Opposition

Fracking opponent detained under the Terrorism Act

A prominent anti-fracking campaigner has revealed that he was detained under the Terrorism Act at Exeter Airport just before Christmas.

Ian CraneIan Crane, who presents the weekly web broadcast Fracking Nightmare, said he was held for about two hours. His phone was taken away to be examined but his luggage was not searched.

He said he was issued with a Notice of Detention under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (pictured below right).

Schedule 7 formThe Network for Police Monitoring, Netpol, said the incident was further “alarming evidence” that opponents of fracking were being targeted as “domestic extremists”. It follows Netpol’s recent publication of a recording in which a counter-terrorism officer at a training session described some opposition to fracking as extremism.

“Random check”

According to Mr Crane, a former oil executive, he was detained by two police officers in plain clothes on 20th December 2015 after he went through passport control at Exeter, following a flight from Amsterdam. The Notice of Detention recorded that he was held at 10.20pm.

He said the police officers told him it was a random check.

“They wanted to know ‘Where have you been?’ ‘What are you doing?’”

“I said everything I did was in the public domain.”

Mr Crane gives talks to community groups about what he says are the risks of fracking. He produced the documentary Voices of the Gasfields about fracking in Australia and has filmed police activity at anti-fracking protests in the UK. Three days after his detention, lawyers for Rathlin Energy sought to make him bankrupt. More details

He also broadcasts on geopolitical issues and during the interview the officers asked him about his views on events in the Middle East.

“They asked questions about what I thought radicalises people.”

“They didn’t say anything about fracking until I did”.

“They said ‘It [fracking] is a concern but we’re alright down here [in Devon and Cornwall]’”.

“We have to take your phone”

Mr Crane said the officers told him they had to take his phone.

“I said this was an infringement against my fundamental human rights.”

“They said ‘We have to take your phone. If you don’t give it to us we will have to charge you under the Terrorism Act.’”

“I said I was allowing them against my better judgement.”

“I said I have this country’s best interests at heart. The legacy we are leaving future generations scares the crap out of me.”

Mr Crane said this was the first time he had had any connection with the security services.

He said he refused to sign the Notice of Detention. He said the interview lasted about an hour. The officers then spent another hour with his phone. He asked the officers to delete any material that had been collected from it.

DrillOrDrop asked Devon and Cornwall Police whether officers had complied with this request. We also asked the force to confirm the details of Mr Crane’s detention.

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said the force had no comment to make. It would also not comment on our question about the authenticity of the Section 7 Notice of Detention, which contained two spelling mistakes and had no name or reference to the detaining authority.

Kevin Blowe, Coordinator for Netpol, said:

“As far back as 2012, Netpol called on the Home Office to outlaw the use of Schedule 7 to gather information or intelligence about political activism. This draconian stop and search power is hugely intimidating – people can be detained, with no right to silence, for up to six hours and police can take their DNA, fingerprints and phone or laptop data.”

“Although intended to prevent terrorism, we have documented repeated instances of its use against campaigners, often on the basis of what seems like pre-existing intelligence relating to their political activity. Mr Crane’s experience provides more alarming evidence that opponents of fracking are amongst those who are currently targeted as ‘domestic extremists'”

Mr Crane talks about his experience on the 5th January 2016 episode of Fracking Nightmare

Schedule 7

Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act deals with port and border controls. It allows police, immigration and customs officers to detain and question people at ports or airports. A person who is questioned must give the interviewing officers any information or documents that are requested. The schedule also gives officers the power to search people and their property and detain items for up to seven days.

There is no requirement under the schedule for an officer to have “a reasonable suspicion” that someone is involved with terrorism before they are searched. People who fail to co-operate are deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

The use of Section 7 made international headlines in February 2014 when David Miranda, the partner of the journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained at Heathrow Airport. Mr Greenwald had published documents leaked by the US security contractor, Edward Snowdon. Officers held Mr Miranda for nine hours and seized computer equipment he was carrying.

In February 2015, 25 peace campaigners travelling from parts of Europe to a demonstration in Berkshire were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 by British anti-terrorism police in Calais. More details

Netpol issued guidance on Schedule 7 for activists travel to the Paris climate conference in December

Anti-fracking campaigners and the Prevent strategy

A week before Mr Crane’s detention, Netpol, published a recording from a workshop on the counter-terrorism Prevent strategy. The workshop was a training event held by the police for a group of public sector staff.

According to the recording, a police officer accused some anti-fracking protesters of violent extremism. He alleged they had assaulted workers. Netpol said this was apparently based on a single unfounded allegation of assault made at the Barton Moss protest in Salford which led to no criminal charges. The officer also alleged damage to equipment.

Transcript of recording
“Domestic: animal rights and anti-fracking got anyone [inaudible] got anyone know of Frack Off? Sometimes it does. Why are they on there? Well, if they demonstrate in accordance with the Public Order Act then there’s absolutely no problems. What has happened though recently is at anti-fracking at Barton Moss, down in West Sussex and in Surrey, had some exploratory sites, people there started assaulting the workers going in … damaging equipment, trying to damage the site where the exploratory is taking place and all that sort of stuff. While people are with the placards at the front gate, absolutely no issues but once you cross the line into violence for their cause, then it becomes extreme. And it becomes violent extremism. As long as people stay within the law, no problem.”

Netpol made Freedom of Information requests asking police in north west England to release copies of the standard presentation they used in training sessions. The requests were refused. One force said:

“releasing this information into the public domain risks it being taken out of context, or used without authorisation in an uncontrolled fashion, which could discredit WRAP [Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent] training”.

The Prevent strategy is now a statutory duty for most public authorities. It uses a multi-channel programme called Channel, which, it says, helps to prevent individuals being drawn into radicalisation. Information is said to be shared between different agencies to tailor the most appropriate support.

Netpol said it had been contacted by anti-fracking activists from north west England who had been angered when they were unexpectedly referred to Channel because of their political opposition to onshore oil and gas extraction. In most cases, Netpol said, referrals appeared to have been made by universities and further education collections and all related to adults.

All five police forces in the north-west refused Netpol’s request to confirm the number of Channel referrals in 2015 made specifically for individuals said to be at risk of being drawn into extremism through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns.

Link to Netpol investigation

22 replies »

  1. Reblogged this on European News Weekly podcast links page; and commented:
    SNIP The Prevent strategy is now a statutory duty for most public authorities. It uses a multi-channel programme called Channel, which, it says, helps to prevent individuals being drawn into radicalisation. Information is said to be shared between different agencies to tailor the most appropriate support.

    Netpol said it had been contacted by anti-fracking activists from north west England who had been angered when they were unexpectedly referred to Channel because of their political opposition to onshore oil and gas extraction. In most cases, Netpol said, referrals appeared to have been made by universities and further education collections and all related to adults.

    All five police forces in the north-west refused Netpol’s request to confirm the number of Channel referrals in 2015 made specifically for individuals said to be at risk of being drawn into extremism through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns. END SHIP

  2. Great article btw .. About time we had some serious discussion about this topic.. Glad to see NETPOL on some form of media .. thanks.. Keep em coming..

  3. The police make it up as they go along and hope that magistrates are establishment tools. Usually one can sue for wrongful arrest.

  4. The police make it up as they go along and hope that magistrates are establishment tools. Usually one can sue for wrongful arrest.

  5. Any violence or sabotage against a legal and lawful activity with national significance where such actions undermine the economic progress and security of a nation and it’s general public should be bordering terrorism.

    • Agreed. And there absolutely has been violence directed at staff. Ive seen it with my own eyes. They also have to put up with weeks and months of verbal abuse and anti-social behaviour from protestors. Not how to progress ones cause in my eyes. They are trying to force their own views on the rest of us through violence, scaremongering and intimidation. Time more people stood up to these bullies. They do their own cause no end of harm for a start!

  6. In th police’s defence Mr Crane is a crashingly boring self publicist and they should be applauded for voluntarily spending any amount of time with the bloke.

    • Haha, amusing; but this is a serious issue – Police acting as agents for the fossil fuel snouts in the trough. Private police force -another US neo-con idea from the land of failing democracy.

      • True, but past dealings with Mr Crane has taught me not to believe much of what comesout of him without an independant source to back up his (tall) stories.

      • yes they are “acting” (literally) on behalf of private interests perhaps. the airports are probably claimed as private docks by the private interests. maritime law. masters of their ship so to speak they might claim. harbour masters etc. jurisdiction of vessels. aka fictional persons. aka the all caps names. if they claim to own the airport then they can possibly propose anyone there is trespassing perhaps. the legislation is written in fictional grammar for the fake authority but with the real force of the physical police men & women/private employees. : ) god bless us all. he

  7. Ex Schlumberger Human Resources Deparment – perhaps not too well qualified to comment on subsurface and stimulation issues, but knows a lot about 9/11, 7/7 and the death of Princess Diana’s death apparently….. Perhaps this is why he was interviewed by the Police? If this is the best opposition to shale gas that can be mustered the Operators will be fracking soon.

  8. FFS Ruth [section of comment deleted by moderator]
    http://ianrcrane.com/inside%20job?keyword=911

    911 Denial is only one of his obsessions. I think people should not automatically equate being an anti fracker as ticket to sainthood as your commenters suggest.

    After all, who was the first political opponent of fracking:

    http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/national/nick-griffin-calls-halt-fracking

    Crane, Griffin, Westwood and Gayzer, each one more eccentric or simply raving bonkers than the last. Is there a sane person in the community at all?

    Makes me miss Mike Hill. Almost.

  9. As the police won’t comment on the offence and the spelling mistakes give cause for suspicion that the notice may not be bona-fida, would it be prudent for the detained person to make an allegation that someone may have been impersonating a police officer (a criminal offence). The police would then have to investigate and respond.

  10. Is there a deliberate attempt here to distract from the idea that police are acting on behalf of a process that a lot of the conservative cabinet have invested in?

  11. And the conspiracy theories abound….he stated himself he was stopped in a random check. Please look up the word ‘random’ if you are not sure what that means. With bankruptcy threatening, this is a well-timed for donations and profiling raising……

  12. By and large , security people pick on someone regularly , just to keep their figures up . That’s the way policing and it’s funding work in Britain . If you draw attention to yourself , your likely to get used . Someone might even be trying to get a bit of overtime out of you – or make claims for specialised training or equipment purchase , meaning more funds coming in . You can never be sure with the squad in Britain … the country is a shambles . And I can’t think of a better reason why people might become extreme or jihad than the attitude and disposition of the types that are selected for the police service . Uptight tyrants stalking the streets looking for someone to bully , basically . I’ve seen it all before going right back , but it’s reached new peaks of conservative arrogance and evocativeness these past few years . Definately need a more laid back government in to ease down the tone .

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