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  • 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
    Revealed: BBC boss who landed £866k payoff and walked straight into another public-sector job

    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



    Act of Terror: arrested for filming police officers – video

    When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography.

    Find this story at 29 April 2013

    Secret mission? UK “homeland security” firms were in India three weeks before David Cameron’s February trade mission

    In late January, Conservative MP and Minister for Security James Brokenshire led a delegation of nearly 25 “homeland security” firms to India on a trip which, in sharp contrast to the trade mission to India undertaken by David Cameron in February, received no coverage in the press whatsoever.

    From 20 to 25 January multinational giants such as Agusta Westland, BAE Systems, G4S and Thales were taken to a number of Indian cities: Delhi, “for the government perspective”; Hyderabad, “the centre of the vast Naxal terrorism-troubled region and the home of a growing high tech industry base” where there was a “round table discussion with local security forces”; and Mumbai, “the focus of safer cities and coastal security initiatives” where attendees were treated to “a conference and round table discussion with local government security agencies and business.” [1]

    A number of lesser-known firms were present alongside the major corporations. Evidence Talks attended, which was founded in 1993 and describes itself as “one of the most highly regarded digital forensic consultancies in the UK.” The company supplies tools for the extraction and analysis of data from digital devices and boasts that its SPEKTOR tool is “used worldwide by police, military, government and commercial customers…[and] enables users with minimal skills to safely, quickly and forensicly [sic] review the contents of computers, removable media and even cell phones.” [2]

    Cunning Running also went on UKTI’s trip, and claims to provide “threat visualisation for the real world.” The firm say that they “develop high quality software solutions for the defence and homeland security markets,” supplying “direct to governments, law enforcement agencies, and militaries in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia.” [3]

    “The security sector in India is vast and desperate to modernise,” said UKTI’s flyer for the mission. “India has approximately 1.2 million police and 1.3 million paramilitary forces personnel. With this, the Central Reserve Police Force, at 350,000, is the largest paramilitary force in the world” – a vast number of personnel who could be equipped with the latest “homeland security” gadgets and expertise.

    The flyer for the mission seems to highlight the fact that backing the security industry as it moves into developing economies is seen as a national endeavour. “The [Indian] market is the subject of stiff competition from international competitors such as the US, Israel and France,” UKTI said, “but is simply too big to ignore.”

    UKTI highlighted that “the on-the-ground costs of this mission (receptions, ground transport, conference facilities, promotional literature) are being wholly subsidised on behalf of UK companies by UKTI and its partners/sponsors” (emphasis in original). Those partners and sponsors included the Indian Home Ministry and the Confederation of Indian Industries.

    Furthermore, companies were “able to avail a government-negotiated rate at the hotels being used throughout the programme.”

    The “only charge to companies” was for the UKTI Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) – a “flexible business tool, letting you use the services of our trade teams, located in our embassies, high commissions and consulates across the world, to benefit your business.” [4]

    The government has recently made additional funding available in order to encourage wider use of OMIS by UK firms, with a 50% discount (up to a maximum of £750) available to “all eligible companies commissioning an order linked to a UKTI, Scottish Development International (SDI), Welsh Government (WG) or Invest Northern Ireland (INI) supported outward mission or Market Visit Support (MVS).” [5]

    While UKTI has clawed back some money from the firms who went on the trade mission to India, the department – described by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) as “a taxpayer-funded arms sales unit” [6] – initially spent over £35,000 subsidising companies. In its response to a freedom of information (FOI) request from Statewatch, UKTI said that “we have also generated income of £13,485 with another £1,170 expected. Therefore the net cost minus the expenses still to come is £20,997.98.”

    This amount pales in comparison to the total amount of subsidies it is estimated are awarded to defence and security firms by the UK government every year, but it also highlights the breadth of support given to a highly controversial industry.

    Research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated that, between 2007 and 2010, total government subsidies for UK arms exports (including both defence and security firms) totalled at its highest £751.2 million, and at its lowest £668.3 million. [7]

    A spokesperson for CAAT criticised the mission to India, saying that: “Unfortunately the UK government continues to prioritise promoting corporate interests over promoting human rights and real security – and expects the UK public to subsidise this.”

    David Cameron’s February trade mission to India received heavy press coverage and saw the Prime Minister accompanied by a number of CEOs from defence and security firms, including Dick Oliver, the chairman of BAE Systems; Robin Southwell, the CEO of EADS UK; Steve Wadley, the UK managing director of the missile firm MBDA; and Victor Chavez, the chief executive of Thales UK. [8]

    [1] UKTI DSO, UKTI homeland security trade mission to India
    [2] Evidence Talks, Company Profile
    [3] Cunning Running website
    [4] UKTI, OMIS – Overseas Market Introduction Service, 25 January 2012
    [5] UKTI, Response to FOI request, 22 March 2013
    [6] Campaign Against Arms Trade, UKTI: Armed & Dangerous, 8 July 2011
    [7] Susan T. Jackson, SIPRI assessment of UK arms export subsidies, 25 May 2011
    [8] Kaye Stearman, Cameron’s Indian odyssey – brickbats and cricket bats, fighter jets and on-message execs, CAATblog, 22 February 2013
    [9] Global Day of Action on Military Spending


    Find this story at 15 April 2013

    Home page | Statewatch News Online | In the News & News Digest | What’s New | Statewatch Journal
    © Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/”fair dealing” is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.

    G4S boss who oversaw botched Olympics contract lands bigger pay packet for 2012 despite firm’s £88m loss on London games

    G4S chief executive Nick Buckles paid £1.19m, up £170,000 on last year
    Company lost £88m in Olympics fiasco when they failed to provide security

    The chief executive of the company behind the security-scandal at the London Olympics last summer received a record pay packet in 2012, following million pound losses during the Games.

    G4S boss Nick Buckles was paid a total £1.19million in 2012, up £170,000 on his 2011 paycheck, despite the company nursing an £88million loss on the London 2012 contract.

    The security giant failed to provide the 10,400 guards needed during this summer’s main event and the military was forced to step in.

    Big Bucks: Nick Buckles, pictured defending his company in the Commons after G4S’s Olympics blunder, was paid an extra £170,000 in 2012 compared to the previous year

    As well as an £830,000 salary, Mr Buckles’ 2012 pay packet included £23,500 in benefits and £332,000 in payments in lieu of pension. Mr Buckles 2012 pay packet was boosted by bigger pension payments.

    However, neither he nor other executive directors earned a performance-related bonus.

    G4S said in its annual report Mr Buckles’ and other executives’ salaries were frozen in 2012 and will not increase this year – the fourth time in five years their salaries have been frozen.

    But it revealed plans to increase potential long-term share bonuses this year to ‘ensure that the directors continue to be incentivised and motivated’.

    Mr Buckles’ maximum shares bonus could rise to 2.5 times his salary from a maximum of two times in 2012 – meaning a potential £2.1 million in shares if he hits targets.

    Loss: G4S lost £88m in the London Olympics Games contract after they failed to provide all the security guards needed for the Games

    Performance-related bonuses will also now depend on factors including organic growth, cash generation, strategic execution and organisation, instead of being tied purely to profits.

    G4S’s Olympics failure saw Mr Buckles hauled before MPs, during which he admitted it was a ‘humiliating shambles for the company’. Extra military personnel had to be called in to fill the gap left by G4S’s failure to supply enough staff for the £284 million contract.

    Mr Buckles said in the annual report it marked ‘one of the toughest periods in the group’s history’.

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    PUBLISHED: 18:12 GMT, 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 06:42 GMT, 16 April 2013

    Find this story at 15 April 2013

    © Associated Newspapers Ltd

    License plate-reading devices fuel privacy debate

    Technology helps police respond to crimes, violations, but broad use, lack of regulations raise privacy worries

    CHELSEA — The high-speed cameras mounted on Sergeant Robert Griffin’s cruiser trigger a beeping alarm every time they read another license plate, automatically checking to see if each car is unregistered, uninsured, or stolen. In a single hour of near-constant beeps, Griffin runs 786 plates on parked cars without lifting a finger.

    The plate-reading cameras were introduced for police use in Massachusetts in 2008, and quickly proved their worth. The one on Griffin’s Chelsea cruiser repaid its $24,000 price tag in its first 11 days on the road. “We located more uninsured vehicles in our first month . . . using [the camera] in one cruiser than the entire department did the whole year before,” said Griffin.

    Now, automated license plate recognition technology’s popularity is exploding — seven Boston-area police departments will add a combined 21 new license readers during the next month alone — and with that expanded use has come debate on whether the privacy of law-abiding citizens is being violated.

    These high-tech license readers, now mounted on 87 police cruisers statewide, scan literally millions of license plates in Massachusetts each year, not only checking the car and owner’s legal history, but also creating a precise record of where each vehicle was at a given moment.
    Video: The watchful lens of the police
    Graphic: How license plate readers work

    The records can be enormously helpful in solving crimes — for example, Fitchburg police used the technology to catch a serial flasher — but they increasingly make privacy advocates uneasy.

    Use of the technology is outstripping creation of rules to prevent abuses such as tracking the movements of private citizens, or monitoring who visits sensitive places such as strip clubs, union halls, or abortion clinics.

    A survey of police departments that use automated license readers found that fewer than a third — just 17 out of 53 — have written policies, leaving the rest with no formal standards for who can see the records or how long they will be preserved.

    “The worst-case scenario — vast databases with records of movements of massive numbers of people — is already happening,” warns Kade Crockford of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which is pushing for a state law to regulate use of license plate scanners and limit the time departments can routinely keep the electronic records to 48 hours.

    But police fear that zeal to protect privacy could stifle the use of a promising law enforcement tool, especially if they are prevented from preserving and pooling license plate scans for use in detective work. Currently, all of the police departments keep their plate scans longer than two days, with data storage ranging from 14 days in Somerville and Brookline to 90 days in Boston and up to a year in Leicester, Malden, Pittsfield, and Worcester.

    Sergeant Griffin, whose own department has no written policy, agrees that there should be rules to prevent abuse, but thinks that these should be set by local departments rather than at the State House. He said that rather than restrict use of the scanners, the Legislature should “trust law enforcement to do the right thing.”

    The usefulness of the automated license plate reader as an investigative tool springs from the astounding number of license plates the units can scan and record. With an array of high-speed cameras mounted on police cruisers snapping pictures, these systems are designed to capture up to 1,800 plates per minute, even at high speeds and in difficult driving conditions.

    “I’ve had my [license plater reader] correctly scan plates on cars parked bumper-to-bumper when I’m driving full speed,” said Griffin, who caught three scofflaws owing a combined $1,900 in parking tickets from the 786 license plates his reader checked on a recent one-hour patrol. The devices misidentify plates often enough that scans have to be confirmed by an officer on the scene before writing a ticket. In this case, after confirming the parking tickets, and the money owed, police initiated the collection process. Griffin called headquarters to confirm that the vehicles still had unpaid tickets, and then arranged for them to be towed.

    Boston’s four scanner-equipped cars do 3,500 scans a day and more than 1 million per year, according to police data. Even smaller departments such as Fitchburg scan 30,000 plates per month with just one license-reading system, easily 10 times more than an officer could manually check.

    Most of the departments that deploy license plate readers use them primarily for traffic enforcement. But the scanners — sometimes called by the acronym ALPR — are also used for missing persons, AMBER alerts, active warrants, and open cases.

    “Every once in a while our detectives will use the ALPR database for retrospective searches,” said Griffin, adding that the technology has proved useful to scan vehicles in neighborhoods surrounding crime scenes.

    Griffin’s counterpart in Fitchburg, Officer Paul McNamara, said license scanner data played a crucial role in solving a string of indecent exposure incidents at Fitchburg State University in April 2011. At the request of the university police, McNamara entered the alleged flasher’s plate into his license-scan database. The system indicated that a suspect’s vehicle had passed the scanner just 10 minutes earlier, leading to a suspect’s arrest and later guilty plea to charges of indecent exposure and lewdness.

    McNamara said that there is no formal process when another police department requests a license inquiry of this kind into his unit’s database.

    “It can’t be a fishing expedition, though,” he said. “We look at it as a form of mutual aid, so it has to be a serious criminal matter for us to share data.”

    While law enforcement officials are enthusiastic, critics can point to alleged abuses:

    ■ In 2004, police tracked Canadian reporter Kerry Diotte via automated license scans after he wrote articles critical of the local traffic division. A senior officer admitted to inappropriately searching for the reporter’s vehicle in a license scan database in an attempt to catch Diotte driving drunk.

    ■ Plainclothes NYPD officers used readers to scan license plates of worshipers at a mosque in 2006 and 2007, the Associated Press reported, under a program that was partially funded by a federal drug enforcement grant.

    ■ In December, the Minneapolis Police Department released a USB thumb drive with 2.1 million license plate scans and GPS vehicle location tags in response to a public records request, raising fears that such releases might help stalkers follow their victims. A few days later, the Minneapolis mayor asked the state to classify license scan data as nonpublic.

    ACLU attorney Fritz Mulhauser warned last summer that, within a few years, police will be able to use license scan records to determine whether a particular vehicle “has been spotted at a specific church, union hall, bar, political party headquarters, abortion clinic, strip club, or any number of other locations a driver might wish to keep private.”

    But many law enforcement officials say they are just starting to tap the potential of license plate scanners.

    “If anything, we’re not using ALPR enough,” said Medford’s Chief Leo Sacco, who would like to deploy the scanners 24 hours a day on all of his cruisers.

    Massachusetts public safety officials are trying to create a central repository of license scans similar to a system in Maryland where all 262 scanner-equipped cruisers feed data to the state. In 2011, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security handed out $750,000 in federal grants for 43 police departments to buy scanners with the understanding that all scan results would be shared.

    The bill introduced on Beacon Hill by Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative Jonathan Hecht would allow police to share scan results for law enforcement purposes, but it would require every agency to develop formal policies that protect privacy. It would also set statewide standards for preserving camera scanner data and require regular reports to the state on how departments are using their scanners.

    Currently, even the state Executive Office of Public Safety lacks a formal policy governing the use of its planned database, while 36 police departments out of the 53 using automated license readers have no written policies, the survey found. The Massachusetts State Police are currently developing a policy for the department’s 20 camera scanners.

    Even departments that do have formal license-reading policies differ widely on specifics such as whether the collected data must be released to the public in response to a written request; Wakefield and Revere say no; many others use vague language that leaves it unclear.

    Likewise, the police differ widely on how long they can retain license scans not connected to an ongoing investigation or law enforcement action, ranging from as little as 14 days in Somerville and Brookline to indefinitely in Milford.

    The town of Brookline, police, and selectmen have worked with the ACLU to develop perhaps the most detailed policies in the state.

    This investigation was done for the Globe in collaboration with MuckRock, a Boston-based company that specializes in obtaining government documents through records requests. It was supported by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Shawn Musgrave can be reached at shawn@muckrock.com.

    By Shawn Musgrave | Globe Correspondent April 09, 2013

    Find this story at 9 April 2013

    © 2013 The New York Times Company

    Hoeveel ANPR-camera’s zijn er eigenlijk?

    ANALYSE – Uw kenteken wordt straks vier weken bewaard als u langs een ANPR-camera rijdt. De Tweede Kamer is in grote lijnen akkoord met een wetsvoorstel dat dat regelt. Hoeveel van dit soort camera’s zijn er eigenlijk? En waar staan ze?

    In het politieke debat over de opslag van kentekengegevens en de bijbehorende rapporten en adviezen wordt uitgegaan van ongeveer driehonderd Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)-camera’s. Het doorgaans goed ingevoerde Webwereld sprak gisteren van tienduizenden camera’s. Beide aantallen kloppen niet.

    We kunnen met zekerheid zeggen dat er 1625 ANPR-camera’s langs de Nederlandse wegen staan. Maar ze zijn lang niet allemaal geschikt voor opsporing. Op dit moment worden al die gescande kentekens nauwelijks gebruikt voor opsporing en dat blijft ook wel even zo ondanks de nieuwe wet (daarover volgende week meer op Sargasso).

    Laten we eens gaan tellen.

    De meeste ANPR-camera’s worden ingezet voor verkeersmanagement en vallen onder het beheer van de Nationale Databank Wegverkeersgegevens (NDW). Met een beroep op de Wet openbaarheid van bestuur (Wob) hebben we een overzicht van al die camera’s gekregen. Het zijn er duizend en die staan vooral in steden en langs provinciale wegen in de Randstad en Noord-Brabant.


    De camera’s meten de verkeersintensiteit. Wie bijvoorbeeld via de S112 in Amsterdam de stad binnenrijdt, wordt gescand. De data zijn niet herleidbaar tot een persoon (en in die zin geen persoonsgegevens), want via encryptie omgezet in een geanonimiseerde code. Bij het centrum wordt dezelfde auto weer gescand en herkend. Met die gegevens kan de NDW berekenen hoeveel tijd het kost om de stad in te komen en die informatie staat dan soms op matrixborden langs de weg.

    De NDW beheert deze camera’s niet zelf, maar bezweert dat ze niet voor opsporingsdoeleinden worden gebruikt en dat dat ook niet de bedoeling is. Toch moeten we het opsporingsdoel niet zomaar afschrijven. In Rotterdam maakte de politie dankbaar gebruik van verkeerscamera’s en werd daarbij niet gehinderd door encryptie. Het kan dus wel.


    Daarnaast heeft de politie veel eigen ANPR-camera’s. Een aantal korpsen heeft vaste opstellingen en de meeste hebben auto’s die uitgerust zijn met ANPR-apparatuur. Het korps Rotterdam-Rijnmond is voorloper en heeft de meeste camera’s hangen: 64 vaste camera’s en 8 mobiele. Het KLPD heeft 36 vaste camera’s en 35 mobiele. 19 korpsen beheren in totaal 78 mobiele camera’s en 5 korpsen hebben in totaal 119 vaste camera’s (op 21 locaties). Tien korpsen gebruiken ANPR-camera’s van anderen.

    Amsterdam-Amstelland heeft er nog niet zoveel, maar wil zijn arsenaal flink uitbreiden door ook de milieucamera’s op het politiesysteem aan te sluiten. Dat is tot op heden echter nog niet gelukt wegens technische problemen.

    Ook private partijen maken steeds vaker gebruik van ANPR. Tankstations proberen er bijvoorbeeld het wegrijden zonder betalen mee te bestrijden. Het is onduidelijk hoeveel tankstations met dit type camera’s zijn uitgerust, daarom neem ik ze niet mee in de telling.

    Hardnekkige plannen

    Daarnaast zijn er al jaren hardnekkige plannen om alle camera’s van Rijkswaterstaat op een landelijk ANPR-net aan te sluiten. Dat zijn zeker 2000 camera’s. Ik zeg hardnekkig, omdat het technisch gezien erg lastig is om dit soort camera’s op een ANPR-netwerk aan te sluiten. De camera’s moeten bijvoorbeeld stabiel hangen en mogen niet zwenken. Bovendien wil je idealiter op iedere rijbaan een eigen camera hebben, anders mis je veel auto’s. De meeste Rijkswaterstaatcamera’s overzien complete rijrichtingen en niet individuele baanvakken.

    De camera’s van Trajectcontrole tellen ook mee in ons overzicht. We hebben alleen de locaties geteld en niet alle camera’s. Het afgelopen jaar is het aantal meetpunten flink uitgebreid, op de A4 en A2 bijvoorbeeld. Alleen al op het stukje Amsterdam-Utrecht hangen zeker tachtig camera’s, verspreid over acht meetpunten.

    Tot slot zijn er nog de beruchte @migo grenscamera’s. Voor meer dan twintig miljoen euro werden ANPR-camera’s bij de grensovergangen gemonteerd, maar die blijken volgens het Schengenverdrag helemaal niet continu te mogen scannen. Ze worden dus beperkt ingezet.

    Educated guess

    Het aantal ANPR-camera’s dat we documentair hebben kunnen staven bedraagt zeker 1625. Ik vermoed dat het ware aantal, en dat is een educated guess, rond de drieduizend ligt. Mocht het toch lukken om de Rijkswaterstaatcamera’s aan te sluiten, dan zitten we op vijfduizend.

    En waar staan ze dan? Hieronder vindt u twee kaarten met camera’s die bij ons bekend zijn. De eerste toont de camera’s waarvan we zeker weten dat ze er staan. De tweede toont het scenario als de Rijkswaterstaat-camera’s op een ANPR-netwerk worden aangesloten. Je kunt zoomen en (beperkt) zoeken.

    Volgende week hebben we een aantal achtergrondverhalen over (slim) cameratoezicht in Nederland en presenteren we een kaart met alle publiek gedocumenteerde camera’s in Nederland die we met enkele honderden Wob-verzoeken boven tafel hebben gekregen. Tips, vragen en aanvullingen graag in de comments.

    Door Dimitri Tokmetzis
    19:00 donderdag 21 maart 2013

    Find this story at 21 March 2013

    (cc) 2001-2013 Stichting Sargasso

    Landelijk opsporingsbericht: uw kenteken gezocht

    Als het aan de politie ligt, wordt uw kenteken straks overal gescand. Niet alleen kijkt de politie of u iets op uw kerfstok heeft, maar ook of u op basis van uw reisprofiel van plan bent om rottigheid uit te halen: een soort Minority Report op de weg dus. Daarbij worden kentekenscans mogelijk centraal opgeslagen en informatie en camerabeelden uitgewisseld tussen politie en de private sector.

    Dit scenario destilleer ik uit een aantal stukken dat ik met een beroep op de Wet openbaarheid van bestuur (Wob) van het KLPD heb ontvangen. Nu al maken verschillende korpsen gebruik van Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), oftewel kentekenherkenning. ANPR wordt op dit moment vooral toegepast voor handhaving, bijvoorbeeld om mensen met openstaande boetes uit het verkeer te plukken. Maar ANPR kan veel meer, zeker als er een landelijk dekkend systeem is.

    De registraties geven een rijk beeld van waar auto’s zijn geweest. Die informatie kan toegepast worden in opsporingsonderzoeken en gebruikt worden voor intelligencedoeleinden. Een centrale stuurgroep onderzoekt de mogelijkheid van van zo’n landelijke toepassing en komt binnenkort – onbekend is wanneer – waarschijnlijk met een voorstel.

    Waarom is dit belangrijk?

    Uit een aantal openbaargemaakte stukken (waaronder een basisdocument van de landelijke werkgroep, Implementatie en Doorontwikkeling ANPR, IDA) blijkt wel waar de voorkeur van de politie naar uit gaat. Ook wordt gewerkt aan een communicatiestrategie. Uiteraard is het niet de bedoeling dat de burger nu al meepraat. Om te voorkomen dat we voor voldongen feiten worden gesteld, nu alvast een bijdrage aan de discussie. Hieronder vindt u enkele tekstfragmenten. Gezamenlijk geven ze een duidelijk beeld van de koers die men dreigt in te slaan. Alle openbare documenten staan onderaan. Een eerder, wat beperkter verhaal, staat hier.

    Tot slot nog even wat u niet mag weten van het KLPD (de zwartgemaakte stukken in de documenten):

    – Het KLPD werkt samen met het Eindhovense bedrijf Technet.

    – Verantwoordelijke bij de Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen (en auteur van het conceptrapport Beelden van de Samenleving is Pieter Jaap Aalbersberg, portefeuillehouder Publiek-Private Samenwerking en Intelligence van de Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen. Blijkbaar is dit ook al privacygevoelige informatie.

    – De locatie van de vaste ANPR-opstellingen worden niet prijsgegeven. Tips kunt u kwijt in de comments, dat werkt wellicht sneller dan een bezwaarschrift. Momenteel werk ik aan een overzichtskaart.

    Uit: ANPR Naar een landelijke toepassing

    Hotlists worden landelijk samengesteld als afgeleide van bestaande registers zoals het opsporingsregister of het kentekenregister. De kentekenverzameling kan naar eigen inzicht worden aangevuld met gegevens uit het korps dat ANPR inzet. Denk daarbij aan speciale doelgroepen en/of subjecten in onderzoeken van CIE (Criminele Inlichtingen Eenheid), TGO’s (teams grootschalig optreden) of BRT’s (bovenregionale recherche teams).

    Opsporing: gepleegde en te plegen strafbare feiten opsporen door balansverstoorders uit de anonimiteit van verkeersstromen te halen. Met ANPR kan bijvoorbeeld een overzicht gemaakt worden van voertuigen die op een bepaald tijdstip in de buurt van een plaats delict aanwezig waren. Een andere toepassingsmogelijkheid is om via ANPR inzicht te verkrijgen in verkeersstromen om vervolgens afwijkende patronen te herkennen.

    Wanneer een ongewoon reispatroon door middel van analyse van het politieregister ANPR aan het licht komt, kan dat voor de politie reden zijn om een onderzoek in te stellen. Zo kunnen potentiële criminele activiteiten tijdig worden onderkend.

    De meerwaarde die ANPR in de toekomst kan bieden is vooral gericht op (proactieve) informatieanalyse, datamining en het versterken van de informatiepositie van de politie. Doelstelling is het ontdekken van trends, patronen en profielen om daar passende interventiescenario’s voor te kunnen opstellen of zelfs ‘criminaliteitsvoorspellingen’ uit te kunnen destilleren. Dat vraagt om een andere soort van analyses, andere vakinhoudelijke kennis en vanwege de bijzondere verstrekkende zoekmogelijkheden om autorisaties van een zeer beperkte kring van politieambtenaren die de vereiste deskundigheid en ervaring bezitten.

    De effectiviteit van ANPR zal toenemen naarmate de inzet breder wordt. Nu wordt ANPR regionaal en periodiek ingezet. De ANPR-systemen kunnen echter ook structureel en landelijk worden ingezet. Te denken valt aan een koppeling van de ANPR-systemen aan de bestaande camera’s van Rijkswaterstaat die langs de snelweg hangen en aan een koppeling aan de camera’s van stadstoezicht. Zo kunnen (potentiële) wetsovertreders nationaal, regionaal en binnen de stad gesignaleerd en eventueel gevolgd worden.

    Een bredere inzet kan ook betekenen dat er meerdere hotlists worden gekoppeld aan de ANPR-camera. Op dit moment wordt vooral gecontroleerd met gegevens van de Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, gegevens van het Centraal Justitieel Incassobureau, gegevens van Politie en gegevens van Justitie. Deze verzameling kan uitgebreid worden met hotlists van andere overheidsinstellingen.

    Samenwerking draagt bovendien bij aan het streven van het kabinet naar één controlerende overheid. Door (al dan niet structureel) samen te werken met eerdergenoemde partijen ontstaat een veel groter arsenaal aan bevoegdheden, interventiemogelijkheden en informatie die in samenhang kan worden ingezet. Deze samenwerking vindt al vaak plaats in het kader van het integrale veiligheidsbeleid, de bestuurlijke aanpak van de georganiseerde criminaliteit, de inzet van Bibob en de multidisciplinaire samenwerking met de Bijzondere Opsporingsdiensten.

    (…) Vanwege de identificerende en signalerende werking krijgt de politie een steeds beter beeld van (potentiële) balansverstoringen en (potentiële) balansverstoorders met een veiligere samenleving als gevolg. (…)

    Verder leren de ervaringen van de politie in Groot Brittannië dat de met ANPR verkregen informatie een grote bijdrage levert aan het oplossen of voorkomen van terroristische aanslagen en zware delicten [wat onzin is, in Engeland gaan er juist stemmen op om het aantal ANPR controles drastisch terug te brengen, dt.]. Wat dat aangaat kan ANPR dus ook gebruikt worden voor bewaken en beveiligen, het vergaren van informatie en intelligence of het tegenhouden van een aanslag. Dergelijke toepassingen zijn natuurlijk wel afhankelijk van de dichtheid van het cameranetwerk.

    Een voorbeeld van hoe de toepassing van ANPR de privacy van een burger kan raken is proactief onderzoek. In theorie is het mogelijk dat personen die niets met een specifiek delict te maken hebben maar die op het verkeerde moment op een verkeerde plaats verblijven in een ‘potentiële verdachten’ bestand terechtkomen. Van belang is dus om als politie goed uit te leggen wat proactief onderzoek inhoudt en dat voldoende wettelijke waarborgen bestaan om onterecht te worden bestempeld als een verdachte.

    Het uitgangspunt daarbij is de inzet van ANPR als handhavinginstrument. Die staat nauwelijks ter discussie en kan relatief eenvoudig worden gerealiseerd. De mogelijkheid om in de toekomst ANPR in te zetten voor opsporingsdoeleinden mag echter niet uit het oog verloren worden en dient meegenomen te worden in de doorontwikkeling van het instrument.

    Uitgangspunt voor verdere implementatie en doorontwikkeling van ANPR is een landelijke organisatie die de ANPR standaarden ontwikkelt en bewaakt en die aanspreekpunt is voor deelnemers en ketenpartners in de ANPR strategie. Daarnaast draagt deze organisatie de zorg voor het beheer van een landelijke database met landelijke hotlists. (…) Het voordeel van deze landelijke regie met regionale autonomie is dat een landelijke ANPR-dekking relatief snel bewerkstelligd kan worden.

    Uit Beelden van de Samenleving een visiedocument van de Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen, februari 2009

    Rol van informatiegestuurd cameratoezicht. Informatiegestuurd cameratoezicht richt zich (in tegenstelling tot andere vormen van cameratoezicht) niet alleen op het verzamelen en verwerken van informatie, maar ook op het analyseren (veredelen) en uitwisselen van deze informatie met publieke én private partners.

    Zo, dan bent u weer bij. Hieronder de documenten en daaronder een filmpje.

    De documenten:

    ANPR naar een landelijke toepassing

    Beelden van de samenleving

    Digitale surveillance op snelwegen

    bijlage 2 IDA (overzicht ANPR-initiatieven per korps)

    Beschrijving legitimiteitsvraagstukken

    Juridisch advies ANPR (hier een verhaal daarover)

    Proces Catch Ken Plan van uitvoering

    Opdracht juridische werkgroep

    Door Dimitri Tokmetzis
    09:00 donderdag 12 augustus 2010

    Find this story at 12 August 2010

    (cc) 2001-2013 Stichting Sargasso

    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

    Family of slain Spanish teen demand inquiry of far-right killer

    The family of a teenager whose murder by a far-right commando rocked Spain in 1980 called Friday for an official inquiry after a newspaper reported that her killer has worked for police as an advisor since his release from jail.

    Yolanda Gonzalez, a 19-year-old Socialist Party activist who had appeared in photographs at the head of student protest marches, was shot two times in the head at close range in a field near Madrid by a far-right commando who suspected her of belonging to the armed Basque separatist group ETA.

    Gonzalez’s murder shocked Spain, which at the time was going through a tumultuous transition to democracy following the death of right-wing dictator General Francisco Franco.

    The man who shot Gonzalez, Emilio Hellin Moro, a former member of the Grup 41 commando with ties to the far-right party Fuerza Nueva, changed his name to Luis Enrique Hellin after he was released from jail in 1996 after serving 14 years of a 43-year jail sentence, top-selling newspaper El Pais reported last month.

    According to the left-leaning paper, the 63-year-old expert on IT-related criminal investigations secured contracts under the changed name with Spain’s security forces, acting for years as an advisor to Spain’s top court and proving training courses to police on how to carry out electronic eavesdropping and comb computers and cellphones for evidence.

    Agence France-PresseMarch 8, 2013 17:30

    Find this story at 8 March 2013
    Copyright 2013 GlobalPost

    How Facebook could get you arrested

    Smart technology and the sort of big data available to social networking sites are helping police target crime before it happens. But is this ethical?

    Companies such as Facebook have begun using algorithms and historical data to predict which of their users might commit crimes. Illustration: Noma Bar

    The police have a very bright future ahead of them – and not just because they can now look up potential suspects on Google. As they embrace the latest technologies, their work is bound to become easier and more effective, raising thorny questions about privacy, civil liberties, and due process.

    For one, policing is in a good position to profit from “big data”. As the costs of recording devices keep falling, it’s now possible to spot and react to crimes in real time. Consider a city like Oakland in California. Like many other American cities, today it is covered with hundreds of hidden microphones and sensors, part of a system known as ShotSpotter, which not only alerts the police to the sound of gunshots but also triangulates their location. On verifying that the noises are actual gunshots, a human operator then informs the police.

    It’s not hard to imagine ways to improve a system like ShotSpotter. Gunshot-detection systems are, in principle, reactive; they might help to thwart or quickly respond to crime, but they won’t root it out. The decreasing costs of computing, considerable advances in sensor technology, and the ability to tap into vast online databases allow us to move from identifying crime as it happens – which is what the ShotSpotter does now – to predicting it before it happens.

    Instead of detecting gunshots, new and smarter systems can focus on detecting the sounds that have preceded gunshots in the past. This is where the techniques and ideologies of big data make another appearance, promising that a greater, deeper analysis of data about past crimes, combined with sophisticated algorithms, can predict – and prevent – future ones. This is a practice known as “predictive policing”, and even though it’s just a few years old, many tout it as a revolution in how police work is done. It’s the epitome of solutionism; there is hardly a better example of how technology and big data can be put to work to solve the problem of crime by simply eliminating crime altogether. It all seems too easy and logical; who wouldn’t want to prevent crime before it happens?

    Police in America are particularly excited about what predictive policing – one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2011 – has to offer; Europeans are slowly catching up as well, with Britain in the lead. Take the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which is using software called PredPol. The software analyses years of previously published statistics about property crimes such as burglary and automobile theft, breaks the patrol map into 500 sq ft zones, calculates the historical distribution and frequency of actual crimes across them, and then tells officers which zones to police more vigorously.

    It’s much better – and potentially cheaper – to prevent a crime before it happens than to come late and investigate it. So while patrolling officers might not catch a criminal in action, their presence in the right place at the right time still helps to deter criminal activity. Occasionally, though, the police might indeed disrupt an ongoing crime. In June 2012 the Associated Press reported on an LAPD captain who wasn’t so sure that sending officers into a grid zone on the edge of his coverage area – following PredPol’s recommendation – was such a good idea. His officers, as the captain expected, found nothing; however, when they returned several nights later, they caught someone breaking a window. Score one for PredPol?

    Trials of PredPol and similar software began too recently to speak of any conclusive results. Still, the intermediate results look quite impressive. In Los Angeles, five LAPD divisions that use it in patrolling territory populated by roughly 1.3m people have seen crime decline by 13%. The city of Santa Cruz, which now also uses PredPol, has seen its burglaries decline by nearly 30%. Similar uplifting statistics can be found in many other police departments across America.

    Other powerful systems that are currently being built can also be easily reconfigured to suit more predictive demands. Consider the New York Police Department’s latest innovation – the so-called Domain Awareness System – which syncs the city’s 3,000 closed-circuit camera feeds with arrest records, 911 calls, licence plate recognition technology, and radiation detectors. It can monitor a situation in real time and draw on a lot of data to understand what’s happening. The leap from here to predicting what might happen is not so great.

    If PredPol’s “prediction” sounds familiar, that’s because its methods were inspired by those of prominent internet companies. Writing in The Police Chief magazine in 2009, a senior LAPD officer lauded Amazon’s ability to “understand the unique groups in their customer base and to characterise their purchasing patterns”, which allows the company “not only to anticipate but also to promote or otherwise shape future behaviour”. Thus, just as Amazon’s algorithms make it possible to predict what books you are likely to buy next, similar algorithms might tell the police how often – and where – certain crimes might happen again. Ever stolen a bicycle? Then you might also be interested in robbing a grocery store.

    Here we run into the perennial problem of algorithms: their presumed objectivity and quite real lack of transparency. We can’t examine Amazon’s algorithms; they are completely opaque and have not been subject to outside scrutiny. Amazon claims, perhaps correctly, that secrecy allows it to stay competitive. But can the same logic be applied to policing? If no one can examine the algorithms – which is likely to be the case as predictive-policing software will be built by private companies – we won’t know what biases and discriminatory practices are built into them. And algorithms increasingly dominate many other parts of our legal system; for example, they are also used to predict how likely a certain criminal, once on parole or probation, is to kill or be killed. Developed by a University of Pennsylvania professor, this algorithm has been tested in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Such probabilistic information can then influence sentencing recommendations and bail amounts, so it’s hardly trivial.
    Los Angeles police arrest a man. The force is using predictive software to direct its patrols. Photograph: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

    But how do we know that the algorithms used for prediction do not reflect the biases of their authors? For example, crime tends to happen in poor and racially diverse areas. Might algorithms – with their presumed objectivity – sanction even greater racial profiling? In most democratic regimes today, police need probable cause – some evidence and not just guesswork – to stop people in the street and search them. But armed with such software, can the police simply say that the algorithms told them to do it? And if so, how will the algorithms testify in court? Techno-utopians will probably overlook such questions and focus on the abstract benefits that algorithmic policing has to offer; techno-sceptics, who start with some basic knowledge of the problems, constraints and biases that already pervade modern policing, will likely be more critical.

    Legal scholar Andrew Guthrie Ferguson has studied predictive policing in detail. Ferguson cautions against putting too much faith in the algorithms and succumbing to information reductionism. “Predictive algorithms are not magic boxes that divine future crime, but instead probability models of future events based on current environmental vulnerabilities,” he notes.

    But why do they work? Ferguson points out that there will be future crime not because there was past crime but because “the environmental vulnerability that encouraged the first crime is still unaddressed”. When the police, having read their gloomy forecast about yet another planned car theft, see an individual carrying a screwdriver in one of the predicted zones, this might provide reasonable suspicion for a stop. But, as Ferguson notes, if the police arrested the gang responsible for prior crimes the day before, but the model does not yet reflect this information, then prediction should be irrelevant, and the police will need some other reasonable ground for stopping the individual. If they do make the stop, then they shouldn’t be able to say in court, “The model told us to.” This, however, may not be obvious to the person they have stopped, who has no familiarity with the software and its algorithms.

    Then there’s the problem of under-reported crimes. While most homicides are reported, many rapes and home break-ins are not. Even in the absence of such reports, local police still develop ways of knowing when something odd is happening in their neighbourhoods. Predictive policing, on the other hand, might replace such intuitive knowledge with a naive belief in the comprehensive power of statistics. If only data about reported crimes are used to predict future crimes and guide police work, some types of crime might be left unstudied – and thus unpursued.

    What to do about the algorithms then? It is a rare thing to say these days but there is much to learn from the financial sector in this regard. For example, after a couple of disasters caused by algorithmic trading in August 2012, financial authorities in Hong Kong and Australia drafted proposals to establish regular independent audits of the design, development and modification of the computer systems used for algorithmic trading. Thus, just as financial auditors could attest to a company’s balance sheet, algorithmic auditors could verify if its algorithms are in order.

    As algorithms are further incorporated into our daily lives – from Google’s Autocomplete to PredPol – it seems prudent to subject them to regular investigations by qualified and ideally public-spirited third parties. One advantage of the auditing solution is that it won’t require the audited companies publicly to disclose their trade secrets, which has been the principal objection – voiced, of course, by software companies – to increasing the transparency of their algorithms.

    The police are also finding powerful allies in Silicon Valley. Companies such as Facebook have begun using algorithms and historical data to predict which of their users might commit crimes using their services. Here is how it works: Facebook’s own predictive systems can flag certain users as suspicious by studying certain behavioural cues: the user only writes messages to others under 18; most of the user’s contacts are female; the user is typing keywords like “sex” or “date.” Staffers can then examine each case and report users to the police as necessary. Facebook’s concern with its own brand here is straightforward: no one should think that the platform is harbouring criminals.

    In 2011 Facebook began using PhotoDNA, a Microsoft service that allows it to scan every uploaded picture and compare it with child-porn images from the FBI’s National Crime Information Centre. Since then it has expanded its analysis beyond pictures as well. In mid-2012 Reuters reported on how Facebook, armed with its predictive algorithms, apprehended a middle-aged man chatting about sex with a 13-year-old girl, arranging to meet her the day after. The police contacted the teen, took over her computer, and caught the man.

    Facebook is at the cutting edge of algorithmic surveillance here: just like police departments that draw on earlier crime statistics, Facebook draws on archives of real chats that preceded real sex assaults. Curiously, Facebook justifies its use of algorithms by claiming that they tend to be less intrusive than humans. “We’ve never wanted to set up an environment where we have employees looking at private communications, so it’s really important that we use technology that has a very low false-positive rate,” Facebook’s chief of security told Reuters.

    It’s difficult to question the application of such methods to catching sexual predators who prey on children (not to mention that Facebook may have little choice here, as current US child-protection laws require online platforms used by teens to be vigilant about predators). But should Facebook be allowed to predict any other crimes? After all, it can easily engage in many other kinds of similar police work: detecting potential drug dealers, identifying potential copyright violators (Facebook already prevents its users from sharing links to many file-sharing sites), and, especially in the wake of the 2011 riots in the UK, predicting the next generation of troublemakers. And as such data becomes available, the temptation to use it becomes almost irresistible.

    That temptation was on full display following the rampage in a Colorado movie theatre in June 2012, when an isolated gunman went on a killing spree, murdering 12 people. A headline that appeared in the Wall Street Journal soon after the shooting says it all: “Can Data Mining Stop the Killing?” It won’t take long for this question to be answered in the affirmative.

    In many respects, internet companies are in a much better position to predict crime than police. Where the latter need a warrant to assess someone’s private data, the likes of Facebook can look up their users’ data whenever they want. From the perspective of police, it might actually be advantageous to have Facebook do all this dirty work, because Facebook’s own investigations don’t have to go through the court system.

    While Facebook probably feels too financially secure to turn this into a business – it would rather play up its role as a good citizen – smaller companies might not resist the temptation to make a quick buck. In 2011 TomTom, a Dutch satellite-navigation company that has now licensed some of its almighty technology to Apple, found itself in the middle of a privacy scandal when it emerged that it had been selling GPS driving data collected from customers to the police. Privacy advocate Chris Soghoian has likewise documented the easy-to-use “pay-and-wiretap” interfaces that various internet and mobile companies have established for law enforcement agencies.

    Publicly available information is up for grabs too. Thus, police are already studying social-networking sites for signs of unrest, often with the help of private companies. The title of a recent brochure from Accenture urges law enforcement agencies to “tap the power of social media to drive better policing outcomes”. Plenty of companies are eager to help. ECM Universe, a start-up from Virginia, US, touts its system, called Rapid Content Analysis for Law Enforcement, which is described as “a social media surveillance solution providing real-time monitoring of Twitter, Facebook, Google groups, and many other communities where users express themselves freely”.

    “The solution,” notes the ECM brochure, “employs text analytics to correlate threatening language to surveillance subjects, and alert investigators of warning signs.” What kind of warning signs? A recent article in the Washington Post notes that ECM Universe helped authorities in Fort Lupton, Colorado, identify a man who was tweeting such menacing things as “kill people” and “burn [expletive] school”. This seems straightforward enough but what if it was just “harm people” or “police suck”?

    As companies like ECM Universe accumulate extensive archives of tweets and Facebook updates sent by actual criminals, they will also be able to predict the kinds of non-threatening verbal cues that tend to precede criminal acts. Thus, even tweeting that you don’t like your yoghurt might bring police to your door, especially if someone who tweeted the same thing three years before ended up shooting someone in the face later in the day.

    However, unlike Facebook, neither police nor outside companies see the whole picture of what users do on social media platforms: private communications and “silent” actions – clicking links and opening pages – are invisible to them. But Facebook, Twitter, Google and similar companies surely know all of this – so their predictive power is much greater than the police’s. They can even rank users based on how likely they are to commit certain acts.

    An apt illustration of how such a system can be abused comes from The Silicon Jungle, ostensibly a work of fiction written by a Google data-mining engineer and published by Princeton University Press – not usually a fiction publisher – in 2010. The novel is set in the data-mining operation of Ubatoo – a search engine that bears a striking resemblance to Google – where a summer intern develops Terrorist-o-Meter, a sort of universal score of terrorism aptitude that the company could assign to all its users. Those unhappy with their scores would, of course, get a chance to correct them – by submitting even more details about themselves. This might seem like a crazy idea but – in perhaps another allusion to Google – Ubatoo’s corporate culture is so obsessed with innovation that its interns are allowed to roam free, so the project goes ahead.

    To build Terrorist-o-Meter, the intern takes a list of “interesting” books that indicate a potential interest in subversive activities and looks up the names of the customers who have bought them from one of Ubatoo’s online shops. Then he finds the websites that those customers frequent and uses the URLs to find even more people – and so on until he hits the magic number of 5,000. The intern soon finds himself pursued by both an al-Qaida-like terrorist group that wants those 5,000 names to boost its recruitment campaign, as well as various defence and intelligence agencies that can’t wait to preemptively ship those 5,000 people to Guantánamo.

    Evgeny Morozov
    The Observer, Saturday 9 March 2013 19.20 GMT

    Find this story at 9 March 2013

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

    Police software mines social media

    Police scan your Facebook comments.Photo / File

    Police have developed a specialist software tool which mines social media for information.

    The Signal tool was developed for high-profile public events and emergencies and works by scanning public-facing material on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

    Police director of intelligence Mark Evans said it was “not typically” used as an evidence gathering or investigative tool although it could be.

    Social media use by law enforcement around the world has grown with the International Association of Police Chiefs finding 77 per cent of agencies used it most commonly to investigate crime. The survey of 600 agencies across the United States found it had helped solve crimes.

    Mr Evans said the tool was developed as part of preparations for the Rugby World Cup because police “wanted the ability to scan social media comments in and around the stadiums in real time”.

    Since then, it had been used for royal visits, Waitangi Day and during the Auckland cyclone. Mr Evans said Signal was not used to crawl random postings. Instead, police would set a geographical area and put in key words.

    As an example, he said a large sporting event could see “protest”, “traffic”, “accident” or “delays”.

    He said the strength of Signal was its ability to help police “identify and analyse social media feeds relevant to crime and public safety” at a specific time and place.

    In doing so, Mr Evans said police were able to judge the impact of an event which had happened or stop a problem escalating. It also helped target people and resources where they were needed, he said.

    During the Rugby World Cup, it allowed police to detect a boy racer convoy heading from Auckland to Hamilton.

    The drivers “felt they would be able to get away with dangerous behaviour on the roads because they believed police resources would be busy elsewhere”, he said.

    Signal was developed as part of a $60,000 emergency management tool.

    Global police use of social media

    53 per cent – Created a fake profile or undercover identity
    48 per cent – Posted surveillance video or images
    86 per cent – Viewed profiles of suspects
    49 per cent – Viewed profiles of victims

    Source: IACP Social Media Survey 2012

    By David Fisher @@DFisherJourno
    5:30 AM Saturday Feb 23, 2013

    Find this story at 23 February 2013

    © Copyright 2013, APN Holdings NZ Limited

    Spam vom Staat

    Er gilt als der böseste Deutsche im Internet: Martin Münch liefert Polizei und Geheimdiensten Überwachungs-Software. Auch Diktatoren drangsalieren mit den Programmen ihre Bürger.

    Im Disney-Film “Mulan” ist alles so einfach. Die Heldin kämpft zusammen mit lauter Männern im chinesischen Militär gegen die Hunnen. Der Film zeichnet Mulans Gegner als schattige, gesichtslose Wesen. Die feindliche Reiterarmee verdunkelt den Horizont. Gut gegen Böse – ein Klassiker.

    Martin Münch lebt in einem Disney-Film. Er weiß, wer die Bösen sind. Er weiß, dass er zu den Guten gehört. Es gibt nur ein Problem: Alle anderen wissen es nicht. Für sie steht Münch auf der falschen Seite des arabischen Frühlings, auf der Seite der Unterdrücker. Menschenrechtler prangern an, er liefere Überwachungssoftware an Diktaturen, willentlich oder leichtfertig.

    Münch, 31, entwickelt Spähsoftware für Computer und Handys. Sie infiziert das digitale Gedächtnis, sie schnüffelt in der virtuellen Intimsphäre. Polizei und Geheimdienst können dank ihr sehen, welche Krankheitssymptome der Überwachte im Web googelt. Sie hören, was er mit der Mutter über das Internet-Telefon-Programm Skype bespricht. Sie lesen seinen Einkaufszettel auf dem Smartphone. Der Trojaner, der das alles kann, heißt Finfisher. Trojaner wird diese Art Software genannt, weil die Spionagefunktionen eingeschmuggelt werden in einer harmlosen Hülle.
    Bild vergrößern

    Martin Münchs Firma Gamma entwickelt den Trojaner Finfisher. (Foto: Robert Haas)

    Seit kurzem testet auch das Bundeskriminalamt, ob Finfisher als Bundestrojaner taugt. Auf sein Produkt ist Münch stolz. Zum ersten Mal zeigte er jetzt deutschen Journalisten, dem NDR und der Süddeutschen Zeitung, wie Finfisher funktioniert. Bisher durften Medien nicht in die Entwicklerbüros in Obersendling in München.

    Auf den Glastüren steht der Firmenname: Gamma Group. Ein Dutzend Mitarbeiter sitzt vor Bildschirmen, die Programmierer gleich vor mehreren. Hinter dem Bürostuhl des Chefs Münch hängt eine Aluminiumplatte mit dem Firmenlogo. Er teilt sich seinen Schreibtisch mit dem Kollegen, der den IT-Notruf betreut. Ihm gegenüber klingelt also das Telefon, wenn irgendwo auf der Welt die Strafverfolgung klemmt. Er ist also sehr nah dran an den Ermittlern, auch sprachlich. “Wenn wir Pädophile verhaften, haben wir ein Problem: Die sperren ihre Rechner automatisch”, sagt Münch, als fahre er bei den Einsätzen mit, und präsentiert schwungvoll die Lösung: einen USB-Stick von Gamma in den PC, und die Daten sind gerichtsfest gesichert.

    Münch kann so technisches Spielzeug gut erklären. Vielleicht, weil er sich das alles selbst beigebracht hat. Er hat keine Fachausbildung, er hat nicht Informatik studiert, nur drei Semester Jazzklavier und Gitarre. Er war mit einer Band auf Deutschlandtournee, trat als Bassist einer Casting-Girlband bei “Popstars” auf. Steht er dagegen heute auf der Bühne, zeigt er auf Sicherheitskonferenzen, wie man Rechner infiziert. Für die Ermittler ist Münch ein bisschen wie Mushu, der kleine Drache aus “Mulan”, dem Disney-Film von 1998. Er ist der coole Helfer, der Mulan bei der Armeeausbildung und im Kampf beisteht. Münch hat eine Firma, über die er 15 Prozent der Anteile der Gamma International GmbH hält. Er hat sie Mushun genannt, nach dem Drachen aus dem Film, nur mit einem zusätzlichen “n” am Ende, sagt er. Dann lacht er verlegen. Doch ist er nicht nur Miteigentümer, sondern auch Geschäftsführer bei Gamma.

    Mit Medien hat Münch noch nicht viel Erfahrung. Der Süddeutschen Zeitung und dem britischen Guardian liegen Dokumente vor, die zeigen, dass die Gamma-Gruppe eine Firma im Steuerparadies Britische Jungferninseln besitzt. Darauf angesprochen, bestritt Münch vor einigen Wochen erst vehement, dass die Gesellschaft überhaupt existiert. Als der Guardian dann Belege schickte, entschuldigte er sich. Er habe gedacht, dass die Tochter wirklich nicht existiert, schrieb er nach London. Auch nun beantwortet Geschäftsführer Münch Fragen zum Geschäft immer wieder ausweichend. Zahlen, Firmenpartner kenne er nicht. “Ich bin ein kleiner Techniker”, sagt Münch. Die strategischen Entscheidungen in der Firma treffe aber trotzdem er.
    Bild vergrößern

    So bewirbt der Gamma-Prospekt den Trojaner für Handys namens Finspy Mobile.

    Gammas Bestseller aus der Finfisher-Familie heißt Finspy. Münch beugt sich über den Apple-Laptop und zeigt, was das Programm kann. Er steckt das Internetkabel in den Rechner und tippt “mjm” in das Feld für den Benutzernamen, für Martin Johannes Münch. Zuerst wählt der Nutzer das Betriebssystem aus, das er angreifen will: ein iPhone von Apple, ein Handy mit Googles Betriebssystem Android oder einen PC mit Windows oder dem kostenlosen System Linux? Der Ermittler kann eingeben, über wie viele Server in verschiedenen Ländern der Trojaner Haken schlägt, bis auch technisch versierte Opfer nicht mehr nachvollziehen können, wer sie da eigentlich überwacht. Der Trojaner kann ein Sterbedatum bekommen, an dem er sich selbst löscht. Genehmigt ein Richter später eine längere Überwachung, kann das Datum nach hinten geschoben werden.

    Dann darf der Ermittler auswählen, wie fies der Trojaner werden soll, was er können darf: das Mikrofon als Wanze benutzen. Gespeicherte Dateien sichten und sichern, wenn sie gelöscht oder geändert werden. Mitlesen, welche Buchstaben der Nutzer auf der Tastatur drückt. Den Bildschirm abfilmen. Skype-Telefonate mitschneiden. Die Kamera des Rechners anschalten und sehen, wo das Gerät steht. Handys über die GPS-Ortungsfunktion zum Peilsender machen. Finspy präsentiert die überwachten Geräte als Liste. Flaggen zeigen, in welchem Land sich das Ziel befindet. Ein Doppelklick, und der Ermittler ist auf dem Rechner.

    Der Trojaner ist so mächtig, als würde jemand dem Computernutzer über die Schulter gucken. Deswegen kommen Ermittler so auch Verdächtigen auf die Schliche, die ihre Festplatte mit einem Passwort sichern und nur verschlüsselt kommunizieren. Der Trojaner liest einfach das Passwort mit. Doch die meisten Funktionen von Finspy sind in Deutschland illegal.

    Und Finspy kostet. Der Preis geht bei etwa 150.000 Euro los und kann ins siebenstellige gehen, sagt Münch. Denn Gamma baut für jeden Kunden eine eigene Version des Trojaners, die mit dem Recht des Landes konform sein soll. Für jeden überwachten Computer müssen Ermittler eine Lizenz von Gamma kaufen. Die meisten Behörden würden fünf Lizenzen erwerben, sagt Münch, manchmal vielleicht auch zwanzig. “Ziel sind einzelne Straftäter.” Ein “mutmaßlich” benutzt er nicht, im Gespräch verwendet er die Worte “Kriminelle” und “Straftäter”, als seien es Synonyme für “Verdächtige” und “Zielperson”.

    Alaa Shehabi ist so eine Zielperson. Ihr Vergehen: Sie kritisierte die Regierung ihres Landes. Die junge Frau ist in Bahrain geboren, einem Inselstaat im Persischen Golf, etwa so groß wie das Stadtgebiet von Hamburg. Ein Königreich – und ein Polizeistaat. Der sunnitische Regent Hamad Ben Isa al-Khalifa herrscht über eine schiitische Bevölkerungsmehrheit. Als der arabische Frühling vor zwei Jahren auch in sein Land schwappte und Shehabi mit Tausend anderen Reformen forderte, rief der König die Armee von Saudi-Arabien zur Hilfe. Fotos und Videos im Internet zeigen geschundene Körper, von Tränengas verätzte Augen und von Schrotkugeln durchlöcherte Leiber. Es sind die Bilder eines blutig niedergeschlagenen Protestes.
    Bild vergrößern

    Die Polizei greift mit Tränengas an: Bei Protesten starben Demonstranten (Foto: Getty Images)

    Die Formel-1-Veranstalter sahen darin kein Problem und luden vergangenen April zum Großen Preis von Manama, einem glitzernden Großereignis mitten in einem gebeutelten Land. König Khalifa wollte zeigen, wie weltoffen Bahrain sei. Die Opposition hingegen versuchte, zumindest einigen angereisten Journalisten die Wahrheit zu berichten. Auch Shehabi, die ihre dunklen Haare unter einem Schleier verbirgt, traf sich mit Reportern. Sie erzählte von der Polizeigewalt, von den Verletzten, den Toten. Sie brach ein Tabu.

    Shehabi war vorsichtig, achtete darauf, dass niemand sie beobachtete, schaltete während des Interviews ihr Handy aus. Trotzdem besuchten Polizisten sie wenig später. Sie fragten, was sie den Journalisten erzählt habe, und warnten sie, so etwas nie wieder zu tun. Die Beamten ließen sie laufen, doch dann kam die erste E-Mail. Im Betreff stand “torture report on Nabeel Rajab”, im Anhang angeblich Fotos des gefolterten Rajab. Er ist ein Freund Shehabis, ein Oppositioneller wie sie. Shehabi versuchte, die Datei zu öffnen. Es ging nicht. Gut für sie: Denn im Anhang war ein Trojaner von Gamma versteckt. Shehabis E-Mails sollten mitgelesen, ihre Telefonate abgehört werden. Der Polizeistaat Bahrain hatte sie im Visier, und Martin Münchs Software half dabei. Auch andere Oppositionelle berichten von ominösen E-Mails. Mal lockten sie ihre Opfer damit, dass der König zum Dialog bereit sei, mal mit vermeintlichen Folterfotos.

    Selbst im Ausland haben Exil-Bahrainer diesen Regierungs-Spam bekommen. Husain Abdulla etwa, der im US-Bundesstaat Alabama eine Tankstelle betreibt und in Washington Lobbyarbeit für Bahrains Opposition macht. Das Königshaus hat ihm deswegen die Staatsbürgerschaft entzogen, wollte ihn aber trotzdem überwachen und schickte ihm einen Trojaner. Die bahrainische Regierung versuchte also, auf US-Boden einen US-Bürger auszuspähen. Gamma macht’s möglich: “Wenn Finspy Mobile auf einem Handy installiert ist, kann es aus der Ferne überwacht werden, wo auch immer sich das Ziel in der Welt befindet”, heißt es dazu in einem Prospekt.

    Die Universität von Toronto in Kanada hat die EMails an Shehabi und Abdulla untersucht. An ihrem Forschungsinstitut Citizen Lab entschlüsselte Morgan Marquis-Boire, Software-Ingenieur bei Google, das Spähprogramm. Er baut einen virtuellen Sandkasten, setzt einen Computer in die Mitte und lässt den Trojaner auf das abgegrenzte Spielfeld. Dann protokolliert Marquis-Boire, wie das Programm den PC kapert, Passwörter kopiert, Skype-Gespräche aufzeichnet, den Bildschirm abfotografiert. Die gesammelten Daten funkt der Trojaner an einen Server in Bahrain. Marquis-Boire entdeckt im Programmcode das Kürzel “finspyv2” – die zweite Version von Finspy. Auch “Martin Muench” steht da. Münch schreibt seinen Namen seit Jahren mit “ue”.
    Citizen Lab fand Münchs Namen im Code des Trojaners. (Foto: Citizen Lab)

    Schnüffelsoftware für einen Polizeistaat? Auf die Vorwürfe reagiert Gamma merkwürdig. Münch verschickt eine Pressemitteilung, in der steht, dass eine Demoversion für Kunden gestohlen worden sei. Eine klare Aussage zu Bahrain gibt es nicht. Münch sagt nicht, wer Gammas Kunden sind. Er sagt auch nicht, wer nicht Kunde ist. Alles ganz geheim. So muss die Firma damit leben, dass Reporter ohne Grenzen und andere Menschenrechtsaktivisten in dieser Woche eine offizielle Beschwerde beim Bundeswirtschaftsministerium einlegten. Sie verlangen schärfere Kontrollen, wohin Gamma exportiert, und berufen sich dabei auf – allerdings freiwillige – Empfehlungen der Organisation für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (OECD). Nimmt das Ministerium die Beschwerde an, könnten als nächster Schritt Gamma und die Aktivisten versuchen, hinter verschlossenen Türen im Ministerium eine Einigung zu finden.

    Münch wiederholt bei jeder Gelegenheit, dass seine Firma die Exportgesetze in Deutschland einhält. Das soll vorbildlich wirken, aber in Wirklichkeit werden aus München gar keine Finfisher-Produkte verschickt. Das geschieht von England aus. In Andover, nicht weit von Stonehenge, sitzt die Muttergesellschaft von Gamma International, die Gamma Group. Gründer und neben Münch Mehrheitseigentümer ist Louthean Nelson; die Gruppe beschäftigt 85 Mitarbeiter.

    In Großbritannien und Deutschland gilt allerdings dieselbe EU-Verordnung über den Export von Überwachungstechnik. Überwachungstechnologien sind im Sinne dieses Gesetzes keine Waffen, sondern Güter, die sowohl zivil als auch militärisch genutzt werden können. Fachwort: dual use. Dementsprechend sind die Auflagen deutlich harmloser als für Panzerverkäufe. Am Ende läuft es darauf hinaus, dass Gamma vom Kunden ein Zertifikat bekommt, demzufolge Finfisher wirklich beim richtigen Adressaten installiert wurde, gestempelt vom Staat selbst. Das Papier heftet Gamma ab. Wie oft und genau das Bundesamt für Ausfuhrkontrolle Gamma prüft, wollen weder Münch noch das dafür zuständige Bundeswirtschaftsministerium sagen.

    Wie viele Diktaturen Gamma-Kunden sind, ist nicht bekannt. Das Institut Citizen Lab aus Toronto hat in vielen Ländern Server mit Spuren von Finfisher gefunden. Brunei, Äthiopien, Turkmenistan, die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate – klingt wie das Kellerduell im Demokratie-Ranking. Doch auch in Staaten wie Tschechien und den Niederlanden fanden die Informatiker Gamma-Server. All diese Länder müssen aber nicht Kunden sein. Jeder Geheimdienst könne schließlich die Daten seines Finfisher-Trojaners durch diese Staaten umleiten, um sich zu tarnen, erklärt Münch. Solche Aussagen können Externe technisch nicht überprüfen.

    In der ungeliebten Öffentlichkeit steht Gamma seit dem arabischen Frühling. Ägyptische Protestler fanden in einer Behörde ein Angebot der Firma an ihre gestürzte Regierung, einen Kostenvoranschlag für Software, Hardware, Training, 287.137 Euro. Eine Lieferung habe es nie gegeben, behauptet Münch.

    Für Andy Müller-Maguhn ist Gamma trotzdem ein “Software-Waffenlieferant”. Er hat eine Webseite zu dem Thema aufgesetzt mit dem Namen buggedplanet.info. Dort protokolliert er Unternehmensdaten, Presseberichte, verwickelte Personen. Müller-Maguhn war früher Sprecher des Chaos Computer Clubs. Ein Video auf Youtube zeigt, wie er sein Projekt 2011 auf der Jahreskonferenz des deutschen Hackervereins präsentiert. Müller-Maguhn ruft seine Seite über Münch auf; die erscheint auf einer Leinwand, mit Geburtsdatum, Privatadresse und Foto von Münch. Der steigt da gerade aus einer Cessna, mit Sonnenbrille und Fliegerjacke, und sieht ein bisschen proletenmäßig aus. Müller-Maguhns Zuschauer lachen.

    Seine Webseite ist auch ein Pranger. “Dass ihre privaten Details in der Öffentlichkeit diskutiert wurden, halte ich für sehr fair, wenn man sich anschaut, was die mit den Leben anderer gemacht haben”, sagt Müller-Maguhn auf der Bühne. “Ich glaube, das ist ein Weg, damit die Leute über Privatsphäre nachdenken.” Applaus und Jubel sind kurz lauter als seine Stimme. Er zuckt mit den Schultern. “Sie wollten nicht am öffentlichen Diskurs teilnehmen. Das wäre vielleicht die Alternative.”

    Seit seine Adresse bekannt ist, bekommt Münch Postkarten, auf denen nur steht: “Ich habe ein Recht auf Privatsphäre.” Kein Absender.

    Spricht Münch über seine Kritiker, klingt er ehrlich entrüstet: “Wir haben immer dieses Bad-Boy-Image. Ist aber kein schönes Gefühl.” Zumal es unverdient sei: “Manche Leute sagen: ,Das mag ich nicht, das geht ins Privatleben.’ Aber die Tatsache, dass sie es nicht mögen, heißt nicht, dass wir etwas Illegales machen.” Er selbst finde zum Beispiel die Fernsehsendung Deutschland sucht den Superstar “scheiße”, aber deswegen sei die nicht illegal.

    Quelle: SZ vom 09.02.2013/bbr

    9. Februar 2013 10:46 Finfisher-Entwickler Gamma
    Von Bastian Brinkmann, Jasmin Klofta und Frederik Obermaier

    Find this story at 9 February 2013

    Copyright: Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

    Protester wins surveillance database fight

    John Catt, who has no criminal record, wins legal action to have records deleted from police database of suspected extremists

    An 88-year-old campaigner has won a landmark lawsuit against police chiefs who labelled him a “domestic extremist” and logged his political activities on a secret database.

    The ruling by three senior judges puts pressure on the police, already heavily criticised for running undercover operatives in political groups, to curtail their surveillance of law-abiding protesters.

    The judges decided police chiefs acted unlawfully by secretly keeping a detailed record of John Catt’s presence at more than 55 protests over a four-year period.

    The entries described Catt’s habit of drawing sketches of the demonstrations. Details of the surveillance, which recorded details of his appearance such as “clean-shaven” and slogans on his clothes, were revealed by the Guardian in 2010.

    The pensioner, who has no criminal record, is among thousands of political campaigners recorded on the database by the same covert unit that has been embedding spies such as Mark Kennedy – a police officer who infiltrated environmental protest groups – in political movements for more than a decade.

    On Thursday Lord Dyson, who is the Master of the Rolls, and two other appeal court judges ordered Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, to delete Catt’s file from the database, ruling that the surveillance had significantly violated his human rights.

    The judges noted that the police could not explain why it was necessary to record Catt’s political activities in minute detail.

    Lawyers for the police had argued that the anti-war activist regularly attended demonstrations against a Brighton arms factory near his home, which had at times descended into disorder.

    The judges dismissed arguments from Adrian Tudway, the police chief then in charge of the covert unit, that police needed to monitor Catt because he “associates closely with violent” campaigners against the factory of the EDO arms firm.

    They said it was “striking” that Tudway had not said the records held on the pensioner had helped police in any way.

    “Mr Tudway states, in general terms, that it is valuable to have information about Mr Catt’s attendance at protests because he associates with those who have a propensity to violence and crime, but he does not explain why that is so, given that Mr Catt has been attending similar protests for many years without it being suggested that he indulges in criminal activity or actively encourages those that do.”

    The judges added that it appeared that officers had been recording “the names of any persons they can identify, regardless of the particular nature of their participation”.

    Catt said: “I hope this judgment will bring an end to the abusive and intimidatory monitoring of peaceful protesters by police forces nationwide.

    “Police surveillance of this kind only serves to undermine our democracy and deter lawful protest.”

    A similar court of appeal ruling four years ago forced the Met to remove 40% of photographs of campaigners held on another database.

    In a separate ruling, which also challenged the police’s practice of storing the public’s personal data on databases, the three judges ordered the Met to erase a warning that had been issued against an unnamed woman.

    Three years ago officers had warned the woman for allegedly making a homophobic comment about a neighbour. But she argued that police had treated her unfairly as she had not been given an opportunity to respond to the allegation.

    She took legal action to prevent the Met keeping a copy of the warning notice on their files for 12 years. She feared it could be disclosed to employers when they checked her criminal record.

    Rob Evans, Paul Lewis and Owen Bowcott
    The Guardian, Thursday 14 March 2013 16.46 GMT

    Find this story at 14 March 2013
    © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    Amputee dies in G4S ambulance due to ‘insufficient’ staff training

    Inquest told the victim’s wheelchair was not secured and he died when it tipped over

    A double amputee died when his unsecured wheelchair tipped over backwards as he was being transported to hospital in an ambulance operated by under-fire outsourcing firm G4S.

    An inquest jury found that the driver and staff of the security firm had not received sufficient training to move patients safely between their homes, hospitals and clinics.

    Retired newsagent Palaniappan Thevarayan, 47, suffered fatal head injuries when his wheelchair came loose from the floor clamps in the back of the vehicle taking him to St Helier Hospital, in Sutton, Surrey, from a dialysis centre in Epsom hospital in May 2011.

    The jury at Westminster Magistrates Court this week heard that driver John Garner, who had worked for the company since 2005, and fellow G4S staff had not had their manual handling training updated since 2009. G4S, which was heavily criticised for its failure to recruit enough security guards for last year’s Olympic Games, operates public sector contracts in border control, security, prisoner and patient transport worth £350million a year. The global security company continues to work with St Helier along with four other NHS Trusts in the London area carrying out 400,000 patient journeys a year.

    Westminster Coroners Court heard that Mr Thevarayan’s wheelchair tipped backwards resulting in a serious head injury. It emerged that the chair had not been attached to the ambulance floor by the necessary ratchet clamps and was not securely restrained. He was being taken to hospital after developing problems with a blocked catheter.

    Delivering a narrative verdict, the jury said: “Patient transport service staff were not sufficiently trained in the safe transportation of patients by ambulance.”

    Mr Thevarayan, who was originally from India, had previously had both legs amputated after suffering complications with his diabetes. He was undergoing dialysis three times a week for kidney failure and was nearing the top of the transplant list.

    The inquest heard that he had to wait for more than six hours for emergency surgery after being transferred to St George’s Hospital, Tooting, following the incident. His wife and full time carer Nirmala said he had been given only a 50:50 chance of survival if operated on immediately.

    She told the inquest she wanted answers about his treatment by G4S and wanted to know why it had taken so long for him to receive surgery. ‘I want to know why they didn’t look after him properly’, she said. “And in hospital, why did they take so long to treat him?” she added.

    Assistant deputy coroner Kevin McLoughlin said to Mrs Thevarayan and her son and daughter who sat through the four-day inquest: “I pay tribute to the calm dignity which you and your family have conducted yourself through what must have been heart-breaking evidence.”

    In a statement G4S said: “We can confirm that the member of staff involved in this tragic incident had received all the mandatory training required at the time.

    “Following this incident we immediately installed an additional team of professionals to review our procedures and ensure that training fully covers all points pertinent to this incident. Improvements have been made to our systems for recording training, and the content of our staff training has been reviewed and enhanced to address lessons learned from this incident.”


    Friday 08 March 2013

    Find this story at 8 March 2013

    © independent.co.uk

    Olympics Fiasco: G4S Profits Fall By A Third

    The company which failed to meet its Olympics security contract confirms a big fall in profits.

    Annual profits fell by a worse than expected 32% at G4S, the firm at the centre of last year’s Olympics security fiasco.

    Pre-tax profit for 2012 dropped to £175m from £257m the previous year as a result of a £70m loss on its contract to supply security personnel to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

    The Armed Forces had to be called in to cover staff shortfalls when G4S admitted just ahead of the Games that it had failed to hire enough guards to cover its contract.

    It had been obliged to provide 10,400 people but managed to fulfil 83% of its contracted shifts.

    The failures led to chief operating officer David Taylor-Smith and Ian Horseman Sewell, who was head of global events, to quit their jobs while chief executive Nick Buckles remained in his post.

    Mr Buckles told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee in July that the staffing failure was a fiasco and a “humiliating shambles”.

    A report for G4S by auditors PwC found that monitoring and tracking of the security workforce was inadequate and that management failed to appreciate the scale and exact nature of the project.

    8:27am UK, Wednesday 13 March 2013

    Find this story at 13 March 2013

    Copyright ©2013 BSkyB

    Olympic fiasco continues to haunt G4S

    G4S failed to supply enough personnel for the London 2012 Olympics, forcing the Government to draft in soldiers Getty Images

    G4S’s Olympics fiasco drove annual profits down by a third at the security company last year.

    The company also announced this morning that its chief financial officer, Trevor Dighton, would retire on April 30. He will be replaced by Ashley Almanza, who held the same position at energy company BG Group.

    Katherine Griffiths
    Last updated at 12:08PM, March 13 2013

    Find this story at 13 March 2013

    © Times Newspapers Limited 2013

    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.
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    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.

    Police ‘stole identities of dead children’ to give undercover officers new identities

    The Metropolitan Police covertly stole the identities of about 80 dead children for use in operations by undercover police officers, according to a new investigation.

    The practice, condemned as “gruesome” by Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, carried on for three decades as a means for police to infiltrate anti-racist, anti-capitalist and far-right protest groups. Officers obtained passports, driving licences and national insurance numbers under their new identities.

    Tim Hume
    Monday, 4 February 2013

    Find this story at 4 February 2013

    © independent.co.uk

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