Content tagged with "Jenny Jones"

Core Participant? Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In

BouncersIn the early 1990s it seemed like every dance track needed to have a sample. The Prodigy – the now stadium band famous for ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Invaders Must Die’ – started out with a track that sampled Charlie the Cat from a government safety information advert.

It was probably this track that launched a thousand copies of that sampling template. Another ‘memorable’ track was one called The Bouncer. This again had a typical dance backing track of the 1990s era – and it sampled a bouncer saying ‘your name’s not down you’re not coming in’. Hard to believe this was a big hit.

The reason why this is mentioned is that recently COPS held its monthly meeting and discussion. Our concern is based on recent decisions being pumped out from the Inquiry particularly regarding those who have applied for Core Participant (CP) status and the fact that despite a supposed ‘open door’ policy, the Inquiry is increasingly turning applications away. Not just any applications – but extremely compelling applications. We are worried.

Let us remember that the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and its later manifestations have been involved in undercover policing of political activists since 1968. The Met themselves admit the SDS spied on over 460 groups at one time or another. The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference refers to undercover policing and does not restrict itself to the SDS. It therefore should, we believe, have a remit to look at how police forces have used undercover policing in the classic sense – that is, the way in which Mark Kennedy, Peter Francis and Marco Jacobs operated – with a new identity and ‘deep swimming.’ Yet it is not just that.

Terms of reference and an open approach?

The Terms of Reference prefers a broad definition of undercover policing. This would, it seems, include undercover policing carried out by non-SDS Special Branch and also regional police authorities. It should and could even refer to that type of state policing by MI5

A core participant broadly speaking is an individual or an institution that played, or may have played, a direct or significant role in relation to the matters to which the Inquiry relates; has a significant interest in an important matter to which the Inquiry relates; or may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the Inquiry proceedings or in a report prepared by the Inquiry.

When the Inquiry was established there were over 200 applications for CP status. Most were accepted. A judgement made in October 2015 illustrates the open character of the Inquiry.

Based on this initial ruling we felt that the Inquiry was going to do two things, listen to those of us who were spied upon and investigate undercover policing of political groups who were engaging in their right to protest.

It was also said that there would continue to be an open door for those who wish to seek Core Participant status. We now question that initial promise, as recent refusals have thrown it into doubt.

High profile cases rejected

In the last few months a number of high profile, and not so high profile applications have been made. Many have been rejected, or should we say in legal speak they are not rejected but ‘being kept under review’.

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones is a high profile Green Party figure. She has run for London mayor, was a Greater London Assembly member for 16 years and now sits in the House of Lords.

She was spied upon for many years and has been told by a whistleblower that some of her ‘domestic extremist’ files were shredded by the Metropolitan Police.

Apparently this was not good enough to secure Core Participant status.

Tony Mulhearn

Tony Mulhearn

Tony Mulhearn is a high profile member of the Socialist Party (formerly Militant) in Merseyside. Previously he was a Labour councillor and one of the leaders of the Liverpool Labour council that battled the Thatcher government in the 1980s.

In the True Spies documentary undercover officers explain that they spied on Militant. Stella Rimington and David Shayler have also advised that MI5 spied on Militant’s leading figures in Liverpool.

Again, this application for CP status was rejected.

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell is a lifelong campaigner for LGBT equality, starting with the Gay Liberation Front and helping to organise London’s first Pride march in the early 1970s.

The gay rights movement was a new political force, challenging the status quo and with the potential to hugely embarrass establishment figures who were in the closet.

He renewed his commitment to LBGT direct action in the 1990s with FROCS (Faggots Rooting Out Closeted Sexuality) who exposed public figures who made homophobic pronouncements whilst having a secret gay life. He also famously attempted a citizen’s arrest of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in London.

Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson was imprisoned because of his trade union activities. He is one of the Shrewsbury 24, and along with Des Warren was sentenced to 3 years in prison. The first episode of True Spies – ‘Subversive – My Arse’ opens the trilogy about him. A police officer accepts there is a file on Ricky Tomlinson.

He also had a file with illegal blacklisters Economic League file, and it is well established that the Metropolitan Police had close links with them and shared information.

Despite the evidence provided to the Inquiry, these four high profile cases have all had their applications for Core Participant status refused.  An impartial observer would probably be surprised at this. (Core participant rulings can be found here).

Spied on – balance of probabilities? Or beyond doubt?

In the initial period of consideration Core Participants were not only encouraged, but assessed on what can be best described as a balance of probabilities. That is to say, whilst many were able to point to an actual officer who spied on them, some CPs were unable to do so but had sufficient evidence to show that in all likelihood, given membership of a particular campaign, they would have been spied on. The Inquiry appeared to accept it had an inquisitorial function.

Since allowing 200+ people to be CPs, has there been a panic at Inquiry HQ? Recent applications have been given a much tougher time. It would appear that the assessment has gone from one of probabilities to certainty. Now it appears – particularly in the matter of the high profile cases listed above – the weight of evidence showing an overwhelming probability of being spied upon has been replaced by those applicants having to literally name the officer or officers who spied on them. For many targets of political policing, this is impossible.

The Inquiry seems to have moved the assessment goal posts without providing any announcement or guidance.

An Inquiry with an old style bouncer?

There appears to have been a change in emphasis. The Inquiry appears to have forgotten that it is inquisitorial. Its purpose is to uncover police wrongdoing, it should be assisting victims of the political secret police, rather than insisting they do their own detective work before being allowed to hear more.

This Inquiry is an extremely important. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the state to come clean, for the undercover officers of the SDS, National Public Order Intelligence Unit and Special Branch to come clean, and for the upper reaches of government responsible for these abuses to be held properly accountable.

For this to happen the Inquiry needs to be not only open and transparent but comprehensive too. Our fear is that, by insisting that new CP applications prove beyond doubt that they were spied upon rather than on the basis of a reasonable probability, this Inquiry – our Inquiry – is turning away from its true purpose and the demands of justice.

If these refusals continue for the flimsiest reasons it would appear that the Inquiry and the stewards of it are acting like the worst kind of bouncer –they may be registered and may have passed all the tests to become a ‘proper security’ guard but one that is still old school, still one that refuses entry on a whim – ‘you’re name’s not on the list, you’re not coming in!’.

Whistleblower Tells of Spycops Destroying Files on Peer

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

A new spycops whistleblower has come forward testifying that his unit destroys files that may embarrass them.

Sgt David Williams is one of the officers who maintains the database of ‘domestic extremists’ for the clunkily-named National Domestic Extremist and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU).

He has written a personal letter to Jenny Jones – Green Party member of the Greater London Assembly and House of Lords – describing how several of his colleagues destroyed records to sanitise her file before it was released.

As a democratically elected public figure, and a member of the Met’s scrutiny body the Metropolitan Police Authority, Jones is about as indefensible a target as can be. Yet their file on her only began after she was elected, and ran for at least eleven years, probably to the present day.

Three years ago she applied for a copy of anything held on her under data protection laws, and found out she was indeed one of the 9,000 people on the domestic extremist database.

In June 2013, after having paid £10 and filled out a very long form, a copy of my police file arrived in the post. I don’t know what I expected to find, but the three pages can only be described as pathetic. Quite honestly, I want my money back.

She commented at the time about its superficiality.

it was three pages of essentially gossip and reporting on speeches I had made or tweets that I had made.

On 12 June 2014 Jones met managers of the unit who were unable to tell her whether she was still on the database. She said she would apply once more for a copy of her file, if it existed.

Sgt Williams describes a scene six days later, with five officers being involved in the destruction of more than 30 records from Jones’ file. Williams said that – also in a ‘highly irregular manner’ – the records were deleted immediately without being retained on the unit’s back-up database, an act which would thwart any freedom of information request within a 28-day period from the deletion.

RE-EXTREMED

Even in this diluted form, Jones was shocked to find that her file had been reinstated at all, including an entry from before the supposed expunging of the previous year. That particular item reported on her attendance at a protest outside the Daily Mail in 2013.

Action like that was enough to get her back on the domestic extremist list. If they do this to the vice-chair of the Greater London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee for attending a stand-around demonstration, who else are they doing it to?

Sgt Williams complained to the Met’s internal Department of Professional Standards (DPS) but they found no wrongdoing. He complained again and this time they found that the records had indeed been deleted. Senior officers then held a meeting with one of the officers responsible, seemingly to tip them off. The DPS sent a report to the commissioner saying there was nothing to worry about, merely ‘poor communication’.

Whilst the revelations are shocking, to those familiar with the continually expanding spycops scandal and its abuse of citizens, they aren’t surprising, as Jones herself wearily tweeted.

I’m trying to be angry/outraged/disbelieving of Met police activities, but almost all used up on them already.

But her outrage returned when considering the common practices that are implied. Later that day, Jones wrote

If my files were deleted legitimately after I challenged them, how did they later find a “deleted” copy to check that I had previously received all the information requested? When the Met sent me my file in August 2013 it had 17 items on it, but Williams claims that Met officers deleted about 30 items later in June 2014.

Does this mean that the Met can resurrect all deleted files on innocent people, despite it being decided that they should not legitimately be holding such information?

 

IT’S NOT JUST JENNY JONES

Having previously pushed for clarity from the Met on the definition of ‘domestic extremism’, Jones took some comfort from the addition of the words ‘serious crime’.

However, ‘serious’ is an even more fuzzy term. Not only that, but the spycops already applied it to the activists they spy on. A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary into Mark Kennedy and the political policing units said the activists targeted

were not individuals engaging in peaceful protest, or even people who were found to be guilty of lesser public order offences. They were individuals intent on perpetrating acts of a serious and violent nature against citizens going about their everyday lives.

This is desperate stuff, clearly false allegations made in attempt to prop up the collapsing credibility of the spycops units.

It reflects the culture of the Met that we have seen throughout the spycops scandal, with the resistance to releasing details and the legion of obstructions they threw in the path of abused women seeking redress, even refusing to admit that the likes of Mark Kennedy and Bob Lambert were police officers for years, until forced to do so by a court.

Writing to Jones, Sgt Williams recognises this commitment to brand value rather than justice.

This letter to you may not be in my best interests but not sending it would be unconscionable for me. I fear it may initiate a series of escalating actions against me designed to discredit me or lead to my suspension from duty or my dismissal.

He also describes the abrupt removal of an officer who had complained about racism, drunken behaviour, faking time records and apparent fraud.

The Met has responded, saying that there is either insufficient evidence to support the claims, or else they are false. They also report an allegation of bullying by Sgt Williams against a senior officer in the unit, and a counter-claim of misconduct.

Assuming Williams is telling the truth – and it’s difficult to see his motivation for doing anything else here – it means that the Met’s line ‘disgraced rogue units, lessons learned, and it’s all in the past’ is in tatters.

As the Undercover Research Group noted last week, this has much wider and even more serious implications. It is part of a pattern of the Met destroying incriminating records in order to frustrate inquiries into their wrongdoing. The forthcoming public inquiry is reliant on these records. As such, the kind of collective destruction of records as reported by Sgt Williams

is a direct attack on the ability of the Pitchford Inquiry to do its work. This is why we are calling on the Inquiry to themselves take action to stop further destruction of records. We have also written to [Met Assistant Commissioner] Martin Hewitt to take action to deal with this outrageous matter. The NDEDIU needs to be shut down immediately and all the officers involved stripped off all access.