Do These People Look Like Terrorists?

Hippie longboarders can make pipe bombs, too.

If the UK's Daily Mail and Evening Standard ever needed some hard evidence that the Occupy London protesters were evil traitors, hell-bent on the destruction of capitalism, the Green Belt, and Bruce Forsythe, the City of London police have given it to them:

On Monday morning, a secret City of London police memo was leaked that lists the Occupy London protesters as domestic terrorists, lumping them in with throne-threatening agitators like the IRA, the UVF, and the Cornish separatists. In the memo, the Occupiers are also listed alongside Colombia's FARC and al-Qaeda in terms of threat level. We're sure you've heard of al-Qaeda at some point in the last couple of years, but if you aren't familiar with the myriad acronyms of international terrorism, FARC are notorious for their love of kidnapping ANYONE and then holding them for about 13 years before finally getting bored and killing them.

In contrast, the Occupy movement holds 12-hour general assemblies on the values of sustainable eco-living in the Norfolk Fens and gives free food to the homeless. I'm failing to see how these groups can be seen as equals. Unless you really, really, really, hate homelesses?

What other nefarious acts have been scaring the police, you ask? Well apparently the Occupiers have been engaging in a spot of "hostile reconnaissance" recently. What does that mean? Sending death drones or packs of wild dogs careering into police lines? No, it means looking at buildings and thinking about squatting in them. Apparently that's now on par with blowing up jetliners and assassinating hostages, so officers must be extra vigilant. I'm always keen to help the police, so here are a few probable terrorists who should be locked up for breaking Britain:

It's the Queer Housewives! These guys are always up for a riot. Remember Stonewall? They fucked up the NYPD no problem. Definitely terrorists.

OK, well I get the cops' point on this one, technically he is threatening the sacred banking system and its evil minions, but then again he's got floppy hair and is wearing a snood in October. Doesn't really scream "domestic terrorist," does it?

Personally I can't see anything wrong with this, but the Met must have supernatural powers of detection. I'm sorry, I just don't get the metaphor.

Don't let this city slicker's longboard fool you, this comely lass is clearly an envoy from the Cornish National Liberation Army, kickflipping into town for hush-hush allegiance power plays disguised as drum circles. Thus, she is a bona fide terrorist, and must be destroyed. Well done, Met, make sure she doesn't ollie over you daisy cutters!

Fuck, hang on a second, the Occupy movement have Jesus on their side. The Crusaders said they had Jesus on their side and then went and killed a fuck-ton of people. I guess at least he's not Allah.

All of which is to say, welcome to the world of "total policing," chumps, it's here to stay and you'd better get used to it. Since the student riots a year ago, the police have suffered numerous humiliations at the hands of young protesters and, after a change at the top, the new police commissioners aren't about to let those mistakes happen again. Since the August riots, there's been talk of introducing water cannon and baton rounds, intimidating letters have been sent to arrested (but not convicted) protesters, and more "undercover" cops and large, metal protest barriers have been cropping up at protest flashpoints.

What the police want most of all is a stop to building occupations, which is why they highlighted "aggressive reconnaissance" as something to be wary of. From what I've seen while photographing this wave of British discontent over the past year or so, this is a massive overreaction on the part of the police. Take, for example, the Bank of Ideas at the squatted UBS building. It's a social center where people can learn about open democracy, environmentalism, and how to make friendship bracelets (maybe). They're not running a terrorist training camp with flaming obstacle courses and Powerpoint presentations on how best to kidnap a royal. Yet the police chose the Bank of Ideas day to turn up with massive guns.

Makes you feel safe, doesn't it?