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UK Police Arrest 12 Over Facebook Use Inciting Riots

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the where-was-prothero-at-the-time? dept.

Cloud 369

An anonymous reader writes "Scotland Yard vowed to track down and arrest protesters who posted 'really inflammatory, inaccurate' messages on Facebook, but it didn't stop at just two people. While two teenagers were arrested earlier this week in connection with messages posted on Facebook allegedly encouraging people to start rioting, 10 more have now joined them."

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LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages? (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062036)

If you're going to bust everyone who posts THOSE on Facebook, you're going to need a helluva lot more cops.

But, then, I never realized that posting inaccurate information was a jailable offense in the UK. But then, I guess if you piss off the powerful people in any given country, just about anything is a jailable offense, isn't it?

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062104)

If there is one thing we have learned from history, the rich and powerful never give up any of what they have without a fight, usually involving a lot of bloodshed and regular folk being locked up.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062250)

At the moment, it isn't the rich and powerful, it's middle class shopkeepers who have seen their livelihoods go up in flames as gangs of hooligans loot, pillage and destroy. If the police can gain of evidence of incitement from their Facebook pages, all the power to them. Freedom, online or off, does not mean you get to organize riots and I hope they throw the book at these vile anti-social bastards.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062518)

At the moment, it isn't the rich and powerful, it's middle class shopkeepers who have seen their livelihoods go up in flames as gangs of hooligans loot, pillage and destroy.

That's the "divide and conquer" strategy that the "rich and powerful" use.

Pit one economically disadvantaged group against another. It's being done here in the States and in many European countries. It's something that the political elite in Africa and parts of Asia have done for centuries. It's not new at all.

How do you think the Tea Party started? How many Tea Partiers do you think know what the TARP program or the debt ceiling really mean? All they know that they believe the blacks and mexicans are getting something that they're not getting. One of the most "conservative" states is Texas, that has a $27 billion budget deficit and takes more Federal taxpayer money than almost any other state, yet they're mad at "big government's wasteful ways". They're a welfare state that hates the Welfare State.

You better believe that the people who own private prison corporations are praying that we get London-style riots over here. Every time they see an arrest they're thinking "ka-ching!"

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062562)

Even the Guardian has given up defending these criminals. You won't lose your left-wing credentials if you admit "looting is bad".

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062640)

It thought we settled this six years ago, it's "finding" if you're white. sheesh.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062596)

Of course, what has prevented the damage from being greater is those same shopkeepers and other citizens waving whatever improvised weapons they could still (semi) legally own and telling the rioters to go home. A few more cops on the beat in London telling rioters to go home would be more useful than detectives in Glasgow arresting Facebook posters.

Such actions don't stroke any egos or put money into the coffers of the rich and powerful, so it was left to the individual citizens while the police "investigate" and prosecute people who talk about rioting (making them even more angry and bitter so they'll be sure to riot in the future).

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062680)

it's middle class shopkeepers who have seen their livelihoods go up in flames

Are you sure it wasn't their insurance companies?

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062744)

Oh well, that makes it okay then.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062292)

I don't know what they posted, but inciting a riot is a crime in the US too. Whether that's an infraction on Freedom of Speech or not is another debate. This is different because instead of doing it in person, they're doing it "over the Internet" and because there could be doubt over whether they actually intended to incite a riot or whether they actually had any influence over the riot starting (doubtful). Although if encouraging violence over the Internet is going to be punished, then a lot of people are in big trouble - And please go set fire to anyone who disagrees with that statement.

Of course... It's not hard to find people in the US that have been jailed for encouraging violence on-line, but it's typically very specific violence toward a very specific target, with confidence that it will be carried out.

Yes it seems like they're overstepping here, but complete freedom to say whatever you want isn't something we're in danger of losing - It's something that we've already given up.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062336)

If there is one thing we have learned from history, the rich and powerful never give up any of what they have without a fight, usually involving a lot of bloodshed and regular folk being locked up.

Conversely, they wouldn't be rich and powerful if we would learn to live without them. Stop buying their products and learn to be less of a consumer. Consumerism was a mistake, it was their idea for you, not your idea for them. Stop asking them to solve your problems for you and learn to be more self-reliant, learn to embrace smaller more local solutions instead of these national and international one-size-fits-all programs. Stop being scared of every little "crisis" that was carefully engineered (yes this happens routinely, your reluctance to admit this is beneath you, get over it).

They matter so much because you participate in their system and play by their rules. You want to level the playing field? Go primitive and learn to live off the land for say, six months. Not you personally but everyone in a nation. Yeah you will suffer some discomfort. After the six months, the "rich and powerful" will be on their knees begging for you to participate once again in their system. Their money means nothing if no one will exchange goods and labor for it. Remind them that they wouldn't enjoy a position at the top of the pyramid without a ton of people holding up the lower layers.

You could get a similar result if the vast majority of adult people in a nation refused to show up to work for say, six weeks. They take taxes right out of your paycheck so this would mean no taxes get paid for over a month. No producers to pad the coffers of the giant corporations. What are they going to do, put 90% of the adult population in jail?

A tiny minority controls a large majority. This system depends on one thing: that those who step out of line only do it individually, that there are always enough others who stay in line who can be sent after them to punish their non-complaince. Tip those scales and viola, you have non-violently upset the balance of power. Non-violently is the key. Otherwise you are at least as savage as anything you claim to be against.

The power really does come from the "common" people. Only the people have forgotten this. Thus they get trampled and refuse to assert their power.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (3, Insightful)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062448)

I'm not rich and powerful, but if you try to take or destroy my stuff there will be blood.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062130)

If you're going to bust everyone who posts THOSE on Facebook, you're going to need a helluva lot more cops.

But, then, I never realized that posting inaccurate information was a jailable offense in the UK. But then, I guess if you piss off the powerful people in any given country, just about anything is a jailable offense, isn't it?

As we all know, giving someone a criminal record that will haunt them for the rest of their lives, because of a nonviolent youthful indescretion that didn't materially harm anyone or anything, is the very best way to reach out to young people in order to reform and rehabilitate them into productive members of society.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062272)

Youthful indescretion? What fucking planet are you on? They were trying to incite a riot for fucks sake. Everyone prosecuted for ANY involvement should have a permanent blot on their record. You break the law you live with the consequences.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

joss (1346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062446)

> Everyone prosecuted for ANY involvement should have a permanent blot on their record.

Not even everyone convicted, but everyone prosecuted ? Wow, you have a lot of faith in the authorities.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (3, Informative)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062528)

Youthful indescretion? What fucking planet are you on? They were trying to incite a riot for fucks sake. Everyone prosecuted for ANY involvement should have a permanent blot on their record. You break the law you live with the consequences.

I don't know about you, but I live in the planet where inciting a riot is a non-violent activity, as opposed to participating in a riot.

I can post, "EVERYONE GO RIOT NOW" all day long without hurting a soul. If you look at those words and you decide to be an idiot about it, that's YOU being an idiot about it.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (5, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062628)

I can post, "EVERYONE GO RIOT NOW" all day long without hurting a soul.

Absolutely, and I can shout "get him Rover, kill kill!" without causing any damage at all or I can spend all day saying "I will give you $100,000 if you kill my wife" without any consequence but if I do either of those things as a way of actually getting someone killed as opposed to, for example, rehearsing my lines in a play then I should be locked up. Get it?

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062854)

Absolutely, and I can shout "get him Rover, kill kill!" without causing any damage at all

And if dogs were capable of the same reasoning a human being is, instead of being tools just like a firearm that can be trained to perform the work you require of it, then I'd concede the point.

I can spend all day saying "I will give you $100,000 if you kill my wife" without any consequence

I am fully in favor of prosecuting only the hired killer, and not the guy who hired him. I know that's not how it works, but I believe it should be. If you couldn't find someone to do the crime, your wife wouldn't be harmed. Unless you did the deed yourself, in which case you're performing the harmful action.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062642)

I think you best look up incitement. The context is important. If you go into a volatile situation like, say, an angry crowd, and shout "Let's kill those fuckers!", that's incitement and yes, in just about every jurisdiction on the planet you have just committed a crime.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062894)

I think you best look up incitement. The context is important. If you go into a volatile situation like, say, an angry crowd, and shout "Let's kill those fuckers!", that's incitement and yes, in just about every jurisdiction on the planet you have just committed a crime.

I'm aware they're breaking the law. There's a difference between the law and what is morally right. A good example of the balance between that are the hate speech laws that exist in Europe, but not it the US, where ever hate speech is protected.

And yes, I'm aware that inciting violence is a crime in the US as well. I believe it shouldn't be. I sure as hell am not going to commit violence because someone else is telling me to go do it, and if I can behave responsibly despite the incitement of others I don't think they can be held responsible for my actions.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062326)

"nonviolent"?

Fecking troll.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062396)

"nonviolent"?

Fecking troll.

He was talking about "posting inaccurate information". See, it's right there in the post that was quoted before it was replied to.

Last I checked, posting inaccurate information is not an act of violence. How did two ACs in a row manage to miss this? Reading comprehension just isn't this hard.

To clarify what is apparently a point of great confusion, those actually rioting and smashing things and hurting people, they are doing violence. People who write about it on Facebook and say inappropriate things are not committing violence. I'm not sure why I bother with people who get so caught up with their emotions about an event that they need to have such a difference explained to them, but there you go.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

nibbles2004 (761552) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062416)

sorry running over 3 Asian's Lad's and killing them , or shooting a person in a car, beating a 70 year old man into a near coma, burning shops with apartments over them, robbing newsagent's, these people are un-employable anyway, having a criminal record will make no difference. Don't think of these as robin hood , scally wag's, they evil little shit's who are burning down hard working people's lives.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062660)

And speaking of employment, judging by your mis-use of the apostrophe I'd say a long, fulfilling career in the greengrocery industry awaits you.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062184)

Inciting a riot is a crime on the level of shouting fire in a crowded theatre

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062234)

Nobody ever says why "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" is a crime, yet it's often presented as one that is somehow obvious.

Shouting fire in crowded theatre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062380)

Nobody ever says why "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" is a crime, yet it's often presented as one that is somehow obvious.

Well, that is because most people are smart enough to understand the danger. For those in need of a clue: when fire is shouted in a theatre people may panic and run for the doors. The doors are choke points that restrict the flow of people. People have been trampled to death under such circumstances.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062394)

It's a crime under the concept that your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose. Shouting fire in a crowded theater and inciting violent riots put other people at serious risk of injury or death, and thus it is a natural and rational point at which to state a limit on free speech.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062428)

You don't see why deliberately shouting a false warning that creates fear and panic that can easily result in serious injury or death through trampling is a crime? Wow. Truly, a genius among ACs. Also, shouting false warnings lowers the impact of real warnings, thus could lead to even more deaths if permitted.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062444)

It comes from a US Supreme Court case that held (seriously) that it was a crime to publish pamphlets that opposed the military draft in World War I and argued that the draft was unconstitutional. You'd think that would be enough to discredit anything the judges came up with in the course of the case but apparently not. If that wasn't enough then you'd think that the entirely ludicrous claim that publishing that opinion was comparable to shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre would be enough, but apparently not.

Of course, the whole thing rests on the assumption that (falsely) shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre is inherently dangerous which confusing given that these days periodic fire tests (i.e. falsely raising the alarm...) are generally considered a good thing and presumably not dangerous but to be fair I suppose that's partly because it's probably illegal to let public places get as crowded without adequate means of escape as may have been allowed back then.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062502)

It comes from a US Supreme Court case that held (seriously) that it was a crime to publish pamphlets that opposed the military draft in World War I and argued that the draft was unconstitutional.

Er, I mean that the pamphlets also argued that the draft was unconstitutional, not that the case also argued that the draft was unconstitutional. Obviously.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062900)

One of the things that you may have observed about fire drills is that they are widely advertized in advance, specifically to prevent the panic response which will cause injuries.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062698)

Because any reasonable person should expect injuries and fatalities as a result of the ensuing panic. Note that it's NOT a crime if there really is a fire.

In the case at hand, reasonable considerations would include just how much influence these facebook postings could be expected to have. Do we actually believe all would be quiet had they not posted? Do we really believe any of the posters actually expected to have a significant individual effect on the magnitude of the riots?

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062276)

Agreed. But what exactly did they post, unfortunately TFA doesn't tell that. I'd like to see that kind of speech one should not engage in if he wants to remain free. Did they post instructions for "proper" rioting and how to cause as much damage as possible, maybe organizing and assembling people? Or was it more along the lines of "fuck the pigs, they deserve it, go nuts!"?

Personally, I see a big difference between the two.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Godai (104143) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062346)

Exactly what I was thinking of when I read this article. That said, the UK does not have 'Free Speech' (neither do we in Canada) so even that example isn't necessary to press criminal charges in cases like this.

As someone above pointed out though, posting "inflammatory, inaccurate messages" is a pretty weak basis for arresting anyone. Presumably said messages need to lead to some kind of crime. I imagine it will require proving the link between the post & the crime, and then proving intent. If that's a constraint, that might prove difficult in this case, but overall I could see an upside to that kind of potential for charges. I know I've read of cases where people do this kind of thing to horrible consequence without repercussions to themselves. I seem to recall there was some woman in the news recently who badgered some teenage girl with false messages purporting to be from schoolmates, eventually driving the the poor kid to suicide. Everyone knew the woman had done it, but there was no crime with which to charge her. I suppose in the UK that wouldn't have been a problem.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062652)

That said, the UK does not have 'Free Speech' (neither do we in Canada) so even that example isn't necessary to press criminal charges in cases like this.

Neither does the US, nor any other country I can think of.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062214)

All this is going to do is jail some armchair revolutionaries. The police should be out on the street beating and arresting the scum who are torching houses and looting businesses, of course that might be dangerous so they'd better not. Pathetic.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062612)

Armchair revolutionary? What you mean is... a ned who was trying to start the looting and torching in Glasgow too so that he got get himself some free stuff.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062658)

No, the people out on the street rioting are the richer middle class whites. The "haves" are always ready to take just a little more.

They (government, society in general) need to blame all of this on the poor, underpriveleged blacks, chavs, or whatever they want to call them, you see.

So you cant make arrests based on who was out there rioting. It won't paint the picture they want to show the world.

They'll find a few people through facebook who "fit the profile", that is, they have the right look (black skin) to parade in front of the public as the cause of Britanny's woes.

And ignore the 900lb gorilla with the molotov cocktail

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062240)

Do you have any idea what the content of those messages was? Do you know if they were perhaps a direct incitement to undertake criminal activity?

From the first article:

Two teenagers appeared in court today in connection with messages posted on Facebook allegedly encouraging people to start rioting.

From the second article:

Two are from St Leonards-on-Sea. 27-year-old N----- S-----, who is alleged to have posted Facebook messages encouraging criminal damage and burglary, has been remanded in custody. Arrested on Wednesday, he appeared before Hastings Magistrates’ Court this morning. An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill.

We do like our free speech on the Interwebs but it can have repercussions IRL just like exercising free speech IRL can have consequences. If you call for riots and riots occur then you may well deserve some blame for the riots. That's true in real life and on the Internet. The guys in the second article, same thing. They're calling for lawless behavior. And if they're doing it while other lawless behavior is already underway that exacerbates the seriousness of the offense.

Exhorting calm people to do something illegal probably isn't going to get many to go along. Exhorting highly agitated people looking for an excuse to riot, or exhorting those already rioting to do something illegal is an entirely different matter.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

nibbles2004 (761552) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062438)

N*****S******, sorry you must mean Nathan Sinden 27, from St Leonard's on Sea

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062400)

On top of that, I'm concerned that delegating responsibility solely to the inciters lets the people who did the actual violent acts off the hook.

People have to know that lots of others spout shit, but they should be responsible for their own acts and not just the next scapegoat.

Re:LOL, "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062730)

And what exactly makes you feel that they will stop short of getting the actual rioters?

Time for Vendetta (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062040)

Take down two and ten more will appear.

Re:Time for Vendetta (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062224)

Well, there must be a limit on the number of mindless drones even the hooligans can drench out of their sewers...

Re:Time for Vendetta (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062278)

Methinks you're romanticizing the "rebels" here. The riots aren't about ideology or protests. "Everyone else is getting free stuff and having a good time burning stuff! Want!" is not a movement inspired by martyrs, unless you do it in a really heavy handed way. If they broadcast a webcam of these people being beaten to death by police, maybe.

Taking down people for organizing some store-burning though, no. Many of the rioters seem to be cowards who were only smashing and stealing because they assumed they could get away with it, or they were going with the crowd. I suspect a few arrests will send most of the rioters to cover.

If they forcibly break up peaceful marches and demonstrations, then sure. There are of course real issues and legitimate anger there, and the government would be wise to avoid taking a hard line with protesters who know they are doing nothing wrong. Taking a hard line against people just looking to steal TVs though will be effective. If there are similar riots here in the US with similar people involved in it, part of me hopes the police bring out the rubber bullets.

Re:Time for Vendetta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062384)

Methinks you're romanticizing the "rebels" here.

Well, yeah. This is Slashdot. Duh.

Re:Time for Vendetta (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062820)

Yes, this is Slashdot. Fact: all rebels look like Princess Leia, except for those who look like Princess Amidala. Do you have a problem with that?

Re:Time for Vendetta (2)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062708)

Should be noted that often these types of (politically) pointless vandalisms occur as a by-product of genuine civic unrest (peaceful or otherwise)

Should also be noted that vandalisms give police an excuse to use force on the entire group (peaceful protesters plus vandals). Such was the case in the Toronto G20, for example. If I were an unethical power hungry cop who just wanted to bash some skulls in, I'd be considering inciting vandalism myself.

Re:Time for Vendetta (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062802)

Taking a hard line against people just looking to steal TVs though will be effective. If there are similar riots here in the US with similar people involved in it, part of me hopes the police bring out the rubber bullets.

Even the smallest occasion is an opportunity to brutally assert "authority". Collateral damage [wikimedia.org] is of no concern.

Re:Time for Vendetta (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062282)

V for Vendetta had a point - and that point wasn't mindless looting and rioting, which is what is going on at the moment.

There is nothing politically orientated about the UK riots, its literally just idiots doing whatever they think they can get away with. So yeah, take these ten, and the ten after that, and the next ten - until they get the message that this kind of behaviour in the UK is not acceptable. We are already a democracy, we already have a say in our governance - think rioting is going to improve anything...?

Re:Time for Vendetta (2)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062342)

I'm kind of tired of hearing these riots being compared to Vendetta. The shit going on in England has about as much to do with Vendetta as the War on Iraq had to do with WMDs. In this case we have gangs targeting shops for personal gain, probably because they are being incited to do so by organized crime or worse, clandestine government officials from other countries. Bottom line, if you're a kid and you think it's smart to post your riot exploits on Facebook, or encourage others to riot -- you are stupid and therefore the rules of evolution do tend to take over the situation.

The people rioting were the the white "haves" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062060)

And there's Cameron tilting at windmills, thinking up anything he can do to punish those goddamned dirty welfare poors.

Re:The people rioting were the the white "haves" (2, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062110)

Yeah, how dare anyone try and punish people for rioting and incitement to riot? Clearly this is RACISM!

Idiot.

Re:The people rioting were the the white "haves" (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062330)

No, but probably useless.

I mean, think about it. You have no outlook in life, you have no hope for progress, no hope to better your lot, and the "threat" you're facing is jail time? Compared to having what you else never will have?

You think that's a deterrent? Think again. Punishment as a deterrent works only if people care about it. For me, even waggling a finger or the threat of being possibly, maybe jailed is enough to keep me from rioting. Why? Because I need a flawless record for my job, and my job's paying quite well, so I simply work to get what they're looting for. Legally. It's also less hassle for me. For them, facing jail time is probably not really a big issue compared to the possible gain.

Re:The people rioting were the the white "haves" (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062808)

I mean, think about it. You have no outlook in life, you have no hope for progress, no hope to better your lot, and the "threat" you're facing is jail time?

From what I've seen, most of these 'revolutionaries' look to be just thieving chavs who've been given tons of free stuff on welfare all their lives and are basically unemployable due to their attitude and Britain's hopeless school system.

news flash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062102)

Inciting violence is a crime in almost every country.

Reality check (-1, Troll)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062146)

They shot and killed an innocent man. They caused the riots, not the people complaining about it. This asshole needs to be beaten with a clue-stick.

Re:Reality check (0)

mkkohls (2386704) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062172)

They shot and killed an innocent man. They caused the riots, not the people complaining about it. This asshole needs to be beaten with a clue-stick.

No there were regular protests then other people decided to come in and use it as an excuse to loot. Thus inciting.

Re:Reality check (5, Informative)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062200)

They shot and killed an armed drug dealer. It may not have been justified, but he was not "innocent".

The riots weren't about protesting that even. They were just an excuse to destroy and steal.

Re:Reality check (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062348)

pah - say that once they kill people who look like you and exclude you from the governing system. Opression is easy; empathy is hard. Doesn't make riots right, but riots being wrong doesn't make you right either.

Re:Reality check (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062604)

A fair number of the rioters appear to be middle class youths. This idea that it's a class war is a bunch of bullshit.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062740)

The have been about 9 shootings by police of people in the last 10 years, all have been white people aside from this recent death, so your allusions to rascism more reflect your own ideas rather than the UK governments.

Re:Reality check (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062656)

Common sense says that if the shooting was unjustified, then the victim was innocent as far as the shooting goes. And that's all it takes for the police to have shot an innocent man.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062286)

They are not arresting people complaining about the shooting.
They are arresting people who tell others to commit crimes.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062546)

You should totally go kill your parents.
It will be fucking awesome I'm 100% serious!

Re:Reality check (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062314)

it isn't a protest for a cause - this is thugs destroying and looting

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062316)

I would bet money that greater than 50% of those rioting don't even know that a man was shot and killed. They don't care either. /from Crorydon

Re:Reality check (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062322)

It is unclear at this moment whether the man was innocent or not, but even if he was, that doesn't really give anyone license to smash shop windows and steal LCD TVs or to use a car to mow down three young men trying to protect their property. This is pure lawlessness.

What they need to do is bring back the Riot Act, and have a police officer with a bull horn announcing:

"Our Sovereign Lady the Queen chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the Queen!"

Anyone still rioting an hour after that is read, well, they get what the deserve.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062896)

Within an hour of that being read, the "rioters" be playing their new video games on their brand new 42" hi-def TV's, wearing their new designer hoodies, drinking their new liquour, and laughing about how the police stood there like idiots belting out some proper bare shite, innit? These "riots" often didn't go on for an hour: the looters converged swiftly on pre-arranged targets, took what they wanted, and left in a hurry, sometimes leaving behind the dumber yobs to chuck rocks at the police as a distraction to the getaway.

Riot laws aren't effective against looters. Riots arise from social and political dissatisfaction, so the police give warning and only disperse protestors with force after employing warnings and less-violent measures, because the police are smart enough to know that looking like overly zealous oppressors and faceless instruments of unjust and unjustified state violence will provoke more and larger riots the next day. Looting, even when it's organized and uses small-scale rioting as a cover, is a different beast: it has to be tackled quickly and forcefully, so the looters don't feel they can continue sacking with impunity, and there's little cause to worry about public sympathy attaching to looters who wind up hurt when being arrested for hauling off televisions and video games. In short, the Riot Act isn't useful here. What Britain needs is a Sacking Act, by which the police are fully authorized to use all available force without warning to stop groups of masked people from stealing shit and burning the goddamned city.

Re:Reality check (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062364)

Regardless of what "they" did (and "they" have been very open in the media about what happened - yes, they thought they were being shot at, yes they returned fire, yes they got it wrong. No, he shouldn't have been killed, but yes he was the right suspect and yes they were still going to arrest him), rioting and looting isn't the right behaviour and cannot be justified in any way.

What did the posts actually say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062162)

I mean, if you post something on facebook that is true, and people get pissed off about it, that's the fault of the people you're telling the truth about, not the people who are telling the truth.

If you yell "fire" in a crowded theater, it's not really a bad thing to do if the theater is actually on fire.

Of course, the government is saying that they were lies, but if anyone is the boy who cried wolf, it's the government.

Re:What did the posts actually say? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062404)

That's pretty much what I wanted to ask: What exactly did they post? What was the message they sent? How did that "incite" others, and to what?

Be careful what you wish for. Until we know for sure, the message could just have been the expression of discontent with the way the UK police handled the situation, something that should be protected as free speech and expression of opinion. Else we could easily soon face laws that make exactly that illegal, under the guise of "keeping civil peace".

In other words, were they trying to incite riots, or were they expressing their dissatisfaction? What was the message?

RAID THE MAIN SQUARE! (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062198)

*sound of being arrested for riot-inducing comment on slashdot*

Arab Spring (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062226)

Not too long ago I remember some other governments going after protesters that organized on facebook. How is this any different?

Re:Arab Spring (4, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062358)

Not too long ago I remember some other governments going after protesters that organized on facebook. How is this any different?

This wasn't a protest. It was a riot. There was no purpose for any of it beyond breaking, burning and stealing.

Re:Arab Spring (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062504)

Yup, that's just what the governments in the Middle East said. Not protesters, just thugs and looters (and many of them were engaged in violence and looting).

Re:Arab Spring (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062758)

I have no idea if governments in the Middle East were saying that or not. In any event, we know that, at large part at least, that was not true. Now, unless you're suggesting that all government and media outlets aswell as all eyewitnesses including the rioters themselves (who aren't even pretending to have a cause) are all lying then there is clearly no parallel between these events.

Re:Arab Spring (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062810)

Exactly. It's just a few criminals and malcontents. My people all love me!

NOTE, it may well be that this is just a pack of criminals and malcontents. After all, the UK isn't Libya. However, the parallels between what you and Qaddafi said were too strong to ignore.

Re:Arab Spring (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062372)

So you're saying rioters should be left to loot, burn and murder, because they happened to use the same technology that the Tahrir protesters were using, that the police should not be withheld from stopping mass riotous unrest because some of the looters are using Facebook to incite?

Incitement is pretty much illegal in every country in the world, even in the United States. You can certainly organize protests against police violence or the price of tea or that the Hamburgler is no longer one of McDonalds' mascots, but what you can't do is go around, however you choose to communicate it, and incite riots. No definition of free speech I've ever seen gives that kind of licence.

Re:Arab Spring (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062510)

One man's protest is another man's riot. I'm pretty sure, Gaddafi called his protesters rioters too.

Re:Arab Spring (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062586)

Ask the parents of the three young men mowed down if they feel this was a protest. Ask the shopkeepers who have their livelihoods because their shops have been emptied if this was just a protest.

Martin Luther King and Gandhi lead protests. These antisocial bastards are just violent looters.

Guernsey is not part of the UK (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062242)

Three of the arrested alluded to in original post were in Guernsey which is not part if the United Kingdom.

"Over" Facebook (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062280)

Before reading the articles (sorry), I thought that meant the police didn't know the actual location of the Facebook users, and they just posted "You are under arrest. You have the right to refrain from posting any more nonsense on your wall. Anything you say on teh internets can and will be used against you in meatspace. --Met Police"

Don't do it (0)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062298)

Social media sites are just plain wrong. But if you feel you have a need to tell the world that your pet cat fluffy is missing more power to you.
When the government comes knocking on your door with a search warrant you as a company (facebook) will most likely cave in to the big bad pressure and by the time you fight your right to privacy in court they will have created multiple copies and no apology.

Whatever you place on the net.
Whatever data you wish to turn over to any company
Can and will be used against you in a court of law and you will most likely lose.

Keep trusting other companies to keep your secrets. They are Oh so willing to fight for your right to privacy. NOT

Re:Don't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062484)

These were public postings. There's a very strong possibility that Facebook were not involved in any way beyond being the medium by which these idiots posted their messages.

Good (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062318)

I'm glad I never post inflammatory inaccurate comments on Facebook; I've got Slashdot for that.

Smells Like Desperation (1)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062340)

UK Prime Minister is under tremendous pressure to do something about the riots. The government is getting desperate. They want to show the world that they are taking some action, so what do they do? Arrest people who posted some BS on Facebook. Great!

Re:Smells Like Desperation (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062512)

They've basically had magistrates working graveyard shifts to process arrested rioters. The government is already doing a lot. The initial failure, at least in London, was the Met basically taking the kindly modern-day tactic of letting the rioters do whatever they want within a contained area. Of course, at some point the people who lived in the Tottenham district kind of lost patience with this containment tactic, as did Britons in general, and after the riots spread and similar police tactics were used elsewhere, basically the public wants the government to untie the hands of the police so they can do a proper job of saving property and lives.

The Facebook arrests appear to be over incitement, an illegal activity. If these stupid assholes were just bullshitting on the Internet, well, I suppose they might be able to convince a judge, but I suspect the courts, who will see it as their duty to make sure that any kind of incitement, even by big-mouthed fucktards, gets duly punished, will do thusly to them.

Here's a hint. When there are riots going on, buildings burned, people being killed, you have to a special kind of idiot to post messages of incitement on Facebook. I say throw the book at 'em.

Re:Smells Like Desperation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062668)

I say throw the book at 'em.

Hear, hear!

I note however that they didn't have magistrates working graveyard shifts during the expenses scandal, nor the phone hacking scandal. Criminality is criminality and justice is only achieved when the full force of the law is applied to all!

Re:Smells Like Desperation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062694)

Not that I'm going to be defending MPs or Murdoch's minions, what they did was bad, but what they did didn't lead to beatings, to three dead young men and to an enormous amount of direct damage to property.

There are different degrees of criminality. As bad as a thieving MP is, I'd rather be standing on the street with him then some looter with a handful of bricks.

arrest 12 over Facebook (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062430)

At first I thought that the police had placed these people under arrest by posting on their walls.

Looting criminals (3, Insightful)

ronmon (95471) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062590)

That is who slashdot chooses to defend? Probably not if it was Taco's stuff they were stealing but okay if it was someone else's.

Re:Looting criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062876)

Yesterday Slashdot defended a spammer (sender of large numbers or unsolicited emails) because it was a union harassing a business.

Shouldnt scotland yard get its own shit in order (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062682)

first ?

http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16046775 [sky.com]

The victim of a police shooting may not have fired at officers before he was killed, according to a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

An IPCC ballistics report said there was "no evidence" that a handgun found near where Mark Duggan was shot by armed officers had been used.

The 29-year-old died after a gunshot to the chest on Thursday. The death sparked the first night of rioting in London in Tottenham.

His family issued a statement saying: "We feel completely gutted. Someone must be made accountable for this. We can't believe that they can do this.

pieces of shit ...

Re:Shouldnt scotland yard get its own shit in orde (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#37062834)

Without actually knowing anything about the event in question...

Just because he didn't fire it doesn't mean he didn't pull it on the police; generally if you're up against firearms officers in the UK it's because they've got serious reason to believe you're armed and dangerous in the first place, so if you point a gun at them there's a good chance they'll shoot you.

Don't 'Friend' Scotland Yard on Facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062790)

Don't 'Friend' Scotland Yard on Facebook if you don't want to get arrested.

If only they were so quick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37062840)

at arresting the corrupt police officers who sold information to Murdoch's men.

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