Latest revelations on police spying ‘new low’
Monday 18th April 2016
Spy coppers set sights on campaigners protesting against workplace deaths
UNDERCOVER coppers infiltrated campaign groups protesting against deaths at work, the Morning Star can reveal.
Newly discovered documents show that Special Demonstration Squad officer Mark Jenner, who posed as a joiner and became active in construction union Ucatt, wrote to trade union branches on behalf of the Building Workers Group.
Mr Jenner, who used the cover name Mark Cassidy, asked branches and campaign groups to report back information on building site deaths “so that we can put into practice our agreed policy of then picketing the site … and asking the workers to stop work.”
The targets included two London branches of public-sector union Unison — Hammersmith and Haringey — along with the north London textile branch of the TGWU (now part of general union Unite) and the Socialist caucus of the CPSA (now part of public-sector union PCS).
But, oddly, the letter was also sent to Inquest, a group campaigning against deaths in police custody, and other campaigns unconnected to the issue of deaths at work, which led activists to suspect Mr Jenner was using the issue to ingratiate himself with various social justice campaigns and to gain information on campaigns against police brutality.
The documents were discovered by Brian Higgins, now 75, a blacklisted bricklayer who was secretary of the Building Workers Group at the time Mr Jenner infiltrated it. He unearthed the letters by accident when his loft was flooded last week.
He said: “The police would be infinitely better employed investigating, prosecuting and jailing the corporate criminals responsible for the killing and maiming of many building workers, rather than spying on those of us who dedicate our industrial lives to trying to put a stop to this wanton carnage and the terrible grief which accompanies it.
“Intelligence gathered by these police spies has found its way onto an illegal blacklist in the construction industry.
“They say justice never sleeps — it’s time it woke up over this!”
Mr Jenner’s infiltration of Ucatt was revealed last year.
A Ucatt spokesman said: “This latest development will be extremely distressing for the families [of builders who died at work] but given the lengths that the undercover spy-cops went to, [it is] not at all surprising.
“The spy cops were prepared to trample on anyone and did not care about their emotions, in order to achieve their twisted ends.”
• ALISON, the female activist who was deceived into a five-year relationship with Mark Jenner, told the Star yesterday that she “suspects strongly” the letters were typed by her mum.
When Mr Jenner, known as Mark Cassidy, disappeared from Alison’s life in 2000, he left behind a diary which chronicles the numerous Ucatt meetings he attended.
Alison, who is using a pseudonym, said that her mum regularly prepared correspondence and notes for Mr Jenner in his trade unionist guise.
“I don’t remember this particular letter, but I do know that he convened meetings for the Building Workers Group. It’s just another in the litany of the shameful abuses of power,” she said.
“I think he’s doing two things. One thing he’s doing is trying to build relationships and build trust, so with all the places these [letters] were sent, there was an opportunity to say at a future time: ‘You remember me, I wrote to you, I’m Mark Cassidy.’
“The other thing he’s doing is shutting down the ability to protest, so the people he sent it to would not know anything about deaths on building sites, and therefore they’re not going to get any responses and not be able to take any action.
“All I can say about this is that nothing surprises me anymore.”