A tweeted memo reveals that the London police force has identified the members of the now international Occupy Wall Street movement – and more importantly and particularly, Occupy London – as a terrorist threat. The leaked December 2 memo, titled “Terrorism/Extremism Update for the City of London business community” was, as the Guardian reports, “sent to ‘trusted partners’ in the area.” It has been confirmed as genuine, and puts the #Occupy movement on a par with al-Qaeda. Under the heading of “Domestic” the document says, in part:
There are now three “Occupations” by activists in or near the City of London. As the worldwide Occupy movement shows no sign of abating, it is likely that activists aspire to identify other locations to occupy, especially those they identify with capitalism. Intelligence suggests that urban explorers are holding a discussion at the Sun Street squat. This may lead to an increase in urban exploration activity at abandoned or high profile sites in the capital.
All are asked to be vigilant regarding suspected reconnaissance, particularly around empty buildings. Any sign of access or new markings should also be reported. All are reminded that any encounters with suspected activists could be recorded and then uploaded or live-streamed to the internet.
Suspected hostile reconnaissance should be reported to City of London Police immediately.
Of course, it’s ridiculous to equate citizen activists with domestic terrorists, and such an attitude demonstrates a “disturbing loss of perspective,” as Occupy London says. As an Occupy London spokesperson points out with regard to the memo:
“Activism is not a crime and the desire to participate in democratic decision-making should not be a cause for concern for the police in any free society.
“An institution that confuses active citizens with criminals and equates al-Qa’ida with efforts to reimagine the city is an institution in danger of losing its way.”
Not that the police here have behaved or apparently thought any differently, as a writer on The Poor Mouth pointed out the other day, writing that “I would have hoped that this idiotic mindset stayed in America but it seems to have infected the City of London Police.” Indeed.
The police have since tried to claim that the letter, though authentic, was “poorly worded” and that of course the demonstrators are not terrorists. According to a spokesperson for the London Police their behavior is actually to be praised, saying:
“City of London Police works with the community to deter and detect terrorist activity and crime in the City in a way that has been identified nationally as good practice. We’ve seen crime linked to protests in recent weeks, notably around groups entering office buildings, and with that in mind we continue to brief key trusted partners on activity linked to protests.”
Of course, it is perfectly alright to demonstrate if you are a corporatist movement like the Tea Party. The laissez-faire attitude toward the Tea Party is certain proof of corporate approval of that movement. But let a real populist movement stir, let the voices of the people be heard in opposition to corporations and capitalism run amok, then the people are not patriots but terrorists who must be put down. It is indicative of this imbalance that a Homeland Security memo correctly identifying the threat of well-armed right wing groups as a terrorist threat creates an atmosphere of hysteria around the same conservatives who are more than willing to label the unarmed and nonviolent #Occupy movement as a terrorist threat.
The London City Police should be ashamed, and citizens the world over should be alarmed at this accidental revelation and confirmation of an attitude already proved in deed.
Image from The Telegraph