How deeply embedded are undercover police officers in protest movements?

The revelations in the Guardian newspaper about undercover police officers who have infiltrated eco groups, anti capitalist groups and even anti racist groups will have sent shock waves throughout the activist community and most likely create a culture of paranoia within these movements for years to come.

Three police officers have been outed by the Guardian newspaper as undercover agents in protest movements in the UK and even Europe. The story was first broke by the Independent Media Centre (IMC) on the internet, when ‘Mark Stone’, whose real name was Mark Kennedy was exposed by activists as a police officer after he was confronted by them. (IMC: 21 October 2010)

PC Kennedy played a central role in the environmental protest movement for years and played a pivotal role in significant confrontations. He also infiltrated anti racist organisations according to a Guardian investigation. (Guardian: Rob Evans and Paul Lewis: Sunday, 9 January 2011)

Kennedy infiltrated the UK’s peaceful movement to combat climate change and became an active organiser of demonstrations, even embarking on several sexual relationships with female activists within the movement. Another undercover police officer Jim Sutton, who went under the name Jim Boyling when he infiltrated the group Reclaim the Streets, even married a female activist and had children with her whilst undercover. (Guardian: Paul Lewis, Rob Evans and Rowenna Davis: Wednesday, 19 January 2011)

Britain: The Police State

Whilst the British mainstream media regularly hark on about democracy and liberty in Britain these revelations confirm that Britain too has a history to this very day of spying on its own citizens not in the national interest but in the interest of corporate companies. These groups were not violent, but because their beliefs threaten corporate profits and free market political ideology they became a threat to the state.

According to an IMC report PC Kennedy attended anti-fascist protests, was involved in animal rights and even encouraged violence at an anti English Defence League protest in Bradford in 2010. (IMC: 19 January 2011)

PC Lynne Watson who was also outed as an undercover police officer attended anti nuclear weapons groups. Another undercover police officer only known to the Guardian as Officer B, and who went by the name Mark Jacobs was part of anti capitalist groups and groups campaigning to end border controls and the forced deportation of immigrants.

These revelations question the very nature of a country that will spy on peaceful organisations and activists. When we view images of protesters on television involved in clashes with police or violence, how many of them are actually undercover police officers? We will never know.  Where now for protest movements who are unsure about their members? These are some of the questions which will hopefully provoke debate among readers of this website and the wider public.

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