Fitwatch

has been moved to new address

http://www.fitwatch.org.uk

Sorry for inconvenience...

Pages

Policewatch Films

Friday, 7 December 2007

Climate Change Autonomous Bloc: Stop the police filming our protest

Maintain the pressure following recent court victories and join FIT Watch
to kick the FIT off our bloc.

Come and join us obstructing the civilian cameramen, and disrupt the FIT.

FIT Watch can be done by anyone and doesn't have to be confrontational
(although this really pisses them off), and it can be a lot of fun.

Look for the FIT Watch banner at the Autonomous Bloc.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

CX437 - Brian Hunter


We have a new name, number and photo for a member of the FIT who has been around for many years:


FIT Watch Presents:

CX437- Brian Hunter

Friday, 30 November 2007

First FITwatch trial ends in NOT GUILTY verdicts

The second day of the trial of 2 protestors arrested outside ULU in Malet Street, ended with both defendants being found not guilty by a District Judge. The arrests of a woman and a 14 year old youth followed their attempts to obstruct the civilian cameraman, who was filming people as they arrived for a planning meeting for protests against the DSEi Armsfair which took place at the ExCeL centre in Docklands in September 2007.
Despite bringing in a senior prosecutor, the CPS were unable to secure any convictions. Both protestors were charged with "obstructing a police constable in the course of his duty", whilst the woman also faced a charge of assult on a PC.
From the time that the Forward Intelligence Team arrived outside ULU in April, the 2 protestors set out to obstruct the camerman who was filming people going into the meeting. They followed him around, and constantly put their banners, which read "No cameras" in front of his lens. This led to a decision to move him onto a set of steps on a building across the road from ULU. 4 officers then formed a cordon across the steps, and the protestors continued to hold the placrds up in front of the camera. This continued for some time, until people left to attend the meeting. By the time they had crossed the road and entered ULU, both protestors were seized and shortly after , were handcuffed and taken to a police carrier.
A succession of police officers took the stand, and almost every one claimed that the protestors were "BARGING" into the police officers, in order to get at the camera. The officers also echoed the same line about the arrests (neither of which actually took place until the protestors were inside the carrier), claiming that they had grabbed hold of the 14 year old as the 2 were escalating their tactics, and that they feared a breach of the peace. In light of this, 2 officers grabbed hold of the 14 year old, and restrained him using a fair amount of force. When the woman tried to intervene, she too was grabbed and restrained. PC Palfrey who grabbed hold of her claimed that he was kicked whilst restraining the woman.
Ironically, it was FIT's own video which proved to be the undoing of the cops. Whilst all the officers who took the stand presented a unified account of what happened, not one of them was able to show where the actions took place in the video. Furthermore, contrary to the claims that the 2 had escalated their tactics after the others went into the meeting, the video showed the 14 year old standing still and calmly when he was suddenly seized by the 2 officers.
The video also showed that it was old favourite Steve Discombe (pictured), who appeared to order the arrest. The video also cast doubt on PC Palfrey's claim of assault. The prosecution was unable to produce evidence that any police constable was obstructed in the course of their duty, and both defendants openly acknowledged that they had intended to obstruct the civilian cameraman.
A further 2 trials are scheduled to take place at Uxbridge Magistrates Court in the New Year. Both defendants face the "obstructing a PC" charge, even though both defendants were clearly intent on obstructing the civilian cameraman outside the Climate Camp earleir this year. One of the defendants has managed to get the court to agree widespread disclosure. My guess is that FIT are less than happy this evening.
(original post on indymedia at

Monday, 26 November 2007

PROTESTERS TO CHALLENGE LEGALITY OF POLICE SURVEILLANCE

This week, two separate court cases will challenge the legality of police surveillance. Both cases involve two women who are accused of obstructing the police in the execution of their duty.


The women believe their cases have significant relevance in a week where the State has shown itself to be incapable of handling confidential data in a safe and responsible manner.

Emily Apple from Cornwall, was arrested at the recent Climate Camp for standing in front of a police cameraman who was attempting to take photographs of protesters at the camp.She is on trial at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on 27th November.

Valerie Swain from Cardiff, was arrested under similar circumstances outside a planning meeting to oppose the world's largest arms fair. She is on trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on 29th November.

Both women will argue that the overt surveillance is intimidating and is illegal under Human Rights legislation.

Valerie Swain said: “It is unacceptable in any sort of free society that police are permitted to build up secret files on people who attend political meetings. I will argue they cannot possibly begin to justify the intrusion of privacy that has taken place.”

Emily Apple said: “The surveillance of the Climate Camp was intrusive and unnecessary. The police operation cost over £7 million. It is important to the future of political protest that we challenge this infringement of our basic human rights.”

Both women are available for interviews and photographs of the original arrests can be provided on request.


Emily Apple: emapple(at)riseup.net
Valerie Swain: val.swain(at)yahoo.co.uk

Court support and any FIT Watch activites are welcome at both trials.

For further information see www.fitwatch.blogspot.com

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Video of Fitwatch at Bash the Rich

video

Comment on this vid from the blog of 'Bash the Rich' Ian Bone...

"Buy this woman a fucking pint! Fitwatch is showing the way to resist cop bullying - well fucking done……..lets have some more of this next time with more fucking support."

Cheers for that, Ian. And all pints gratefully received.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Quick thoughts from Fitwatch at Bash the Rich

I’m sure other reports will follow, but this is my two-pennyworth. This is the first time we have attempted an organised Fitwatch action on a demo, and clearly we didn’t get it all right. But Class War were supportive of the efforts that we made (thank you!) and it was a good start. Changing a culture of acceptance to one of resistance is clearly going to take some time, but you have to start somewhere.

At the beginning of the demo as people were amassing, Fitwatch unravelled a large (and I must say brilliantly designed) banner. This did two things really well - it made people aware of who we were and what we were doing, and it gave a FIT photographer a pretty hard time getting his ‘start-of-demo’ pics. The banner was great in a static situation, and the police were clearly frustrated that they couldn’t get that nasty about a banner being held on a protest – particularly in front of the press.

Once the march moved off, however, it was a lot harder to frustrate the cameramen. For a start there were two of them, and not enough of us. They were also well protected by their TSG minders, who were only too happy to use force to keep Fitwatchers away from the photographers and back in the pen. The large banner was difficult to manoeuvre quickly enough to stay with the photographers, and the smaller flags that we had, too small to be effective unless you could get close. Despite all that, we still had a fair crack at them.

In the end two Fitwatchers who had been obstructing cameras were arrested attempting to get out of the police pen (admittedly at different times and for different reasons). But I wouldn’t want people to see Fitwatch as something that inevitably leads to arrest. For those who don't want to take that risk, it would have really helped on the day to have had more support in less confrontational ways – holding a banner, handing out flyers, taking notes and pictures etc.

Our flyers, admittedly a little confrontational (well what do you expect at a Class War demo?) had a mixed reception. Some loved them, others were nervous to carry such ‘dodgy’ literature. But really there is no getting away from the confrontational nature of what we do. The police are never going to like us for frustrating their intelligence gathering, no matter how we go about doing it.

Overall, given the difficulties, I think we did ok. Better next time.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bash the Rich - Hospitalise the FIT

Mildly amusing, informative and suitably inflammatory Fitwatching flyer for Bash the Rich demo.

Have you ever been stopped and searched by FIT?

Have you been stopped and searched by the FIT? Do you still have a record of your search?


This is a FIT Watch request to look through the forms and see whether you have any names and numbers of cops, as their names and numbers should be on the form.


Please email any details to defycops@yahoo.co.uk or post to www.fitwatch.blogspot.com

Fit for what purpose?

Fit for what purpose?

Bail conditions imposed upon a FIT Watch activist for allegedly causing £1 of criminal damage:

  1. To live and sleep each night at an address which doesn't exist. The road is misspelt and a letter has been interchanged for a number on the postcode.

  2. “Not to come within enter the M25 motorway except to attend a legitimate court date or meetings with legal representatives and only with written notice.”

Not wishing to pedantic, this bail condition simply means she is not allowed on the M25. This is not problematic. She has no intention of going anywhere near the M25 and doesn't think either her solicitor's offices or courts are on the M25.

3.“Not to interfere with witnesses. When her bag was searched in the custody office a document was found to have photographs of police officers who had been involved with her in the past. It can only be assumed that details are being amassed on targeted officers to limit their ability to be a witness.”

This she finds amusing. She wishes FIT Watch were having this much impact. She thinks it's fantastic to believe our actions are making the cops reluctant to attend court. However she doesn't. She believes this is a petty attempt at intimidation and stopping FIT Watch.

It is also a meaningless condition. She does not know who the witnesses are, having not received any disclosure on the case. She thinks Neal Sinclair filmed her arrest, so he may be a witness. She also remembers HX38 Zaffer Mughal talking to her after she was arrested, but does not know whether this was enough to make him a witness. The cops who nicked her were not FIT, but they were acting upon the orders of FIT. However, at this stage, she does not know who they were.

She also does not understand what interfering means. When she questioned the custody sergeant about this, she was told she might find out their home addresses and go and slash their tyres. However, whilst this image induced some pleasant daydreaming, she also realised that such an action would cause more damage than the £1 she is currently accused of.

FIT Watch are having an effect. Get involved. Send any info you think we might be interested in to defycops@yahoo.co.uk or add to blog – www.fitwatch.blogspot.com


Reports of Bash the Rich etc. will follow later.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Bash the Rich: Fight the FIT

Bash the Rich: Fight the FIT
Meet 11:30, Bar area of Royal Festival Hall to discuss tactics and actions.

Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) will be out in force for this one and wewill be there to greet them.

Whilst we allow the FIT teams to film and follow; stop and search; controland coral, we will not have successful public actions. When we start refusing and resisting, we will start to win.
This is a call from FIT Watch activists to join us on 3rd and show the FIT Teams we will oppose their intimidatory tactics.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Monday 10th September - FIT at ExCeL

A selection of FIT who followed two people, stop and searched them and then wrongfully arrested another one for breach of bail conditions.











FH585















Inspecter from FIT team.

















Another camera man - not sure who - any ideas?














FIT following someone on the bus - think they're getting a bit camera shy.






FH(?)51 - he always has one letter missing) - He is scum - violent and vindictive.




Tuesday, 9 October 2007

FIT at Stop the War march

Saw a few new faces/numbers at the Stop the War march in London yesterday (Monday 8th). As there's quite a few pics (16) thought it probably easier to upload them to a dedicated album rather than overburden this page. So they're here.

Will update the "DataTrak" spreadsheet later on (hopefully this evening).

Sunday, 7 October 2007

PUT THE FIT TEAM ON TRIAL - call for solidarity and resistance

PUT THE FIT TEAM ON TRIAL - Call for solidarity and resistance
9th October, Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, 9am

In April, two people were arrested outside a DISARM DSEi public meetingfor obstructing a FIT team who were filming people going to the meeting.

Amongst those giving evidence will be one of FIT Watch favourites, CO2558,Steve Discombe.

Come on 9th and show we will no longer allow the police to harass andintimidate us. We will fight back and we will win.
defycops@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/



XB91 was on FIT duty with our old friend Steve Discombe at a recent demo in Crawley. For someone who works for the FIT, XB91 is surprisingly intolerant of having his picture taken. Within twenty minutes or so of being followed and photographed he had reacted with surprising violence. He had shoved, shouted, threatened arrest and twice tried to pull my camera from my hand. The ‘red mist’ effect was so noticeable that his commanding officer had to pull him off street duty.

So, XB91, it’s not nice, is it, being constantly photographed and followed around? Having no privacy, no space to make a phone call or have a conversation that isn’t being listened to?

The difference is that activists are often subjected to this type of harassment not just for a few minutes, but for hours and sometimes days at a time. And if we react with even a hint of the violent behaviour you used, we’d be arrested and facing section 4 and assault charges.

So, XB91, here’s a deal. We recognise that it isn’t a nice experience, being placed under ‘surveillance’. So I’ll leave you alone in future – as long as FIT extends the same courtesy to us political activists. I’ll be keenly awaiting your response…

Friday, 5 October 2007

The following is a press release that I will be putting out in advance of the first Fitwatch trial next Tuesday. Please forward widely. Anyone who has nothing better to do and wants to turn up on the day is more than welcome.


Cardiff-based political activist Val Swain, 42, to challenge police harassment at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Tuesday 9 October.

Ms Swain is charged with obstructing a police cameraman who was filming people arriving at a meeting held on 28 April 2007 at the University of London Union on Malet Street. The meeting had been called to voice protest at the holding of Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI) in London Docklands, the world’s largest arms fair.

Val Swain will argue that such intrusive filming is unlawful:

“It is unacceptable in any sort of free society that police are permitted to build up secret files on people who attend political meetings. So far the police have refused to disclose exactly what they have done with all these photographs, or why they wanted photos of people attending a public meeting in the first place. They have also refused to disclose the extent of the police file that has been built up on me over the years. Unless they are prepared to come clean over all this, I will argue, they cannot possibly begin to justify the intrusion of privacy that has taken place. And without that justification, what they have done, and continue to do, is unlawful.”

Swain went on to say:

“I think I have a very good case. But even if I win, I cannot see an end to political intimidation now that the New Labour government has handed over so much power to the police and intelligence services. And it is because we cannot rely on the protection of the law that FITWATCH was born earlier this year. Now activists are playing the police at their own game, filming officers and posting their photos along with name, rank and number to a rapidly expanding website. Activists can download spotter cards to help them identify forward intelligence team (FIT) members and take appropriate action. And activists can share their experiences of police intimidation. Now when we hold meetings we will do everything we can to stop intrusive police filming. No longer will we ignore these attacks on our fundamental rights to freedom of expression. Enough is enough.”

For more information contact Val on val.swain@yahoo.co.uk

And visit http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Travels with his camera - 1818





This cop from South Yorkshire Police must be the most travelled of the FIT, having been spotted in Nottingham at Heckler & Koch, Oxford at SPEAK demos, across London for Climate Camp, DSEi and No Borders Camp, and now here at Faslane on 1st October with his new friend (2235) from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (aka RUC) who was also with him in Crawley for the No Borders march.

Zaffer Mughal

Following my last post I’ve been informed that Zaffer Mughal has also used two numbers. Apparently he masquerades as both ID14 and HX38.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Ian Skivens

Noticed that Ian Skivens (a well-known FIT officer) has been spotted with two different numbers: LX365 and CO5494. Any thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, 22 September 2007

More from '07 Climate Camp

FH585




CW36



L494 (May have been another letter after the "L" but if so looks like its fallen off - I've noticed other cops with digits missing from their numbers)


XB312


XB938

FIT at Climate Camp 2007

Bit of a test post this, just to see how this blog works. Following guy snapped at Climate Camp '07. More to come. Pending creation of a proper database I'm also setting up a spreadsheet in Google Docs to track FIT details and url's of pics. If anyone wants to collaborate on this, please contact me - fotdmike


CD287

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Monday, 10 September 2007

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

FIT names and numbers

Here is a compiled list of names and numbers of FIT team. Please add anymore new ones to the list (and if someone has time to match some of the new ones here with photos, that'd be great!!)

A825 Paul

BS76 Matt Twist

CD139 Aaron King
CD149 Spinks

CO390 Mills
CO617 Dave O’Neil
CO906 Ben Wilcock
CO996 Sulley
CO2558 Steve Discombe

CO5099 Mark Carroll
CO5475 R. Enderby

CX193 Davies

EK136 Pilling
EK149 Collins

FF273 Feeney
FF 462 Stuart Ford

FH222 Northway

GD 525 John Abbott
GD590 Pacey

HX 38 Zaffer Mughal

LX100 Nigel Lyons
LX365 Ian Skivens

MD187 Jeremy Hunt
MD862 Pritchard

N1111 Stephen Webber

PY78 Warne

QK332 Riddick
QK451 Bailey

RG 253 Bartlett
RG 294 Buckwell
RG306 Knowles

TW431 Michael White

WW261 Louise Bolding
WW 353 Lange
WW489 Catherine A Smith

XB255 Phil

YR477 Tom
YR496 Foreman

Saturday, 1 September 2007

A legal observer at the climate camp has sent the following message:
While trapped in a bubble I asked the cop in the attached pic to identify himself 10 times. He refused. I was very keen to identify him due to the large number of people who had pointed him out to me as a cop who had been involved in a number of incidents with protesters. Later we got his number : U8523.

Could you post the pic and ask anyone who was involved in an incident with him to make a statement and email it to legalsupport@climatecamp.org.uk?
There is also a picture of SCD43 with two colleagues. All 3 were operating as a unit throughout the day on Sunday 19th August at Climate Camp. SCD43 was not displaying visible numbers for the duration of the day (but did display them on request). I don't have the numbers of the other two unfortunately.

Thursday, 30 August 2007







Officer LX365 - Ian Skivens was in attendance at a small demo outside the St. Athan RAF and army base in Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales on thursday august 23rd, along with a photographer friend from Staffordshire police force. Activists from the "Stop St. Athan Murder Academy" coalition, which aims to stop the British military academy from being developed in the small town of St. Athan, stood outside one of the current bases gates with banners and placards as a photo opportunity to launch the campaign. When asked what he was doing such a long way from home, popular FIT watch pin up Ian Skivens said he was there to check out how other UK forces deal with protests or 'public order' situations. While he didn't seem to mind activists taking lots of photos of him, his photographer friend was more camera shy.

Monday, 20 August 2007

FITWATCH trial date

Two people arrested at the first FITWATCH action will be on trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on the 9th October 2007. All supporters welcome!

This trial will be the first test of whether FIT teams have a legal right to intimidate, harrass, photograph and compile data on people attending political meetings.

The two defendants are accused of obstructing the police in the execution of their duty. They approached a FIT team that was filming people attending a DSEi meeting in Malet Street back in April. Having asked the police to stop photographing people who did not wish to be photographed, the two then held up cardboard placards in front of the police camera, obstructing it's view.

Instead of doing the reasonable thing and respecting people's privacy, the police used physical force to keep the activists away from the camera, and then arrested both of them for obstruct police. They said that they feared for the photographers safety, although they did not explain how he could possibly have been injured by a thin peice of cardboard held a foot away from the front of his camera lens.

One of the defendants has challenged the FIT to justify their habit of arbitrarily photographing and harassing people. "There is no legal justification for compiling data on people attending a political meeting," she said. "We are not supposed to be living in a totalitarian society where police can hold data on people just because of their political views."

"We have also asked FIT to disclose in court exactly what it does with the data it collects. At the moment it is far from clear what happens to the thousands of photographs and pages of notes that the FIT produces, and people should at the very least have the right to know what happens to that data."

The trial starts at 10am on the 9th Oct. The defendants will be interested to see whether a FIT team will be on duty outside....

New names and pictures of FIT team



A very camera shy member of the FIT

RG 306
Previously ID'd as PC Knowles





Police photographer Neil Sinclair Banks SCD 43

(another Neil!)









One of our favourites, surely.

Steve Discombe CO2558.














Saturday, 18 August 2007

Policing the police at Climate Camp

An Personal Account of FIT Watch

FIT Watch was set up a couple of months ago to oppose and monitor the activities of the Forward Intelligence Teams. These are cops who routinely harass and intimidate protesters (for full background see www.fitwatch.blogspot.com). Whilst we’ve had a presence at a couple of public meetings, Climate Camp has been our first opportunity to practice our tactics in a protest situation.

And it’s been working. FIT are being made to feel uncomfortable. They’ve been forced into a reactive situation and it is empowering because we have seized the initiative.

FIT Watch can be done by anyone and can be as passive or as confrontational as you wish. Here are some tactics we have found to be effective:

  1. Holding large banners in front of photographers. This is particularly effective with double sheets on sticks which can block a camera from a distance. This is the least confrontational way of blocking photography.
  2. Taking photos of them. They really don’t like this but it isn’t illegal. With any photos it’s always good to either try and get the cop’s number in the shot, or note it down.
  3. Following the FIT. Pick a team and tail them. Turn their tactics onto them – everything time they send a text message look over their shoulder, listen to their phone conversations, look at what they’re writing in their notebooks.
  4. Watch out for group huddles, especially with senior officers and go and unobtrusively stand by them. This disrupts their briefings and there’s always the possibility you might learn some useful information.
  5. Upload any information gathered about the FIT to www.fitwatch.blogspot.com or email to defycops@yahoo.co.uk
  6. Put yourself physically in the way of the camera men by standing constantly in front of the camera and constantly shadowing them. This has been the most confrontational tactic used so far and has therefore been the one people have been arrested for. However it has also been possible to do this without arrest.

CAUTIONARY NOTE: ANY ACTION INVOLVING THIS LEVEL OF PROXIMITY TO FIT TEAMS MEANS THEY WILL TRY AND ENGAGE YOU IN CONVERSATION. DO NOT ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS.

Two people have been arrested for Obstructing the police in the course of their duty this week. They were both charged and pleaded not guilty. Any witnesses should contact defycops@yahoo.co.uk


There have been many rumours as to why the FIT teams made their incursions into camp on Tuesday night. Some people say it was a response to being pissed off with FIT Watch, others that it was a test to see how we would react. Another theory is they were trying to kick something off as shown by the presence off vans of TSG and ambulances.

However they weren’t expecting the strong response from the camp and violently pushed, kicked and hit people. A combination of strength of numbers and people willing to push them back forced them off site and people felt empowered by this victory. However it was not the non violent victory reported in many places. People rightly acted in self defence and we would not have got them off site if we had simply walked towards them with our hands in the air as has been described in some places. Some people did raise their hands, but this was only after the cops had backed off the site.

FIT Watch is working, but we need more people. The next big event is DSEi and it’d be great if people carry on the FIT Watch tactics.

FIT Watch Spotter Card


Here is the fit watch spotter card used at climate camp. More details of FIT Watch at climate camp will be posted later.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Watching the climate camp meeting - 28/7/07



A FIT was out on Saturday morning, protecting the climate change criminals by filming those going to the meeting.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

FIT Attend Nottingham Disarm DSEi protest

FIT travelled all the way from London to attend a demo that was called by the Disarm DSEi Nottingham Group. The demo was targeting gun manufacturer Heckler & Koch, whose UK office is on a Nottingham industrial estate (see IndyMedia.)

Highly visible in their blue-topped jackets were CO996 Sgt Sulley – one of the first ever FIT officers – and his friend with the giant camera officer 1818 (see pictures). Cars leaving the demo were photographed and followed by the police. One protestor on a motorbike was pulled over on the pretext of looking “too young” and “suspicious”, asked to confirm that he had been at the demo and made to show his driving license, presumably so that his details could be added to a database of dissenters


More Photos

There's some stuff to update here, but just found this

http://www.flickr.com/groups/copswithcameras/pool/

which thought might interest people

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Cop names and numbers

This is a thread to start compiling names and numbers and information about cops. Some of these pictures and numbers are quite old, so it would be good to have some up to date ones. Either add to comments or email to defycops(at)yahoo.co.uk








CO906 - Ben Willcox















LX365 - Ian Skivens



















WW261 - Lousie





















WW 489 - Catherine A. Smith













TW431 - Michael White















A825 - Paul














BS76 - Matt Twist








Other cops we have names for, but not photos:
XB 255 - Phil
CO 5099 - Mark Carroll
CO 5475 - R. Enderby
FF 462 - Stuart Ford
YR 477 - Tom
HX 38 - Zaffer Mughal
GD 525 -John Abbott
RG 253 - Bartlett
WW 353 - Lange
RG 294 - Buckwell
RG 360 - Knowles

Brief account of Resisting FIT at DSEi public meeting

This meeting was called to discuss plans for disrupting the world’s largest arms fair, DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International) which takes place on 11th – 14th September 2007 at the ExCeL Centre in East London.

The meeting was also used as the first public call to resist the Forward Intelligence Teams (the cops who stand outside meetings taking photos and making notes about those in attendance).

Around ten people attended the protest outside the meeting with two large banners and a couple of small ones. One was particularly effective as it was on poles which meant it could directly obstruct the photographer’s view. Our aim was to prevent them from taking photographs of those entering the meeting and we were largely successful both because their attention was mostly directed at us and because the banners were large enough to block their view.

No arrests were made and people were able to attend the meeting without having their photographs taken.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Violence/Nonviolence Debate

The ethos under which this blog was set up was to resist the FIT teams by whatever means people feel are necessary. These could be very non violent and legal or very militant and illegal.

Whilst this obviously leads to a discussion of tactics, and for some this may be useful, it may be good to keep this blog dedicated to information, experiences and ideas for action without getting bogged down in a theoretical debate.

However I realise there are people who want to have this discussion so have set up another blog www.violencedebate.blogspot.com.

This is only a suggestion - this blog is an open space. But if people think it'd be helpful to continue the theoretical debate in another space, then the option is there.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Proposal for resisting the FIT teams

TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE COPS
TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE FIT TEAMS
30TH JUNE 2007 (1:30 onwards, University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1)

A call for solidarity outside the next DISARM DSEi public meeting and every time there is a Forward Intelligence Team presence at a meeting or on a protest.

At the last DISARM DSEi public meeting, as with every other public meeting called by the group since 2002, there were police in attendance from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT).

For anyone who doesn’t know, these are the cops who are paid to harass anarchists (and the Far Right, football fans and Islamic fundamentalists). They follow “known” people on protests and they stand outside public meetings taking photos and writing copious notes.

The personal is political. Over the last six years I have been harassed, wrongfully arrested, assaulted and driven to a nervous breakdown as a direct result of the treatment I have received from the FIT teams. I know people who will not attend meetings or protests because they can’t deal with the FIT teams. I do not want to watch another person being driven to the edge by their actions. I do not want to hear of one other person being discouraged from joining our actions because of their behaviour.

Once and for all we need to admit they are a problem. We’ve spent too long ignoring them, pretending they don’t have an impact on us because of a belief that once they know they’re having an effect, they will become more powerful. However they know they’re having an effect and this is why they’re persisting. They get away with what they do because we let them. And whilst we continue to ignore their presence, we will never tackle the problem.

I feel a lot stronger since I have admitted this vulnerability and I now feel a pressing desire to reclaim their power. We have seen their behaviour fuck up our friends. We have seen the very real impact their presence has had on our movement. Isn’t it time we attacked this disease,this cancer which has afflicted us for years?

If we were being systematically tortured by the State, we would protest. Mental abuse is just as important and it is vital to the strength of our actions that we challenge this. This call to action and discourse is an attempt to kick start that challenge.

Over the last seven years, everyone who has attended a public (state perceived) anarchist meeting in London will have had their details recorded. This has both enabled the police to build up profiles of us over the years and has also made many newcomers feel uncomfortable about joining our meetings. Many people carry on walking when they see thecops.

It is argued that our meetings are already infiltrated and it is therefore a distraction to focus on the police outside. However the psychological effect of having them outside our meetings is damaging; damaging to both the experienced activists who feel harassment at their presence and to the people who do not even step inside the meeting because they don’t want their photograph taken.

The cops are so comfortable outside our meetings they think they don’t need back up. Four cops and a photographer feel safe outside our meetings. We have become too accepting of our own repression and this must change. We hold large demonstrations on behalf of others, on behalf of comrades in foreign jails. We must extend this solidarity to ourselves. We need to start dismantling the chains of our own oppression.

At the last Disarm DSEi public meeting, two people were arrested after trying to hold up placards whilst the cops were filming. Many people attending the meeting were inspired by the action and many commented they were happy to have been able to attend without having their photographs taken.

This proposal calls for solidarity demos outside every public meeting where there is likely to be a FIT presence. Every time the FIT team harass us, we must react. We must show them we will no longer tolerate this treatment. We must rebuild solidarity amongst groups. We may not want to get involved in the organising of every campaign, but we can spare half an hour to stand outside a meeting in solidarity with those in attendance. If we can spread this level of solidarity throughout the different groupscurrently experiencing harassment from FIT teams, then we are in a place to build a stronger, more effective, community.

Having a few persistent people with banners is a good start. However we should be aiming to get to the stage where it is prohibitively expensive for them to police our public meetings. We need to get to the stage that when they try to follow us through our demonstrations, people automatically link arms and prevent them from doing so. We are safer to the State if we stay as disparate groups. We are at our most powerful when we work in solidarity with each other.

This proposal can only start to work if we act in solidarity with each other. What are you going to do?

Further Action:This proposal is only meant to be a starting point. If there are enough people interested, it’d be good to have a cross group meeting to discuss strategies et cetera. This proposal is a personal response, it’d be good if different groups wanted to come together and write a joint proposal. For further information, networking, ideas etc email defycops@yahoo.co.uk

Join the email list by sending a blank email to fitwatch-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

A blog has been set up with the aim of becoming a resource for peopletrying to resist the FIT teams. People are invited to add theirexperiences, ideas, photographs, information – www.fitwatch.blogspot.com. Anyone can add comments to the blog, but anyone can be added as an author who wishes to contribute regularly.