Content tagged with "NPOIU"

German MPs Demand Answers About UK Spycops

Andrej Hunko (left) and Hans-Christian Stroebele

Andrej Hunko (left) and Hans-Christian Stroebele

Two German MPs have written to their government demanding answers about activities of British undercover police in their country.

Andrej Hunko and Hans-Christian Stroebele’s letter to the Ministers of Justice and the Interior was sent yesterday.

Hunko tweeted the text of the letter (it may only be an excerpt):

To the German Ministers for Justice and the interior:

  • The government should ask the British authorities, who ordered and took responsibility for Kennedy’s operations in Berlin.
  • The Interior Ministry, and the German Federal Criminal Police as the international contact for exchange of undercover police, should obtain details if Mark Kennedy (or other British police) also practiced illegal sexuality or had emotional bonds outside the obligations of their duties.
  • If applicable, those residing in Germany must be informed about possibilities of seeking legal redress in Germany, and about civil litigation options in the UK.
  • The British undercover officers and their police managers must disclose how far the operations in Germany (for example in the regional states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Baden-Weurttemberg or Berlin) used the support of listening technologies to record conversations, and on which legal basis this occurred.
  • According to a report in the British daily newspaper the Guardian from 24 September 2014, at least 56 were falsely convicted due to the activities of undercover police officers. This also involved operations by Mark Kennedy. The Interior Ministry and Federal Criminal Police must investigate, with all relevant regional state authorities, whether the activities of the British police may have led to false convictions.

Only twelve officers from the British political secret police units have been exposed so far – less than 10% of the true total. Of these, three are confirmed as having worked in Germany.

Mark Kennedy was deployed to the country numerous times, and Peter Francis and Marco Jacobs also visited. This means there were officers from both the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit in Germany over a period of 15 years.

Whilst in Germany, Kennedy committed arson and was arrested twice, illegally going through the system under a false name. He is also known to have engaged in sexual relationships with women he spied on.

Now that the British state admits that undercover officers deceiving women into intimate relationships was a breach of the womens’ human rights, it puts additional pressure on all governments to investigate what happened.

With just a handful of officers publicly known, it’s already certain that these British state agents committed human rights abuses in Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Israel, Iceland, Greece, the Netherlands, Thailand, Italy and Vietnam.

As Hunko and Stoebele’s letter demanding answers from not just the German authorities but the British too, it increases the pressure for the Pitchford inquiry to play its proper part.

Spying abroad was clearly a significant element of the work of Britain’s political secret police. Their disgraced behaviour and offences against citizens are just as serious whether committed in Bermondsey or Berlin.

As in Scotland, the increasing pressure for a proper inquiry – and for the British government to provide answers – is coming not just from from activists but also from MPs of more than one party. This groundswell makes it increasingly apparent that the public inquiry’s proposed limit to events in England and Wales is untenable.

MSP Calls for Scottish Inquiry into Blacklisting

Blacklisting meeting at HolyroodBlacklisted activists Dave Smith and Ellenor Hutson spoke at a meeting inside the Scottish parliament at Holyrood on Wednesday last week. They called on MSPs to take action over the issue of blacklisting and the activities of undercover police officers in Scotland.

A large number of MSPs were present including Elaine Smith, deputy speaker of the Scottish parliament.

Ellenor Hutson, an environmental activist from Glasgow who was blacklisted by the notorious Consulting Association, told the MSPs that she had been spied on by a number of undercover police officers over many years.

She relayed the story of those other women activists who had been deceived into having long term sexual relationships with the officers who cynically used the relationships as a way of ingratiating themselves within campaigns. Hutson told how some of the women activists have described this as “like being raped by the state”.

She also explained how during protests against the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005, she had worked alongside the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy who while a serving officer was one of the central organisers of the anti-globalisation protests.

Kennedy had been part of the Dissent network for some time and was the Transport Co-ordinator for the ‘Horizone’ – a camp of several thousand anti-G8 activists near the summit itself – which involved hiring flatbed lorries and minibuses to transport materials and people, a key logistical role during the summit protests.

Kennedy wasn’t the only National Public Order Intelligence Unit officer at the camp – Marco Jacobs had driven a minibus of activists from Brighton, and Lynn Watson was part of the medic team.

Dave Smith, secretary of Blacklist Support Group (BSG) and co-author of the book ‘Blacklisted‘ also spoke at the meeting and told how undercover police officers had posed as construction workers even infiltrating trade unions. Smith alongside other blacklisted workers and the Blacklist Support Group have been granted ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing that has just opened.

However, the remit for the public inquiry set up by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, specifically limits the inquiry to undercover policing in England and Wales, so the activities of the police officers playing leading roles in the protests at Gleneagles and who may have spied on trade unions in Scotland appear to be excluded from the investigation.

Smith & Hutson both called for a full public inquiry into the role of undercover police operating in Scotland – either by the Scottish government writing to Lord Pitchford and asking him to extend the geographical scope of his inquiry or else by setting up a separate inquiry.

Dave Smith also called on the Scottish government and other public authorities across not just Scotland but the whole UK to implement the proposal of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting and to ban blacklisting firms from publicly funded contracts.

Smith explained how the major construction firms have now fully admitted their guilt and made a public apology in the High Court.

Smith told MSPs, “Blacklisted workers don’t want sympathy from politicians: we’re drowning in sympathy. What we need is action, not just fine words”

The meeting was hosted by Unite the Union with Neil Findlay, Labour MSP for the Lothians, also speaking.

Findlay commented after the meeting:

This was an excellent and shocking event at the Scottish Parliament. The meeting heard from two people whose lives have been directly affected by being put on a blacklist. To hear how Dave Smith was prevented from earning a living because of his trade union activity and for questioning health and safety practices and welfare on construction sites was truly scandalous. Likewise to hear from Ellenor how she was placed on a blacklist for the ‘heinous crime’ of caring about our environment, despite having never worked on a construction site, was remarkable.

What compounded the shocking nature of Dave and Ellenor’s testimonies was their description of the role played by undercover police. This speakers explained the central role played by the police in compiling names and passing them on construction companies. Ellenor described how she was an activist alongside Mark Kennedy, who it is now known was an undercover policeman pretending to be an activist. This collusion needs investigating, and I and others will be calling for an inquiry.

 

Follow the Spycops Across Borders

Andrej Hunko's letter to Theresa May

Andrej Hunko’s letter to Theresa May

German MP Andrej Hunko, who has taken great interest in Mark Kennedy’s deployment in Germany, has written to the Home Secretary insisting that the forthcoming inquiry into undercover police includes UK officers’ actions abroad.

It comes after May’s announcement last week which, whilst scant on detail, did specify that it will cover “operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales”.

It’s known that officers from the political police units have been going abroad for about twenty years. Conversely, their foreign counterparts work over here.

Thanks to Hunko’s tenacious research, it has been established that Berlin police sent five undercover officers to the anti-G8 protests in Scotland in 2005. It’s not clear how many came from elsewhere in Germany or other countries. These were in addition to the UK officers there, which included Mark Kennedy and Lynn Watson.

A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) confirmed that Kennedy worked in 14 countries. This isn’t quite the 22 he claims, but whichever is true, it is hugely significant.

Kennedy had sexual relationships whilst undercover in Germany, which is strictly forbidden in that country. Hunko’s letter continues,

 

German parliamentarian Hans-Christian Stroebele said in the press that Kennedy is known to have played a part in at least three minor crimes in Germany, something that a German undercover agent is not permitted to do.

German MP Ulla Jelpke further proclaimed, ‘the suspicion that Kennedy was acting as an agent provocateur in these crimes still cannot be ruled out’

The extensive information Hunko has prised from the German authorities (32 page PDF) includes the fact that Kennedy was paid by German police whilst working there.

Hunko has previously revealed that

Foreign police officers must obtain authorisation before entering the territory of a sovereign state. They must not commit any criminal offences during their stay. Kennedy, however, sought to impress activists in Berlin by setting fire to a refuse container. Arrested by the police, he even concealed his true identity from the public prosecutor. This is illegal, as the Federal Government has indicated now.

Kennedy was a serving Met officer, hired out to use the identity and methods the Met trained him in. The idea that this bears no relevance to the subject of the inquiry is absurd.

Theresa May’s announcement clearly said

The inquiry’s investigation will include, but not be limited to, the undercover operations of the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit

If it is to do that, it must look at how the whole thing worked, it cannot be geographically selective. If this embarrasses the British establishment in the eyes of other countries, so be it. It may uncover more layers to the structure; this, too, is surely one of the points of having the inquiry in the first place.

Andrej Hunko

Andrej Hunko

Hunko’s questions exposed the hitherto unknown European Co-ordination Group on Undercover Activities that organises and focuses undercover work. Established in the 1980s, it is comprised of all EU member states and other countries such as the USA, Israel, South Africa and New Zealand, plus selected private companies. It meets irregularly and says it doesn’t keep minutes. According to the German government, the UK and Germany are the trailblazers in the group.

Far from the undercover scandal being centred on a rogue officer or a rogue unit, the UK’s tactics increasingly appear to be part of a concerted effort in which governments and corporations act together across borders.

It is notable that the aforementioned 2005 G8 summit is beyond the proposed scope of the remit, as it took place in Scotland. Yet Kennedy worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) which a 2003 HMIC report confirmed

performs an intelligence function in relation to politically motivated disorder (not legitimate protests) on behalf of England, Wales and Scotland

If the inquiry excludes Scotland, it excludes part of the NPOIU’s remit.

After his police contract ended, Kennedy stayed in the same community of activists, under the same Met-created identity, using the same methods to spy on them, working for a company set up and run by Rod Leeming, another ex-political police Met officer.

As we’ve previously described, this was not an isolated instance, the entwining of political police and their private counterparts has been going on for decades, and it would be ludicrous to exclude this overlap from the inquiry.

We can presume the German police paid the NPOIU for the use of their officer Mark Kennedy. There can be no claiming that the Met were not responsible, nor that counter-democratic activity and personal abuse by Met officers are somehow insignificant if done elsewhere or with a different institution signing the paycheque.

The dogged persistence of Hunko (assisted by the German government’s more open approach to MPs asking about the subject) means there is a formidable body of evidence about an NPOIU officer’s undercover activity, including the commission of crimes and sexual abuse. This must not be excluded from the inquiry.

Furthermore, if that is what we have about one officer, in one of his 14 countries, what else is there to uncover? For the inquiry to be credible, it must investigate all significant elements of the work of the political policing units.