20 October 2020 — Spycops
As we prepare for the public inquiry hearings in two weeks’ time, it’s a very busy period in the campaign for truth and justice about Britain’s political secret police.
With little warning, a new law is currently being rushed through parliament to allow police and other state agencies to self-authorise their agents to commit literally any crime. It would also prohibit civil claims by their victims.
The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill would enshrine in law not only the right for spycops to commit the abuses that have caused so much public outrage, but much more besides.
Crimes would be permissable if they protect whatever is meant by ‘the economic wellbeing’ of the country. Authorisations would be given without limit or judicial oversight. The powers would extend well beyond the police and security services to include the likes of the Food Standards Agency, Competition & Markets Authority, and the Gambling Commission.
The pace of this law is breathtaking. It was published on 24th September, it had its second reading in the Commons on 5th October and may well be law before the end of the month.
Labour whipped MPs to abstain, though several dozen rebelled to oppose the Bill.
It will enshrine in law the ability of police to commit all the abuses we’ve seen perpetrated by spycops, and much more besides. It wholly undermines the public inquiry’s remit to make recommendations to prevent such abuses in future.
COPS was proud to sign a joint statement alongside other campaigning organisations and 14 trade union general secretaries. Many of these unions are mounting an active campaign. Despite such shirt notice, Unite created an online tool to email MPs ahead of the Bill’s third reading in the Commons last week.
Please write to your MP – especially if they’re one of the Labour abstainers – and urge them to oppose the Bill.
PUBLIC INQUIRY HEARINGS
The Undercover Policing Inquiry is finally starting on Monday 2 November. The first few days will be taken up with the opening statements from various sides. These will be live streamed. After that, it will begin take evidence from officers and witnesses focusing on the early period of the Special Demonstration Squad (1968-1972). Unlike other Inquiries, the UCPI hearings will not be live streamed, the Inquiry citing ‘security reasons’. There will instead be a real-time transcription with a ten minute delay.
In addition to the official channels, COPS and others who represent victims of spycops will be providing coverage. We will be live tweeting the hearings, providing sources, and supporting information to the topics. We’ll also be posting daily and weekly roundups of what’s been going on – they’ll be on our blog, or get them direct by subscribing to our email newsletter in the box at the bottom of the sidebar on our website.
Join us on Monday 2 November, the opening day of the hearings, to make your voice heard. Take to social media, share your placards and pictures, your memories of campaigns and the spycops who infiltrated them, your hopes and fears for the Inquiry.
On Wednesday 11 November, the first day of the restriced hearings, we’ll be holding a socially distanced protest outside the venue from 8-9am.
For more information about the Undercover Policing Inquiry, see our UCPI FAQ.
KATE WILSON’S HUMAN RIGHTS CASE
Kate Wilson was deceived into a relationship by undercvoer police officer Mark Kennedy. After nine years of legal cases, she is at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a special court that deals with state surveillance infringement on human rights.
At an earlier hearing, they admitted that the relationship with Kennedy violated her right to freedom from torture, inhuman of degrading treatment – an absolute right that no circumstances can be used to justify breaching. At a hearing this month, they further admitted that all the spying on her by various officers when in campaign groups – not just the intimate relationship with Kennedy – was a violation of the right to a private & family life – Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
This is a major admission, down to Kate’s tenacity in holding the police to account. Kate is due back for another hearing in January and expects the full hearing to be some time early next year.
NEW SPYCOP PROFILES
The Undercover Research Group have just published two new profiles of undercover officers from the Special Demonstration Squad: Desmond ‘Barry’ Loader (1975-1978) and Malcolm Shearing (1981-1985).
Both infiltrated the Communist Party of England and its successor the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
Loader was arrested twice for public order offences, presumably at demonstrations. If, as seems likely, he was in a group with others yet kept his identity and role secret from them, then they have a strong case for getting their convictions overturned.
MARK THOMAS: CUCKOOED
This Thursday, 22 October, at 7.30pm Mark Thomas is hosting a special online version of his show Cuckooed.
Fifteen years ago an activist and close friend of Mark’s was exposed as a spy for Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. Cuckooed is a personal and timely tale that tries to unearth what it means to be spied upon by a corporation under the sanction of the state.
Tickets are £5 which buys you a private Youtube link. It starts at 7.30 with an introduction from Mark, and afterwards he will host a Q&A session with guests including blacklisted construction worker Dave Smith.
If you use this link, 20% of ticket sales will go to Counselling for Social Change to support our free counselling for activists:
UNITED FRIENDS AND FAMILIES CAMPAIGN ANNUAL RALLY
The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), is a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody, supports others in similar situations.
Many of the campaigns for justice have been infiltrated and undermined by undercover officers from Britain’s political secret police. Resources that should have been spent catching killers and preventing further deaths were instead used to protect the guilty and undermine justice.
UFFC holds an annual rally at the end of October. This year, because of Covid 19 restrictions, the rally will move online. Families are making short video clips of the story of their loved ones. These will all be edited together and released across all UFFC platforms at 1:00pm on Saturday 31st October 2020.
You can find links to UFFC’s platforms here:
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