Police spies infiltrated UK leftwing groups for decades

A Socialist Workers party demonstration outside the Labour party conference in Brighton in 2000. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA

Photograph: Chris Ison/PA


Guardian Exclusive: database shows 124 green, anti-racist and other groups spied on by undercover police.

Police deployed 24 undercover officers to infiltrate a small leftwing political party over a 37-year period, the Guardian can reveal. The database lists 124 groups that have been spied on by undercover police officers since 1968. The database is incomplete as the full list of groups that were spied on has yet to be established.

The list so far compiled, however, suggests police spies overwhelmingly monitored leftwing and progressive groups that challenged the status quo, with only three far-right groups infiltrated – the British National party, Combat 18 and the United British Alliance.

Undercover officers spied on 22 leftwing groups, 10 environmental groups, nine anti-racist campaigns and nine anarchist groups, according to the database.

They also spied on campaigns against apartheid, the arms trade, nuclear weapons and the monarchy, as well as trade unions. Among those spied on were 16 campaigns run by families or their supporters seeking justice over alleged police misconduct.

Continue reading at the Guardian source:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/15/undercover-police-spies-infiltrated-uk-leftwing-groups-for-decades

Groups spied on by undercover police – search the list
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2018/oct/15/uk-political-groups-spied-on-undercover-police-list

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#WhereAreTheChildren: How to Help

Since the news hit that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admitted to losing nearly 1,500 children in their custody, social media has been inundated with furious citizens demanding to know what happened to the children. Here’s what we’ve learned, and what you can do about it.

What happened? 

One month ago, an official from DHS admitted under questioning in a congressional hearing that the agency could not account for nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors who arrived at the border, nearly 19% of the minors in their custody.

Then on Monday, the news hit that the government is forcibly separating children from their families at the border.

Then yesterday, the ACLU released a report with horrifying details as to the abuses that children in custody at the border are being subjected to.

The outrage on social media has been festering but it blew over yesterday. #WhereAreTheChildren has been trending non-stop and people are desperate to make these issues widely known, and searching for ways to help.

How you can help
continue reading…

Source: #WhereAreTheChildren: How to Help

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Two-Tier Policing Fiasco 19 Squad Cars Protect 1 Baronet!

Overstretched police? 19 police cars sent to protect Baronet Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland from fox hunting protesters
If you live in Cambridgeshire and found the police too busy to attend your call on the 23rd of December – it’s probably because NINETEEN Cambridgeshire police cars were sent to protect a fox hunt organised by Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland, 4th Baronet.

The police turned up in force and then proceeded to threaten the peaceful anti-hunt protesters with CS gas spray:

Source: Overstretched police? 19 police cars sent to protect Baronet Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland from fox hunting protesters | Pride’s Purge

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DWP officials pocket £44 million in performance bonuses despite universal credit debacle

Figures also show DWP ministers spent £35million defending cruel decisions to deny sick and disabled people vital benefits.

Civil servants working for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been handed over £40 million in performance-related bonuses, despite serious problems with the rollout of universal credit and a startling increase in the number of successful disability benefit appeals.

Figures released earlier this week show DWP staff were awarded £44 million in “good performance” bonuses in the last year, while thousands of new universal credit claimants were forced to a wait a minimum six weeks for their first payment and left at risk of becoming homeless because of rent arrears.

According to the figures, 240 senior DWP officials pocketed a total £760,000 in bonuses, while a further 88,300 junior staff were each handed an extra £1,750 in their pay packets.

A Cabinet Office spokesman defended the handouts, claiming bonuses are needed to “attract, retain and motivate highly-skilled individuals”.

Meanwhile, the data also reveals that DWP ministers spent a shocking £35 million of taxpayers cash defending cruel decisions to deny sick and disabled people Personal Independence Payments (PIP), despite separate figures showing 68% of appeals rule in favour of claimants – exposing chronic failures in the PIP assessment process…

• Full story here: DWP officials pocket £44 million in ‘performance’ bonuses despite universal credit debacle

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Labour Party Website Banned From Internet Search [updated]

If you're a member of the party, submit your ideas and opinions to our Democracy Review now and help shape the future of our movement.

A couple of days ago I was intrigued to see a piece on Skwawkbox about possible blocking of Labour Party pages from internet search engines due to the inclusion of the noindex and nofollow meta tags which effectively blocks search engines from indexing that page’s content making it seem invisible to the web. These tags exist solely for that purpose.

labour-code-source-extract_1338x166
Above: An extract of the source code for The Labour Party Democracy Review. The complete source can viewed at the page itself or here.

The content on the Labour website is part of The Labour Party Democracy Review and is an open invitation directed at Labour Party members to participate in the future of the political party

“If you’re a member of the party, submit your ideas and opinions to our Democracy Review now and help shape the future of our movement.”

Therefore its exclusion from internet searches is to the obvious detriment of possible change. It could also be said that any such restriction could be considered a direct attack on Jeremy Corbyn himself and his desire for inclusivity.

As it concerned what I thought at the time to be no more than a misplaced meta tag, possibly the result of a sloppy cut and paste operation by some inexperienced intern, it didn’t concern me as anything overtly sinister.

However that was a couple of days ago and despite a number of contacts made to certain individuals, departments and businesses with responsibility for such things – both by Skwawkbox and domestic empire, the offending search-restrictive content remains conspicuously unchanged.

Update: Skwawkbox contact with Labour HQ.

Labour’s HQ confirmed that the tag was not accidental and referred to emails that had been sent to members with a link to provide their input to the review – but this begs the question of why bother putting the page on the site at all if you’re going to hide it?

Now the situation has become murkier with confirmation to this blog by a leader’s office (LOTO) source that neither Corbyn nor his office had given approval for the noindex measure:

“We absolutely did not sanction that tag or anything else that would limit the number of people participating. On the contrary, we want input from as many people as possible so we get the benefit of everyone’s perspective.”

Although strangely absent from their portfolio the company responsible for creating the Labour Party website is Wide Eye Creative, based in Washington USA:

“..purpose-driven creative digital agency that empowers organizations, campaigns, and causes.”

I contacted them and its man in charge Ben Ostrower altering them both to this error in markup that was resulting in a negative impact for their client. Two days later I’m still awaiting their reply and removal of said meta tag. But regrettably they seem more interested in discussing Star Wars and somewhat ironically, Net Neutrality.

Wide Eye Creative & Ben Ostrower tweets

Normally one would expect such coding errors to be fixed immediately upon receipt of notification along with a cheery, ‘Thank you’, for spotting such a glaring error that might have otherwise caused public embarrassment – so why the stalling?

I don’t wish to launch into full conspiracy-mode, but the lack of action surrounding this simple code change, or even to acknowledge its existence is cause for some concern.

At the time of writing the errant meta tags that effectively ban The Labour Party Democracy Review from being seen remain in situ.

Links:
The Labour Party Democracy Review
View source code for The Labour Party Democracy Review
Download source code for The Labour Party Democracy Review
Why has Labour HQ blocked Democracy Review page from search engines?
Excl: LOTO – ‘we did not sanction hiding Democracy Review page from search engines’
Google: Block search indexing with ‘noindex’

Updated 18th December 2017: Skwawkbox obtain reply from Labour.
Updated 16th December 2017: to better illustrate source code.

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