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London Police show images of Occupy London alongside pictures of the Irish Republican Army and the 2005 London bombing. (Photo: crusader//ky/cc/flickr)

London Police show images of Occupy London alongside pictures of the Irish Republican Army and the 2005 London bombing. (Photo: crusader//ky/cc/flickr)

Terrorism 101: Occupy and Student Groups Labeled 'Extremist Threat' by London Police

Conflating of liberal groups with terrorism shows that they threaten 'the capitalist establishment of which the police are employed to protect' says activist

Lauren McCauley

Once again demonstrating how Western governments and law enforcement are actively working to conflate environmentalists and activists with al Qaeda and other so-called "terrorists," reports this week revealed that London police are including such domestic, liberal groups in a presentation identifying extremist threats.

The slideshow, obtained by the Guardian following a Freedom of Information request and reported on Sunday, is distributed to nursery and primary school staff to prepare them for a potential attack.

The presentation is part of the city's Project FAWN operation, described by one internal report (pdf) as a counter terrorism "program of briefings and exercises for childcare and educational facilities...to raise security awareness and guide the efforts of these sites to protect the City’s children and young people."

Included among the examples of "domestic extremism" are protests by students, animal rights and climate groups. One slide, titled "History in City of Terrorism and Domestic Issues," even shows an image from the Occupy London protests alongside photographs of the Irish Republican Army and the July 2005 bombing of London by Islamic extremists.

A slide from a City of London police counter-terrorism awareness sessions for nurseries. Photograph: City of London police

Kevin Blowe, a coordinator with the police-monitoring watchdog coalition, the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), said the presentation highlights the dangers of "including ill-defined labels, like 'domestic extremism,' within the language and strategies of counter-terrorism," which effectively allows governments to target "almost any group of political activists that the police dislike or consider an inconvenience."

Further, as Occupy London activist Janie Mac told RT, "This labelling and categorizing of democratic protesters shows how Occupy and the anarchist principles of mutual aid and non-hierarchy used scared the capitalist establishment of which the police are employed to protect."

Blowe added that the presentation shows "a real disdain for legitimate rights to exercise freedoms of expression and assembly in a free society, which leads to individuals having their lawful activities recorded and retained on secret police intelligence databases."


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