The spying on London Greenpeace is one of the case studies in my book Secret Manoeuvres. The chapter is called McSpy – just as the trial was called McLibel as a playful reference to the hamburger giant that brought this upon us. I brought up possible further cooperation, with Special Branch using the corporate infiltration as a stepping-stone to target animal rights activists.
Little did I know then about the role of Bob Lambert and his blueprint for future spies – identical concepts anywhere you go.
Seated at wooden benches, with a cop right behind me. Was he reading over my shoulder? I don’t know. When I sit back, I crumple his notes. That’s how close we are. Streets around the High Court were riddled with police, awaiting the student protests. The London School of Economics is just around the corner. The helicopter hovering low all morning just adds to the atmosphere.
This is the legal cases of the women who were deceived into having relationships by undercover police officers. Last week saw the first set of hearings devoted to the technical procedures. If the Met has its way, this could be the only public hearings in the entire case.
Two days of hearings were not enough, the Court needed more time on Friday. The judge has now retired, as the women write at PoliceSpiesOutofLives.org, to consider the issues raised and has not yet indicated when the judgement is likely to be handed down.
The legal claim is about the extent of damages for the harm caused, which is of course difficult to translate into financial figures. The women are also bringing claims for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence. They seek to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. Continue reading
Two important pieces written this week on the Impact of undercover involvement with activists, by Ellie Mae O’Hagan and Emily Apple. I’ve taken a few quotes, but go read them in context!
Ellie Mae O’Hagan wrote a Comment is Free piece ‘A life under surveillance, the state’s constant intimidation of peaceful activists like me takes a huge psychological toll on our lives.’ The Guardian, 1 november 2012.
She is @MissEllieMae on Twitter.
Despite the peaceful nature of their actions, the simple act of protesting means that activists’ lives sometimes resemble that of Tony Soprano. Surveillance, police intimidation and undercover officers are routine hazards they must negotiate. As one environmental campaigner who has come into contact with undercover officers puts it: “You don’t have to be self-important to suspect you’re the victim of state surveillance. If you’re politically active, it’s simply a fact of life.” Continue reading