Saturday, January 15, 2011

Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges

Jan. 15, 2011 Guardian UK

The unprecedented scale of undercover operations used by police to monitor
Britain's political protest movements was laid bare last night after a
third police spy was identified by the Guardian.

News of the existence of the 44-year-old male officer comes as regulators
prepare two separate official inquiries into the activities of this
hitherto secret police surveillance network.

The latest officer, whose identity has been withheld amid fears for his
safety in other criminal operations, worked for four years undercover with
an anarchist group in Cardiff.

Last night a former girlfriend and fellow activist said she felt
"colossally betrayed" by "Officer B". The 29-year-old, who had a
relationship with him for three months in the summer of 2008 while he was
working undercover, said: "I was doing nothing wrong, I was not breaking
the law at all. So for him to come along and lie to us and get that deep
into our lives was a colossal, colossal betrayal."

The woman, who did not want to be named, said "Officer B" arrived in
Cardiff in 2005, becoming a key member of the 20-strong Anarchist network
in the city and "one of her best friends". They had known each for three
years before their relationship and she said she did not suspect his true
identity until after he left Cardiff in October 2009, claiming he had been
offered a job as a gardener on Corfu.

According to the woman Officer B's flat was very empty, with no pictures
of friends or family and he rarely talked about his past. "He always said
he could not tell his family or friends about us because of the age
difference ... if it had been anyone else I would have thought that was
strange, but because [he] had been such a good friend for so long it
really did not enter my mind that he was anything but a stand-up honest

Before he left for Corfu he held a goodbye dinner. His former girlfriend
said she kept in touch with him for about a month via email, text message
and the occasional postcard. Then the contact dried up.

"At first friends started messaging him asking if he was all right, then
when there was no response, a few messaged him to say they were worried he
was a spy, but we never heard anything."

The woman said that the experience had rocked her confidence and made her
suspicious of other campaigners.

"I am incredibly, incredibly angry," she said. "Obviously to do that to
anybody is pretty low, but to do that to someone who trusted you and cared
about you and did their best to look after you is just unspeakable. I
cannot imagine the kind of person who would lie to someone they were
having a relationship with for that long and that seriously ... I strongly
suspect that he felt very bad about what he was doing, but that is not an

The latest developments came as the Independent Police Complaints
Commission announced it was widening its inquiry to include the
controversy surrounding PC Mark Kennedy, who was the first officer
unmasked by the Guardian and who also had sexual relations while

It is understood a second inquiry is to be launched by Her Majesty's Chief
Inspectorate of Constabulary on Monday into whether the undercover
surveillance was disproportionate.

Last night it was reported that the trial of six campaigners accused of
trying to shutdown a power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar collapsed because
police had withheld secret recordings featuring Kennedy and the activists.

The Times said the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned the trial when it
was informed that Nottinghamshire police had suppressed tapes that
"fatally undermined the case against the protesters".

More details on the scale of Kennedy's key role in protest movements
across Europe emerged yesterday, with allegations that he acted as an
agent provocateur in Ireland, Germany and Iceland. It was also revealed
that the second undercover agent – "Officer A" – was arrested for glueing
herself to the Department for Transport during a protest against
Heathrow's expansion in February 2008.

In a twist that will further unnerve senior police officers, it emerged
that Kennedy has asked the public relations agent Max Clifford to sell his

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