Anyone smell bacon?

We welcome the fact that there has been an unveiling of the fact that undercover police have been infiltrating activist groups, its important to know that this has been happening. This is not a new phenomenon though and has happened before - many times. However the fact that an anarchist group in South Wales were one of the targets was a bit of a shock to us at SWAT. Being aware of the group and actually familiar with some of the members through loose social ties the fact that this had happened caused more of a stir with us than many other media groups within the UK. We'd also been wondering what had happened to the C.A.N. (Cardiff Anarchist Network) and why they no longer seemed to be so active or informing through things like their newsletters that used to appear in a few local shops. Other thoughts came to mind - such as to question whether this was still happening and to what extent.

That it is a flagrant abuse of police 'power' and that the state works against how they refer to us as 'citizens' is clear though. Was undercover policeman Mark Kennedy still in the pay of the police? Was this a further attempt to cause suspicion and paranoia amongst activists and so get more for their cash? If anything arises from this though it is clear that it should not cause suspicion amongst colleagues, for numerous factors - it means they are getting nervous, and that politicians and their grunts see a real threat to their positions and to their friends in unsustainable corporations and the banks. Activists can also take the lesson from this that there are certain behaviours that infiltrators display - they seek to divide and cause suspicion within activist groups and they normally have some excuse for having deep pockets. Strong communication between members is the way to combat and put the squeeze on those who seek to divide and disrupt. For example in the 'truther' movement on facebook many have noted how a certain 'Chris Freedom Flowers' often tries to cause suspicion and arguements between those using facebook - for this reason I have dropped him as a 'friend' - just to be cautious; no hassle or arguement - just take the intelligent route and cut ties!

There of course is a bit more of a history to spying that many of us are aware of - amongst the most interesting groups that have operated - who posed a real threat to the social 'order' were the Weathermen also known as the Weather Underground, who were active in the 1960s and 1970s in the USA. Amongst their tactics were blowing up government buildings - they would however always give a warning and the only people who ever died from their campaigns were a couple of their own members in a accidental set off of a device. The FBI used underhanded tactics and often broke the law when it came to their investigations to try and track the Weathermen down, that when it came to court after some were caught - the Weathermen could not be prosecuted, the whole shadey practise of the feds caused the end result to be a stalemate. Of course today we have the same outcome - underhanded tactics have been used by the police and boundaries overstepped - the order that policemen could sleep with activists in many's eyes means that legal rules have been broken - whether this would have happened anyway due to Stockholm Syndrome or by initial intention, it matters not - the police have tripped themselves up over this.

Spying equipment is available to all via the internet - and while we at SWAT wouldnt want to cause suspicion between true activists and truthers - devices can be handy in the event of someone seeming to display divisive behaviours. Use their tactics against them. The design of the SWAT website for example may help to cause a certain amount of 'cover' for the messages that are contained within, this hasn't been done accidentally. The realisation though that infiltration and police spying do indeed happen can do nothing but strengthen the fact that the state needs a radical overhaul in many ways and it is only from the fringes that ideas can come to make this happen.

It should alarm most of us who work to try to correct serious mistakes and destructive decisions that those in authority or in business make, whether these result in environmental destruction or in negative consequences for people, such practises result in a double negative result. It is plain wrong that this happens to environmental groups and those working to enhance the human condition, and so more of us should feel motivated to become involved in promoting intelligent practises that deter unintelligent practises, which of course is the forte of the activist. One thing is for sure though, we need many more activists and we need to become more active in our lives to work to make such occurences happening again less likely, after all - the police are paid for out of the taxes that the government takes from us.