Spycops targeting NGOs & activists under the spotlight at EU Parliament
Police spies targeting campaign groups across Europe are the focus of a European Parliament event on 6th September, where MEPs will hear from activists directly affected by undercover police, along with experts on state surveillance.
Among those speaking in the event is Kate Wilson, deceived into a relationship by undercover officer Mark Kennedy. The unmasking of Kennedy as a ‘spycop’ in 2010 triggered a spate of revelations about undercover police activity and behaviour, and Kennedy himself is known to have operated in at least a dozen European countries. “I have been the subject of systematic surveillance and violations of my intimacy, my right to privacy, and my bodily integrity, for at least the last 18 years by police forces that are cooperating across European borders,” Ms Wilson comments.
Speaker and spycop target Jason Kirkpatrick describes the lack of judicial oversight in undercover operations: “When the state wants to tap someone’s phone, usually a judge’s permission is needed. But police agencies across Europe have found a trick to avoid all oversight and accountability by requesting the use of foreign undercover police to cross borders to act as political police. The truth we have recently exposed is just the tip of the iceberg.”
A public inquiry into undercover policing in the UK is currently in progress, with campaign groups calling for its remit to be expanded to include UK undercover operations in continental Europe.
Event organisers, meanwhile, believe the coordination of undercover activities between European states requires a coordinated response to defend the right to protest as a requirement for healthy democracy.
The event is hosted by Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan, who said, “The organisations and activists targeted by these transnational undercover operations were peaceful protest movements. It is very worrying that European police forces feel that it is appropriate to waste police funds on targeting peaceful activist groups,” said Ms Boylan.
You can read more details about the UK spy scandal involving environmental and social activists here.