Are Scottish Football Fans Terrorists Now?

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A few months ago, a mate of mine posted a rather odd Facebook status regarding a Friends Request he’d received.

My curiosity was piqued, so I asked him what was what. He told me a rather bizarre tale, one I believed instantly, about how the person in question was almost certainly not what she seemed; in fact, he thought she was probably a police officer.

As someone who’s been studying The Secret State and the way it operates my whole life, I knew his thinking was pretty solid once he explained it to me.

Amongst the reasons he gave was one very compelling one; he knew of at least five other people who’d received unsolicited Friends Request’s from the same person, and he knew at least a dozen on her Friends list. These people all had one thing in common; they had been involved, some peripherally, some not so much, in court cases involving football fans in Scotland.

It’s a classic intelligence gathering stratagem, but it was a little too obvious this time.

I’m sure they’ve got better at it since.

Ten years ago, Hell even five, this would have seemed like paranoid ranting.

It’s not, and we know it’s not.

When you make the expression of political sentiment a criminal offence, when you make what people say to each other online subject to some of the harshest policing in Europe, when you turn ordinary people into criminals by virtue of a rancid law that leaves it up to the police themselves to decide what constitutes a crime, this is the consequence. You get busy little people engaging in all manner of little things.

I don’t know how serving line officers feel in Scotland, but all of them must fancy a transfer to FoCUS; it’s a guaranteed easy life.

Where else can you get paid by going onto the Huddleboard and engaging in a bit of banter with the guys?

Where else can you target folk with so little recourse for comeback, and earn your quota by cutting and pasting?

The only easier gig would be to become a “football journalist.”

It essentially uses the same skill-set too.

What it has to do with Protect & Serve is beyond me. These aren’t the basic requirements for someone opting for a career with the police.

And don’t even get me started on political oversight; that’s a joke.

The SNP criminal justice policies are a disgrace, and that they’ve given the police such free reign is deplorable.

With an election coming up you’d think they’d be more circumspect; in fact they don’t give a damn.

Today, in one national newspaper, is a story that says Police Scotland are considering the use of anti-terror legislation to enable them to access “closed” fan forums, like that run by The Green Brigade and other groups, to identify potential trouble makers before the cup semi final.

This is a step too far; those laws, which have already been used to justify snooping on political parties, journalists, pressure groups and other organisations which someone has deemed “a threat to the state” – but never bankers or finance houses, oddly enough, despite widespread evidence of criminality at some of them – weren’t written to scour chat rooms. It’s not simply an invasion of privacy, it’s an invasion of decency.

It treats every single one of us like a criminal.

Because bear in mind, this is potential trouble makers … the beautiful thing about laws like RIPA, the one they’re going to use to do this, is that they no longer need to worry about such shining principles of justice as “probable cause” before they start violating basic civil rights.

“This will be an intelligence led operation,” a source told The Daily Record.

Oh yeah? And we’re getting Scottish cops to do this, are we?

Are these the same people who took three days to respond to a car crash report on the M9, and ultimately killed two people?

I’d suggest that if Police Scotland doesn’t already have the intel it needs – between photographing fans, videoing them, and Miss Moneypenny trawling Facebook with her wee list of miscreants – that it’s doing something blatantly wrong and needs to revaluate its methods.

Whatever next? Infiltrating fan organisations? Think that sounds a stretch?

Well, consider this; the new head of Police Scotland is none other than Phil Gormley, linked to the SpyCops scandal in England which had undercover officers posing as activists and even, in some cases, getting involved in long-term relationships with them.

Does it still sound far-fetched to you?

Back in the not too distant past, police forces handled match-day trouble just fine without needing to turn supporter’s discussion boards into the equivalent of Al Quaeda recruitment sites. Where is the history of large scale disorder – organised disorder – at Glasgow derbies anyway? Is it a new thing? Because past history doesn’t suggest there’s been much of it. Is this using an elephant gun as a fly-swat, or just an excuse to give some down on his luck FoCUS officer a bit of overtime?

Because, those poor sods, they must need it … ?

It’s hard to believe, but there was once a time when a police intelligence officer’s job involved more than just putting on the kettle and logging into Celtic Quick News.

But this is more than just lazy policing; it’s another example as to how no invasion of privacy is too much anymore, how Scotland is developing its very own little police state mentality, with football fans – football fans; not dangerous organised criminals, but you, me, our friends and our family members – on the tip of the spear.

That should trouble a lot of people in this country a hell of a lot more than it appears to do at the moment.

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