A call for a proper spycops inquiry in Scotland has illustrated how the scandal also goes well beyond British shores.
If the UK government is to remain implacable about Scotland’s role in Pitchford, then the Scottish Government has no other option – it must set up its own inquiry.
The article points further afield. American citizen Dr Harry Halpin was spied upon by Mark Kennedy in Scotland. This surveillance continued when they travelled to Denmark together for a meeting of climate activists ahead of a UN Climate Change Summit in 2009.
Harry Halpin was a student at Edinburgh University when he believes undercover police officers began spying on him. Mr Halpin, now a respected computer scientist, says he was badly beaten by Danish police after travelling to a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen and placed on “domestic extremist watch list” in the UK.
A 2012 report into Kennedy by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said he disobeyed orders twice during his seven year deployment.
BEATEN INTO DISOBEDIENCE
The first occasion was in 2006 when he refused to leave the care of activists after being beaten up by uniformed officers.
Kennedy had been a key organiser of the first Climate Camp, held at Drax power station in North Yorkshire, the UK’s largest single source of carbon emissions.
Amongst the activists, he was part of a group of people attempting to breach the perimeter fence. Somewhat ironically, the vast numbers of police were there due to information provided by Kennedy.
Kennedy’s machismo escalated the sitation and a group of officers set upon him.
They kicked and beat me. They had batons and pummelled my head. One officer repeatedly stamped on my back. I had my finger broken, a big cut on my head and a prolapsed disc.
The incident left him with numerous injuries and needing surgery for the prolapsed disc in his back.
ON WHOSE ORDERS?
The HMIC report says his second breach of orders came when
he defied instructions and worked outside the parameters set by his supervisors by accompanying a protestor abroad in 2009
The only known instance of Kennedy traveling abroad with anyone in 2009 was that trip to Denmark with Harry Halpin.
Disobeying orders was clearly a rare and serious decision. Did he do it to travel to Denmark on a whim? Or at the request of someone whose orders trumped those of his bosses? Could that have been the American authorities asking him to watch Harry Halpin? Was Halpin’s beating by Danish police at the behest of Kennedy? Or the Americans? Or just a coincidence?
To know the whole truth, we clearly have to look far beyond events in England and Wales. If the Pitchford Inquiry is to have a hope of achieving its stated aim, it must work with the governments of other countries affected by Britain’s political secret police.
Chris Marshall observes
While the activities of Kennedy et al may have taken place more than a decade ago in Scotland, they are continuing to be felt to this day by those who were targeted.
The HMIC report tells us Kennedy professionally visited 11 countries on more than 40 occasions, including 14 visits to Scotland. He was responsible for 49 wrongful convictions and had significant relationships with five women who have taken legal action.
He is the just the best documented of the estimated 140 officers who worked for these units. If those he spied on hadn’t stumbled upon the truth all this would still be unknown, as is the case with 90% his colleagues.
Until we have the cover names of all the officers, and until the foreign authorities are allowed to contribute as fully as possbile, the Pitchford Inquiry will continue to appear to be merely firefighting revelations of victims.