Undercover police officer ‘Rod Richardson’, who infiltrated protest groups from 1999 to 2003.
Donal O’Driscoll, Undercover Research Group, 28 June 2017
Yesterday, we released our profile of undercover officer ‘Rod Richardson’. It is one of our largest profiles to date, three years in preparation, with dozens who knew him interviewed. We spent this time and effort because, of those exposed to date, we believe Rod is one of the most important and his deployment raises significant questions.
(Also see: Rod Richardson: #spycop was used to undermine protest, 26 June 2017)
What we know of Rod is that he was deployed in Summer 1999, in Essex, where he turned up at the Save Gorse Woods campaign at Rettendon. There he offered his house as a facility to other protestors. From 2000 he becomes involved in two strands of work. In London he focuses on anti-globalisation and anarchist groups such as W.O.M.B.L.E.S and Movement Against the Monarchy (MA’M). The other is infiltrating environmental networks, such as Earth First! and particularly the alternative scene in Nottingham. He disappears in Summer 2003, saying he was joining his girlfriend abroad.
Rod was not a passive observer of the activism he targeted. He threw himself in head-first. He was on the front line or driving for big demonstrations. Carefully documenting his time in London, we can place him close to the centre of quite a few events which saw heavy policing, such as Mayday, DSEi and anti-monarchy protests.
There is good cause to believe that it was his intelligence that lay behind a number of pre-emptive arrests and targeting of squats and campaigners. When we studied contemporary newspaper accounts, it was clear how heavily the police were relying upon such intelligence. Having confirmed his presence at the time, it is now clear that Rod is a strong candidate for being their principal source. Continue reading
Eveline Lubbers, Undercover Research Group, 26 June 2017
Today we publish the profile of Rod Richardson, the undercover officer active as an environmental, anarchist and animal rights protestor between 1999 and 2003 in Essex, London and Nottingham. Richardson was exposed on Indymedia UK and in The Guardian in 2013 and confirmed as a spycop in December 2016.
Piecing together the profile of Rod Richardson and the details of his tour of duty in the world of activism, it occurred to us that the policing of two major protests he had been involved in had been subject to extensive legal challenges since.
Today we look at the forced return of the Fairford coaches on their way to an anti-war rally in 2003, with Rod Richardson on board; and part 2 will investigate the kettling of MayDay protesters at Oxford Circus in London in 2001, again with Rod in the middle of everything. In both cases, the police detained a fairly large and mixed group of people in quite extreme ways, while also in both cases protesters fought a decade-long legal battle to uphold their right to protest.
Investigate exactly what role he has played in these protests, the core question is to what extend the intelligence gathered and the activities of the undercover officers influenced the actual policing of these events. Continue reading
Andy Coles undercover with Gulf War Resisters at Fairford, 1991. Photo Noor Admani; (c) Peace News.
Donal O’Driscoll, Undercover Research Group, 6 June 2017
Since the exposure of Andy Coles as the former spycop Andy ‘Van’ Davey, more information on him has been steadily trickling in. We’ve collected the most important updates:
- Infiltrating the anti-war group ARROW
- Another allegation of inappropriate behaviour
- Andy’s role in a 1993 chicken liberation;
- Questions over possibly illegally obtained police warrants.
New discoveries: infiltrating anti-war groups
Peace News has revealed that prior to infiltrating animal rights groups, Andy Coles targeted the small but highly visible anti-war group Gulf War Resisters, later Active Resistance against the Roots of War (ARROW). As Andy Davey, he attended their meetings and demos throughout 1991. Peace News also unearthed the first proper full face photo of Andy undercover (shown above), and two of him on a protest.
Davey’s time as an anti-war protester preceded his tour in animal rights, but his cover was already in place – he would wear the clothes, and use the same pager and the van he would appear with later on. To the anti-war activists he made out that he was already involved in the Animal Liberation Front – not true as far as we know – which he used to add an aura of mysteriousness about his background. In Peace News Emily Johns explains she found this very weird at the time:
He told me, to impress me I thought, that he was a press officer for the ALF (Animal Liberation Front).
I remember thinking: ‘What kind of a fool do you take me for? Or what kind of a fool are you to tell me that?’ The ALF was and still is a very secretive group, carrying out direct action against animal exploitation. Either Andy was not a press officer for the ALF, and he thought that I was the kind of person who would be impressed by that boast, or he was an ALF press officer breaking the secrecy of the group with someone he barely knew.