Thursday, April 10, 2008
Spies in our midst.
Piecing together evidence including photographs, reports from fellow students at Oxford and website profiles, protest group 'Plane Stupid' discovered the agent who was going by the name of 'Ken Tobias' is in fact 'Toby Kendall' who was captain of the athletics team at Wadham College, Oxford. Kendall went undercover in London Plane Stupid following last year's Climate Camp at Heathrow.
Accoring to Plane Stupid he made "elementary errors" as his career as a secret agent faltered at the first hurdle: "Due to his poorly constructed back-story and appalling acting skills. When Plane Stupid fed Kendall false information it was just 48 hours before sources in the aviation industry confirmed that the plans had been reported back to them".
The day after he was confronted, Kendall emailed Plane Stupid saying he "came into the group with a pure heart wanting to make a difference. I still of course hold my principles." Tamsin Omond, 23, a Church of England parish administrator, said today: "The aviation industry brought its special brand of bumbling incompetence to the task of spying on us. Their secret agent was more Austin Powers than James Bond though the question still remains, who paid the espionage agency?"
This isn't the first case of a spy being uncovered by activists in the recent past. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) was infiltrated by Martin Hogbin, see the enemy within from CAAT and BAe Spy Martin Hogbin and Mark Thomas by Mark Thomas and the 2005 CAAT Steering Committee statement on spying.
In the run-up to the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, an American woman, known as Anna, contacted anti-G8 medics and various IMC's claiming she wanted to get involved with the protests. She was later identified in the set-up of the Auburn Three trial and turned out to be an FBI informant/agent. According to the FBI's own affidavit, "Anna" had been involved in gathering information on 12 separate cases in the anarchist movement.
Other cases of spys being caught include the case of the Oakland Police Infiltrators taking control of an anti-war group and the case of the Terrorism Task Force operative infiltrating a peace group in Fresno, see the Indybay article, What Have Peace Fresno Members Learned Since the Infiltration.
Ward Churchill, author of The COINTELPRO Papers, 'Documents From the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States' has documented the history of state infiltration of activists movements in the 1960's and 1970's and several of his talks on this matter are available online:  |  | .
Private spy contractors are very big business - the US spent over $43 billion on spy services in 2007 according to the Christian Science Monitor, "the bulk of money was spent on private contractors" and this figure doesn't include "billions of dollars spent by military services on intelligence". For more background information see the feature article Indymedia and British Intelligence Services.