‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny”… except when it suits THEM

‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ = Neither TRUTH nor JUSTICE

This Thursday and Friday at the High Court in London the state’s strategy of infiltrating spy-cops into the lives of political activists goes on trial, after a fashion at least.

Essentially a bunch of women who were treated like patsies by undercover cops and their bosses – tricked into intimate relationships, used as living, breathing camouflage, exploited as a means of infiltrating political groups more convincingly – will argue that the Metropolitan Police should drop the ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) approach which it has so far used to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of its decades-long domestic spying operation.

The concept of NCND has been wheeled out from time to time, but those of a more sceptical bent, cynical even, would note how it has only been since the legal case brought against the police that it has been wheeled out as some kind of inviolable principle underpinning the very fabric of democracy and protecting those brave, selfless souls who volunteer to become well-paid, under-supervised flatfooted spooks of the state…

So if you are around London either today or tomorrow, get thee down to the Royal Courts of Justice(!) on The Strand from 9am and show how you stand in solidarity with these women and all those others targeted by undercover cops.

For more info on how the case goes, check Police Spies Out of Lives on Twitter.

Seven Magnificent Reasons why NCND is bullshit!

1: Some former undercover spy-cops have outed themselves

Well, it’s rather difficult to keep this whole NCND charade going when the very people it’s supposedly there to protect are exposing themselves, isn’t it?

  • Peter Francis: In March 2010, then using the pseudonym ‘Officer A’, former Special Branch officer Francis candidly talked to The Observer about his infiltration of left-wing and anti-fascist groups on behalf of the SDS from September 1993 until September 1997. He also noted the interest that his superiors had in infiltrating ‘black justice groups’, particularly in the wake of criticisms of the Met’s handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.[1][2]
  • PC Mark Kennedy AKA ‘Mark Stone’ - NPOIU spy

    PC Mark Kennedy AKA ‘Mark Stone’ – NPOIU spy

    Mark Kennedy: A Metropolitan Police officer who worked undercover within the environmental movement for the NPOIU between 2003 and 2009, before leaving the Met and continuing the same for private spying company Global Open for a further ten months, Kennedy admitted his role as a cop to activists who confronted him in October 2010.[3] He then repeated his admissions to another activist in November 2010.[4]

These admissions were then the basis for the collapse of the second Ratcliffe-on-Soar trial, and subsequent quashing of convictions from the first – admissions supported by the Crown Prosecution Service, Nottinghamshire Constabulary, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and others in their various reports on the debacle.
Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the hagiographic documentary about him that Max Clifford brokered…[5]
  • DI Bob Lambert AKA ‘Bob Robinson’ - undercover cop & SDS spymaster

    DI Bob Lambert AKA ‘Bob Robinson’ – undercover cop & SDS spymaster

    Bob Lambert: Since his exposure in October 2011 by members of the London Greenpeace group on which he spied in the 1980s,[6][7][8][9] the former Metropolitan Police Special Branch spy-cop and then spymaster Lambert has repeatedly acknowledged that he was an SDS infiltrator, notably in the brief statement he himself put out.[10]

In his filmed interview with Channel 4 News in July 2013, Lambert again accepted that he had been an undercover officer, and that Francis had been too.[11][12]
  • PC Jim Boyling AKA ‘Grumpy Jim Sutton’ - moved from SDS to Muslim Contact Unit with boss Lambert

    PC Jim Boyling AKA ‘Grumpy Jim Sutton’ – moved from SDS to Muslim Contact Unit with boss Lambert

    Jim Boyling: Mentored by Francis and commanded by Lambert – with whom he later helped set up the ‘Muslim Contact Unit’ within Special Branch[13][14][15] – Boyling infiltrated Reclaim The Streets as ‘Jim Sutton’ on behalf of SDS from 1995 until 2000.[16][17][18][19][20]

In 1999 he began going out with a female activist. He ended their relationship suddenly and disappeared from the environmental movement in late 2000 when his SDS deployment came to an end. But in November 2001 she tracked him down and they restarted their relationship.[21]
Soon he admitted to her that he had been an undercover police officer, got her pregnant, isolated her from her environmentalist friends. In time he also persuaded her to change her name by deed poll to reduce the chance of his police bosses discovering that he was sleeping with a former target, told her personal information about activists who had been spied upon, and revealed the identities of several other undercover officers, including John Dines and Bob Lambert, the latter of whom even visited their home.[20]
They had two children together and married in 2005, before the relationship disintegrated. By 2009 they had divorced.[22][23]

2: The police have already confirmed some infiltrators were officers

…And even if the spy-cops aren’t outing themselves, their bosses are quietly confirming as much off the record!

  • Mark Kennedy: Whilst in the early stages of the scandal the Met maintained a ‘no comment’ response to questions about Kennedy or the NPOIU, soon there was such a deluge of further embarrassing details that police chiefs were forced to acknowledge him as a cop in under a fortnight.[24]
  • ‘Lynn Watson’ - the NPOIU infiltrator whom Kennedy betrayed

    ‘Lynn Watson’ – the NPOIU infiltrator whom Kennedy betrayed

    ‘Lynn Watson’: Exposed by The Guardian in January 2011, ‘Watson’ was initially known only as ‘Officer A’ (the newspaper’s editors presumably having forgotten that less than a year previously its sister title had assigned that pseudonym to Peter Francis) thanks to a deal with “senior officers” and “senior intelligence sources” who in the face of overwhelming evidence (including being grassed up by Kennedy) admitted she was NPOIU, but asked for a head-start before publishing her work name or her photograph so that she could be relocated from a subsequent undercover operation.[25]

Almost immediately her full work name, unpixelated photograph and undercover biography became known through activist news media.[26][27][28]
Police sources further confirmed to The Times that she was a serving police officer who had worked undercover for NPOIU, offering additional information on her deployments.[29]
  • ‘Marco Jacobs’ - NPOIU's disruptive cuckoo in Cardiff's anarchist movement

    ‘Marco Jacobs’ – NPOIU’s disruptive cuckoo in Cardiff’s anarchist movement

    ‘Marco Jacobs’: At the same time as ‘Watson’ was confirmed as a serving officer working in NPOIU, so was ‘Jacobs’ – or ‘Officer B’ – who infiltrated groups in Brighton and Cardiff.[20]

  • Jim Boyling: Earlier this year during legal proceedings to have the conviction quashed of an environmental protester who was tried alongside Boyling in 1997, prosecutors agreed that John Jordan had been wrongfully convicted. However, they refused to say why they considered it a miscarriage of justice, even though it was patently obvious it was because Boyling had been an infiltrator using a fake identity, preferring instead to strike an NCND pose – all whilst the Met itself confirmed that Boyling had been a police officer.[30]

3: Senior police officers have spoken with impunity about undercover units and their personnel

In fact, some of the biggest cops think that the rules don’t apply to them, and will run their gums pretty much anywhere…

  • Chief Constable Ben Gunn - the former Special Branch supremo who nurtured SDS, laid ground for NETCU, and led ACPO into turf war with MI5?

    Chief Constable Ben Gunn – the former Special Branch supremo who nurtured SDS, prepared the ground for NETCU, and led ACPO into turf war with MI5?

    Ben Gunn: A career Special Branch officer since 1963, Gunn spent two years running SO12 before moving to leadership roles at Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1991, becoming Chief Constable in 1994, a rank he held until retirement in March 2002. It was Gunn – an officer intimately familiar with SDS, its officers and operations, and who in later years chaired the ACPO Security Committee – who facilitated the participation of ex-SDS infiltrators and Special Branch case officers in Peter Taylor’s 2002 documentary television series True Spies.[31]

  • Chief Constable Denis O'Connor - the Chief Inspector of Constabulary whose fairweather application of NCND identified numerous undercover officers

    Chief Constable Denis O’Connor – the Chief Inspector of Constabulary whose fairweather application of NCND identified numerous undercover officers

    Denis O’Connor: In his capacity as Chief Inspector of Constabulary, O’Connor (a Chief Police Officer since around 1990) openly acknowledged Mark Kennedy as having been an undercover police officer in media appearances and interviews.[32]

O’Connor’s HMIC review of ‘national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest’ (that’s version three of the report: an initial, insipid draft by Bernard Hogan-Howe was rewritten by O’Connor himself, before that second version then had to be pulped and rush-written a third time as the story that Jim Boyling had given evidence under oath whilst using his fake identity broke the night before the report was due to be released)[33][34] – explicitly references the arbitrary exercise of NCND:
It is normal practice for the police to neither confirm nor deny the true identity of undercover officers. This is to protect both the officers themselves, and the effectiveness of the tactic. However, the case of Mark Kennedy is one of exceptional circumstances, including his own public revelations, the media interest in him, and the fact that the Court of Appeal named him on 19 July 2011. Because of this, HMIC has chosen on this occasion to use his real name.[35]
  • Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe - veteran of the Hillsborough police and author of the original HMIC whitewash on undercover policing

    Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe – veteran of the Hillsborough police and author of the original HMIC whitewash on undercover policing

    Bernard Hogan-Howe: After leaving HMIC, where he authored the never publicly released original report on spy-cop units (as noted above),[33][34]Hogan-Howe was made Metropolitan Police Commissioner – and in that capacity he too has made numerous public statements in which he accepts that various people were undercover officers, either directly or by implication.

Facing questions from the Metropolitan Police Authority in October 2011 in relation to allegations that Jim Boyling perjured himself whilst undercover, the Commissioner by implication confirmed that he had been a Metropolitan Police officer at that time: “I am just a little careful about answering the point about whether he is still working for us and what he is doing. He is in the misconduct process, which is a publicly reported fact, so he must be still working for us.”[36]
Following the allegations made by Peter Francis that SDS officers had been invited to contribute to a ‘smear campaign’ against the Lawrence family in the lead up to the Macpherson Inquiry, in June 2013 Hogan-Howe again failed to invoke NCND, instead stating: “I am personally shocked by the allegations that an undercover officer was told to find evidence that might smear the Lawrence family… If these allegations are true, it’s a disgrace, and the Metropolitan Police Service will apologise.”[37][38]
  • Chief Constable Mick Creedon - bangs on about NCND but names report after a confirmed former undercover officer!

    Chief Constable Mick Creedon – bangs on about NCND but names report after a confirmed former undercover officer!

    Mick Creedon: The serving Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, Creedon – currently in charge of the cops-investigating-cops Operation Herne – has freely acknowledged that some suspected spies (such as Francis and Lambert) were police infiltrators… Whilst also invoking NCND in the first report, but then devoting the entire second report to ‘Allegations of Peter Francis’![39][40]

4: Parliament has taken evidence under oath from serving and former undercover officers

It takes a very special type of person to fold so quickly under a Keith Vaz interrogation. But dangit, these guys will give it a go!

The Home Affairs Select Committee has heard evidence from a number of police officers – both serving and former – in relation to undercover policing, and issued both an interim report in March 2013[41] and a follow-up in October of the same year.[42]

  • Mark Kennedy: The former Metropolitan Police officer appeared in person before the committee in February 2013. He attested that he had undertaken undercover duties since 1998[43] and was accepted into the NPOIU in 2001,[44] where he subsequently worked as an undercover officer infiltrating political groups in the UK and overseas.
  • DAC Patricia Gallan - the original Herne top cop whose investigation got nowhere

    DAC Patricia Gallan – the original Herne top cop whose investigation got nowhere

    Patricia Gallan: Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan ran the Met’s Operation Herne until February 2013, when it was transferred to the care of Derbyshire Constabulary. She appeared before the committee in February 2013 and made reference to a “policy” of NCND whilst discussing the topic in the abstract;[45][46] yet she also explicitly referred both to Mark Kennedy and an SDS officer exposed in his wake (who can reasonably be deduced to be Boyling).[47]

  • Mick Creedon: The Derbyshire Chief Constable, who took over the running of Operation Herne from DAC Gallan at the invitation of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in February 2013, gave evidence before the committee in July of that year. He acknowledged that Peter Francis was an officer in SDS,[48] and neither here nor in his earlier letter to the committee, in which he noted the allegations made by Peter Francis in relation to the Lawrence family”, did he make reference to NCND.[49]

5: Inquiries by a number of authorities have clearly identified undercover officers

Since January 2011, when Mark Kennedy was publicly exposed in the mainstream media as an undercover police infiltrator, there have been almost countless official investigations, inquiries, reviews and reports into every possible aspect of the undercover policing issue – though not all of them public. The ones so far in the public domain all identify at least some officers to some degree, though…

  • Sir Christopher Rose - apparently it's alright for him to name undercovers, so long as it's whilst he's bollocking lawyers

    Sir Christopher Rose – apparently it’s alright for him to name undercovers, so long as it’s whilst he’s bollocking lawyers

    Rose Report (CPS): In April 2009 114 people were arrested in relation to a planned protest at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant, based on intelligence supplied by undercover Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy. 26 were charged, with twenty tried (and convicted) in December 2010, and a further six due to go on trial in January 2011.

Neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service disclosed to the defence that there had been a spy in their midst; but in October 2010 suspicious activists themselves had confronted Kennedy with indisputable evidence that he had been a policeman, and he confessed. With the cat out of the bag, the second trial collapsed before it began, with the convictions from the first trial subsequently quashed.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer then commissioned Sir Christopher Rose to inquire into the issue of disclosure. Rose’s report, published in December 2011, freely acknowledges that Kennedy was an undercover police officer working for NPOIU, and details not just Kennedy’s actions but those of his superior in NPOIU, the Nottinghamshire investigation team, and the CPS prosecutors.[50]
  • Operation Soisson/Operation Herne (Met Police/Derbyshire Constabulary): The Metropolitan Police first began to investigate allegations about its SDS undercover unit in October 2011, when Operation Soisson was initiated with just four officers. Soisson then became Herne, with first Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and then Derbyshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon taking nominal charge.
The first report of Operation Herne was published in July 2013, focusing on the use of ‘covert identities’ (most notably employing the identities of dead children) by undercover police.[39] This report makes early mention of the “policy of ‘neither confirming nor denying’ the use of or identity of an undercover police officer”, which it describes as “a long established one used by UK policing”.[51] Accordingly, this report does not refer to any undercover officer by their covert identity or real name. Only the identity of a dead child – Rod Richardson – suspected of having been appropriated by an NPOIU undercover spy is mentioned.
However, the report makes copious references to codenamed officers which make deduction simple. Creedon, for example, notes “allegations that a former SDS officer (N14) had a relationship with a woman whilst he had worked undercover and that he had gone on to father children with her,” in circumstances that make it plain to deduce that this is Jim Boyling.[52]
There is also reference to “a video interview provided to the Guardian by the former SDS Officer N43”, who is clearly Peter Francis.[53] Reminiscences by retired officer ‘N2’ about a situation in which he “found himself in a situation where he had penetrated an organisation and was then asked by the group to help trace a mole among them” suggests this may be Mike Ferguson, an early SDS spy[54] previously outed in the True Spies documentary series.[55] Similarly ‘N85’ would appear to be the former Commander of Special Branch, Roger Pearce – a career Branch man with extensive experience of covert policing and himself a former SDS undercover officer.[56]
The second Herne report, which came out in March 2014, focused on the claims of ex-SDS officer Peter Francis.[40] Yet despite even being called Report 2 – Allegations of Peter Francis, Creedon sticks to the NCND credo, this time even throwing in some case law and legislative references to try and plug some of the leaks.[57]
Notwithstanding this, the report still refers to Francis’ boss Bob Lambert by name, as well as by implication as ‘N10’.[58]
  • Mark Ellison QC - how come a case review by a brief and his assistant can uncover dodgy police activities that numerous well-staffed investigations by the Met, IPCC, CPS, HMIC and the rest couldn't?

    Mark Ellison QC – how come a case review by a brief and his assistant can uncover dodgy police activities that numerous well-staffed investigations by the Met, IPCC, CPS, HMIC and the rest couldn’t?

    Stephen Lawrence Independent Review (Mark Ellison QC): Appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May as a sop to the Lawrence family, who were calling for a full independent inquiry, the Ellison Review – released the same day in March 2014 as the second Herne report – was an unexpected bomb, forensically blowing apart many of the Met’s orthodoxies on not just its investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence but also on the behaviour of Special Branch and its undercover unit SDS.[59][60][61][62]

The Review makes no claims about NCND, and instead simply assigns number codes to pretty much all undercover officers, with the exception of obvious ones such as Peter Francis and Bob Lambert.
  • HMIC Review: As noted above, the O’Connor/Hogan-Howe Review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest (snappy title) for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was another report which potentously explained the importance of NCND, before then completely undermining it as a concept by naming Mark Kennedy throughout.[35]
  • Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station (Operation Aeroscope) Disclosure Final Report (IPCC): Covering similar ground as the Rose Report but concentrating on the actions of police officers, the IPCC report names Kennedy as an undercover officer, but refers to his case officer David Hutcheson only as ‘NPOIU DI’, and their superior responsible for disclosure as ‘NPOIU DCI’.[63][64]

6: Earlier tribunals have rejected the idea that the NCND convention can be rigidly and indefinitely deployed

Previous attempts by official bodies to apply a blanket NCND response to any inquiries relating to the use of spies or secret intelligence against those who were demonstrably not violent or threats to the state have been met with short shrift.

The job of adjudicating on appeals to the Information Tribunal – where a data controlling organisation has refused to release information under the Data Protection Act (1998) citing a section 28 ‘national security’ exemption – belongs to the National Security Appeals Panel. Already the NSAP has made a number of interesting decisions on this issue – and ones involving the ‘big boy’ spooks of the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), not just the more déclassé rubber heelers of Special Branch, or – worse! – the impertinent young bucks of the newer national ‘domestic extremism’ units.

Typically in these appeals the state has argued that by letting ‘innocent’ people know that no information is held on them, this enables a ‘guilty’ person to incrementally build up an accurate understanding of whether information is held on them.

Whilst – repeatedly – the Panel tends to point appellants towards the Investigatory Powers Tribunal as a means to pursue such issues, the clear implication is that the ‘incremental’ argument is not monolithic and must be weighed against other contributory factors.

  • Norman Baker MP - a dangerous terraist and government minister who weakened MI5's blanket NCND defence (just don't ask about Dr Kelly)

    Norman Baker MP – a dangerous terraist and now government minister who weakened MI5’s blanket NCND defence (just don’t ask about Dr Kelly)

    Norman Baker v. Home Secretary (2001): The Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes won a landmark judgement which removed the ability of the Security Service to use a blanket NCND policy.[65][66]

It came after the Lewes MP received an anonymous tip-off that he had been under Special Branch surveillance in 1986-1989, that intelligence on him was held by the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI, a precursor to NPOIU and NETCU), and that this information was then passed onto MI5 in 1998 by a ‘source’ inside South Downs Earth First![65][67][68]
On hearing this claim he put in a DPA subject access request to MI5 asking to see what information it held on him, but this was stonewalled with an NCND response.
In its conclusion, the NSAP noted that:
the blanket exemption given by the Certificate in relation to section 7(1)(a) is wider than is necessary to protect national security…the blanket exemption relieves the Service of any obligation to give a considered answer to individual requests…[69]
  • Phillip Hilton v. Foreign Secretary (2003): In this case a former GCHQ employee sought to find out whether his personal data had been shared with other public bodies or private companies, and to clarify whether the travel restrictions that were customarily part of his employment conditions then remained in force even though he had left the job more than a decade previously.
Following an NCND response from GCHQ, he appealed to NSAP; the Panel declined to rule on the principle of NCND, though noted that it found it “difficult to accept that the NCND reply can always be justified on this ground, because as a matter of commonsense it may be thought that there are some cases where a definite response would not enable any inference to be drawn in other cases.”[70]
Nevertheless, the Panel dismissed the appeal and instead pointed to the secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal established under RIPA as the appropriate body to consider whether it was “an unjustified claim by GCHQ to give a NCND response or to withhold personal data on national security grounds”.[71]
  • Tony Gosling v. Home Secretary (2003): Here a journalist requested from MI5 any information held on him by them, citing the Baker decision; the Service turned him down and gave an NCND response, citing s28. He then appealed to NSAP.
Whilst this appeal too was dismissed, the Panel indicated that the Service conceded ground:
Assuming that the general NCND policy is itself justified…the Service accepts that the policy is not absolute. …There may be other, as yet not specifically identified cases, where departure from NCND might be justifiable.[72]
  • Peter Hitchens v. Home Secretary (2003): A journalist and former activist with the International Socialists in the early 1970s, Hitchens made a subject access request to the Security Service on the back of the Baker decision.
Whilst sympathetic to Hitchens’ argument that the passage of time should affect the degree to which NCND might be considered appropriate, the Panel also gave weight to the ‘incremental’ argument, noting that “If (the appellant) and a university contemporary both made requests under section 7(1)(a) for records which, if they exist, are more than thirty years old, a NCND reply in one case but not the other might suggest that more recent data are held in that case alone.”
The appeal was dismissed, for essentially the same reasons as in Gosling.[73]

7: Police only invoked the NCND defence after legal action was brought against them

As noted by the women’s support group Police Spies Out Of Lives:

The women launched their legal action in December 2011, but it was not until June 2012 that the police first mentioned NCND in relation to the claim.[74]

What a funny coincidence…

Yes – I think we have a winning ticket here!

Notes

  1. Tony Thompson, ‘Undercover policeman reveals how he infiltrated UK’s violent activists’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
  2. Tony Thompson, ‘Inside the lonely and violent world of the Yard’s elite undercover unit’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
  3. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp307-311.
  4. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp311-314.
  5. Brian Hill, ‘Confessions Of An Undercover Cop’, Cutting EdgeChannel 4, 14 November 2011 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  6. London Greenpeace, ‘Undercover police agent publicly outed at conference’, Indymedia UK, 15 October 2011 (accessed 15 March 2014).
  7. London Greenpeace, ‘Stop police infiltration of campaign groups!’, London Greenpeace (via Indymedia UK), 15 October 2011 (accessed 15 March 2014).
  8. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp59-61.
  9. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp331-332.
  10. Robert Lambert, ‘Rebuilding Trust and Credibility: A preliminary commentary reflecting my personal perspective’, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) (via Scribd), February 2012 (accessed 1 April 2014).
  11. Andy Davies, ‘Interview: Ex-Met’s Bob Lambert on Stephen Lawrence smear’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 2 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  12. Andy Davies, ‘I’m sorry, says ex-undercover police boss’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 5 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  13. Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence staff page, ‘Dr Robert Lambert – Lecturer in Terrorism Studies’, University of St. Andrews website (accessed 15 March 2014).
  14. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, 56
  15. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, p194.
  16. unknown author, ‘Undercover police: the unmasked officers’, Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  17. Sue, ‘Jim Sutton – undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets’, Indymedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  18. Sue, ‘Jim Sutton – undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets’, Sheffield Indymedia, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  19. Transpontine, ‘Undercover in East Dulwich’, Transpontine, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  20. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis ‘Undercover policeman married activist he was sent to spy on’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  21. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp188-192.
  22. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp192-197.
  23. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis, ‘Ex-wife of police spy tells how she fell in love and had children with him’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  24. Paul Lewis & Rob Evans, ‘Spying on protest groups has gone badly wrong, police chiefs say’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 5 June 2014).
  25. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Martin Wainwright, ‘Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked’, The Guardian, 12/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  26. quiteliketheguardianactually, ‘Officer A’, Indymedia UK, 13/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  27. ABC Anarres, ‘Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements’, Indymedia UK, 19/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  28. infiltrators, ‘Lynn Watson’, Infiltrators & Informers blog, 08/03/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  29. Sean O’Neill, ‘Police infiltrator in fear for her life after gang cover is blown’, The Times, 20/04/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  30. Rob Evans, ‘Prosecutors ‘behaving ludicrously’ in case of alleged undercover officer’, The Guardian, 27 January 2014 (accessed 5 June 2014).
  31. Daniel Foggo & David Bamber, ‘BBC accused of putting MI5 agents’ lives at risk’, Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2002 (accessed 2 June 2014).
  32. Simon Israel, ‘Policing undercover policing: how far is too far?’, Channel 4 News, 2 February 2011 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  33. Sean O’Neill, ‘Met chief’s report on undercover police was rewritten’, The Times, 24 March 2014 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  34. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, ‘Police accused of allowing undercover officers to lie in court’, The Guardian, 19 October 2011 (accessed 4 June).
  35. HMIC, A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, February 2012, p4 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  36. Metropolitan Police Authority, ‘Transcript of MPA meeting’, MPA website, 27 October 2011, pp20-27 (accessed 23 April 2014).
  37. Paul Peachey, ‘Met head Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe ‘shocked’ by allegations of smear campaign against Stephen Lawrence family ’, The Independent, 24 June 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  38. Simon Israel, ‘Was Stephen Lawrence’s family smeared by police?’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 24 June 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  39. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  40. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  41. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  42. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  43. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p51 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  44. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p54 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  45. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p45 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  46. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p47 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  47. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p61 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  48. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013, p17 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  49. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013, p22 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  50. Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Protest Inquiry into Disclosure, Crown Prosecution Service, December 2011 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  51. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p3 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  52. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p5 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  53. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p9 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  54. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, pp9-10 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  55. Peter Taylor, True Spies episode 1, BBC2, 27 October 2002 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  56. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p14 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  57. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014, pp27-30 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  58. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014, pp54-59 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  59. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence independent review: summary of findings, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  60. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 1, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  61. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 2, part 1, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  62. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 2, part 2, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  63. Gareth Tobin & Gemma Jackson, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station (Operation Aeroscope) Disclosure, Independent Police Complaints Commission, 2012 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  64. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p244.
  65. Philip Johnston, ‘MP wins landmark test case over secrecy of MI5 files’, Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  66. unknown author, ‘MP wins landmark battle over MI5 files’, BBC News website, 1 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  67. Arthur Mix, ‘UK, CYCLE OF REPRESSION’, A-Infos website/e-list, 2 February 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  68. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Test case allows ‘right to know’ on MI5 files’, The Guardian, 2 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  69. Sir Anthony Evans, Hon Michael Beloff QC & James Goudie QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Norman Baker MP and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 1 October 2001 (accessed via Bailii.org 4 June 2014).
  70. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Philip Hilton and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ministry of Justice website, 2003, p12 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  71. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Philip Hilton and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ministry of Justice website, 2003, p16 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  72. Sir Anthony Evans, Robin Purchas QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Tony Gosling and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 1 August 2003 (accessed via FoIwiki 4 June 2014).
  73. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Peter Hitchens and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 4 August 2003 (accessed via FoIwiki 4 June 2014).
  74. Police Spies Out Of Lives, ‘Secrecy Hearing – why “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” should not stand’, Police Spies Out Of Lives website, 6 March 2014 (accessed 5 June 2014).

Glossary

There are a lot of acronyms in this article, so here’s a handy guide to all them initials…

Police

  • ACPO: Association of Chief Police Officers (private company acting as a forum for senior cops – with no statutory foundation and no democratic oversight – which at times has had authority over units including NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
  • ACPO (TAM): ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters (ACPO ‘business area’ responsible for devising and driving counter-terrorism and anti-‘domestic extremism’ policy within UK policing, which operated NCDE and its subordinate units NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
  • ARNI: Animal Rights National Index (precursor to NPOIU and NETCU whose remit was widened out to include environmentalists)
  • CIU: Confidential Intelligence Unit (sub-unit of NPOIU)
  • NCDE: National Coordinator Domestic Extremism (ACPO-controlled office commanding NPOIU, NDET and NETCU until they were all brought together as NDEU in 2010)
  • NDEDIU: National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (rebranded NDEU, under control of Metropolitan Police’s SO15)
  • NDET: National Domestic Extremism Team (investigatory ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up in 2005 to provide national strategic support to localised investigations, which later developed its own intelligence-gathering capability; merged into NDEU in 2010 and moved from ACPO to Met control in 2011)
  • NDEU: National Domestic Extremism Unit (merged unit formed in 2010 from NPOIU, NDET and NETCU and transferred to Met control in 2011)
  • NETCU: National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (preventative ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Cambridgeshire Constabulary  in 2004, coming under the control of NCDE in ACPO until merged into NDEU in 2010 along with NPOIU and NDET , and then transferred to the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in 2011)
  • NPOIU: National Public Order Intelligence Unit (intelligence-gathering ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Metropolitan Police Special Branch in 1999, moved to ACPO in 2006, and after merger with NETCU and NDET into NDEU transferred back to the Met in 2011 under Counter Terrorism Command/SO15 as a single unit, NDEU)
  • SDS: Special Demonstration Squad (originally Special Operations Squad, later Special Duties Section; political infiltration unit of Metropolitan Police Special Branch)
  • SO12: Metropolitan Police Special Branch (intelligence-gathering police unit most concerned with ‘subversion’, ‘domestic extremism’ and terrorism)
  • SO13: Anti Terrorism Branch (investigatory unit)
  • SO15: Counter Terrorism Command (formed through the union of SO12 and SO13 in 2006)

Other

  • CPS: Crown Prosecution Service (responsible for bringing about prosecutions on behalf of the state)
  • DPA: Data Protection Act (1998) (enumerates the responsibilities of any organisation which holds or processes data on individuals)
  • FOIA: Freedom of Information Act (2000) (providing public access to information held by public authorities)
  • GCHQ: Government Communications Headquarters (the national signals intelligence agency of the UK)
  • NCND: Neither Confirm Nor Deny (the position surrounding the avowal or otherwise of undercover officers claimed as an official policy by the police)
  • NSAP: National Security Appeals Panel (hearing appeals made to the Information Tribunal where a data controller has invoked s28 ‘national security’ defence under the Data Protection Act 1998)
  • RIPA: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) (legislative framework governing undercover policing and the use of informants)

Edited 12 June 2014 for minor typos & style points.
Edited 29 July 2014 for minor typo.
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5 responses to “‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny”… except when it suits THEM

  1. Interesting piece, exposing idiocy & hypocrisy of the NCND position that the police are taking regarding undercover infiltration.

    However, there is 1 minor part I would take issue with;

    I would be very sceptical of the claim that MI5 had a ‘source’ inside South Downs Earth First! (SDEF!) in 1998 that passed on info about Norman Baker. This is largely because the group was only active in Brighton in the early 1990s and by 1998 no longer existed in any meaningful way (eg they had long stopped having meetings or planning actions). Also, if I remember correctly, the original source of this story should be treated with extreme caution, as it was the Sunday Times which was well-known for running unfounded spoiler stories to discredit environmental groups (such as the anti-roads protests at Twyford Down & Solsbury Hill in the early 1990s).

    Finally, there’s no evidence I’m aware of that Norman Baker had any involvement with SDEF! (why would a prospective Lib Dem MP be involved with an obscure splinter group of the radical environmental movement that was largely unheard of outside of Brighton?!), so if there was indeed an MI5 ‘source’, I fail to see what useful info on Norman Baker they could pass on that wasn’t already known about.

  2. Thank Christopher – and I agree about being sceptical about that SDEF! claim.

    I referenced it as it intersects with the political milieu that the police units have been spying on, and because the Baker case, as the first of the NSAP hearings, is perhaps the most important of all of them, ‘setting the scene’ as it does.

    Certainly I hope to return to the specific issue of ‘The Mechanic’(!), and analyse it more closely.

    I hope that by making reference to it it doesn’t come across as an endorsement of it, any more than citing a LibDem MP, a Mail hack or a gingery Captain Haddock lookalike might ;-)

  3. WILD NOTTINGHAM

    An excellent, well-researched and well-presented piece. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Why NCND must be rejected….

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