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Mar 11 2013

I now know the name of the Metropolitan Police officer who was employed to spy on the protest group in which I was one of the key organisers in the 1990s. Thanks to his former partner Alison (not her real name) and the Guardian it has been established that the man I knew during my time at the Colin Roach Centre (CRC) in Hackney as Mark Cassidy is Mark Jenner of the Met’s special demonstration squad (SDS).

Jenner’s name was revealed when Alison gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into undercover policing, his police role confirmed by the Guardian on 1 March. He is one of 11 undercover police officers publicly identified. Nine of them had sexual relations with activists mainly from environmental groups.

The officers’ actions began unravelling in 2011 when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped criminal proceedings against six people facing charges related to a conspiracy to sabotage a coal-fired power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire. The convictions of another 20 activists were later quashed after it was revealed that long-term police spy PC Mark Kennedy had acted as an agent provocateur within the environmental movement. Further allegations of undercover police officers acting beyond their authorisation then surfaced and we now know they were given the names of infants who had died many years previously.

The Metropolitan Police has now been ordered to investigate under Operation Herne how SDS officers created and maintained false identities while undercover.

After Kennedy became public knowledge I wrote a piece for The Big Issue in the North in January 2011 about the man I knew then as Cassidy. Although I had worked Jenner out many years beforehand it was only after he had been active in high profile campaigns in which members of CRC were involved. The centre was opened in 1993 and named after a young black man shot dead inside Stoke Newington Police Station in 1983. It combined a number of unfunded local groups, including the Hackney Community Defence Organisation (HCDA), which had uncovered serious corruption amongst the local police, with Panorama and World in Action undercover investigations confirming some officers were involved in drug dealing.

CRC was burgled, with equipment vandalised and a computer stolen. Cash was left undisturbed

HCDA’s work overturned many convictions and a database of police officers known to have complaints or convictions against them was compiled. The Defendants Information Services (DIS) was registered despite objections from the Association of Chief Police Officers. On 23 December 1994, a day when HCDA had organised a picket of Stoke Newington Police Station to demand action over the death of Oluwasijibomo Lapite in police custody, CRC was burgled, with equipment vandalised and a computer stolen. Cash was left undisturbed. An HCDA spokesperson told the Hackney Gazette: “It was the work of Special Branch, whose real target was a new database service.” In fact DIS was run from a different location.

Early the following year a Liverpudlian who identified himself as Mark Cassidy came into the centre to say he had seen TV coverage of the annual commemoration event for those who had died at the hands of the local police. The 1995 guest speaker was civil rights lawyer Gareth Pierce.“Cassidy” quickly became active in most of the centre’s political life, including writing for our internal bulletin. When a magazine sold to the public was launched his suggestion to call it RPM – revolutions per minute – was agreed. He attended members’ meetings and was privy to confidential information on hundreds of people’s policing cases, including where police officers were charged with unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Jenner was privy to confidential information on hundreds of people’s policing cases

Graham Smith, a Manchester University lecturer, consultant on police complaints to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and an international expert on police accountability, says: “I am concerned that undercover officer Mark Jenner participated in an organisation that supported law abiding citizens who were involved in legal proceedings against the Metropolitan Police.”

CRC, with Jenner much involved, was also central to the campaign by businessman Malcolm Kennedy to prove he had not killed Patrick Quinn in 1990. Quinn had been battered to death – his injuries included 33 fractured ribs – in Hammersmith Police Station. Convicted of murder, Kennedy was released after his conviction was quashed when the World in Action programme, uncovered new witnesses in the police station, giving grounds for appeal.

At his retrial Kennedy was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter. After receiving the backing of 65 MPs when a parliamentary motion supporting him was tabled he was granted further leave to appeal. Kennedy lost his appeal in 1996 but as a free man he has continued to campaign to have his conviction overturned. He alleges that as a result he has suffered constant harassment by the police, making it almost impossible for him to earn a living from his removals business.

“This may have perverted the course of justice.”

Kennedy says: “I find it eerie that Jenner was involved at the CRC during the period of my 1996 appeal when he was privy to campaign strategies and confidential information. This may have perverted the course of justice. Without a proper investigation there is no way of knowing how much damage Jenner caused to me.”

Claiming to be a building worker himself, Jenner supported others victimised by their construction industry employers. The Building Workers Group (BWG) had decided to put pickets on workplaces where deaths had occurred. Three people a week were being killed on UK building sites and the aim was to damage the employers’ profits and force them to take action to prevent such tragedies. Where workers refused to cross a picket line it was maintained. However, where the majority went to work the others were persuaded to join them in order to prevent victimisation.

The initiative was a direct challenge to anti-trade union laws. Jenner attended picket lines, wrote for the BWG newspaper and came into contact with many union site representatives.

When UCATT officer Dominic Hehir sued BWG and union member Brian Higgins for libel over allegations he was failing to support members, a defence campaign was established – and Jenner became the chair. Although the campaign was successful the time taken up on Higgins’ defence meant there was little in reserve to picket sites. Those involved felt it was a hollow victory. Higgins, a blacklisted building worker, says: “I am appalled to discover ‘Mark Cassidy’ was actually an undercover police officer who used his cover as a building worker to infiltrate organisations the state does not like. It is like some Orwellian nightmare and it is surely time for decency, justice and democracy for blacklisted workers.”

Higgins is one of 3,213 building workers’ names on the Consulting Association (CA) database used by 44 building companies to vet potential new recruits over the last four decades. His file contained seven pages from RPM.

Many of those on the CA list were “not recommended for employment”. Their details were revealed after the Information Commissioner’s Office closed down CA and its owner, Ian Kerr, was found guilty in 2009 of breaching the Data Protection Act.

The Blacklist Support Group has established that some of the information supplied by CA came from the police or security services. They have lodged a formal complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal – the security services watchdog – and want an investigation about the possible involvement of MI5 and other sections of the security services in blacklisting.

Spokesperson Dave Smith says: “We now want to know why an undercover cop posing as a building worker turned up on picket lines and at campaign meetings, the details of which were discovered in the CA files. Were names of building workers or any information gathered by this police officer passed on to the CA blacklist? It sure as hell looks dodgy.”

I began to ensure his information-gathering opportunities were reduced

By the middle of 1997 I had become suspicious. Jenner had failed to recognise any Tranmere fans when I watched with him the games of what was supposedly his favourite football team. On a union delegation to Ireland he walked down the fiercely Protestant Shankhill Road even though he was a Catholic. He had volunteered to take his van to Ireland, despite knowing it would result in his details being recorded by the security services.

It was all a bit odd but, unwilling to challenge him directly, I shared my concerns with those closest to me and began to ensure his information-gathering opportunities were reduced. By the end of 1997 Jenner’s involvement in the CRC had lessened. He still attended some events but mainly to report on his activities within Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), a militant group that had successfully physically confronted the BNP. AFA member Patrick Hayes had been convicted of causing two explosions in the South East on behalf of the IRA in 1993 and the state was certain to be interested in preventing any such actions in the future. Hayes was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and later released under the Good Friday Agreement. It may be that AFA was always Jenner’s main intended target.

A concerned Alison rang his workplace, only to discover he had departed a few years previously

CRC had closed by the time Jenner disappeared from his home with Alison in April 2000. In the months beforehand he had acted suspiciously and had slept on the settee in his clothes. Alison had discovered a credit card in his real name, which he claimed to have bought for £50 to obtain petrol dishonestly.

A concerned Alison rang his workplace, only to discover he had departed a few years previously. Yet he had continued during this time to leave for work at 6.30am. Visits to a counsellor to discuss his reluctance to have children were abandoned without him mentioning his family. We now know Jenner was married.

When she discovered my reservations about Jenner, Alison contacted me in 2001 to reveal she had checked his claim that his father had been killed in a car accident in Birkenhead in 1975. The deaths register showed this tale was untrue – one more lie in a very long list.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has asked to be updated every three months on Operation Herne and Theresa May, the home secretary, has promised the Independent Police Complaints Commission will “investigate serious and sensitive allegations”. This may include some from me as I am examining the possibility that a former girlfriend who I lived with may have been in the SDS.

Smith says: “In addition to an examination of past undercover policing arrangements it is important that an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into the purpose of undercover operations. If there is evidence that undercover police officers like Jenner and his superiors were engaged in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, that evidence should be forwarded to the CPS, which will have to decide whether to bring criminal proceedings.”

 

Photo: Mark Jenner, or Cassidy, as he was known to the author and fellow activists

20 comments on ‘There is no way of knowing how much damage Jenner caused’

  1. [...] Mark Metcalf (previously of Hackney’s Colin Roach Centre) has a piece published by The Big Issue today about police spy Mark Cassidy. [...]

  2. [...] article from Big Issue North. Evidence that a police spy, [...]

  3. Mark Edwards says:

    The amount of uncertainty created by Jenner is still being felt today!
    Some of us have even been in correctly, and heinously, labelled as ‘agents’ so as to help placate the feelings some activists still harbour concerning new faces at demos and marches!

    If we are to move on, and get convictions of sexual impropriety etc against these covert operatives, we need to remain calm and focused!!!

  4. William Laws says:

    One of the issues that still needs to be addressed in the author’s own role in all of this. A good deal of Mark Metcalf”s time has been spent launching sectarian attacks on others on the left. How much of this was prompted by Jenner? Did Jenner provide funds for RPM or any of Metcalf’s other publishing outlets? Given Metcalf was a conduit for introducing Jenner to the left, did he at any stage after his suspicions were purportedly aroused, contact the various groups Jenner was involved with and set out his concerns?

  5. Mark Metcalf says:

    Re: William Laws

    For someone who suggests he knows a lot about me I must admit I know nothing about you. In fact, I have never heard of you. Funny that, have you ever done any active politics? I am guessing here that your aim is to suggest that I am guilty by association with Mark Jenner. Unlike Mr Jenner, I live in a rented house on a working class estate. I have a long history of involvement in trade union and progressive politics, and if necessary can provide thousands of references to prove it.

    Perhaps based on your experiences of active politics you can then tell the readers where I have launched sectarian attacks on others on the left? And you did say a good deal of my time.

    In fact, I have never spent any time engaging in sectarian attacks – unless you are trying to argue that legitimate political debate is sectarian?

    Jenner did not provide any funds for RPM or anything else I have ever done. We had subs for Colin Roach Centre membership and I’d guess he may have paid about £100 during his time at the centre. That would have been in cash, and we certainly never saw a cheque as that would have helped give his game away.

    Jenner was involved with AFA and retained a loose association with the Building Worker Group when I first started to be concerned. AFA leadership would not have entertained my suspicions as there were too many political disagreements between us, whilst regards the BWG there was a variety of views when I raised this informally with different members, some of who did not take kindly to my raising of the issue.

  6. WILLIAM LAWS says:

    I’m not suggesting guilt by association . I’m grateful for the clarificaton re the funding of RPM and Jenner. In relation to sectarianism, Mark, you were expelled from AFA-which may account for their reluctance to “entertain” your views, and, as you admit, appear to think you had no duty to warn them re Jenner because of this. You were also expelled from the Solidarity Network because of your disruption there. You also exposed Steve Hedley to the risk of victimisation by naming him in 1999 as the Daily Mirror’s contact re health and safety risks on the railways. In light of the exposure of Jenner you might want to reflect on whether he influenced your conduct/ practice in any way.

  7. Mark Metcalf says:

    I don’t know where you got such nonsense from. I was never expelled from AFA or the Solidarity Network. If you like I can get sacked printworker John Lang, the convenor of the Solidarity Network, to post on this site confirming this? John remains one of my closest friends.

    I also challenge you to prove I was expelled from AFA. You will not be able to.

    The information about Steve Hedley is nonsense. He got sacked from the railways in July 1998 and I helped organise solidarity strike action with and on behalf of Steve. The RMT executive (which I now realise since the earlier posting including yourself?) refused to support this action and as a result he remained sacked.

    The Daily Mirror article you make reference to was on 8 January 1996, 29 months before Steve was dismissed. When did I put Steve’s name to this article? It was on 26 August 1999, a year after he had lost his job and after the union had shamefully rowed back even on taking his case to an industrial tribunal.

  8. WILLIAM LAWS says:

    We clearly have different views of much of what occurred. I guess the lesson we can all learn is that “bad-jacketing” is a recurrent tactic of the state and that the sectarianism of the left makes such a tactic all too easy.

  9. Mark Metcalf says:

    AFA – there was no way anyone in AFA would have listened to me. I had objected on many occasions to what I felt was a lack of democracy in the organisation and which I felt prevented the organisation from ever growing beyond a few hundred activists. The leadership were, very sadly, like most left-wing groups uninterested in criticism and ultimately that – and possibly the likes of Jenner – contributed to its demise.

  10. WILLIAM LAWS says:

    I just wanted to thank Mark for dealing with the issues I raised. There are always rumours flying round (thanks to the likes of Jenner/Cassidy) and I’m glad Mark didnt duck the chance to close them down, even though I went at it like a bull in a china shop.

  11. neil Scott says:

    Set Up By Cleveland Police Detectives,the course of justice Abused,the Press Who helped to slander me ,
    PRESS COMLAINTS AGAINST the Evening Gazette Middlesbrough. I’ve asked for it to be seen by an independent reviewer

    I would like it to go to an independent reveiwer,this is a case of slanderous manipulation of the actions of a corrupt judge,this was given to a newpaper on the basis it would do serious damage to my career,discrimi­nate,I am a fully Qualified Bus driver,the consequences of that repeated report shows me as a Psychotic burglar,when no evidence is available,the actions of the Evening Gazette reporter was Wrong,thge judge was Wrong in disclosing this,it was his intention,since­ they couldn’t convict me for this crime based on forensics evidence manipulation,I’­m not a Liar,the detective stated that he handled My blood,he wrote it down he handled forensics blood which makes the Conviction UNSAFE,forensic­s testimony UNSAFE,Unreliab­le evidence,they stopped my Human rights to appeal my conviction,the judge had No Rights to say I’m a Psychotic,there­ was no Evidence of this,the psychologists report if the reported Had attended Every court event in this burglary trial would know this,the Psychologists called it Psychosis,which­ everyone suffers from, have that report,DVLA took on board this Psychologists report,and couldn’t Find any reason to stop me driving buses,with the public,if the judge was right,I would have lost my rights to work with the public,DVLA gave me my entitlements Back to work with the public,I still hold a Clean bus licence,if a psychosis exsists,I wouldn’t be driving again,why would I lie about that,DVLA couldnrt find on any medical records sold to them for £45 by my own doctor Any medical condition of PSYCHOTIC,so why didn’t I go to jail,why didn’t I do 200 hours community service for the offence,because­ the officer DC 1309 Alastair Crawford tampered with the forensics evidence he Wrote,gave that wqritten testimony to that judge and 5 others so they couldn’t jail me at all,they wanted this kept low profile,they deemed me delusional so noone would listen to me about the 22 previous attempts to convict me that Failed,at Teeside Crown Courts,all of them given out to employers over a period of ten years,un-convic­ted offences,just arrests,they were cleared in 2008,in 2009 they made a direct attempt at me losing My entitlements to drive buses,with a speeding allegation and officers testimony without CCTV footage,witness­es,etc,and that case I was convicted of,given a £350 and 6 points on my licence,that was QUASHED on appeal,how embarrassing for them,I was never allowed an appeal again to win for the burglary conviction,my appeal/­legal aid was refused,someone at the top did this to me,I balme ray mallon,the bent Corrupt/­Criminal Mayor/Cheif of Middlesbrough police pulling favours with Corrupt oifficers,you see, I fight the authorities and they fight back,with what they have and I keep winning,think about this,that burglary was the crime of the century,if they didn’t find the culprit,what sort of police officers would they look like so te falsified the forensics evidence but wrote down what they did. http://Wp.me/p2euOV-4.

  12. P Shaw says:

    Mark Kennedy is now working in the UK for a holiday company called Darwin.

    He is driven around in a big black limo, OK for some!

  13. neil Scott says:

    NEIL SCOTT of Brambles farm MIDDLESBROUGH has New Evidence that Cleveland Police Middlehaven station,North-Ormesby forensics Labs,and Ladgate Lane HQ Have NO CCTV Footage and it Could Mean that his conviction for burglary is Quashed,and that other individual cases ioncluding MURDER by JAMES ALLEN,Murders By DAVE AND TERRY REED May have there Convictions Quashed at teeside Crown Courts Teeside. http://Wp.me/p2euOV-4.

  14. Neil Scott says:

    Neil A Scott. Convicted on Falsified forensics Evidence based on blood type that went missing in transit,was Handled by the Arresting. @ClevelandPolice Detective DC 1309. Alastair Crawford. Who NOT Qualified as a Forensics officer at all. Neil Scott has No Blood Type Either according to Police Prosecution Witnesses who stated Crawford Lied at. #Teesside Crown Courts like the G4S officers did on behalf of the Corrupt. detective and NONE of the Middlesbrough uk Councillors,MP,andrew Mcdonald,PCC barry coppinger,Mayor Ray Mallon or clevelandpolice or outside forces will Act on it and arrest the detective for this Crime in LAWlessness. http://neilscott1.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/cleveland-police-corrption-still-exists-and-ipcc-help-it-at-burglary-conviction/ does Anyone See a Connection.

  15. […] are supported by the Police Spies Out of Lives group. One of them, ‘Alison‘, lived with Mark Jenner for four years. She told her story to Newsnight earlier this year [on Youtube starting at 16.35]. […]

  16. Neil Scott says:

    Get your MP to ignore your every request Proinvestigations then there Hiding the Public truth. https://neilscott1.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/teesside-mp-deal-with-it-now-or-implicate-yourself/

  17. Neil Scott says:

    Listed offences of the Cleveland Police Zero tolerance civil society.

    ClevelandPolice Chief sultan allam gets Pension,500,000 compo for wrongfull arrest,

    Cleveland police. Cheif/ mayor,Ray Mallon gets pension,Promotion to Mayor,from Bent Chief along with 50 other officers in operation Lancett enquiry,also lost Files,never produced or publicised,460 offences gets lost on its way to the CPS,present today,on. #Teesside. When Tony blair who’s linked to Paedophile protection,did he bribe blair.

    Cleveland police. Chief sean price gets arrested,sacked,investigations lost all evidence,gets £250,000 in pensions.

    Cleveland police. Chief derek bonnard gets £250,000 as arrested bent Chief sacked as part of operation sacristy,all evidence is lost in investigations.

    Cleveland police Chairman. Dave mccluckie gets arrested,sacked,Jailed as part of operation sacristy.

    Heather eastwood wife of Sean Price also a Cleveland police rep, gets arrested sacked,investigated in operation sacristy.

    John hoddinott dies in hotel of a heart attack,whilst he investigated operation Lancett enquiry.

    Mp ashok kumar who critised operation lancett enquiry apposing Ray Mallon found dead at home with Heart attack.

    Staurt bell Mp criticised operation lancett and Ray Mallon found dead at home suspected Heart attack.

    Frank cook MPalso apposed Ray Mallon found dead at home suspected heart attack.

    Chief of Cleveland Police. Stuart Swinson jumps off Yarm Bridge suspected NOT eart attack,

    Cleveland Police. Steve beattie Forensics officer said to have been un-Qualified as such 460 offences charged and gets his pension for his crimes of covering up deaths.

    Do I imagine a Conspiracy to cover up crimes of a mayor.

    Do I imagine that Clevland Police are linked to cleveland Child abus scandle in. #Teesside with marietta haggs and doctor wyatt who don’t get CRB checks.

    Do I imagine the doctors, Mccanns who are linked to Murder of there Own Child. #Maddie. Is being covered up by top westminister officials investigated for Child abuses since the finding that jimmy saville is linked to whitby scarborough,etc,who Mccanns visited child abuse victims connected to hartlepool Cleveland.

    Ray Mallons CIVITAS justice reform Solicitor Jimmy watson and woodhouse gets £500,000 for Wrongfull arrest,jailed,
    Forensics fruads that’s been covered up by MP andrew mcdonald MP PCC barry coppinger,and many councillors been told this on twitter.https://neilscott1.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/cleveland-police-corrption-still-exists-and-ipcc-help-it-at-burglary-conviction/

    6 judges received evidence that Neil Scott of Brambles farm Is innocent of burglary crime he was accused of for making a CICA claim of £100,000 for attempts o his life in cleveland Police cells,after police failed to produce One scent of evidence in previous 22 arrests the Police lost at. #Teesside crown courts all for one conviction.

    Neil scott appealed his conviction in royal courts of justice which was illegally STOPPED by County Judges QC DOBBS, QC Gordon,and QC moses critisised as jobsworth,who had no Right to abuse his powers of judicial proceedures to remove human rights of Appeals of Any people

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