Tuesday, July 07, 2015

7/7 - Ten Years On

7/7 Bomb factory, 18 Alexandra Grove, Leeds
Today is the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings of London in which 52 random people and their four Islamist killers died. It's also Mark Kennedy's 46th birthday.

On 7/7 I was at the Horizone, a camp near Stirling in Scotland of several thousand people protesting against the nearby G8 summit. Mark had been central in the organisation of it, responsible for all the transport. He usually left us to spend his birthday elsewhere, presumably with the wife and kids that none of us knew about. But in 2005 he was at the Stirling camp, a much less cake and candles party.

The camp's model of direct democracy and minimising environmental impact were replicated for the following five years by the Camp for Climate Action. Mark was the transport guy for the first three. The policing escalated with each one. Initially they restricted themselves to searches under the Terrorism Act and riot police busting on site.


Then at Kingsnorth in 2008 there were riot cops coming to the perimeter every day at 5am, staying for half an hour while everyone got up and prepared for the worst, then they left. There were daily violent incursions, illegal stop-and-searches of everyone going to and from the camp including children, confiscating items such as toilet roll and vegetable oil, stories fed to the media about 'a cache of weapons' (a padlock and chain, with a block of kitchen knives). It cost around a million pounds for every day of the camp.

Remember that when Kennedy and his superiors give us that guff about him only being involved so they would know how to police a protest proportionately. This is intimidation of people whose ideas are politically unacceptable and in danger of becoming popular and effective.

We were targeted like this for the extremist demand of not wanting a new coal power station at Kingsnorth (something that was agreed in 2010) and we wanted the old one shut down (it's being demolished the day after tomorrow).


Back at Stirling in 2005, the action medics team included Lynn Watson. She lived in Leeds and was treasurer of the city's new radical social centre, The Common Place. She was, like Kennedy, an undercover police officer from the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

When the Kennedy story hit the press he hired Max Clifford to hawk him round the tabloids. He says the G8 was one of the occasions when his superior told him his intelligence was being given directly to Tony Blair.

The then-Prime Minister was hosting a conference of some of the most powerful people on earth. Did he really go "Sorry, I must take this call..... wow, Mark's hired some minibuses, great stuff..... anyway, what were you saying, Vladimir?".

It's that, or Kennedy is a self-aggrandising narcissist. I leave it up to you to decide.


The following year I was part of the group who swooped in the night to occupy land and set up the first Climate Camp, near the UK's largest point of carbon emissions, Drax power station in North Yorkshire. I've never been involved in anything with tighter security. Even people involved did not communicate about it to one another. The briefing was given to me in strictest secrecy by its co-ordinator, Lynn Watson.

That was at her house in Ash Grove, Leeds. It was less than five minutes' walk from 18 Alexandra Grove, the 7/7 bomb factory. But neither Lynn, nor her colleagues, knew about that. They were too busy infiltrating us.