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Cop spies, fit-ups and phonetapping hacks

A campaign of repression against the growing resistance to the cuts exposes collusion between the different arms of the state – the police, courts, intelligence agencies – even drawing in the supposedly independent media.

With the aid of the right-wing papers, the police are trying to demonise students that took to the streets in the November demonstrations against rising tuition fees and the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Not only have they released a “rogues gallery” of student protesters and arrested more than 200 people, the Met has asked more than 20 London universities and colleges to spy on their students.

They are also fitting up individual activists. Matt Dawson, a student at Leeds City College, was arrested on an EMA demonstration and charged under Section 5 for swearing and possessing an “offensive weapon” which turns out to be his belt buckle, which is so small that it can’t be used as a weapon. He will appear at Leeds Magistrates Court on 9 February where a lively protest will give him solidarity and support.

Meanwhile, the courts sentenced former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party Tommy Sheridan to three years for perjury. The trial exposed the collusion of the media and the police to bring Sheridan down – the Lothian and Borders Police leaked his police interview tapes to the BBC, which ran a programme with the fair and balanced title of “The Rise and Lies of Tommy Sheridan”.

Andy Coulson, ex-editor of News of the World, took the stand at Sheridan’s trial and swore that he knew nothing of phone-hacking at the newspaper. Soon after Coulson was forced to resign from his position as chief spin doctor for David Cameron, as his lies are finally catching up with him. Again the police were keen to sweep this investigation under the carpet. The Met is said to have failed to notify all the likely victims of phone-hacking; to have failed to pursue leads; and to have withheld evidence from prosecutors.

All of this comes on top of the revelations of police infiltration of protest groups. Mark Kennedy (known as Mark Stone), Marc Jacobs, Jim Boyling and Lynn Watson have all been unmasked. The first three are known to have had sexual relationships with women members of the groups they were targeting.
The Cardiff Anarchist Network, which Jacobs infiltrated, was right in its statement that they were “infiltrated and abused because we took, and encouraged others to take, militant action against a string of colossal injustices”.

We should all pay attention to their warning of how he “changed the culture of the organisation, encouraging a lot of drinking, gossip and back-stabbing”.

That is police informants’ goal – to foster mistrust, suspicion and paranoia amongst our ranks. We cannot let them pull our movement apart by making us all distrust each other – but at the same time we must also be vigilant and expose provocateurs and spies wherever we find them.

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