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Katrina Forrester writes:
: In Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark: Corporate and Police Spying on Activists, Eveline Lubbers, an academic, activist journalist and researcher with the organisations SpinWatch and Buro Jansen & Janssen, focuses on what she calls ‘grey intelligence’, the informal networks of co-operation between corporate interests and state agencies that are now central to the surveillance of dissent in Western European democracies. She suggests that the problem with spying on activists is that they are part of ‘civil society groups’ that exist to ‘promote democracy’. There are good strategic reasons to make this argument and it’s clear why Lubbers makes it: the Association of Chief Police Officers’ National Domestic Extremism Unit – a more recent incarnation of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, set up in 1999, and the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, set up in 2004 – has labelled dozens of NGOs and left-wing groups ‘domestic extremists’.