Felicity Gerry was the CPS barrister who admitted that she failed to disclose evidence to the defence about Mark Kennedy alias Stone. The Mark Kennedy the undercover police officer who's conscience finally made him tell the truth and not support Felicity Gerry in her effort to jail the innocent environmental activists.
Interestingly Felicity Gerry is the same the CPS used to set-up child abuse whistle blower Andrea Davison. Do the CPS have a group of corrupt barristers they use for sensitive set-ups who they can rely on to mislead the court
Mark Kennedy: Undercover Police Infiltrating ActivistsI watched this story tonight about Mark Kennedy an undercover policeman known under the alias of Mark Stone who infiltrated activist groups across the UK and Europe. He spoke of his double life with a wife and children and a girlfriend for 4 years who he stated he loved. He regarded the activists around him as close friends yet was able to continue as a undercover policeman living a life of deception by relaying intelligence and participating in planning of illegal activities and legal protests for 7 years. He indicated on one protest he had been apprehended by police and beaten up and then taken for interrogation. As an officer he was unable to speak. He mentioned that he was ashamed to be a policeman when he experienced the violence. He indicated what weighed on his conscience was the fact that activists were ordinary people from all walks of life who were protesting with a social justice conscience. He struggled with his duty as a policeman who was not infiltrating criminal organisations but civil groups wanting to stop activities they felt were wrong.
He further explained at the end of the documentary that he felt abandoned by the police who terminated his 7 year undercover work, offered no support and in the end indicated he had no skills. He said he noticed his file was empty and the Human Resouce person was conveying he had nothing to offer. He had been a policeman for 20 years and had extensive experience infiltrating left wing activist groups across the UK and Europe. He resigned from the police. He was torn in the opposite direction suffering deep guilt over the betrayal of his friends and the loss of his girlfriend. He said that the activists would be wondering how he is when he left but the police didn’t care. He indicated later he lost his wife and children as well.
It was noted at the end of the documentary that there had been no criminal charges and real questions were raised about the reason why the police spend public money on this covert activity.
My own reflection whilst watching the documentary was why police are infiltrating activists when it is a democratic right to protest. My question would be are the public the enemy?
I’d like to reflect further on my own experience around activists. I’ve never seen myself as an activist as I never felt to express my democratic feeling in opposition. I have felt to raise awareness and find ways to develop inner peace. However as my focus was peace it was inevitable I would see and meet those in the protest and peace activist spectrum. As a result of my radio program ‘Bridges to Peace’ I interviewed activists and others into peace. I remember years ago as a clown in Canberra at an Environmental march meeting an undercover officer. He gave me a card, he was in a Federal anti-terrorism unit. He liked me and we had a good laugh, it was funny actually. I did send him a poem which apparently was passed around. I also attended rallies in my capacity of a radio person and also a clown. As a peace clown I wanted to ensure people didn’t get violent, I wished to ensure the peace so people can express in a way that is peaceful. I do recall being filmed at a rally because I held my hand up too long. I was responding to the call for truth and for some reason kept my hand up when everyone put theirs down as the speaker got side tracked. I thought at the time any minute he will start speaking but he took a while. So I stood out like a sore thumb. I remember waking up at 3am seeing the guy filming me and the fact I was seen as an activist. I remember being really amazed that peace people are treated like they are undertaking an illegal activity. I remember trying to understand what right they had to film us. I certainly didn’t give them permission as I would be falsly identified and judged. It also made me feel uncomfortable supporting causes that in fact were important.
Another interesting experience was with a few friends of mine who were organisers of the alternative G8. This was to be held at RMIT University in the centre of Melbourne. I was asked to be an MC at this event as I am a good public speaker. I hadn’t been involved in any of the groups but was aware they were trying to create an open democratic space for groups to discuss global issues. Without doubt they had concerns about a global elite engaged in globalisation and corruption which they saw as destroying not only the environment but local communities and through the World Bank and IMF creating more indebited nations thereby having the power to have debt paid back through austerity measures and forcing capitalist structures of a market economy on their societies. Indeed their concerns were markets being forced open in the increasing drive for resources and profit. They had deep concerns about the global environment, freedom of speech, the war on terror (at the time) and corporate and political fascism under the guise of democracy. They felt community empowerment was essential and that there should be social forums to ensure the public have a voice. I knew some of these activists personally and found them to be intellectuals with a social conscience. They were also brave and did know their rights. I came along for the ride gaining insights into this world. It was very interesting. I see myself as a clown so for me peace is love and joy. My style of peace didn’t really fit into this but I had an interesting experience and learned from those who felt action had to be taken.
So I turned up on the day of protests as a clown. I went and saw my friends who were negotiating with police to take a military truck into the centre of Melbourne. It was a very cute truck with a big pink love heart on its nose. Apparently when I came down as a clown (quite innocently I love everyone) I was told later it diffused the tension. Eventually my friends were given permission to take the truck down the road. I juggled next to the truck taking in the crowds on the street and marvelling at the police allowing this. I saw the police as tolerant. I then just followed my friends and they parked the truck and set up a sound system. I was asked to juggle on the truck. It was pretty high up but I didn’t drop a ball. So I wasn’t saying anything just juggling. I looked down and my only audience was a huge police cordon in a circle around us. My friend dressed up as a dominatrix (fish net stockings and leotard) and another guy had a large head of George Bush on. She handcuffed him (pink fluffy handcuffs) and read out his war crimes. What was surreal was to see the police as the audience. She then paraded him past them like an inspection lineup. It was interesting to watch. I saw one activist taunt the police which I didn’t resonate with. I just smiled at them, my interest was to diffuse tension and lighten people up.
I found out later that day that there had been some activists who had been violent with bins I believe. They could have been agent provocateurs. These are people paid to create a disturbance. They could have been violent activists. I don’t really know the truth of that. There were questions and the other activists didn’t know them. However, the media picked up on the violence and didn’t cover the G8 issues and the fact that the majority of people were protesting peacefully and for reasons. It is a great feeling of solidarity being in a crowd of people who are protesting and celebrating as well. You really feel a sense of freedom and people power.
A day or so later we held the alternative G8, I was told to introduce speakers. I found out later that 2 people had been taken by undercover police. I was disturbed by this. I was told to announce a mobile phone number for people to ring if they were taken. Also they could have people leave with them. I found out later the persons kidnapped were taken by police who didn’t identify themselves and were in unmarked vehicles. This came back through those who were taken. I recall that the persons were taken to the police station and interrogated and then put back on the street with their pants down. I had no idea the point of this. One of them was from Lentils As Anything (food place) to our surprise. They are definitely into peace. I understand from others that it was mistaken identity. However, for myself I really wondered about why the police do this and is this about democracy or protecting the powerful. I felt this to be a central question.
Anyway as a result of this violence at the protest and the kidnapping (really) of two persons, it raised questions for me. I have a friend who is a former British policeman and consultant to police. I contacted him. I tried to think of an approach that was proactive and of service to both sides to understand the conflict better. I asked him how would the police feel about focus groups being undertaken with police and protestors. The idea here was to help both groups get to know each other, to understand social justice issues better, to gain a deeper awareness of democracy and what that means and how both can work together to ensure democratic rights are not undermined and the police are cooperated with to ensure no violence. My friend was well connected to the top of the police force and my email was sent to top people. There was no interest in developing a deeper understanding or forging a democratic approach. This I found incredible. It was a real opportunity for the police. I was not an activist, yet I knew activists, I was a researcher and could conduct the research in a way that opened clear communication channels and served both. Yet nothing happened. I found that interesting.
I remember interviewing Scott Parkin. He was an American activist who came to Australia training Australian activists in ways to hold a line (linking arms) to resist police breaking up a protest. He was part of the Sydney protest in front of Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s former company) protesting their involvement in Iraq. He was apprehended in Melbourne by immigration and intelligence officers and held without charge. Under the ASIO Act they could hold people for up to 14 days and question them for around 7 days without a lawyer present. Moreover, the issue of Habeas Corpus whereby a person arrested must be put in front of a judge and evidence examined came to my mind at the time. Scott Parkin was detained, questioned then deported for protesting. A right given to all people in both the US and Australia. As a community radio person I decided to ring him in the US to get his side of the story. I found out he was a former teacher and had real concerns for global corporate power and its negative affects on democracy, freedom of speech and exploitation of other countries etc. He felt duty bound to protest. It was very interesting to learn of his plight. Those who get deported I believe have to pay for the airfare. So they are financially burdened (punished) for standing up. I realised there were real civil liberties issues raised in respect of the suppression of dissenting voices. Yet the public are told this is a democracy. I felt protestors are seen as anti-establishment and somehow renegades or rebels that should be stopped. It seems to be an underlying perception applied to the whole protest movement. I do understand there is monkey wrenching (damaging military equipment etc) and protests inside sensitive sites or hoisting up protest banners to be heard. I see this really as a challenge for democracy and society to ensure voices are heard so illegal activities are not necessary. If there are concerns about war, corporate power and corruption in government there needs to be ways for society to vent their feelings and evoke change. There is also an underlying fear around airing of emotions, yet it is important that people express themselves. In the peace area we call this a safety valve to vent frustration otherwise violence can break out through oppression or suppression of voices.
Another insight I gleaned was in Scotland I met up with an activist friend of mine by chance. She actually yelled out to me on the London Underground asking if I was the peace clown. This was my first time on the Underground as I arrived in the UK a few days before. Is that fate? She invited me to the Climate Camp in Edinburgh. I did consider going there for the experience but I only had 2 days in Edinburgh before I flew out. She also said the police were checking, recording names and frisking everyone going into the camp. The police behaviour did put me off as I don’t want to feel like a criminal or my privacy invaded and my name put on some watch list. The environment is definitely a real issue and the strength of a democracy is hearing all voices for and against. Not just hearing I’d add but really listening. When respect for democracy is there people will be heard, that is different from lip service or being seen to be. Of course the police allow them to protest but there is a societal belief that they are somehow trouble makers and subconsciously not to rock the boat. In my view many of the public are too scared to protest. They feel safe not breaking the rules as they can’t handle the stress or being out of their comfort zone.
In all my experiences I really felt the true idea and practice of democracy was not understood or lived. Those engaged in the peace area appear to be regarded as those to be watched and controlled. The fear would be that they could develop influence or start a movement and that would challenge power. The fear is centred on maintenance of power and the status quo. Yet the notion of democracy really is about the sharing of power and representation of the people by the people (at essence). So if those in power feel challenged and act to suppress dissenting voices then is democracy real? If not, why?
So let’s turn to a policeman’s unique account of being both an activist and undercover policeman. Here is a BBC report on Mark Kennedy the undercover policeman who infiltrated environmental activists and the amazing world he revealed and the inner conflict he experienced as his conscience forced him to re-evaluate his part.
Mark Kennedy (born 7 July 1969, Camberwell, South London) (also known as Mark Stone and Flash) is a former Metropolitan Police officer who, whilst attached to the police service’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit, infiltrated many protest groups between 2003 and 2010 before he was unmasked by political activists as an undercover policeman.
The case against six activists accused of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station collapsed following the revelation of Kennedy’s activities as an undercover policeman.
Danny Chivers, who was one of the six successful defendants in the case, said Kennedy was not just an observer, but an agent provocateur. “We’re not talking about someone sitting at the back of the meeting taking notes – he was in the thick of it.”
In a taped conversation obtained by BBC Newsnight and broadcast on 10 January 2011 but made some weeks earlier, Kennedy told an activist he was “sorry” and “wanted to make amends”. Kennedy admitted he had been a serving police officer at the time of the Ratcliffe arrests, but said he was not one now. He also told the activist “I hate myself so much I betrayed so many people…I owe it to a lot of good people to do something right for a change… I’m really sorry.”
According to the Guardian, Kennedy was born in Camberwell, South London on 7 July 1969, joined the Met police around 1994 and served with them till March 2010. In February 2010, while still serving as a Police Officer, he set up Tokra Ltd, a private company at the same address as a security firm which works for the energy company E.ON, the owners of Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. Later in 2010 he set up Black Star High Access Ltd, based in east London.
On 15 January 2011 Kennedy told The Mail on Sunday that he was not a rogue cop, and was in daily contact with his bosses: “My superiors knew where He also claimed that the police withheld from the defence covert recordings which would have shown that the defendants were not guilty. On the first day of the trail Prosecuting Barrister Felicity Gerry, who had not disclosed who Mark Stone was to the defence team, invited the Judge John Milmo to return a not guilty plea.
German MP Andrej Hunko raised questions in the German Bundestag concerning what the German authorities knew about Kennedy’s activities amongst the Berlin protest movement. Kennedy had been arrested in Berlin for attempted arson, but was never brought to trial. Hunko also asked: “How does the federal government justify the fact that [Mark Kennedy], as part of his operation in Germany, did not only initiate long-term meaningful friendships but also sexual relationships, clearly under false pretenses?”. The Bundesregierung refused to answer any questions concerning PC Kennedy for operational reasons.
In a Channel 4 interview broadcast on 14 November 2011, Kennedy stated that, in the guise of an environmental activist, he was used by the police forces of 22 countries and that he was responsible for the closing down of the Youth House community centre in Copenhagen. He also stated that he was hired by German police between 2004 and 2009 and allegedly committed two crimes on their behalf, one of which was arson.
- ^ Collins, Nick (10 January 2011). “What is the National Public Order Intelligence Unit?”. The Telegraph.
- ^ Evans, Rob; Lewis, Paul (10 January 2011). “Undercover officer spied on green activists”. The Guardian: Main section, p. 1.
- ^ Lewis, Paul (11 January 2011). “Undercover officer knew of second spy”. The Guardian.
- ^Jones, Meirion (10 January 2011). “Trial collapses after undercover officer switches sides”. BBC News.
- ^“Undercover PC Mark Kennedy ‘really sorry for betrayal’”. BBC News. 11 January 2011.
- ^ Evans, Rob; Hill, Amelia; Lewis, Paul; Kingsley, Patrick (13 January 2011). “Mark Kennedy: secret policeman’s sideline as corporate spy”. The Guardian: Main section, p. 9.
- ^ Graham, Caroline (16 January 2011). “‘I’m the victim of smears’: Undercover policeman denies bedding a string of women during his eight years with eco-warriors”. The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- ^ Pidd, Helen; Lewis, Paul (11 January 2011). “Fallout reaches Bundestag as MP asks about ‘trespass’ in Berlin activists’ lives”. The Guardian.
- ^ ab Evans, Rob; Lewis, Paul (13 November 2011). “Undercover policeman admits spying on Danish activists”. The Guardian.
Additional ethical and gender issues regarding uncover police.