Tuesday 16 November 2010

Police censorship: Fitwatch site taken down by Scotland Yard

In an astounding piece of political censorship, Scotland Yard has forced the removal of a website which has been critical of civil rights abuses by the police.

Following last week’s student protest in London against cuts in education and the increase in tuition fees, politicians and the right wing press have launched a full scale witch-hunt of those it perceives as responsible for occupying the Tory Party HQ in Millbank.

The Fitwatch website, which has chronicled police surveillance and intimidation since 2007, published an article offering information to protestors who were worried about the "irresponsible and frenzied ‘shop-a-student’” initiative being pushed by the liked of Tory blogger Guido Fawkes and the Daily Telegraph.

CO11, the Metropolitan Police’s public order branch, ordered JustHost.com to remove the Fitwatch site for 12 months. The website’s owners were only made aware of this censorship after the website had been removed.

According to the letter, which was seen by the Guardian newspaper, “The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a major demonstration in central London… The demonstration was marred by violence and several subjects have already been arrested, with a major police operation under way to identify and arrest further offenders.”

How convenient that the police unilaterally decided to take down the website of one of their most vocal critics! After Fitwatch, who will be next?

As last Wednesday’s protest took place, David Cameron was busy pushing trade agreements in China, where he claimed to have lobbied the Chinese government to relax its restrictions on liberty and free speech.

If he meant a word of it, perhaps he could say the same to Scotland Yard.

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