back to article London plods raid Wikipedia in counter-anarchist operation

It's half an hour on the naughty step today for London's Metropolitan and City Police's Project Griffin team for resorting to Wikipedia in the struggle to contain the anarchist menace. In case you're wondering, Project Griffin is a collaborative effort "to familiarise managers, security officers and employees of large public …


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  1. hplasm Silver badge

    Thought it said 'Peter Griffin style'

    makes a change from Keystone Kops style, I suppose...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They also need to read

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm an anarchist.

    Thanks to the Met Police for underlining one of the reasons why.

  4. jm83

    Strange Days Indeed

    +1 for Francis Wheen's book Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia. We seem to be living through the 70s (which is great for me as I wasnt alive the first time)

    1. Aaron Em

      I much prefer oak volleyballs

      So what's your answer to the problem of warlordism, then? How do you propose to maintain a power vacuum without seeing it collapse into tyranny courtesy of the first really effective complete bastard to come along? I've spent years asking, and I've yet to see any self-proclaimed anarchist give a plausible answer to this question, so here's your chance to wow the everloving shit out of a nay-sayer.

      1. CD001


        By living on an island, by yourself - you are the state and the anarchist and the warlord. Avoiding contact with other human beings is the only way to maintain an ideal "society" - anything else is compromise.

        1. Peter Murphy

          Not quite, CD001.

          While not an anarchist myself, I have a lot of empathy with Michael Moorcock's statements on the subject from "Starship Stormtroopers":

          "To be an anarchist, surely, is to reject authority but to accept self-discipline and community responsibility. To be a rugged individualist a la Heinlein and others is to be forever a child who must obey, charm and cajole to be tolerated by some benign, omniscient father: Rooster Cogburn shuffling his feet in front of a judge he respects for his office -- but not necessarily himself -- in "True Grit."

          An anarchist is not a wild child, but a mature, realistic adult imposing laws upon the self and modifying them according to an experience of life, an interpretation of the world. A "rebel," certainly, he or she does not assume "rebellious charm" in order to placate authority (which is what the rebel heroes of all these genre stories do)."

          Maybe Moorcock is being overly-optimistic, but note that he indicates community responsibility as essential, rather than imagining some recluse in the woods.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Anarchism isn't an absence of power. Hence, no power vacuum.

      3. kissingthecarpet

        What - by himself?

        The problem isn't complete bastards is it? The problem is other people doing what they're told by said bastard. Also it won't collapse into tyranny in that situation, just chaos, eg Afghanistan. If following anothers orders was as unacceptable in society as, say, paedophilia is today it would be unlikely to happen.

        The Pavlovian obedience of a large chunk of society to pretty much anyone who gives them orders is the greatest evil of our times.

        1. Aaron Em

          Re: "Fucktard"

          Charming. I gather from the fervor of your response, to what must be an incredibly common question for any soi-disant anarchist who doesn't closet himself away exclusively among the like-minded, that you're probably used to catching shit from people who don't see how what you advocate makes any sense. If this be true, you may do well at some point to consider that it may not be everybody else who is wrong.

          In what way, then, does anarchism *not* presuppose the absence of power? Or do you imagine the possibility of such a thing as power in the absence of rulership? Do you imagine a world of tiny egalitarian collectives, each tending mostly to its own interests but banding together with others as necessary to fight off would-be oppressors, everyone then going peacefully their separate ways, all with no one feeling any need for dominion or rulership over anyone else? Just a big happy world full of tiny communes?

          Because if so, then we *are* talking about science fiction, and what I mean to say by that is that there are about five thousand years of human history to which you've apparently never been introduced.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Try Harder

            Try harder? At what? Arguing with a man who already has all the answers? Colour me uninterested. After all, I'm not the one who wants to tell others how to live their lives. You need a firm mummy? Fine. Many of us don't. Can you leave us alone please?

            You fell really badly at the first hurdle, by equating rule from on high with power (*). That's why you got a "fucktard" and not much else. Charming? What did you expect after your little speech about always being right? Yes, I have run into many people like you. The intellectually conservative. You're usually wrong about a whole bunch of stuff, but too self-congratulatory to notice. Dunning-Kruger and all that.

            Just because you can say "soi-dissant" and "apotheosis" doesn't mean you've learned to tell shit from shat.

            (*) Let me put it into thick for you.

            What happens when you have all these democracies or monarchies or republics or whatever and some bastard warlord comes along and says "oh we must kill that bastard warlord because he's a proper bastard, unlike me, I'm just resolute, and I really care for you and make you feel safe" ... oh ... thousands if not millions die in the ensuing bloodbath? What was your argument against anarchy again?

            Do you want to know what has held Europe together for 50 odd years despite various bastards? Union. Power without authority. You'll find it works from nations all the way down to families. We also have this thing called the United Nations. Yeah, it's not perfect. But an entire planet acting as one is a surprisingly new concept. Baby steps. If you autocratic twats from the US don't keep trying to hobble it, it might just learn to walk.

            Do you want to know what is failing to hold the Middle East together at the moment? Authority without power. You'll find it doesn't work from nations all the way down to families. Sure, you can kill your citizens but if they don't consent to your rule, you have no power beyond that. Your word has become empty, your rule meaningless.

            By the way. "Power vacuum" was an especially poor choice. They are generally the result of authoritarians suddenly exiting the political realm, especially if said authoritarians hold disparate peoples together against their will for no particularly good reason. They are not the result of there being no authoritarians in the first place.

            Watched the news recently? Iraq? Afghanistan? Your bastard warlords murdering their bastard warlords caused massive power vaccuums. Remind us again how any of that has been a good thing.

            As for my knowledge of history ... it seems to me that there's a fairly strong correlation between rule from on high and murderous bastard warlords being murdering bastards. Perhaps you're working from a different text book ...

            1. Aaron Em

              Yep, had that coming

              My politics are changing lately as a result of my having lost faith in progressivism. Apparently, the major way in which I demonstrate this upheaval is to walk up to damn near everybody with my chin stuck out. Thanks for taking the time to deliver a well-earned and memorable set of lumps.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Chin first.

                It's the best way to do it!

                If you've lost your political compass, it's well worth reading anarchist ideas. You'll find a load of crazy insane shit from both the left and the right that will get you thinking about what you actually believe. Listening to the usual heads droning on won't.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I much prefer oak volleyballs

        @Aaron Em: If you want a serious answer in a good read, try Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossessed". But yeah, it only works in a "Why didn't the Nazi's invade Switzerland" sort of way.

        1. Aaron Em

          That's about how it usually goes, yep

          Someone recommends a science fiction novel. Fair enough, and I'm something of a fan, but Heinlein taught me not to expect solid political theory out of an sf author, not least because they have a nasty habit of coming up with ideas which can't be feasibly tested.

          To whoever it was that said the problem isn't the guy with the shotgun, but the people who do what he tells them: I'll buy that argument out of you once I've seen you stand on principle at the cost of at least one loved one, because in a situation like the one you imagine you're imagining, that is exactly what it would cost you. I mean, I'm a reasonably decent human being, but if it were me doing the warlording, I'd be taking hostages among family members as a matter of course, and I'd have no hesitation about killing them off very messily if it became necessary to make a point -- surely the Brits among us can't find this too alien a perspective, considering that it's exactly what you did to the Boers, on a wholesale level rather than the retail one contemplated here, to bring an end to that unpleasant little secession attempt.

          Sure, in theory, pacifism is the apotheosis of ethical philosophy. In practice, if I'm given a choice between doing as I'm told or watching my wife horribly murdered, I'm not even going to regard it as a choice, and that makes me not at all weird but merely a perfectly conventional and ordinary human primate. And, sure, it's not a pleasant thing to contemplate -- but it is an example of exactly the kind of problem any consistent anarchist philosophy has to address. Since I've yet to see one do so, I've yet to encounter an anarchist philosophy which needs taking seriously, and so far this comment thread sure isn't changing my mind. Try harder, folks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Cloak of Anarchy - by Larry Niven

            Try this one on for size.

    2. Aaron Em

      The word is 'plagiarism'

      Even if Wikipedia will let you get away with it, which apparently it will, what harm in not making yourself look foolish?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        are you sure?

        I think he just copy-and-pastied it from another source without checking, hence the spolling mistook.

        Seriously though... Copying from one person is plagiarism. Copying from many is research.

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Copying from many

          is only research if you list your sources... I suppose its emblematic of our times that the vital point of giving credit to the people who spent the time doing the work is so often missed...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      With it being The Met, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't named after Nick Griffin

      1. Baskitcaise

        Nick Griffin

        More like Peter

    4. Steven Roper

      Living through the 70s?

      I WAS alive in the 70s and I can tell you first-hand that people then were *nothing* like they are now. Aside from having dreadful sense of fashion, the biggest difference was that political correctness didn't exist, and people were a lot more laid back about things as a result.

      You didn't have to worry about "offending" someone with every little thing you say, racist and sexist jokes were considered funny, you were allowed to smoke on planes, trains and buses (in smoking compartments), CCTV cameras only existed in banks and police stations, the local plods were more apt to let you off with a warning if you were caught speeding or not wearing a seatbelt, and if your kid grazed his knee on playground equipment you stuck a band-aid on it snd sent him back out to play instead of suing the arse off the council, the equipment manufacturer and everyone else your lawyer could think of.

      As a result, the world was in many ways a much better place. The only improvement has been in technology, while the majority of people seem to have turned into easily-offended, litigious PC arsewipes.

      1. Alien Doctor 1.1

        Oh come on...

        you probably had the 'tache and the full set, while wearing a "pleasantly fitting corduroy suit that suits the modern man" purchased from a Kays catalogue from your gran on reasonable weekly terms while punching cards for a Sperry shop.

      2. jm83

        Re: Living through the 70s

        You might want to have a try at reading it. Its more to do with having a raving lunatic in the Whitehouse, political meddling in the middle east, fear of imminent apocalypse, strikes, etc etc.

        I dont think people are offended by sexist/racist jokes, but they do make you look lazy, stupid and/or racist/sexist.

        Smoking in confined public places is just rude and a pain in the arse for the majority of people who, guess what, dont smoke.

        CCTV - hmmm, yes theres lots and its of questionable value, but I've never felt its impact really and I believe its still illegal in residential areas

        Not wearing a seatbelt, bit stupid really innit? some laws are there to protect imbeciles. If you're caught speeding, youre caught speeding. tough titties, take it like a man.

        Has anyone ever sued the council for grazing a knee? Sue a surgeon for leaving a scalpel in you yeah.

        You seem to be living in Daily Mail land?

      3. Anonymous Coward

        @ Steven Roper

        "The only improvement has been in technology"

        Really? I guess then, you must be a white, middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied male.

        For the rest of us, we're kind of appreciating things like:

        - being able to walk down the street without being called a "mick" or a "wop" or something else

        - being told that we are / were "asking for it" if our skirt was above out knees

        - being queer bashed if someone suspected we were gay

        - being able to get access to buildings through ramps so that we can be a fuller member of society

        Or is it just me?

      4. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        You're just pised off that

        you don't get as much sex as you did back then.

    5. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Do not...

      leave your chair: don't stand, wiggle your feet or breathe. Trus anarchism is, sorry, was alive then we blew ourselves up.

      Modern anarchism is a bit like Subway, looks good on the outside, but bite it and...oh god, no, too much evil.

  5. Bilgepipe

    Beech Volleyball

    The ball is made of wood, apparently.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory MP reference

    Soon to be published

    How to recognise different sports from quite a long way away - a useful guide for CO11

  7. Dave Murray
    Big Brother

    A-Q Logos

    Hmm I'm sure I've seen one of those al-Qaeda logos before... on the Welsh flag! We better send all the Taffys to Gitmo quick!

    1. Aaron Em

      You're late to the joke and not very funny, is what

      Nice try tho.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        It also looks like

        You are being overly picky in this thread.

        1. Aaron Em

          Who me?

          I'm overly picky *everywhere*.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    They'll be checking their spelling on Twitter next...

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      When I Switched...

      * Chrome, Google offered to spell check everything i** type***.

      It manages to catch the most egregious misspellings and typos, but misses misused words "they're | there," for example.

      Having a spell checker has given me more freedom of vocabulary, I'll try the right word, even though i know i can't spell it.

      *Beer doesn't make me use more words, but it makes me use them LOUDER.

      **But it misses lowercase i.

      ***Hopefully not by sending every word to SKY^H^H^^HGoogle.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @spell check

        "i," as a word is spelled correctly. The capitalization of words falls under the remit of a grammar checker, as does the distinction between "they're," "their" and "there." All of those words use the correct letters in the correct order, however, they many not be the correct set of letters to use at that point in the sentance.

        AFAIK a grammar checker is not included in any browser yet.

  9. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Gotta watch those sneaky political philosophers!

    This is an obvious example of thoughtcrime, shirley?

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    Why should all information relating to anarchists be reported to the local police? It's not actually illegal (yet), is it?

    1. NomNomNom



      1. Anonymous Coward

        What'd be mildly amusing

        would be if the UK's Anarchists organised amongst themselves to follow the advise and go and report their own various anarchist activities to the local plod at say mid-day Friday; out of a sense of citizenship and duty of course. I'm sure Mr Plod will be grateful, and not at all annoyed.

  11. SuperTim


    At least the bit they are quoting is sourced from several published works. It's not like they are quoting something that's wrong.

    Still, they're still not on my christmas card list.

  12. kissingthecarpet

    Wonder why they left out this sentence

    "Anarchists seek to diminish or abolish authority in the conduct of human relations"

    I expect because it sounds like a good idea to everyone but the filth.

    For authority read "the role of the police"

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Don Beech

    Plays volleyball?

  14. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    See something, say something.

    Yes. Any thoughts about having a "stateless society" needs to be reported forthwith. We can't have that, who will pay our pensions? Who will give us the nice blue uniforms? Who will tell us to bomb random people in faraway lands? Who will help us transform undesirable immigrants into useful soap?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      @Destroy All Monsters"

      "Who will pay our pensions?"

      I think I saw a documentary about that. It was called _The Shadow Line._

  15. yeahyeahno

    Lame article

    It wasn't intel led by wikipedia articles, it was a general description of anarchy lifted from Wikipedia, so what? Isn't that appropriate use of both the resources available? Or would you prefer that the police reinvent the wheel every time?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd rather ...

      ... the police didn't seek to criminalise philosophy and / or legitimate protest in the first place.

      Perhaps you and Aaron Em can get together and explain to me exactly how this democracy thing works. There seems to be a hell of a lot more kratos then demos.

      1. Aaron Em

        Democracy? Hell, that's easy to explain

        The modern kind is, anyway: it's the will of the ruling class, expressed through the carefully cultivated whims, opinions, beliefs, and fanaticisms of more or less everyone else.

        Sorry, were you expecting some kind of high-minded horseshit about "the will of the people"? Please. It's not that I lack sympathy for the concept of a stateless world; it's that I don't let that sympathy blind me to some trivially obvious facts which, in the absence of the blazingly good anarchist argument which I still have yet to encounter, make the whole proposition faintly ridiculous in the same way as it would be if you were to walk around calling yourself a Jedi and expecting to be taken seriously for it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flawed system is flawed

          Much like anarchism.

          Oh ... were you expecting something else?

        2. jm83

          Re: Aaron Em

          Have you looked hard for a good Anarchist argument or just raged down the pub about what you perceive anarchism to be?


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