Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Police fail to close rebel website

A WEBSITE challenging UK police intimidation of political dissidents is back online after the cops closed it down.

The Metroplitcan Police told the web hosters to shut the Fitwatch site for at least a year after it published advice to student protesters involved inthe historic storming of the Conservative Party HQ on November 10.

The move prompted widespread anger on the internet, though the only mainstream media source to report it was The Guardian.

In a statement on the resurrected site, Fitwatch thanks the police "for giving us such huge publicity and making us even stronger. And with a secure server, massive coverage and a clear message that we’re here to stay".

It explains: "On Monday night we received notification that our site had been suspended due to 'attempting to pervert the course of justice' due to our posting offering advice to the Millbank students.

"Whilst the email requesting the site be closed on the basis it was being used for 'criminal activity' came from DI Paul Hoare, from the Police Central e-crime Unit, the authorisation to close was given much closer to home, by acting Detective Inspector Will Hodgeson.

"Hodgeson, who was involved in the first Fitwatch case, and has sat through many of our trials and appeals, evidently finally had enough and decided to shut us down.

"However, through totally underestimating the power of social media, this pathetic attempt has failed miserably. Within minutes of networking what had happened, people were re-publishing the post anywhere and everywhere.

"There are now over 100 sites carrying the original post – we haven’t managed to count them all. We have been overwhelmed by the support and solidarity and send massive thanks to everyone who’s offered to help and reposted the information.

"If we haven’t replied personally, it’s only because we’ve been inundated, and haven’t had time.

"This was a real attempt to squash dissent and criticism of the police, as well as attempting to stifle common sense advice to protesters subject to a witch hunt by the right wing press.

"The solidarity given by so many people has ensured this hasn’t happened, and has shown we can fight back. Even if we were to be arrested and prosecuted now, we would still be grateful to CO11 for the amount of publicity they’ve generated for us.

"We’re back, and we’re stronger than ever."

The site is at www.fitwatch.org.uk