This is an account by Kate of the background to her story.
I met Mark [Kennedy] at a public meeting at a social centre in Nottingham. We were sitting next to each other and we got chatting, and we seemed to have a lot in common. He claimed to like country music, caravans; he claimed to be interested climbing, in travelling – in all kinds of things, and in political projects. He was very charismatic, exciting, good fun – yeah, he seemed a really nice guy.
We started hanging out after that meeting. The meetings were about mobilising for the G8 summit in 2005 essentially, and he became very involved in that mobilisation, and so we were seeing a lot of each other, and we started a relationship. I mean he was quite a lot older than me, nearly ten years older than me, and was very romantic and set the tone for the relationship. He moved in with me and with a group of my friends; very fast he was involved in pretty much every aspect of my life.
He told me that he’d been involved in drug-running from Granada, from the south of Spain to London, that he worked as a delivery driver, and that through that he’d met some people, he’d got involved in some messy business and that basically he had left London to get away from that life, and that there were some fairly nasty people that he didn’t want to find him, and therefore he didn’t talk much about his past, and he didn’t introduce us to any of his old friends. It wasn’t something that I questioned.
My initial reaction was shock, obviously, and horrible confusion, because on the one hand it’s like somebody who you loved and cared for has died, they’ve gone, they’re not there – but then on the other hand they’re still there; y’know, this person who had the face of the friend who I cared about very deeply… And so you’re partly in mourning – but that’s really inappropriate, and so it’s impossible to square it, and the only appropriate emotion that I’ve found is anger, but that came much later. In the beginning it was just, like… woah… I don’t know.
The thing that is really bothering me now is the more I find out about how he operated; there are the cover officers, there’s the back room, there’s the whole command structure of the Metropolitan Police, and they were all there, this whole other team of people, and this whole institution behind it, that presumably were making decisions about my dinner dates and about whether or not I was going to spend the night with my boyfriend, reading emails, listening to phone calls – and I just dread to think how much they know about my life and about my person, and the things that I’ve lived. Like, y’know, deeply personal stuff that I wasn’t just sharing with Mark, I was sharing with an entire command structure that were making decisions on that basis.
It’s almost impossible for me to understand what happened, so I can imagine it must be very difficult for somebody who hasn’t had this experience to understand it. It’s very… I find it very difficult to talk about the impact. I mean there’s a complete loss of confidence in myself, in other people, I mean obviously it’s very difficult to trust people. I remain very committed to the political groups that I’m involved in, and I don’t know if they’re still infiltrating me and my life, I don’t know. I find it very hard to believe that they went to the lengths that they did – but they did. And I know they did, so I have no idea, really, what’s going on, which can make you very paranoid.
I think it’s a really big issue, what he was doing, because from what we can see, he and the other officers involved in the case basically had a rolling brief to investigate people who were involved in political movements or who had political beliefs that went against the status quo. There doesn’t seem to be any specific crime they were investigating, they were just going around picking up on general intelligence on people, in order to know what people who might not agree with what the governments or corporations were doing, in order to just have intelligence on those people. And for thirty years – at least – there seems to have been a constant process of infiltration, very little of which seems to have fed into any kind of criminal, legal process or investigation; it’s just general intelligence on political dissent.
The levels of intrusion into my life, into my family’s life, into the life of my friends, and the people I was active with, for me shows a level of political policing that people should be concerned about.
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