your reasoning embody challenging a false conviction wants to let out all prisoners.
          Don’t bother replying as I know what your standard of contributions are.

          For XR and Indy the heart of the problem lies in the City of Westminster and City of London. The heart of Empire and financial criminality worldwide.

  3. Graham Ennis says:

    this document has already been censored on Scribed. It is marked:
    Sorry! This document is not publicly available.
    The owner has set this document to private.

    You will not be able to read it unless the owner changes it to public on their uploads page, or sends you a direct link.

  4. SleepingDog says:

    Hereditary monarchism is an extreme form of political nepotism, so I guess royalists should logically be Prevented, along with Christians who argue that Christians are oppressed at home or abroad (or only accept God as a political authority and want to fuse head of state with head of state religion). Defending the status quo requires illogical contortions and omissions, however. And the inclusion of threats against Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rights are part of state terrorism, and I am sure they must have planned a retraction after the message was spread.

    The essential political problem is that if we had a modern constitutional arrangement, clauses such as environmental and animal protection could be added by formal means (perhaps requiring a supermajority referendum that could be triggered by some objective threshold and allowing mass public debate and deliberation). Children in school would be taught how to achieve such change. The extremist UK state is dead set against allowing any such publicly-editable constitution. No wonder they fear groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

    Still, this looks to me like desperation. The UK is increasingly revealed as a state where extremists have long clung to power, and the fortress walls built around their privileges might to some of the establishment be looking more and more like a cul-de-sac. Or prophetically, prison walls closing in.

  5. Mary McCabe says:

    The usual dictionary definition of “terrorism” is “The systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion”.

    However governments and their media propagandists have never used the word in this sense. To them it means “opposing the State”. Nothing to do with whether violence is used or whether terror is deliberately spread amongst the population.

    So the armed Spanish police who terrified the passive Catalonian voters with their batons were not terrorists. But the act of handing out leaflets or speaking at a peaceful demonstration makes you a terrorist.

  6. Hamish100 says:

    Now we have an extremist Ruk PM and his toady the SOS for Scotland saying that even if the SNP ins in the elections next year with a mandate for a referendum or independence it will not be allowed. Why?
    Because the tories and the right wing has said so.

    Democracy has taken another blow in the EU.

    1. Malcolm says:

      Goes along with the carriage notices in the Clockwork Orange to report your neighbour to Strathclyde,s finest-Glasgow Police

  7. Joe Erasmus says:

    This is further evidence that we are now, and have been for some years, living in a Fascist state. The Fascist state seeks to remove all opposition, not through peaceful means, but through its monopoly over the legitimate use of state coercion and force (carried out by the police). Another fascist tactic is to ramp up fear and invoke panic over ‘thought crime’. This inevitably results to the policing and the criminalisation of ‘political beliefs’ (we have repeatedly seen it with police Scotland’s appalling treatment of the Kurds in Edinburgh

    ‘Crime’ is a political construction, brought into being (created, constructed, invented) by the state, and policed and punished by the state.

    If we don’t resist this process, then the criminalisation of thoughts and beliefs will continue to be expanded by the police, criminalising more and more of our ‘legitimate’ political activities. This is problematic on a number of levels, none more so than the fact the police, in every political context , are the state police. In a Fascist state (like the UK is fast becoming), this poses problems not only for the ‘democratic right’ to protest, but to the right to free speech, freedom of expression and the right of association. Most worryingly, political policing in a Fascist state, poses the biggest threat to our right to ‘think’ what we want, without fear of arrest and criminalisation. Ironically, the policing of thought crime that the UK and US used as use as evidence against communism (the Stazi in East Germany, thought-reform in China, the various political rehabilitation programmes within the Gulags of the USSR) is now being expanded across the globe. If we allow it to spread unchallenged, we will, sooner or later, find ourselves the subject of attention of the Police, who will have interpreted our desire for a better world, as a direct challenge to the very interests they exist to protect.

    1. john learmonth says:

      We live in a ‘fascist state’?
      Try living in Iran/China/Russia/N.Korea/Vietnam…i could go on……

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