Gone native. Is PC Mark Kennedy Britain's Patty Hearst?
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Jan 16 00:50:57 GMT 2011
Film of Patty Hearst's 1974 adventure is here -
Symbionese Liberation Army (S.L.A.), and their
constant, paramilitary audio messages dominated
headlines globally. Using a treasure trove of
archival footage, audio material and an exclusive
interview with S.L.A. founder Russ Little, the
film follows the bizarre saga from the
establishment of the S.L.A., through the
kidnapping, Hearst's conversion to her captors'
cause, and the bank robberies and shootouts that followed.
Guerrilla: The Taking Of Patty Hearst
Hatchet job on our founding father George Monbiot
from James Delingpole at the Sark tyrants (Barclay Twins') Telegraph.
I trust George will put him straight.
But the big news of the week, discussed here www.thisweek.org.uk
Climategate: George Monbiot, the Guardian and Big Oil
I am fear for my life: Undercover policeman tells
amazing story of eight years with eco-warriors
By Caroline Graham - Daily Mail 15th January 2011
Unmasked as spy by beautiful Welsh redhead girlfriend
Savagely beaten by five of his own police colleagues
Intelligence he gathered sent directly to PM Tony Blair
The undercover policeman who posed as an
eco-warrior for eight years came out of hiding to
tell his full, extraordinary story and reveal that he fears for his life.
Mark Kennedy, 41, denies going native and
triggering the collapse of the trial of six
environmental activists accused of trying to shut
down one of Britains biggest power stations.
Describing a life lived constantly on the edge,
he claims his former police bosses are searching
for him in America, where he fled last year.
He has received death threats from activists and sleeps in a barricaded room.
I am in fear for my life and dont know where to
turn, he says. Mr Kennedy refutes suggestions
that he crossed the line, became an agent
provocateur and played a central role in
organising the very protests police wanted him to sabotage.
My superiors knew where I was at all times my
BlackBerry was fitted with a tracking device
and they sanctioned every move I made. I didnt
sneeze without them knowing about it. I feel Ive been hung out to dry.
Speaking from a safe house, the former police
officer tells how he led an astonishing double
life as committed green anarchist Mark Stone
before being ultimately let down by his handlers.
In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday he reveals that:
He was unmasked as a spy after his beautiful
redhead girlfriend of five years found his real passport.
Five policemen unaware of his undercover role
savagely beat him up at a protest.
Intelligence he gathered was passed directly to
Tony Blair, then Prime Minister.
Campaigners subjected him to a terrifying
kangaroo court ordeal when his cover was blown.
He was incompetently handled by officers and
was denied psychological counselling.
Mr Kennedy is estranged from his wife, with whom
he has two children, a boy of 12 and a ten-year-old girl.
My son has been crying and says he never wants to see me again, he says.
'A living nightmare': Mark Kennedy says both
police and eco-activists are out to get him
The officer was recruited in 2002 by the Mets
National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
After his exposure last week, the secretive unit
faced accusations that it ran undemocratic
operations. It has been urged to reveal the
extent of its covert surveillance of peaceful protesters.
Mr Kennedy says he knows of at least 15 other
officers who infiltrated the ranks of green
campaigners in the past decade and of four who remain undercover.
He infiltrated and became a key member of the
hardline group behind the alleged plot to shut
down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire in 2009.
When defence barristers submitted a disclosure
request asking for information about his
involvement, the prosecution apparently opted to
abandon the case rather than have murky
evidence about the polices involvement heard in public.
But Mr Kennedy says the case was doomed to fail
anyway because covert recordings he supplied
police proved undeniably that the six men facing
trial last week for conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass were innocent.
Police withheld the recordings which, it was
claimed yesterday, was the real reason the case collapsed.
Mr Kennedys case is now the subject of an
investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Ive always respected the police. But the world
of undercover policing is grey and murky. There
is some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff...
I've always respected the police. But the world
of undercover policing is grey and murky. There
is some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff...
By CAROLINE GRAHAM
In an astonishing and revealing interview, Mark
Kennedy today presents a very different image of
the murky world of undercover policing to the one
splashed across the media all week.
As Mark Stone, a long-haired drop-out
mountaineer, nicknamed Flash because of his
access to ready cash, he attended scores of
environmental protests in the UK and Europe.
But the man who sits before me is unrecognisable.
His once lanky hair has been shorn into a neat
short-back-and-sides. His grungy eco-warrior
outfit of torn jeans and grubby T-shirt has been
replaced by neatly pressed trousers, starched
shirt and designer sweater. His full arm tattoos
are covered by long sleeves. The only reminders
of his former life are the piercings in his ears.
Hurt: Showing the injuries caused by uniformed
officers at the 2006 Drax protest
He is on the run, he says, from both his former
police bosses and from activists who have made
death threats against him. But he has also been
swamped with offers for book and movie rights to his life story.
Speaking for the first time about what he calls my living nightmare, he says:
I cant sleep. I have lost weight and am
constantly on edge. I barricade the door with
chairs at night. I am in genuine fear for my
life. I have been told that my former bosses from
the force are out here in America looking for me.
I have been told by activists to watch my back as people are out to get me.
I have chosen to speak out because I want my
story out there. People like to think of things
in terms of black and white. But the world of
undercover policing is grey and murky. There is
some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff.
He says he is horrified by accusations that he
crossed the line, goading activists into
actions they would not normally have considered.
I had a cover officer whom I spoke to numerous times a day, he says.
He was the first person I spoke to in the
morning and the last person I spoke to at night.
I didnt sneeze without a superior officer
knowing about it. My BlackBerry had a tracking
device. My cover officer joked that he knew when I went to the loo.
He is also furious at what he calls a smear
campaign that he bedded a string of vulnerable women to extract information.
He said angrily: I had two relationships while I
was undercover, one of which was serious. I am
the first one to hold up my hands and say, yes, that was wrong.
I crossed the line. I fell deeply in love with
the second woman. I was embedded into a group of
people for nearly a decade. They became my
friends. They supported me and they loved me. All
I can do now is tell the truth. I dont think the
police are the good guys and the activists are
bad or vice versa. Both sides did good things and
bad things. I am speaking out as I hope the
police can learn from the mistakes they made.
I was at the heart of a very sensitive
operation. I was told my work was the benchmark
for other undercover officers. My superior
officer told me on more than one occasion,
particularly during the G8 protests in Scotland
in 2005, that information I was providing was
going directly to Tony Blairs desk.
'I loved this lady, I really did. Then she found
my other passport, with my real name in it':
Undercover policeman reveals how his cover was blown
He admits he has had a total transformation since his undercover days.
I am physically and mentally exhausted, he
says. I have had some dark thoughts. I thought I could end this very quickly.
I went to see a psychiatrist recently and told
her I was having thoughts of suicide. I dont
have any confidence. My world has been destroyed.
I dont have any friends, they were all in the activist movement.
Kennedy was born and raised in Orpington, Kent,
the eldest son of traffic police officer John and
housewife Sheila. His younger brother Ian is a landscape artist in America.
He left school at 16, worked as a court usher and
joined the City of London Police in 1990, aged 21.
I always respected the police, he says. Ive
given my life to them. I never imagined I would end up in this situation.
As he speaks, over a period of several hours, it
is abundantly clear he is a police officer. He
talks in a clipped, concise manner. He gives
details in a monotone voice. He often uses police-speak and acronyms.
In the early Nineties he was a uniformed member
of the Ring of Steel around the City of London.
He transferred to the Metropolitan Police and in
1996 was recruited to his first undercover course on street-level drug dealing.
I was a natural at undercover work and I loved it, he says.
Drug work was black and white. You identify the
bad guys, record and film the evidence, present
it in court and take them down. I did that for four years and loved it.
Birthday bash: Mark Kennedy/Mark Stone on stage at his '69ers party'
Kennedy married in 1994 and had two children, a
boy, now aged 12, and a daughter, ten. His wife
lives in Ireland and is a staunch Catholic and
for that reason they have not divorced.
He says his children are heartbroken by the
current turn of events: My son has been crying
and says he never wants to see me again, he says sadly.
His marriage failed in 2000, around the same time
as he was approached by the Animal Rights
National Index, a unit which became the National
Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), a shadowy
body that runs a nationwide intelligence database of political activists.
The unit comes under the control of the
Association of Chief Police Officers which, as
The Mail on Sunday has previously reported, is a
limited company that sells information from the
Police National Computer, among other concerns.
Kennedy says his cover officer would report back
up a line of command who were aware of
everything I was doing. Every action I took had
to receive something called an authority which
covered me to infiltrate activist groups and be
involved in minor crime such as trespass and
criminal damage. In all the time I worked undercover I never broke the law.
Kennedy says: The NPOIU is extremely specialised
and intense. It is difficult work. To infiltrate
a group like the activists is hard, even though
they are sociable and friendly at the lower
level. I had to create a whole life, a whole
backstory, and maintain credibility for years.
Kennedy says he knew of 15 other operatives doing
the same work as him during his eight years undercover.
Some got busted, others left, he says. I was
the longest-serving operative. At the time I left
in 2009, there were at least four other
operatives. I never did anything to jeopardise
the work or lives of my fellow officers and I will not start now.
Kennedy created what is known in the trade as a
legend a believable backstory.
I was an avid rock climber and I had been to
Pakistan so I created a story about being
involved in the importation of drugs, he says.
I knew the London drug scene well so I purported
to be a courier. That is how I justified having money.
I said Id led a bad life and wanted to make
amends, which was why I was drawn to
eco-activism. I was also a keen climber, so I
often worked as an industrial climber, which
meant I had a means of showing I was making
money, rather than the truth which was that the NPOIU would wire it to me.
I was given a fake passport as Mark Stone, a
drivers licence, bank accounts, a credit card
and a phone with a tracking device.
His £50,000 annual police salary was paid into a
private account in his real name. All other
payments, which he says came to £200,000 a year,
went into his Mark Stone account. He says since
dropping his cover I have found it hard to sign my own name on cheques again.
Mark Kennedy says he knew of 15 other operatives
doing the same work as him during the eight years undercover
He was sent to Nottingham to the Sumac Centre, a
hub of activists: I started slowly and made
friends. Then I went to my first gathering of the
Earth First group where I met an activist called Mark Barnsley.
'Our friendship blossomed and he treated me like
a brother. He is a cantankerous figure but was
well respected for his anarchist and vegan
principles and the fact that he had fought with the PLO.
I was one of the few people who had a van, which
made me a real asset. Things we take for granted
in the real world are rare in the activist world.
In those days very few of them had a mobile
phone. Even now not many drive. Thats how the
Flash nickname came about. I had stuff.
Kennedy was involved in numerous activities,
ranging from protests at the Drax power station
in Yorkshire to picketing arms fairs in London
and the Karahnjukar Dam in Iceland. His climbing
skills were used to scale towers and buildings to
unfurl banners. He drove hundreds of activists to demonstrations.
I began to live the life and enjoy it, he says
frankly. People have this image of hairy tree
huggers and, yes, there is an element of that. I
used to joke about them not just being vegans,
but freegans. I was with people who would dive
into skips to get food if it was free. But there
are also a lot of educated, passionate people
with degrees who really believe in what they are doing.
I ask if the line between the activism and his
police work ever became blurred: As the years
went on, I did get a sort of Stockholm Syndrome,
(where kidnap victims fall for their abductors).
But I never lost sight of my work. I texted and
informed on a daily basis. But I began to like
the people I was with. I formed lasting friendships.
I had no other friends. I was estranged from my
wife. My life was undercover. Of course I cared
about them. But I didnt go rogue. I was
immersing myself in the culture to do my job, to be credible.
I reported everything. There were many instances
of shoplifting. I was offered counterfeit money.
I was offered drugs many, many times. Yes, I had
a serious relationship but there was another
undercover female operative there who definitely knew about it.
'If anyone had asked, I would have told them. But
no one asked. That is the problem about this
whole undercover police operation. There seem to
be no guidelines, no rules. I was pretty much left to fend for myself.
I got great information to keep police a step
ahead of the game. I also prevented violence. At
a G8 protest in Germany the riot cops were
planning to go in heavy, but I knew the crowd was
planning to disperse. I texted that information
in, and the charge was called off. That stopped bloodshed.
The low point of his career came in 2006 when he
was beaten up by five uniformed police officers
on the perimeter fence of the Drax power station
who were only there because he tipped them off.
A young petite woman I knew as Cathleen began to
crawl through a hole in the fence, he says.
Then I saw a uniformed police officer start to
strike her very hard on her legs and lower back with his baton.
I tried to stand between her and him. I didnt
do anything aggressive. Thats when I got jumped
on by five officers who kicked and beat me. They
had batons and pummelled my head. They punched
me. One officer repeatedly stamped on my back.
Kennedy went to hospital with a head wound,
broken finger and a prolapsed disc. His attempt
to claim for injuries incurred on duty was denied
as it would blow his cover. That p***ed me off, he says.
He says he was embraced by activists throughout
Europe who he found more militant and volatile
than in Britain. In 2008 he was invited to a
forest on the French-German border where groups
from around Europe would share skills.
It was almost stereotypical. The Germans made
very technical, clean and precise incendiary
devices, the French were flamboyant and used
Gauloises cigarettes to light the fuse and the
Greeks were all for a big bang: they strapped a
gas canister to a basic incendiary device.
When it was my turn I shared details of arm
tubes when protestors clip their arms into
steel tubes to create a barrier. I think the
others were a bit disappointed but British
activism didnt have the militancy or violence of other countries.
Kennedy says he would travel abroad with fellow
activists, and feed information back to his
British superiors to share with other nations.
Activism has no borders, he says. I would
never go abroad without authority from my superiors and the local police.
But Kennedy claims there were repeated cases of police mismanagement.
I was supposed to get psychological counselling every three months, he said.
I would go two years without seeing the shrink.
Initially meetings were regular. Then it became a
farce. The office was so greedy for intelligence
that they didnt set up the meetings. They went
by the wayside. Im sure thats the same for other undercover officers too.
He adds: Plans were constantly changed at the
last minute. It wore on my nerves. They just
assumed I could change everything on the whim of
the officer in control. It wasnt that easy.
I became increasingly paranoid. I was stressed
out. I was fried. I never stopped being a cop,
but I was pushed to the limit of what I could endure.
Kennedy says his cover was blown when a meeting
planning action at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power
station in Nottinghamshire was raided in April 2009.
When it all kicked off, 114 people were
arrested, including me. No further action was
taken against most of them, but 27 people,
including me, were to be charged with conspiracy
offences. I kept being told by my cover officer,
Dont worry, they are going to drop it, but they never did.
Meanwhile, Kennedy continued to work undercover,
including the climate camp in London in the
summer of 2009, but the Ratcliffe-on-Soar arrest was still hanging over him.
I was interviewed twice by detectives, he says.
The second time, I was the only one without a
solicitor, which was hugely weird.
You cant lie to a lawyer. So I couldnt have a
lawyer. I was a few days from being charged, then
the case was dropped. That pretty much blew my cover.
He says he was told his eight-year undercover
operation was over in a curt text message in September 2009.
Id just had a huge 40th birthday party for me
and ten others born in 1969 called the 69ers
party at a farm in Herefordshire. I was told, At
least you had a great party and now its over.
Then the text came telling me I had three weeks.
I had to clear out of the house where I was
living in Nottingham. I was made to hand over my
Mark Stone passport, driving licence and credit
cards. I was then driven to Ireland.
I didnt say goodbye properly. Id told the
activists I was feeling burned out and was going
to visit my brother in America indefinitely. It
was ridiculous, everyone knows you cant just go to America like that.
I was given a mailing address in the US which
was a PO Box. I had Facebook accounts and email
accounts but wasnt allowed to use those. I had
lots of leave to take, which I spent with my children in Ireland.
I had an interview with the Mets personnel
department in December 2009 and was told I wasnt qualified.
I was in there less than 20 minutes. I came out
hugely depressed. Id done 20 years service and
they were basically telling me I was only
qualified to drive a panda car. So long
undercover had left me totally inequipped to go
back into mainstream policing. I couldnt even use the radios or computers.
Then in January last year I was approached by a
private company which advises corporations about
activist trends. Its run by Rod Leeming, a
former Special Branch officer. Id never met him before.
The company, Global Open, is based in London and
has advised major corporations including E.On
which runs the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant and BAE.
Kennedy handed in his resignation from the police
in January, ending work in March.
He then went back to Nottingham and contacted his
old friends: People were worried about me. I
wanted to withdraw myself in a more believable
way. I didnt tell police I was going back.
He resumed his relationship with his girlfriend
while he worked for Global Open as a consultant
although he says he did not operate undercover for the company.
I was using the time to try to extract myself in a proper way, he says.
I did a course on servicing wind turbines. I
made the excuse that I was going to go off around
the world doing that. That would have been a far
more acceptable exit than just vanishing.
In July he and his girlfriend went on holiday to
Europe when she discovered his passport in the
name of Mark Kennedy. She told the other
activists about it and they started investigating me.
When I went to visit my kids in October I got a
menacing phone call saying they knew I was a cop.
I knew then that it was over.
My taped evidence was suppressed
By CAROLINE GRAHAM
Tape recordings allegedly suppressed by the
police would have destroyed the prosecutions
case against six activists accused of trying to
shut down one of Britains biggest power stations, Mark Kennedy believes.
The Crown Prosecution Service said last week it
was abandoning the £1 million prosecution against
the environmental activists after fresh information had been made available.
It subsequently emerged that the Independent
Police Complaints Commission is investigating
allegations that Nottinghamshire Police failed to
disclose all its evidence to the CPS including,
it is claimed, several tape recordings.
Now Mr Kennedy has told The Mail on Sunday that
he was the officer who made the recordings.
And he says the tapes throw considerable doubt on
whether the activists accused of attempting to
close Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal station, in
Nottinghamshire, should have been charged with
conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.
Mr Kennedy said: The truth of the matter is that
the tapes clearly show that the six defendants
who were due to go on trial had not joined any conspiracy.
The tapes I made meant that the police couldnt
prove their case. I have no idea why the police with held these tapes.
On April 12 and 13 last year, Mr Kennedy says he
attended two meetings, with 114 other protesters,
at Iona School in Nottingham, to discuss shutting down the power plant.
Mr Kennedy said that before these meetings he was
instructed to wear a recording device, the first
time he had been ordered to do so by his
handlers. Twenty activists were subsequently
arrested at the school and found guilty of
conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at a trial in December.
Six others were to go on trial this week on the
same charges, until the case was dropped.
However Mr Kennedy believes that his recordings
prove that the activists should not have been charged.
The charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated
trespass, according to a senior barrister,
requires an agreement among all those charged
with the conspiracy to break in to the coal station.
Criminal barrister Michael Wolkind QC said: It
is straightforward. There has to be evidence of agreement.
But Mr Kennedy, who subsequently flirted with
providing assistance to the activists defence
team, said there was no agreement and his recordings prove it.
The meetings were over two days and I recorded
both days. The first recording didnt record
because the office had failed to charge the battery on the device.
The second day, the battery was charged and I
recorded Spencer Cook, one of the defendants who
was convicted in the first trial last December,
holding a briefing in front of 114 people detailing what the action was about.
It was to shut down the power station in a safe way.
During that briefing Spencer was very clear that
this was a volunteer-only operation and it was
down to the individual to decide what role they
wanted to play. There was no pressure on anybody
to take part in anything they didnt want to do.
I just assumed that the police would naturally
put my tapes into evidence. Clearly I was wrong.
Mike Schwarz, the lawyer representing the
activists involved, said Mr Kennedys evidence
cast doubt on the legality of the whole police operation.
He said: What Kennedy says now and what he
confirmed to his handlers at the time casts
serious doubt on the safety of the conviction of
the 20 activists and the compliance of the police
with their legal obligations.
Under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations
Act of 1996, the police have a duty to make the
CPS and the defence team aware of evidence they have collected.
Mr Kennedys identity could have been protected
by the judge granting a Public Interest Immunity
order should the tapes have been heard in court.
Nottinghamshire Police declined to comment tonight.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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