Police agent Mark Kennedy was active throughout Europe

By Julie Hyland
3 February 2011

Mark Kennedy, the police agent who worked undercover in the environmental movement for eight years, was active in his undercover guise as Mark Stone throughout Europe.

Kennedy’s real identity came to light in January, when the trial of six environmental campaigners at Nottingham Crown Court, England, collapsed. The case failed because Kennedy had offered to give evidence on behalf of the six.

Kennedy is just one of an unknown number of undercover police officers attached to the shadowy National Public Order Intelligence Unit that have infiltrated protest movements for years at a time. He has admitted that, under his Mark Stone alias, he played a leading role in organising, financing and directing campaigns and protests. But his activities were not limited to Britain.

On January 28, Der Spiegel revealed that a secret sitting of the Internal Affairs Committee had been held at the Bundestag (German parliament) over Kennedy’s activities in the country. At the sitting, Jörg Ziercke, chief of Germany’s federal police (the BKA), told parliamentarians that Kennedy had infiltrated the anti-fascist movement at the request of the German authorities.

Between 2004 and 2009, Ziercke said, Kennedy had spent long periods in Germany where he had infiltrated the “black bloc” anarchist movement. During that time, he had worked for three German states—Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Baden-Württemberg and Berlin.

According to Der Spiegel, Ziercke revealed that in the lead up to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, near Rostock, the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had entered into a contract with Kennedy, having requested his assistance undercover. He had a similar contractual agreement with Baden-Württemberg, and was active in Berlin, where the BKA had informed city officials of his presence.

The newspaper reported that Ziercke had admitted that Kennedy had been involved in at least two crimes while in the country. The first was his involvement in a blockade during the protests around the G8 summit and arson during a demonstration in Berlin. The first case was not pursued, and the second was considered by officials to be “too minor” to pursue. Still, Der Spiegel commented, “it raises questions as to whether police exerted pressure on the judiciary to drop the charges.”

Der Spiegel reported, “Ziercke’s internal statements go far beyond what the German government has said about the case so far. The German Interior Ministry has largely declined to comment, pleading ‘operational concerns’.”

Ziercke also admitted that Kennedy had a lover in Berlin, in violation of regulations covering the activities of undercover agents. It is just one of a number of lovers Kennedy was known to have taken up with during his spying activities.

The BKA chief’s admission underscores Kennedy’s role as an agent provocateur. The G8 summit was subject to a massive police operation, involving German army units and an air force squadron. The protest demonstration on June 2 had been largely peaceful for hours, when there was a sudden outbreak of violence. Demonstrators reported that it appeared to have been instigated by some members of the “black bloc” who appeared to be in contact with the police. The World Socialist Web Site asked at the time, “Who benefited from the riots?

Kennedy was involved in organising protests and mounting a string of provocations across Europe. The Guardian reported that he had “entered 22 different countries across Europe using a fake passport,” including Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Iceland.

As Mark Stone, he travelled to Ireland on at least five occasions between 2004 and 2006. He was amongst a small number of demonstrators who clashed with riot police in Dublin on May Day 2004, during a protest outside a meeting of the European Union heads of state.

The newspaper reported that Irish anarchists had stated that Kennedy was “in the vanguard of militant anti-capitalist protesters who attacked Irish police officers” at the time. And that he had “made visits to Dublin to help train protesters and encouraged other activists to attack the police.” He also paid for activists to go to Ireland and Germany to discuss protests.

In Iceland, Kennedy played a leading role in helping to develop the country’s fledgling environmental movement. “Saving Iceland” was formed by Olafur Pall Sigurdsson in 2005 to protest against the building of the Kárahnjúkar dam. It was during a European tour of fellow enviromentalists that Sigurdsson met Kennedy, who was only too keen to help the new movement.

Kennedy went to Iceland early that year where his extensive knowledge, experience and contacts were regarded with enthusiasm. The Guardian cited one Icelandic activist stating that Kennedy “was instrumental in forming activism in Iceland. He made himself indispensable. He was one of the key people in the early years. He helped nurture what was an embryonic movement and helped it evolve. He played a big role in furthering the movement.”

Kennedy pushed the movement into extending their direct action, showing them how to “lock down”—attach themselves to immoveable objects—and how to obstruct roads with scaffolding.

The newspaper also reports, “But the Guardian has seen private emails suggesting Kennedy was at the same time trying to drive a wedge between the group’s members. In one email, he suggested a prominent member of Saving Iceland had become a liability.

“ ’[A prominent member of Saving Iceland] was once again annoying,’ he emailed. ‘I was left with a feeling that the tour group was fragmenting…[he] seems extremely tired and I think he does not cope well with the way that groups like ours like to do things. Despite our best efforts he will not let go of the reins’.”

The political establishments in Ireland and Iceland have been tight-lipped as regards Kennedy’s activities in these countries. Demands by some politicians for the British authorities to explain the presence of one of its agents have fallen on deaf ears.

The latest revelations from Germany suggest that a primary factor in this silence is that Kennedy’s presence and activities were known about by officials. Indeed, if Ziercke’s answers are anything to go by, it cannot be ruled out that Kennedy’s presence was actually requested by the Irish and Icelandic authorities. Just how many similar operatives are at work?

Moreover, it cannot be the case that the traffic was solely in one direction—from Britain across Europe. Kennedy’s activities indicate a high degree of coordination between the various states in Europe as regards the undercover penetration and subverting of protest movements across the continent.

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