Friday, April 17, 2009

Spy vs Environmentalists (Infiltrated, spied on, moles)

Seminal piece here by John Vidal on environmentalist groups who are infiltrated by spies. He cites an action against Land Rover in 2005, 114 arrests before a Nottingham climate change action, Infiltration of Plane Stupid, moles in Greenpeace UK, the McLibel mole, 1990 road protesters, and of course, the Rumsfeltian Unknowns.

I remember that CND in the 1970s was infiltrated by a "Intellegence Service" agent called Mr Cox, who got to be Vice -Chair, and whose role emerged after his death.

In the same period, one of the founders of War Veterans against the Bomb told me how he picked up his phone to hear a recording of a conversation that he had had the previous evening with his son.

I have an unsourced anecdote that an early CND group suspected that it had an MI5 infection, but did not know where the local Regional Seat of Government was. So they sent a message around their telephone tree saying to meet outside the RSG on Monday morning. They drove around the general area, then saw a clot of police persons standing guard outside an otherwise nondescript property. Asked why they were there, the police said they were guarding it from a CND demo. Two problems solved.

There are those of us who believe that the Green Party has been similarly infiltrated. In fairness it must be said there is no absolute proof of this, only a body of circumstantial evidence, and it is quite possible to argue that our Government's innate standards of fair play are such that they would never dream of infiltrating a non-violent and pro-democratic political party. Indeed, why should they waste money in supporting such a person, given that the Green Party is excluded from playing its fair share in the political process by the electoral system, and given also that the BBC steadfastly refuse to grant us an amount of political airtime proportional to our share of the vote in the last general election?

The thing about spies is that they carry a double whammy. Apart from their role in leaking information from the targeted organisation, and holding back reasonable policy development, they also generate paranoia. Remember that poor PM Harold Wilson was regarded as mad for believing that South African secret agents were on his case? After he left office, it turned out he was right.

Accurate information about how to recognise spies is hard to come by. Word has it that infiltrators bear certain stigmata to enable them to be identified and spared a beating in the event of a police raid. Infiltrators of environmentalist movements are called "beardies" for obvious reasons. They also tend to wear hats, often with a badge placed front centre (I have been heckled at an Aldermaston demonstration by a pair answering to that description).

No comments: