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Mal_ContentOffline
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 14:05    Post subject: Undercover cops exposed Reply with quote

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Call to police after protest trial collapse

By Matt Dickinson, PA

Monday, 10 January 2011

Police need to answer "serious questions" about the use of an undercover officer who infiltrated a group accused of trying to shut down one of Britain's biggest power stations, their defence lawyer said today.

Mike Schwarz was speaking after the collapse of the trial of six people charged with conspiring to shut down the coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire in 2009.

Their case was due to be heard at Nottingham Crown Court today but was abandoned after the defence told the prosecution it planned to pursue disclosure relating to Pc Mark Kennedy before the trial judge.

Mr Schwarz said: "My clients were not guilty. They did not agree to join in any plan to occupy the power station. The evidence of Pc Kennedy presumably confirmed this.

"Yet that evidence, had it been kept secret, could have led to a miscarriage of justice.

"Serious questions must be asked relating to the whole policing of this protest, from the use of undercover police officers, to the use of expensive and legally questionable mass pre-emptive arrests, to the use of pre-charge unaccountable bail conditions, to the seemingly arbitrary nature by which the 114 initially arrested were reduced to the final 26 who were eventually charged."

Earlier this month, 20 protesters were sentenced to a mixture of community orders and conditional discharges after they were convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at Ratcliffe.

Mr Schwarz said the prosecution told the defence last Friday, almost 20 months after the investigation began, that "previously unavailable material that significantly undermines the prosecution case came to light on Wednesday January 5".

He continued: "The discovery of this material came at a time when the prosecution were informed that we planned to pursue disclosure of the evidence relating to Pc Kennedy before the trial judge.

"Unsurprisingly, the prosecution have declined to confirm whether the new material relates to Pc Kennedy. In my opinion however the two are obviously connected. The timing speaks for itself.

"These events beg wider serious questions. Would this evidence have been uncovered had the defence not become aware of it through other avenues?

"Is it appropriate that access to and decisions about disclosure of key evidence should exclusively be in the hands of a prosecution whose primary function is to secure convictions?"

The lawyer said the case raised "key questions" over the cost of the undercover officer and whether it was reasonable to incur "hundreds of thousands of pounds" to "infiltrate peaceful, accountable, open, democratic protesters who are concerned about a very pressing issue - climate change".

He continued: "This is a serious attack on peaceful, accountable protest on issues of public and pressing importance like climate change.

"One expects there to be undercover police on serious operations to investigate serious crime. This was quite the opposite.

"This is civil disobedience which has a long history in this country and should be protected."

He said it was the efforts of the campaigners, who knew Pc Kennedy as Mark Stone, which led to him being uncovered.

Asked about his contact with Pc Kennedy, he said: "He was willing to speak to me with a view to assisting the defence. We took the issues to the prosecution in autumn of last year and asked them for information of his involvement."

He said the role of a police officer as an "agent provocateur" was of the "deepest concern", adding: "This ought to be a party of some inquiry, conducted about Mark Stone specifically and police tactics generally, because this is a murky, unknown area which has only become known, not through police volunteering the information but through the persistence and endeavour of peaceful, accountable, democratic protesters."

Mr Schwarz said it would be speculating to say whether the officer "went native" but that he thought he had been persuaded by the arguments on climate change and the "appropriateness" of civil disobedience to tackle it.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the new information which led to the collapse of the trial was "not the existence of an undercover officer".

In a statement, the CPS said: "Previously unavailable information that significantly undermined the prosecution's case came to light on Wednesday, 5 January 2011.

"In light of this information, the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed the case and decided there was no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

"There will be a hearing on Monday at which we will offer no evidence, thereby discontinuing the case."

Hundreds of activists were arrested when police raided the Iona School in Sneinton, Nottingham, on the morning of Easter Monday, April 13, last year.

The protesters planned to trespass at the coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station and shut it down for a week, a trial at Nottingham Crown Court heard.

The undercover officer involved has been named as Pc Mark Kennedy, a former member of the Metropolitan Police who has spent the past seven years undercover in the environmental protest movement.

He is said to have recently resigned from the force and moved abroad.

Some activists have claimed that his role went beyond that of a police observer and that he helped fund the protest and planned to take on a main role in disrupting the power station.

Danny Chivers, a defendant in the collapsed second trial, said: "The pre-emptive arrest was controversial enough at the time, but we now know it was even worse than we realised.

"The police appear to have waited for the opportunity to arrest over 100 people, hold them for 24 hours, and take their DNA, before releasing them on to the streets of Nottingham in the middle of night with money and phones confiscated.

"Political protest of the kind being planned that day presents no risk to the public, yet the police consistently resort to the most extreme tactics they can muster. Hopefully the collapse of our trial will rule out the pre-emptive arrest of protesters for good."

The Met Police said it was "not prepared to discuss" Mr Kennedy.

A Labour member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee called for Home Secretary Theresa May to make a statement to MPs if the case.

Senior backbencher David Winnick said: "The concern is not the fact that the Metropolitan Police, and possibly other police forces, use undercover agents. No-one is so naive as to believe that that hasn't been the case since time began.

"My concern is the manner in which it has been alleged that Kennedy acted almost as an agent provocateur. In these circumstances, I think Mrs May should come to the Commons and make a statement."


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/undercover-officer-switched-sides-in-power-station-case-2180527.html


Last edited by Mal_Content on 13-01-2011 01:37; edited 1 time in total
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 17:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Guardian comments board had a lot of hysterical comments about a fascist/Stasi state. Personally I'm unsurprised that the police infiltrate radical groups and, where as here there is a risk to continuity of power supplies etc, I don't have an issue with it. What is very wrong is the suggestion that this guy went beyond infiltration to become an agent provacateur.
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 17:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

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What is very wrong is the suggestion that this guy went beyond infiltration to become an agent provacateur.


Precisely. That sort of thing happened all too often in NI in both republican and loyalist groups.
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 17:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quake42 wrote:
What is very wrong is the suggestion that this guy went beyond infiltration to become an agent provacateur.


To me the interesting thing is that it looks like this policeman "went native", seeing as he was prepared to appear as a witness for the defence, it wasn't just that he'd used dodgy procedure to bring charges against protestors.
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 17:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

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To me the interesting thing is that it looks like this policeman "went native", seeing as he was prepared to appear as a witness for the defence, it wasn't just that he'd used dodgy procedure to bring charges against protestors.


He'd been living this double life for nearly a decade. My guess would be that people in such a position "go native" more often than you might think. It must be a very odd position to be in.
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 17:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just look at Patty Hearst for a more extreme example. Different circumstances, same result.
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PostPosted: 10-01-2011 19:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

What were his original instructions though and what immunity did he have? If he proposed illegal acts then imho it would amount to provocation.
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Mal_ContentOffline
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PostPosted: 13-01-2011 01:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Revealed: Second undercover police officer who posed as activist

Spy spent four years living in Leeds and played a central role in planning a demonstration to shut down the Drax power station

Paul Lewis, Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 January 2011 21.30 GMT

Undercover activist The undercover police officer is from a force in the south-east.

The controversy over a police surveillance network embedded in the environmental protest movement deepened dramatically tonight after the Guardian identified a second undercover officer who spent years living a double life as an activist.

The woman's name has been known to a group of six activists since Mark Kennedy – the police infiltrator identified by the Guardian on Monday as having spent seven years inside the movement – claimed she was also a police officer when confronted by them about his own identity last October.

Senior police chiefs said tonight that they were concerned for the safety of the second spy, and a major operation involving several UK forces is now under way to identify other operatives whose safety may have been compromised by Kennedy.

The second spy spent four years living as an environmental activist in Leeds, gaining the trust of dozens of activists and playing a central role in planning a demonstration to shut down Drax power station in North Yorkshire.

Her deployment ended in 2008, when she told activist friends she was leaving town for personal reasons. The Guardian has established the identity of the officer, who is from a force in the south-east of England, but has decided, after representations from senior police officers, to refer to her only as Officer A, and to use pixellated pictures of her.

Meanwhile politicians across Europe demanded information about the activities of Kennedy, the first undercover operative identified, who was on Tuesday accused of having had several sexual relationships with activists while undercover – relationships denounced as "unacceptable" by senior police sources today.

His UK-based handlers have flown to the US in an attempt to find an agent now accepted to have "gone rogue".

Aside from questions over his conduct while undercover, Kennedy, a Metropolitan police officer, committed a serious breach of protocol when he told friends from the protest movement that Officer A was his colleague. A police chief with detailed knowledge of the deployments of undercover officers in the protest movement said Kennedy's breach of protocol could lead to the "relocation of a considerable number of people".

That included undercover officers currently involved in ongoing police investigations across the UK and their families. "This is serious stuff," the police chief said. "Lots of people are at risk – their lives are at risk."

Kennedy, who has expressed remorse over an operation he told friends was "wrong", now appears to have been a key player in a pan-European network of leftwing and environmental groups.

Using a fake passport, he travelled to more than 22 countries from his base in Nottingham. A parliamentarian in Germany said today Kennedy had been "operating on the border of illegality" in the country, and demanded disclosure about the operation. Kennedy's activities in Iceland, Ireland and Italy are also coming under scrutiny.

Documents obtained by the Guardian also suggest that, after quitting the Met last March, Kennedy attempted to continue to use his adopted identity to infiltrate protest groups. In an indication he planned to turn his hand to corporate espionage, Kennedy, who is said to have had money problems, set up two companies. One is connected to an individual who previously worked at Global Open, a private security firm set up by a former special branch detective. The company specialises in keeping a "discreet watch" on protest groups.

Today, police chiefs discussed the unfolding crisis at a meeting of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which has limited company status and to which Kennedy and Officer A were seconded.

It is now believed several undercover police officers have been living long-term in the environmental movement, feeding intelligence back to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), an Acpo body that runs a nationwide intelligence database of political activists. After concerns were raised about the accountability of NPOIU, police chiefs came up with a plan to move the unit to Scotland Yard. Subject to agreement, the unit will be taken over by Met officers next month.

However, a major review will now be under way into the oversight of officers such as Kennedy. Explaining why he and Officer A had spent so long undercover, the police chief said: "It is simply because of the environment. If you are a deeply ideologically motivated person … then getting close to you to understand your thought processes – and some idea of what you're doing – takes a lot longer."

He added that Kennedy's numerous sexual relations with women would not have been officially sanctioned. "That is conduct that is not acceptable," he said.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/12/second-undercover-police-officer
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PostPosted: 13-01-2011 15:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in Nottingham, this story is of some interest.

While the arrest and conviction of the activists may be understood as preventing damage and supply of power (and potential harm to the protestors themselves), it is the long term use of an undercover copper that most people have questioned here.

Questions are being asked - even in the Notts force itself - along the lines of "Were the plans to disrupt the power station nine years in the making or was the obbo being put into place with no clear objective or an unspecified, open-budget time-frame?"
It isn't the morality of using undercover fuzz - it's the practicality of using deep cover operatives in organisations of a low-risk sort. If it was a violent, organised crime gang, then ten years is probably essential to secure valuable intelligence. A hardened gang of vegetarian eco-activists with dreds and facial piercings* might require less ... er ... serious? professional? intense activity. The common phrase being used in conjunction is sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

His "going native" and wrecking the prosecution or not, this isn't the talking point. It's his deployment which is at issue.

The accountants are studying the bills for covert intelligence gathering while various senior bobbies are furiously reviewing operation overviews, wondering if the Sherwood W.I. really is the hotbed of right-wing activists and the home of the paramilitary wing, known as The Blue-Rinse Brigade.


* I, myself, do not consider these activists under this description but I would guess that many people - including police - would describe them thus.
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PostPosted: 13-01-2011 16:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in Leeds and having some links to 'deep green' people here, i'd be surprised if I don;t know someone who knows something about this, though I think most of them are too busy making money out of saving the world to get involved in anything contraversial... perhaps something will sneak out after a few drinks sometime Wink

Worth noting, the comments thread on the guardian link above has been closed down for legal reasons.
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PostPosted: 15-01-2011 15:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Eco-spy infiltrated Irish protests
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0115/1224287577245.html
LORNA SIGGINS and MARY FITZGERALD

Sat, Jan 15, 2011

A BRITISH undercover police officer who infiltrated protest movements across Europe over seven years made several visits to Ireland, during which he spent time with objectors to the Corrib gas project in north Mayo and met protesters opposed to US military use of Shannon airport.

According to Irish activists, PC Mark Kennedy, a Metropolitan police officer who infiltrated several environmental and anti-capitalist campaigns in Britain and other countries after he adopted the fake identity of Mark Stone in 2003, also took part in the Dublin May Day protests in 2004. Several said he encouraged more confrontational tactics.

Kennedy spent several days in north Mayo in March 2006 and participated in a workshop for the Shell to Sea campaign. Former members of the Rossport solidarity camp, established after the jailing of the Rossport Five in 2005, recall that he advised on the merits of direct action. He also visited the home of one of the Rossport Five, Willie Corduff, with a group of British and Icelandic activists sympathetic to the campaign.

“It’s unfortunate that you take people in good faith,” Mary Corduff said yesterday. “What we would like to know is who he was working for while he was here?”

One former Rossport camp member, who did not want to be identified, said he remembered Kennedy participating in a direct confrontation with gardaí during the Dublin May Day demonstration in 2004.

“I remember him taking off his balaclava in the thick of it . . . which is something we never did,” the activist said.

This allegation was repeated by a Dublin-based activist with the Workers Solidarity Movement, who said Kennedy had stayed at his home twice.

The activist, who did not wish to be identified, said he had met Kennedy several times between 2004 and 2006, both in Ireland and at the G8 protests in Scotland in 2005. “He was very encouraging of the more militant end of direct action,” the activist said.

In an interview given to a Rossport camp member and published by Indymedia, Kennedy stressed it was “really important for campaigns not only in Ireland, in Mayo or in Iceland but also campaigns in Spain, in Italy [to] work together”.

“We need to network and we need to be working on these issues together, exchanging information and ways of doing things, and looking at the ways corporations are putting the pressure on us and sharing that information so that we can go forward and win our struggles,” he said.

“In the future, when things happen, we can carry on and have a better idea of how to protest against these corporations.”

Kennedy visited the gas terminal site at Ballinaboy, including the protest “trailer”. At the time, work by Shell EP Ireland on the terminal had been suspended.

One activist said he met Kennedy at a protest over former US president George Bush’s attendance at the EU-US summit at Dromoland Castle in June 2004.

Another activist, Ciaron O’Reilly, one of five anti-war protesters acquitted of criminally damaging a US military aircraft at Shannon airport in 2006, said he met Kennedy twice in Ireland, including at an event organised by Gluaiseacht, a social justice movement, in Clare in 2005.

Activists in Ireland have been aware of Kennedy’s real identity since last October. “My main concern is not that the police in the UK and Ireland collect information on activists, but that they sometimes act as agent provocateurs in order to discredit the peace movement,” said anti-war activist Ed Horgan.

Labour TD Michael D Higgins has written to the Department of Justice regarding Kennedy’s activities in Ireland. “It is of grave concern,” he said. “This type of activity undermines respect for the law and it is very sinister in that it can damage good causes.”

A spokesman for the department said it had “no information on any alleged activities in this jurisdiction by the person in question”.
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PostPosted: 15-01-2011 15:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even now someone is pitching this as a a TV series or movie. I wonder if Max Clifford is in touch with him?
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PostPosted: 15-01-2011 18:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

He'd been living this double life for nearly a decade. My guess would be that people in such a position "go native" more often than you might think. It must be a very odd position to be in.

Reading the coverage in today's Guardian it seems he's also set up a private company or two to provide industrial espionage; so he has to be a bit of a tortured soul, if he thinks he did wrong before, but now wants to freelance.
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PostPosted: 15-01-2011 19:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

balding13 wrote:
He'd been living this double life for nearly a decade. My guess would be that people in such a position "go native" more often than you might think. It must be a very odd position to be in.

Reading the coverage in today's Guardian it seems he's also set up a private company or two to provide industrial espionage; so he has to be a bit of a tortured soul, if he thinks he did wrong before, but now wants to freelance.


He wrestled with his conscience and he won.
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PostPosted: 15-01-2011 20:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges

• 44-year-old infiltrated Cardiff anarchist group
• Former girlfriend tells of 'colossal, colossal betrayal'

Paul Lewis, Matthew Taylor and Rajeev Syal
The Guardian, Saturday 15 January 2011

Following revelations about Mark Kennedy, the Guardian has identified a third undercover police spy. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The unprecedented scale of undercover operations used by police to monitor Britain's political protest movements was laid bare last night after a third police spy was identified by the Guardian.

News of the existence of the 44-year-old male officer comes as regulators prepare two separate official inquiries into the activities of this hitherto secret police surveillance network.

The latest officer, whose identity has been withheld amid fears for his safety in other criminal operations, worked for four years undercover with an anarchist group in Cardiff.

Last night a former girlfriend and fellow activist said she felt "colossally betrayed" by "Officer B". The 29-year-old, who had a relationship with him for three months in the summer of 2008 while he was working undercover, said: "I was doing nothing wrong, I was not breaking the law at all. So for him to come along and lie to us and get that deep into our lives was a colossal, colossal betrayal."

The woman, who did not want to be named, said "Officer B" arrived in Cardiff in 2005, becoming a key member of the 20-strong Anarchist network in the city and "one of her best friends". They had known each for three years before their relationship and she said she did not suspect his true identity until after he left Cardiff in October 2009, claiming he had been offered a job as a gardener on Corfu.

According to the woman Officer B's flat was very empty, with no pictures of friends or family and he rarely talked about his past. "He always said he could not tell his family or friends about us because of the age difference ... if it had been anyone else I would have thought that was strange, but because [he] had been such a good friend for so long it really did not enter my mind that he was anything but a stand-up honest man."

Before he left for Corfu he held a goodbye dinner. His former girlfriend said she kept in touch with him for about a month via email, text message and the occasional postcard. Then the contact dried up.

"At first friends started messaging him asking if he was all right, then when there was no response, a few messaged him to say they were worried he was a spy, but we never heard anything."

The woman said that the experience had rocked her confidence and made her suspicious of other campaigners.

"I am incredibly, incredibly angry," she said. "Obviously to do that to anybody is pretty low, but to do that to someone who trusted you and cared about you and did their best to look after you is just unspeakable. I cannot imagine the kind of person who would lie to someone they were having a relationship with for that long and that seriously ... I strongly suspect that he felt very bad about what he was doing, but that is not an excuse."

The latest developments came as the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it was widening its inquiry to include the controversy surrounding PC Mark Kennedy, who was the first officer unmasked by the Guardian and who also had sexual relations while undercover.

It is understood a second inquiry is to be launched by Her Majesty's Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary on Monday into whether the undercover surveillance was disproportionate.

Last night it was reported that the trial of six campaigners accused of trying to shutdown a power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar collapsed because police had withheld secret recordings featuring Kennedy and the activists.

The Times said the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned the trial when it was informed that Nottinghamshire police had suppressed tapes that "fatally undermined the case against the protesters".

More details on the scale of Kennedy's key role in protest movements across Europe emerged yesterday, with allegations that he acted as an agent provocateur in Ireland, Germany and Iceland. It was also revealed that the second undercover agent – "Officer A" – was arrested for glueing herself to the Department for Transport during a protest against Heathrow's expansion in February 2008.

In a twist that will further unnerve senior police officers, it emerged that Kennedy has asked the public relations agent Max Clifford to sell his story.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/14/third-undercover-police-spy-cardiff

see also:
http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/2011/01/14/marco-confirmed-as-undercover-cop-in-cardiff/


Last edited by Mal_Content on 15-01-2011 20:25; edited 1 time in total
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