Content tagged with "SDS"

New Spycops to Be Named But Still Hidden

Table of 12 undercover officers with 'HN' numbers, rfleleased by Inquiry 15 January 2017

The public inquiry into Britain’s political secret police has issued brief notes on applications for anonymity by another cluster of officers. As usual, these former spycops who invaded people’s lives want to have their true identities kept from their victims.

The Inquiry intends to release the cover names of most of them. After last week’s announcement concerning five officers whose real and cover names the Inquiry intends to keep secret, this is a bit of improvement. However there are still some fundamental flaws that undermine the Inquiry’s stated desire of uncovering the truth.

Known by their HN-numbers, there are 12 ex-spycops in the new list. The Inquiry is still looking into officers HN9 and HN66. Officers HN61 and HN819 are backroom staff, so there are no cover names involved, and presumably we will get their real and cover names.

As for the other eight, the Inquiry does not intend to release any of their real names, but wants to release the cover names of seven. They are all men. Here’s the rundown:

NEW NAMES COMING

HN13 is now dead. He was deployed 1974-78, thought to be infiltrating the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) though the name of the group may be wrong. He was prosecuted twice under his false name, one of these leading to conviction. His widow wants her husband’s memory left in peace. However, the police risk assessor thinks there is no chance of the cover name leading to the real name, so the Inquiry intends to release that.

HN109 is a mystery. Neither the real nor cover name will be made public and we cannot be told why. We just have to trust the veracity of what the police told the Inquiry.

The Undercover Research Group have done a characteristically meticulous job of cross-referencing the new information with what’s already known, and have found that HN109 was around the spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family.

The Inquiry’s Chair, John Mitting, has said getting definitive answers about spying on the Lawrences ‘is one of the central issues which the Inquiry must investigate’, yet he intends to keep this officer completely hidden.

HN296 infiltrated an unnamed left wing group from 1975-75.

HN304 infiltrated ‘a number of non-violent groups’ from 1976-79.

HN339 infiltrated two unspecified groups between 1970 and 1974.

HN340 was deployed against an unnamed group from 1969-72, and reported on others.

HN354 infiltrated an unspecified group 1976-79 and admits to ‘two fleeting relationships’ with women he spied on.

HN356/124. This one was accidentally given two numbers. Now dead, he infiltrated the Socialist Workers Party from 1977-81. He was on the April 1979 anti-racist demonstration in Southall where Blair Peach was killed by police.

NO NAMES, NO TRUTH

Time and again in the new list, the Inquiry says that publication of these officers’ cover names

‘may serve a purpose: to prompt former members of the group against which he was deployed to provide information about his deployment.’

Indeed, it is the only way those who were spied upon can be prompted to come forward. Without a cover name, an officer remains in the dark forever. This is why we are so insistent that all cover names be released.

We have no faith in the self-reporting of officers about their abuses, nor in their ex-colleagues who are carrying out the risk assessments on behalf of the police for the Inquiry. Any public servant should be publicly accountable, let alone one from a covert institution guilty of so many serious abuses that it needed a public inquiry into its misdeeds.

Even those who still find the Met a trustworthy body must accept that the spycops units have no credibility left. Since the scandal broke we have been subjected to a flurry of desperate lies from everyone involved, from the officers themselves right to the top ranks. As one lie gets exposed, they change their story until that, too, falls under the weight of new evidence. So the more they want to hide an officer, the more suspicious the public becomes.

POLICE PERJURY

The Inquiry has said that people who were deceived into sexual relationships by officers deserve the fullest answers, and it will be seen as a reason to release an officer’s real name as well as the cover name. They appear to take a less stringent approach to officers who deceived the judicial system and orchestrated miscarriages of justice.

The one in the new list, HN13, was far from the only spycop to be arrested. The five spycops the Inquiry spoke of two weeks ago – and whose real and cover identities the Inquiry intends to withhold – included two who admit being arrested whilst undercover, one of whom was prosecuted under their false identity. 

There is plenty of evidence that this was common practice throughout the era of the spycops units. When they were arrested alongside people who were convicted, it means their evidence was withheld from the court and the conviction is unsafe.

Undercover officer Mark Kennedy was arrested and involved in cases that led to 49 wrongful convictions that have now been quashed due to his exposure by activists. The detail of his actions also made it clear that the police and Crown Prosecution Service colluded to orchestrate these miscarriages of justice.

Mark Ellison QC’s 2015 report into the issue found many more among the Special Demonstration Squad’s remaining records.

‘Using the SDS Annual Reports it has now been possible to identify 26 SDS officers who were arrested on a total of 53 occasions.’

That’s just what can be deduced from the SDS annual reports. The true total is likely to be higher. It’s notable that Mark Kennedy was from another unit entirely, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, and other officers there, such as as Rod Richardson and Lynn Watson, were repeatedly arrested as well.

All of this contravened strict instructions from the Home Office that officers should be withdrawn if they risked misleading a court.

In 1969, the year after the Special Demonstration Squad was set up, the Home Office issued Circular 97/1969, and it was clear and unequivocal.

‘The police must never commit themselves to a course which, whether to protect an informant or otherwise, will constrain them to mislead a court in subsequent proceedings. This must always be regarded as a prime consideration when deciding whether, and in what manner, an informant may be used and how far, if at all, he is allowed to take part in an offence.

‘If his use in the way envisaged will, or is likely to result in its being impossible to protect him without subsequently misleading the court, that must be regarded as a decisive reason for his not being so used or not being protected.’

The officers cannot feign ignorance. They knew the gravity of the situation and they chose to lie.

Either courts were told it was an agent – meaning it was an unfair trial for other defendants – or else this was perverting the course of justice and perjury. The Inquiry and the wider public should treat this as a negation of police duty and an affront to justice.

Protecting Abusers from Embarrassment

Excerpt from officer HN23’s risk assessment

The Undercover Policing Inquiry has announced five new applications for anonymity from former undercover police officers. The police want the real and cover names to be withheld in all five cases, and the Inquiry intends to comply.

The officers’ risk assessments, published in heavily redacted form, cover a number of elements of their deployment. 

The controversial use of dead children’s identities for cover names is addressed, and none of the officers say they did it (one says they didn’t even have a cover name). They are all asked if they had relationships with people they spied on, and none of them admit to this either.

PROFESSIONAL LIARS

The problem is that we’ve seen this before. Officer HN297‘s risk assessment said he didn’t have any known relationships.  His cover name, Rick Gibson, was brought to the attention of the Undercover Research Group by people from the groups he infiltrated. Their subsequent joint investigation found that he had sexual relationships with at least four women that he spied on.

Exceprt from HN297 risk assessmentWithout us knowing the cover names, we cannot check the veracity of their claims. It is the key prerequisite of us being able to get to the truth of what these trained liars did yet, despite proof of lying, the Inquiry is believing them and keeping cover names from us.

Once again we see inexcusable exceptionalism being granted to police. No other group of proven miscreants gets their answers taken at face value, in secret, then used as the basis for whether their victims get told the truth.

No other institution is allowed to be the custodian and archivist of the files that incriminate them. The Met are asked by a public inquiry to do searches and provide the results. It would be unacceptable even if there wasn’t, as in this case, a history of them destroying the files to avoid culpability.

But with the police we not only take their word, the Inquiry seeks to protect them from feeling upset at being caught. This trait is startlingly clear in the statement of officer N348. In a searing dissection, The Canary described it as ‘already a contender for the most ridiculous thing you’ll read in 2018’.

PROTECTION FROM EMBARRASSMENT

Deployed in 1972-73, N348 is now in her 70s. She says she cannot remember the cover name she used, but is confident it had the first name of Sandra.

She infiltrated the Women’s Liberation Front (affiliated to the Women’s Liberation Movement). A group of no more than 12 people, they met at a member’s house in North London to discuss women’s rights and Maoist ideas.

It seems the infiltration of these groups may have been prompted by an incident mentioned repeatedly in the paperwork, the direct action taken against the 1970 Miss World contest when it was broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall.

‘N348 described the faction as vocal but aspirational only and taking part in demonstrations with placards and banners. She witnessed no violence displayed by the group’

N348 says she would be ’embarrassed’ if one of the group she spied on found out she was a spycop. Her current work worries her, too.

‘It makes my heart sink to think of my colleagues there knowing.’

The risk assessor concludes that there is no concrete threat from anyone in the Women’s Liberation Front in any way.

‘The risk would likely be confined to harassment and/or intrusion, but would be effective enough to potentially adversely affect her employment status and standing in the community; both would affect her income.’

Why would it affect her employment, unless she is in a job that her employer would think is unsuitable for someone with her history? Why would the community think less of her, unless she has done something wrong?

The risk assessor doesn’t think police can justify what N348 did.

‘It could be argued that the deployment of N348 into such a non-violent group was disproportionate and may feed a media angle.’

N348 says

‘I think we live in a time of an intrusive media… I worry about not being in control of this situation.’

The media attention they fear is the justified interest in the actions of a public servant. Her wish to be shielded from that is not a valid reason to hide her identity.

The risk assessor concedes that if her true identity were disclosed there would be no risk of physical threat and a low risk of interference with her family and personal life, yet they still want her name to be withheld. This is all a further example of spycops seeking freedom from accountability.

There is no human right to protection from embarrassment, yet N348 is effectively being granted one.

PROTECTION FROM PRIDE

Conversely, HN23 says

‘I am very proud of the work that I did and acted with integrity throughout my career. I believe that the work I did had a significant positive impact and I did it knowing that it was not something I could boast about or reveal.’

At last your chance has come to step up and receive the acclaim you so rightly deserve for your flawless and exemplary work, HN23. Let your friends and family see the glory of your true life and share in your pride.

‘I am worried that they will not understand the reasons for this and will see it as a betrayal which will affect both friendships and relationships with family.’

That’s the opposite of HN348’s embarrassment, yet arguing for the exact same secrecy.

POLICE RIGHTS BEAT HUMAN RIGHTS

The police applications for anonymity include a cut & paste paragraph saying that releasing an officer’s name would ‘amount to a disproportionate interference with his/her right to a private and family life,’ and even in one instance adding ‘risk of loss of life or torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment’.

These are the same two human rights the Met admitted were breached by spycops themselves in these deployments.

The police who invaded the lives, homes and families of active citizens are seeking anonymity to avoid intrusion into their own lives and families. They are saying ‘it would breach my right to a private life to be known as the person who breached your right to a private life’. If the arrogance is gobsmacking, the hypocrisy is sickening.

The Met go further, saying it is not only for the benefit of their officers but ‘in the public interest’. The state infiltrating political groups who pose no threat to public safety is not just abuse of the citizens that were spied on. It is a counter-democratic attack on freedom of association and expression. It is plainly against the public interest.

Naming anyone for anything obviously increases the chance of press interest and vigilante action, yet the media (often supplied by police) give out people’s details every day. It is not seen as a breach of the right to a private life.

TIME TO ANSWER

Officers from secret police units around the world have been reluctant to come clean. None imagined having to face the people they undermined and betrayed.

But their desire for comfort pales beside their victims’ right to the truth and the public’s right to justice. They did this in our name. We all deserve answers.

It’s been a long time coming and the officers of the Special Demonstration Squad know that better than anyone. Though it was never on the scale of the Stasi, Britain’s political secret police’s purpose and methods were startlingly similar to their East German counterparts.

As Paul Lewis & Rob Evans described in Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police

‘A team of undercover police officers had spent the evening drinking and chatting in the London apartment. It was late one night in 1994.

‘They turned on the television to catch a news report from Germany. Tens of thousands of Germans were trawling through secret files compiled on them before the Berlin Wall came down… The TV report showed the distraught face fo a woman in Berlin who had discovered the man she had loved for years was a spy.

‘There was a silence in the lounge. Then one of the undercover police officers said what the others must have been thinking. “You do realise, this is going to happen to us one day,” he said.’

The Undercover Policing Inquiry is not here to extend the abusers’ belief that they would never get caught. It exists to reveal the truth. Police officers act as public servants and should be publicly accountable.

A cloak of anonymity for the officers would also fall across the facts and justice itself. It’s absurd for them to ask for such secrecy, and outrageous that the Inquiry wants to grant it.

Jessica Speaks Out About Sexual Abuse by Andy Coles

Andy Coles then and now

Andy Coles then and now

Whilst Andy Coles was undercover in the 1990s, he groomed Jessica into a sexual relationship.

As soon as the former Special Demonstration Squad officer was exposed in May 2017, he resigned as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

However, he is hanging on to other positions of civic trust, notably as a member of Peterborough City Council. There is now a dedicated Sack Andy Coles campaign in the city.

On 16 September 2017, Jessica travelled to Peterborough to give her first public talk about her experience, and the video is now on our Youtube channel.

Transcript of Jessica’s Speech

I first met Andy when I was 19. I had recently moved to East London and I was involved with a few local animal rights groups and environmental groups. It was within these groups that I first met him.

I can’t remember the initial meeting, but I remember seeing him at various demonstrations and I knew him to say ‘hi’ to. The next thing I remember is he started turning up at our house, uninvited, but you’re polite, you invite people in, and so he was a friend, I thought.

We also know now, after Donal has spoken to lots of other women, that’s actually what he would do. He would turn up around women’s houses, usually in the evenings, and would be quite difficult to get rid of.

One of the other women – I’ve spoken to her, she said it’s fine to read out a statement she actually made – this is Joy’s own words.

‘He made a pass at me with no preamble. As I recall he did not say anything but just lunged at me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him off and he persisted for a while, several minutes, following me around the living room while I avoided contact and repeatedly asked him to stop. I then had to ask him to leave which he eventually agreed to do. I cannot remember exactly what I said, I was upset and angry. I felt a bit stupid for allowing him into the flat in the first place and a bit soiled to be honest.’
– ‘Joy’

Now, Joy was 26 at this time. This is exactly what he did to me, he never actually said anything to me, he just lunged at me and kissed me. I didn’t know what his intentions were, I’d certainly never actually felt that towards him. The only difference between myself and Joy is that I didn’t react as bravely as she did.

I remember feeling shocked, embarrassed, awkward and totally out of my depth. I remember it so clearly because it was so uncomfortable, it has never really felt right. But I put that down to us both being quite young at the time, and it was actually my first proper relationship. Now we know that in actual fact he wasn’t 24 like he told me, but he was actually 32 and also he was married. He had been married for four years at this point.

This has now changed from something that was very awkward and uncomfortable at the time to something that is now very sordid, dirty and manipulative. A much older man leading me into a sexual relationship as a teenager that I wasn’t ready for or confident enough to get out of. I have never said I was underage, I was 19 at the time. But I was no different from lots of people, in that I’d had quite a traumatic childhood, I’d been bullied at school, and those things had left a bit of a mark on me. I had low self-esteem and no confidence, I’d suffered panic attacks and been treated for anxiety. To someone much older, like him, and also a trained police officer I would have been an easy target for being vulnerable.

It’s worth saying at this point that not every undercover officer had a sexual relationship whilst they were deployed. Andy did not have to have a pursue a sexual relationship with me to maintain his cover, he chose to. He absolutely knew that I would have never consented to have sex with a police officer. As far as I’m concerned he did it knowing it would have been against my will.

His bosses also knew it would have been against my informed consent, and yet they allowed it to happen. Where were the police? The people who were supposed to protect me? They were the ones that paid him to do it. They were the ones who arranged the fake birth certificates, the fake driving licences, fake passports, provided him a fake job, his vehicle and his home. They needed to make him convincing and, to me, they did. I never stood a chance, I was a stupid naive teenager now left with the shame of what has happened.

Andy won’t face any charges over what he chose to do to me. I wish there was something I could do about that, but there isn’t. I wasn’t able to stand up for myself as a teenager, so I need to do that now. I need to try and take back some control. All I am able to do now is to sue his employers, the Metropolitan Police. The four ‘torts’, as they call them, for suing them are; assault, deception, negligence (on behalf of his bosses for allowing it to happen) and misfeasance (or wrongdoing) in public office. Also I am also now a part of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, I’m a core participant.

I have so many questions that I don’t think I will ever know the answers to. Did he despise all of us, people who thought of him as our friend? Is that the way he treated all of women or was that just the way he treated us?

Was he lying to me when he told me he had a two year old daughter? We know it wasn’t with his wife at the time, his first daughter with her was born the year after he and I split up. But we don’t know exactly when he was deployed so whether he did have a two year old child with another activist, we don’t know.

Why did he choose such public roles when he knew the danger of his being discovered? Does he feel even the tiniest bit of guilt for what he did to me? I wasn’t a criminal, I don’t have a criminal record, so why did it happen to me? How much did he share with the other undercover officers about me? What did he put in his reports about us and our relationship? He came to my parents’ house on several occasions, was there a file on them?

How did he know about my being adopted? It’s unlikely I would have told him, it was something I had been bullied about and was deeply ashamed of, so it was unlikely I’d tell him but people remember him saying it was a great match that he and I were together, what with both of us being adopted. Did he use something so private and painful to me just as a ploy to ingratiate himself? I will never know.

I wake up in the early hours every morning with these questions running through my head. I can’t get a moment’s peace from any of this. It’s twisting the knife that he remains in a trusted public position, as though what he did to me means nothing.

He stepped down from the DPCC role, and if he had a shred of decency he’d step down from this role too.

16 September 2017

Sorry Paul, Spycops Haven’t Stopped

Paul Mason article mastheadGuardian columnist Paul Mason has picked up on former MI5 boss Stella Rimington’s admission that security services have spied on people who are now advisors to Jeremy Corbyn, the person likely to be the next prime minister.

Mason lists a catalogue of counter-democratic outrages by the Met’s Special Branch in the 1980s and 90s; undermining union disputes, spying on families of victims of racist murders, deceiving women into long-term relationships.

Then he boldly asserts

‘that world is gone. Corbyn, who himself was targeted by MI5 and Special Branch, could soon be prime minister. With the Human Rights Act, the creation of a Supreme Court and the operational policing changes in the aftermath of the Macpherson report, the legal framework around policing and intelligence has tightened.’

Where does he get this idea from? The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 and the Macpherson report was published in 1999. Far from ending the era of political policing, they came just as it began a period of expansion.

The second major political policing unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, was founded in 1999 to deploy the likes of Mark Kennedy and extend the worst of the spycops’ abuses. More spycops units were established in the 2000s.

Political policing has not ended. In 2013 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary explained that the old spycops units have been subsumed into the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command (known as SO15), and that

‘All deployments of undercover officers which target the activity of domestic extremists are coordinated either by the SO15 Special Project Team (SPT), or by one of the regional SPTs’

There is no reason to think that the known abuses by political policing units have stopped.

In mentioning undercover officers deceiving women into intimate relationships, Mason links to a report on the recent letter from a group of them to the public inquiry. These women include those who were in relationships with officers as recently as 2009, far beyond his cutoff of 1999.

A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES

Mason continues;

‘From top to bottom, the UK’s armed forces, security services and police are acutely aware of constraints on their activities by the rule of law.’

They have always been aware of these constraints, and duly ignored them. In 1969, a year after the Special Demonstration Squad was formed, the Home Office issued unequivocal instructions:

‘The police must never commit themselves to a course which, whether to protect an informant or otherwise, will constrain them to mislead a court in subsequent proceedings.’

Dozens of SDS officers were arrested whilst undercover, many of them multiple times. They infiltrated defendants’ meetings, gave false testimony to courts, and some were even prosecuted under their false identity. These actions fit most people’s definition of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

With only a small fraction of the officers exposed, we have already had 50 wrongful convictions quashed, many from the late 2000s. The true total could be in the thousands.

Many of these officers committed crimes, organised illegal activity and made a personality trait of mocking activists who weren’t prepared to participate in their plans. Compliance with the law was irrelevant to them.

UNION BUSTING

Without supporting evidence, Mason instructs us to make a startling assumption.

‘The law enforcement culture that allowed undercover cops to perpetrate abuses is, we must assume, gone. Likewise, by implication, the culture that allowed MI5 to “destabilise and sabotage” an entirely legal trade union must be assumed to have gone.’

Undermining unions isn’t limited to MI5 and the specialist deep-cover units of the Met. The Independent Police Complaints Commission concede that every constabulary’s Special Branch illegally supplied information about political activists to the Consulting Association, a company who ran an illegal blacklist of construction workers.

Those on the blacklist were mostly targeted for their union organising, though others were on it for asking for proper personal protective equipment at work, or being spotted by police on environmental or anti-racist demonstrations.

The Consulting Association was active until it was raided in 2009 by the Information Commissioners Office. Although most major construction firms illegally used the list, none has faced any charges or even any censure beyond a letter asking them not to do it again. No police have been held to account. Why would they have stopped?

As workers – not only in construction but healthcare and numerous other sectors – can testify, blacklisting is clearly still going on. We know that the Met’s spycops unit still uses other blacklists of trade unionists and political activists. There is no reason to assume that the long-term, routine police collusion has suddenly ended.

TRUTH ISN’T PARANOIA

Mason cites undercover officers’ spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family, and the power of the Macpherson Inquiry report into the murder. He ignores the fact that the police deliberately withheld any mention of the spying from Macpherson. It was this very revelation in 2013 that led to the setting up of the public inquiry into undercover policing.

The secret state does not play by the rules. Those abused by it deserve answers. Yet Mason, echoing President Trump’s condemnation of Charlottesville ‘violence on many sides’, says

‘Amid the social warfare of the 80s, there are people from both sides who could say, as Rutger Hauer does in Blade Runner: “I’ve done questionable things.” Unless we’re going to have a South African-style truth and reconciliation process, the challenge is to bury the paranoia and move on.’

It’s not paranoia when the spying and methods are documented, established facts.

More than 1,000 political groups have been targeted by spycops in the last 50 years. Put simply, there aren’t that many who’ve done questionable things, and even the Met agree none of them deserved to be treated like like the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of women subjected to psychological and sexual abuse. This is a victim and perpetrator situation.

A glance at those targeted, even among the 200 significantly affected people designated core participants at the public inquiry, shows the breadth of this counter-democratic policing. Everyone targeted by spycops should should be told what was done to them and given access to their files. Only the police, and seemingly Paul Mason, want to bury the facts.

CHANGE AT THE TOP

Mason’s belief that a Labour government will do away with spycops’ activity is contradicted by the historical evidence. The secret state is run by people who are not hired by the government of the day. Governments come and go, but they endure.

Mason points to MI5’s plotting against Harold Wilson’s government in the 1960s, but there is more to it than that. As lawyer David Allen Green wryly noted,

‘ “Former Labour Home Secretary” is one the most illiberal phrases in British politics.’

All the major spycops units – the Special Demonstration Squad, National Public Order Intelligence Unit, National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, National Domestic Extremism Team – were set up under Labour governments.

This mirrors the fact that the worst eras of detention without trial and our most repressive anti-terrorism laws are also Labour creations. Just this this week we learned of a political activist being victimised thanks to police powers granted by the Terrorism Act 2000, a law so draconian that you can get six months in jail for wearing the wrong T-shirt. It was created by Labour’s Jack Straw.

The current Labour party is very different to its predecessors, and it’s reasonable to hope that having a Prime Minister and Home Secretary who were themselves targeted by spycops would lead them to equally different approaches to political policing.

Whether the secret state complies is another matter. The spycops don’t even obey their own superior officers.

DON’T DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD

The political secret police started spying on the Green Party’s Jenny Jones after she was democratically elected. They continued for over a decade, whilst she was a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, the Met’s scrutiny body.

After they said they had destroyed her files, she asked them to check. This was in 2014, after senior police had ordered the preservation of files for the pending public inquiry, in line with the demands of the Inquiries Act. 

At this point, a whistleblower reports, officers hurriedly shredded the bulk of Jones’ records so a sanitised version could be presented.

Whilst the campaigns Mason mentions were over in the 1990s, the spying and repression they were subjected to has continued with other targets. If it is to be ended, there must be disclosure and accountability.

We know Britain’s political secret police have been active long after Mason’s imagined cut-off date and that his wishful naivety has no basis in fact. There is no indication that it has abated.

Those of us subjected to political policing, including Paul Mason, and the wider public all deserve truth and justice.

Another Spycop Named: ‘Bill Lewis’

Silhouette of head with superimposed question markA new member of Britain’s political secret police has been named. On 5th October, the Undercover Policing Inquiry released the cover name William Paul ‘Bill’ Lewis, who was undercover in the Special Demonstration Squad 1968-1969.

The announcement follows the Met’s blanket application to keep undercover officers’ names – real and fake – secret.

The inquiry is working through the list of names and said in August that it was minded to release the cover name – but not the real name – of this officer. The Met then withdrew their application to keep it secret.

The fake name is about all we have. The inquiry doesn’t even tell us which groups he actively infiltrated, only that

He may have been encountered by individuals involved with the International Marxist Group or the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in London at that time.

We have no photo, no detail on whether he, like so many of his colleagues, deceived women into sexual relationships or orchestrated miscarriages of justice.

Whilst any information is better than none, this announcement doesn’t move us onward. To understand what these disgraced units did, we need to hear from those who witnessed it.

We need the list of cover names used by officers and the list of over 1,000 groups that they spied on so that the activists may be contacted and speak about what they saw. Until this happens the inquiry cannot begin to do its allotted task.

At a preliminary hearing on 1st November the Inquiry Chair Sir John Mitting is going to ‘make a statement on the future conduct of the Inquiry’. It’s not clear exactly what this means, but his recent compliance with much of the Met’s desire for secrecy does not give cause for great optimism.

We now have details on 24 of 144 undercover officers. ‘Bill Lewis’ is the first new one identified in three months, and even then in such scant form as to be practically useless. This glacial pace, driven by the Met’s stonewalling, denies justice to those who have already waited too long.

Police Demand Money From Compensated Spycops Victim

Helen Steel at the Royal Courts of Justice

Helen Steel at the Royal Courts of Justice

The Metropolitan Police are demanding £7,000 from a woman they paid damages to after she discovered that her long-term partner was a police spy. The claim is part of their ongoing campaign for secrecy around political undercover police units who have committed human rights abuses.

Helen Steel has been a lifelong social justice campaigner. In the 1990s she was one of the defendants in the McLibel trial, which arose after McDonald’s sued campaigners for libel over a leaflet produced by London Greenpeace. McDonald’s spent millions on the case, but a public support campaign meant the trial was dubbed ‘the greatest corporate PR disaster in history’.

POLICE SPIES AND CORPORATE SPIES

At the trial it was revealed that London Greenpeace had been infiltrated by several corporate spies hired by McDonald’s. But it was only years later that it emerged the group was also infiltrated by undercover police officers from the now-disgraced Special Demonstration Squad. One of them, Bob Lambert, co-wrote the What’s Wrong With McDonald’s leaflet that caused the trial, though this fact was kept from the court. Another officer in the group, John Dines, deceived Steel into a two-year relationship. They lived together, discussed starting a family and planned to spend the rest of their lives with one another. Then Dines feigned a breakdown and disappeared from Steel’s life back into his police career.

In 2011, Steel was one of a group of eight similarly deceived women who brought a legal case against the Metropolitan Police for abuse by five undercover officers. The Met spent many years and huge sums of public money obstructing the case.

NEITHER CONFIRM NOR DENY

After almost three years of the Met claiming they could ‘neither confirm nor deny’ (NCND) that anyone was an undercover officer – a tactic Steel forensically dismantled at a later public inquiry hearing – in 2014 the courts forced their hand.

The women challenged the police use of NCND. In July 2014 they won an important victory when the High Court ruled that there was no legitimate public interest in the Met Police asserting NCND in respect of the allegations that officers had engaged in long term intimate sexual relationships while undercover.

The Court also ruled that as Bob Lambert and Jim Boyling had already been publicly confirmed as undercover officers, the police could no longer maintain NCND in respect of their identities.

MET POLICE CONTINUE TO HIDE THE TRUTH

However, regarding Mark Jenner and John Dines, the Judge said that although the evidence amassed by the women was overwhelming, and it was surely only a matter of time until they were confirmed, he could not force the naming of people who hadn’t outed themselves.

As Steel said at the time

‘It is very disappointing that despite the overwhelming evidence our former partners John Dines and Mark Jenner were also undercover SDS officers, the Judge has allowed the Met to continue to hide the truth about them.’

Steel put in an appeal against this decision. These men were not private individuals, they had been acting as public servants, so the public had a right to know.

A few months after this appeal was lodged the Met held talks with the women to seek a settlement for their civil claims. Just before Christmas 2014 the Met agreed to apologise to the women, though it wasn’t finalised and published for another 11 months.

On 31st December 2014, the Appeal Court agreed that NCND was an important issue and Steel’s argument was well-grounded. They granted her leave to appeal.

COURT GRANTS APPEAL, MET CLAIMS DECEPTION

The Met, with their tactic of trying anything to undermine those they have victimised, attempted to get the appeal struck out. They claimed Steel had misled the appeal court by not informing them that a settlement had been agreed. This was an underhanded trick, given that the settlement hadn’t been finalised, she was unrepresented for the appeal, and the events happened over the Christmas period when people are generally not focussed on legal proceedings.

Steel argued that it was in the public interest to name those responsible for the abuses. A hearing for the Met’s strike-out application took place in July 2015. Steel was unrepresented, and mentally exhausted from the long battle for the truth. She reluctantly acceded to the court’s twofold advice.

Firstly, if she lost the appeal she would be liable to pay the Met’s legal costs, which could wipe out her entire damages in the main claim. Secondly, the forthcoming public inquiry would provide a safer route to argue about the use of NCND and the release of spycops’ names as there were no costs risks. 

STEEL DROPS APPEAL, MET CLAIMS £10,000 COSTS

Letter from Metropolitan Police to Helen Steel demanding £7,000Despite the hearing lasting only about an hour, the police then claimed over £10,000 costs. Although later reduced to £7,000, the ludicrous amounts charged act as a deterrent, intimidating members of the public seeking accountability for wrongdoing committed by police officers. The threat of such an award can be used by the police as a means to intimidate people out of seeking redress.

The police’s whole argument – that a settlement was agreed – rested on them issuing an apology admitting these men were Met officers who inexcusably abused women. The Met concede they were wrong, and that the women who were deceived into relationships were blameless. Why should officers who have abused members of the public be allowed to hide behind a wall of secrecy?

The apology came with damages for the harm caused by the extreme deception. The Met are now trying to claw money back from a woman they victimised because she tried to get them to do something that they should have done anyway.

PARTIAL CONFIRMATION, MORE DENIAL

The Undercover Policing Inquiry eventually confirmed that Dines was a police officer in December 2016 – a grudging and minimal admission that Steel excoriated. To this day, the police won’t admit Mark Jenner was the undercover officer Mark Cassidy, even though he’s been publicly identified since January 2011.

Women deceived into intimate relationships by undercover police officers want to ensure that these human rights abuses never happen to anyone else. This requires the Met to stop protecting the identities of the abusers. It also requires a legal system that allows funding to enable those who have been abused to challenge their abusers without the risk of becoming bankrupt or losing their homes.

For the Met to have abused these women is horrific enough. For them to inflict the second injustice of legal tricks and obstructions compounds their cruelty. To then to go after Helen Steel for money is an utterly outrageous further leap into the shameless bullying and corruption that has driven their response to the spycops scandal from the start.

Why is Spycop Andy Coles Still Silent?

Andy Coles wearing a Conservative Party rosetteFormer undercover police officer Andy Coles will not be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the watchdog announced earlier this month.

He was referred to the IPCC after his exposure as an ex-member of the disgraced Special Demonstration Squad in May, which included details of how he groomed a teenager known as Jessica into a sexual relationship during his time infiltrating animal rights and peace groups.

She described it in a statement:

‘Although I was 19, I had never been in a proper relationship before. Events in my life had taught me it’s best to keep people at arm’s length. So, I didn’t know how to react when he made advances towards me, I was embarrassed, awkward, and what truly makes me feel sick now, is that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I look back now and realise I was naive, idealistic, unsophisticated and a very young 19.

‘Appallingly I also now know my new “boyfriend” was a 32 year old, married undercover policeman working for the SDS, Special Demonstration Squad. I had believed him to be about 24 at the time…

‘Although not legally underage, I feel that my youth and vulnerability were used to target me. I was groomed by someone much older, and far more experienced (he had been an acting police officer for 10 years) and I was manipulated into having a sexual relationship with him.’

The Undercover Policing Inquiry, which is examining the misdeeds of Britain’s political secret police, recently designated Jessica as a core participant, a status given to less than 200 of the most significantly targeted people.

Three days after being publicly exposed on Channel 4 News, Coles resigned as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, despite being less than a year into the £28,000pa part-time role.

But now the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a body largely comprised of people who, like Coles, are ex-police officers, have decided there is nothing worth looking at, just as they did with other abusive spycops. They did not consult Jessica, nor any of the other women Coles sexually abused. Nothing has been investigated.

However, in some ways it does not need to be, because the issue rests on three simple and indisputable facts.

1 – Andy Coles was the Special Demonstration Squad officer known as Andy Davey

2 – He deceived Jessica into a relationship

3 – This was an abuse of police power, a violation of her human rights and far beyond anything police could ever justify

Although that last point is strongly worded, it is the emphatic and unequivocal position of the Met themselves, as explained by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt [text or video].

‘it has become apparent that some officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.

‘I acknowledge that these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma. I unreservedly apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service… relationships like these should never have happened. They were wrong and were a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity…

‘none of the women with whom the undercover officers had a relationship brought it on themselves. They were deceived pure and simple. I want to make it clear that the Metropolitan Police does not suggest that any of these women could be in any way criticized for the way in which these relationships developed.’

Coles has promoted himself as a figure of civic credibility, becoming governor at two schools, being the opening speaker at this year’s annual conference of Link to Change (an organisation supporting young people facing sexual exploitation). He personally endorsed the Children’s Society’s Seriously Awkward campaign to protect older teenagers from abuse and sexual exploitation.

Andy Coles promoting the Children's Scoiety's Seriously Awkward campaign

He must have known all this was richly hypocritical but hoped that he would be able to keep his past secret. As soon as he was unmasked, his position as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner became instantly untenable and he resigned.

COUNCIL CANCELLED

Despite all this, Coles is retaining his position as a Conservative member of Peterborough City Council, defying cross-party calls for him to step down from that post too.

Human Rights Abuser Andy Coles banner, Peterborough Town Hall

Human Rights Abuser Andy Coles banner made by Jessica, Peterborough Town Hall, 19 July 2017

Dozens of people attended a protest outside the council meeting on 19 July. Hundreds of leaflets about Coles were given out to those passing or entering the Town Hall. The protest included spycops campaigners alongside LibDem councillors, and representatives of Peterborough’s Labour and Green parties.

The council refused to consider a question, submitted by Jessica, on Coles’ suitability for his role. A banner she made was hung from the public gallery. The Mayor refused to continue the meeting until it was taken down; protesters refused to remove it while Coles was present; he refused to leave. After an hour of this stalemate, the Mayor abandoned the meeting.

IF YOU’VE NOTHING TO HIDE YOU’VE NOTHING TO FEAR

Council leader John Holdich OBE told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that Coles was ‘not allowed to make a comment about it’, but this is not true. Several exposed spycops have given statements and interviews. It is Coles’ choice not to speak, which is odd if he feels his position were in any way defensible.

Holdich went on to defend Coles’ refusal to resign from the council.

‘Until you’re proved guilty, why should you get out? That’s a sign of your guilt, isn’t it, if you resign?’

But this was two months after Coles had resigned as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire. What was that then, if not a sign of his guilt?

Coles said he was unable to comment on the matter, pending the IPCC’s decision. But now there is to be no criminal trial that could be influenced, he is free to come forward and explain. If it’s possible for him to exonerate himself in the way his fellow Conservative – and an outlier LibDem – councillors say they expect, why isn’t he doing it?

He knows no denial is possible. He knows there is no doubt that if he had been unmasked sooner, he would have been among those that the Met already condemned and apologised for. He behaved in the same way as other sexually abusive officers. There is no excuse. There is no justification.

He grossly abused a position of trust while in public office. He has no place in a public body with any measure of integrity.

There is a meeting of Peterborough City Council on 11 October. If Coles is still a councillor, there will be a protest outside.

Three New Spycops Named – But Others Get Hidden

Troops Out Movement demonstration at military recruitment office

Troops Out Movement demonstration at military recruitment office

The public inquiry into undercover political policing has published three new names of spycops and, for the first time, they’re new names rather than just confirming what activists, whistleblowers and journalists had already revealed.

However, among the hefty tranche of new papers from Inquiry Chair Sir John Mitting are grave indications of that he is seeking to prevent the full truth coming to light.

Having dragged out the process of beginning the inquiry for years, earlier this year the Metropolitan Police were given a firm timetable for applying for ‘restriction orders’ for the anonymity of undercover officers.

As expected, the Met are pushing for maximum secrecy, arguing that it would make officers worried and sad to be publicly known for what they’ve done. The Met also argue that the officers would be at risk of violent reprisal, despite nothing of the kind happening to the swathe of officers who have been very publicly exposed since 2010. With deadlines passing, the Met have had their hand forced and, finally, we are getting a small measure of new information from the Inquiry.

THREE NEW SPYCOPS

As had been suggested by some victims, the new names are all from the early days of the Special Demonstration Squad in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With those involved being of advanced age, there’s some merit in tackling these cases first. Indeed, one of the three newly named officers is already dead.

We’ve been given only the officers’ cover names, but not their real identity. These three releases have major redactions, including whether the officer had intimate relationships or was arrested. Given the long history of SDS officers having such abusive relationships and instigating miscarriages of justice, these are very serious omissions.

John Graham‘ was deployed in 1968, the first year of the Special Demonstration Squad, to infiltrate the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (Kilburn and Willesden Branch), and says the worst thing anyone in the group ever suggested doing was jumping on the back of a police officer. He also spied on the Revolutionary Socialist Students Federation.

In 1969 his deployment was cut short when he refused a senior officers instruction to attend a certain meeting, feeling it would have exposed him. He was moved to other duties shortly after. The Undercover Research Group have produced a profile of John Graham.

Rick Gibson‘ spied on left wing groups between 1974 and 1976. He infiltrated socialist feminist campaign/newspaper Big Flame, and became a prominent member of the south-east London branch of the Troops Out Movement which campaigns to end British involvement in Northern Ireland.

The police say that in 1976 Gibson was confronted by a Big Flame activist who had become suspicious of him and discovered that he was – as was standard for spycops at the time – using the identity of a dead child. Gibson said that he was indeed using a false identity as he was on the run from the police, and his comrades could not be certain that he was a spy. His deployment was ended shortly afterwards. He is now dead.

Doug Edwards‘ was one of the earliest Special Demonstration Squad officers, deployed between 1968 and 1971. He infiltrated anarchist groups, and says that ‘some of them were quite nasty pieces of work’. He then moved on to the Dambusters Mobilising Committee, a coalition opposed to the huge Cabora Bassa dam project in the then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique, a collaboration between apartheid South Africa, Rhodesia and Portugal to supply electricity to South Africa.

Like so many of his colleagues, he was very active in groups he infiltrated, becoming treasurer of Cuban-founded group Tricontinental. He also describes going to a wedding, showing that ‘collateral intrusion’ into the lives of those around the spied-upon has always been part of how spycops work.

He continues

‘Some of the people in these groups were really nice, pleasant, intelligent people. They were different politically in their views, but in this country you can have different political views.’

He says

‘I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion… I don’t have anything to hide and I’ll answer all questions, I won’t mind’

But then he immediately backtracks with

‘I don’t want all this dragging up though when it was 50 years ago… I don’t want the interference at my stage of life.’

 

These three bring the total of exposed undercover officers to 23 out of a total of at least 144.

DOORS CLOSING BEFORE THEY OPEN

The three newly named spycops are among 28 whose anonymity has been considered by the inquiry. The Inquiry has published a brief profile of each of them, with a position on their anonymity.

Of the 25 still unnamed:

  • 2 aren’t being named yet but the Chair intends to release the cover names soon
  • 3 are dead with no known cover name, their real names will be published later
  • 2 have no known cover name and the Inquiry won’t release the real name
  • 3 have both cover and real names known and the Chair intends to withhold both
  • 1 has already had the cover name confirmed, and the Chair intends to withhold the real name
  • 3 are undecided pending further information
  • 3 are having secret hearings with the Inquiry before a decision is made
  • 1 has been given more time to apply for anonymity
  • 7 were backroom staff so had no cover name, their real names will be published later

Put another way, they have taken decisions on eight officers and are withholding the cover names of three. This is not a good ratio. Without the publication of the overwhelming majority of cover names we cannot know who was spied on, so we cannot hear from victims and establish the truth.

Mitting is giving a lot of weight to the possible psychological impacts on spycops if they are named, but since when are abusers given protection because exposure would be detrimental to them?

As Pitchford Watcher’s analysis of Mitting’s statement explained

‘In one case, that of ‘HN7’, he has already given a unilateral order for anonymity on the basis of HN7’s mental health. For others, he is accepting that the minimal risk of press intrusion may be sufficient for such anonymity orders, even when there is no risk to safety. In another instance, his main concern is the effect on the widow of an undercover.

‘He also appears to be of the opinion that he can do what he needs to meet the terms of reference of the Inquiry, just by reference to cyphers and cover names, an approach that increases secrecy and further limits participation by those targeted by the undercovers. These core participants believe that in doing this, he is completely disregarding their needs and that they are being denied the right to the truth.’

THE LAWRENCE FAMILY SPY

Of the three officers applying for full anonymity who will have secret hearings before a decision, one is officer N81, who spied on Stephen Lawrence’s family as they campaigned for justice for their murdered son.

Doreen Lawrence has been very clear about the need to know who spied on her, telling the Guardian in 2015

‘They were doing the deception. Why should they be allowed to be anonymous while people like me had their faces all over the newspapers? These people were not innocent. They knew what they were doing.’

This is the key issue at the moment for many of the people targeted. The cover names of the officers and the names of the groups they spied on are not optional or incidental. They are the sole foundation on which the truth can be established. Whether to publish them should not be an issue to wrestle with, it should not be the focus of the discussion, it should be a given.

Inquiry core participant Carolyn Wilson told Pitchford Watcher

‘The police tend to tell us “If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve got nothing to fear”. People are trying to come to terms with the very real trauma of finding out they’d been deceived into intimate relationships with cops from these secret units. They are desperate for information so they can deal with what’s happened, and heal their lives.

‘How dare those same cops now have the nerve to claim that they face being “traumatised” by details of their past activities being brought out in public? If they haven’t done anything wrong, why would they be embarrassed about their neighbours and families finding out about it all?’

This inquiry is not about arbitrating between equals. It is about establishing the full truth about the known abuses of power committed by these disgraced units against citizens and democracy. If it does not publish the overwhelming majority of cover names it defies its purpose, protects the guilty and betrays the victims.

Another Spycop Outed: Andy Coles / ‘Andy Davey’

Andy Coles, aka Special Demonstration Squad officer Andy Davey

Andy Coles, aka Special Demonstration Squad officer Andy Davey

A new name has been added to the infamous list of Britain’s political secret police. Last week Andy Coles was known to the public as Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Police Commissioner and a Conservative member of Peterborough City Council. Now we know he was also Special Demonstration Squad officer ‘Andy Davey‘.

He infiltrated London animal rights campaigns from 1991-1995.

His old comrade Paul Gravett, having learned of other spycops in the movement, seriously suspected ‘Davey’ as far back as 2013. He was confident enough to name Davey three years ago in How Special Branch Spied on Animal Rights Movement.

‘Davey was so well entrenched that he begun to produce the group’s newsletter. Shortly afterwards he also transferred the mailing list onto a computer. We were in the era when some organisations still did not have their own PC or internet access and his IT expertise was considered invaluable. Spies are trained to exploit skills shortages like this, to ensure they become trusted and above suspicion.’

No conclusive proof of Davey’s identity, or his real name, was forthcoming until the Undercover Research Group followed the trail from clues from a most unlikely source – the autobiography of Andy Coles’ brother, ex-Communards keyboard player turned vicar and broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles. The story of their investigation is fascinating, and has led to their comprehensive profiles of both his time undercover and his life outside it.

Long after his deployment, Coles was on the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Terrorism and Allied Matters committee (ACPO-TAM) when it was running the deployment of spycops such as Mark Kennedy in the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Coles was Head of Training up until the time when the unit was taken out of ACPO-TAM’s control in March 2011.

SEXUAL PREDATOR

During his time undercover Coles was known for forcing himself on women. This went on unbeknownst to ‘Jessica’, an activist with whom he cultivated a serious long-term relationship, a practice the Metropolitan Police have conceded was

‘a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma’

Jessica has only recently learned the truth and made this statement

‘Although I was 19, I had never been in a proper relationship before. Events in my life had taught me it’s best to keep people at arm’s length.  So, I didn’t know how to react when he made advances towards me, I was embarrassed, awkward, and what truly makes me feel sick now, is that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  I look back now and realise I was naive, idealistic, unsophisticated and a very young 19.’

She believed he was slightly older than her, considerably younger than his actual age of 32.

‘Although not legally underage, I feel that my youth and vulnerability were used to target me. I was groomed by someone much older, and far more experienced (he had been an acting police officer for 10 years) and I was manipulated into having a sexual relationship with him.  I didn’t even know his real name…

‘my life as I knew it was a lie. One of the people that I trusted most never existed.  I can’t look back at those times in the same way now. I can’t trust my judgement, because I got things so wrong. I am now beginning to look at people I know differently. I can’t even feel that I’m being paranoid, because it’s justified.’

In March this year, Coles was the opening speaker at the annual conference of Link to Change, an organisation supporting young people facing sexual exploitation. He is Chair of Families First Peterborough, a community interest company working with disturbed and vulnerable children in danger of being excluded from school. He is a governor of two Peterborough schools, West Town Primary Academy and The Voyager Academy. Until last year, he was served on Peterborough’s council cabinet as a Lead Member with responsibility for Children’s Services.

There is no suggestion of anything untoward in Coles’ particular focus on groups concerning young people, but it is surely intolerable for a man who groomed a teenager for sexual exploitation to hold such positions.

Coles’ boss at the SDS was Bob Lambert, who had himself been undercover in the same campaiging groups, also having a number of sexual partners among those he spied on. Lambert was awarded an MBE for services to policing when he retired in June 2008. Coles had received the Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal three months earlier, for 20 years’ service in which ‘the officer’s character has been very good’. That both men retain their awards having committed human rights violations and abuses of police power is an insult to those they abused and to decency itself.

Lambert resigned from his policing-oriented academic posts after the truth came to light. Coles’ position as arbiter of policing in Cambridgeshire, and in a variety of civic functions that require integrity, is equally untenable.

HE SAW IT COMING BUT STILL HE HID

Since undercover officer Mark Kennedy hit the headlines in 2011, every spycop must have been wondering if they will be the one who is exposed next. Coles’ cover name was published more than three years ago, presumably something he’s been aware of. Yet he did not come forward to apologise to the campaigns he undermined nor to those whose trust he abused or the women he violated. He hoped he would get away with it.

Even now, in the full glare of publicity, he refuses to even speak, let alone try to atone. Instead, he has locked his Twitter accounts – even the public servant ones as a councillor and Deputy Police Commissioner.

Once again, we see that the depravity and arrogance of spycops was not something in the distant past. The same things that took them undercover – a sense of superiority, a cavalier disregard for the welfare of the citizens they abuse – remain integral to their character today.

But the truth is out and we know who Andy Coles is. An unrepentant part of one of the darkest episodes in Metropolitan Police history, he has no place in positions that deal with the vulnerable, nor roles that require integrity and transparency. He must come clean. He must resign.


UPDATE 15 May 2017: Coles has resigned as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner. He has been referred to the Independent Police Comapints Commission. He still has two school governorships, roles in organisations for young people and a seat on Peterborough City Council.

Official: Simon Wellings was a Spycop

Simon Wellings, Special Demonstration Squad officer

Simon Wellings, Special Demonstration Squad officer

Simon Wellings was an undercover police officer in the Special Demonstration Squad, the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing confirmed today.

It comes as the latest in a flurry of admissions of spycops’ identities in recent weeks. However, it still leaves the majority of the 17 known officers unconfirmed.

They still ‘neither confirm nor deny’ Mark Jenner was in Britain’s political secret police, even though his profile, including photo and real name, have been in the mainstream media for years and the Met have paid damages for his abuses.

PHONE A FRIEND

Simon Wellings infiltrated anti-capitalist group Globalise Resistance from 2001-2005. In a farcical moment that rivals his colleague Carlo Neri instinctively standing for God Save The Queen, Wellings accidentally rang one of his target activists whilst he was in a police meeting.

It went to voicemail and so he was recorded being shown photos of protesters and identifying them. He could be heard giving personal details that were nothing to do with politics such as

‘She’s Hanna’s girlfriend – very overt lesbian – last time I saw her, hair about that long, it was blonde, week before it was black.’

Wellings even took his spying to Glastonbury Festival, as Mark Kennedy would later repeatedly do. One of the people he targeted there was Globalise Resistance’s Guy Taylor who was astonished to find out the truth, saying

‘If they need to know the plans and schemes of anti-capitalists, the worst place to look is Glastonbury as we were rarely in a fit state to plan the downfall of a parish council, let alone the world financial system.’

Though it sounds far removed from the horrific psychological and sexual abuse spycops inflicted on citizens, it’s yet another of the ways in which the spycops went much further than anyone could justify, a result of their impunity and unaccountability.

TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW

Whilst the ending of state stonewalling is a minor relief, there is nothing welcome in today’s announcement. It merely admits something that was all over the mainstream media six years ago. They are telling us what everyone already knows because the people who were spied on discovered it.

If the Inquiry is to be worth anything it must release the cover names of all the officers from the spycops units, and the names of the groups that were targeted too. Only then can people realise they were spied on and come forward with the truth of what happened.

All the horrors we’ve heard of come from around 10% of the officers, the ones who have, by chance, been unmasked. We can be sure the 100+ others worked in similarly abusive and counter-democratic ways. We need the whole truth.