Observer aids in police scaremongering

The Observer published the following article today:

Police warn of growing threat from eco-terrorists

Police have warned of the growing threat of eco-terrorism after revealing they are investigating a group which has supporters who believe that reducing the Earth’s population by four-fifths will help to protect the planet.

Officers from a specialist unit dedicated to tackling domestic terrorism are monitoring an eco-movement called Earth First! which has advocates who state that cutting the Earth’s population by 80 per cent will ease pressure on other species. Officers are concerned a ‘lone maverick’ eco-extremist may attempt a terrorist attack aimed at killing large numbers of Britons.

The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, which collates intelligence and advice to police forces, has revealed that eco-activists are researching a list of target companies which they believe are major polluters or are exacerbating the threat of climate change.

The unit is currently monitoring blogs and internet traffic connected to a network of UK climate camps and radical environmental movements under the umbrella of Earth First!, which has claimed responsibility for a series of criminal acts in recent months.

A senior source at the unit said it had growing evidence of a threat from eco-activists. ‘We have found statements that four-fifths of the human population has to die for other species in the world to survive.

‘There are a number of very dedicated individuals out there and they could be dangerous to other people.’

The following points should be noted:

– While there is some overlap, the Climate Camp does not equal Earth First!.
– While there are some eco-activists who advocate a significantly lower human population (particularly “anarcho”-primitivists), this view is held by a minority of people.
– Of those who advocate this view, very, very few have suggested using violent means. Many see it as the unfortunate but inevitable result of social and industrial collapse.

This is, in short, an attempt to link vague posturing on the part of a tiny handful of people, to much wider movements such as Earth First! and the climate camp.

NETCU – the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit – is a project of UK law enforcement aimed at the tracking of “domestic extremists.” While initially focused on animal rights – still its main priority – the unit also covers other areas, such as anti-nuclear campaigners, anti-fascism, and, of course, the climate camp. Images dotted around the site give an insight into just what “extremism” means in this case:



Peaceful, lawful protest, listed side by side with dire warnings of “domestic extremism”. The implication, I think, is obvious. Similarly, the unit’s expansion – initially animal rights, later some environmental action, and now broadening out even further – should be a warning to anyone involved in political action.

NETCU Watch is an animal rights based group providing information on NETCU and police surveillance of activists generally.

It should also be noted that, while ELF attacks have caused enormous amounts of damage and financial cost, they have not to date resulted in death or injury. In spite of this they were in 2001 identified as the number one terrorist threat in the United States.

While I have no particular sympathy for the ELF or their tactics, this type of article is simple scaremongering and smearing by association.

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3 comments so far

  1. Fifth Columnist « I Am Junius on

    […] Schnews’ take on the recent “eco-terror” scare story from the Observer (see also here.) “Of course I don’t have a f*cking agenda. I’m a national newspaper journalist – why would […]

  2. Calvin on
  3. Junius on

    Indeed it has – cheers 🙂


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