Undercover Cops’ Student Disguises
Thousands of secret police from ‘at least 40’ US government agencies are dressing up as ‘business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers’ to spy on the general public, the New York Times revealed last week, with young people particularly likely to be monitored at demonstrations.
“The agents, often youthful looking, will typically “dress down”,” an official told the Times, “and wear backpacks to blend inconspicuously into the crowd.”
“Ultimately it is government deceitfulness and participation in criminal activity,” ex-FBI man Michael German told the Times, “which is only justifiable when it is used to resolve the most serious crimes.” (New York Times )
Civil liberties lawyers in the UK identified similar tactics in the UK in 2010 when students were rounded up into ‘kettles’ then mass arrested, interviewed, photographed and finger-printed before being released.
Shane from Green and Black Cross legal group said there were ‘many incidents of undercover police officers, members of the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT), mixing with protestors in order to gain information.
“What we are noticing is a huge concentration of police resources being put into information gathering,” said Shane in a statement following the Trafalgar Square demo.
“The concern for us is that students, particularly school or college students, aren’t aware of this tactic and make it easy for the Police to monitor them by talking about everything they did or saw at the protests on Facebook,” he added.
Chattting about the large numbers of cops at music festivals in the States in 2008, Steven Silverman of US civil liberties group Flex Your Rights highlighted another key issue young people should be aware of to avoid getting into trouble.
“There’s a big myth out there that police officers must reveal if they’re an undercover cop,” said Silverman. “That’s wrong, and it’s stupid to believe that. Police officers can and do legally lie in doing their jobs. Believing that has probably led to thousands of people being arrested.”
http://greenandblackcross.org/legal (“Key advice”: IF ARRESTED – NO COMMENT: “You do not need to talk to the police about anything. If you are arrested, giving your name and address will speed up the process of being released. Any other information may be used against you and once you start talking it can be hard to stop: so don’t say anything, it is easier! If they ask you questions, just say ‘no comment’, until you have spoken to a solicitor and don’t sign anything . . .
AVOID LETTING THEM PHOTOGRAPH YOU: You don’t have to make it easy for them to photograph you – they have no power to force you to comply with being photographed or filmed unless you are being processed at the police station.
2nd World War SOE (British) secret agent advice: “Golden Rule: “Never come out of disguise. By this we mean not only from the clothes point of view but from the mental side also. http://bit.ly/1toPXk7
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff