In the wake of the outing of 4 undercover police infiltrators
into the UK activist scene, SchNews
, have broken a story about police posts to Indymedia
. For over two years suspected police articles and comments have been tracked by filters that are triggered by matching IP addresses, the first comment tracked in this manner
dates from August 2008 and the last from January 2011
. It is hoped that the full lists of articles and comments will soon be published. A feature article about the abuse
has now been published by Birmingham Indymedia
, this feature article, first started in in December 2009, has been the subject of a huge amount of internal discussion within UK Indymedia and has been one of the reasons behind the decision to fork the project
. Sheffield Indymedia supports the use of anti-abuse features to track and remove disinformation from the site and long argued for the feature article exposing the state abuse
to be published.
Articles: Advocating Domestic Extremism - Cops on Indymedia - An Expos\xE9 | INTER-NETCU: Government Agency Caught Infiltrating Activist Media Outlet | State infiltration and attempted disruption of activist websites
Adam's redraft of SchNews feat
"No - stuff that - SHUT the place: Let's not all stand around like lemmings - lets shut the place! Bring ladders and wire cutters. If there are enough of us we can shut it!" ... a pretty average comment on Indymedia you might think, if a little gung-ho. In fact it was posted there by the police, and SchNEWS
has the proof.
For the benefit of anyone who's been hiding in a hole, it turns out that the U.K direct action/anarchist/environmental movement was infiltrated for number of years by undercover police. At least four cops have already been outed and it seems safe to assume there are more out there lurking. But while the mainstream media has focussed on the love lives, and the camper vans of these few professional liars, SchNEWS
can reveal that police attempts to disrupt the movement are just as insidious in the media and communications arena -- For years, police have been using activist website Indymedia in attempts to sow mistrust, demoralise movements and to incite violence and illegality.
A little bit of background: Technically, Indymedia safeguards the anonymity of anyone who posts an article or a comment to its website, by not recording what is called the I.P. address from where that post originates. I.P. addresses are unique labels that enable computers to locate and talk to each other -- they can be used therefore to track the identity of anyone who posts to a website. But, although I.P. addresses are not stored, about two years ago the people who look after Indymedia happened upon a comment on an Animals Rights site which outed an abusive poster as being a police troll. It gave them and anyone else interested the I.P. address of this particular joker. Since then, Indymedia has been operating a filter that captures posts originating from this address and flags them up for moderation.
The IP address so identified was 188.8.131.52 , which correlates with the
server gateway303.energis.gsi.gov.uk. There are similar servers,
gateway-301 & gateway-302 with IP addresses 184.108.40.206 and
220.127.116.11 respectively. Other servers identified are gateway-101,
gateway-202, gateway-201, etc.
GSI stands for Government Secure Intranet. It is a network established by
the UK Government to allow secure transfer of files across its computers.
The Police National Network is separate from it, but can connect to it.
Currently GSI is operated by Energis, a UK based internet company now
owned by Cable & Wireless.
It is clear from the consistency of the usage of gateway-303 server that
the IPs are probably assigned to particular premises or else specific
units within the UK Government. One of the purposes of the GSI network is
to provide a secure proxy network behind which users can maintain their
anonymity. Hence the lack of solid information as to exactly who is behind
the postings. However, SchNEWS
is gonna take a stab in the dark (if only)
as to who they are; in fact some actually signed NETCU. Of course it could
be the old double bluff, but given the level of intelligence behind some
of the postings even this level of sophistication seems unlikely.
Indymedia is a key tool in activist organisation and communication. Given
the overtly political nature of the site and the types of news stories
published it is hardly a surprise that it attracts weirdos with strange
axes to grind. Its open publishing format has left it wide open to
trolling, spam and, of course, state / police abuse.
This abuse has mostly taken the form of posting comments under a variety
of pseudonyms. These postings have targeted individual activists, put out
information about activists that is not in the public domain, attacked
campaigns, and urged the disruption of peaceful protests. Many comment on
(then) ongoing court cases. Some are just personal abuse directed at
well-known activists, while others contain information only known to the
police. Two postings - made on 21st Jan and 9th Jun 2010 - provide
personal details, including mobile numbers, of potential targets for the
animal rights movement, one a fur-shop in Leeds, the other the owner of an
animal circus. What the motivations were for posting these details can
only be surmised. But off the record we reckon it's blatant attempt at
As part of the activist scene, SchNEWS
isn't quite as shocked as elements
of the mainstream media have been about the cops' sleazy abuse of personal
friendships to disrupt the organisation of alternative social movements.
It's long been the case that to be an activist you've got to get used the
idea of surveillance (both covert and overt), violence from the state and
the deliberate silencing of voices. The antics of Kennedy, Watson, Jacobs
and Boyling are just part of a tactical bag of tricks including kettling
(link), the use of F.I.T teams and spotter cards (link), anti-stalking
injunctions (link), spreading rumours in the mainstream press (link) and a
constant stream of new laws criminalising dissent (See SchNEWS
that list we can now add infiltration of the core platform for
anti-authoritarian radical media activism in the UK.
From a brief analysis of the activities of the undercovers it seems that
their mission was as much to disrupt as much as it was to gather
information. Attacks on our movements by disruption are a handy weapon in
the state's arsenal with no need for actual evidence or convictions.
The targets of the fake Indymedia postings span the activist spectrum,
from anti-fascists to anti-militarists, but have been most concerned with
environmental campaigns and, in particular the Animal Rights movement. On
April 27th, 2010, a comment appeared on the Indymedia UK newswire entitled
Don't use SPEAK as a model. The comment, on an article entitled New animal
lab at Leicester; New nationwide campaign to start urged readers to
respond to the campaign by "Model[ling] the campaign on a successful AR
campaign such as Hillgrove cats or Darnley Oaks etc" (sic). Those
familiar with those campaigns will be aware that they campaigns are
alleged to have included violent actions against individuals. Other
postings referenced a what appears to be an entirely fictitious new AR
campaign in Leicester \x96 Stop Leicester Animal Cruelty. SLAC (ha bloody ha)
It should be remembered corporations seeking injunctions under the
Protection from Harassment Act (link) have relied heavily on comments made
on Indymedia as evidence. This act has been used against campaigns such as
Smash EDO to criminalise all forms of dissent targeting specific
companies, even entirely peaceful and completely legal protest.
As a whole the comments build a bewildering picture of a campaign of
disparagement, incitement and support, together with wry asides and
outright attempts at demoralisation. A few really stand out as obvious
incitement to illegality while some are so bizarre that we can't work out
if they are part of a sinister master plan to bring down the whole
activist scene - or just the ramblings of bored coppers with faces full of
doughnuts and nothing better to do.
hopes to be in a position to publish the full backlog of comments
) soon. Meanwhile here's a small sample...
INCITEMENT: Obviously fed up with the lack of militant law-breaking in the
U.K the Gateway users try and whip up a storm of their own
On the Milli-band protests - organised by Greenpeace against the
Kingsnorth Power Station in July 4th 2009:
4th July - Shut Kingsnorth: With the police not opposing the Milliband
what better time to shut Kingsnorth? Lets use this opportunity to shut it
down once and for all! posted by Milli-Band on 26.06.2009 07:29
No - stuff that - SHUT the place: Let's not all stand around like lemmings
- lets shut the place!Bring ladders and wire cutters. If there are enough
of us we can shut it! posted by Millitant Band on 26.06.2009 08:48
Animal Rights Targets: NETCU came out of AR monitoring group ARNI (Animal
Rights National Index) here the gateway boys try and get AR back on the
streets and even have a positive take on arson!
These three comments were posted on demo reports
Yeah - back to Sequani Let's get out this time - only 2 turned up at
Highgate! We need loads at Sequani or they will think we have given up!
posted by Anon on 29.10.2010
Try HLS or Oxford: think they are still open! Why waste effort
'inspecting' places that you know have closed - unless it is to make
yourself sound important - it's not working. posted by What's the point
of these? on 26.02.2010 08:07Yeah - Harrods and Josephes too..: Both of
those still selling fur - both will be demo ed over Xmas. It's not over
yet! posted by CAFT on 21.12.2009 14:05
On the burning down of Novartis CEO's Hunting Lodge and theft of his
Horrible own goal:Yes there will be a witch hunt - lest we forget the SNGP
are mostly all still in jail and that incident lead to Opertion Achillies
and the 50 year jail terms. Had they stopped at the arson they would have
made a good point but the repeated exhumation just makes the whole AR
movent look like unreasonable fanatics. Stupid Stupid Stupid. posted by
Green man 2009-08-05 11.00
On two occasions users of Gateway 303 posted warnings/early reports of
police raids on addresses. Why is a bit of mystery - maybe to see who
contacts who in the afermath
Antifa solidarity: Reports have been recieved of raids across the country.
Details are unclear at present. posted by Antifa on 29.07.2009 10:54
AR raids - duck and cover :Early reports of raids on two addresses - AR
related. Early morning raids on AR activists - some arrests - possible
house searches. More details of nicks to follow - we must show solidarity.
posted by @tivist on 10.11.2009 08:20
DEMORALISATION: It has been speculated that one of the roles of the
undercovers was to break groups up through demoralisation and cynicism.
Ceratinly the 303 crew seem to be singing from the same sheet
In relation to a protest at Didcot Power Station
13 arrested - production not halted: 13 arrested - production not halted,
the rest up a stack waiting to come down and get nicked -what did this
achive? posted by Hang on on 27.10.2009 08:28
In relation to graffiti at EDO MBM, a Brighton weapons factory
That should stop production.....:Yep - no doubt paint on the walls stops
production dead. Oh hang on...... posted by Paint on 05.02.2010 12:52
In relation to a protest outside an animal lab:
The numbers are down from last year: There is nothing wrong with 70 - I
think the initial alarm on the day and on here is that numbers were so
reduced from last year and what the Police had been expecting. posted by
It's Fine on 02.11.2009 11:24
Talking about fox-hunts on Boxing Day
So many More now: Than there were before the ban makes you think eh?
posted by Pink on 23.12.2009 15:43
SOWING DIVISIONS. Another tactic is to cause divisions through the
spreading of rumours against individuals even suggesting that they might
be police informants
Referring to long term AR activist Lynn Sawyer
Another raid on Lyns house: And she hasn't been nicked? posted by Again?
on 10.11.2009 11:45
Referring to AR activist Luke Steele
Just goes to show:Why is Luke Steele taken seriously I will never know.
Steele attracts the law like a magnet and from what a "screw" said in the
local pub he like to run and tell when he got slapped around. ......
Nothing new, he will always be a spoilt little mummy's boy. Be aware of
Steele, he can't be trusted. posted by Sab on 24.12.2009 10:28
One comment aimed to discourage activism against the EDL - Undercover cop
Mark Kennedy suggested that activists avoid confrontation with the EDL in
a meeting at the EF! Gathering in 2010
They were formed to fight:Guys, the EDL are predominatly a group of
football hooligans who were bored in the summer. This seems to be giving
them exactly what they want - sombody to have a fight with! Why not ignore
them? posted by Observer on 08.12.2009 13:29
Bizarre: These and many of the others seem like nothing more than bored
Thanks for the heads up... :we will look into it. posted by NETCU
Let's ask David Ike...: I'm sure that Dave can save us! posted by Purple
Track Suit on 23.12.2009 08:54
This is a just a small selection of the over 100 comments intercepted on