Originally posted at my blog spin.off , while working on the book.
Letter to George Monbiot at the Guardian, 13 February 2007
Your Guardian column today devoted to “The parallel universe of BAE” reveals that confidential and legally privileged material belonging to CAAT landed on the desks of BAE Systems plc. The company has refused to state how it came into possession of the material.
You recall the exposure in the Sunday Times that revealed how BAE had carried out a “widespread spying operation” on its critics. CAAT took the case to the UK’s Information Commissioner, who found that the email address belonged to “a company with links to Evelyn Le Chêne.”
I have had the opportunity the study the many surveillance reports about CAAT that were sent to BAE, the source material used by the Sunday Times. SpinWatch published an elaborate dossier on the case. It’s called the Threat Response Spy Files, investigating this case of corporate intelligence.
I was allowed access to this material because of my involvement in exposing Evelyn le Chêne’s son, a few years earlier. He was -working as Adrian Franks– infiltrating and passing information on various peace- and environmental groups in the Netherlands and elsewhere on the Continent. He pretended to be involved in CAAT and CorpWatch.org as well.
If it is true, as CAAT believes, that Hogbin was working for Le Chene, it was a tremendous coup for her and her clients. As campaigns and events coordinator, he knew more than anyone else about CAAT’s plans. If BAE were to obtain such material, it could anticipate and outmanouevre the campaign’s attempts to expose or embarrass it.
In the Threat Response Spy Files I have analysed just that: how BAE could act on foreknowledge, and how they managed to manipulate a lot of of CAAT’s activities. The many reports I’ve seen, the detailed accounts, the insider-knowledge have convinced me that CAAT was spied upon, by at least three to four people – CAAT think it might be even five to six. And apparently, the spying continiued until very recently.
The reason why CAAT decided to focus on the suspicious emails Martin Hogbin sent out, was that he was the only one of the identified infiltrators still working for CAAT when the Spy Files surfaced. He worked as one of the group’s most senior members of staff, the national campaigns and events co-ordinator, as you rightfully emphasized.
CAAT took the case to the UK’s Information Commissioner, who found that the email address belonged to “a company with links to Evelyn Le Chêne.” Ironically, privacy laws kept the Information Commissioner from sharing any more details about Le Chêne’s company. As there are no laws forbidding surveillance, spying and infiltrating, CAAT was unable to take further juridical steps.
Now that seems to be different:
On the advice of its legal team, CAAT yesterday made an application to the High Court. The Court has directed that CAAT and BAE appear before it at a hearing next Friday, 2nd February 2007. At that hearing, CAAT will be seeking an injunction compelling BAE to assist in identifying the source of the leak. A further announcement will be made after the hearing next Friday. CAAT does not intend to comment further pending the hearing of its application next week. (CAAT Press Release, 25th Jan 2007)
Let’s hope this will shed some light on BAE’s paralel universe.