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UK Authorities Accused of Inciting Illegal Protest 371

jarran writes "Questions are being asked about the tactics being employed by UK authorities to monitor and control protest groups. Schnews reports on evidence that government IP addresses are posting messages to sites like indymedia, attempting to provoke activists into taking illegal direct action. Evidence has emerged recently that the police consider sex to be a legitimate tool for extracting information from targets, and senior police have been accused of lying to parliament about the deployment of undercover agents at protests."
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UK Authorities Accused of Inciting Illegal Protest

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  • by arcsimm ( 1084173 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @02:10AM (#34978736)
    War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength!
  • A bit slanted (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishexe ( 168879 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @02:18AM (#34978766) Homepage
    I only RTFA with "sex" in the link text, but that one seemed a little bit ho-hum. I mean, if they're trying to infiltrate an organization (and accompanying social milieu) where there's a lot of sex, why wouldn't having sex be a legitimate part of their task? Like, duh? Next up, articles about how shocking it is that undercover cops infiltrating drug gangs sometimes handle drugs! And this is considered an appropriate police activitiy! Scandalous!

    How addicted to the sinister police narrative do you have to be to have a problem with this? I mean, I like to criticize The Man as much as the next bloke, but I at least wait 'til there's something to criticize.

    Now, off to read the other two articles...hopefully there's more meat to those stories.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2011 @02:18AM (#34978768)

    "Rape by deception" laws, i.e. if you misrepresent yourself to get sex, you've committed a crime, would put every single liar looking to get laid on the wrong side of the law. While that isn't necessarily a bad idea, I happen to disagree with any law that makes most of the population into instant criminals, especially if it's only prosecuted selectively.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday January 24, 2011 @02:34AM (#34978836)

    it should be legal for you because the police officer is an authority figure

          Dude you are just begging for Godwin's law to be invoked for this comment.

          This "excuse" didn't work at the Nuremberg trials. Why should it work today?

  • Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmollusc ( 763634 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @03:18AM (#34978946)

    The irksome part about the police using agents provocateur is that the police are always complaining that they have insufficient funds to police the streets. If the police can spare a man to infiltrate a bunch of hippies for a number of years, how many undercover police are there in all the more disruptive groups? The figure of £250,000 a year was mentioned as the cost of running one agent, which is infuriating to anyone who has been told that the police have insufficient resources to visit their house when it has been burgled.

  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @03:21AM (#34978960)
    Because its 60 years later?
  • by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @04:37AM (#34979192)

    Obama isnt your direct superior, if he wanted to order you to kill someone, you would have to be in the armed forces, or he would have to pass some kind of law. If Obama comes to your door and says 'do X', and you don't, you dont get in trouble. If the a policeman does the same, you get to spend the night in jail for not complying.

    I agree with your 'good reason to trust' argument though, and killing someone obviously doesnt work in this situation, but i bet there are plenty of "damned if you do, damned if you dont" situations

  • Re:A bit slanted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @04:42AM (#34979212)

    Do you not agree that the women involved are allowed to feel lied to and betrayed?

    sure, but if lying to get laid is a crime, you might as well lock up every male on the planet..

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @05:07AM (#34979296)

    Technically, that may be true, but the police (and, for that matter, most people employed in the public sector) in the UK have developed a remarkable way of avoiding criminal liability for these things.

    It works something like this: If one person does something illegal, that will be prosecuted within the law. OK?

    If a whole bunch of people are involved in something illegal as part of their job, and those people are employed in the public sector, that is never a crime. It is - at most - a "concern" which may result in an investigation, a report, and maybe even a full-blown inquiry. At no point will any individual (or, for that matter, group of individuals) be singled out for punishment. The most they can expect is some harsh criticism in the resulting report, but that criticism will in no way harm their career.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2011 @05:08AM (#34979304)

    Because the Nuremberg trials weren't convened by the same government that sanctioned the behaviour.

    If the police (as representatives of the UK government) tell someone to do something illegal, and they do it, then it seems reasonable that the police (as representatives of the UK government) shouldn't be able to arrest them, and the courts (as representatives of the UK government) shouldn't allow them to be convicted. Any other courts can do what they like, provided it's within their jurisdiction.

    Of course, the idea wouldn't work anyway because all it means is that the police wouldn't leave a paper trail.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @08:02AM (#34979820) Journal

    If the police tell you to do something, it should be legal for you because the police officer is an authority figure relative to you.

    This is only true insomuch as you know the person is the police at the time of the order and that they were working within their official capacity.

    Everyone knows there are things the cops can't make you do. For instance, they can't pull you over for speeding and make you rape the next person that passes by. That's just obviously ludicrous. But here, we are expected to believe that someone entered a public forum as a disguised person and stirred the emotions in an attempt to promote illicit behavior.

    This being the internet as the public forum, but in almost any other situation like a real live in person protest or when speaking to a crowd in the town square, if you did the same, you would be up on charges of inciting a riot (at least in the US) or the equivalent. You could possibly get conspiracy charges. These officers should be held accountable to the same standards as anyone else in that situation, and if it's found that it was ordered by their superiors, then they should face it too.

    Notice how I didn't say instead? I'll get to why in a moment.

    In a similar fashion, if a police captain orders an officer to kill someone illegally, then the captain should go to jail, not the officer (unless the officer should have had reason to reject the order).

    No, it should be the officer_and_the Captain. You see, in free societies, you are typically responsible for your own actions no matter who made you do it. There are a couple of defenses surrounding necessity but for the most part, if you do something illegal, you could be charged with that crime unless some other rule of law preempts it (self defense, the defense of another life and so on are typically enough to get all charged dropped and they are a form of necessity).

    Anyways, Lets say I'm next in line to be captain, if I wasn't responsible for my own actions, then I could just kill someone and say the captain told me to. Get a fellow officer to back me up by promising a promotion and raise and it's the word of two police officers who are apparently spilling their guts against his commander who is denying anything except for someone was killed. But if I'm still responsible for my own actions, then I can save a life by not killing the guy in the first place because I don't want to sit in the same prisons I put people in.

    This is why someone who incited illegal behavior, be it a riot, any action that causes the death of someone or whatever, should not be the sole carrier of the punishment. The act, whatever it was, could only succeed if people are willing to participate and they will be a lot more willing to participate if what amounts to an "he made me do it, go after him instead" defense is set into law. Keep all parties responsible to their own actions. And take the police of any public authority that encourages, enables, promote, incites, or does anything outside of normal every day duties to aid or encourage illegal behavior, and make it a felony or worse crime.

    There is no need for the people who are supposed to be making us safe, to attempt to make us unsafe in their line of work. They will argue that it's necessary to see who the trouble makers are and get them under control early before there is trouble. In the states, we call this behavior entrapment and it pretty much invalidates the arrests as well as leaves openings for civil suits.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @08:03AM (#34979824)

    How do you deal with that when your bosses at the top level ship you to somewhere like Afghanistan or Iraq where there's virtually no visible difference between soldiers and civilians?

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:01AM (#34980064) Homepage Journal

    No, it doesn't seem reasonable. It would give the police a tool that's way too powerful, and the potential for abuse is horrifying. If you can't think of situations where the civilians involved are too ashamed or frightened to mention what happened to anyone, or situations where the copper says "you do this to him, or I'll have him do it to you", you need a red pill.
    In a way, it would be like turning the police into Abu Graib prison guards, and all the rest of us into prisoners.

    The coppers don't need more ways to abuse their authority than they already have.

  • by BetterSense ( 1398915 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @10:10AM (#34980558)
    Men don't have feelings, and women are always victims. Men are always perpetrators and aggressors and have no emotions, no emotional needs, and of course cannot be harmed emotionally. If you were properly socialized you would have absorbed this dogma by now.


    Woman sees man undressed in his own home: man gets arrested for indecent exposure (woman is the victim)
    Man sees woman undressed in her own home: man gets arrested for voyeurism (woman is the victim)
    Woman (of age) has sex with her father: man gets arrested for incest (woman is the victim)
    Man emotionally baits woman by appealing to her basic emotional needs then uses that emotional leverage to get money:Woman is being exploited
    Woman emotionally baits man by appealing to his basic emotional needs then uses that emotional leverage to get money:Woman is being exploited
    Female baby has genital parts removed by parents for cosmetic/tradition/superstition reasons: Illegal, woman is considered mutilated and worthy of sympathy (victim)
    Male baby has genital parts removed by parents for cosmetic/tradition/superstition reasons: Legal and encouraged, he should be like it, or at least live with it, and certainly not insinuate he has been harmed in any way.

    I suggest you work on understanding this type of 'equality', and learn to absorb it and perpetuate it. Arguing for the rights of men or for their emotional needs to be protected or for them to have equal social protections and legal standings is not something that will make you popular in our society. Men are not encouraged to think freely or to question this system of equality.

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