20 December, 2010
Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB) to be amalgamated with the Anti-Terrorism Branch to form new Counter-Terrorist Branch
Statewatch News Online
Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
NETCU | National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Intelligence Machinery
Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC)
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
National Counter Terrorism Security Office
National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU)
National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism
National Crime Squad [now merged with Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)]
and how many others, no one knows anything about. Mark Stone / Kennedy could have belonged to any other that or, another one completely. But a large about of tax-payers money was spent in dealing with peaceful people. No guns, bomb or chemical weapons in sight. This being the case, I guess a larger budget will increasingly be required.
19 December, 2010
Sunday Times: Tim Rayment & Jonathan Leake 19th Dec 2010
A police officer spent seven years undercover living as a hippie and environmental activist to infiltrate peaceful protest groups
He drank with them, he climbed with them, he even seemed to love them and was loved in return. But Mark “Flash” Stone was living a double life as perhaps the most deeply embedded undercover police officer in Britain.
Questions are being asked this weekend as to what the police officer achieved in seven years, living at the taxpayers’ expense as a hippie and environmental activist. He infiltrated protest groups that were mainly peaceful in nature, moved in with them and travelled to Iceland and all over Europe.
His double existence ended when friends discovered documents showing his true identity, leaving a trail of emotional wreckage and a sense of bewilderment that the authorities should invest so much time for a seemingly modest reward.
Stone — real name Mark Kennedy — was among 114 people arrested last year on the eve of a planned invasion of a power station. The aim was to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire for a week, preventing the release of 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide from one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe.
He drove the car on the initial reconnaissance and even hired a 7½-ton truck for the main event. But charges against him were dropped, leaving 20 others to be convicted last week of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.
With his long hair, tattoos and body piercings, nobody suspected that their comrade in saving the planet was a detective. But Stone is thought to be a member of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit known as “the Hairies” because officers can wear their hair as they please.
According to one former member, only married officers are accepted into the unit, as they are less likely to “go native” if they have families to return to.
Called “Flash” because he had more money than other activists, Stone became a familiar face in Nottingham, hanging about at the Sumac centre, a vegan cafe and social club for people concerned with human and animal rights, the environment and pacifism. He lived with activists in the city.
His former friends say he was vehemently anti-police, a pose slightly at odds with a community more inclined to organise workshops on what they perceive as “bad policing” than to fight about it.
For the takeover of the power station, the protesters drew up health-and-safety plans and a rule that there would be no violence. They were to stop the conveyor carrying coal into the boilers, climb the 653ft chimney and unfurl protest banners.
The workers would be given leaflets reassuring them that jobs could be created by greener energy, while costlier but cleaner gas-fired stations would come on line to supply the National Grid, keeping the nation’s lights on.
Eon, the owner of the station, knew about the action five days beforehand and could have sought an injunction. Instead, the protesters were allowed to assemble and were then arrested.
Stone was unmasked as a suspected police officer 18 months later, just before the trial. Confronted by six friends with paperwork showing his real name, he admitted being in the Metropolitan police. The six published a short account of his confession in the green media, to general disbelief.
“Look at the bloke,” said one activist. “What did they do, send him from Hendon [police training centre] to spend five years smoking rollies and living in a tent? It boggles the mind that he’s spent so long doing basically f***-all, expending so much effort in terms of debate, slow, dull legwork and campaigning — and still be thinking, ‘Aha, fooling these oh-so-dangerous activists brilliantly’.”
Last week two police forces confirmed Stone’s status to The Sunday Times. “The individual is a Met officer,” said Nottinghamshire police. “He’s an undercover officer,” said the Metropolitan police. “We can’t say more.”
Scotland Yard refused requests for information about the SDS, a unit of the Met with a remit to prevent disorder. It was set up in 1968 after violence at anti-Vietnam war protests.
An insight into its methods came this year, when an SDS officer from the 1990s described his work. For four years the officer, Peter Daley, spent one day a week with his wife and family and six as a hate-filled Trotskyist on the wrong side of a riot shield. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and won an out-of-court settlement.
Stone has disappeared from Nottingham, leaving friends in shock. One said: “Whatever else Mark is, I do believe he had genuine feelings for those he had meaningful relationships with in the last seven years.”
The friend added: “I don’t believe he could be with such beautiful, wonderful people and not feel love.”
The protesters will be sentenced next month.
17 December, 2010
the Ratcliffe trial, should have concluded today. However, the sentencing of the 20 defendants has been deferred to early January. Yet more hanging about
14 December, 2010
As the UN climate talks finish in Cancun, and fail once again to come up with any legally binding framework to reduce emissions, the British legal system is still upholding business as usual. This can’t continue. Burning coal has no future.
We are twenty of the 114 who were targets of the biggest pre-emptive arrest in UK history, as part of the increasing drive to stifle real action on climate change. We planned not only to stop carbon emissions from Ratcliffe but to be part of a much wider movement for global social justice. Dealing with climate change means looking at its root causes and we need to question why the profits of corporations such as e.on are being prioritised over people on the front line of our changing climate and the protection of our children’s futures.
In the 3 weeks we’ve been on trial over 17,000 people have died from the effects of climate change, species have continued to disappear and a few energy CEOs have continued to line their pockets. It’s the poorest and most vulnerable communities, those least responsible for this crisis, who are being hit the hardest.
Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.
We want to thank everyone for the amazing amount of solidarity we have received during this process from within Nottingham and beyond. It has been absolutely inspiring. We are keen to publish more information, but obviously need to wait until sentencing on Friday to do this.
Our supporters have been doing an amazing job in making a blog about us and you can check out our website.
14 December, 2010
Twenty climate activists who planned to shut down one of Britain’s most polluting power stations for a week were found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass today.
The activists were among 114 people arrested in a dawn raid on Easter Monday last year in a widely criticised policing operation that saw officers smashing their way into a school in Nottingham. It was the biggest pre-emptive arrest in British history. Twenty of those arrested faced a crown court trial which opened last month and ended today. The activists openly accepted they wanted to force plant owners Eon to safely shut down the power station for a week in an effort to stop 150,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere – but they said they weren’t guilty of a crime because they were acting out necessity due to the lack of an adequate response to climate change by corporations and politicians. This comes as the 16th UN Climate Change talks end in Cancun, where once again governments have failed to build a legally binding strategy to cut emissions.
Speaking after the verdict one of the defendants, Clare Whitney, said:
“During this trial we have heard from people on the front line of our changing climate, and from a company that is still burning the most dirty form of fossil fuel for their economic benefit. These worlds are not compatible. Taking action is not an issue of moral righteousness but an act of self-defence. If we’re to stand a chance of avoiding irreversible climate change we’ve got to realise that to bring about a better world we’ll need to do it ourselves.”
Defendant Chris Kitchen said
“We are in solidarity with all those around the world fighting for climate and social justice. Together we need to stop the root causes of climate change, we need to stop profit being put before people. It’s big business and politicians are that are the real criminals and we will not stand by as we are robbed of our future.”
Dan Glass, another defendant in the case, said:
“This ruling won’t stop emissions. But the huge support we have received from the people of Nottingham and internationally, does demonstrate that public opinion is increasingly turning against the liberties that governments are taking with our future.”
The court had earlier heard that a team of protesters would have pressed the emergency stop buttons on the coal conveyors which feed the boilers, while another team would have climbed the inside of the chimney before abseiling into the flues to prevent the plant re-opening for a week, saving 150,000 tonnes of CO2. Six defendants took to the witness stand. One, Ben Stewart, told the jury: “we did this to save human lives. I can’t tell you if the lives we would have saved would have been my relatives or your relatives, but they would have been somebody’s relatives.” All defendants spoke of huge amount of community engagement they have carried out to raise the issue of action on climate change, whilst still seeing emissions continuing to rise unabated.
The defendants also called a number of internationally renowned expert witnesses. They included Professor James Hansen, acclaimed as the world’s leading climate scientist. He told the jury: “It doesn’t surprise me that young people are angry when they know that politicians are lying to them.” When challenged by the judge as to the measurable effects of the defendants’ proposed action, Hansen noted that the action could have prevented one, if not more, species from becoming extinct. Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine detailed to the court the real and imminent threat to health posed by climate change, saying we risk a ‘generational genocide’ as we ‘sleep walk into a nightmare’. Dr Roberts told the court that at least 150,000 people a year were dying as a result of man-made climate change.
Former local MP Alan Simpson also appeared as a witness for the defence. In his written testimony he said: ‘Climate Change protestors are in my view absolutely right to argue that we cannot continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach to UK carbon emissions without threatening the very prospects of existence for future generations.’ Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP told the court politicians had failed in their duty to protect the public from climate change.
For more, contact 07834324840
1. The conspiracy to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in April 2009 is different from the Great Climate Swoop of October 2009 (http://climatecamp.org.uk/actions/climate-swoop-2009)
14 December, 2010
All 20 defendants are found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Trespass at Ratcliffe-on_Soar Power Station in April 2009.
They are required to come back to court at 12noon on Friday for sentencing.
All in Nottingham Crown Court again at 10am Tuesday. After the His Honour Judge Teare made his directions, the jury were first sent out on Friday. They came back to court a couple of times to ask questions. After the weekend, they came back yesterday [Monday] to continue their deliberations. Again a couple more questions, but it was becoming clear that they were quite divided. At 3.40pm yesterday, they were looking a bit tired and sent a note to the Judge, asking if they could go home for the day. They had been considering their verdict for 10 hours up to then. The Judge then told them that when they came back today … he would accept a majority verdict.
Today [Tuesday], they retired again at 10.13am. At 11.10am they returned after a total of 11.07hours.
The clerk read out the indictment:
20x names. are charged as follows, That they:
Conspired to Commit Aggravated Trespass, Contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Verdict – GUILTY. [for all the defendants]
Strangely, the verdict was unanimous, when you consider that the judge had said he would accept a majority after their earlier difficulty in reaching a decision.
The Judge said that he was not going to hand down prison sentences now. However, after hearing of some that had previous convictions he said he may be considering suspended sentences for those. Others were of previous ‘good character’ might be receiving community punishment orders, to do unpaid work. He went on, that this trial had cost the country a vast amount of money. As their actions have been found to have been unnecessary, then I don’t see why they can’t contribute.
All are required to return to court at 12noon on Friday 17th December.
Personally. I don’t think that their case could have been better expressed. Having sat through the whole case, I was privileged in hearing the expert evidence that was of some substance and alarming. After all that exposure to the facts, then if the jury can’t see that urgency of a need for action, then I am of course pessimistic in how on earth we are going to convince the wider public of the need for action.
Perhaps we are all doomed 😦
I have added my best wishes to all the defendants throughout the progress of this case. As it turns out … fuck all use my good wishes were. I am sad for the defendants in loosing and being found guilty, but I am also sad for my own health and everybody else’s. If people are deterred from taking more direct action on these issues, nothing else substantial is going on. As the recent events at the Cancún climate summit in Mexico have clearly demonstrated, if we leave it up to companies and politicians to act, then we will be waiting a very long time. Certainly past the tipping points we heard so much about. Beyond which we might not be able to do very much about our demise.
Will the last one alive on the planet, kindly turn the lights out!
Statement from the Defendants
Ratcliffe on Trial Blog
13 December, 2010
10.00am and all back in court yet again. Sitting in Nottingham Crown Court, His Honour Judge Teare reminded the jury that although the press was full over the weekend, of the progress [or lack of it], of the talks taking place in Cancún climate summit in Mexico, they were to discount all of it. He says the verdict they reach is to be on the evidence introduced here, during this trial.
Today was much of a re-run of friday. The jury retired at 10.22am. Then, at 12.33 pm the court reconvened to answer a further jury question concerning the burden of proof. As with all trials, the judge reiterated that it is the duty of the prosecution to make the jury sure that the defendants were unreasonable in their actions, rather than the duty of the defence to make the jury sure that they were reasonable.
In common with the defendants, a few of us hopped from one foot to the other, just hoping. Then, at 3.46pm this afternoon the jury came back into the court room, looking tired, and passed another note to the judge asking to go home for the day.
Before they left, the judge said that he would now accept a majority verdict – this means that he will accept a verdict that 10 or more jurors are agreed on.
Adding friday and today, the jury will have now had some 10 hours of deliberations.
The case continues more …… onwards.
Ratcliffe on Trial Blog http://ratcliffeontrial.org/blog
** Waiting for the jury to decide the matter means more time, wondering and waiting. As before, I would like to offer my very best wishes to all involved in this enterprise and wish all the very best of luck in receiving the just outcome you deserve. Tash xx
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