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  • Police tried to spy on Cambridge students, secret footage shows

    Officer is filmed attempting to persuade activist in his 20s to become informant targeting ‘student-union type stuff’

    Police sought to launch a secret operation to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University, a covertly recorded film reveals.

    An officer monitoring political campaigners attempted to persuade an activist in his 20s to become an informant and feed him information about students and other protesters in return for money.

    But instead the activist wore a hidden camera to record a meeting with the officer and expose the surveillance of undergraduates and others at the 800-year-old institution.

    The officer, who is part of a covert unit, is filmed saying the police need informants like him to collect information about student protests as it is “impossible” to infiltrate their own officers into the university.

    The Guardian is not disclosing the name of the Cambridgeshire officer and will call him Peter Smith. He asks the man who he is trying to recruit to target “student-union type stuff” and says that would be of interest because “the things they discuss can have an impact on community issues”.

    Smith wanted the activist to name students who were going on protests, list the vehicles they travelled in to demonstrations, and identify leaders of protests. He also asked the activist to search Facebook for the latest information about protests that were being planned.

    The other proposed targets of the surveillance include UK Uncut, the campaign against tax avoidance and government cuts, Unite Against Fascism and environmentalists. The Cambridgeshire police initially insisted that there were implications for “national security” but later dropped this argument when challenged.

    At another point, the activist asked whether a group known as Cambridge Defend Education, which has protested against tuition fees and education cuts, would be of interest. Smith replied: “That’s the sort of thing that we would be looking for. Again, basic sort of stuff. It’s all the internet. When they have meetings and they are discussing what they are going to do, that’s when we’ll say: ‘Will you go along?'”

    Cambridge Defend Education describes itself as being “mostly students and academics from Cambridge University”.

    Rachel Wenstone, deputy president of the National Union of Students, said: “This is yet another example of the questionable tactics that undercover police officers have taken in recent years to infiltrate campaign groups and extract information.”

    Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, tweeted: “I’m shocked by this – seems wholly inappropriate.” Cambridge University did not comment, saying it was a matter for the police.

    Cambridgeshire police said: “Officers use covert tactics to gather intelligence, in accordance with the law, to assist in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.”

    The disclosures follow prolonged criticism of the police over their secret deployment of long-term undercover officers in political groups since 1968. Police chiefs have been accused of unjustifiably infiltrating and disrupting political groups that use non-violent methods to promote their aims.

    Another technique for gathering intelligence on campaigners has been to convince activists to become paid informants and pass on details of future protests and prominent campaigners. The number of informants in political groups, according to police sources, runs into the hundreds.

    The covert film sheds light on the rarely visible world of informants, illuminating how the police recruit and task them. The activist, who does not want to be named and has been given the pseudonym John Armstrong, was rung on his mobile out of blue at the beginning of October by the police officer.

    Smith said he worked for the police and asked him if he was willing to come to a police station in Cambridge to help him with a matter that he did not disclose.

    According to Armstrong, Smith had chosen him because he had been active in environmental and anti-nuclear groups and had been arrested three times on demonstrations, although not charged. He has also lived in Cambridge for many years.

    Afterwards, Armstrong contacted the Guardian as he did not want to become an informant. He agreed to wear a concealed camera to record the contents of his second meeting with Smith.

    During this meeting, Smith suggested that he wanted Armstrong to start by providing information about local groups in Cambridge, before progressing on to national campaigns.

    “Let’s keep it small, you know little things that go on, little meetings that happen where they are going to discuss different issues in Cambridge, whether it be, such as at the university or those sorts of things,” the officer is recorded as saying. When Armstrong said he had been involved in a student-organised occupation of Cambridge University in a protest against tuition fees three years ago and asked if Smith would have been interested in that, Smith said yes. “Again, it’s those sorts of things. You know, what is the feeling of people, if you are inside.”

    The young man then asked if it would have been difficult for the police to send their own officers into the occupation, to which Smith replied: “We can’t do it. It’s impossible. That’s why we need to work with people.” Armstrong has not been a student at Cambridge, although many of his friends are at the university.

    When contacted by the Guardian, a Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said: “Officers use covert tactics to gather intelligence, in accordance with the law, to assist in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.” They declined to give any details of the unit Smith works for.

    Smith outlined what information Armstrong would be required to slip him. “It will be a case of you going to meetings, say, I don’t know, UK Uncut, student … something like that, how many people were there, who was the main speaker, who was giving the talks, what was your assessment of the talk, was it a case of – were they trying to cause problems or were they trying to help people, you know, those sort of things.”

    Smith also said he wanted Armstrong to collect information about Cambridge campaigners who were planning to go to protests in other parts of the country. “That’s where the names come in. Because what I will want to know is – OK, who’s going, do they plan on a peaceful protest which is absolutely fine, how they are going to go, as in what vehicles they are going to use, index numbers.”

    He goes on to say: “So you will tell me, for example, there’s 50 people going from Cambridge University, these are the vehicles they are travelling in and they are going as a peaceful protest?”

    Smith outlined how the information gathered by Armstrong would be funnelled to the police officers in charge of policing the demonstration: “The reason I am asking those questions is because it gives the officers or whoever’s looking after it on that side of things, as in at the protest, an idea of how many people are going to attend, where they are coming from, how many vehicles are going to turn up, so they can put measures in place to keep them off the road and things. It’s not because we want to target people and round them all up and arrest them.”

    Smith also suggested that Armstrong use Facebook to find information about groups, adding: “It is easier to ask people like yourself to give us updates … It’s all about us doing things legally … We don’t hack into people’s accounts so then we would ask you for updates.”

    The officer also suggested the man he hoped to recruit would be paid expenses or other sums. “You might go to a UK Uncut or Unite Against Fascism meeting one evening, you might get say £30 just for your time and effort for doing that. That’s the sort of thing you are looking at.”

    As Smith sought to convince Armstrong to sign up, he also advised him not to “think too deeply” about informing on his fellow campaigners as he might “tie himself up in knots”.

    Rob Evans and Mustafa Khalili
    The Guardian, Thursday 14 November 2013 13.42 GMT

    Find this story at 14 November 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Five police forces investigated over alleged Stephen Lawrence smear campaign; Police fractured my arm, says ‘smear victim’

    The investigation into alleged police attempts to smear the Stephen Lawrence campaign and undermine the credibility of witnesses attending the Macpherson inquiry into the black teenager’s racist murder is focusing on the activities of five forces, The Independent has learnt.

    Investigators are understood to be waiting for senior officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary and West Midlands Police to complete urgent trawls of their records in relation to possible surveillance or intelligence gathering operations carried out in Bristol and Birmingham.

    The cities, alongside Bradford and Manchester, hosted regional sittings of the Macpherson Inquiry in 1998 where race relations campaigners aired a string of grievances against their local forces over stop and search and other flashpoint issues.

    The former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, who is already at the centre of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry into an alleged cover-up in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, was referred to the watchdog this week by Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

    It followed revelations that leading anti-racism campaigner Mohammed Amran was the subject of a potentially damaging special branch report prior to his giving evidence to the inquiry in Bradford. A number of junior officers from West Yorkshire are also being investigated by the IPCC after being referred by the present Chief Constable.

    Greater Manchester Police has also been referred over an internal memo suggesting intelligence was gathered on individuals or groups attending the inquiry in the city.

    The cases are likely to be reviewed by Mark Ellison QC – who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen’s murder in 2012 – as part of an investigation into the Metropolitan Police following claims of a smear campaign against the teenager’s family and friends made by a former undercover officer.

    The inquiry will need to uncover whether the regional forces were acting on behalf of the Met, which was embroiled in one of the biggest crises in its history following the repeated failings to investigate the student’s 1993 murder. It was eventually found to be “institutionally racist” by Macpherson.

    West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones met Chief Constable Chris Sims on Monday to discuss the issue. In a statement the force confirmed it was examining material to see whether any potentially inappropriate intelligence or surveillance activity had taken place.

    A team of officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary have now begun a second trawl of documents after the Home Secretary Theresa May ordered forces nationwide to search their records. A first hunt carried out by an assistant chief constable was said to have discovered no incriminating material. Forces have until next Wednesday to report their findings to Ms May.

    Mr Amran, 37, who became the youngest ever Commissioner for Racial Equality (CRE) following his role as a peacemaker in the 1995 Bradford riots, has been told he will not know for at least two weeks what evidence was gathered against him although it is not believed he was placed under surveillance.

    His lawyer, Ruth Bundey, said: “He is someone who has helped and advised the authorities in the past and it is very disconcerting for him not to know what is involved here – other than to have been told that it is ‘alarming.’”

    It is unclear whether evidence allegedly gathered about Mr Amran resurfaced in a further dossier put together by West Yorkshire Police as part of its alleged attempt to prevent him being re-elected by the CRE. The dossier led Ms Bundey to pursue a successful case of racial discrimination against the force, who settled out of court in 2002.

    Mr Amran told The Independent that he was repeatedly arrested after publicly questioning the policing of in Bradford’s multi-racial community.

    Despite widespread concern over policing and community relations leading up to the 1995 riots, more disturbances took place in the city in the summer of 2001.

    “I challenged the police openly after the 1995 riots and that created a reaction that made my life very difficult,” Mr Amran said. “The arrest I remember most vividly came when I was going to my family home and three officers grabbed me and told me I was under arrest.

    “They said ‘You should not be here.’ I was letting myself into my house at the time and they said ‘drop the keys. You are under arrest.’ I sustained a hairline fracture of my arm. They just let me go. On another occasion I was dragged from my car by police. I told them who I was and they didn’t believe me.”

    Ian Herbert, Jonathan Brown
    Saturday, 6 July 2013

    Find this story at 6 July 2013

    © independent.co.uk

    Dozens of undercover officers could face prosecution, says police chief

    Chief constable leading investigation also says he will look at claims that Stephen Lawrence campaigners were spied on

    Dozens of police officers could be put on trial for stealing the identities of dead children, and sleeping with female activists they were spying on, according to the police chief leading an inquiry into Metropolitan police undercover work against protest groups.

    Mick Creedon, the chief constable of Derbyshire, also said his team would investigate claims from a police whistleblower, Peter Francis, that senior officers wanted him to spy on, and even undermine, the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

    In an interview, Creedon offered a “100%” assurance the matter would be properly investigated. He said prosecutors were already being asked to consider whether criminal offences had been committed by generations of undercover operatives planted in protest groups over the past 45 years.

    Earlier on Monday, David Cameron said he was “deeply concerned by revelations from Francis, a former undercover police officer who said he was asked to gather intelligence that could be used to “smear” the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

    The prospect that police officers could be prosecuted will alarm senior officers, who have struggled to manage the fallout from the revelations

    On Monday morning, the prime minister’s spokesman hinted that the government may order an independent inquiry into Francis’s revelations. Any inquiry would have to “command the family’s confidence as well as that of the public”, he said.

    Creedon is already investigating two top-secret Met units: the SDS, which was disbanded in 2008, and another squad – the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – which still operates.

    He said his review was particularly focused on the role of commanding officers: “It’s looking right up the chain of command,” he said. “We have mapped, putting it bluntly, every senior officer, every commander, every deputy citizen commissioner, right up to and including home secretaries.”

    The chief constable refused to be drawn on the specifics of Francis’s allegations, but he said that, if proved, they would be “not something that would sit comfortably with any police officer”.

    Creedon was asked to take over the inquiry, Operation Herne, in February after it was revealed that operatives working for the two spy units had used the identities of dead children. Weeks later, he conceded that the use of dead children’s identities had been “common practice” in the SDS, and had continued in the NPOIU until around 2001.

    In the interview, parts of which are being broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday night, he told the Guardian and the Dispatches programme that he was getting advice on whether dozens of undercover police who used the identities had committed criminal acts. “That is a consideration. We are getting legal advice on that,” he said.

    “I am looking to operatives to explain why they did it and why they were trained to do it and how they did it.”

    Keith Vaz, the MP and chair of the home affairs select committee, has already called on Scotland Yard to inform parents whose children’s identities were used.

    But Creedon said it was highly unlikely he would contact the parents, because to do so would require confirming the false identities used by former operatives.

    “The way the world is now, that will fizz around the internet networks instantly,” he said, adding that he saw little benefit in “raking up” the issue with parents who would otherwise remain oblivious.

    He also declined to apologise to women who had been duped into relationships with police spies. But he added: “This is completely abhorrent. I use that term carefully. It should not have happened and I’ve always been clear about that. Was it routine? Was it actually part of the tactics? Was it quite deliberate and was it a way of infiltrating, or was it an occasional consequence? I don’t know the answer to that question right now.”

    Creedon said prosecutors would also decide whether operatives who had sexual relationships were breaking the law.

    “Well, we need to get advice from the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] about whether an undercover officer having a sexual relationship would be a criminal offence,” he said. “We’re waiting for that advice from the CPS, and it will be wrong for me to speculate.”

    Asked if the officers may end up in court, he replied: “It’s a possibility, yes.”

    However, he said the use by police of deception in sexual relationships needed to be understood in a wider context. “Around the country there are many people involved in sexual relationships who lie about their status,” he said. “There are many people who say they’re not married when they are married. It happens.”

    Operation Herne, which is costing the Met £1.6m a year, was launched in 2011. A staff of around 30 officers – almost all of them Met employees – have been sifting through 55,000 documents and interviewing former undercover police officers and their supervisors. Four specific cases are being separately supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.Creedon refused to be drawn on when the inquiry would be complete but Craig Mackey, the deputy commissioner of the Met, has previously indicated it may not conclude until 2016, meaning the five-year inquiry would have cost over £7.5m.

    Creedon said he did not know if the findings of his inquiry would ever be made public.

    He said he was determined to “keep some balance” in his investigation: “Herne is not about castigating the 100 or so SDS officers that served over 40 years, some of whom were incredibly brave.”

    The chief constable rejected the suggestion that it would be more appropriate for the inquiry to be conducted by an independent figure or regulator.

    “There has always been public concern about police investigating the police, but I’ll be brutally honest: there is no one as good at doing it as the police,” he said. “We don’t seek to hide things. We do actually seek to get the truth and we do it properly and I frankly find it almost insulting that people suggest that in some way, because I’m a police officer, I’m not going to search the truth.”

    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013 14.08 BST

    Find this story at 24 June 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

    How police spies ’tried to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence’: Undercover officer reveals how superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’

    Peter Francis claims officers told him to dig into murdered teenager’s family
    He posed as an anti-racist activist following the death
    Victim’s mother said: ‘Nothing can justify… trying to discredit the family’
    Raises further questions about police surveillance of activist groups
    David Cameron demands that Scotland Yard investigates the damaging claim

    An undercover policeman revealed last night that he took part in an operation to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence.

    Peter Francis said his superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’ that could be used against members of the murdered teenager’s family.

    The spy said he was also tasked with discrediting Stephen’s friend who witnessed the stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

    Spy: Peter Francis said he was asked by senior officers in the Met Police to find information to smear the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence

    Worried: The Prime Minister said today that Scotland Yard must investigate the damaging claims

    He added that senior officers deliberately withheld his role from Sir William Macpherson, who led a public inquiry into the bungled police investigation.
    ‘They wanted any intelligence’ Peter Francis on ‘spying’

    And this one’s for Stephen… stars sing for Lawrence fund: Emeli Sandé and Jessie J to perform at concert to mark 20th anniversary of his murder
    NHS chief ‘offered bribe to hush up death of my baby’: Father’s shock at scandal-hit boss’s £3,000 cash deal
    The secrets of my friend the Moors murderer: For 25 years he has been visiting Britain’s most notorious killer, now Ian Brady’s only confidant – and heir – reveals all

    Francis said senior officers were afraid that anger at the failure to investigate the teenager’s racist killing would spiral into disorder on the streets. They had ‘visions of Rodney King’, whose beating at the hands of police led to the 1992 LA riots, he said.

    David Cameron has this morning urged Scotland Yard to launch a probe into what happened.

    ‘The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by reports that the police wanted to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family and would like the Metropolitan police to investigate immediately,’ A No10 spokesperson said.

    The revelations mark the most extraordinary chapter so far in the sorry history of Scotland Yard’s jaw-dropping undercover operations.

    Stephen Lawrence was the victim of a racist murder in 1993. It was one of the highest profile racial killings in UK history

    The whistleblower is one of several to come forward to reveal deeply suspect practices by those ordered to infiltrate political protest groups from the 1980s onwards.

    Yesterday Stephen’s mother Doreen said being targeted by an undercover officer was the most surprising thing she had learned about the marathon inquiry. She said: ‘Out of all the things I’ve found out over the years, this certainly has topped it.

    ‘Nothing can justify the whole thing about trying to discredit the family and people around us.’

    The news will further inflame critics of covert policing of activist groups and raises questions over whether a police review will flush out all malpractice.’

    The 20-year-old operation was revealed in a joint investigation by The Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches being broadcast tonight.

    Francis posed as an anti-racist activist during four years he spent living undercover among protest groups following Stephen’s murder in April 1993.

    The former officer said he came under ‘huge and constant pressure’ to ‘hunt for disinformation’ that might be used to undermine those arguing for a better investigation into the murder.

    He now wants a full public inquiry into the undercover policing of protest groups, which he labelled ‘morally reprehensible’ in the past.

    He said: ‘I had to get any information on what was happening in the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

    ‘They wanted the campaign to stop. It was felt it was going to turn into an elephant. Throughout my deployment there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit these campaigns.’

    Mr Francis joins a number of whistle blowers who infiltrated protest groups for the Met Police

    Francis was also involved in an ultimately failed effort to discredit Duwayne Brooks, a close friend of Lawrence who was with him on the night he was murdered.

    The former spy trawled through hours of CCTV from a demonstration to find evidence that led to Mr Brooks being arrested and charged with violent disorder in October 1993. However, the case was thrown out by a judge as an abuse of the legal process.

    Family: Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen and ex-husband Neville, Stephen’s father

    The spy monitored a number of ‘black justice’ campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody.

    But he said his handlers were most interested in any information he could gather about the several groups campaigning over the death of Stephen.

    Although Francis did not meet the Lawrence family, he passed back ‘hearsay’ about them to his superiors.

    Mrs Lawrence said she was always baffled why family liaison officers were recording the identities of everyone entering and leaving their household following her son’s murder.

    She said the family had always suspected police had been gathering evidence about her visitors to discredit them but had no ‘concrete evidence’.

    In 1997, Francis argued that the Met should ‘come clean’ over the existence of its undercover operation to Sir William and his inquiry.

    But commanders opted for secrecy and claimed it was for the public good as there would be ‘battling on the streets’ if the public ever found out.
    ‘It just makes me really angry’: Doreen Lawrence

    Francis was a member of a covert unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad. Set up to combat protests against the Vietnam war in 1968, the SDS was funded by the Home Office to operate under the radar for four decades.

    Using the undercover alias Pete Black, he worked between 1993 and 1997 infiltrating a group named Youth Against Racism in Europe.

    He said he was one of four undercover officers who were also required to feed back intelligence about the campaigns for justice over the death of Stephen. The now disbanded unit has already been struck by controversy after its spies fathered children with their targets.

    An external investigation of past undercover deployments is being undertaken by a team of officers led by Derbyshire chief constable Mick Creedon.

    Pete Francis monitored a number of ‘black justice’ campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody

    Mr Brooks always suspected he was a victim of a dirty tricks campaign by police. In an interview six years after the murder he said he felt the police ‘investigated us more thoroughly than they investigated the boys’ – referring to those behind the killing.

    Jack Straw, the former home secretary who in 1997 ordered the inquiry that led to the Macpherson report, said he was stunned.

    He said: ‘I should have been told of anything that was current, post the election of Tony Blair’s government in early May 1997. But much more importantly, [the] Macpherson inquiry should have been told.’

    Lord Condon, Met Commissioner between 1993 and 2000, said he was not aware any information had been withheld from Sir William.

    A Met spokesman said: ‘The claims in relation to Stephen Lawrence’s family will bring particular upset to them and we share their concerns.’

    These revelations and others about undercover police officers are contained in the book Undercover by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans.

    UNDERCOVER: THE TRUE STORY OF BRITAIN’S SECRET POLICE by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis is published by Guardian Faber at £12.99. Please follow this link to order a copy.

    By Chris Greenwood

    PUBLISHED: 21:50 GMT, 23 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:12 GMT, 25 June 2013

    Find this story at 23 June 2013

    © Associated Newspapers Ltd

    Police ‘smear’ campaign targeted Stephen Lawrence’s friends and family

    Exclusive: former undercover officer Peter Francis says superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’ shortly after 1993 murder

    Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in 1993 and whose death has been the subject of a long-running police investigation. Photograph: Rex Features

    A police officer who spent four years living undercover in protest groups has revealed how he participated in an operation to spy on and attempt to “smear” the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the friend who witnessed his fatal stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

    Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, said his superiors wanted him to find “dirt” that could be used against members of the Lawrence family, in the period shortly after Lawrence’s racist murder in April 1993.

    He also said senior officers deliberately chose to withhold his role spying on the Lawrence campaign from Sir William Macpherson, who headed a public inquiry to examine the police investigation into the death.

    Francis said he had come under “huge and constant pressure” from superiors to “hunt for disinformation” that might be used to undermine those arguing for a better investigation into the murder. He posed as an anti-racist activist in the mid-1990s in his search for intelligence.

    “I had to get any information on what was happening in the Stephen Lawrence campaign,” Francis said. “They wanted the campaign to stop. It was felt it was going to turn into an elephant.

    “Throughout my deployment there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit these campaigns.”

    Francis also describes being involved in an ultimately failed effort to discredit Duwayne Brooks, a close friend of Lawrence who was with him on the night he was killed and the main witness to his murder. The former spy found evidence that led to Brooks being arrested and charged in October 1993, before the case was thrown out by a judge.
    Peter Francis, the former undercover police officer turned whistleblower. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

    The disclosures, revealed in a book about undercover policing published this week, and in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches being broadcast on Monday, will reignite the controversy over covert policing of activist groups.

    Lawrence’s mother, Doreen, said the revelations were the most surprising thing she had learned about the long-running police investigation into her son’s murder: “Out of all the things I’ve found out over the years, this certainly has topped it.”

    She added: “Nothing can justify the whole thing about trying to discredit the family and people around us.”

    In a statement, the Metropolitan police said it recognised the seriousness of the allegations – and acknowledged their impact. A spokesman said the claims would “bring particular upset” to the Lawrence family and added: “We share their concerns.”

    Jack Straw, the former home secretary who in 1997 ordered the inquiry that led to the 1999 Macpherson report, said: “I’m profoundly shocked by this and by what amounts to a misuse of police time and money and entirely the wrong priorities.” Straw is considering personally referring the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

    Francis was a member of a controversial covert unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). A two-year investigation by the Guardian has already revealed how undercover operatives routinely adopted the identities of dead children and formed long-term sexual relationships with people they were spying on.

    The past practices of undercover police officers are the subject of what the Met described as “a thorough review and investigation” called Operation Herne, which is being overseen by Derbyshire’s chief constable, Mick Creedon.

    A spokesman said: “Operation Herne is a live investigation, four strands of which are being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and it would be inappropriate to pre-judge its findings.”

    Francis has decided to reveal his true identity so he can openly call for a public inquiry into undercover policing of protest. “There are many things that I’ve seen that have been morally wrong, morally reprehensible,” he said. “Should we, as police officers, have the power to basically undermine political campaigns? I think that the clear answer to that is no.”

    Francis has been co-operating with the Guardian as a confidential source since 2011, using his undercover alias Pete Black. He assumed the undercover persona between 1993 and 1997, infiltrating a group named Youth Against Racism in Europe. He said he was one of four undercover officers who were also required to feed back intelligence about the campaigns for justice over the death of Lawrence.

    Francis said senior officers were afraid that anger at the failure to investigate the teenager’s racist killing would spiral into disorder on the streets, and had “visions of Rodney King”, whose beating at the hands of police led to the 1992 LA riots.

    Francis monitored a number of “black justice” campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody.

    However, he said that his supervising officers were most interested in whatever information he could gather about the large number of groups campaigning over the death of Lawrence.

    Although Francis never met the Lawrence family, who distanced themselves from political groups, he said he passed back “hearsay” about them to his superiors. He said they wanted information that could be used to undermine the campaign.

    One operation Francis participated in involved coming up with evidence purporting to show Brooks involved in violent disorder. Francis said he and another undercover police officer trawled through hours of footage from a May 1993 demonstration, searching for evidence that would incriminate Brooks.

    Police succeeded in having Brooks arrested and charged with criminal damage, but the case was thrown out by a judge as an abuse of the legal process. Francis said the prosecution of Brooks was part of a wider drive to damage the growing movement around Lawrence’s death: “We were trying to stop the campaign in its tracks.”

    Doreen Lawrence said that in 1993 she was always baffled about why family liaison officers were recording the identities of everyone entering and leaving their household. She said the family had always suspected police had been gathering evidence about her visitors to discredit the family.

    “We’ve talked about that several times but we never had any concrete [evidence],” she said.

    There is no suggestion that the family liaison officers knew the purpose of the information they collected.

    Francis claims that the purpose of monitoring people visiting the Lawrence family home was in order “to be able to formulate intelligence on who was going into the house with regards to which part of the political spectrum, if any, they were actually in”. The former policeman added: “It would determine maybe which way the campaign’s likely to go.”

    In 1997, Francis argued that his undercover operation should be disclosed to Macpherson, who was overseeing the public inquiry into the Met’s handling of the murder. “I was convinced the SDS should come clean,” he said.

    However his superiors decided not to pass the information on to the inquiry, he said. He said he was told there would be “battling on the streets” if the public ever found out about his undercover operation.

    Straw said that neither he nor Macpherson were informed about the undercover operations. “I should have been told of anything that was current, post the election of Tony Blair’s government in early May 1997,” he said.

    “But much more importantly, [the] Macpherson inquiry should have been told, and also should have been given access to the results of this long-running and rather expensive undercover operation.”

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013

    Find this story at 24 June 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

    Stephen Lawrence evidence was mislabelled, trial told

    Forensic science workers made series of mistakes handling evidence relating to one of original murder suspects

    Stephen Lawrence trial: mistakes were made in the handling of crucial evidence. Photograph: PA

    A police forensic science worker made a series of mistakes in handling evidence relating to one of two men accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence, the Old Bailey heard on Wednesday .

    Yvonne Turner, a forensic science assistant, put the wrong case number on a jacket belonging to Gary Dobson, who was a suspect in the fatal stabbing of Lawrence in April 1993. She went on to wrongly record that no tapings of fibres had been taken from the jacket – a yellow and grey bomber jacket – and a cardigan belonging to Dobson.

    Evidence secured from the cardigan and jacket belonging to Dobson as a result of advances in science, and from trousers and a sweatshirt belonging to David Norris, are key to the crown’s case that the two men were in a group of white youths who attacked Lawrence 18 years ago.

    The jury at the Old Bailey was told yesterday that exhibits relating to five suspects – including Norris, Dobson, and two other men not on trial, Jamie and Neil Acourt – were all stored together in 1993 in a disused cell at Eltham police station.

    Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, deny murder. They claim their clothes became contaminated with blood, hair and textile fibres belonging to Lawrence while being stored and handled by the police and forensic scientists.

    Working out of a laboratory in Lambeth, south London, Turner had been asked to examine a jacket belonging to Dobson in October 1993. But she wrote a case number relating to a robbery case she was also working on, at the top of the paperwork for the jacket.

    “I wasn’t concentrating and I wasn’t focused at the stage when I wrote the case number in, but I’ve clearly got to grips with the case as I’ve written the correct item number,” Turner told the jury.

    The court heard she also marked “no tapings” for fibres had been taken from Dobson’s jacket, even though they had.

    Turner, who had been working in forensic science full-time for seven years by 1993, made the same mistake with Dobson’s cardigan. She then admitted there had subsequently been “difficulty locating the tapings as they had been annotated with the incorrect case number”.

    The scientist, who now runs her own company as a trainer and consultant in forensic science, said she was unable to say when the exhibits were taped for fibres. Her mistakes on the case notes were corrected before 1995 when her work was reviewed.

    Detective Constable Robert Crane told the jury that the homes of five suspects, including Norris, Dobson, the Acourts and a fifth unnamed man, were searched in simultaneous dawn raids on 7 May 1993, 15 days after Lawrence was killed.

    Crane, who had responsibility for all the items of clothing seized and items belonging to Lawrence, said that some items such as the teenager’s rucksack were stored on a bed inside a disused cell at Eltham police station.

    The exhibits from the suspects were placed on the floor of the same cell, either in boxes or large rubbish sacks, he said. But he said he did not mix them up.

    The case continues.

    • The headline on this article was amended on 24 November 2011. The original headline said: Stephen Lawrence evidence was mislabelled by police, trial told. The mislabelling was done by a forensic scientist.

    Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
    The Guardian, Wednesday 23 November 2011 21.53 GMT

    Find this story at 23 November 2011

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    The Police’s Dirty Secret: Channel 4 Dispatches

    Paul Lewis reports on allegations that members of a clandestine Metropolitan unit employed ethically dubious tactics, including inappropriate sexual relationships and deceit, to spy on people – claims apparently substantiated by the personal testimony of a whistleblower who operated undercover for four years. The programme investigates the actions of those tasked with infiltrating political campaigns and protest groups, and speaks to the women who say they were duped into intimate relationships with men they didn’t know were serving police officers.

    Find this story at july 2013

    True Spies

    Finally, three documentaries on MI5 and Special Branch called ‘True Spies’ that were shown on BBC2 in 2002 are now available in their entirety on Youtube. Each of them is nearly one hour long. They are very interesting and in the first one the SDS is discussed and the theft of dead children’s identities is brought up, 10 years before the ‘revelations’ about it in the Guardian!


    This three-part series was broadcast on BBC Two during October – November 2002.


    True Spies #1 ‘Subversive My Arse!’ 27 October 2002 

    True Spies #2 ‘Something Better Change’ 3 November 2002 

    True Spies #3 ‘It Could Happen To You’ 10 November 2002 

    There is also a page on the BBC website here:

    Exclusive: Doreen Lawrence pledges to condemn ‘racial profiling’ spot checks in the House of Lords

    Equalities watchdog says it will investigate the operations, with one member of the public saying it was akin to ‘Nazi Germany’

    The Home Office faces investigation by the equalities watchdog over stop-and-check operations condemned by new Labour peer Doreen Lawrence.

    The Independent revealed today that officials had conducted a series of “racist and intimidatory” spot checks to search for illegal immigrants in the wake of the Government’s “go home or face arrest” campaign.

    Officers wearing stab vests conducted random checks near stations in the London suburbs of Walthamstow, Kensal Green, Stratford and Cricklewood over the past three days. Nationwide, more than 130 alleged “immigration offenders” have been arrested including in Durham, Manchester and Somerset.

    Speaking this morning Mrs Lawrence said: “Why would you focus mainly on people of colour?

    ”I’m sure there’s illegal immigrants from all countries, but why would you focus that on people of colour, and I think racial profiling is coming into it.“

    The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, asked if the spot-checks were a cause for her to take up in her new role in the House of Lords, replied: ”Definitely so.“

    Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, said she had received reports from constituents who had been stopped at around 7am yesterday outside the train station by a team of around a dozen Home Office officials.

    “I’ve been told they were only stopping people who looked Asian or African and not anyone who was white,” she said. “This kind of fishing expedition in public place is entirely unacceptable. I will not have my constituents treated in such a manner.”

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is now set to look into what happened, as well as the Government’s controversial poster van warning immigrants of the risk of staying in Britain illegally.

    A spokesman said: ”The Commission is writing today to the Home Office about these reported operations, confirming that it will be examining the powers used and the justification for them, in order to assess whether unlawful discrimination took place.

    “The letter will also ask questions about the extent to which the Home Office complied with its public sector equality duty when planning the recent advertising campaign targeted at illegal migration.”

    The Home Office denied that its raids were connected to the “go home” vans. However, officials could provide no evidence of similar “random searches” taking place in the past.

    Onlookers described their shock at the operations, with one member of the public saying it was akin to “Nazi Germany”. The Labour MP Barry Gardiner had written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, demanding an investigation into the checks which he said violated “fundamental freedoms”. The raids come just a few months after Ms May took direct responsibility for immigration from the disbanded UK Border Agency.

    “We do not yet live in a society where the police or any other officers of the law are entitled to detain people without reasonable justification and demand their papers,” Mr Gardiner wrote. “The actions of your department would however appear to be hastening us in that direction.”

    Witnesses who saw the operations in London claimed the officers stopped only non-white individuals, and in Kensal Green said that when questioned, the immigration officials became aggressive.

    Phil O’Shea told the Kilburn Times: “They appeared to be stopping and questioning every non-white person, many of whom were clearly ordinary Kensal Green residents going to work. When I queried what was going on, I was threatened with arrest for obstruction and was told to ‘crack on’.”

    Another witness, Matthew Kelcher, said: “Even with the confidence of a free-born Englishman who knows he has nothing to hide, I found this whole experience to be extremely intimidating. They said they were doing random checks, but a lot of people who use that station are tourists so I don’t know what message that sends out to the world.”

    The Home Office said a Ukrainian woman aged 33, an Indian man aged 44 and a 59-year-old Brazilian woman had been detained as part of the checks at Kensal Green. At Walthamstow Central station, immigration officials arrested 14 people after officers questioned people to check if they were in the UK illegally.

    Christine Quigley tweeted: “Sounds like UKBA checkpoint today in Walthamstow only stopping minority ethnic people. FYI UKBA – not all British people are white.”

    In Stratford, photographs posted on Twitter appeared to show Home Office officials talking to men of Asian origin. The Home Office said a Bangladeshi man had been arrested on suspected immigration offences. In Cricklewood on Tuesday in a joint operation with the Met, more than 60 people were questioned near the railway station. Police said three men were arrested for “immigration matters”, and 27 men received notices requiring them to surrender at Eaton House immigration centre for further investigation.

    Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said he believed that there was no coincidence between the “go home or face arrest” van and the new random checks in Kensal Green. “I am sure it is probably connected and it leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth,” he said. “These so-called spot checks are not only intimidating but they are also racist and divisive. It appears from speaking to people who witnessed what happened in Kensal Green that it was only black and Asian-looking people who were asked to prove their identity. What about the white Australians and New Zealanders who may have overstayed their visas?”

    Oliver Wright, Adam Withnall
    Friday, 2 August 2013

    Find this story at 2 August 2013

    © independent.co.uk

    Misuse of stop and search powers risks undermining police, says watchdog

    Police watchdog report says many forces do not understand how to use powers effectively nor their potential impact

    Home Office figures show that black people are still seven times more likely to be searched on the street than white people. Photograph: Stuart emmerson/Alamy

    The misuse of “intrusive and contentious” stop and search powers is threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the police, an official watchdog has warned.

    Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says that most (30) of the 43 forces in England and Wales do not understand how to use stop and search powers effectively nor the impact their use has on the communities being policed.

    The official report also says that the priority given by senior police officers to improving the use of stop and search powers has slipped down the agenda since the publication in 1999 of the official inquiry report into the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Home Office figures show that black people are still seven times more likely to be searched on the street than white people.

    The HMIC report, published on Tuesday, was commissioned by the home secretary, Theresa May, in response to renewed concern about the way the police use stop and search powers in the wake of the 2011 August riots.

    The home secretary anticipated one of the report’s key findings last week when she launched a six-week consultation over the future use of the powers, saying the fact that only 9% of the 1.2m stop-and-searches that take place every year led to an arrest had caused her to question whether it was being used appropriately.

    The HMIC inquiry, which included a public survey of 19,000 people, found that too many forces are not collecting sufficient information to assess whether the use of the powers has been effective.

    It says that 27% of the 8,783 stop-and-search records examined by HMIC did not include sufficient grounds to justify the lawful use of the powers.

    “The reasons for this include poor understanding among officers about what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds’ needed to justify a search, poor supervision, and an absence of direction and oversight by senior officers,” says the report.

    The report adds that fewer than half the forces complied with a requirement for stop and search activities to be open to public scrutiny.

    It describes the street stop and search powers under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) as “some of the most intrusive and contentious powers granted to the police” and warns that although some might think it will help to “control the streets” in the short term, its heavy-handed use may lead to major disorder in the long term.

    Stephen Otter of HMIC said urgent action was needed to tackle the lack of understanding of the powers to prevent and detect crime. He said the investigation found that the exercise, recording, monitoring, supervision and leadership oversight of the use of stop and search powers all too often fell short of the Pace codes of practice, which set the standards to ensure the powers were not used unlawfully and incorrectly.

    Tom Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said: “The police service in the UK is almost unique in investing its lowest ranking officers with its greatest and most intrusive powers. These include those of stop and search.

    “The lawful and proper use of the powers is essential to the maintenance of public confidence and community acceptance of the police, without which the British model of policing by consent cannot function.

    “It is therefore crucial that police officers can show, with the greatest transparency, that they use these powers with the utmost lawfulness and integrity at all times,” said Winsor.

    A Home Office spokesperson said the home secretary had made clear that the government supports the ability of police officers to stop and search suspects within the law.

    “But if stop and search is being used too much or with the wrong people, it is not just a waste of police time, it also serves to undermine public confidence in the police,” he said.

    He added that specific proposals in response to the report and the public consultation would be published by the end of the year.

    Alan Travis, home affairs editor
    The Guardian, Tuesday 9 July 2013

    Find this story at 9 July 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

    A quarter of police stop and searches are illegal: 250,000 people are stopped without officers sticking to the rules

    In 27 per cent of cases police did not have reasonable grounds
    This is the same as 250,000 people every year being stopped and searched
    The report warns of the potential to stir-up significant social unrest

    More than a quarter of police stop and searches are ‘unlawful’ and risk promoting ‘major disorder’, government inspectors warned last night.

    In a blistering report, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary said that, in 27 per cent of cases, police failed to show they had reasonable grounds to carry out the search.

    It is the equivalent of 250,000 people every year being stopped and subjected to hugely intrusive searches without the police sticking to the rules.

    In 27 per cent of cases, police failed to show they had reasonable grounds to carry out the searches

    Legally, nobody should be stopped unless there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ they are guilty of carrying drugs, weapons or intending to carry out a burglary or other crime.

    The report – commissioned in the wake of the 2011 riots – warns of the potential to stir-up significant social unrest.

    Cool Mrs May sounded as if she was ticking off her dog…
    Terror suspects to be banned from claiming benefits under shake-up of laws to prevent repeat of Qatada costing us millions

    It states: ‘Apart from the fact that it is unlawful, conducting stop and search encounters without reasonable grounds will cause dissatisfaction and upset, and whilst some may think it will help to ‘control the streets in the short term’, it may lead to major disorder in the long-term’.

    The HMIC report, led by ex-chief constable Stephen Otter, is also hugely critical of the way police are targeting their resources.

    Most police forces said their priorities were reducing burglary, theft and violence.

    Yet only nine per cent of stop and searches focussed on finding weapons, and 22 per cent were for stolen property or going equipped to steal.

    By contrast, half of operations were targeted on possession of drugs – usually only small amounts which would only result in a police warning.

    Theresa May warned that police could be wasting hundreds of thousands of hours by interrogating stopping people who had done nothing wrong

    The report will increase the clamour for a major scaling back of the stop and search regime.

    Last week Home Secretary Theresa May warned that police could be wasting hundreds of thousands of hours by interrogating stopping people who had done nothing wrong.

    Last year, police conducted 1.2million stop and searches – but only nine per cent, or 107,000, ended in arrest.

    In some parts of the country, the figure is as low as three per cent, raising huge question marks over whether the power is being properly used.

    The HMIC warned of a ‘noticeable slippage’ in attention given to the use of stop and search powers by senior officers since the 1999 Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

    Mr Otter warned that use of the powers was becoming a ‘habitual’ practice

    Around 27 per cent of the 8,783 stop and search records examined by inspectors did not include sufficient grounds to justify the lawful use of the power.

    Police officers are able to conduct stop and searches under 20 different powers, but the most common laws used are the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

    The report found that less than half of forces complied with the requirements of the code to make arrangements for stop and search records to be scrutinised by the public.

    And half of forces did nothing to understand the impact on communities.

    The inspection found that the majority of forces – 30 out of 43 – had not developed an understanding of how to use the powers of stop and search so that they are effective in preventing and detecting crime.

    Only seven forces recorded whether or not the item searched for was actually found, the study found.

    Mr Otter warned that use of the powers was becoming a ‘habitual’ practice that was ‘part and parcel’ of officers’ activity on the streets.

    Last night a Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Home Secretary has made it very clear that the Government supports the ability of police officers to stop and search suspects within the law.
    ‘But if stop and search is being used too much or with the wrong people, it is not just a waste of police time, it also serves to undermine public confidence in the police.

    ‘That is why last week the Home Secretary announced a public consultation into the use of stop and search.

    ‘The Government will respond to the HMIC report and the replies to the public consultation with specific proposals by the end of the year.’

    By James Slack

    PUBLISHED: 00:03 GMT, 9 July 2013 | UPDATED: 06:30 GMT, 9 July 2013

    Find this story at 9 July 2013

    © Associated Newspapers Ltd

    Police watchdog: the Met is failing to tackle complaints of racism

    Warning: IPCC says racism complaints are being thrown out on the basis of an officers denial of them

    The Met is failing to tackle complaints of racism properly and needs a major “cultural change” to improve the way it deals with London’s minorities, the police watchdog said today.

    In a highly critical report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said that Met investigators were often wrongly rejecting allegations of racism simply on the basis of an officer’s denial.

    It warns that other complaints are being thrown out because of the “unwillingness or inability” of officers to pursue them and highlights a further widespread failure to follow official guidelines when investigating alleged racist conduct.

    The report said that instead, the force tends to respond only to “overt” racism such as use of “n****r” and when other evidence such as mobile phone footage or whistleblower testimony is provided.

    The findings, which will raise concerns about the force’s progress since being labelled “institutionally racist” in Sir William Macpherson’s report following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, came as the watchdog also revealed details of new racism cases within the Met. Today’s report discloses that:

    Two thirds of appeals over racism complaints rejected by the Met were upheld by the watchdog last year.

    The Met has little understanding of covert or subconscious racism by officers.

    Complainants’ perceptions of racism are often not taken seriously.

    Letters sent to complainants are regularly blighted by jargon, are defensive and fail to deal with specifics.

    Unveiling today’s report, Deborah Glass, the IPCC’s commissioner for London, said that racism remained a “toxic” issue for the Met and that big changes were urgently needed.

    “There is an enormous amount of guidance out there which the Met’s officers are not following and the only way to change that is through cultural change,” she said. “If the Met Commissioner wants to be credible when he says that there is zero tolerance of racism in the force then his officers need to understand what racism is.”

    Ms Glass said that dealing with complaints of racism against officers properly was vital to public confidence in London because of the large ethnic population and the lack of faith among some residents in police attitudes. She added: “Race is an incredibly sensitive and sometimes toxic issue for the Met as we have seen over decades. They have made progress, but there is still some way to go.”

    The report comes after a year-long inquiry by the IPCC following a spate of highly publicised racism allegations against the Met. One of those resulted in the dismissal of Pc Alex MacFarlane for gross misconduct despite his acquittal at Southwark crown court last year over an alleged racially aggravated public order offence involving the alleged use of racist language against a 21-year-old man.

    The report is based on an analysis of 511 racist allegations against Met officers or staff made by the public in 2011/12, plus monitoring of 61 cases referred to the IPCC in April and May last year and a detailed study of 20 other complaint files.

    It found that although cases passed to Scotland Yard’s directorate of professional standards were generally dealt with well, those resolved at borough level — which form the majority — were poorly handled.

    The report said that officers were “routinely asked for brief accounts via email” rather than being questioned on specifics and that a denial frequently resulted in a complaint being rejected with not enough weight placed on the complainant’s account.

    Met Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne said that he was summoning all 32 borough commanders and other senior officers to study the findings in one of a series of measures to improve the force’s performance.

    He added that all investigations into racism complaints would also be overseen by Scotland Yard for the rest of the year to raise standards, but conceded that the Met was failing the public over the issue. Victims of racism by police will also be invited to meet senior officers to talk about their experiences to “help our understanding” of the problem, Mr Byrne said.

    Martin Bentham

    Published: 17 July 2013

    Updated: 15:41, 17 July 2013

    Find this story at 9 July 2013

    © Evening Standard Limited

    Police continued to fire Tasers at chests – despite cardiac arrest warnings

    Figures show that since 2009, 57% of discharges have hit chest area, even though Taser warns of ‘serious complications’

    Police using a taser during the attempted capture of Raoul Moat. Firing the devices at suspects’ chests carries the risk of inducing a cardiac arrest. Photograph: Jamie Wiseman/Daily Mail/Rex

    British police have fired Tasers hundreds of times at suspects’ chests despite explicit warnings from the weapon’s manufacturer not to do so because of the dangers of causing a cardiac arrest, the Guardian can reveal.

    Following the death last Wednesday of a man in Manchester after police hit him with a Taser shot, figures obtained from 18 out of 45 UK forces show that out of a total of 884 Taser discharges since 2009 – the year when Taser International first started warning the weapon’s users not to aim for the chest – 57% of all shots (518) have hit the chest area.

    There is evidence that shots to the chest can induce cardiac arrest. Dr Douglas Zipes, an eminent US cardiologist and emeritus professor at Indiana University, who last year published a study that explored the dangers of chest shots, told the Guardian: “My admonition [to UK police] would be avoid the chest at all costs if you can.”

    He said the proportion of shots landing on the chest was huge, adding: “I think the information is overwhelming to support how a Taser shot to the chest can produce cardiac arrest.”

    The manufacturer’s warning in its training materials is clear. It states: “When possible, avoid targeting the frontal chest area near the heart to reduce the risk of potential serious injury or death.

    “Serious complications could also arise in those with impaired heart function or in those with an implanted cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator.”

    Firing at the back is the preferred option where practical.

    Zipes said Tasers were first found to have the ability to “capture” heart rhythm in a way similar to that of a pacemaker after Taser itself commissioned a study on pigs published in 2006.

    If fired close enough to the heart, the 50,000 volt weapons have the ability to interfere and take over the electrical signals in the heart in rare cases – something that can be avoided altogether by hitting other parts of the body.

    Zipes, who has acted as an expert witness in Taser death cases, said his peer-reviewed paper for the Journal of the American Heart Association documented eight cases of people in the US who have died or suffered significant brain damage following a cardiac arrest linked to a Taser shot.

    But, despite the apparent dangers of chest shots, a series of requests under the Freedom of Information Act suggests that police are routinely aiming Taser shots at that part of the body.

    Records from Gwent police force, for example, show that 82% of 55 Taser discharges by its officers hit people in the chest. Officers from Lancashire police fired Tasers 186 times between 2009 and October 2012, with 65% of shots hitting the chest.

    There have been 10 deaths since the introduction of Tasers by UK police forces in 2004. The most recent was last Wednesday evening after a 23-year-old factory worker, Jordan Begley, from Gorton, east Manchester, was said to have suffered a “medical episode” and died after police fired at him with the weapon.

    The chief constable of Greater Manchester, Sir Peter Fahy, and its police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd, met the dead man’s family and expressed their condolences.

    No cause of death has been directly linked to the high-voltage charge emanating from the weapons in the UK. But two of the 10 cases, including last week’s death in Manchester, continue to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

    The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which is responsible for Taser guidance, told the Guardian that following the 2009 warning, an independent panel of experts re-examined the threat to life from Tasers but found no substantial risk.

    Simon Chesterman, deputy chief constable of West Mercia police and Acpo lead on armed policing and Taser use, said that after the 2009 Taser warning Acpo asked the medical panel whether police training needed to be changed. “The answer that came back is that as they’ve said all along, the risk from the electricity is very low,” he said.

    Chesterman said the panel had maintained that guidance to this day and it was felt there was no need for police “to adjust our point of aim”.

    He said: “We don’t train them [officers] to go for the chest, we just train them to go for the biggest thing they can see, ie the major muscle groups.

    “When you’ve got a violent assailant who is facing you, coming towards you and you have to make a split second decision whether to use Taser or not, the chances are that clearly you’re going to aim for the torso and it may well be that one or both of the barbs will attach within the chest area.

    “I’m not saying Taser is a risk-free option,” he said, but added: “We haven’t had what you could describe as a Taser-related death in the United Kingdom – that’s despite the fact that we’ve been using them for 10 years”

    A separate FOI from February found that in 2011 Tasers were discharged 1,371 times in the year ending March 2011, a 66% rise on the previous year.

    In a statement to the Guardian, Steve Tuttle, vice-president of communications for Taser International, said that in the vast majority of cases, “the cause of death has nothing to do with the Taser deployments and to date in the UK there are no deaths in which the Taser has been listed as the cause of death”.

    He said the company’s “preferred targeting zones” were “best practices” that “take into consideration the most effective areas for placement on moving and/or violent subjects that don’t always co-operate.

    “We occasionally modify recommendations and warnings to reflect a best practices approach for our customers to consider,” he added. “The release of our [2009] training bulletin should not be interpreted as a significant change in how our products should be used. The recommendations should be viewed as best practices that mitigate risk management issues resulting in more effective deployments while maximising safety considerations such as avoiding face, neck, and chest/breast shots.”

    In the US, Taser was recently ordered to pay $5m (£3.3m) to the family of 17-year-old Darryl Turner, who died in 2008 after being shot by police with a Taser.

    The lawyer in that case, John Burton, from Pasedena, California, said that by aiming for the chest, UK police were being irresponsible.

    “This is just so irresponsible. I’m shocked to hear this,” Burton said. “If UK cops are shooting people in the chest it just shows that they just don’t take things seriously.”

    Sophie Khan, a UK solicitor who specialises in Taser cases, said Taser’s guidance “is meant to be there to protect the public and the police from civil claims”.

    She added: “From what I see people are being shot in the chest and stomach, when they don’t even need to be Tasered in the first place, that’s what’s happened.”

    Shiv Malik and Charlie Mole
    The Guardian, Sunday 14 July 2013 19.43 BST

    Find this story at 14 July 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies

    Man shot with Taser dies; Electroshock weapon used on suspect during arrest in Manchester

    A woman arrives with flowers at the scene in Gorton, Manchester, where a man was shot with a Taser and later died. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

    A man has died after police shot him with a Taser, Greater Manchester police have said.

    The 23-year-old was said to have suffered a “medical episode” and died after police fired at him with the stun gun.

    Officers were responding to a disturbance at around 8.15pm on Wednesday in Gorton, Manchester, when they used the Taser while detaining the man.

    The police force has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

    Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man with a knife.

    “Officers were dispatched immediately and arrived in eight minutes. On arrival a Taser was discharged to detain a 23-year-old man.

    “At this time it is unclear what happened, but at some point afterwards the man suffered a medical episode.

    “Paramedics performed first aid on the man at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he sadly died.”

    The death had been referred to the local coroner and police family liaison officers were supporting the family, police said.

    Press Association
    theguardian.com, Thursday 11 July 2013 06.50 BST

    Find this story at 11 July 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

    McLibel leaflet was co-written by undercover police officer Bob Lambert

    Exclusive: McDonald’s sued green activists in long-running David v Goliath legal battle, but police role only now exposed

    Bob Lambert posed as a radical activist named Bob Robinson.

    An undercover police officer posing for years as an environmental activist co-wrote a libellous leaflet that was highly critical of McDonald’s, and which led to the longest civil trial in English history, costing the fast-food chain millions of pounds in fees.

    The true identity of one of the authors of the “McLibel leaflet” is Bob Lambert, a police officer who used the alias Bob Robinson in his five years infiltrating the London Greenpeace group, is revealed in a new book about undercover policing of protest, published next week.

    McDonald’s famously sued green campaigners over the roughly typed leaflet, in a landmark three-year high court case, that was widely believed to have been a public relations disaster for the corporation. Ultimately the company won a libel battle in which it spent millions on lawyers.

    Lambert was deployed by the special demonstration squad (SDS) – a top-secret Metropolitan police unit that targeted political activists between 1968 until 2008, when it was disbanded. He co-wrote the defamatory six-page leaflet in 1986 – and his role in its production has been the subject of an internal Scotland Yard investigation for several months.

    At no stage during the civil legal proceedings brought by McDonald’s in the 1990s was it disclosed that a police infiltrator helped author the leaflet.
    The McLibel two: Helen Steel and David Morris, outside a branch of McDonald’s in London in 2005 after winning their case in the European court of human rights. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

    A spokesman for the Met said the force “recognises the seriousness of the allegations of inappropriate behaviour and practices involving past undercover deployments”. He added that a number of allegations surrounding the undercover officers were currently being investigated by a team overseen by the chief constable of Derbyshire police, Mick Creedon.

    And in remarks that come closest to acknowledging the scale of the scandal surrounding police spies, the spokesman said: “At some point it will fall upon this generation of police leaders to account for the activities of our predecessors, but for the moment we must focus on getting to the truth.”

    Lambert declined to comment about his role in the production of the McLibel leaflet. However, he previously offered a general apology for deceiving “law abiding members of London Greenpeace”, which he said was a peaceful campaign group.

    Lambert, who rose through the ranks to become a spymaster in the SDS, is also under investigation for sexual relationships he had with four women while undercover, one of whom he fathered a child with before vanishing from their lives. The woman and her son only discovered that Lambert was a police spy last year.

    The internal police inquiry is also investigating claims raised in parliament that Lambert ignited an incendiary device at a branch of Debenhams when infiltrating animal rights campaigners. The incident occurred in 1987 and the explosion inflicted £300,000 worth of damage to the branch in Harrow, north London. Lambert has previously strongly denied he planted the incendiary device in the Debenhams store.
    While McDonald’s won the initial legal battle, at great expense, it was seen as a PR disaster. Photograph: Image Broker/Rex Features

    Lambert’s role in helping compose the McLibel leaflet is revealed in ‘Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police’, which is published next week. An extract from the book will be published in the Guardian Weekend magazine. A joint Guardian/Channel 4 investigation into undercover policing will be broadcast on Dispatches on Monday evening.

    Lambert was one of two SDS officers who infiltrated London Greenpeace; the second, John Dines, had a two-year relationship with Helen Steel, who later became the co-defendant in the McLibel case. The book reveals how Steel became the focus of police surveillance operations. She had a sexual relationship with Dines, before he also disappeared without a trace.

    Dines gained access to the confidential legal advice given to Steel and her co-defendant that was written by Keir Starmer, then a barrister known for championing radical causes. The lawyer was advising the activists on how to defend themselves against McDonald’s. He is now the director of public prosecutions in England and Wales.

    Lambert was lauded by colleagues in the covert unit for his skilful infiltration of animal rights campaigners and environmentalists in the 1980s. He succeeded in transforming himself from a special branch detective into a long-haired radical activist who worked as a cash-in-hand gardener. He became a prominent member of London Greenpeace, around the time it began campaigning against McDonald’s in 1985. The leaflet he helped write made wide-ranging criticisms of the company, accusing it of destroying the environment, exploiting workers and selling junk food.

    Four sources who were either close to Lambert at the time, or involved in the production of the leaflet, have confirmed his role in composing the libellous text. Lambert confided in one of his girlfriends from the era, although he appeared keen to keep his participation hidden. “He did not want people to know he had co-written it,” Belinda Harvey said.

    Paul Gravett, a London Greenpeace campaigner, said the spy was one of a small group of around five activists who drew up the leaflet over several months. Another close friend from the time recalls Lambert was really proud of the leaflet. “It was like his baby, he carried it around with him,” the friend said.

    When Lambert’s undercover deployment ended in 1989, he vanished, claiming that he had to flee abroad because he was being pursued by special branch. None of his friends or girlfriends suspected that special branch was his employer.

    It was only later that the leaflet Lambert helped to produce became the centre of the huge trial. Even though the activists could only afford to distribute a few hundred copies of the leaflet, McDonald’s decided to throw all of its legal might at the case, suing two London Greenpeace activists for libel.

    Two campaigners – Steel, who was then a part-time bartender, and an unemployed postal worker, Dave Morris – unexpectedly stood their ground and refused to apologise.
    Steel and Morris outside the high court at the start of the first proceedings in the McLibel trial in 1990. Photograph: Photofusion/UIG/ Getty Images

    Over 313 days in the high court, the pair defended themselves, with pro bono assistance from Starmer, as they could not afford to hire any solicitors or barristers. In contrast, McDonald’s hired some of the best legal minds at an estimated cost of £10m. During the trial, legal argument largely ignored the question of who wrote the McLibel leaflet, focusing instead on its distribution to members of the public.

    In 1997, a high court judge ruled that much of the leaflet was libellous and ordered the two activists to pay McDonald’s £60,000 in damages. This sum was reduced on appeal to £40,000 – but McDonald’s never enforced payment.

    It was a hollow victory for the company; the long-running trial had exposed damaging stories about its business and the quality of the food it was selling to millions of customers around the world. The legal action, taking advantage of Britain’s much-criticised libel laws, was seen as a heavy handed and intimidating way of crushing criticism. However, the role of undercover police in the story remained, until now, largely unknown.

    On Friday, Morris said the campaign against the burger chain was successful “despite the odds overwhelmingly stacked against us in the legal system and up against McDonald’s massive and relentless advertising and propaganda machine.

    “We now know that other shadowy forces were also trying to undermine our efforts in the most disgusting, but ultimately futile ways. All over the world police and secret agents infiltrate opposition movements in order to protect the rich and powerful but as we have seen in so many countries recently people power and the pursuit of truth and justice is unstoppable, even faced with the most repressive and unacceptable Stasi-like tactics.”

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    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Friday 21 June 2013 14.54 BST

    Find this story at 21 June 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Second police spy says Home Office knew of theft of children’s identities

    Former undercover officer Peter Francis says department helped spies by providing false passports in dead children’s names

    Peter Francis, the former undercover police officer turned whistleblower. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

    A second police spy has said the Home Office was aware that undercover police officers stole the identities of dead children to infiltrate political groups.

    Peter Francis, a former undercover officer turned whistleblower, said the Home Office helped the spies by providing false passports in the names of the dead children.

    His claim comes as Britain’s most senior police officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is due to publish a report on Tuesday about the secret use of dead children’s identities.

    It will be released on the same day that MPs on the home affairs select committee are due to question Mick Creedon, the chief constable who is leading the police investigation into the deployment of undercover officers in protest groups over a 40-year period.

    Creedon has already conceded that the theft of the children’s identities was “common practice” within a covert special branch unit which operated between 1968 and 2008.

    Earlier this month, Bob Lambert, one of the leading spies of the unit, claimed that the technique was “well known at the highest levels of the Home Office”.

    In a practice criticised by MPs as “ghoulish” and “heartless”, undercover spies in the unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), searched through birth and death certificates to find children who had died at an early age. They then assumed the identity of the child and developed a persona based on that identity when they went undercover for five years or longer.

    The spies were issued with fake documents such as passports, driving licences and national insurance numbers in the child’s name to further bolster their credibility.

    Francis, who infiltrated anti-racist groups from 1993 to 1997, discussed the technique with the head of the SDS because he had reservations about stealing the identity of a four-year-old boy who had died. He did not disclose the name of the SDS head.

    “We bounced it around – what were his thoughts, what were my thoughts. It was evident that it was standard practice,” Francis said.

    The head of the SDS told him the Home Office knew the undercover spies “were using the children”, he said, as it gave fake passports to the spies knowing that they were in the names of the dead children.

    The SDS was directly funded by the government, which received an annual report on its work for much of its existence.

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “We expect the highest standards of professionalism in all aspects of policing. That is why Chief Constable Mick Creedon is leading an IPCC-supervised investigation which will ensure any criminality or misconduct is properly dealt with.”

    Francis was an important source for the Guardian when the newspaper detailed the technique, dubbed the “jackal run” after Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal, in February.

    Speaking then as Pete Black, one of his undercover identities, Francis said he felt he was “stomping on the grave” of the boy whose identity he stole. “A part of me was thinking about how I would feel if someone was taking the names and details of my dead son for something like this,” he said at the time.

    Last month, he said his superiors had asked him to find “dirt” that could be used to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

    Lambert went undercover for four years in the 1980s to infiltrate environmental and animal rights groups. He adopted the persona of Bob Robinson, a seven-year-old boy who had died of a congenital heart defect.

    Interviewed by Channel Four News this month, Lambert said that at the time he did not “really give pause for thought on the ethical considerations. It was, that’s what was done. Let’s be under no illusions about the extent to which that was an accepted practice that was well known at the highest levels of the Home Office.” Lambert fathered a child with a campaigner while he was undercover.

    On Tuesday, Creedon is expected to be questioned by the select committee about whether the police will apologise to the parents whose children’s identities were taken. Creedon has said he has taken legal advice on whether the spies who stole the children’s identities could be put on trial.

    Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Monday 15 July 2013 18.35 BST

    Find this story at 15 July 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Operation Herne Report 1 Use of covert identities

    Executive Summary

    The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was an undercover unit formed by the
    Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch. It operated between 1968 and 2008, during
    which time it infiltrated and reported on groups concerned in violent protest.

    Operation Herne
    Operation Herne (formerly Soisson) was formed in October 2011 in response to
    allegations made by the Guardian newspaper about alleged misconduct and criminality
    engaged in by members of the SDS. Similar matters had been previously aired as early
    as 2002 in a BBC documentary.

    Operation Riverwood
    On 4th February 2013 the Metropolitan Police received a public complaint from the
    family of Rod Richardson, a young boy who had died in the 1970s. It is alleged that an
    undercover officer working for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) had
    used this child’s details as his covert identity. This matter was referred to the IPCC. The
    matter was returned to the force and is currently subject of a ‘local investigation’.

    National Public Order Intelligence Unit
    The NPOIU was formed within the MPS in 1999 to gather and coordinate intelligence.
    In 2006 the governance responsibility for NPOIU was moved to the Association of
    Chief Police Officers, after a decision was taken that the forces where the majority of
    activity was taking place should be responsible for authorising future deployments. In
    January 2011 the NPOIU was subsumed within other units under the National Domestic
    Extremism Units within the MPS.
    In January 1995 large numbers of police from London, Kent and Hampshire were
    drafted to the West Sussex harbour of Shoreham in response to protests surrounding
    the export of live animals to Europe. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and another
    animal extremist group named ‘Justice Department’ had a strong base in the
    community there. This led to a number of protests and in October 1995 there was a
    further demonstration in Brightlingsea, Essex. This resulted in a record number of police
    being deployed to prevent widespread public disorder. Ad-hoc protest groups emerged
    and the need for first hand high quality intelligence was evident. This led to undercover
    operatives being required to infiltrate these animal extremist organisations.

    The purpose of the NPOIU was:
    1 To provide the police service with the ability to develop a national threat assessment
    and profile for domestic extremism.
    2 Support the police service to reduce crime and disorder from domestic extremism.
    3 Support a proportionate police response to protest activity.
    4 Help the police service manage concerns of communities and businesses to
    minimise conflict and disorder.

    Control of the NPOIU moved to ACPO in 2006 under the direction of the ACPO National
    Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism, Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell. He
    was replaced by Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway in 2010. The NPOIU
    worked with the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) and the
    National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET).
    The NPOIU now exists as part of the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU) under
    the Metropolitan Police Service Specialist Operations and is run by Detective Chief
    Superintendent Chris Greaney.

    Deceased identities
    On 5th February 2013 the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) questioned Deputy
    Assistant Commissioner Gallan about the alleged practice that SDS officers had used
    the details of dead children, as part of a cover identity for undercover police officers. At
    the time DAC Gallan was based in the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards and
    was in overall command of Operation Herne. Her appearance before the HASC led to
    considerable media coverage and some negative commentary. As a result of the media
    coverage, Operation Herne has now received enquiries from fourteen (14) families
    regarding seventeen (17) children.

    Operation Herne review
    One hundred and forty-seven (147) named individuals are believed to have served as
    police officers within the SDS at all ranks from Chief Superintendent down. This covers
    the forty (40) years that the unit was in existence and not all the police officers were
    deployed in undercover roles.
    At this stage one hundred and six (106) covert identities have been identified as having
    been used by the SDS between 1968 and 2008.
    Forty-two (42) of these identities are either confirmed or highly likely to have used the
    details of a deceased child.
    Forty-five (45) of these identities have been established as fictitious. Work continues to
    identify the provenance of the remaining identities.

    Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND)
    The policy of ‘neither confirming nor denying’ the use of or identity of an undercover
    police officer is a long established one used by UK policing. It is essential so as to
    provide for the necessary operational security and to ensure undercover officers are
    clear that their identity will never be disclosed by the organisation that asked them to
    carry out the covert activity. The duty of care owed to such officers is an absolute one
    and applies during their deployments, throughout their service and continues when they
    are retired.
    Please note that this is an interim report specifically about the use of the identities of
    deceased children and infants. It does not seek to cover either all of the activities of
    the SDS nor has it been able to completely provide all the answers regarding the use
    of covert identities. The report clearly explains the use of the tactic and is submitted
    early given the need to deal with the public concerns and is provided in agreement with
    the Home Office who sought to have this matter concluded before the parliamentary
    summer recess.

    Find this report at July 2013

    Dead children’s IDs used by undercover police to be kept from families

    The identities of 42 dead children whose names were assumed by undercover police officers will not be revealed to their relatives, according to a report.

    The Metropolitan Police offered a general apology for the “shock and offence” the practice had caused.

    But Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said revealing the identities used would endanger the officers concerned.

    The senior officer who wrote the report on the 1980s practice told MPs it would not be used as a tactic today.

    The report’s author, Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, was asked to investigate in 2011 after the Guardian newspaper published allegations about the conduct of undercover officers.

    He told the Home Affairs Select Committee ministers did not authorise the practice but refused to condemn the officers’ actions.

    “It’s irrelevant what I think,” he said. “It is not a tactic we would use these days.

    “It would feel very strange for me to criticise the actions of people 20, 30, 40-years-ago without knowing what they faced at the time.”

    Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that officers had stolen the identities of about 80 children who died at an early age.
    Anonymity ‘vital’

    Mr Creedon’s report concluded that at least 42 children’s identities had, either definitely or very probably, been used by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and its National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).

    The earliest known use of the tactic occurred between 1976 and 1981 and it was phased out from 1994 in the SDS, the report added.

    But it also found that the practice might have been used by the NPOIU as recently as 2003, and that it was “highly possible” that its use was more widespread than currently understood.

    The report said: “A range of officers at different ranks and roles have been interviewed by the investigation team. The information provided corroborates totally the belief that, for the majority of the existence of the SDS, the use of deceased children’s identities was accepted as standard practice.”

    Sir Bernard said 14 families had contacted the Met to ask whether the identities of their relatives had been used by undercover officers.

    The Met had apologised to them, and to another family that had heard separately that it might be affected by the revelations, he said.

    “Undercover officers are brave men and women” and maintaining their anonymity is “vital”, Sir Bernard said.

    He explained: “There are criminals behind bars and at large today who would have no qualms in doing serious harm if they discovered a former close confidant had been working for the police.

    “That’s why undercover officers spent so much time building up their ‘legend’ or false identity, and why that identity must be protected forever.”

    Sir Bernard added: “I believe the public do understand the necessity for police and others to do things like this to protect against a much greater harm. It was never intended or foreseen that any of the identities used would become public, or that any family would suffer hurt as a result.

    “At the time this method of creating identities was in use, officers felt this was the safest option.”

    But Jules Carey, a solicitor acting for Barbara Shaw, who is concerned that her son Rod Richardson’s identity was used, said: “What we heard this morning was not an apology but a PR exercise.

    “The families of the dead children whose identities have been stolen by the undercover officers deserve better than this.

    “They deserve an explanation, a personal apology and, if appropriate, a warning of the potential risk they face, in the exceptional circumstances, that their dead child’s identity was used to infiltrate serious criminal organisations.

    “The harvesting of dead children’s identities was only one manifestation of the rot at the heart of these undercover units which had officers lie on oath, conduct smear campaigns and use sexual relationships as an evidence-gathering tool.”

    He added: “Ms Shaw has told me that she feels her complaint has been ‘swept under the carpet” and she has instructed me to appeal this outcome.”

    16 July 2013 Last updated at 16:29 GMT

    Find this story at 16 July 2013

    BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    Met chief sorry for police spies using dead children’s identities

    Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe releases report on surveillance used since 1970s but refuses to inform any affected families

    Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said families of dead children whose identities were used would not be approached, as that could put undercover officers in danger. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

    Britain’s most senior police officer has offered a general apology for the “morally repugnant” theft of dead children’s identities by undercover spies who infiltrated political groups.

    But Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has refused to tell any families if the identities of their children were stolen by the undercover officers. He said he wanted to protect the spies from being exposed.

    In a report published on Tuesday, he admitted that at least 42 police spies stole the identity of children who had died before they were 14 years old.

    But the total number of such spies could be far higher as he conceded that the technique could have been more widespread than initially believed.

    Hogan-Howe said he “should apologise for the shock and offence the use of this tactic has caused” among the public, after the Guardian revealed details of the policing method in February.

    The commissioner argued that the families could not be informed as it could lead to the exposure of the undercover officers sent to infiltrate the political groups.

    “It was never intended or foreseen that any of the identities used would become public, or that any family would suffer hurt as a result. At the time this method of creating identities was in use, officers felt this was the safest option” he added.

    His decision drew immediate criticism. Jenny Jones, a Green party member of the London Assembly, said: “This falls short of coming clean to all the families whose children’s identities were harvested. In giving a blanket apology they have avoided the difficult task of apologising to real people.”

    The Met has sent letters of apology to 15 families whose children died young, but has neither confirmed nor denied whether identities were stolen.

    One case concerned a suspected spy, deployed between 1999 and 2003, who allegedly stole the identity of Rod Richardson, who died two days after being born in 1973.

    The family’s lawyer, Jules Carey, said that Barbara Shaw, the mother of the dead boy, was taking legal action as she felt her complaint had been “swept under the carpet”.

    Carey said Hogan-Howe’s apology was a PR exercise. He added: “The families of the dead children whose identities have been stolen by the undercover officers deserve better than this. They deserve an explanation, a personal apology. The harvesting of dead children’s identities was only one manifestation of the rot at the heart of these undercover units.”

    Peter Francis, one of the spies who originally blew the whistle on the tactic, said the police should offer a personal apology to the families in the cases of spies whose identity had already been exposed. He agreed that the spies whose work remained secret should be protected.

    The report, on Tuesday, was produced by Mick Creedon, the Derbyshire chief constable who is conducting an investigation into the activities of the undercover spies over 40 years.

    Creedon revealed that the technique was used extensively as far back as 1976 and was authorised by senior police. He reported that the tactic became “an established practice that new officers were taught” within a covert special branch unit known as the special demonstration squad (SDS), which spied on political groups.

    “This was not done by the officers in any underhand or salacious manner – it was what they were told to do,” Creedon added.

    One senior spy is quoted as saying the undercover officers “spent hours and hours … leafing through death registers in search of a name [they] could call his own”.

    “The genuine identities of the deceased children were blended with the officer’s own biographical details,” Creedon said.

    The spies were issued with fake documents, such as passports and driving licences, to make their alter egos appear genuine in case suspicious activists started to investigate them.

    The last time the tactic was used, according to Creedon, was 2003, by a spy working for a second covert unit – the national public order intelligence unit (NPOIU) – which infiltrated political campaigns.

    Creedon said it was highly possible that the tactic was used by undercover officers in other units which infiltrated serious criminal gangs. “It would be a mistake to assume that the use of identities of dead children was solely within the SDS and the NPOIU.”

    He said that the use of the technique “however morally repugnant, should not detract from the [spies’] bravery”.

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 July 2013 12.22 BST

    Find this story at 16 July 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Home Office ‘knew police stole children’s identities’

    Bob Lambert admits to adopting the identity of a seven-year-old boy and has conceded to having four affairs while undercover

    Bob Lambert was deployed as an animal rights activist named Bob Robinson in the 1980s.

    A former police spymaster has claimed the practice of resurrecting the identities of dead children so they could be used by undercover officers was “well known at the highest levels of the Home Office”.

    Bob Lambert, who is facing a potential criminal investigation over his work for a secret unit of undercover officers, admitted that when he was deployed as a spy himself, he adopted the identity of a seven-year-old boy who died of a congenital heart defect.

    He also admitted to using his false identity in court and co-writing the “McLibel” leaflet that defamed the burger chain McDonald’s, resulting in the longest civil trial in English legal history.

    Conceding publicly for the first time that he had four relationships with women while undercover, one of which resulted in him secretly fathering a child, he said: “With hindsight I can only say that I genuinely regret my actions, and I apologise to the women affected in my case.”

    Lambert was deployed as an animal rights activist named “Bob Robinson” in the 1980s for a covert Metropolitan Police unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) which deployed undercover officers in political campaign groups. In the 1990s, he was promoted to manage other undercover operatives.

    Over the last two years the Guardian has detailed the covert work of Lambert, one of the most controversial spies to have worked for the SDS and its sister squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

    Until now, Lambert has either declined to comment in detail or said the Guardian’s reports amounted to “a misleading combination of truth, distortions, exaggerations and outright lies”.

    However, in a Channel 4 News interview broadcast on Friday, Lambert admitted that many of the allegations made against him were true. “My reputation is never going to be redeemed for many people, and I don’t think it should be,” he told the programme. “I think I made serious mistakes that I should regret, and I always will do.”

    Lambert said he was arrested “four or five” times while undercover and in 1986 he appeared in a magistrates court charged with a “minor public order offence”. He said he had to appear in court using his alter ego – rather than his real name – in order to “maintain cover”.

    He also admitted to co-writing the McLibel leaflet. “I was certainly a contributing author to the McLibel leaflet,” he told the programme. “Well, I think, the one that I remember, the one that I remember making a contribution to, was called What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?”

    Asked if that was ever disclosed to the court during the long-running civil trial, he replied: “I don’t know the answer to that question.”

    Although he admitted having relationships with women, Lambert denied it was a deliberate tactic in the SDS to use relationships to gain access, saying “probably I became too immersed” in his alter ego. “I’d always been a faithful husband,” he said. “I only ever became an unfaithful husband when I became an undercover police officer.”

    Harriet Wistrich, a lawyer representing eight women involved in relationships with Lambert and other undercover police said that there was a systematic pattern in which operatives repeatedly used long-term relationships to build their cover.

    Almost all of the undercover officers identified so far – including those known to have worked under Lambert – had sexual relationships while operating covertly.

    An SDS spy who has become a whistleblower, Peter Francis, has said that when he was deployed as an anti-racist campaigner, his superiors asked him to find “dirt” that could be used to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

    His revelation has since triggered further investigations into alleged covert tactics used against the Lawrence family, their supporters and Duwayne Brooks, a friend of Stephen and the main witness to the murder.

    On Friday, police chiefs admitted bugging a meeting with Brooks and his lawyer, Jane Deighton. Deighton said that Brooks, who is now a Lib Dem councillor, conveyed his concern in a meeting with the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

    In a previous Channel 4 News broadcast, Lambert denied the unit was involved in seeking to smear the Lawrence family during his tenure as deputy head of the unit.

    He had a supervisory role when other spies, such as Jim Boyling and Mark Jenner, formed long-term relationships with people they were spying on. All are now under investigation.

    The deployments of Francis, Lambert, Boyling and Jenner are detailed in a new book: Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police.

    Lambert has also been accused in parliament of igniting an incendiary device in a branch of Debenhams as part of a fire-bombing campaign by the Animal Liberation Front. Repeating earlier denials, he told Channel 4 News that the claim was “false”.

    The home secretary, Theresa May, is coming under mounting pressure to announce an independent public inquiry into the affair. So far she has indicated that two pre-existing inquiries – one run by a barrister, the other an internal Met police review – are capable of investigating the allegations surrounding the Lawrences and Brooks.

    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Saturday 6 July 2013

    Find this story 6 July 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Undercover policeman who impregnated one of his targets and impersonated a dead child apologises for ‘serious mistakes’

    Bob Lambert had a five-year covert career using the alias Bob Robinson
    The married office slept with four women and fathered a child with one
    Lambert claims that being undercover led to his bad behaviour

    Back in the day: During a covert career in which he infiltrated various groups, Bob Lambert has spoke of his disgust at some of his actions

    A former Scotland Yard police officer who fathered a child with one of several targets he had relationships with while working undercover has apologised to the women.

    Bob Lambert said he would always regret the ‘serious mistakes’ he made during a covert career which saw him use the identities of dead children, give evidence in court under his false name and co-author a libellous leaflet.

    Mr Lambert used the alias Bob Robinson during his five years infiltrating environmentalist groups, when he was with the special demonstration squad (SDS), the Metropolitan Police unit that targeted political activists.

    The revelation that the married officer slept with four women – fathering a child with one – sparked outrage.

    In an interview with Channel 4 News, he said he accepts his behaviour was morally reprehensible and a gross invasion of privacy.

    ‘With hindsight, I can only say that I genuinely regret my actions, and I apologise to the women affected,’ he said.

    ‘I’d always been a faithful husband. I only ever became an unfaithful husband when I became an undercover police officer.’

    The ex-officer declined to reveal whether his superiors were aware of the child – insisting he would only discuss that with an investigation into the activities of undercover police activities being led by the chief constable of Derbyshire.

    Mr Lambert said he ‘didn’t really give pause for thought on the ethical considerations’ of adopting the identity of a dead child in 1984 as it was standard practice at the time.

    ‘That’s what was done. Let’s be under no illusions about the extent to which that was an accepted practice that was well known at the highest levels of the Home Office,’ he told the programme.

    Baby snatched from its pram and thrown to the floor outside a hospital by teenager who was on a legal high called Salvia

    He confirmed that he had appeared in court as Bob Robinson but could not say whether the judiciary was made aware by the police that he was doing so.

    ‘On occasions I was arrested as Bob Robinson and to maintain cover I went through the process of arrest, detention, and on occasions, appearing in court,’ he said.
    Lambert insists he was unaware of any campaign to smear family and friends of Stephen Lawrence

    He denied it amounted to perjury as ’the position was that I was maintaining cover as Bob Robinson’.
    But asked if the court was ‘made aware’, he added: ‘Well, that’s what needs to be established.’

    Mr Lambert also confirmed that he helped write a libellous leaflet that attacked fast food giant McDonald’s and triggered the longest civil trial in English history.

    McDonald’s famously sued two green campaigners over the leaflet in a landmark three-year high court case.

    It was not disclosed during the costly civil legal proceedings brought by McDonalds in the 1990s that an undercover police officer helped write the leaflet.

    ‘I was certainly a contributing author to the McLibel leaflet. Well, I think, the one that I remember, the one that I remember making a contribution to, was called What’s Wrong With McDonalds?’, he told Channel 4.

    Over the line: Bob Lambert in a more recent picture, fathered a child with one of his targets

    Asked if that fact was disclosed during the proceedings, he said: ‘I don’t know.’

    He repeated his rejection though of claims that he planted an incendiary device in a Debenhams store in Harrow in 1987, calling that a ‘false allegation’.

    Mr Lambert, who was an SDS manager for five years, earlier this week insisted he had not been aware of any campaign against the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

    Those claims were made by another veteran of the unit, Peter Francis, who alleges he was told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family – who are calling for a public inquiry to examine the issue.

    Home Secretary Theresa May has said they would be looked at by the Derbyshire probe and a separate inquiry led by barrister Mark Ellison QC into alleged corruption in the original Lawrence murder investigation, but has left open the possibility of other action.

    ‘My reputation is never going to be redeemed for many people, and I don’t think it should be,’ Mr Lambert said.

    ‘I think I made serious mistakes that I should regret, and I always will do. I think the only real comfort I can take from my police career is that the Muslim Contact Unit was about learning from mistakes.’

    Belinda Harvey, one of eight women who are suing the Metropolitan Police over relationships with men who turned out to be undercover officers, rejected his apology.

    ‘Almost everything he said to me was a lie; why would I possibly believe what he says to me know.’ she told Channel 4.

    ‘If it hadn’t been for the case we’re bringing against the police, he would never have apologised and I would have lived the rest of my days not finding out the truth.’

    Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven said the latest evidence strengthened the case for a judge-led public inquiry.

    ‘It is as bad as I think we thought it was,’ he said.

    ‘He seems to have admitted a great deal of the conduct that people feared had been taking place.

    ‘It now sounds as though not only senior police officers but senior civil servants may have known what was going on.

    ‘It’s no good having this multitude of inquiries that are going on at the moment, one of them conducted by the police themselves which is pretty hopeless in my view.

    ‘We need a single public inquiry under a senior judicial figure to examine what happened, what went wrong, who authorised it and most of all to reassure us that its not going on still.’

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    PUBLISHED: 00:37 GMT, 6 July 2013 | UPDATED: 01:06 GMT, 6 July 2013

    Find this story at 6 July 2013

    © Associated Newspapers Ltd

    Police to apologise for using dead children’s identities

    Investigation into covert policing has found widespread use of the practice.

    Senior police leaders are set to make an unprecedented national apology after hundreds of names of dead children were used to create false identities for undercover officers.

    An investigation into covert policing has found widespread use of the practice.

    Undercover officers told The Times that they were trained to use names of the dead and it had become “standard practice”.

    Special branch units used the names while infiltrating criminal gangs, animal rights activists and football hooligan firms, it is claimed.

    Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, will be questioned about the method after it was revealed that officers were told to gather “dirt” on the family of Stephen Lawrence.

    Sources say that the practice may have been used in MI5 and MI6 and that several thousand identities of dead infants, children and teenagers may have been assumed by undercover officers.

    An apology will be made senior police in the coming days.

    Tom Foot
    Friday, 5 July 2013

    Find this story at 5 July 2013

    © independent.co.uk

    Scotland Yard to apologise for stealing dead children’s identities and giving them to undercover officers

    Police chiefs are expected to formally apologise for using the names of dead children to create fake identities for undercover officers.

    It had been thought that only officers in secret police units such as the Met Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, which was closed in 2008, had adopted dead children’s names as a new identity.

    But Operation Herne, an ongoing investigation into the conduct of undercover police, has revealed that the practice was more widespread than originally thought and used by forces across the country.

    Standard practice: It had been thought that the practice of using dead children’s names as identities for undercover officers was restricted to Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstrations Squad, but the practice is now said to have been more widespread

    According to sources, undercover police officers infiltrating criminal networks and violent gangs were given dead people’s identities as ‘standard practice’, reported The Times.

    The technique, which was regularly used in the 1960s and 1990s, is thought to have been last used in 2002.

    Why SHOULD we help find Maddie, ask Portugal’s police chiefs, as they ridicule Scotland Yard claims of new leads on missing girl
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    But it is thought that the technique was not restricted to police forces with other agencies such as HM Revenue & Customs said to have adopted the practice.

    The apology could come as early as this month but police are not expected to contact families of the dead people whose names were used through fear that it could put officers who have taken part in undercover operations in the past in danger.

    A way in: Dead children’s identities were used by undercover offices to infiltrate violent gangs and demonstration groups

    A source told The Times: ‘This wasn’t an anomaly, it wasn’t something that was used in isolation by just one unit.

    ‘If you are infiltrating a sophisticated crime group they are going to check who you are, so you need a backstop, a cover story that has real depth and won’t fall over at the first hurdle.

    Disapproving: Policing minister Damien Green has expressed his disappointment at the use of dead children’s names by police units

    ‘The way to do that was to build an identity that was based on a real person.’

    It was reported earlier this year that around 80 names were used by officers over a 30 year period.

    Set up in 2011, Operation Herne, which is expected to cost around £1.66million a year, will examine the conduct of all ranks of officers and even look at the actions of former Home Secretaries.

    Both The Home Affairs Committee and Police minister Damian Green have spoken of their ‘disappointment’ that dead children’s names were used in investigations.

    Back in may, Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon admitted that the practice had been widespread

    A raft of allegations have been made since former PC Mark Kennedy was unmasked in 2011 as an undercover officer who spied on environmental protesters as Mark ‘Flash’ Stone – and had at least one sexual relationship with a female activist.

    The revelation comes before Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe appears before MPs to answer questions over a number of controversies including claims last month that the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence were targeted by undercover officers who were assigned to ‘get dirt’ on them.

    Quiz: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will face questions from MPs over a number of controversies

    It also emerged that police admitted bugging meetings involving Duwayne Brooks, the friend who was with Stephen the night he was attacked.

    The claims affecting Mr Brooks came after former undercover officer Peter Francis alleged that he had been told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family.

    Mr Francis, who worked with Scotland Yard’s former Special Demonstration Squad, spoke out about tactics that he said were used by the secretive unit in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Investigation: A raft of allegations have been made since former PC Mark Kennedy was unmasked in 2011 as an undercover officer who spied on environmental protesters as Mark ¿Flash¿ Stone ¿ and had at least one sexual relationship with a female activist

    By Steve Nolan

    PUBLISHED: 11:07 GMT, 6 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:13 GMT, 6 July 2013

    Find this story at 6 July 2013

    © Associated Newspapers Ltd

    ‘Common practice’ for cops to use dead kids IDs; Shocking … cops used dead children’s identities

    POLICE have admitted it was “common practice” for undercover officers to adopt the identities of dead children for aliases in the 1980s – but said they had no idea exactly how many times the sick tactic was used.

    Despite a number of requests from relatives of dead children, Chief Constable Mick Creedon said none of the people affected had been told yet.

    He also admitted no arrests had been made and no officers faced disciplinary proceedings.

    The Derbyshire police boss said: “No families of children whose identities have been used have been contacted and informed.

    “No answer either positive or negative has yet been given in relation to these inquiries from families.”

    Commenting on the continuing Operation Herne investigation, he said the issue is “very complicated and mistakes could put lives in jeopardy”.

    Keith Vaz MP, Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, has demanded all affected families be contacted immediately.

    Operation Herne – a probe into undercover policing by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstrations Squad – was set up after PC Mark Kennedy posed as an environmental protestor and had a sexual relationship with an activist.

    A number of men and women are suing the Met over alleged intimate relationships with undercover cops.

    The investigation, which has 23 officers and ten police staff working on it, has so far cost £1.25million and is expected to cost a further £1.66million over the next year.

    Published: 17th May 2013

    Find this story at 17 May 201

    © News Group Newspapers Limited



    Undercover police ‘gave drugs to dealers in return for information’

    Former detective Christian Plowman writes book claiming that unit targeted low-level criminals rather than criminals at top of chain

    Christian Plowman claims that he often found himself targeting crack addicts instead of dealers and spying on ordinary people. Photograph: Toby Melville/PA

    Heroin and crack cocaine bought with taxpayers’ money was routinely given to drug dealers in return for information, a former Scotland Yard undercover officer has alleged.

    Christian Plowman, 39, claims that officers from SO10, the elite covert operations unit of the Metropolitan police, would allow dealers to take amounts of class-A drugs as a form of bribe.

    Although not illegal, the practice of officers handing over illicit drugs in return for leads is likely to reignite the debate over the ethics of undercover policing and bring fresh accusations of a lack of control over covert operatives.

    “We were treading a line. Often we’d buy some drugs off somebody who would be a junkie and he would promise to take us directly to the dealer the next time, but in return for that he’d want some of the drugs he’d bought for us. We had to be careful that if we agreed to that, he took the drugs himself so he couldn’t say that we supplied him,” said Plowman.

    But Plowman said they never sold drugs, unlike detective constable Nicholas McFadden of West Yorkshire police, who was jailed for 23 years last Thursday after stealing more than £1.2m-worth of drugs seized in police raids and selling them back onto the streets.

    Speaking publicly for the first time about his experiences as a covert operative since leaving the Met in 2011, Plowman also accused the undercover unit of targeting “low-hanging fruit” instead of individuals at the top of the criminal chain. He said some covert operations became focused upon getting “heads on sticks”, which Plowman said meant “let’s bag as many as people as possible for whatever offence we can”.

    As a result, the full-time undercover officer claims he often found himself targeting crack addicts instead of dealers and spying on ordinary people.

    Plowman spent 16 years in the Met and was one of around 10 full-time covert operatives. He was a close friend of Mark Kennedy, 43, the undercover officer who had at least one sexual relationship with a woman while infiltrating eco-activists. Plowman has written a book about his experiences, Crossing the Line, which is published next month.

    Although he praises his colleagues, the former officer describes the culture of SO10 as riven with machismo, to the extent that undercover officers who requested psychological help were seen as not fit for the job.

    “You need a culture where you can go and see a shrink and you won’t be blacklisted, but there was a proper locker-room culture,” said Plowman, who now lives abroad and works as a security manager for a fashion firm. Unable to ask for support and struggling to balance his aliases with his own identity, Plowman admits he contemplated suicide.

    He reveals that some former colleagues have threatened him since he left. “One of them said ‘next time you’re in London, I’m gonna headbutt you’, but who’d do that anyway? You’re a policeman for starters.”

    Plowman’s last job was working at a north London pawnshop called TJ’s Trading Post that was set up by Scotland Yard to trade in stolen goods, but which he believes operated as a “honey trap” that lured people to commit crime. More than 100 people are believed to have been convicted, many for illegally trading their own passports and driving licences.

    Plowman claims the store encouraged people in a poor area to commit offences by giving the impression that they could make easy money by trading ID documents. “They were not people whose arrest would make any visible impact on the community. If TJ’s had never opened, those people would not have been in prison for any offence,” he said.

    The Met declined to comment.

    Mark Townsend
    The Observer, Saturday 6 April 2013 15.40 BST

    Find this story at 6 April 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    New Twist in British Spy’s Case Unravels in U.S.

    Mark Kennedy, a British police officer who spent seven years infiltrating environmental and activist groups while working undercover for the Metropolitan Police force in London, may have monitored an American computer scientist and spied on others while in the United States.

    The computer scientist, Harry Halpin, said that he was at a gathering of activists and academics in Manhattan in January 2008 that Mr. Kennedy — then using the pseudonym Mark Stone — also attended. He said Mr. Kennedy collected information about him and about a man and a woman who were accused later that year of associating with “a terrorist enterprise” and sabotaging high-speed train lines in France.

    In addition to Mr. Halpin’s assertions, documents connected to the case indicate that prosecutors in Paris looked to American officials to provide evidence about a handful of people in the United States and events that took place in New York in 2008.

    “Mark Kennedy spied upon myself on United States soil, as well as Julien Coupat and Yildune Levy,” Mr. Halpin wrote in an e-mail, naming two defendants in the group known in France as the Tarnac 10, after the small mountain village where several of them had lived in a commune.

    Mr. Halpin added that Mr. Coupat introduced him to Mr. Kennedy in the fall of 2007. “It appears that Mark Kennedy also passed information to the F.B.I. that I knew Julian Coupat,” he added.

    Reached via e-mail on Thursday, Mr. Kennedy, who now works with The Densus Group, a security consulting firm based in the United States, declined to comment on Mr. Halpin’s statements.

    In 2010, Mr. Halpin said that F.B.I. agents detained him for five hours after he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Europe, seizing his computer and threatening put him in jail if he did not agree to provide information about Mr. Coupat. Mr. Halpin said that he refused but the agents let him go when they were asked to explain the charges against him.

    A spokesman for the F.B.I. in New York, James Margolin, declined to comment on the encounter described by Mr. Halpin.

    The accounts of events in New York provided by Mr. Halpin and others added a new twist to two dramas that have received widespread attention in Europe, where they have slowly unraveled over the past few years.

    Mr. Kennedy’s actions while spying on political activists in Britain have brought embarrassment to Scotland Yard, as officials there have been forced to confront allegations of inappropriate behavior by some undercover operatives.

    As reported in The Guardian newspaper, Mr. Kennedy was said to have had sexual relationships with a number of women connected to groups he had infiltrated.

    In 2011, the trial of six people accused of planning to take over a coal-fired power plant collapsed amid claims, denied by Mr. Kennedy, that he had acted as an agent provocateur. Mr. Kennedy was also shown to have worked undercover in more than 20 other countries, including Iceland, Spain and Germany, where members of parliament have raised questions about his role.

    Eventually, 10 women, including three who said they had intimate relationships with Mr. Kennedy, sued the police in London saying that they had formed strong personal ties with undercover officers. Later, it was reported in British papers that Mr. Kennedy sued the police, saying that his superiors had failed to prevent him from sleeping with an activist and falling in love.

    In France, l’affaire de Tarnac, as it is known, has become a cause célèbre among civil libertarians who have criticized the use of terrorism statutes against people suspected of sabotage but not accused of harming anyone. The defendants have denied wrongdoing, but the authorities have portrayed them as dangerous subversives who plotted attacks against the state then “refused to answer questions, or gave whimsical answers” about their activities.

    An unusual element of the case involves a book called “The Coming Insurrection” by an anonymous group of authors called the Invisible Committee. The book advocates rebellion against capitalist culture, encourages readers to form self-sufficient communes and calls for “a diffuse, efficient guerrilla war to give us back our ungovernableness.” Prosecutors have said that Mr. Coupat and his comrades wrote the volume. The suspects denied authorship but Mr. Coupat told journalists in France that the book had merit.

    While the Tarnac case has moved slowly through the French legal system, documents have emerged showing that F.B.I. agents were posted outside the Manhattan building where the activists gathered in 2008, videotaping the arrival and departure of Mr. Halpin, Mr. Coupat and Ms. Levy, among others. Those tapes were later given to French prosecutors along with a detailed log compiled by the F.B.I. agents.

    As the French investigation continued, documents show that prosecutors in Paris asked officials in the United States about a “meeting of anarchists” in New York and about several people who could be connected to Mr. Coupat. They also asked for information about a low-grade explosive attack in March 2008 that damaged an armed forces recruitment center in Times Square.

    In 2012, letters show that Justice Department officials said they had not identified any connection between the people at the Manhattan gathering and the attack on the recruitment center. The officials also gave French prosecutors background information on some American citizens who appeared to have visited the commune in Tarnac and records of an interview that F.B.I. agents had conducted with an assistant professor and French philosophist at New York University who had translated “The Coming Insurrection.”

    The professor, Alexander Galloway, told the agents that he had taught the books in a class on political theory and French philosophy, but had never met Mr. Coupat.

    Official documents do not mention Mr. Kennedy but several people from New York said that he spent about a week there in early 2008 on his way to visit a brother in Cleveland. During that period, witnesses said Mr. Kennedy attended several informal gatherings, sometimes with Mr. Coupat and Ms. Levy.

    March 15, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Find this story at 15 March 2013

    Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

    Police spies: in bed with a fictional character

    Mark Jenner lived with a woman under a fake name. Now she has testified to MPs about the ‘betrayal and humiliation’ she felt

    Mark Jenner, the undercover officer in the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad, who went by the name of Mark Cassidy for six years – then disappeared.

    He was a burly, funny scouser called Mark Cassidy. His girlfriend – a secondary school teacher he shared a flat with for four years – believed they were almost “man and wife”. Then, in 2000, as the couple were discussing plans for the future, Cassidy suddenly vanished, never to be seen again.

    An investigation by the Guardian has established that his real name is Mark Jenner. He was an undercover police officer in the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad (SDS), one of two units that specialised in infiltrating protest groups.

    His girlfriend, whose story can be told for the first time as her evidence to a parliamentary inquiry is made public, said living with a police spy has had an “enormous impact” on her life.

    “It has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationship and other subsequent relationships,” she said, adopting the pseudonym Alison. “It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex.”

    Alison is one of four women to testify to the House of Commons home affairs select committee last month.

    Another woman said she had been psychologically traumatised after discovering that the father of her child, who she thought had disappeared, was Bob Lambert, a police spy who vanished from her life in the late 1980s.

    A third woman, speaking publicly for the first time about her six-year relationship with Mark Kennedy, a police officer who infiltrated environmental protest groups, said: “You could … imagine that your phone might be tapped or that somebody might look at your emails, but to know that there was somebody in your bed for six years, that somebody was involved in your family life to such a degree, that was an absolute shock.”

    Their moving testimony led the committee to declare that undercover operations have had a “terrible impact” on the lives of innocent women.

    The MPs are so troubled about the treatment of the women – as well as the “ghoulish” practice in which undercover police adopted the identities of dead children – that they have called for an urgent clean-up of the laws governing covert surveillance operations.

    Jenner infiltrated leftwing political groups from 1994 to 2000, pretending to be a joiner interested in radical politics. For much of his deployment, he was under the command of Lambert, who was by then promoted to head of operations of the SDS.

    While posing as Cassidy, he could be coarse but also irreverent and funny. The undercover officer saw himself as something of a poet. A touch over 6ft, he had a broad neck, large shoulders and exuded a tough, working-class quality.

    By the spring of 1995, Jenner began a relationship with Alison and soon moved into her flat. “We lived together as what I would describe as man and wife,” she said. “He was completely integrated into my life for five years.”

    Jenner met her relatives, who trusted him as her long-term partner. He accompanied Alison to her mother’s second wedding. “He is in my mother’s wedding photograph,” she said. Family videos of her nephew’s and niece’s birthdays show Jenner teasing his girlfriend fondly. Others record him telling her late grandmother about his fictionalised family background.

    Alison, a peaceful campaigner involved in leftwing political causes, believes she inadvertently provided the man she knew as Mark Cassidy with “an excellent cover story”, helping persuade other activists he was a genuine person.

    “People trusted me, people knew that I was who I said I was, and people believed, therefore, that he must be who he said he was because he was welcomed into my family,” she said.

    It was not unusual for undercover operatives working for the SDS or its sister squad, the national public order unit, to have sexual relationships with women they were spying on. Of the 11 undercover police officers publicly identified, nine had intimate sexual relations with activists. Most were long-term, meaningful relationships with women who believed they were in a loving partnership.

    Usually these spies were told to spend at least one or two days a week off-duty, when they would change clothes and return to their real lives. However, Jenner, who had a wife, appears to have lived more or less permanently with Alison, rarely leaving their shared flat in London.

    It was an arrangement that caused personal problems for the Jenners. At one stage, he is known to have attended counselling to repair his relationship with his wife. Bizarrely, at about the same time, he was also consulting a second relationship counsellor with Alison.

    “I met him when I was 29,” she said. “It was the time when I wanted to have children, and for the last 18 months of our relationship he went to relationship counselling with me about the fact that I wanted children and he did not.”

    Jenner disentangled himself from the deployment in 2000, disappearing suddenly from Alison’s flat after months pretending to suffer from depression.

    The police spy left her a note which read: “We want different things. I can’t cope … When I said I loved you, I meant it, but I can’t do it.” He claimed he was going to Germany to look for work.

    It was all standard procedure for the SDS. Some operatives ended their deployments by pretending to have a breakdown and vanishing, supposedly to go abroad, sending a few letters to their girlfriends with foreign postmarks.

    Alison was left heartbroken and paranoid, feeling that she was losing her mind. She spent more than a decade investigating Jenner’s background, hiring a private detective to try to track him down. She had no idea he was actually working a few miles away at Scotland Yard, where he is understood to still work as a police officer today.

    The strongest clue to Jenner’s real identity came from an incident she recalled from years earlier when he was still living with her. “I discovered he made an error with a credit card about a year and a half into our relationship,” she said. “It was in the name Jenner and I asked him what it was and he told me he bought it off a man in a pub and he had never used it. He asked me to promise to never tell anyone.”

    The Metropolitan police refused to comment on whether Jenner was a police spy. “We are not prepared to confirm or deny the deployment of individuals on specific operations,” it said.

    Alison told MPs that the “betrayal and humiliation” she suffered was beyond normal. “This is not about just a lying boyfriend or a boyfriend who has cheated on you,” she said. “It is about a fictional character who was created by the state and funded by taxpayers’ money. The experience has left me with many, many unanswered questions, and one of those that comes back is: how much of the relationship was real?”

    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013

    Find this story at 1 March 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Police spy Mark Kennedy may have misled parliament over relationships

    Inquiry hears claims of 10 or more women having sexual relations with undercover officer who infiltrated eco-activists

    Mark Kennedy’s evidence saying he had sexual relationships with two people is disputed by women taking legal action against the police. Photograph: Philipp Ebeling

    Mark Kennedy, the police spy who infiltrated the environmental movement, appears to have misled parliament over the number of sexual relationships he had with women while he was working undercover.

    Kennedy told a parliamentary inquiry that he had only two relationships during the seven years he spied on environmental groups.

    However, at least four women had come forward to say that he slept with them when he was a police spy.

    Friends who knew Kennedy when he was living as an eco-activist in Nottingham have identified more than 10 women with whom he slept.

    Kennedy was the only undercover police officer to give evidence to the inquiry conducted by the home affairs select committee.

    He testified in private, but transcripts of his evidence released on Thursday reveal that he claimed he had sexual relationships with “two individuals”.

    But three women who say they are Kennedy’s former lovers are part of an 11-strong group taking legal action against police chiefs for damages.

    A fourth, named Anna, previously told the Guardian she felt “violated” by her sexual relationship with Kennedy, which lasted several months.

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013

    Find this story at 1 March 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Home Affairs Committee – Thirteenth Report Undercover Policing: Interim Report

    Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 26 February 2013.

    Find this story at 1 March 2013


    Terms of Reference


    The legal framework governing undercover policing

    Responsibility for undercover policing

    The use of dead infants’ identities

    Operation Herne


    Conclusions and recommendations

    Formal Minutes


    List of printed written evidence

    List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

    Oral and Written Evidence

    5 February 2013 i

    5 February 2013 ii

    5 February 2013 iii

    5 February 2013 iv

    Written Evidence

    Anatomy of a betrayal: the undercover officer accused of deceiving two women, fathering a child, then vanishing

    The story of Bob Lambert reveals just how far police may have gone to infiltrate political groups

    The grave of Mark Robinson and his parents in Branksome cemetery in Poole, Dorset. Bob Lambert adopted the boy’s identity, abbreviating his second name to Bob. Photograph: Roger Tooth for the Guardian

    The words inscribed on the grave say Mark Robinson “fell asleep” on 19 October, 1959. He was a seven-year-old boy who died of a congenital heart defect, the only child to Joan and William Robinson. They died in 2009 and are buried in the same grave, listed on the headstone as “Mummy” and “Daddy”.

    It is perhaps some solace that Mark’s parents never lived long enough to discover how the identity of their son may have been quietly resurrected by undercover police without their knowledge. The controversial tactic – in which covert officers spying on protesters adopted the identities of dead children – stopped less than a decade ago. More than 100 children’s identities may have been used.

    Last week the home secretary, Theresa May, announced that a chief constable from Derbyshire would take over an inquiry into undercover policing of protest, after revelations by the Guardian into the use of stolen identities.

    Despite an internal investigation that has cost £1.25m, senior officers seem genuinely baffled at the activities of two apparently rogue units that have been monitoring political campaigners since 1968.

    The story of the officer who appears to have used the identity of Mark Robinson, adopting it as his own, reveals much of what has gone wrong with police infiltration of political groups. Bob Lambert, who posed as an animal rights campaigner in the 1980s, not only adopted the identity of a dead child. He was also accused in parliament of carrying out an arson attack on a Debenhams department store and deceiving two women into having long-term sexual relationships with him.

    One of them has now revealed how Lambert fathered a child with her before vanishing from their lives when his deployment came to an end in 1989. She only discovered he was an undercover police officer eight months ago – more than 20 years after he disappeared from the lives of mother and child, claiming to be on the run.

    Using the pseudonym Charlotte, she said in a statement to the home affairs select committee: “There can be no excuses for what he did: for the betrayal, the manipulation and the lies … I loved him so much, but now have to accept that he never existed.”


    The story of how Bob Lambert became Bob Robinson begins on the outskirts of Poole, Dorset, in 1983. For almost 25 years, a sculpture of the boy stood guard above the grave in Branksome cemetery. “Safe in the arms of Jesus,” the engraving said.

    Lambert would have come across the boy’s paperwork in St Catherine’s House, the national register of births, deaths and marriages. It was a rite of passage for all spies working in the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a unit dedicated to spying on protesters. For ease of use, SDS officers looked to adopt the identities of dead children who shared their name and approximate date of birth. They called it “the Jackal Run”, after its fictional depiction in Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal.

    Mark Robinson was the ideal match. He was born in Plumstead, south-east London, on 28 February, 1952 – just 16 days before Lambert’s date of birth. His second name was Robert, which the spy could abbreviate to Bob. He died of acute congestive cardiac failure after being born with a malformed heart. Other SDS officers are known to have chosen children who died of leukaemia or were killed in road accidents.

    Undercover police did not merely adopt the names of dead children, but revived entire identities, researching their family backgrounds and secretly visiting the homes they were brought up in.

    When the spy made his debut in London as a long-haired anti-capitalist, he introduced himself as Bob Robinson and said he was born in Plumstead. He had fake identity documents, including a driving licence in the name of Mark Robinson. Recently, he is understood to have said his full undercover alias was Mark Robert Robinson. The date of birth he gave is still in a diary entry of one close friend: it was the same date as that of the dead child.
    Bob Lambert, aka Bob Robinson Photograph: guardian.co.uk

    Double life

    It was the start of a surreal double life. For most of the week he lived as Robinson, a gardener and active member of the environmental group London Greenpeace. For one or two days a week, he returned to the more conventional life with his wife and children in Hertfordshire. SDS insiders say Lambert was revered as one of the best operatives in the field. He helped jail two activists from the Animal Liberation Front who were convicted of planting incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams in protest at the sale of fur in July1987.

    Lambert’s relationship with Charlotte, then 22, helped bolster his undercover credibility. When they met in 1984, Lambert was her first serious relationship, and 12 years her senior.

    “He got involved in animal rights and made himself a useful member of the group by ferrying us around in his van,” she said. “He was always around, wherever I turned he was there trying to make himself useful, trying to get my attention. I believed at the time that he shared my beliefs and principles. In fact, he would tease me for not being committed enough.”

    Around Christmas that year, Charlotte became pregnant. “Bob seemed excited by the news and he was caring and supportive throughout the pregnancy,” she said. “Bob was there by my side through the 14 hours of labour in the autumn of 1985 when our son was born. He seemed to be besotted with the baby. I didn’t realise then that he was already married with two other children.”

    Two years later, Lambert’s deployment came to an end. He told friends police were on his tail and he needed to flee to Spain. “He promised he would never abandon his son and said that as soon as it was safe I could bring our baby to Spain to see him,” Charlotte said. Instead, the man she knew as Bob Robinson disappeared forever.

    She was left to bring up their son as a single parent. It was an impoverished life, made worse because there was no way she could receive child maintenance payments. “At that time I blamed myself a lot for the break-up and for the fact that my son had lost his father,” she said.

    When Charlotte’s son became older, the pair tried to track down Bob Robinson, who they presumed was still living in Spain. They could not have known he was working just a few miles away.

    In the mid-1990s, Lambert was promoted to head of operations at the SDS, giving him overarching responsibility for a fleet of other spies. Just like their boss, they adopted the identities of dead children before going undercover to cultivate long-term and intimate relationships with women. That was the unit’s tradecraft and Lambert, with his experience in the field, was its respected spymaster. “I chatted to Bob about everything.” said Pete Black, an SDS officer who infiltrated anti-racist groups under Lambert. “You used to go in with any sort of problems, and if he could not work out how to get you out of the shit, then you were fucked.”

    After his senior role in the SDS, Lambert rose through the ranks of special branch and, in the aftermath of 9/11, founded the Muslim Contact Unit, which sought to foster partnerships between police and the Islamic community.

    Intimate relationships

    He was awarded an MBE for services to policing and retired to start a fresh career in academia, with posts at St Andrews and Exeter universities.

    ‘It was my Bob’

    In 2011, Lambert’s past returned to haunt him. That year Mark Kennedy, another police spy, was revealed to have spent seven years infiltrating eco activists. He had several intimate relationships with women, including one that lasted six years. Kennedy worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, another squad dedicated to monitoring protesters and the second, according to the Metropolitan police, believed to have used the identities of dead children.

    Amid the outcry over Kennedy’s deployment, there was a renewed push among activists to unmask police infiltrators. It was some of Lambert’s old friends in London Greenpeace who eventually made the connection, comparing YouTube videos of Lambert speeches with grainy photographs of Bob Robinson in the 1980s.

    Lambert was giving a talk in a London auditorium when members of the audience – veterans from London Greenpeace – confronted him about his undercover past. He left the stage and walked out of a side door. Outside, he was stony-faced as he was chased down the street by a handful of ageing campaigners. He jumped into a taxi and melted into the afternoon traffic.

    It was only the start of a cascade of claims to tarnish the senior officer’s reputation. In June last year, the Green MP Caroline Lucas used a parliamentary speech to allege that Lambert planted one of three incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams. No one was hurt in the attack on the Harrow store, in north-west London, which caused £340,000 worth of damage. Pointing to evidence that suggested Lambert planted the device, the MP asked: “Has another undercover police officer crossed the line into acting as an agent provocateur?”

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    The Guardian, Thursday 21 February 2013 18.00 GMT

    Find this story at 21 February 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Second police spy unit stole dead children’s IDs

    Met police’s deputy assistant commissioner admits to Commons committee that both units broke internal guidelines

    Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, criticised the Met police for not apologising for the ‘gruesome’ practice. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

    Police chiefs have admitted that a second undercover unit stole the identities of dead children in the late 1990s or even more recently in a series of operations to infiltrate political activists.

    Growing evidence of the scale of the unauthorised technique – nicknamed the “jackal run” after its fictional depiction in Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal – now means the number of families affected could total more than 100.

    The Metropolitan police’s deputy assistant commissioner Patricia Gallan told a parliamentary inquiry that both secret police units broke internal guidelines when they employed the technique, which MPs criticised as “gruesome” and “very distressing”.

    She had been called to give evidence to the Commons home affairs committee following the Guardian’s disclosures that the Metropolitan police had secretly used the tactic without consulting or informing the children’s parents in order to bolster their fake persona when operating undercover.

    But, despite mounting concern over the practice, she declined to apologise to the families of the children until Scotland Yard had completed an internal investigation.

    She said: “I do absolutely appreciate the concern and I understand the upset and why people are very distressed about this.”

    Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, told her: “I’m disappointed that you’ve not used the opportunity to be able to send out a message to those parents who have children who may have had their identity being used that the Met is actually sorry that this has happened.”

    In another development, a family who believe that their son’s identity was stolen as recently as 2003 has lodged a complaint against Scotland Yard. Barbara Shaw, the mother of a baby who died after two days, is pressing the police to reveal the truth and to issue an apology. She said she was deeply upset to discover that her child’s identity was used in this way. “He is still my baby. I’ll never forget him,” Shaw said.

    The Guardian has disclosed that, over three decades, undercover police officers in a covert unit known as the special demonstration squad had been hunting through birth and death records to find children who had died in infancy. Once they found a suitable candidate, they then created an alter ego to infiltrate political groups for up to 10 years. They were issued with official records such as national insurance numbers and driving licences to make their personas more credible, in case the campaigners in the groups they were spying on became suspicious and began to investigate them.

    The SDS adopted the technique after it was founded in 1968. The evidence suggested that the unit stopped using it in the mid-1990s when officials records became more computerised.

    However it now appears that the tactic has been used more recently by a second unit which started operating in 1999.

    The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which is still running, was also tasked with gathering intelligence on protesters.

    Gallan told the committee that the practice “has been from the evidence I have seen confined to two units, the SDS and the NPOIU”.

    Pressed by MPs on whether the squads had gone “rogue” and had gone out of control, Gallan said they were operating at the time outside of police’s guidelines for undercover operations. “From what I have seen, the practices at that time would not be following the national guidelines.” She said the units had departed from the accepted practices, but she had yet to find out why.

    MPs also heard allegations that a suspected undercover police officer stole the identity of the dead child, Rod Richardson, when he posed as an anticapitalist protester for three years.

    Jules Carey, the lawyer for the family, told the committee : “I am instructed by one family who have a son who was born and died in 1973 and we believe that a police officer used the name Rod Richardson which is the name of the child and was deployed as an undercover police officer in about 2000 to 2003 using that name and infiltrated various political groups.

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    The Guardian, Tuesday 5 February 2013 21.15 GMT

    Find this story at 5 February 2013 
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Britse undercoveragenten stalen identiteit van 80 dode kinderen

    Agenten van de Britse Metropolitan Police, de grootste politiedienst van het
    land, hebben tussen 1968 en 1994 de identiteit van ongeveer 80 dode kinderen gestolen. Ze gebruikten de aliassen bij undercoveroperaties zonder dat de ouders van de overleden kinderen op de hoogte waren van deze werkwijze. Dat blijkt uit een onderzoek van The Guardian.

    Het lijkt op een spionagethriller maar over het Kanaal was het gedurende drie decennia een vaak gebruikte manier om personen te volgen: de identiteit stelen van kinderen die het leven hadden gelaten in een ongeval of kinderen die bezweken waren aan de gevolgen van een slepende ziekte.

    De praktijken zouden begonnen zijn in 1968 met als doel het bespioneren van groeperingen die protesteerden tegen onder meer kernenergie, racisme, oorlog en het kapitalisme. Agenten van de Metropolitan Police gaven leden van de speciale eenheid Special Demonstration Squad de toestemming om de aliassen te gebruiken. De agenten kregen zelfs (valse) officiële documenten als paspoorten en rijbewijzen en gingen kijken bij de huizen waar de kinderen waren opgegroeid.

    Het hele proces werd “jackal run” genoemd, naar de roman ‘The Day of the Jackal’, waarin auteur Frederick Forsyth zulke praktijken omschrijft.

    Een voormalig lid van de Special Demonstration Squad – de dienst werd in 2008 ontmanteld – vergelijkt de praktijken zelfs met die van de Stasi, de geheime dienst van de DDR.

    05/02 Buitenland

    Find this story at 5 February 2013

    ©1994-2013 Concentra Media Groep N.V.

    Scotland Yard ‘eco-spy’ Mark Kennedy dragged into French anarchist plot

    A former Scotland Yard officer who infiltrated groups of environmental “terrorists” has been dragged into a high-profile investigation in France over claims he provided “fantasist” information leading to 10 activists’ arrest.

    Mark Kennedy, 42, who spent seven years posing as “ecowarrior” Mark Stone, was exposed as a police spy in Britain last year following the collapse of a prosecution against environmental activists.

    During his undercover life, he visited 11 countries on more than 40 occasions, fielding information to the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit, now the National Domestic Extremism Unit.

    Since he was unmasked, 20 convictions in cases he was involved in against activists have been quashed in the court of appeal. He was also sued by three female eco-activists for being “duped” into having sexual relations with a policeman.

    Now his name has cropped up in the investigation into French activists over an alleged anarchist plot to overthrow the state.

    Their lawyers insist that the investigation is unfairly based on information Mr Kennedy allegedly provided to his UK police unit, including claims the activists discussed and “practised” building improvised explosive devices.
    Related Articles
    Undercover police must be allowed to have sex with activists, says minister 14 Jun 2012
    ‘Undercover cop left firebomb in Debenhams’ 13 Jun 2012
    Undercover police can have sex with suspects 13 Jun 2012
    Mark Kennedy ‘showed undercover police rules were inadequate’ 02 Feb 2012

    The French leftists are under formal investigation for allegedly sabotaging high-speed train lines – seen as a high-profile symbol of the French state – in November 2008, causing massive delays but no injuries. They deny any wrongdoing.

    Mr Kennedy’s role in the inquiry could see the case quashed.

    The so-called “Tarnac affair” erupted in November 2008 when 100 French police raided the tiny rural village of Tarnac, arresting anti-capitalists running a communal farm and village shop.

    The government of then President Nicolas Sarkozy alleged they were dangerous “anarcho-terrorists” hoping to overthrow the state.

    French sociology graduate Julien Coupat was accused of being the group’s “ringleader” and author of a seminal work, The Coming Insurrection.

    It has now emerged that British police helped French prosecutors build a case against the campaigners by confirming Mr Coupat’s presence at two activists’ meetings in France and one in New York. In one of them, it said, “the making of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) was both discussed and practised”.

    By Henry Samuel, Paris

    7:17PM GMT 08 Nov 2012

    Find this story at 8 November 2012

    © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

    [Le Procès du Forgeron] « Qui vole un œuf, viole un bœuf » Procès du forgeron de Tarnac : « On incrimine ma volonté »

    Pour avoir refusé de donner son ADN aux officiers de l’anti-terrorisme, Charles Torres, « le forgeron de l’affaire Tarnac », lavé de tous soupçons depuis, est passé devant la justice. Le délibéré sera rendu par le tribunal de grande instance de Rouen le 6 mars 2013.

    Mercredi 6 janvier 2013, Charles Torres était jugé pour refus de se soumettre au prélèvement d’ADN. Prélèvement demandé par la cellule anti-terroriste lors d’une garde-à-vue justifiée par sa possible appartenance à l’affaire Tarnac. Au moment de cette garde-à-vue, le 23 février 2012, Charles Torres, forgeron de profession, est soupçonné d’être l’artisan des crochets qui auront servi en 2008 à saboter des caténaires de la SNCF.

    Le palais de justice de Rouen accueille donc le jour de l’audience du « Forgeron de Tarnac », tous ses soutiens, sa famille et une bonne dizaine de journalistes alléchés par cette audience connexe à l’affaire Tarnac. Quelques policiers, arnaché de gilets pare-balles et de talkie-walkies. Normal, c’est le procès d’une personne qui soupçonnée début 2012 d’association de malfaiteurs dans une entreprise terroriste.

    La juge aura dû, en début d’audience faire taire le public venu en nombre pour soutenir Charles Torres. Celui-ci a souhaité lire devant le tribunal « sa plaidoirie » car il n’est « pas très à l’aise à l’oral ». L’homme de 28 ans, spécialisé dans la forge médiévale, a commencé son diatribe timidement, posant la question qui le taraude : « Pourquoi suis-je ici devant vous aujourd’hui ? Je ne le sais pas, personne ne le sait. À part peut-être, l’officier de la DCRI que j’ai vu arpenter ce tribunal aujourd’hui, avec une veste de moto. »

    Le forgeron a eu à cœur de pousser les traits d’ironie, malgré sa gêne à parler publiquement. Il s’est même retourné une fois vers l’assemblée pour chercher du regard un soutien. « Adressez-vous au tribunal », le reprendra la juge. Après avoir raconté sa garde à vue, Charles Torres, cultivé et aux mots littéraires, donne ses hypothèses sur les raisons de sa présence devant le tribunal, s’appuyant sur sa connaissance du droit, de l’histoire et sa culture politique. « Dans refus de se soumettre au prélèvement biologique, il y a refus de se soumettre », commence-t-il, « On incrimine ici ma volonté. »

    Le forgeron de Roncherolles-sur-le-Vivier explique ensuite pourquoi il s’est refusé à ce prélèvement d’ADN : « Je m’oppose au fichage génétique. » Il rappelle l’historique du Fichier national automatisé des empreintes génétiques (Fnaeg) initialement mis en place en 1998 pour ficher les délinquants sexuels, donc les personnes jugées coupables par la justice. Voulant prouver le ridicule de sa présence au tribunal, il se joue de l’adage « Qui vole un œuf, vole un bœuf » : « Qui vole un œuf, viole un bœuf. »

    Sans désarmer, Charles Torres continue de justifier son refus de se soumettre, rappelant l’affaire Élodie Kulik, violée puis assassinée (2002). En 2011, les gendarmes parviennent à confondre l’un de ses agresseurs grâce à l’ADN de son père déjà fiché. Le forgeron s’appuiera sur ce détournement du Fnaeg : « Aujourd’hui, donner mon ADN, c’est donner celui de mon frère jumeau, mes parents et mes descendants ». Il conclut : « L’ADN est un instrument de contrôle. » Ce quart d’heure de discours est applaudi par l’assemblée.

    Contre Charles Torres, le procureur a requis une peine « d’avertissement » : un mois de prison avec sursis. Ce qui ne suffit évidemment pas à Me William Bourdon et Me Marie Dosé, avocats de la défense. Ils s’appuient sur la pauvreté du dossier entre les mains du tribunal de Rouen. « Le tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre vous a confié un dossier de misère. Ce que vous savez, c’est ce que la presse vous a dit et ce nous vous disons », argumente Me Dosé.

    Au dossier, quelques procès-verbaux, parfois non datés, ou des notifications de mise en garde à vue de Charles Torres. Le tribunal n’a pas accès au dossier de l’affaire Tarnac dans lequel figurent les raisons pour lesquelles le forgeron a été soumis à une garde à vue. « On vous empêche de vérifier s’il y avait des raisons plausibles pour le détenir » et donc pour lui demander son ADN.

    Et Me Dosé d’avancer : « Dans la procédure Tarnac, Charles Torres n’est rien sauf les conséquences de son refus » de se soumettre au prélèvement biologique. Dans leur plaidoirie, les deux avocats du forgeron frôlent la violation de l’instruction judiciaire, sans jamais vraiment tomber dedans. « Les policiers mentent au tribunal, il n’y avait aucune raison pour le mettre en garde à vue, vous devez sanctionner cette manipulation judiciaire », reprend Me Bourdon qui considère le dossier Charles Torres comme « un vide intersidéral ».

    Le tribunal rendra son délibéré le 6 mars 2013.

    L’affaire du Forgeron soulève une question de constitutionnalité

    Charles Torrès est jugé pour avoir refusé de donner son ADN aux policiers de l’anti-terrorisme dans le cadre de l’affaire Tarnac. Pour aller plus loin, ses avocats ont tenté de mettre en doute la constitutionnalité du prélèvement ADN à répétition et du fichage de tout un chacun. Le délibéré sera rendu le 6 mars 2013.

    Le procès de Charles Torres, s’est ouvert ce mercredi 6 janvier 2013, au tribunal de grande instance de Rouen. Il est jugé pour avoir refusé de donner son ADN lors d’une garde à vue dans le cadre de l’affaire Tarnac. Ses avocats, Me William Bourdon et Me Marie Dosé, tous les deux au dossier de l’affaire Tarnac, essaieront de poser une question prioritaire de constitutionnalité (QPC).

    Entrée en vigueur en 2010, la QPC permet de mettre en doute la constitutionnalité d’une loi déjà promulguée. Elle peut être posée par n’importe quel citoyen. On la pose devant un tribunal qui décide ou non de la transmettre à la cour de cassation.

    Dans l’affaire de Charles Torres, ses avocats mettent en doute la constitutionnalité de l’article 706-56 du code de procédure pénal. Cet article encadre le prélèvement de l’empreinte biologique. Pour Me Bourdon, le dossier de Charles Torres, si petit et si peu extraordinaire soit-il, permettrait « d’envoyer un message puissant aux législateurs ». L’avocat remet en question l’alinéa 4 de l’article. Cet alinéa qui permet qu’en cas de refus de prélèvement, les officiers de police judiciaire peuvent récupérer l’ADN s’il est détaché du corps. « Lorsque Charles Torres refuse de se soumettre, il ne sait pas, que dans son dos, ou plutôt dans ses cheveux, on prélèvera la particule magique », plaide Me Bourdon, « S’il avait su que les policiers de la Sdat pouvaient faire cela, il aurait pu ajuster son comportement ». Ici, l’avocat pointe du doigt la faille de la loi qui peut conduire un citoyen à s’auto-incriminer sans être en mesure de se défendre.

    L’avocat parle aussi « d’un cambriolage de l’enveloppe corporelle« , qui porte atteinte au droit de chaque citoyen de disposer de son corps. Enfin, pour plaider le dépôt de cette QPC, Me Bourdon pointe le « laisser-aller, la paresse » des policiers qui ne prennent pas le temps de vérifier si la personne concernée est déjà fichée qui peuvent conduire à une succession de prélèvements ADN sur un même citoyen.

    Sans compter que le tribunal de Nanterre qui s’est dessaisi en 2012 de cette affaire, a omis de prévenir le tribunal de Rouen que la justice était bien en possession de l’ADN de Charles Torres… jugé pour avoir refusé de le donner.

    La procureur refuse la QPC au motif que l’article 706-56 du code de procédure pénale aura déjà été jugé constitutionnel, dans sa globalité, par la cour de cassation. Le tribunal est allé dans ce sens et a refusé de transmettre la question prioritaire de constitutionnalité. Le procès de Charles Torres a donc bien eu lieu mercredi 6 février et les débats se sont donc poursuivis pour celui qui risque 15’000 euros d’amende et un an de prison ferme.

    Publié par des larbins de la maison Poulaga (Zoé Lauwereys, Grand-Rouen.com, 7 février 2013)

    Rencontre avec le « Forgeron » de Tarnac

    Charles Torres a été « enlevé » par la police début 2012 dans le cadre de l’affaire Tarnac. Il est soupçonné, à ce moment là, d’être complice du sabotage de caténaires en 2008. Aucun fait n’aura été retenu contre lui. Pourtant, il est jugé mercredi 6 février 2013 au tribunal de grande instance de Rouen pour avoir refusé son ADN au moment de la perquisition.

    Nous l’avons rencontré la veille de son procès pour refus de prélèvement génétique du 6 février 2013 au tribunal d’instance de Rouen. Avec son pull marin, ses cheveux en bataille, sa moustache et sa chevalière rehaussée d’une pierre blanche, il nous rejoint à la Conjuration des Fourneaux au 149 rue Saint-Hilaire. Le restaurant soutient Charles dans ses déboires judiciaires. Il nous raconte ces trente heures de garde à vue pendant lesquelles il a refusé de parler.

    Ce matin du 23 février 2012, Charles Torres dort dans sa chambre, chez ses parents, à Roncherolles-sur-le-Vivier, près de Darnétal. À 28 ans, il y revient de temps en temps pour travailler. Son père, monteur en bronze, lui a installé dans son atelier, une forge pour qu’il puisse exercer son activité d’auto-entrepreneur forgeron. Il est 8 heures du matin quand une trentaine de policier de la sous-direction de l’anti-terrorisme (Sdat) frappe à la porte. « On a eu de la chance, il n’était pas 6 heures du matin et ils n’ont pas défoncé la porte », ironise celui que la presse surnommera le Forgeron dans l’affaire dite « de Tarnac ». Ce matin-là, les policiers de l’anti-terrorisme viennent perquisitionner. Ils pensent avoir trouvé celui qui a fabriqué les crochets en fer à béton responsables du sabotage de caténaires de la SNCF en 2008.

    Pour ces faits, qui deviennent très vite l’affaire de Tarnac, dix personnes ont été mises en examen, pour « association de malfaiteurs en relation avec une entreprise terroriste » et « dégradations en réunion en relation avec une entreprise terroriste ». Les principaux accusés dans cette affaire sont Julien Coupat et sa compagne Yldune Lévy. Le rapport entre Tarnac et Charles Torres ? Ce dernier se l’explique facilement. « Je suis colocataire dans une maison, rue de Constantine, à Rouen, où plusieurs habitants, ont été mis en examen en 2008. Mais je n’étais même pas un des potes de Julien Coupat. Tarnac ce n’est même pas une bande de copains. Concrètement, on me soupçonnait d’avoir un comportement plus ou moins subversif d’un point de vue politique. » Charles avoue même ne pas connaître vraiment le dossier Tarnac, seulement ce que les mis en examen lui auront dit et ce qu’il aura lu dans les journaux. Il délivre son analyse : « Tarnac est devenu un groupe suite aux accusations. Il a fallu donner un cadre, d’où le nom. Ce qui fait que tu es dans le dossier ou pas, c’est ta place dans le scénario de la police. »

    Quatre ans après le début de l’affaire de Tarnac, devenu au fil des années un bourbier judiciaire, la Sdat pense donc avoir trouvé un nouveau complice du sabotage. Ce 23 février 2012, « des flics de haut-vol » fouillent donc la maison des parents du forgeron après lui avoir signifié sa mise en garde à vue. Une garde à vue qui durera 35 heures. La perquisition aura fait beaucoup rire Charles qui avoue avoir eu « envie de plaisanter » mais s’être retenu par « peur qu’ils me prennent au premier degré ». « Ils ont fouillé toute la maison, ont retourné ma chambre, ont scruté mes bouquins, mon bureau, mes affaires de fac. Mais ils n’ont rien saisi dans ma chambre », se rappelle-t-il. « Pour prouver l’association de malfaiteurs et me lier aux mis en examen de Tarnac, ils ont saisi de vieux téléphones portables. » Rien non plus n’aura été saisi dans la forgerie, pourtant l’endroit le plus à même de receler des indices du sabotage. Et pourquoi pas quatre ans plus tard ? Charles se rappelle d’un détail qu’il raconte goguenard. « Dans la chambre de mon frère, ils ont trouvé deux cagoules trois trous. Elles avaient été utilisées pour l’enterrement de vie de garçon d’un copain », rit-il encore.

    Charles Torres préférait ne pas être pris en photo.

    La perquisition terminée, les policiers le menottent et l’emmènent « à 200 kilomètres/heure » à Levallois-Perret, dans les Hauts-de-Seine. Avant d’atteindre le siège de la Sdat, il rapporte avoir eu les yeux cachés par un masque de sommeil. « Là, j’ai senti que l’on descendait de cinq étages sous terre. Arrivés dans les locaux, on est passés de sas de sécurité en sas de sécurité »… jusqu’à la salle de garde à vue. Pendant ces 30 heures de garde à vue, Charles refusera de répondre aux questions : « J’ai décliné mon état-civil, sinon j’ai répondu des blagues ». La meilleure solution pour quelqu’un qui ne sait pas ce qu’on lui reproche, mis à part la vague « association de malfaiteurs ». « Ils n’avaient rien pour me mettre en garde-à-vue, il n’était pas question pour moi de leur donner de quoi me mettre en examen ». L’ancien étudiant en histoire se rappelle de quelques questions posées par la police. « Ils m’ont demandé ce que je pensais de la société capitaliste marchande ou quelles étaient mes opinions politiques », évoque-t-il. En lui présentant des photos des crochets utilisés pour saboter les caténaires, on lui aura même demandé s’il les avait fabriqués. Charles répondra avec l’ironie qui lui semble chère : « Vous m’amenez le modèle et je vous fais un devis ».

    En fin de garde à vue, on lui demandera de donner son ADN, justifié par « des motifs graves ou concordants » dans l’affaire pour laquelle il était entendu. Chose qu’il refusera. Par conviction. « Je n’ai pas envie de faire partie d’un fichier ADN des catégories politiques », affirme-t-il. Pour lutter contre le « flicage », il refuse aussi d’avoir un téléphone ou une carte bancaire. Ce qu’il ne sait pas, à ce moment-là, c’est que la police a pris soin de nettoyer de fond en comble la salle de garde à vue, revèle Laurent Borredon, dans Le Monde du mardi 5 février 2013 : « Ce matin-là, les policiers ont nettoyé à fond les locaux de garde à vue, à l’aide d’une solution hydroalcoolique. Le bureau et le sol. Dans quelques instants, Charles Torrès va être entendu pour la quatrième fois. Les policiers souhaitent récupérer son ADN et il faut que tout soit immaculé. » Selon Le Monde qui s’est procuré le procès-verbal de la garde à vue, Charles fait bien en sorte ce jour-là de consommer « sa brique de jus d’orange sans en utiliser la paille » puis d’en « laver soigneusement l’extérieur, de sorte à n’y laisser aucune trace biologique. » Charles aura aussi mangé sans utiliser de couverts, « directement au moyen de ses doigts », pour être sûr de ne laisser aucune trace. Les policiers récupèrent tout de même quelques cheveux sur le sol du local où il était interrogé.

    L’absurde du procès du mercredi 6 février 2013 ? La justice est en possession de l’ADN de Charles Torres mais on lui reproche de ne pas avoir voulu le donner. Il risque 15’000 euros d’amende et un an de prison ferme. Sur son blog, il appelle ses soutiens à « venir rire » au TGI de Rouen à 13h30, « parce qu’on ne peut que se réjouir de chaque humiliation que l’antiterrorisme s’inflige à lui-même ».

    Publié par des larbins de la maison Poulaga (Zoé Lauwereys, Grand-Rouen.com, 6 février 2013)

    Tarnac : un homme jugé pour refus de donner son ADN, déjà prélevé à son insu

    Les policiers de la sous-direction antiterroriste (SDAT) de la police judiciaire n’ont pas peur de la contradiction. Le 24 février 2012, à 11h15, ils ont recueilli l’ADN de Charles Torrès, 28 ans, à son insu. Puis, à 11h35, ils ont lancé une procédure contre le jeune homme gardé à vue dans le cadre de l’affaire de Tarnac pour… refus de prélèvement génétique. Charles Torrès doit être jugé, mercredi 6 février, par le tribunal correctionnel de Rouen. Il risque, au maximum, un an de prison et 15’000 euros d’amende. À la suite de sa garde à vue, il avait été relâché sans charge, mais cela n’empêche pas d’être dans l’obligation de laisser son ADN. Il suffit qu’existent des “indices graves ou concordants” contre la personne entendue, indique le code de procédure pénale.

    Ce matin-là, les policiers ont nettoyé à fond les locaux de garde à vue, à l’aide d’une solution hydroalcoolique. Le bureau et le sol. Dans quelques instants, Charles Torrès va être entendu pour la quatrième fois. Les policiers souhaitent récupérer son ADN et il faut que tout soit immaculé. Les enquêteurs veulent vérifier si le jeune homme, interpellé la veille près de Rouen, n’a pas forgé les crochets qui ont servi à saboter des lignes de TGV, à l’automne 2008.


    Charles Torrès est aussi prudent que les policiers sont méticuleux : il a “consommé sa brique de jus d’orange sans en utiliser la paille, puis en [a] soigneusement lavé l’extérieur, de sorte à n’y laisser aucune trace biologique (…). À l’heure du déjeuner, il a été constaté qu’il mangeait sans utiliser de couverts, directement au moyen de ses doigts”, note le lieutenant de la SDAT, dans son procès-verbal, que Le Monde a pu consulter.

    Mais le stratagème réussit : les hommes de la police technique et scientifique parviennent à récupérer “les prélèvements de traces de contact” là où il “a apposé ses mains”. Encore mieux, “à l’aplomb du siège où [il] s’est assis, des cheveux jonchent le sol”. Précis, le policier indique “que la présence de ces cheveux au sol résulte de la propension qu’a manifestée Charles Torrès à se passer (nerveusement) les mains dans les cheveux”. Trente heures de garde à vue dans les locaux de la SDAT, c’est un peu stressant…

    Comment justifier une procédure pour refus de prélèvement d’ADN quand on vient de le recueillir ? En faisant comme si de rien n’était : le procureur qui poursuit puis les magistrats qui vont juger le dossier “ADN” n’ont accès qu’aux pièces du dossier Tarnac que la SDAT veut bien leur transmettre. Le PV de recueil de traces génétiques a été opportunément exclu. Au contraire, une enquêtrice justifie la procédure en assurant que le prélèvement demandé à Charles Torrès “aurait utilement permis de déterminer le profil génétique de l’intéressé aux fins de comparaison avec les empreintes génétiques à ce jour non identifiées”.

    “Il s’agit d’un symptôme de plus de la déloyauté qui contamine tout le dossier”, estime Me William Bourdon, l’un des avocats de Charles Torrès. Il souhaite déposer une question prioritaire de constitutionnalité, mercredi. Pour lui, les articles de loi sur les prélèvements d’ADN sont “défaillants” face au principe de libre disposition de son corps : l’officier de police judiciaire n’a pas d’obligation d’informer qu’il peut y avoir un prélèvement clandestin, puis que ce prélèvement a eu lieu — ce qui interdit tout recours — et, enfin, il n’est pas obligé de vérifier que le gardé à vue est déjà fiché, avec le risque d’une multiplication des prélèvements.

    Et la comparaison des empreintes génétiques ? Au final, elle n’a rien donné.

    Publié par des larbins de la maison Poulaga (Laurent Borredon, LeMonde.fr, 5-6 février 2013)

    Pourquoi j’ai refusé de livrer mon ADN

    Le 6 février 2013, Charles Torres comparaît au tribunal de Rouen pour avoir refusé le prélèvement de son ADN lors d’une garde à vue de 35 heures début 2012. Forgeron, on le soupçonnait de complicité dans l’affaire de Tarnac et d’avoir fabriqué les crochets qui servirent à bloquer des TGV en 2008.

    Le 23 février 2012, je fis bien malgré moi une entrée fracassante dans l’affaire dite « de Tarnac ». Une escouade de policiers de la Sous-Direction antiterroriste (SDAT), avec à leur tête le médiatique juge Fragnoli, vint me sortir du lit de bon matin. Bien qu’habitant la Seine-Maritime, je devins ce jour-là « le forgeron de Tarnac ». À défaut de pouvoir établir le moindre lien entre les mis en examen et les fameux crochets, le juge voulait à toute force insinuer un lien entre eux et quelqu’un qui aurait pu les fabriquer. Je fus donc, avec mon père de 86 ans, soupçonné le temps d’une garde à vue d’avoir confectionné les crochets qui servirent à bloquer des TGV une nuit de novembre 2008.

    On sait que le storytelling antiterroriste ne s’embarrasse guère de la vraisemblance, et les différents articles parus dans la presse lors de mon arrestation le reproduisirent fidèlement. Il n’y eut d’ailleurs à peu près personne pour mentionner le fait que je fus libéré au bout de 35 heures sans la moindre charge ; et ni le juge ni les policiers ne me présentèrent leurs excuses pour m’avoir ainsi kidnappé sans raison valable. Faute d’excuses, je pensais qu’ils auraient à cœur de se faire oublier pour ces 35 heures de séquestration légale. Sur ce point, c’est bien moi qui me suis trompé.

    Comme je le précisais plus haut, des amis harcelés par l’antiterrorisme, j’en ai quelques-uns, à Rouen comme à Tarnac. Je lis la presse aussi. De ce fait, je sais comme tout un chacun que tout ce que l’on peut déclarer dans une garde à vue a vocation à être déformé et utilisé contre vous. Je réservais donc mes réponses aux questions des policiers sur mes idées politiques au juge en charge de l’enquête. Malheureusement, il ne crut pas bon de me recevoir. Quelques jours plus tard, je fis tout de même l’effort de lui écrire afin de ne laisser aucun doute quant à l’erreur manifeste que représentait mon arrestation. Le jour même où cette missive devait paraître, le juge, qui allait être dessaisi, la recouvrit de l’annonce de son autodessaisissement. Il fit ainsi d’une pierre deux coups, et la missive ne parut jamais.

    Pas plus que je n’avais de raison d’être en garde à vue à Levallois-Perret, n’avais-je de raison de livrer mon ADN à la police, qui de toute façon alla le récupérer lamentablement sous la forme d’un cheveu laissé sur le sol d’une salle d’interrogatoire. Je refusai donc. Faut pas pousser.

    Mais refuser de donner son ADN est un délit, en soi. C’est-à-dire que même lorsque l’on vous l’a pris malgré vous, qu’on l’a analysé, qu’il vous a dédouané et que vous êtes à l’évidence lavé des soupçons qui avaient justifié qu’on vous le demande, vous êtes encore et toujours coupable d’avoir refusé. C’est cela la loi sur l’ADN, et c’est pour cela que je comparaîtrai au tribunal de Rouen ce mercredi 6 février.

    De prime abord, on pourrait penser que je suis, ici, victime de l’un des effets pervers d’une loi mal formulée et qu’il suffirait d’un peu de bon sens pour que tout rentre dans l’ordre. C’est tout le contraire que mon procès révèle.

    On peut ainsi remettre en question l’efficacité de l’ADN, et la mystification qui consiste à corréler une trace souvent partielle avec un acte. On peut évoquer ce professeur d’EPS récemment accusé d’avoir tiré sur la police à Amiens car son ADN avait été retrouvé sur une arme : il avait eu le malheur de revendre sa voiture à quelqu’un du quartier insurgé longtemps auparavant. Coup de chance, il put prouver qu’il était en Bretagne la nuit des tirs. On peut avancer le cas de cette chimiste assermentée de Boston, Annie Dookhan, qui par zèle a bidonné, des années durant, ses « expertises », ce qui aboutit à la remise en cause de dizaines de milliers de condamnations dans le Massachusetts. On peut faire valoir que les traces génétiques que partout nous déposons se mêlent et s’entrelacent avec toutes celles de tous ceux que nous croisons, que nous aimons. Que l’existence est toujours collective et qu’aucune analyse génétique ne permettra jamais de décrypter le monde tel qu’il est vécu.

    On peut tout autant s’indigner du fait que ce qui fut initialement vendu comme le « fichier des violeurs » comporte aujourd’hui plus de 2 millions d’identifications. On peut même tomber des nues en lisant dans Le Monde du 21 février 2012 que désormais la police, grâce à un « vide juridique », détourne les garde-fous du FNAEG pour retrouver des gens grâce à l’ADN de leurs parents (ce qui fait évidemment exploser le nombre de personnes effectivement fichées à des dizaines de millions).

    Les invités de Mediapart, 5 février 2013

    Posted on 9 février 2013 by juralib

    Find this story at 9 February 2013

    Britische Spitzel in Erklärungsnot

    Auch ein UN-Gesandter kritisiert die sexualisierte Informationsbeschaffung britischer verdeckter Ermittler. Der Guardian enthüllte am Wochenende, wie die Polizisten Identitäten toter Kinder stehlen

    Britische verdeckte Ermittler haben in den letzten Jahrzehnten in mindestens 80 Fällen die Identitäten gestorbener Kinder und Jugendlicher angenommen. Dies berichtete der Guardian am Wochenende. Die Spitzel bzw. deren Vorgesetzte suchten sich jene Kinder aus, deren Geburtsdatum etwa ihrem eigenen entsprach. Mit der jetzt vielfach kritisierten Praxis sollte das Auffliegen der Spitzel erschwert werden, da diese neben Geburtsdokumenten auch eine Biographie vorzeigen konnten.

    Zur Ausgestaltung der falschen Identitäten unternahmen die Polizisten bisweilen Ausflüge in die frühere Umgebung der Toten, um auf etwaige Fragen antworten zu können. In keinem Fall wurden die Eltern der Kinder hiervon benachrichtigt. Die Verwandten der Gestorbenen tragen aber im Falle des Auffliegens der Spitzel ein beträchtliches Risiko, wenn etwa wütende, ausgeforschte Demonstranten bei ihnen vorstellig werden. Nach der Veröffentlichung bemühte sich die Polizei um Schadensbegrenzung: Angeblich würde der Identitätsdiebstahl nicht mehr angewandt.

    Spitzel zeugen Kinder und tauchen ab

    Der Skandal wirft ein weiteres Schlaglicht auf die dubiosen Methoden der britischen Polizei. Heute befasst sich der Innenausschuss des Parlaments in einer Anhörung mit Spitzeln, die mit den von ihnen ausgeforschten Ziel- oder Kontaktpersonen jahrelang emotionale Bindungen eingingen und Sexualität praktizierten. Dies hatte in der britischen Öffentlichkeit für Entsetzen gesorgt.

    Elf Frauen und ein Mann brachten die Fälle letztes Jahr vor Gericht und verwiesen darauf, dass die Polizisten dabei mindestens drei Kinder gezeugt hatten (Emotionaler und sexueller Missbrauch durch Polizisten wird öffentlich). Die zwischen sieben Monaten und sechs Jahre dauernden Beziehungen endeten aber mit dem plötzlichen Abtauchen der vermeintlichen Partner, wenn deren Einsatz abgebrochen wurde. Die Klagen richten sich gegen die britische Metropolitan Police und die halbprivate “Association of Chief Police Officers”, die für die klandestinen Ermittlungen zuständig war.

    Die Zivilklage betont unter anderem die Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention, die in Artikel 8 das “Recht auf Achtung des Privat- und Familienlebens” behandelt. Der zuständige Richter verglich das sexuelle Gebaren mit dem Geheimagenten James Bond, was in Großbritannien zu Debatten geführt hatte. Zwar unterstrich der traditionell gelockte Richter die Glaubwürdigkeit der Klagen, beschloss aber gleichzeitig, dass diese in Teilen nicht-öffentlich verhandelt werden. Derartige Geheimverfahren waren bislang nur für den Geheimdienst MI5 vorgesehen. Für die Klägerinnen bedeutet dies, dass sie nicht auf Einlassungen der Polizisten reagieren können.

    Vom Geheimverfahren betroffen sind die Einsätze des bekannten Spitzels Mark Kennedy, der jetzt in den USA lebt. Mit seinem Kollegen, der unter dem Namen “Marco Jacobs” auftrat, unterwanderte Kennedy die linke Mobilisierung gegen den G8-Gipfel in Heiligendamm 2007 und den NATO-Gipfel in Strasbourg 2009 (Polizeispitzel belügen Staatsanwaltschaften und Gerichte).

    Bundesregierung verweigert Aufklärung

    Der geltungssüchtige Kennedy, der seine Spitzelei sogar in einer Doku-Fiction zu Geld machte, hatte sich letztes Jahr selbst zum Opfer erklärt: Öffentlichkeitswirksam nutzt er die Klagen der Frauen, um seinerseits Schadensersatz von seinen früheren Vorgesetzten zu fordern. Da diese ihn nicht an den sexuellen Affären und Beziehungen gehindert hätten, sollen sie ihm den dadurch entstandenen posttraumatischen Stress mit rund 120.000 Euro vergüten.

    Im Januar schlug sich der UN-Berichterstatter für Versammlungsfreiheit und Vereinigung, Maina Kiai, auf die Seite der betroffenen Frauen. Der Kenianer richtete eine Protestnote an die britische Regierung, in der er eine öffentliche Untersuchung zu den Vorfällen fordert. Dies würde auch ein neues Licht auf den Spitzeltausch mit Deutschland werfen.

    Matthias Monroy

    Find this story at 5 February 2013

    Copyright © 2013 Heise Zeitschriften Verlag

    Senior Met officer quizzed by MPs over undercover police – as it happened

    Metropolitan police’s Patricia Gallan gives evidence to MPs following Guardian revelations about undercover policing – along with victims’ lawyers and reporter Paul Lewis

    The identities of an estimated 80 dead children have been used by undercover police. A police operative who used the alias Pete Black to spy on protest groups explains how they did it

    Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Commons home affairs select committee’s hearing into the Guardian’s revelations about undercover policing.

    Patricia Gallan, a deputy assistant commissioner in charge of the Metropolitan police’s investigation into the controversy, faces questions from MPs about the scandal, which this week widened to include the stealing by police of the identities of dead children.

    Before Gallan appears, the public hearing will begin at 3.15pm with evidence from solicitors for women who feel they were duped into having relationships with undercover officers. Eleven women are currently bringing legal action against the Metropolitan police for damages. The lawyers appearing before the committee today are:

    • Harriet Wistrich, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce & Partners
    • Jules Carey, solicitor, Tuckers Solicitors
    • Marian Ellingworth, solicitor, Tuckers Solicitors

    Also speaking will be my colleague Paul Lewis, who along with fellow Guardian reporter Rob Evans two years ago broke the story that led to these hearings when they reported that police officer Mark Kennedy had lived for seven years undercover in the environmental protest movement, establishing sexual relationships with activists during the course of his work. One woman was his girlfriend for six years.

    Lewis and Evans went on to report that, of nine undercover police identified by the Guardian over the past two years, eight were believed to have slept with the people they were spying on. In at least three cases, relationships between police and the women they were spying on resulted in the birth of children.

    Kennedy will also give evidence today – but in private.

    In a further development, this week Lewis and Evans reported that police secretly authorised undercover officers to steal the identities of around 80 dead children over three decades. (Kennedy is not thought to have done this.) In this video, a police operative who used the alias Pete Black to spy on protest groups explains how they did it.

    Keith Vaz, the chair of the home affairs committee, has said he is “shocked” at the “gruesome” practice, and has said the police should inform parents whose children’s identities were used. Scotland Yard has announced an investigation into the controversy, and has said the practice is not “currently” authorised. Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, has called for a public inquiry into undercover policing following the revelations.

    We’ll be covering the hearing live here, and you can watch it on the parliament website.
    Updated at 3.21pm GMT
    3.21pm GMT

    The committee seems to be running late – or the live broadcast is not working. Apologies.
    Updated at 3.30pm GMT
    3.36pm GMT

    The live stream has begun. Sorry for the delay.
    3.38pm GMT

    Keith Vaz, the committee chair, says the committee has sat in private to take evidence from witnesses.

    Now the lawyers are here to speak in public.

    He starts with the issue of police using dead children’s identity.

    Lawyer Jules Carey says he has been instructed by one family whose son Rod Richardson’s name was used by an undercover police officer, who infiltrated various political groups.
    Updated at 3.38pm GMT
    3.39pm GMT

    Carey says his client wants to understand why he child’s name was used. He says he is also representing a number of women who are concerned that such operations are still carrying on.

    He says he has submitted a written complaint to the police, which he believes is the complaint that has triggered a police investigation.
    3.40pm GMT

    Vaz asks lawyer Harriet Wistrich if there is any justification for police to use undercover tactics.

    She says there is no justification for them to use sex in their work.

    That is the issues she is concerned with: the “overwhelming damage” that has been caused.

    All the women involved have been “very, very seriously psychologically harmed” as a result of what the police did to them, Wistrich says.

    The police were aware of this, she says.
    3.46pm GMT

    Vaz quotes from Mr Justice Tugendhat’s recent judgment about undercover police, in which the judge used James Bond as context for police using sex during undercover work.

    Wistrich asks what controls we can put on undercover police.

    She says MPs could not have meant sexual relationships to have been part of the Regulation of Investigatory Practices Act.

    Does the law need to be changed, Vaz asks lawyer Marian Ellingworth.

    Ellingworth says sex should not be sanctioned.

    Carey says RIPA cannot approve sexual relationships. The structure of the act does not envisage sexual relationships, he says. The words “personal and other relationships” cannot have been meant to include sex – they are too vague for that.

    You cannot legislate to breach a fundamental right such as “bodily integrity”, Carey says.
    3.49pm GMT

    Tory Lorraine Fullbrook asks what the absolute legal limit should be on undercover police officers’ behaviours.

    Wistrich says you have to completely stop before a sexual relationship.

    Fullbrook tries to pin her down on the “absolute legal limit”, but Wistrich says that depends on the circumstances.

    Vaz says Fullbrook is looking for a list of what is and isn’t acceptable.

    Wistrich says again there are circumstances when different things are acceptable – for example to stop a child trafficking ring.

    Carey says undercover officers shouldn’t be deployed unless it’s necessary and proportionate – political groups wouldn’t be covered, he says.
    3.51pm GMT

    Tory Michael Ellis repeats Tugendhat’s point that undercover policing wouldn’t surprise the public.

    These kind of sexual relationships “probably happen more often to men” than to women, he claims, citing the example of Mata Hari.

    He accuses the lawyers of wanting to tie the police’s hands unreasonably.
    3.54pm GMT

    Wistrich says using sex in this way is massively beyond the bounds of a civilised society.

    Labour’s Bridget Phillipson asks if police were directed to form these relationships or did so of their own volition.

    Ellingworth says the police won’t even confirm that the men in question were undercover officers, let alone say whether they were following orders.

    Wistrich says the police have not yet tried to come up with a circumstance that they say are justified.

    Phillipson asks if female officers have had relationships with men.

    Carey says they are aware of one female officer who has been deployed in this way. None of the lawyers are instructed by males.

    Wistrich says there are always exceptions, but this is really a form of “institutionalised sexism”.

    The impact is massively upon women, she says.
    3.57pm GMT

    Labour’s David Winnick asks if it’s naive to believe the police were not aware sexual relationships were taking place involving undercover officers.

    Wistrich says she believes they were, officially or unofficially.

    Carey says there is a striking similarity in terms of how many of these relationships started and ended. Many of their clients felt these relationships were entered into by design by the officers. That suggests senior officers were aware of it.

    Carey says the public would expect police officers to behave like James Bond if we lived in a world full of Dr Nos. But we don’t, he says.

    There is no necessity for these actions, Carey says.
    3.59pm GMT

    Winnick raises the adopting of the names of dead children. Was this authorised?

    Wistrich says she felt this would have been authorised.

    Winnick asks if the lawyers consider that a particularly despicable act.

    Carey says every aspect of this policing operation is “utterly depraved”. It’s very hard to quantify particular aspects.

    “It’s utterly despicable,” says Wistrich.

    Ellingworth agrees.
    4.02pm GMT

    Labour’s Chris Ruane asks how the police can be held to account here.

    Wistrich says that’s what the lawyers are aiming to do.

    They have met with “a complete barrage of obstacles” from the police. The police have asked for information from them but given none in return.

    Wistrich says she has written to the IPCC, which is supervising an investigation into some of these issues, but got no response.

    Ruane asks what the key questions that need to be answered. Wistrich suggests:

    Why were the police involved in these people’s lives? What information did they gather? How can this be stopped from happening in the future?
    4.05pm GMT

    Carey says the principal question he would ask is whether they have read the nine principles of policing from 1828.

    He reads one out: the police’s actions depend on public approval of those actions.

    They’ve lost public respect through these actions, Carey says.

    Tory Mark Reckless asks whether the deception by the officers means the sex they had with activists was non-consensual.

    Wistrich says that’s a very good point. She’s written to the CPS but got no reply.

    Vaz asks for copies of all these letters.

    Carey says he is representing a client who had a child from one of these relationships.
    Updated at 5.31pm GMT
    4.11pm GMT

    The Guardian’s Paul Lewis takes his seat.

    Vaz asks how Lewis and Rob Evans discovered all this information.

    Lewis says they spoke to police officers while working on a book related to this. He says the police officers were not just using the names of dead children, they were adopting many aspects of that person’s identity.

    Where does the figure of 80 officers using this tactic come from, Vaz asks.

    It’s an estimate, says Lewis. He’d like to hear from the Met police about this. It’s possible it could be fewer or more than 80 officers.

    Carey’s complaint comes from 2003, he says.

    Vaz says it’s a “pretty gruesome practice” and that it must be “heartless and cruel” for the parents not to have been informed.

    Lewis ask if this was limited to the Special Demonstration Squad or was used more widely.
    4.13pm GMT

    Lewis says he has spoken to people whose children’s identities have been used in this way.

    He says the Met police have placed the families of these children at some risk. Other activists could try to track down the undercover officers and seek out the family of the child whose identity was stolen. Far right groups were infiltrated in this way, Lewis says.

    Vaz asks if the Met police have asked Lewis for this information.

    Lewis says he has an obligation to protect his sources. He’s confident that the police know all the children’s identities.
    4.15pm GMT

    Vaz asks him to accept that in some circumstances the police are justified in using undercover agents.

    Lewis says some undercover operations are justified, but raises the issue of proportionality. He mentions far right groups and violent animal rights groups. But in the main we are talking about non-violent activists, he says.
    4.18pm GMT

    Tory Michael Ellis asks if the public have a human right to be protected from crime and suggests senior officers are best-placed to decide when it’s right to use undercover officers.

    He says he agrees with that.

    But he begs to differ that the public would be unsurprised by officers using sex in this way.

    Ellis says it was Tugendhat who said the public would be unsurprised, and he has great experience.

    Lewis says Tugendhat was not referring to the public’s view, but to MPs’ view when they passed the relevant law.
    4.21pm GMT

    Ellis asks if Lewis has heard any account of absence of consent in these sexual relationships – discounting the overall deception.

    Lewis says men and women have had sex with undercover police officers. They may argue that they did not have the necessary information to give informed consent – although Lewis says he doesn’t agree with that.

    He says police say this behaviour was only happening among “bad apples”.

    But he and Evans have identified nine undercover officers, and eight were having sexual relationships with activists. One officer was a woman, he says.

    One undercover policeman told Lewis that of a team of 10 nine were having sexual relationships with activists.

    Fullbrook asks if senior officers knew about this. Lewis says it’s likely. One undercover officer says he was told by a senior officer to use contraception. That implies the senior officer knew.
    4.24pm GMT

    Labour’s Bridget Phillipson says the length of the relationships involved shocked her.

    Lewis says having met the victims he has found it difficult to convey their pain. He suggests the committee’s MPs think about how they would feel if their own partner turned out to be an agent of the state.

    At least four children have been born as a result of these relationships, Lewis says.

    Lewis says he does not believe MPs intended this in the RIPA, and would have used the words “sexual relationships” rather than “personal relationships”, and he certainly does not think they would have imagined children resulting from these relationships.
    4.25pm GMT

    Winnick asks if undercover agents could have done this job without embarking on sexual relationships with activists.

    Lewis says some officers did not do this, so the answer is yes.
    4.28pm GMT

    Was it a rogue operation?

    Lewis says some senior officers were unaware of the existence of the Special Demonstration Squad.

    How can the police clean up this matter and restore confidence?

    Openness and transparency, says Lewis. Over the last two years, the Met police have offered “very little help”.

    We are heavily reliant on sources who have the courage to come forward, Lewis says.

    At some stage the Met police will have to think about the best strategy to regain trust, he says.

    The truth tends to come out eventually, he says.
    4.30pm GMT

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan of the Met police takes her place next.
    4.33pm GMT

    Vaz says there will be an open session and then a private session.

    He says he was pretty shocked to learn about the use of dead children’s identities. Was she equally shocked?

    Gallan tries to outline her role instead.

    Vaz insists she answers the question.

    Gallan says we are investigating something that has been going on since 1968 and it is important to understand the context.

    She says she is overseeing the operation examining past practices relating to this.

    She says she does not know if the figure of 80 children’s identities being used is accurate. She knows of two cases. More evidence will probably come to light, but she does not want to prejudge the investigation.

    But she is very concerned at what she has heard, she says.

    That is why the Met have asked the IPCC to supervise.
    4.35pm GMT

    Gallan says it is looking at the activities of the SDS over 40 years.

    There are more than 50,000 documents to sift through and retired officers to speak to. They want to hear from anyone who has any evidence, she says.

    But was she shocked, asks Vaz.

    Gallan says she was “very concerned” because “it is not practice as I know it”.

    That doesn’t sound very condemnatory, Vaz says.

    It isn’t still happening, Gallan says. It has been confined to the SDS and the NPOIU (National Public Order Intelligence Unit).
    4.38pm GMT

    Vaz asks who is dealing with the operational matters regarding undercover policing. The commander of cover policing, Richard Martin, she says.

    Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley is above him, she says.

    She can’t give a date when the practice of using dead children’s identities stopped, she says. But it is not sanctioned today among the Met or any other police force in the country, she says.

    Should the children’s parents be informed, Vaz asks.

    Gallan says it’s important to find out all the circumstances and whether they are accurate.

    She says ethical and legal issues also need to be considered.

    Would it affect any operatives whose positions would be exposed, she says.

    Vaz says some members of the committee have heard this kind of thing regarding phone-hacking.
    4.39pm GMT

    Vaz stresses that where the police have names and addresses now, they should inform parents now.

    Gallan says she can’t give a blanket yes or no.
    4.42pm GMT

    It has never been practice within most areas of undercover policing to take identities in this way, she says. Only the SDS and National Public Order Intelligence Unit did this.

    Thirty-one staff are working on Operation Hearn, looking into the issue of undercover police regarding the SDS, including 20 police officers.

    The estimated cost to date is £1.25m.

    Vaz says that sounds like a lot of money and a lot of officers, implying that they can probably get through all those 50,000 documents more quickly than they are.

    Vaz asks if when she has completed her operation she will inform the parents.

    Gallan says she needs to consider all the issues and can’t give a yes or no answer.
    4.44pm GMT

    Vaz asks if she would like to apologise for this scandal.

    Gallan says at the appropriate time statements would be made.

    Until she knows all the facts she can’t do anything like that, she says.
    4.46pm GMT

    The admission that a second unit, the NPOIU, has used dead children’s identities is very important, since that unit was only formed in 1999.
    4.48pm GMT

    Vaz asks if the Guardian revelations broke the news to her of the use of children’s identities. She knew of one example in September last year.

    Since then has she informed the parents, Vaz asks. She says she hasn’t and she’ll explain why in closed session.

    Gallan is asked again about apologising. She says there are live proceedings ongoing and the Met police will decide at the end.
    4.49pm GMT

    Michael Ellis asks what rank of officer was in charge of the SDS or the NPOIU.

    Superintendent, Gallan says.

    Were they rogue units?

    Gallan says from what she has seen the practices in place weren’t following national guidelines. We need to get all the evidence, she says, so she doesn’t want to go further than that.
    4.51pm GMT

    Ellis asks if taking children’s identities was not accepted practice even at the time.

    Gallan says it was not standard procedure.

    Ellis says these were unauthorised practices even at the time. He suggests these were rogue units or units operating outside their protocols.

    That’s one of the things we’re investigating, Gallan says.

    A senior officer cannot authorise something that is outside of procedures at the time, Ellis says.
    4.53pm GMT

    Winnick asks if Gallan thinks it was in the public interest for the Guardian to give the names of some of the dead children?

    She says she believes in the free press.

    Has the reputation of the press been harmed?

    Gallan says when used appropriately undercover work is very important, and they are worried about anything that undermines confidence in that.

    Asked the same question again, she says: “I think it is.”

    I’ll take that to be a yes, says Winnick.
    4.55pm GMT

    How far is it possible for undercover work to take place without sexual relationships, Winnick asks.

    Gallan says she doesn’t believe you can authorise such activities, morally.

    If something like that does happen it should be reported immediately.

    Winnick asks if it’s right to assume the officers were not not told to engage in sex.

    Gallan says she might be able to explain that in closed session, but it was not authorised.
    4.59pm GMT

    Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has said it is “almost inevitable” some undercover officers will have sexual relationships in this way although he wouldn’t encourage it, Vaz says. Doesn’t that contradict Gallan’s view?

    Nick Herbert, the policing minister, has said that to ban such actions would provide a ready-made test for the targeted group, Vaz says.

    What is her view?

    Gallan repeats that there is a moral issue. Legally, the law is silent on that, and she will explain that in closed session, she says.

    The Met police does not authorise that conduct, she repeats.

    She says she cannot envisage under any circumstances a commander authorising this kind of behaviour.
    5.02pm GMT

    But was it prohibited, asks Vaz.

    In the closed session, she will explain more, says Gallan.

    Tory James Clappison suggests that some of these relationships went on for so long that senior officers must have known what was happening.

    Vaz says he is disappointed that Gallan has not sent out a message that the Met police is sorry that the practice of using dead children’s identities has taken place.

    Winnick adds that the committee is disappointed.

    Vaz says he is concerned that she has known about one incident since September and still has not got to the bottom of it.

    One of the victims followed the trail and turned up at the house of the dead child’s parents. They weren’t there, but imagine their grief if they had have been, Vaz says.

    Gallan repeats her “concern” and says she is keeping an open mind about the facts.

    It would be inappropriate to rush to make statements in haste, Gallan says.
    5.03pm GMT

    Does she have a timetable for the conclusion of Operation Hearn, Vaz asks.

    Gallan says it would be wrong to put a timescale on it.

    We are determined to go where the evidence takes us, she says.
    5.03pm GMT

    With that the committee goes into closed session.
    5.36pm GMT

    Here is a summary of what we have learned from that committee session.

    • The use of dead children’s identities by undercover police officers was not confined to the Special Demonstration Squad, but was also a practice employed by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, a unit that was only set up in 1999, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan of the Metropolitan police revealed to the Commons home affairs committee.

    • Gallan knew about one case of a child’s identity being used in this way in September last year. The practice is not sanctioned today among the Met or any other force in the country, she said.

    • Including the case that came to light in September, she knew of only two cases of this happening, she said, and did not know if the Guardian’s estimate of 80 cases was accurate. But she felt that more cases would probably come to light.

    • Keith Vaz, the chair of the committee, said he was “disappointed” that Gallan would not apologise for the police’s actions, saying only that she was “very concerned” at the allegations and wanted to wait until all the facts had been established before rushing to make a statement.

    • Vaz was also extremely concerned that Gallan had not informed the parents in the case discovered in September last year, and wanted her to promise she would inform all the parents involved as soon as possible. Gallan would not agree to this.

    • Police officers having sex with activists in groups they infiltrated was not authorised, and could not justified morally, Gallan said. She could not envisage any circumstances under which a commander would authorise this.

    • She admitted the Metropolitan police’s reputation had been harmed by the scandal.

    • Thirty-one staff are working on Operation Hearn, looking into the issue of undercover police, including 20 police officers. The estimated cost to date is £1.25m.

    • Lawyers for women who feel they were duped into having relationships with undercover officers attacked the practice as being “depraved”, “dispicable” and beyond the bounds of a civilised society. MPs on the committee broadly seemed to agree, although Tory Michael Ellis drew attention to Mr Justice Tugendhat’s contention that such relationships would not surprise the public, accused the lawyers of wanting to tie the police’s hands unreasonable. He asked if the public had a human right to be protected from crime and suggested senior officers were best-placed to decide when it was and was not right to use undercover officers.

    That’s all from me. Thanks for all your comments.
    Blog home
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    Police ·
    House of Commons · Keith Vaz ·

    Police must inform parents of children whose IDs were used by spies, says MP

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    Paul Owen
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 February 2013 14.17 GMT

    Find this story at 5 February 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Verdeckte Ermittler; Ermittlungstaktik, Lust und Liebe

    In England hatte ein Undercover-Polizist regelmäßig Sex mit Frauen aus der überwachten Szene. In Deutschland wäre das unzulässig, beteuert das Innenministerium.von Christian Rath

    Die Berichterstattung des „Guardian“ über Mark Kennedy brachte den Stein ins Rollen. Bild: screenshot guardian.co.uk

    BERLIN taz | Verdeckte Ermittler von Bundeskriminalamt und Bundespolizei dürfen keine sexuellen Beziehungen eingehen, um Informationen zu erlangen. Das erklärte jetzt das Bundesinnenministerium auf eine parlamentarische Anfrage des Linken-Abgeordneten Andrej Hunko.

    Anlass der Nachfrage ist der Fall des englischen Polizisten Mark Kennedy, der mit falschem Namen, langen Haaren und Ohrringen einige Jahre lang militante Umweltschützer und Globalisierungskritiker in ganz Europa ausspionierte. Auch in Deutschland war Kennedy aktiv: während des G-8-Gipfels in Heiligendamm 2007 sowie beim Nato-Gipfel in Baden Baden 2009.

    Im Rahmen seiner Spitzeltätigkeit unterhielt der Polizist Kennedy auch zahlreiche Liebschaften. Wie die englische Zeitung Guardian aufdeckte, war es durchaus üblich, dass verdeckte Ermittler sexuelle Beziehungen in der von ihr überwachten Szene knüpften. Jetzt klagen zehn Frauen und ein Mann vor dem englischen High Court auf Schadensersatz. Sie hätten ein emotionales Trauma erlitten, nachdem Menschen, mit denen sie „tiefe persönliche“ Beziehungen eingingen, sich als Spitzel entpuppten.
    Die Lustfrage

    Der Bundestagsabgeordnete Andrej Hunko wollte deshalb von der Bundesregierung wissen, ob sie es für zulässig hält, wenn Verdeckte Ermittler „Sexualität oder sonstige emotional tiefgehende Beziehungen mit ihren Zielpersonen oder deren Kontaktpersonen praktizieren“. Antwort: Die Bundesregierung ist der Auffassung, „dass das Eingehen derartiger Beziehungen aus ermittlungstaktischen Gründen in aller Regel unzulässig ist“. Und Innenstaatssekretär Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, von dem die Antwort stammt, fügt hinzu: „Dies gilt auch für den Einsatz von Mitarbeitern ausländischer Behörden in Deutschland mit deutscher Zustimmung.“

    Die Auskunft klingt eindeutig, enthält aber eine wichtige Einschränkung: Unzulässig ist der Ermittler-Sex nur, wenn er „aus ermittlungstaktischen Gründen“ stattfindet – sprich: Wenn der Polizist eigentlich keine Lust hat. Wenn der Verdeckte Ermittler aber aus Lust und/oder Liebe gerne mit einer Ziel- oder Kontaktperson schlafen will, scheint dies nach Ansicht von Staatssekretär Fritsche rechtlich nicht ausgeschlossen.

    Dagegen hatte der auf Geheimdienstrecht spezialisierte Anwalt Udo Kauß 2011 im taz-interview gefordert: „Genauso wie ein Verdeckter Ermittler keine Straftaten begehen darf, darf er mit den Zielpersonen und deren Umfeld auch keine Liebesbeziehungen führen.“ Wenn ein Einsatz „aus dem Ruder“ laufe, müsse er abgebrochen werden.
    Der deutsche Fall Bromma

    In Baden-Württemberg hatte die Polizei 2010 den jungen Beamten Simon Bromma in linke studentische Gruppen eingeschleust. Er sollte herausfinden, ob im Umfeld der Antifaschistischen Initiative Heidelberg (AIHD) Gewaltakte gegen Polizisten und Nazis geplant waren. Er erschlich sich mit seiner freundlichen und hilfsbereiten Art in den Kreisen um die studentische „Kritische Initiative“ zahlreiche Freundschaften, flog dann aber auf, als ihn eine Ferienbekanntschaft erkannte.

    Sieben Betroffene aus der bespitzelten Szene erhoben im August 2011 Klage beim Verwaltungsgericht Karlsruhe. Sie verlangen die Feststellung, dass der Undercover-Einsatz gegen die linke Heidelberger Szene generell rechtswidrig war. Sie seien keine „gewaltbereiten Gefährder“. Außerdem seien die Privatsphäre und die Menschenwürde verletzt, wenn den Aktivisten „ohne eigenes Wissen eine Freundschaft/Bekanntschaft zu einem polizeilichen Ermittler aufgezwungen“ werde.

    Das Verfahren kommt allerdings nicht voran, weil der baden-württembergische Innenminister Reinhold Gall (SPD) alle Spitzelberichte Brommas gesperrt hat. Die Arbeitsweise Verdeckter Ermittler müsse geheim bleiben, da die Undercover-Agenten sonst leicht enttarnt werden könnten, argumentierte Gall. Dagegen klagten die Betroffenen in einem Zwischenverfahren und erzielten nun einen Teilerfolg.
    Teilweise rechtswidrig

    04.02.20133 Kommentare

    Find this story at 4 February 2013

    © der taz

    Brother of boy whose identity was stolen by police spies demands apology

    Anthony Barker says police could have put family in danger by using identity of brother John, who died aged eight

    John Dines, a police sergeant who adopted the identity of John Barker to pose as an environmental campaigner, pictured in the early 1990s

    Undercover police were “reckless” when they stole the identity of an eight-year-old boy who had died of leukaemia, according to his brother, who is demanding an apology for putting his family at risk.

    Anthony Barker, whose brother John Barker died in 1968, said he was shocked to discover the boy’s identity was resurrected and adopted by undercover police spying on political groups.

    The Metropolitan police has admitted that two of its undercover units appear to have used the identities of dead children, a practice which has lasted four decades and was still going on in the 2000s.

    The identity of John Barker was adopted by a police sergeant called John Dines, who posed as an environmental campaigner between 1987 and 1992.

    “The danger the police put my family in – and all the other families this has happened to – is horrendous,” Barker said. An investigation by the Guardian has established police used the identities of dead children so their undercover agents could pose as real people. Barker said that in doing so, they placed innocent families at risk.

    “In our case, we now discover, there was a girlfriend who was left behind when the policeman pretending to be my brother disappeared from the scene,” he said. “Apparently she was so worried about him that she tracked him down to the house we had moved out of a few years earlier.

    “Now, imagine that policeman had infiltrated a violent gang or made friends with a volatile person, then disappeared, just like this man did.

    “Someone wanting revenge would have tracked us down to our front door – but they wouldn’t have wanted a cup of tea and a chat, like this woman says she did.”

    Although many police spies using dead children’s identities were infiltrating peaceful leftwing and environmental groups, many were also deployed in violent far-right groups.

    “If we had told those sorts of people that the man they thought they had known for so many years has died as a little boy, they would have thought we were lying,” Barker said. “Who knows what would have happened to us then?”

    He added: “These people could have found our family in a heartbeat. That was an absolutely reckless thing for the police to do.”

    Anthony Barker, who was born the year after his brother died, said: “My parents always said he was a lovely lad. They could not afford more than one child. They only had me because John passed away.

    “It totally shattered my parents when he died. You can see from photographs how much his death aged them. When I was a toddler they looked like my grandparents.”

    Barker described the use of dead children’s identities as a “clinical, mechanic way of policing” and morally “horrific”. He believed his parents, who are now deceased, would have been appalled to discover a police officer was posing as their beloved son.

    “In my view, these were politically motivated undercover operations. That is what I cannot understand. What kinds of crimes did these political activists commit? We’re not talking about drug dealers or terrorists. These operations must have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, and all the while my parents were living in poverty.”

    He added: “Not only is it horrendous to steal the identity of a child but by taking that identity into an unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation, they’re putting entire families at risk.”

    The Met has declined to say how many dead children’s identities it believes have been used by covert agents, although the force has stressed that the practice is not currently in use.

    A document seen by the Guardian indicates that the Special Demonstration Squad, one of two police units known to have used the practice, used the identities of around 80 dead children.

    On Tuesday the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Patricia Gallan told a parliamentary inquiry that a second unit involved in spying on protesters appears to have used dead children’s identities.

    The second unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, was founded in 1999 and operated throughout the 2000s.

    It suggests the total number of dead children’s identities used by police could exceed 100.

    MPs expressed their disapproval when Gallan, who is overseeing a £1.25m review of protest spying operations, refused to apologise for any hurt caused until her inquiries were complete.

    She also refused to say whether she would contact the families involved, saying there were “legal and ethical issues” to consider.

    Barker said: “I strongly believe all the families who this has happened to need to be told. They have been placed at risk. That is the bottom line. These were undercover operations. Anything could have happened.”

    Amelia Hill, Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 6 February 2013 16.55 GMT

    Find this story at 6 February 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Woman’s 18-year search for truth about police spy who used dead child’s name

    When the man known to his activist girlfriend as John Barker disappeared, she embarked on a journey that led her to the former home of a child whose name he used as an alias

    John Dines taking part in a race in the early 1990s when he was serving as an undercover sergeant in the Metropolitan police’s special branch

    John Barker was an eight-year-old boy who died of leukaemia in 1968. Nineteen years later his identity was quietly resurrected by the police. The man who adopted the boy’s identity, claiming it as his own, was John Dines, an undercover sergeant in the Metropolitan police’s special branch.

    In 1987 Dines was tasked with posing as an anti-capitalist protester, feeding intelligence to his handlers in a secret unit called the special demonstration squad (SDS). It was a controversial and morally dubious deployment that lasted five years and will now return to haunt him.

    Like many SDS officers, Dines had a long-term girlfriend who was a political activist. She does not want to be identified and has asked to be referred to as Clare.

    Her story lays bare the emotional trauma experienced by women whom police have described as “collateral” victims of their spy operations, as well as the risks police were taking by adopting the identities of dead children.

    In 1990 the man Clare knew as John Barker asked to borrow money so he could fly to New Zealand for his mother’s funeral. “The night before he got the flight to go there, he stayed at my place and kind of poured his heart out. We became emotionally close. When he got back, we got together.”

    There was no funeral in New Zealand and Dines had no need to borrow money. But Clare had known Dines as a fellow protester for three years and had no reason to suspect him. The couple would end up in an intimate relationship for two years.

    “He said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and I was madly in love with him,” she said. “He said he wanted us to have kids. He used to say he had once seen an elderly Greek couple sitting on a veranda gazing into the sunset, and that he pictured us growing old like that.”

    By the summer of 1991, as part of an exit strategy, Dines began exhibiting symptoms of a mental breakdown.

    “He kept talking about how he had nobody left apart from me,” Clare said. “His parents had both died. He had no brothers and sisters. The only woman that he had ever loved before me, a woman called Debbie, had left him. He said he was convinced I was going to do the same to him.”

    Dines gave the impression he wanted to run away to escape inner demons. “I saw him crying loads,” Clare said. “He told me that he had thrown all of his mother’s jewellery into a river because he thought she never loved him. He told me his parents had abused him.”

    In March 1992 an emotional-sounding Dines called from Heathrow airport saying he was about to fly to South Africa. After that, Clare received two letters with South African postmarks. Then her boyfriend vanished altogether.

    Clare was left distraught and confused. “I was very worried about his mental state,” she said. “I was also sick with worry that he might kill himself.”

    Clare contacted the British consulate in South Africa and frantically phoned hostels she thought he may have stayed in Johannesburg. She later hired a private investigator who could find no trace of Dines.

    It was the start of a journey for the truth that would last almost two decades and eventually take her to New Zealand. It was not until 2010 that she found out for sure that the man she had loved was a police spy.

    For some of the time that Clare thought her boyfriend was missing abroad, he was actually working just a few miles away. When his undercover work finished, Dines changed his mullet-style haircut and returned to a desk job at the Met headquarters in Scotland Yard where, according to a colleague, he appeared “very miserable”.

    In her search for clues, one of the first things Clare did was locate a copy of what she assumed was her boyfriend’s birth certificate. The document confirmed the details he had always given her: it named a city in the Midlands where he was born in January 1960. She had no idea that the identity was a forgery, or that the real John Barker had died as a boy.

    In April 1993, desperate after a year of searching, Clare decided to visit Barker’s family home in the hope of finding any surviving relatives, but when she knocked on the door of the terrace house there was no answer. She went back later but the occupants said the family no longer lived there.

    Looking back, she wonders what would have occurred if the dead child’s parents had opened the door. “It would have been horrendous,” she said. “It would have completely freaked them out to have someone asking after a child who died 24 years earlier.”

    It was another 18 months before Clare decided to inspect the national death records. “I just suddenly got this instinct. It was a whim: I thought, I’m going to go in there and look through the death records.”

    She recalls her horror when she discovered the real John Barker was dead. “It sent a chill down my spine,” she said. “When I got the certificate itself, it was so clear. The same person. The same parents. The same address. But he had died as an eight-year-old boy.”

    The Guardian has been unable to find surviving relatives of the child.

    The discovery turned Clare’s world upside down. “It was like a bereavement but it was not something I could talk to people about. Now suddenly he didn’t exist. This was a man I had known for five years, who I had lived with for two years. How could I trust anybody again?”

    Clare now knew her boyfriend had lied about his identity, but still had no idea who he was. The idea that he might have been a police spy crossed her mind, but he might also have worked in corporate espionage or had a hidden criminal past. It was another 10 years of searching before she got closer to the truth.

    Clare had two clues to go on. One was the name of a woman in New Zealand who Dines had told her was an aunt. The other was a letter in which he had made a curious reference to his biological father being a man he had never met, called Jim Dines.

    The woman in New Zealand was not his aunt but, bizarrely, the mother of Dines’s real wife. Stranger still, Jim Dines was, in fact, the police officer’s real father and had brought him up in London.

    Clare has no idea why the undercover police officer chose to compromise his deployment by giving Clare cryptic references to people in his real life. Perhaps he was psychologically traumatised by his dual identities and wanted to leave a trail that would allow Clare to find him.

    Whatever his reason, the clues led Clare to a public archive in New Zealand. It was there, in 2003, that she made a crucial connection: a document that linked Dines with the woman he married, Debbie.

    Clare instantly realised they must have been a married couple. Back in London, she ordered the couple’s wedding certificate. “What hit me like a ton of bricks is that he listed his occupation as a police officer,” she said. “When I read that, I felt utterly sick and really violated. It ripped me apart basically, just reading that.”

    Clare was now agonisingly close to the truth. She knew that Dines was a police officer when he married his wife in 1977. But there was still a possibility that he gave up his job before becoming a political activist.

    She shared the evidence with friends and family. Some cautioned her against concluding Dines had been a police spy. “I remember my dad and others said: ‘You’re being paranoid – that would never happen in this country.'”

    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
    The Guardian, Sunday 3 February 2013 19.21 GMT

    Find this story at 3 February 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Met chief summoned to explain why police stole identities of dead children

    Deputy assistant commissioner Pat Gallan summoned before MPs to respond to revelations officers used IDs of children

    John Dines, an undercover police sergeant, as he appeared in the early 1980s when he posed as John Barker, a protester against capitalism. Dines’s alternative identity used that of a child who had died. Photograph: Guardian

    A senior police chief has been summoned to parliament to explain why police secretly authorised undercover officers to steal the identities of around 80 dead children.

    Pat Gallan, the Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner in charge of the complaints department, will respond to the revelations at a parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday.

    An investigation by the Guardian has revealed that police infiltrating protest groups have for three decades adopted the identities of dead children, without informing or consulting their parents.

    Two undercover officers have provided a detailed account of how they and others used the identities of dead children.

    Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee has said he is “shocked” at the “gruesome” practice.

    “The committee will hear from those who have been involved in undercover operations as well as their victims,” he said. “I have asked the deputy assistant commissioner Pat Gallan to deal with the issues that have arisen.”

    Gallan is head of the Met’s department for professional standards.

    The Guardian has established how police officers were equipped with fabricated identity records, such as driving licences and national insurance numbers, in the name of their chosen dead child. They also visited the family home of the dead child to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and conducted research into other family members.

    Scotland Yard has already announced an investigation into the controversy. It said it had received one complaint – believed to be a reference to a suspected police officer who was undercover in 2003 – and said it could “appreciate the concerns that have been raised”. The force said that the practice of using the identities of dead children is not currently authorised.

    The operation is known to have been orchestrated by the Special Demonstration Squad, a secretive Met unit disbanded in 2008. Dozens of SDS officers are believed to have searched through birth and death certificates to find a child who had died young and would be a suitable match for their alias.

    The officers then adopted the entire identity of the child as if the child had never died. One police officer has said the process was like “resurrecting” a dead person’s identity.

    The disclosure comes after two years of revelations concerning undercover police officers having sexual relationships with women they are spying on. Eleven women are currently bringing legal action against the Met for damages.

    Vaz said: “The activities of undercover police officers caused disbelief when they were revealed in 2011. These revelations [about the use of dead children’s identities] are shocking. I congratulate the Guardian on their investigation. To have used the identities of dead children without the knowledge or consent of their parents astonishes me. It sounds gruesome. ”

    Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 February 2013 12.36 GMT

    Find this story at 4 February 2013

    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

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