From the Morning Star by Conrad Landin, 6 April 2017.
Pitchford participant blasts undercover police for ‘preventing disclosure’
Police chiefs are using “blocking tactics” to “prevent disclosure,” a preliminary hearing of the undercover policing inquiry heard yesterday.
Christopher Pitchford, who is leading the inquiry into the conduct of officers deployed to spy on political groups, convened the session to hear arguments over whether the coppers should be allowed more time to prepare requests for anonymity.
The Metropolitan Police has said assessing the risk of disclosing officers’ real names and cover names has taken longer than anticipated, and a March 1 deadline was missed. It has also asked for the inquiry to be narrowed.
But in a powerful address to the hearing, inquiry core participant Kate Wilson said the police were “obstructing the goals” the probe was aiming for.
Ms Wilson is one of eight women deceived into relationships with undercover officers who won legal cases against the Met.
“We’re not strangers to the blocking tactics used by the Metropolitan Police to prevent disclosure,” she said.
Read on in the Morning Star – and support them! –
Victims of political policing demand accountability at Undercover Policing Inquiry, in London – Real News video report, 6 April 2017.
Pitchford Inquiry transcripts of the hearings on 5 and 6 April 2017
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
After the unreserved apology of the Metropolitan Police to the eight women conceding undercover relationships were an abuse of power and violated women’s human rights, Tom Coburg did an overview of the supervisors responsible for the #spycops, their tasking and their behaviour – based on Undercover Research profiles.
Repost of Undercoverinfo blog, by Tom Coburg, originally 20 November 2015
The undercover officers with whom the women had relationships were employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Four of these officers worked within the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Other officer worked within the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
- Detective Chief Inspector Richard May: described in newspaper articles as Mark Kennedy‘s boss while at the NPOIU. He is noted for confirming to French police that the NDEU had intelligence related to the Tarnac case, which is thought to have come from Kennedy’s attendance at a 2008 meeting of European anarchists in France. However, he also told police that the ‘source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided’.
Reposted from the UndercoverInfo blog by Tom Coburg
13 August / repost 14 August 2015
The dead hand of notorious UK spycop Mark Kennedy has reached out once again – this time in France, where a major trial involving a so-called ‘metaphysical anarchist’ cell saw the most serious charge – terrorism – dismissed. In a statement afterwards one of the defendants accused the prosecution of having based its case on false statements made by the police – in other words, fabricated (or exaggerated) evidence. Here is what happened…
On 11 November 2008, twenty French men and women were arrested simultaneously in Paris, Rouen, and in the small village of Tarnac (located in the district of Corrèze, Massif Central). Those in Tarnac were living in a small farmhouse – and in the village they had reorganised the local grocery store as a cooperative and taken up a number of civic activities, from the running of a film club to the delivery of food to the elderly.
The police operation was dramatic: it involved helicopters, one hundred and fifty balaclava-clad anti-terrorist police and massive media coverage. The arrests sparked huge protests in Paris and in other French cities and towns, as well as the village of Tarnac, which describes itself as communist and where those arrested were seen as highly-respected members of the community.
The arrested were accused of having participated in a number of sabotage attacks against the high-speed TGV train routes by obstructing the trains’ power cables with horseshoe-shaped iron bars, so causing delays that affected 160 trains. Eleven of the suspects were freed almost immediately; the remainder were subsequently dubbed in the media as the ‘Tarnac Nine’.
Prior to the raids, certain events happened in France, the UK and the USA… Continue reading
Re-posted Bristling Badger blog by Merrick.
26 April 2015
Wrongful convictions, Kennedy, Drax – I.
In June 2008 a group of 29 climate activists stopped a coal train bound for Britain’s biggest source of carbon emissions, Drax power station. They were all convicted, but it was a miscarriage of justice as evidence had been withheld from the defence – reports from one of the drivers, Mark Stone aka undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. The convictions were quashed last year.
Quite how many other wrongful convictions are being left to stand – hundreds? thousands? – is unknown. It’s worth noting that Mark Ellison QC’s report into it was projected to take a year and be published in March, yet we’ve still seen nothing, implying that it’s turned out to be a larger task than aniticipated. Continue reading
Repost of guest blog at PeaceNews, by our own Peter Salmon, 16 March 2015.
As Theresa May announced a public campaign into the scandals around undercover policing, campaigners against police racism and corruption, The Monitoring Group, have launched a petition to stop the gagging of undercover whistleblower Peter Francis.
Don’t let the police self-investigations like Operation Herne fool you with their focus on the disbanded Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – this is not a historic problem. The political secret police are still with us.
The shift from different units leaves us whirling in acronyms. Here, as far as I’m able to tell, is what’s what (corrections welcome!). It’s an alphabet soup of acronyms that swirl before the eyes, so thanks to Jane Lawson for designing a diagram to make it easier to grasp (click to enlarge; right click and open in new tab to have it alongside as you read the post).
Also see the UndercoverResearch page on the Political Secret Police Units