Friday, June 10, 2011

not just kennedy, not just cops

When the Ratcliffe case collapsed in January, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was due to new evidence that had just come to light and wasn't to do with the uncovering of Kennedy, honest guv. There was a laying of blame with Nottinghamshire police.

Newly released exchanges lay the blame the other way.

Kennedy had recorded the activists meeting and it is believed this would have cleared the activists. At the very least, it's the most relevant evidence that could exist in the case. It turns out the police handed over a transcript of the recording a month after it was made, 18 months before the resulting trials.

The new revelations could be, in part, the cops fighting back. Just because a police report says something happened doesn't mean it did.

I once got nicked at a legalise cannabis demo. The officer put in their notebook that they had arrested me because they had 'become bored' with me. I'm not sure what they teach them at Hendon, but it should include the fact that you can't arrest someone because you're bored. Also, being boring is not a crime. And if it was, there are far greater offenders than me - why was I in the cells while Lemar and Chris de Burgh still had their liberty?

So I sued the police for wrongful arrest, and then came the sworn statements from my arresting officer and colleagues about how I was goading a terrifying baying crowd whose malevolence made them fear for their safety. Quite how you could 'become bored' in such a situation is not clear.

The police are expert arse-coverers, they dress things up in vague language they can then reinterpret to clear themselves, or else - as with my arresting officer and friends - report that something was said or done when it simply wasn't.

So it's not the cops side of what was said or submitted we should look at, but what the CPS said. There is enough evidence there to damn them.

In June 2009 Nick Paul of the CPS in London wrote to a Nottingham counterpart, Ian Cunningham, about 'the participating informant'. Cunningham's reply speaks of the 'sensitive disclosure issues' that 'reinforced the difficulties of the case'. So they had not only read the transcript of the recording, they knew how it had been made.

When Kennedy was outed as a cop in October 2010 the Ratcliffe defendants' lawyers asked about his presence at that arrest. Cunningham wrote that there was no relevant evidence from Kennedy.

On Newsnight Ken McDonald QC, head of the CPS until 2008, talked about the non-disclosure. He said there can only be three possibilities:

- They weren't aware of it (the emails show not)

- It was undisclosable in court (like a serious national security issue, in which case a judge should approve the witholding)

- It was deliberately concealed

This is not just a conspiracy but a miscarriage of justice. The collapse of the trial against the Ratcliffe 6 in January was the second case from the arrests. The 6 said they never intended to invade the power station. Before their case, in December, 20 others arrested at the same time were prosecuted and convicted. Kennedy's evidence was not given to the defence then either.

This also raises questions about how many other prosecutions went ahead over the years in the same way, with the prosecutors witholding pertinent and even exonerating evidence from Kennedy. Beyond that, how many times has this happened with any of Kennedy's colleagues and predecessors in the 40 year history of their shady squad?


So now there's going to be another enquiry about the Kennedy case. This is so serious that it will be an independent inquiry led by a judge.

We've already got Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary investigating the Association of Chief Police Officers' infiltration of the protest movement, assessing whether operations have been 'authorised in accordance with law' and 'proportionate'. That's the police investigating themselves.

The Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which has responsibility for major cover police operations, are doing an inquiry into 'the conduct of Mark Kennedy'. The police investigate themselves, again.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission - the people who cleared the police of killing Ian Tomlinson - are doing an inquiry into the alleged failure of Nottinghamshire Police to disclose relevant material to prosecutors.

These are all bullshit whitewashing exercises that let the authorities say 'it would be inappropriate for me to comment while an inquiry is underway' and then - just like after the IPCC absolved the police of doing anything wrong when they shot Jean Charles de Menezes and then lied and lied and lied about it - they get to say this 'independent' investigation has cleared them.

The undercover police tactics were not Kennedy acting as some rogue agent but a tried and tested strategy that had been going on for years. By the same token, the suppression of dissent is not just the action of a murky black ops police division or even the police at large. The state sets up a self-regulating infrastructure that approves of whatever maintains its power, and whatever undermines any challenges.

Freshly added to the Kennedy list is a judge-led inquiry with a narrow remit. Let's resurrect Lord Widgery and see what he says.