Who will police the police?

It’s not just the well-reported antics of Mark Kennedy that call in question the activities of undercover policing against political and protest groups. It’s the almost total lack of accountability about the clandestine operations of police spies over the last 40 years. The HMIC report on this episode draws attention to Kennedy’s failure to “follow codes of practice for undercover officers” or to report his sexual activities with those he was targeting, but fails to call attention to the much more serious charge that his handlers or the CPS, or both, deliberately ignored evidence that Kennedy had provided, in order to secure the false conviction of 100 protestors at a power station in Nottinghamshire. Continue reading

The British (Tory) Establishment opts for secrecy & repression, again

The news about the police is unremittingly oppressive.

Firstly, for the first time ever in crowd control they used a taser at the Dale Farm evictions, amid sickening scenes of unnecessary violence.

Secondly, we now discover that senior police officers authorised undercover officers to conceal from the courts their real identities when giving evidence under oath while being prosecuted for offences committed during their secret deployment. Continue reading

Accountability breakdown: they keep getting away with it

Four breakdowns in the last three days all point to the same central flaw which is now endemic in British society.   Public order policing is out of control and clearly would have remained so for many years had not the undercover police spy Mark Kennedy gone native.    Phone hacking of public figures we also now see has been clearly out of control at the News of the World and its existence was covered up again and again by Murdoch’s News International, apparently also with the connivance of the police.   Blair at his second appearance before Chilcot puts on full display his Manichaean view of the world as a struggle between good (the West) and evil (militant Islam), and his determination to let neither the views of his Attorney General his Cabinet, Parliament, or public opinion get in the way of implementing his own views and his total adherence to Bush.   And Lansley’s NHS ‘reforms’, unmentioned either in the Tory manifesto or in the coalition agreement, boun ced even his immediate colleagues.   These all have one fatal link. Continue reading

Why are police spying on greens at all, given levels of big business crime?

There are many other disturbing issues about PC Mark Kennedy’s 10-year under-cover rampage against environmental activists than whether he slept with a number of female participants to gain information. Perhaps the most obvious one, which seems to have gone unremarked on so far, is how it is justified for the police, given the pressure on resources and the public’s persisting anxieties about property crime and personal security, to go to such expensive and risky lengths to infiltrate under-cover officers (Kennedy says there were several) into organisations that offered no threat to national security and were protesting about very genuine matters of public interest. Who decided this order of priorities? Does it reflect the public’s concerns or the interests of major business groups? Continue reading

Police spies – a cautionary tale

The tale of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy and the environmental protest group is usually the stuff of kitsch action films. Indeed, according to reports there is a possibility it will become one. A sad and indicative comment on capitalism as a social system that real-life betrayal and grief is an ideal candidate for instant commodification.  Fantastical and tragic though the tale is the fact is it also serves as a harsh warning to the new emerging movements that the lengths the state will go too against its opponents are not restricted by living in a ‘democracy’. Queensbury Rules and cucumber sandwiches this is not. Opposing the government of the day, and in many instances the very foundations of our social system, is deadly serious and the state will do everything it deems necessary to protect itself. Continue reading