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Monday, 24 March 2008

FIT at Whipsnade Zoo

FIT-types at the Bedford Animal Action demo at Whipsnade Zoo (Dunstable) on Easter Monday to mark Zoo Awareness Day.

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FIT at Free Tibet March

Tibetans protesting in London recently must have been very reassured by the presence of FIT photographers.

There are stories of the Chinese embassy refusing visas to Tibetans spotted on demos, but of course we can be sure that no photographs taken by the Mets finest would be used for such a purpose as that.

Well we would be, except there appears to be no regulation, transparency or any accountability relating to what happens to these pictures after they become the property of CO11. Nobody knows what use they are put to, how they are stored and processed, or who has access to them. Reassuring, eh?


These pictures were taken from Indymedia. See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/394508.html
Cheers to whoever took the photos.

Btw - The photographer is Neil Banks, the cop hiding his face is Steve Discombe. I sort of recognise the others, but can't quite put names to them. Readers of this blog may know better. The indymedia article said that at least two of them were not displaying numbers.















Thursday, 20 March 2008

Are you Redwatch in disguise? FITwatch at the STWC demo







It seems that the FIT are on the back foot these days: they were defensive and camera shy on Saturday, and less responsive to our taunts and jeers. Their confidence must have dwindled. They also didn't get much support from the other marchers this time: it seems now their 'legitimacy' is being questioned by more and more people. They did however get protected by the STWC stewards. A particular highlight came chasing Photographer Neil Williams through the demonstration just by calling his name, taunting him and taking his photograph. Apparently, this was scary enough to make him return to the safety of the pack of FIT outside the demonstration; perhaps next time he'll think twice about entering the crowd all alone. Doing FITwatch might sound like something that takes a lot of nerve, perhaps only for the 'seasoned activist' – but in fact it feels much less scary than ignoring the FIT; knowing they're there without confronting them, pretending to each other and ourselves that they don't affect us. They do affect us, and they will continue to do so unless we stop them. That's a much more scary prospect than doing a bit of FITwatch. Doing to them what they do to us feels like taking some power back. Particularly when, like on Saturday, they show that they feel vulnerable too. And FITwatch must be doing something right – the ludicrous charges given the FITwatchers who were nicked suggests (see https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/393970.html) that they are desperately trying to find a charge that will succeed in court – following the difficulties they are facing using 'obstruction' in the ongoing FITwatch trial (see https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/393377.html)

for future reference






From STW March 16th 2008

A few more familiar faces here: CW 2073, Mr Ian Skivens if I'm not mistaken CO5494, Mr Wettone CO5029, VK547 (he looks very familiar...), and finally a new photog on the block.

for future reference





A rogues gallery:

From the Stop the War on the 16th March, clockwise from top left LX637, KD54, K332, EK?? and EK148


Not very pretty eh?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Shell to Sea campaign demo, London, St Patrick's Day

"Shell to Sea" campaign demo in London, St Patrick's Day (Monday 17th March).
Started off at 1100 at Shell's UK head office then later moved on to the Hilton Tower Bridge Hotel where some Shell bigwigs were gathered.

Only spotted a couple of FIT-types outside Shell's offices, and they were being very coy. Whenever they saw my camera pointed in their direction they either turned away or hid behind people, lamp-posts, or whatever was nearby. Consequently wasn't able to get many facial pics, and no numbers (again). Sorry.
One of the disadvantages of having largish cameras perhaps. Too easily spotted. Or a good deterrent maybe?
However, after an hour or so of this they seemed to give up and disappear... nor did I see them reappear at the Hotel demo though I was keeping an eagle eye out for them.

Apparently at least one of the campaign's other photographers was also taking shots of them when opportunity allowed.

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Sunday, 16 March 2008

Fitwatchers arrested for "intimidating the police" at STWC march

Four people were arrested near Trafalgar Square around 1:15pm on Saturday during the Stop the war Coalition rally, accused of intimidating a Forward Intelligence Team.

Officer XB92 'Wayne' Rooney (pictured here on Mayday 2007) requested back-up from three van loads of the Met's 'Griffon' squad -supposed to provide additional security against "the threat of terrorism" within the "Government Security Zone". Leaflets about theCampaign for Free Asssembly (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/393790.html) were seized asevidence, along with cameras, mobile phones and notebooks. The arrests were made under s241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations(Consolidation) Act 1992, see below.

All four were released on bail without charge after being held at Bishopsgate police station for 9 hours.

Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52)
Part V Industrial action
241.Intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise.—

(1) A person commits an offence who, with a view to compellinganother person to abstain from doing or to do any act which thatperson has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully andwithout legal authority—

(a) uses violence to or intimidates that person or his wife orchildren, or injures his property,
(b) persistently follows that person about from place to place,
(c) hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by thatperson, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof,
(d) watches or besets the house or other place where that personresides, works, carries on business or happens to be, or the approachto any such house or place, or
(e) follows that person with two or more other persons in a disorderlymanner in or through any street or road.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable onsummary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six monthsor a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

(3) A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonablysuspects is committing an offence under this section.


Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fitwatch at Stop the War March

15th March 2008
Meet Trafalgar Square, 12 noon (look for people with black fitwatch bandannas)

Fed up with marching from A to B?
Fed up with being horded around Central London?
Fed up with being filmed for attending a march?

On 15th March, Stop the War Coalition have called another march in Central London.

The Fit Teams will, as ever, be present. They will take photographs of people, follow known activists, and generally make their presence felt.

If we ever want to do more than march from A to B, we need to be able to feel anonymous in a crowd. To do this, we need to deal with FIT.

We are calling for as many people as possible to use Fitwatch tactics on this march.

Fitwatch is not an organisation. It is a tactic - a mindset. Anyone can fitwatch in whatever way they feel is appropriate. But is a tactic we all need to adopt if we are ever to reclaim the streets from the police.

FIT at Kurdish protest


FIT monitoring a Kurdish peace protest in London on the 2nd March.

Gathering intelligence relating to 'public order' situations? Or intimidating people so that they might think twice about turning up to a public demonstration next time, for fear of being branded a 'trouble maker' or even a terrorist?

The cop appears to be MD 187, identified on our files as PC Jeremy Hunt. Full report on the demo at https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/392749.html.

Please mail any further details of surveillance by this cop or other FIT to defycops@yahoo.co.uk. Note: if you are taking pictures of FIT, it is helpful if cop numbers are clearly visible.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Prosecution stamps feet and refuses to admit defeat in Fitwatch trial

The Fitwatch climate camp trial came to an abrupt halt on Thursday after the senior CPS lawyer sulked about losing an application to an unrepresented defendant and decided to take the District Judge's decision to Judicial Review.

The application, to amend the charge of obstruct police to obstructing a cameraman assisting the police, was one of several the prosecution were planning to throw at the defence on the day.

The defence successfully argued this to be a change in charge, not an amendment, and that given the case had been running for over six months, it was too late to change the charge.

The defence further submitted that given the prosecution wanted to change the charge, they were accepting there was no case to answer on the original charges. However, instead of gracefully admitted defeat, they sulked.

Meanwhile the defence were presented with a bundle of further statements, including an analysis of a DVD which has never been served and, courtesy of DS Hodgson at New Scotland Yard, forty pages of the Fitwatch blog. The defendant could not understand why she was being presented with forty pages of a blog when there was no evidence presented to say she was associated with it in any manner.

The lengths they are going to and the money they are throwing at this case shows they are taking us seriously. They are desperate to secure a Fitwatch conviction and seem to prepared to go to extreme lengths to get one.

Let's keep up the pressure and show we will not back down.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Just a reminder - Fitwatch Meeting



Saturday 8th March, 2pm, LSE Connaught House, Aldwych, Room H103.

See you there.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Surveillance at Nottingham

Coupla examples here from the eight pics I've just uploaded to Flickr.

The Climate Camp gathering at SUMAC in Nottingham, 1st/2nd March '08.

Think they were Nottingham cops rather than proper FIT but not sure. Also unfortunately didn't manage to get pics of collar numbers.
They were monitoring arrivals during the morning on both Saturday and Sunday, and during lunchtime Saturday. Seemed to disappear during the afternoon of both days.

There was a three-man team at the front, and we spotted the unmarked car with two in at the rear.

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How to Fitwatch

Fitwatch Meeting this Saturday, 8th March, 2pm
LSE (Connaught House, Aldwych) Room H103
Everyone welcome.

Fitwatch has proved to be a highly effective tactic against surveillance by public order police.

Although really, it is better described as a range of tactics. Some are as simple as taking a picture, or making a note of numbers. Other tactics are more confrontational and actively prevent the police accumulating the data they use for their 'preventative' public order policing. There is a tactic for everyone, and all of them are very effective.

To get involved, you need only bring a camera, placard or banner to your next demo or meeting, and get fitwatching. But you would also be very welcome at the Fitwatch meeting on Saturday so that we can share experiences, develop tactics and create an effective response to FIT and public order policing.

Just as an aside, it seems that even security firms have taken notice. The following testimonials are taken from a Group 4 Securicor briefing, and from the website of the security outfit Inkerman, who make it their business to protect companies from the attention of trouble making protestors. According to Inkerman, we are 'counter-surveillance'. Sounds posh innit?

"8 March 08 – London – The anarchist group, Fitwatch, is arranging a series ofmeetings that begin in London to discuss the nature of policing at protests anddemonstrations. Fitwatch are an active group that prevents Police ForwardIntelligence Teams (FIT) from gathering information during protests anddemonstrations. Fitwatch insist FIT are an oppressive reflection of the state'sattitude towards protest groups. Fitwatch aim to use the meetings to discussongoing tactics and to attract support. The first meeting is to takeplace at the LSE" (Group 4 Securicor)

"Another protest group against the use of cameras and surveillance of activists has been established and holds growing weight within activist movements. FITWATCH is a counter-surveillance group, who take photos and try to obtain the personal details and identification numbers of the officers in FIT. Photographs of the officers concerned have been posted on activist websites."(Inkerman. See http://www.inkerman.com/static/files/1197479765-theinkermanmonitorecoterror.pdf for their report on 'eco-terrorism'.)