Crucial hearings on openness of Pitchford Inquiry

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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.

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Upcoming Roundtables: Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool

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.

26 February – Hackney meeting on Jenner and spycops

Big Brother - Who's watching you? Public meeting (leaflet back)

Big Brother – Who’s watching you? Public meeting (leaflet back) Click to enlarge.

Big Brother - Who's watching you? Public meeting (leaflet front)

Big Brother – Who’s watching you? Public meeting (leaflet front) Click to enlarge.

Big Brother – Who’s watch you? Why did Mark Jenner infiltrate Hackney campaigns in the 1990sa public meeting, featuring Graham Smith, shadow chancellor John McDonnell Spies out of Lives, and Marc Metcalf, Hackney veteran and organiser of this meeting.

Location: Chats Palace, 42-44 Brooksby Walk, Hackney, E9 6DF

Doors: 7pm for 7.30pm

Note from Undercover Research Group: Hackney was one of the areas most targeted by undercover police monitoring protest groups over decades. Few places received as much attention as it did. We shall be attending this meeting. For more details see the leaflet below. See our profile of Mark Jenner .

Invitation: Were you targeted by undercover police?

typewriter partUndercover Research Group
25 January 2016

The scandal of Mark Kennedy and the spying on the Lawrence family is only the tip of the iceberg. Political policing has targeted social justice and protest groups for a long time, but we are at a unique point in history where we have a chance to do something about it, not least learn the extent to which we were targeted.

This message is going out to all those political activists – left wing, blacklisted, anarchist, labour or union, environmental or animal rights, anti-fascist, peace and justice campaigners – who were spied on by undercover police or have strong reasons to believe they were.

We are organising a series of roundtable discussions around the country to serve several purposes: Continue reading

Two #spycops demos tomorrow and upcoming @COPScampaign public meeting

typewriter partPeter Salmon / Undercover Research Group,

Tomorrow morning (Friday 15 January) there will be two important demonstrations happening in London on the spycops issue. The first is to commemorate the stopping of the destruction of the Stasi files on this date in 1990 and to demand the Met Police stop shredding their own files proving how they spied on people. The second is in solidarity with Kate Wilson, who continues her struggle for justice and answers over why spycop Mark Kennedy was put in her life. If you can make it, please go along. Details below.

Voices of the Spied Upon is a public meeting from the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance on 21st January and will feature accounts from powerful campaigners such as Kate Wilson, Janet Alder and Stafford Scott, as well as lawyer Jules Carey. For more details see the announcement at the COPS website.

We will be going to all these events, so if you have suspicions or knew an undercover officer and want to talk about your options, do come speak to us.

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The Special Branch Files Project, where released files are shared.

files in bagEveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group,
13 January 2016

Launched today, the Special Branch Files Project is a live-archive of declassified files focussing on the surveillance of political activists and campaigners, revealing political policing of protest since 1968.

In the past three months, I was part of a small team working with a few key journalists who generously made their files available for the project. I am quite proud of what we have been able to put together within a short time and on a shoe-string budget. Here is why.

The Special Branch Files Project is sharing files that have been disclosed in the past and would be refused now. The site provides access to the documents themselves, complemented with engaging analysis in background stories. The documents reveal the intricate details recorded by Britain’s secret police about a range of protest movements in this country since 1968.

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