Monday, April 13, 2009


Sorry for the lack of substantive posts, they are coming, and I'd also like to comment on the insightful post addressing my terrorism thing very soon. But I just thought this needed to be flagged up:
Police have carried out what is thought to be the biggest pre-emptive raid on environmental campaigners in UK history, arresting 114 people believed to be planning direct action at a coal-fired power station.

The arrests - for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass - come amid growing concern among campaigners about increased police surveillance and groups being infiltrated by informers.
Interestingly, notice that this was not done under anti-terror legislation, even though I rather think it could have been. This also addresses something I will say in the aforementioned terrorism comments, namely that anti-terror legislation can't be seen too much as a radical break from pre-existing law or some kind of 'creeping fascism'. Ordinary criminal law can and often has been used in such a way as to capture various forms of non-standard political opposition when this is percieved as particularly threatening. Conspiracy law is particularly relevant here as it was historically deployed so as to criminalise the formation of trade unions.

I think this is important to remember because some civil liberties type are insisting on seeing this anti-terrorism stuff as some kind of rupture as opposed to a contingent articulation and (perhaps) an intensification of an already existing trend.