Thursday, November 17, 2011

sweets for my sweet, twit for my twitter

Just to point out that I've got a Twitter account, @MerrickBadger.

It has notifications on the increasingly rare occasions when I publish a blog post, plus some personal life idle thoughts, and mostly (so far) it's been political stuff on current events.

There's a wee grey button in the sidebar if you want to follow me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

mark kennedy's thatcher tears

Margaret Thatcher was clearly choked up and her eyes welled with tears as she left Downing Street for the last time. Some political observers remarked that this was evidence of her having common humanity after all.

But to only cry for your own loss of power, status and income after despoiling communities and instigating brutal political crackdowns without a glimmer of remorse, well, that actually proves your complete lack of common humanity.

This is not the same as crocodile tears, so needs a different name. As it's not a unique phenomenon perhaps we should call every instance of it Thatcher tears.

Last night, a year after he was uncovered by the activists he had infiltrated for seven years, undercover cop Mark Kennedy starred in a Channel 4 documentary (it can be watched online here, at least for now). In it he said how wonderful the activists had been to him day in day out for years on end and how he feels bad having shopped them by the dozen. If that were true and he had a conscience as you or I understand it, he would have ended his mission years earlier.

After he left the police, he came back to the activists under his real name because he missed the camaraderie, he said. In fact, he'd set up a private spy firm and returned to continue his infiltration. This explained his sudden interest in animal rights, an odd turn of events for a meat eater. He continued spying and lying even without police instructions. He would still be doing it now had he not been caught by suspicious friends.

That he kept working as part of the darkest police mission after he saw the routine brutality of the police on protests - even getting hospitalised by them himself - shows a man in love with power rather than morality. For several years after his beating, he was instrumental in organising similar police war parties on subsequent protests.

To see him on TV saying how great his victims were, and portray himself as the biggest victim of all, is as stark a case of Thatcher tears as can be.

He says he feels guilty about betraying people. Yet he was happy to do it for as long as the cash kept coming in. Jim Bliss likened him to 'Judas pretending to be Jesus'. But Judas started out as a disciple. Kennedy was only ever there because he'd had the pieces of silver up front, and then went looking for more people to hand over to the crucifiers on his own initiative.

He said the activists really cared for him and loved him. Except, of course, they didn't. They cared about a man who didn't exist. They didn't love him any more than the Anti Nazi League would love a secret Klansman in their midst.


He talks of the people who exposed him as dignified and said he didn't feel threatened by them. Funny that earlier this year he told the Guardian the meeting was 'hugely menacing', and his earlier Mail on Sunday story said it was a 'terrifying kangaroo court' and the front page headline said I FEAR FOR MY LIFE.

He still claims to have only had two sexual relationships with activists - which even the fawning voiceover clearly didn't believe - and says he was in love. Yet when asked if it was abuse as the women did not give informed consent, he crumples and does not deny it.

Both he and the film makers refer numerous times to the four year relationship. They say it was underway by the time of the Icelandic dam campaign of summer 2005 and continued until he was outed in October 2010. Kennedy and the film crew are unable or unwilling to count to five, an indicator of the level of clarity and accuracy in the programme as a whole.

An anonymous undercover cop said that he couldn't be expected to 'live like a monk' for seven years. A man like Kennedy who is frequently returning home to visit his wife and kids is not in that position, though. Incidentally, in the film his marriage continued until he was outed in the press. In previous interviews he said the marriage broke down years ago.

The film makers not only share his poor numeracy but also his attitude towards the truth. Near the end they said that not one activist would participate in the film. Earlier this year they contacted many. After a few weeks, despite having being told in very stern terms to shove it, they contacted some of them again offering them anonymous contributions and saying that others were already co-operating. Using lies to make a vanity film about a liar. You've got to admire the neat consistency of approach there.

Much was made of his arrest at the Ratcliffe power station action in April 2009 and how dropping charges against him made it obvious he was a cop. In real life, 114 people were arrested and bailed. About half of them had no further contact from the police. Were they all suspected of being cops too then? Around 60 were recalled for interview, including Kennedy, after which charges were brought against just 26. Charges are frequently inexplicably dropped against activists. It is not an alarm bell.

He said his role was not to inform on individual people, yet this is completely untrue. Documents disclosed to Ratcliffe defendants show that he was given a short list of named activists to keep tabs on that day. Is seems scarcely credible that his other orders were not along similar lines.

He said he didn't want the publicity. If I didn't want publicity, I don't think I would hire the world's most notorious publicity agent Max Clifford to get me on the front of the Mail on Sunday dressed like Alan Partridge's golfing partner, followed by a five figure sum for being in a documentary about me not wanting publicity.

Amongst the big lies were many small ones. He was described as a 'committed vegan', a point he reiterated in the sycophantically filtered webchat after the show (seriously, was there someone at a computer in Max Clifford's office with the word 'brave' in the clipboard?), yet he never even pretended to be vegan.

Why would they put in such a pointless lie, unless he is a man who genuinely cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood?

He appears to have spent so long in the role of agreer to those around him, surfing the moment, that he not only doesn't know what he thinks but can't even keep track of what he does.

He plainly has no idea why he did what he did, nor who he is. He has a personality disorder that was cultivated and exploited by his bosses, just as they did it to other officers before, just as they're doing it to Kennedy's successors right now. To them, Kennedy and his ilk are just grist to the mill and the legion of people psychologically and sexually abused are irrelevant collateral damage.


The police refused to comment on Kennedy specifically, but they propped up Jon Murphy from the Association of Chief Police Officers. Despite its public body sounding name, ACPO is an unaccountable private company that was responsible for deploying Kennedy and other undercover cops.

Murphy said that intimate relationships 'shouldn't happen', yet we know that most of the exposed undercovers had them, often having several.

One of them, Bob Lambert, went on to run undercover operations and was in charge of deploying officers who had relationships. If he knew the danger and thought it a bad idea, surely he would have made sure it didn't happen. From the evidence we have, it seems more likely that he encouraged it as a way to ingratiate.

Murphy says undercover cops lie, but they do it 'within the bounds of the law'. Yet this has never been tested. What about the cops who were prosecuted, who stood up in court swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, before giving evidence from someone who didn't exist? What about those sexual partners who have a legal right to privacy and a family life? What about the baton-charged protesters who have a right of free assembly?


A man moves in next door to you. He is friendly and helpful and shares your interests. Over the years you become close, going on family holidays together, he babysits for your kids, you eat at each other's houses. Then seven years in you find out that he only moved in so he could get close to you in order to film himself abusing your children. More, he did it not out of any compulsion but because a gang of film distributors paid him to do it. But when they stopped paying him, he carried on making the films, selling them freelance until you caught him at it.

When you discover what he's done he is ostracised, his life ruined. The inner void of that abuser warrants some serious counsel and guidance, but he cannot be viewed as the main victim. He chose this. Those he abused did not.

However, neither can he be viewed as the real villain. His hands did the work, but the true evil is in those who sent him in; they run an army of abusers, knowing lives will be shattered, sitting back in the shadows with all of the power and money and none of the risk.