Friday, July 28, 2017

A systematic assault on democracy

That's the only way to describe the revelation that British undercover police infiltrated and spied on over a thousand political groups:

Undercover police officers who adopted fake identities in deployments lasting several years spied on more than 1,000 political groups, a judge-led public inquiry has said.

It is the first time that the number of political groups infiltrated by the undercover spies over more than four decades has been made public. The list of groups that were infiltrated has not been published by the inquiry. However, it is known to include environmental, anti-racist and animal rights groups, leftwing parties and the far right.


May ordered the inquiry following revelations that the spies had gathered information about grieving relatives such as the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, deceived women into forming long-term relationships and stolen the identities of dead children.

Exactly who was spied on is still secret, but we already know that the vast majority of these groups were engaged in peaceful democratic protest, not criminal activity (though in some cases police spies attempted to encourage crime in order to discredit protests). Its a gross abuse of police power, and a clear attempt by the establishment to stifle democracy. But isn't that so very, very British?