Support Women’s Court Case Against UK Spies

20 Nov

#policespiesoutoflives:

Demonstration outside High Court in London
in support of the women on Wed and Thur 9.30-10.30am.

Photo action in Berlin:
Wednesday, 21 nov, 12noon, near Brandenburg Gate
Meet at U55 Exit across from Starbucks and Hotel Adlon

Elsewhere too?

On 21+22 November, 8 women will be in court in London trying to stop the Metropolitan Police from having their case put into a shadowy secret court known as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. They have filed legal action against police because they were deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers, such as Mark Kennedy.

The women have called out for international solidarity, so please come support them by making signs if you can and being part of a brief photo action next to the British Embassyin Berlin, with signs of support.

Here are random ideas for signs:
NO POLICE SPIES
POLICE SPIES OUT OF OUR LIVES
STOP STASI TACTICS
UK STASI SHAME
…or make your own

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Statement condemning the Metropolitan Police’s attempt to have case
heard in secret
Published: November 19, 2012
policespiesoutoflives.org.uk

“The police cannot be permitted to hide behind the cloak of secrecy,
when they have been guilty of one of the most intrusive and complete
invasions of privacy that can be imagined.”

The approach of the Metropolitan Police to the litigation has been
obstructive from the outset, refusing to provide any substantive
response to the allegations and hiding behind a ‘neither confirm nor
deny’ policy about the activities of their officers. Now, to add insult
to injury, following one of the most intrusive invasions of privacy
imaginable, the police are attempting to strike out the women’s claim by
arguing that the case should have been started in a shadowy secret court
known as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). [1]

The IPT exists for the sole purpose of maintaining secrecy, and under
its jurisdiction the case could proceed with the women denied access to
and unable to challenge police evidence, and powerless to appeal the
tribunal’s decisions. This will mean that neither they, nor the public
will ever find out the extent of the violations of human rights and
abuses of public office perpetrated by these undercover units. Thus, the
women, who have suffered a totally disproportionate, unnecessary and
extremely damaging invasion of their privacy, may be denied access to
justice by the very legislation which was purportedly designed to
protect their rights.

The public outrage at the phone hacking scandal earlier this year
focused on the cynical intrusion into lives of individuals by the press
and the police. Today’s hearing relates to levels of intrusion far more
invasive than phone hacking, yet so far most mainstream politicians
remain silent.

What little information the women have garnered indicates that for 30
years or more these undercover units had (and still have) a rolling
brief to inform on political movements and keep files on individuals
(simply because they are or were politically active), without
investigating any specific crime, and with no apparent intention to
participate in any criminal justice process.[1] As a part of this,
undercover officers lied and manipulated their way into people’s lives
whilst their cover officers, back-room teams and the rest of the police
command structure monitored and controlled people’s private lives and
relationships. In certain cases, the false identity established by the
police was able to be exploited by individual officers to continue their
deceit after their deployment had officially ended, seemingly with no
safeguard for the women involved, even fathering children in the process.

These massive intrusions into people’s lives are reminiscent of the
activities of the Stasi in East Germany and those responsible should be
brought to public account. These cases are, therefore, being brought in
an attempt to expose the damage done by the Metropolitan Police and to
make them publicly accountable for their actions.

This is a statement from supporters of eight women who are bringing
legal against the Metropolitan Police. The eight women were deceived
into long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers.
The Metropolitan Police has applied to have the cases heard by the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). [1] The application will be heard
at the High Court on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 November 2012. Read
the Press Release here

NOTES FOR EDITORS:
[1] The IPT is a little known tribunal set up under section 65 of the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA, 2000) to deal with claims
brought under the Human Rights Act against the police and other
security services.
[2] The HMIC report states that “for most undercover deployments the
most intense scrutiny occurs when the evidence they have collected is
presented at court. Accountability to the court therefore provides an
incentive for police to implement the system of control rigorously: but
in the HMIC’s view, this incentive did not exist for the NPOIU. This is
because NPOIU undercover officers were deployed to develop general
intelligence…rather than gathering material for the purpose of criminal
prosecutions.” Source: HMIC “A review of national police units which
provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest” (February
2012) p.7

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Press Release here and Undercover with Rob Evans in the Guardian