Friday, June 26, 2015

Secrets and Spies linked with blacklisting

WITH government ministers like Ian Duncan Smith anxiously insisting the results of their policies should be hidden behind secrecy, two stories illustrate the way police are guarding their right to spy on the public. 

We are not talking about dangerous criminals or terrorists here, but about those who have been at the receiving end of violence, and tried to do something about it.

Duwayne Brooks and Stephen Lawrence were teenagers, on their way home one night in 1993 when they were chased by a racist gang, and Stephen was stabbed and bled to death, just yards from the bus stop where they had been waiting, in Eltham, south east London. 

Now 40, and a former Lib Dem councillor, Duwayne not only gave evidence but campaigned along with the Lawrence family for those who had attacked them and murdered his friend to be brought to justice. Since then he has called for the Metropolitan Police to reveal the truth about spying that it conducted, not against the murder suspects, but against him and the Lawrence campaigners.

The Yard said it would hand over any material its officers had collated on him. But Duwayne says what he received from the Met were three pages of intelligence reports, all heavily redacted, so that only four sentences were visible. Even the dates were covered up.

“The ­Commissioner promised they would be open and ­transparent and said the Met would provide copies of documents held on me. Instead they sent me this stuff which is a waste of time. It clearly shows they are still holding information about me. Are they still covering up? Yes 100%.”

Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen entered the House of Lords as Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, a Labour life peer, on September 6, 2013. Duwayne Brooks was awarded an OBE this month.  But in 2013 a former police officer, Peter Francis, revealed that he had been employed to gather "dirt" on Duwayne Brooks and the Lawrences.  Scotland Yard promised an inquiry.  

The documents do show the police were keen to play up differences between Duwayne Brooks and the Lawrences. One sentence in the report suggests he supported the Movement for Justice, and had criticised Stephen's parents for reluctance to speak at rallies. Another sentence quotes Duwayne  saying that “the black community should not walk on by when the police are stopping blacks in the street”.

BLACKOUT  Heavily redacted document from the Met

He said: “How did they know that? I believe the redacted ­information would answer that.”

The Met said: “We made an undertaking to disclose material held on Mr Brooks to his solicitor. As explained, it was redacted to protect ­sensitive information.”

ANOTHER attempt to uncover what the Met's snoops are up to ran into the secrecy barrier this week when they refused to disclose whether undercover copper Mark Jenner was still on active service, citing "health and safety" grounds.

Jenner, who also used the name Mark Cassidy, posed as a joiner in 1996 and became active in the building union Ucatt until 1999.  He also went to the Colin Roach Centre, which was particularly concerned about police violence. Jenner/Cassidy established a relationship, lasting five years, with a woman teacher, who bore his child, while he was collecting information on her involvement in environmental campaigns.  (CORRECTION:  (see comment) I confused this with another case, Jenner did not give this woman a child and she was not involved in environmental campaign. Shows danger of not checking facts when working late at night!)

 A diary left behind by Jenner indicates that he was interested in building workers campaigning on safety issues. He even chaired some meetings. Former police officer Peter Francis has confirmed that Jenner, a member of the Yard's Special Demonstrations Squad, was an undercover agent.
But Metropolitan Police chiefs have turned down a freedom of information request asking if the former spy was still on duty, saying they would not “confirm or deny” any details of his activities.
The Met cited the need to protect “personal data” as well as the potential for “health and safety” breaches.

“It is deeply cynical for the police to be using personal data as an excuse to withhold information, when they had no hesitation to distribute workers’ personal details to blacklisters and ruin their lives,” said Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye.

A database of blacklisted construction workers, held contrary to the Data Protection Act, was discovered in 2009. It included details about workers' political views,  out of work activities and families, and some of the information looked suspiciously as though it had been gathered by undercover police officers.  Since then other information has been brought to light about meetings between senior police officers and employers.

“The police’s continued refusal to answer questions about their role in the blacklisting of ordinary construction workers is reprehensible,” said Brian Rye. "Everyone who had their lives blighted by blacklisting deserves the complete truth. That will only be achieved through a full public inquiry into this disgusting practice.”

Promising increased police surveillance to protect national security, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs that the “snoopers’ charter” proposals blocked by the Lib Dems during the last parliament were “too wide-ranging” and would be tightened up. Former government lawyer Victoria Prentis, who was elected a Tory MP last month, said that Britain was “lucky to have” its spies.  “They have been proved repeatedly to be both efficient and decent and a great example of the values we hold so dear in this country,” she said.

See also:

UNDERCOVER (and under-the-covers) COP  Mark Jenner, aka Cassidy, spied on workers concerned about health and safety,  and lived with woman he had befriended under false identity before moving on.
"A great example of the values we hold so dear in this country,”?

Investigate Blacklisting, says Nicola's Mum  

ANTI-BLACKLIST campaigners seem to have claimed some success this week having set up stall at the Scottish National Party Trade Union Group meeting in Stirling.
NICOLA Sturgeon is being urged to set up a Hillsborough-style public inquiry into the scandal of blacklisting – by her mum.

Councillor Joan Sturgeon and her North Ayrshire colleagues want an official investigation into the shameful employment practice.

The Record previously told how almost 600 workers in Scotland were blocked from getting jobs by the Consulting Association.

Their blacklist was revealed after a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009. It led to the organisation being shut down.

Blacklisting was also mentioned by new Midlothian MP Owen Thompson in his maiden speech in the Commons, in which he also, ironically, praised the speech of fellow newcomer Victoria Prentis.

BUT RMT trade unionists have been less impressed with the SNP trade union group's failure to back opposition to privatisation of Caledonian-MacBrayne ferries. 

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At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenner did not father a child with the activist he had a relationship with nor was she involved in the environmentalist movement. Check details of her story here:


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