Print Story He can't be wounded 'cos he's got no heart
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun May 08, 2016 at 02:17:44 AM EST) Reading, Politics, Me, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Undercover". Me. Politics. Links.


What I'm Reading
Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police by Paul Lewis, Rob Evans. Book by two journalists concentrating on the Special Demonstration Squad. There was a scandal when the SDS activities were revealed: the police were sued and a major court case fell apart.

The SDS was a small undercover unit in the Metropolitan Police, set up in 1968 to monitor "subversives", later termed "domestic extremists". They specialised in very long undercover roles in protest groups, usually for years at a time. To maintain an identity they were encouraged to form sexual relationships with activists, sometimes fathering children. So for a period of years they would live 5 or 6 days a week with their activist girlfriends, returning to their wives at the weekend. When the deployment was over they worked hard to maintain their cover: they would act paranoid then announce they were leaving the country to flee the police, send some postcards from abroad, then disappear.

The problems you would expect to happen, happened. The partners and children of the SDS officer were shocked and traumatized. Some officers "went native" and tried to abandon the police in favour of their new friends. Some seem to have encouraged, assisted and even led the subversives.

At the time the SDS was revealed, a major prosecution of climate change activists who tried to shut down a coal-fired power station failed since the SDS seem to have acted as agent provocateurs. While he offically denies it, it seems almost certain that Bob Lambert planted a firebomb for the Animal Liberation Front that caused extensive property damage. He also co-wrote the famous McLibel pamphlet. Fed up with the disorganisation of the movement, Mark Kennedy formed the "Activist Tat Collective" which stored and deployed the equipment for direct action to various protest groups.

At times, things got a bit "The Man Who Was Thursday". The McLibel group was infiltrated not just by the SDS, but also independently by two different private security firms hired by McDonalds. At some meetings, the various undercover agents outnumbered the actual protestors.

The SDS operated a surprisingly long time without being discovered: 1968 to 2008. They worked very hard to maintain cover. They mostly fed information to senior police staff and the government, rarely appearing as witnesses in prosecution. They went to great lengths to maintain cover even when a deployment ended. They used the names of dead children to set up false identities with elaborate parer trails. They also set up some kind of trips on the false identities they had on government databases, so they were alerted if activists started investigating them.

After the various scandals broke the SDS was officially disbanded, but the duties have been passed to other police units like the National Public Order Intelligence Unit..

Overall, a fascinating and revealing book. Worth a read if you're interested.

Review, review, review.

Me
Been busy at work with the release. I really miss the good new days of continuous delivery: we release every few months which is a burden on everyone. Had to give some training without much preparation but it seemed to go OK.

Toddler is resistant to going to bed and grumpy and irritable in the morning, so that's another twice-daily struggle that's stressing me out.

Politics
Relieved to see Sadiq Khan winning the election after the disgusting Conservative campaign. After the last election was paranoid that the polls were wrong, but this time they got it right. Very relieved to see that after Zac Goldsmith wrote to everyone with Hindu names warning them not to vote for Khan as he's a Muslim, Khan's support seems to have gone up amongst Hindus too. If there's one thing the twenty-first century doesn't need its more religious and community tension. That on its own should have disqualified Goldsmith from being mayor of a huge multicultural city: he's willing to risk harming it in order to gain power over it.

Links
Socioeconomics. Rebranding anthropology textbooks. The story of my man-boobs.

Politics. Why the media will lift Trump up and tear Clinton down. Even Jemima Goldsmith criticises her brother Zac's failed campaign for London mayor.

Sci/Tech. Why OxyContin Is So Addictive. Ketamine and depression.

Local. Police claim to have arrested super-prolific graffiti tagger LAGER.

Video. Another clean old jazz recording: Duke Ellington: Hot and Bothered.

Random. Chuck Tingle counter-trolls the Gamergaters who nominated his erotica for a Hugo Award . The software engineer's guide to asserting dominance in the workplace. Urban codes.

< Let Them Make Their Own Mistakes | Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children >
He can't be wounded 'cos he's got no heart | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Notice when the Tories try dog whistling by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun May 08, 2016 at 03:30:31 AM EST
Even with Crosby, it seems to fail see 2005 General election. The basic problem was Goldsmith's complete aloofness and lack of appeal outside SW London (Rich, posh suburban area). The manifestos were mostly identical , apart from one was going to freeze council tax the other freeze transport fares.

As the mayor has fairly limited powers beyond transport, the police and planning, it really comes down to personality and being a figurehead for London. Boris had personality, Goldsmith doesn't, and in London the Labour Party is miles ahead so a decent if not outstanding Labour candidate can easily beat a mediocre Tory one.

Khan distanced himself from Corbyn very effectively and his track record in Govt and in opposition as a moderate in Labour party terms meant that the initial attacks on him being Corbyn's man didn't wash.

spiralx should be doing well then... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun May 08, 2016 at 05:05:05 AM EST

Goldsmith should be ashamed. Alas, the noise will fade quickly and he'll just move on.

undercover agents outnumbered the protestors by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon May 09, 2016 at 08:25:03 AM EST
Apparently fairly common in USia in the 60's and 70's, and during the various hacker crackdowns in the 90's.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

He can't be wounded 'cos he's got no heart | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback