A key witness at the Pitchford Inquiry has asked the Scottish Government to obtain the fake names used by undercover Met Police officers who served with disgraced units at the centre of the public inquiry.
Jason Kirkpatrick is a former anti-globalisation campaigner who attended the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, and handled media for a protest organisation called Dissent.
At that time he befriended notorious Met officer Mark Kennedy, aka Mark “Flash” Stone, who was working undercover as an environmental activist.
Kennedy was a spy with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), a top secret Met unit.
The actions of Kennedy and other undercover officers who abused their powers with the NPOIU, and another Met unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), led to the Pitchford Inquiry being established.
Kennedy duped numerous women into relationships while a police colleague called Bob Lambert fathered a child with a woman he was spying on before abandoning her.
Other officers stole the identities of dead babies and the Met spied on the grieving family of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager murdered in the street during a racist attack in 1993.
Pitchford’s remit is to examine undercover policing in England and Wales but there’s been mounting pressure on the Home Office to extend it to Scotland because Met officers operated north of the border.
Kirkpatrick, a former vice-mayor of Arcata in California who now lives in Berlin, had a five-year friendship with Kennedy and will give evidence to the inquiry.
He is calling on Pitchford to be extended to Scotland and has written to Nicola Sturgeon asking that she obtains the aliases used by 100 Met officers.
He also asked for the Scottish Government to get a list of the 460 groups that were targeted by police spies.
A list with the known names of undercover officers and 460 target groups, many of which are known to have operated in Scotland, is being withheld by the British police. Jason Kirkpatrick
Kirkpatrick said in his letter: “Due to numerous progressions in this matter since I first complained to you about this topic on 4 Dec 2015, and your own request to the Home Office in early 2016, I believe there are a number of actions the Scottish government should now take on its own to ensure it is carrying out its responsibilities to the people of Scotland and beyond.”
“A list with the known names of circa 100 undercover officers and 460 target groups, many of which are known to have operated in Scotland, is being withheld by the British police. Despite repeated requests, the police have not released this list.”
“I urge the Scottish Government to immediately request all files and data related to known undercover officers, and the known target groups, as they involve Scotland. The police have stated that they cannot release former officer names, so for this reason we’ve continually asked merely for their cover names, so as to comply with police concerns for safety.”
“These simple actions should be taken by the Scottish Government regardless of the Pitchford Inquiry, to ensure the rights of those whose responsibility it is to protect.”
Last week, Kirkpatrick began legal action against Theresa May challenging the Home Office’s failure to extend Pitchford to Northern Ireland where he was also active as a campaigner.
Justice and policing are devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland but the home secretary retains responsibility for a number of major issues such as national security and terrorism.
His letter to the Home Secretary said that Kennedy worked undercover in Belfast and spied on him around 2005.
Kirkpatrick claims that this surveillance breached his human rights, specifically his right to a private life and and freedom to take part in political campaigning.
If there is no access to a UK inquiry for Scottish victims there must be a separate Scottish inquiry. Neil Findlay
Neil Findlay Labour MSP for Lothian, has been campaigning for an inquiry in Scotland into undercover policing and backed Kirkpatrick’s position. He said: “This letter by one of the victims of the undercover policing scandal is very powerful.
“It sums up the frustrations at the UK Governments failure to include Scotland in the Pitchford inquiry and the Scottish Governments apparent disinterest and ambivalence towards the issue.”
“I fully support Jason and all of the victims who demand access to justice. If there is no access to a UK inquiry for Scottish victims there must be a separate Scottish inquiry.”
In reply, the Scottish Government said: “Discussions concerning extending the Pitchford Inquiry to cover the activities of the Metropolitan Police Units in Scotland are ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the German government has written to the British Home Office asking for the Pitchford inquiry to be extended to covert operations by British police in Germany.
UK police admitted that undercover officers infiltrated at least 460 political groups since 1968, including in Germany.
Undercover officer Kennedy is known to have been active for several years in a number of German cities including Berlin, where he was arrested for attempted arson but never charged.
According to Left party MP Andrej Hunko, one of the parliamentarians calling for the German government to investigate the Kennedy case, British officers were deployed to infiltrate leftwing groups such as Youth Against Racism in Europe and Dissent!, a network that mobilised against the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm.
The letter in full
A version of this story was published by the Sunday Mail on 19th June 2016.
Photo credit: Ray Forster | CC | https://flic.kr/p/ee6GsF