Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Klaatu barada NETCU Two

This is a personal blog. It is not and never has been written in a way intended to deliver any particular message or cultivate a large, regular readership. And it certainly has no journalistic pretensions.

I mention this to emphasise the fact that by no stretch of the imagination do I meticulously check through everything I link to - in the way that I would if I thought a significant number of people were relying on me as a trusted source of information.

But if someone does pull me up for passing bum information I have absolutely no problem with holding up my hands, taking it on the chin and, above all, correcting my error ASAP.

Which brings me onto the reason for writing this post

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the website of specialised police unit called NETCU that reads like a homage to George Orwell. It’s all there – blatant references to ‘partners’ in private industry and a baffling array of other police organisations, spooky acronyms, claims to be outside of Freedom of Information legislation, a blurring of the distinction between terrorists and activists, the works.

It’s so over the top it reads like a spoof - that's why I posted about it in the first place.

And now another blogger, whose work I respect, has decided that it is a spoof and wrote a post to that effect.

And another blog, Spyblog, has annotated its own link to NETCU to reflect that possibility

Now here’s my problem. I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge that NETCU is a spoof if I believed that it were but then how would I explain the following…

The whois output for the NETCU domain name is as follows

Domain name: netcu.org.uk
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU)
Registrant type:
UK Government Body
Registrant's address:
PO Box 525 Huntingdon Cambridgeshire PE29 9AL United Kingdom
Registrant's agent:
Infinity Developments Ltd t/a IDnet [Tag = IDNET] URL: http://www.idnet.co.uk

And a quick peek at Idnet’s eclectic client list shows that it does indeed include NETCU, along with the Serious Fraud Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Accenture, De Beers and Ferrero Rocher...


On top of that, the Metropolitan Police links to NETCU from its own homepage, as does pretty much every other police force in the country

A spot of Googling yields all sorts of references to NETCU in the mainstream press, including an article that includes this little pearl of dialogue which provides an insight into the sophisticated profiling techniques used by our specialist police units in the 21st century…

Co-ord Unit] The typical profile of them would be
anarchist type tendencies, they will be vegan -
nothing wrong with that of course - and they will be
full time committed.

HUTCHEON: Working from a secret location,
Superintendent Steve Pearl heads the extremism unit.
He says at the core of the activists, are 40 to 50
extremists prepared to break the law.

quasi-terrorist cell like structures and they use the
website to communicate their targets to each other
once they’ve done the research on who they’re going to
target next.

The really sad and telling part of this business is that we are now living in times where the rhetoric and techniques being employed by our government and security services are so over the top, so reminiscent of something from a dystopian novel that even relatively well-informed members of the public can’t be 100% sure if someone is joking or not

Unfortunately, they’re not


And on a slightly more pornographic note

A couple of reasons that have been advanced to support the suggestion that NETCU site may be a spoof are -

  • The NETCU homepage includes a picture of clowns

  • One person reports that clicking on a logo on the NETCU sign takes you to a porn portal – though I haven’t had any success myself

Now, coincidentally, or should I say synchronistically, no more than 15 minutes before reading about these two ‘proofs’ of the unreliability of the NETCU homepage I had, whilst following a completely unrelated line of 'research', come across a hardcore porn site that really does feature people dressed as clowns

What a strange universe this is



Mr Sock said...

Well, if we're posting links to speciality porn sites...


The Antagonist said...

There's also these folk over at NETCU Watch, who use the strapline: "NETCU - Harbingers of a Police State."

Daniel said...

Clown Porn, is that a bit like Prime Minister's Question Time without the makeup ?

the void said...

un-fucking-believable that spyblog have joined in this nonsense

the clowns are from circa or the full name Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army

a situationist-ish protest group of varying popularity within the movement

the void said...

btw postman patel's clearly taking the piss, the worry is that so many have fallen fr it

Stef said...

yes, I have concluded the same

well, it keeps you on your toes...