Scotland Yard 'eco-spy' Mark Kennedy dragged into French anarchist plot
PUBLISHED November 8, 2012
Mark Kennedy, 42, who spent seven years posing as "ecowarrior" Mark Stone, was exposed as a police spy in Britain last year following the collapse of a prosecution against environmental activists.
During his undercover life, he visited 11 countries on more than 40 occasions, fielding information to the UK's National Public Order Intelligence Unit, now the National Domestic Extremism Unit.
Since he was unmasked, 20 convictions in cases he was involved in against activists have been quashed in the court of appeal. He was also sued by three female eco-activists for being "duped" into having sexual relations with a policeman.
Now his name has cropped up in the investigation into French activists over an alleged anarchist plot to overthrow the state.
Their lawyers insist that the investigation is unfairly based on information Mr Kennedy allegedly provided to his UK police unit, including claims the activists discussed and "practised" building improvised explosive devices.
The French leftists are under formal investigation for allegedly sabotaging high-speed train lines - seen as a high-profile symbol of the French state - in November 2008, causing massive delays but no injuries. They deny any wrongdoing.
Mr Kennedy's role in the inquiry could see the case quashed.
The so-called "Tarnac affair" erupted in November 2008 when 100 French police raided the tiny rural village of Tarnac, arresting anti-capitalists running a communal farm and village shop.
The government of then President Nicolas Sarkozy alleged they were dangerous "anarcho-terrorists" hoping to overthrow the state.
French sociology graduate Julien Coupat was accused of being the group's "ringleader" and author of a seminal work, The Coming Insurrection.
It has now emerged that British police helped French prosecutors build a case against the campaigners by confirming Mr Coupat's presence at two activists' meetings in France and one in New York. In one of them, it said, "the making of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) was both discussed and practised".
Detective Chief Inspector Richard May, Mr Kennedy's former boss, told the French prosecutors that the "source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided".
But William Bourdon, the lawyer representing the French activists, has written to the investigating judge in charge of the case demanding Mr Kennedy's role be clarified. He wants all intelligence reports, which he says were deliberately hidden from the defence, to be declassified.
"Relying on agents like Mark Kennedy is a threat to the rule of law," he told the Daily Telegraph. "If evidence is exchanged, shared, interpreted in a clandestine way by intelligence services then recycled, whitewashed judicially, it opens the door to all types of manipulation."
He said he reserved the right to ask for intelligence officials who drew up the reports and "even Kennedy himself."