Did British newspapers fabricate a story about the Occupy London protest camp being left unoccupied at night? The answer is "yes", when seen through the lens of a specific model of re-rented thermal imaging camera.
Earlier this week, U.K. tabloids such as The Times and The Daily Mail suggested that London's Occupy LSX protest was left largely empty at night, and used pictures taken by thermal imaging cameras as evidence. With only one or two 'hot' tents glowing in a field of darkness, it looked like the campsite was a fraud.
A visit to the camp already proved it plenty full, but
after renting the same model of camera and shooting the above video, however, activists also proved that tents remain "cold" to the cameras even when occupied. This insulating effect is the purpose of tents, whose heat-reflectivity is marketed by the companies that make them.
Moreover, the footage shows that activity in and around camp is still apparent at night, despite the insulating effect of the material. Presumably, those taking the original thermal images could observe the camp and assess the occupation level with their own eyes, too.
Only in carefully-selected thermal stills would the protest camp appear empty, leaving the impression the reporters must have known the story spun from the thermal images wasn't true.
Hong Kong's previous mass-protest uprisings -- 2014's Occupy Central, 2016's Umbrella Revolution -- were ultimately smashed by the state through a combination of violent suppression and electronic surveillance, greatly aided by the hierarchical structure of the protest movements (which made it possible to decapitate them by arresting their leaders) and their internal divisions and infighting.
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