Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am extremely very busy doing spying

So, two heads roll at the highest levels of the Met over phone hacking. I can't say I'm crying for them, but it does beg the question why nobody resigned over Ian Tomlinson's death - and why Bob Broadhurst, in charge of Operation Beat-up-Climate-Campers on the same day, actually appears to have been promoted since.

When Paul Stephenson gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday, he apparently repeated the line that investigating phone hacking was 'not a priority' in 2009 set against the terrorist threats the Met was expected to deal with. Frankly, I think he's got some nerve saying that on the same day the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of 20 environmental activists on the basis of unlawful police infiltration.

The judgement criticised the police for effectively planting an agent provocateur (undercover cop Mark Kennedy) in the environmental movement, and then prosecuting dozens of peaceful protesters for the acts he encouraged. Kennedy was deployed by the shadowy National Public Order Intelligence Unit, which used to sit within the Association of Chief Police Officers, but in the wake of the scandal was transferred to - you guessed it - the Met.

Just for the record, the action for which those protesters were prosecuted took place in, um, 2009. Presumably the same 2009 in which the police were too busy to investigate phone hacking. The previous year, £5.9 million - including a substantial Met contingent - was spent on policing the Kingsnorth Climate Camp, another completely peaceful protest. So thanks, Paul Stephenson, for helpfully highlighting the hypocrisy of the police's insane vendetta against peaceful civil disobedience in general and the environmental movement in particular.

In other protest news, the CPS has finally dropped over 100 cases against protesters for sitting in Fortnum and Mason which should never have been brought in the first place. And, although this is not new news, senior officers have apparently admitted deceiving those protesters into mass arrests. Sadly a few others have received hefty sentences for lashing out against heavyhanded police, even though there's no evidence they hurt anyone (unlike the cop who left a teenager in a coma after last year's student demos - but then, that's obviously different).

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