jun 252012
 

Former police spy provides ‘investigative services, risk and threat assessments’ for Densus Group
Mark Kennedy posed as Mark Stone, a long-haired, tattooed campaigner, and took part in many demonstrations between 2003 and 2010. Photograph: Guardian

A former police spy who infiltrated the environmental movement for seven years has been hired by a private security firm in the US to give advice on how to deal with political activists.

Mark Kennedy has become a consultant to the Densus Group, providing “investigative services, risk and threat assessments”, according to an entry on his LinkedIn profile.

He says he has given lectures to firms and government bodies drawing on his experiences “as a covert operative working within extreme left political and animal rights groups throughout the UK, Europe and the US”.

Kennedy, 42, went to live in Cleveland, Ohio, after he was unmasked by activists in late 2010. He has claimed to have developed sympathies for the activists while undercover, although many campaigners have scorned this claim.

The disclosure of his clandestine deployment has led to a series of revelations over the past 18 months about the 40-year police operation to penetrate and disrupt political groups. The convictions of one group of protesters were quashed after it was revealed that prosecutors and police had withheld key evidence – Kennedy’s covert recording of campaigners – from their trial. A second trial of activists collapsed after it emerged that Kennedy had infiltrated them.

Kennedy was one of a long line of undercover officers since 1968 sent to spy on political activists under a fake identity. He posed as Mark Stone, a long-haired, tattooed campaigner, and took part in many demonstrations between 2003 and 2010. He has admitted sleeping with activists he was spying on, even though police chiefs say this is strictly forbidden.

Even after the police ended his deployment, he continued to pretend he was a campaigner and to fraternise with activists he had known while undercover. In particular, Kennedy developed a sudden interest in animal rights campaigns, according to activists.

After he was exposed, he sold his story to the Mail on Sunday which reported that soon after he left the police he worked for Global Open, a security firm that advises corporations on how to thwart campaigners promoting animal rights and other causes. He denied this in a later interview.

A month before he left the police he set up the first of three commercial firms whose work has not been described. For the past four months he has been working for the Texas-based Densus Group, which advises firms on “countering current and developing threats” from protesters.

 

Find this story at 21 June 2012

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 June 2012 17.29 BST
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