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Fake Activist spied on Campaign Group

category international | environment | news report author Wednesday April 09, 2008 02:21author by Ms. Moneypenny Report this post to the editors

amateur spy was "more Austin Powers than James Bond"

In Britain, a paid spy has been uncovered among the activists in the PLANE STUPID Campaign.

PLANE STUPID is a loose network of groups taking action against airport expansion and aviation's climate impact. The agent claimed to be a recent graduate who was interested in helping out with direct actions, protests and awareness-raising. He contacted the campaign after the high-profile Heathrow Climate camp last summer.
Toby Kendall- He used a false name and couldn't provide ID
Toby Kendall- He used a false name and couldn't provide ID

Fellow campaigners noticed that he was not on the electoral register, and when they asked him for some ID he couldn't provide any. He offered instead to get a letter from one of his old college lecturers.

Once they had an idea of which college he'd attended, activists emailed a picture of him to someone who is still a student there. They quickly identified him and provided his real name. Surprisingly, the spy is actually listed on the internet as working as an "analyst" for a security company called C2i (Command Control Intelligence).

While this spy is obviously something of an amateur, what is certain is that he won't be the last undercover operator to infiltrate Plane Stupid. There are probably other, better, spies embedded in the campaign already.

What is also certain is that other campaign groups are regularly spied on and infiltrated by private security agencies both in Britain and here in Ireland.

Plane Stupid Press Release:
INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE AGENCY TARGETED HEATHROW PROTESTERS
Aviation industry in the frame as Plane Stupid investigation exposes mole

Climate action group Plane Stupid has been targeted by a professional espionage agency.

Oxford-educated Toby Kendall, 24, an employee of aerospace security consultants C2i International , infiltrated and spied on Heathrow campaign groups across London for a year. He was immediately suspected and following a Plane Stupid investigation he was last week confronted and exposed by a Plane Stupid activist. Read More: http://tinyurl.com/5wca8t

More Information:

More Austin Powers than James Bond: http://tinyurl.com/6renn3

Behind the Bamboo Curtain: http://tinyurl.com/5aa7dj

Related Link: http://www.planestupid.com

Recent PLANE STUPID action at the British Parliament Building in London
Recent PLANE STUPID action at the British Parliament Building in London

author by spycatcherpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 03:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you can never trust anyone who wears one of those scarves

author by FashionRejectpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 04:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a shredded teatowel if you ask me....And he's clearly wearing a wire

author by redjadepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 08:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Don't forget that Ciaron O'Reilly was accused of being a 'self-proclaimed ecoterrorist' and a member of PlaneStupid which was considered to be a 'terrorist organisation' by British border guards (by way of 'info' from the Garda Siochana!)

read for more detail...
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84989

author by paul o toolepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ciaran O reilly also xposed spies (three of them i think ) in the Trident Plowshares campaign. The agents were unaware of each others involvment up to the point of exposure. They were all paid by BaE systems whos business is building WMD.

Anti-war Groups all arround dublin were suspicious of having listners and lookers about the place.
I remember up at the phoenix park for the anti-globalisation marck there were pictures taken of an 'agente provacoteur' or whatever. One picture was at the head of the demo and later inside police lines.
Perhaps there should be a website keeping trak of these people.

author by Ciaron - Ploughshares/Catholic Workerpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Radical comedian Mark Thomas recently wrote an article in The Guaridan about discovering a good friend and fellow activist in the anti-arms trade movement was a spy. It's worth the read in terms of the personal and political costs paid by those infiltrated and betrayed.

The private intelligence group ran 6 spies in the more moderate Campaign Against the Arms Trade and a spy in the extended community of the Liverpool Catholic Worker for five years. At one LCW "Faith and Resistance" retreat, of the 35 present four were spies. The privatisation of spying is a serious issue - as is the privatisation of the military see Blackwater et al. Arms corporations Raytheon are about to take over surveillance of wo enters and exits the UK and Lockheed Martin are tendering for the census.

To create work and money for themselves these spooks inflate and lie about activists to make their services relevant to their customers. They can create suspicion and paranoia in th movement. The movement needs to develop ways of dealing with such suspiciaons and Plane Stupid seem to have done well here. See the article on Plane Stupid dealing with the issue in today's Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/09/activ...sport

Our community in Liverpool comprised of Catholic Workers and exiled East Timorese - some who had been tortured jailed orphaned by the Indonesian dictatorship BAe were keen to do business.

BAe were rocked by the Seeds of Hope Ploughshhares nonviolent disarmament action at their Lancashire facility in January '96 and further rocked by the acquittal of the four women in Liverpool in July 96
http://www.plowsharesactions.org/webpages/weba.htm

and the consequent formation of the Liverpool CW focussed on nonviolent resistance to BAe arms supply of the Indonesian dictatorship occupation of East Timor.

Mark Thomas Guardian article, my reflections on the Liverpool experience and a website dealing with these agencies on the lnk below

http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/spies-caat-catholi...timor

Scroll down this link for a photo of outr spy "Alan Fossey" at the retreat where 3 other spies were present

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85347

Related Link: http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/spies-caat-catholic-worker-bae-east-timor
author by Jimbobpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 13:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And most of our actions are open, and those that are planned in secret, eg. surprise actions like hammering on warplanes, are done to preserve life, so it would be pretty dumb to go shooting people.

We are not criminals, so we won't resort to criminal tactics when common sense would do.
When an anti nuclear group in the UK were bugged, they discovered the bug (it was in a mobile phone, and while they knew who planted it, the only action the took, was to no longer talk to him, and put his bug above the toilet cistern) - no Soprano type intervention was necessary.

At best your comment is rash,
at worst you're planting it so the trash media can say "indymedia advocates stalinist tactics". I don't know which.

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From Ciaron's link to the Guardian: "Suspicions were raised because he always turned up first to meetings, always pushed for direct action and dressed too well, activists said yesterday."

So presumably a real activist is always late, opposes direct action and dresses sloppily.

author by mata haripublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's definitely room to believe that some activist groups have been infiltrated- odd decisions being taken, information being leaked in advance, lies being told within the organisation and people pushing for more power and control of actions for strange reasons.

I could think of a few examples where having an embedded agent might explain a lot.

The way Warren Swords wormed his way into the Rossport Solidarity Camp shows how easy this stuff is for someone who can make themselves vaguely plausible.

The idea that there MIGHT be a few spies about the place makes people a bit jumpy as well, and makes it difficult for activists to trust one another.

The fact that there is no particular sanction against these people is obviously encouraging for them.

I wouldn't advocate shooting them though.

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 13:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...activist groups have been infiltrated, check
...odd decisions being taken, check
...information being leaked in advance, check
...lies being told within the organisation, check
...and people pushing for more power and control of actions , check.

Yes, looks like the SWP have been about all right.

author by Privatiserpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm all for the use of private spies.
put them into the gangs in West Dublin, and Limerick, let them earn their money and do something valuable for society.

author by Nathan Halepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You mean that the intelligence services and their friends in the private sector might set up their oown group, encouraging members of the public to join and then use this fake group top further their own agenda?

A group like that could be used to undermine genuine activism and disillusion those who get involved for positive reasons. What a horrifying thought....

Wasn't Hitler a government agent? Didn't he start off as a spy sent in by the German Army to infiltrate the tiny national socialist movement?

author by tomeilepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 14:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have passed on an appeal from lawyers representing victims of another free-lance infiltrator, Martin Hogbin, here :

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87092&comment_limit=0&c...25625

author by .,.publication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 14:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Oh, yeah, the guy who "inflitrated" an OPEN meeting.
He was a journalist, who made us of the fact that one or two people were not careful in what they said and to whom they said it.
And in fairness, there's little to stop newspapers making up fake stories anyway. They do it everyday, and unlike activists groups, they have the resources to continue with their daily business while their lawyers deal with the court cases.

The nature of activism is that we are grateful for people to give their time and energy to help us, so it's not always easy to spend time vetting people, or holding extra meetings to instil in everybody the measures necessary to prevent infiltration by hostile journalists or agents looking to cause trouble, and tell the difference between them and genuinely passionate people whose contributions are based on anger but not sound planning.

Being as open as possible is as good a defence as any, and making people aware of the hazards in a non-alarmist way is a good way. It would be good to let people let off steam before meetings so they can have a more reasoned meeting, and try to spend time to get to know the people who make the more radical proposals, to see what motivates them.

author by eco joepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apart form spying on meetings e-mails are an easy source of infomation for any parties.

How to encrypt your e-mail?

http://lifehacker.com/software/top/how-to-encrypt-your-...8.php

281106surveillance.jpg

author by R.publication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 18:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you go the trouble of setting up GPG on your machine then it can be made to work easily with e.g. GMail by installing the FireGPG plugin for Firefox

http://getfiregpg.org/?page=&lang=

Similarly for IM/chat programs such as Pidgin there is the Pidgin-OTR (off the record plugin)

http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/

For VOIP there is also an encryption plugin available for many of the Free sip softphone clients, e.g. Gizmo, X-Lite. The plugin is Zfone, written by Phil Zimmerman the original creator of the PGP suite:

http://zfoneproject.com/getstarted.html

Encryption has a steep initial learning curve, but once you get past that it's relatively simple to make sure that your boss, or boyfriend or officemate or IT admin or whoever will find it substantially harder to spy on you.

author by sneakypublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 21:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"girlfriends" aren't included. Coz let's face it, no plug-in or add-on will get past feminine intuition. If you're keen to avoid detection, best advice is to ensure that from the start part of your social life is accepted as being regular meetings, possibly nights-over & even the once-in-a-while weekend away with a female cousin of the first degree of kinship. That way you can cover any unexplained absences by smiply saying sure I was with my cousin, she's having terrible problems with her ovaries / being misunderstood / taken seriously / finding a job . With a little foresight that tip will carry you through all other conceivable problems short of being caught up in a third party private investigation complete with evidence or being cross-examined for purposes of establishing an alibi in a court of law.
Alas, not every boy is well endowed on the tactical foresight front. It is thus imperative to discourage lovebites, rope-welts or any non-lubricated romping or frolicking in your discreet time of pecadillo whcih may cause esay to spot friction burns. As we all know explaining away non-matching hairs in your pubic area or lipstick on your collar can be quite easily put down to carelessness in the pub.

If you're worried about your religious or faith based pacifist group is being infiltrated by agent provocateurs, it is always advisable to ask casually to see a baptism certificate & drop hints like I'm at a bit of short end after mass on Sunday, will we meet up and have a novena? ..... which be your chapel of choice?

If as it seems obvious you're worried about being infiltrated in your open meetings, it's quite easy to throw the unwelcome. Ask for a password & propose an oath of allegiance with the prerequisite pricking of the thumb / ear / genital member with a dirty big bbq skewer. Anyone who would take such a suggestion seriously is obviously not an activist & would have already found the right people to hang out with of a spare evening.


Best of Luck being Sneaky!

author by paul o toolepublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 21:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most groups are open and have nothing to hide so theres no need to be woried about infiltration. If there is a definitive course of 'action' then there may need to be some privacy and assurances- the bbq skewer sounds like a fair enough starting point-excuse the pun.

author by Donpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

in my group, we are not allowed to vote until we have "made our bones"

author by Tpublication date Thu Apr 10, 2008 00:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It would seem that people are not exactly clear on what is the purpose of agents and moles and the use that they and their information is put to.

There are often many reasons why agents and moles are used to infiltrate activists group and their can be indeed different agencies doing this sometimes unaware of each others agents. This whole subject could very easily cover an entire book.

Firstly agents and moles can be used by the police, special branch, intelligence agencies, foreign intelligence agencies, multi-national corporation, PR firms, private investigative firms and even other groups and political groups.

The reasons are many and varied and often for overlapping reasons. For certain types of cases, especially political, the government, or a subgroup in the government, or other subgroup of some power base, (e.g. CIA has often done operations that largely benefit certain private corporation predominately -i.e. Chile 1973) or whomever, may decide that political events are moving a certain direction and that they can't necessarily intervene overtly. In that case the logic is, it is better to go with the flow and it will be easier to stir it slightly off course than oppose it head on. Thus in this case, the British government had moles all over the place during the miners strike. Apparently Arthur Scargill's right hand man was an agent. There are many other examples especially from the COINTELPRO operations in the 1960s and 1970s in the USA which are quite well documented. Another example is the way, the British govt had Stakeknife as an agent in the IRA and they had him in the absolutely ideal position of head of internal security. In such a pivotal point, he could easily send to the grave key people and promote or hide other agents.

Returning to the main point though, the main reasons for their presence is to gather information first of all, get to know all the other people and determine the strength and capabilities and likely capabilities of the group. Remember the group can be almost anything of interest from extreme right wing groups, to environmental, social justice and political. The other key task is to create rifts and divisions where none existed or if they already exist to deepen them. Other objectives are to distract and disrupt, lead astray, divert the group down dead ends, spread rumours and break up any solidarity amongst like minded groups. Probably one of the more important tasks is to lead the group into dispute and leak information about protests, direct actions and anything else that allow the next level of resource, the police and the media to have advance warning so as to be able to intimidate or ignore whatever takes place. When I say the media, it is not that they are necessarily contacted or they themselves are directly involved, but certainly they can be leaked false information. Usually when you hear of "unnamed sources" or "unnamed security sources" then they are at work. The huge smear campaign in the media during the run up to the Dublin May Day protests in 2004 is a classic example.

If you look at this from a higher level, then the main objectives can be stated as such. For any small movements, infiltrate them early and nip them in the bud before they grow. Nearly all groups grow by their media campaigns, their actions and by getting solidarity from other groups and the public. Therefore it is an absolute necessity as part of any ongoing day to day operation by any state power to have people in all groups if possible because that way you have some chance of preventing them coalescing into a larger movement. For groups or issues that have already got to big then you need more resources but the emphasis is probably to get in there and cause as much division as possible.

Yet, this still would not cover all the uses of agents and moles because as indicated in the previous comments already, they are often used as to criminalize people either by getting them to do things they would normally do or simply promoting types of protests and or direct action that are likely to attract a large police presence and create the situations that allow them to go in and arrest key people on false charges.

Normally on a day to day basis an obvious false charge will probably be picked up in the courts and hopefully the person gets off, but when the political heat is up, certain types of judges have a 6th sense as they instinctively know what way the political winds are blowing. For example during the May 2004 Mayday protest in Dublin a number of young people sat on the road and were blocking it near the Phoenix Park and were arrested. They had sat there passively. However they were put in jail from the Saturday until they got out the following Wednesday and as I recall that was only after a High Court order instructed that they be released. Yet on the exact same weekend at a motor-car rally in the town of Killarney, Co Kerry a group of youths ran drunken through the town breaking windows and damaging cars. They however were not put in jail. The difference? One was political and therefore seen as a threat, the other was not.

Agents and moles then provide crucial information and are an extremely valuable tool to those that use them. On a political level both for the establishment and just as importantly for large corporation, take Shell for example, it allows them to present a public facade which the main stream corporate media happily promote to the wider public and at the same time carry out more sinister activities against those few individuals who are either directly affected by them or who have simply taken time out from all the distractions presented daily to us, to inform themselves of the actual reality. It is the inaction of the great masses that keeps the system going and since we all want to wish and hope for the best, the media, govt and corporate image feeds the denial that is there in us all. Thus it is essential to keep the numbers of both those who oppose them low and when the wider public does become aware of them to make them out to be criminals. Thus, take any protest against anything, by having lots of police there even when it is painfully obvious there is absolute no threat of any trouble whatsoever, a casual image across the TV screen, newspaper photo or even a passerby of the protest will automatically be made to associate large police presence with criminality. The irony of course is that real criminals get far less attention from the police.

Finally a word about intelligence agencies. In the case of Ireland it is reckoned that MI6 has around 200 operatives in Ireland. This would make sense since Ireland is an important neighbour to the UK and will always be so. Therefore it will do whatever it can to direct general trends in society and politics in whatever direction is favourable to those who are in power in Britain.

Likewise the CIA which operates on behalf of US capitalism (BTW many heads of the CIA have come not from the military but from Wall Street.) would naturally have an interest in the state and continuance of capitalism in Ireland. It's done a good job so far. It would therefore be interested in things like government policy, taxation, the economy, environmental protection -preferably the lack of it, foreign policy -aka Shannon and so on. The CIA operate in every country in the world. So there is no reason to think they don't here. It goes without saying then that they would want to know everything about every group if they could or can. Both the UK and USA are backed up by the signal intelligence arms namely GCHQ and the NSA. With the advent of the Internet and email lists, this gives them an unprecedented insight into the details of a vast array of groups. If you take the main free email providers like google, hotmail, yahoo, aol and a few others and make the very safe assumption that all this data is available to them, then you probably cover most groups and a huge amount of people too. Remember there used to be laws against the NSA spying on American citizens at home, even though this has now all be circumvented and overridden, but there was never any law against spying on other citizens or countries. Nevertheless in the case of the UK and USA, their agencies are very big and have multiple layers and the sharing of data has got many levels and restrictions.

So in the case of our own Garda and special branch, then they no doubt have their own smaller operations but effective nevertheless. It is also likely that they have arrangements with the UK and USA to receive intelligence but you can be sure they don't get the raw data from them. Such an arrangement would allow them to feed the Irish services with false or tainted information too.

This still leaves other parties like the French, Germans and Russians, but since their interests are much less then any activities they do have are more likely to be more directly concerned with their interests. Lastly in the last decade or so, the private agencies working for the corporates are becoming much more numerous and less is known about them but since they are essentially profit making, then they must be expanding and looking for new "markets" and "opportunities" all the time.

Some links:
http://mediafilter.org/mff/USDCO.idx.html -US Domestic Covert Operations
http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/cointel.htm
http://www.truthmove.org/content/operation-gladio/ -Italian Operation Gladio
http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/january03_index...sub=5 UK Miners Strike

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/ic2000/ic2000.htm Intercept Capabilities 2000 -This is a bit dated since most comms in now fiber optic.

author by nightmole looking for badgerpublication date Thu Apr 10, 2008 01:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obviously you know enough to "fill a book" so go ahead and write it. Besides alerting activists to the tripwires you could make a few bucks as a security and countersecurity expert. Pat might even invite you on to the Late Late. (Doesn't he look smug and prosperous in that photo taken at the recent High Court hearing about the pricey real estate adjoining his Dalkey pad?)

I've sometimes wondered why the Left don't infiltrate Fianna Fail in large numbers and try to swing the policy direction away from brownbaggery and windbaggery.

author by late_night _line_uppublication date Sat Apr 12, 2008 02:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is an interesting article in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine on private security infiltration of greenpeace and other groups. You can read it online here:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/04/firm-sp....html

It seems the private spooks, rather than just hacking in to electronic systems and sending (usually) young women to work as interns or volunteers, they also made a habit of "Dumpster Diving"- collecting the bins from the people they wanted to target and going through the rubbish for drafts of documents.

Sneaky huh?

I was thinking about this article today, and it made me wonder whether the existence of agents of influence within certain groups in Ireland might not explain quite a lot. In some cases I can think of there certainly seems to have been some strange agendas at work, and decisions taken with results which benefited the opposition more than the campaign.

author by fed uppublication date Mon Apr 14, 2008 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"their can be indeed different agencies doing this sometimes unaware of each others agents."

Apathy is so rife in irish activism that sometimes I wonder, if you were to take away all the spies of vested interests infiltrating the groups, would anyone at all be at some of the meetings?. At least if there are a few interested spies there you can go ahead with a meeting.

Most people seem to care more about what happens to their favourite soap characters than the real world and the real people around them.

author by redjadepublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 14:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did Burger King Target and Spy on Tomato Pickers Rights Groups?

In Florida, groups organizing for tomato pickers’ rights say they might have been spied on and vilified online by the fast-food conglomerate Burger King. The Fort Myers News-Press traced threatening emails directed at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance to Burger King’s corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida. We speak with the reporter who broke the story and with the coordinator of the Student/Farmworker Alliance who says he received a call from the owner of a private security company posing as a student.

more at
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/4/14/did_burger_king_t...d_spy

author by Anon I wishpublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 21:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some activists that " have been a direct actionist for 30 years" should have more consideration than to insist on contacting peolpe via text on a sim card they have had prior to commiting ciminal damage on U.S military war plane.

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