The Undercover Research Project aims to create an one-stop resource on political policing and undercover surveillance. This blog discusses the undermining of protest and dissent, to support others holding those responsible to account.
The actual profiles can be found at the Undercover Research Portal.
Some of us have been following the BBC’s Undercover drama (while others could not be bothered, never watch telly anyway). So far we had nothing to add by way of review, to what ‘Alison’ wrote in the Guardian about the differences between the series and having been targeted by #spycops in real life – by Mark Jenner in her case. The true stories are crazier than anyone could have imagined, – in other words, the BBC drama is completely over the top in the wrong places.
In his effort to defend his storylines on Radio 4 this morning, the series’ screenwriter is just making things worse. Like the police, the CPS and the Court before him, he discards the stories of the women and what they have gone through, by patronizing ‘Alison’ and the others with her. One of the other women, Helen Steel calls this ‘institutional sexism’ – and that is what is happening here.
Sometimes it’s good to just look at what is being said to understand the depth of it, in his blog BristleKRS summarised the interview, adding the full transcript and the audio.
Judge for yourself.
It’s a mansplainer’s world: how Peter Moffatt, Justin Webb & Radio 4 told a pesky #spycop survivor how she could “better understand” her own experience.
Repost from Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS, 28 April, 2016
I’ve not blogged in a while, but sometimes something just happens and you have to get it down.
This morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ‘Alison’, who was preyed upon by Metropolitan Police spycop Mark Jenner for five years using his stolen activist identity ‘Mark Cassidy’, criticised the BBC television drama Undercover.
Here is what she said in the brief, prerecorded segment, as it aired: Continue reading
Eveline Lubbers, Undercover Research Group,
24 April 2016.
Updated 27 April 2016: A total of four top Scottish officers involved in the #spycops scandal at management level – and counting…
While the police are throwing their toys out of the pram to keep the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry behind closed doors (Judge Pitchford’s ruling on this expected 3th May), it is quite surprising to find a former #spycop showing off online about his work work – but that’s exactly what Paul Hogan has been doing.
A four-and-half year veteran with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the successor of the original Special Demonstration Squad, Hogan even had a year-long spell as a senior manager within the unit. Soon after excerpts of his LinkedIn profile were posted on Twitter earlier this week (thanks @piombo), Hogan took down his profile picture; when he returned from a golf trip to Turkey with mates and the press started approaching him, the profile disappeared entirely. In the spirit of openness we have archived it below, and included it in our profile of Paul Hogan.
Breaching Scotland Yard’s recently-claimed policy of Neither Confirm Nor Deny in every possible way, Hogan reveals in great detail how in 2007 the NPIOU was invited to Germany to export its experience of spying on anti-G8 activists accrued at the 2005 Gleneagles summit in Scotland, to help colleagues there prepare the infiltration of similar protests in Heiligendamm.
This was the first of a meaningful collaboration between the NPOIU and the German authorities and contributed to their strategic planning leading up to the event in 2007.
One of those stories that make you wonder why political groups were infiltrated at all. Apparently protecting the identity of the undercover officer – Matt Rayner – was more important than sharing the intelligence he had gathered about the plot he was involved in to disturb the Grand National horse races. One for the Pitchford Inquiry to look in to… Must have happened more often, how often?
Repost of RedBlackGreen blog
Originally posted 10 April 2016
How an undercover police officer played a key role in an action which cost the betting industry over £70 million.
Yesterday about 100 people demonstrated near the entrance of the Grand National against the cruelty of horse racing. Good though this turnout was – and not to mention another demo there on Friday and also one in London outside Channel 4 who broadcast the race – these protests will not by themselves bring about the end of the world’s most infamous steeplechase.
Many years ago, however, activists decided to do just by sabotaging the race. In 1993 they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as it had to be abandoned and became “the race that never was”. The animal rights dimension has largely been written out of the story, however. Now for the first time online you will hear what really happened and also it will be revealed how an undercover police officer played a key role in an action which cost the betting industry over £70 million. Continue reading
Repost of a blog by Graham Smith, in advance of a seminar about #spycops in Manchester next week. Speaking will be ‘Alison’ about Mark Jenner, the undercover in her life, lawyer Harriet Wistrich and Eveline Lubbers for the Undercover Research Group.
The Undercover Policing, Democracy and Human Rights Seminar, 5pm 14 April 2016, Roscoe Theatre A. Register for the seminar here.
Dr Graham Smith, Senior Lecturer in Regulation, School of Law, University of Manchester.
Originally published 6 April 2016
Dr Graham Smith
Policing is a tricky business. In the last twenty years or so the idea of democratic policing, which locates public police services at the heart of the rule of law and human rights protection, has taken hold globally. In contrast to regime policing, where police forces maintain unpopular state power, standards and principles of democratic policing position the police as professional services with responsibility for public safety. Triggered by the end of South American military juntas, South African apartheid and the Soviet Bloc, an international reform trend has pursued a winding path. The international community, including institutions of the United Nations and Council of Europe, national governments, criminal justice agencies and representatives of civil society have locked horns and grappled with problems of police organisation, power and accountability. Political questions on triangular relations between state, police and public are at the heart of policing dilemmas, and under the rule of law the police are subservient to law makers and have a duty to both enforce and adhere to law. Rather than the antithesis of regime policing, democratic policing represents a reconfiguration of the relations between state, police and public, and highly contested issues of law and practice dominate policing landscapes.
The international trend is clearly manifest in England and Wales. Continue reading
Peter Salmon / Undercover Research Group
21 March 2016
Anyone who has been following the Pitchford Inquiry in any kind of detail will know that this week’s hearings are fundamental to how it is going to be conducted. At heart is how public or private the whole thing will be. Campaigners are calling for total transparency for justice to be done. The police are naturally demanding it is held in secrecy so nothing about identity or methods slip out – as that would be helping ISIS, paedophiles and organised crime (we kid you not).
At heart of the argument is Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) which has been covered elsewhere, but it is useful to look at some of the evidence the police have submitted as justifying their stance. Particularly in the light of the experience of Christian Plowman.
Plowman was an undercover officer with the Met’s specialist covert policing unit SO10 (also called SCD10). As such he took part in many operations involving going undercover and would run several identities at any one time. Some of his work would revolve around getting close gun-runners and drug dealers.
Yet, in 2013 he published a warts-and-all biography of his time undercover, Crossing the Line, and how it had brought him to the brink of suicide. Continue reading
Donal O’Driscoll / Undercover Research Group
John Dines as he is confronted in Sydney by Helen Steel.
Even in the the roller-coaster ride that is the #spycop saga, yesterday will stand out. Keyboards were smoking as our various members sought to react to the breaking news. In case you missed it, we summarise the three stories that came out.
Top of the day was Helen Steel confronting the man she once called a soul mate. John Barker had been a north London activist who she had fallen in love with and they spoke of spending their lives together. When he vanished it was devastating to her and she spent many years tracking him down, discovering bit by bit that everything about him was a lie. Even his name. Years of destructive doubt followed.
He was really John Dines, undercover police officer who had been sent in to target her and her friends. Anyone who knows Helen knows she is a tenacious and fearless campaigner, but even for Helen this was a remarkably long and hard road. So when she finally tracked him down and confronted him we all cheered for her.
9 March 2016
The follow statement was released this morning by campaigners Islington Against Police Spies. Another statement has been released via the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance. The Guardian has also published an article with video footage of Helen Steel confronting John Dines and getting an apology from him; it has more background material as well.
In the last 5 years campaigners, journalists and whistleblowers have brought to light the shocking tactics of political undercover policing in the UK. Tactics used by police units spying on environmental and social justice campaigns include officers deceiving women into intimate relationships while undercover; fathering children with political activists; spying on the grieving families and friends of victims of racist murders or police malpractice, passing information to private companies responsible for blacklisting of trade unionists, deceiving the Courts leading to miscarriages of justice and stealing the identities of children who have died. These shocking revelations have culminated in the Home Secretary announcing a Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, which is now in its preliminary stages.
This week it was revealed that former UK political police spy John Dines, who was part of the widely discredited Special Demonstration Squad, now works at an Australian police training school and is course director for a training program for Indian police officers, which includes training in ‘emerging challenges, viz, Left Wing Extremist and other low-intensity conflicts’.
Repost from Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance
6 March 2016
How much of the public inquiry into undercover policing will be held in secret? How much of the police’s information will be revealed?
Later this month, the inquiry is holding a crucial preliminary hearing on disclosure. It will take oral submissions which, in addition to written representations, will be considered before taking a decision. There will be a demonstration outside the High Court on 22 March, ahead of the hearing, calling for the release of all ‘cover names’ of political undercover police.
The ruling on this hearing is announced for 3 May 2016.
Tamsin Allen is a partner at Bindman’s and one of the lawyers representing political activists targeted by Britain’s political secret police who are ‘core participants’ at the inquiry. She represented victims of phone hacking at the Leveson inquiry and was Lawyer of the Year 2014 in Media & Information Law. She explains what the forthcoming hearing is about and what we can expect.
Undercover Research Group are hosting a series of roundtables in the north of England for those who encountered spycops or have strong suspicions that they were.
These are roundtables for people in to come together to discuss their experiences and learn more about how different groups are fighting back against #spycops, including through the upcoming Pitchford Inquiry. These events are open to people from across the broad left spectrum, justice campaigners, animal rights activists, environmentalists, etc. who encountered undercovers or who have suspicions that they were targeted by them in some way. If you are thinking of coming, please get in touch. It is hosted by the Undercover Research Group and supported by the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance. It is closed to the media, and we ask people to respect the fact that people may be sharing quite personal stories and to keep this a safe space.
For more information see our Invitation: Were you targeted by undercover police?.
Leeds: Tuesday, 15th March at Oblong @ 7pm
Manchester: Wednesday, 16th March at MERCi @ 7pm
Liverpool: Thursday, 17th March at CASA Bar @ 7pm
Let us know if you are coming or if you have any questions, do get in touch, or follow us on Twitter and DM.
We received a letter from Students Not Suspects, posted here, to announce the start of a new tour, starting now.
16 February 2016
Thank you for adding your name to our open letter against Prevent which made The Guardian last week. Continue reading