CONSTRUCTION union UCATT has exposed how the union was infiltrated by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
The revelation creates fresh questions about the police’s role in the blacklisting of trade unionists and their covert manipulation of working class organisations.
UCATT’s membership records show that Mark Cassidy was a member of UCATT from 1996 until 1998.
He lived in Hackney, East London, paid by Direct Debit and claimed to be a joiner.
Mark Cassidy has been revealed to be police officer Mark Jenner, a member of the SDS. During his time undercover, he was involved in several left-wing organisations and took leadership roles in organisations associated with UCATT.
Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: ‘UCATT was infiltrated by the police and members have a right to know why.
‘This sort of operation could only have been sanctioned at the highest level. I believe the truth rests with the Home Office. Who gave authority for the police to do this and how high did it go?’
On the 2nd December 2014 UCATT made a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request to the Metropolitan Police which asked:
1. Was there a policy of infiltration of trades unions conducted by the Special Demonstration Squad?
2. Did any member of the Special Demonstration Squad hold trade union membership?
3. Did any member of the Special Demonstration Squad ever hold membership of construction union UCATT?
The deadline for a response to the FOI was due at the end of December but was delayed until the end of January and was again further delayed.
On February 20th the Metropolitan Police said that they were not ‘required to confirm or deny whether or not the information requested is held’.
The Metropolitan Police cited six areas of why they could not reveal the information including national security.
There is clear evidence that the police colluded with the Consulting Association.
David Clancy, investigations manager at the Information Commissioners Office (which conducted the raid on the Consulting Association, has said: ‘There is information on the Consulting Association files that I believe could only be supplied by the police or the security services.
‘The information was so specific and it contained in effect operational information that wouldn’t have formed anything other than a police record.’
Despite this statement and the discovery of minutes which show that Gordon Mills the Detective Chief Inspector of National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) gave a presentation to the Consulting Association in 2008, the Metropolitan Police still deny any involvement with blacklisting.
UCATT made an FOI request to the Metropolitan Police about NECTU, last autumn, which requested the following information:
1. Did the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) meet with representatives of the construction blacklisting organisation the Consulting Association (CA)?
2. If meetings did occur on what dates, in what venues and who was in attendance?
3. To provide copies of all minutes and notes of all meetings between the NETCU and the CA.
The Metropolitan Police initially, and after a further appeal, replied: ‘information relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is not held by the MPS.’
Steve Murphy added: ‘Public money was spent on police covertly joining trade unions, infiltrating groups associated with trade unions and colluding with construction employers to blacklist workers.
‘This is a scandal that must be exposed.’
Murphy also said: ‘The Metropolitan Police must not be allowed to hide the truth; they operated a secret organisation that destroyed innocent people’s lives.
‘They must be held to account. It is increasingly clear that the only way we are going to get the full truth on the blacklisting scandal is by holding a full public inquiry which is open and transparent.’
While Jenner was infiltrating the trade union movement on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, he also formed a relationship with a woman named Alison.
Oral Evidence was given before the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday 5 February 2013, chaired by Keith Vaz, by witnesses Clare, Alison, and Lisa, all victims of ‘relationships’ with undercover officers.
Chair: Alison, would you like to make your points?
Alison: ‘The nature of the experience is particularly unusual in that it is deeply personal to all of us and yet, as I say, it is in both the public and the political domain.
‘Falling in love with the enemy is, as we have heard recently in a court hearing – I appreciate it is my story but when it becomes your real-life story it is a very difficult one to tell new friends, who often do not believe you, let alone to talk about it in the media or in a room like this.
‘It has had a huge impact on my life, and I am going to talk about my own situation to start with; stick to just my own situation. It has had an enormous impact.
‘As I think you have had from the description, I was involved in a group in the 1990s. I joined in about 1993; Mark Cassidy, as then was, joined the group in about 1994, and I started a relationship with him in about May 1995.
‘From May 1995 until his disappearance in spring 2000, we lived together as what I would describe as man and wife.
‘We weren’t married, clearly, but we shared the same flat. He was completely integrated into my life for five years and then one day he disappeared.
‘The experience has left me with many, many unanswered questions, and one of those that comes back is: how much of the relationship was real?
‘Some of the consequences of that have meant that I have, for the last 13 years, questioned my own judgment and it has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationship and other subsequent relationships.
‘It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex, and it has had a massive impact on my political activity.
‘After it happened and I started to suspect – it is only recently that I have had concrete evidence, but I suspected within about a month of his disappearance, and after about 18 months of different searches I came to believe it, but I have never had it confirmed – that had an impact on my political activity, and I withdrew from political activity.’
Chair: Your political activity was in the Colin Roach Centre. Is that right?
Alison: ‘I was a member of the Colin Roach Centre, which is a non-aligned political group, and I was involved in anti-racist activities.’
Chair: ‘We know the history of Colin Roach, so we know what you would be doing.’
Alison: ‘One of the chief points for me is that the betrayal and the humiliation that I have experienced is beyond any normal experience.
‘This is not about just a lying boyfriend or a boyfriend who has cheated on you. It is not even about a boyfriend who is having another relationship with somebody else.
‘It is about a fictional character who was created by the state and funded by taxpayers’ money. I believe I provided for Mark Cassidy – who I now believe to be called Mark Jenner and is still operating in the police – an excellent cover story.
‘The level to which he was integrated into my family meant that people trusted me, people knew that I was who I said I was, and people believed, therefore, that he must be who he said he was because he was so welcomed into my family, so much part of it.
‘He had official documentation. We travelled around many countries out of England, out of the UK, and he was a professionally trained liar.
‘Again, this wasn’t somebody who was just good at telling lies and covering his back; he had professional training allowing him to perpetrate the deceit on me.
‘During the five years that we spent all our time together, or almost all our time together, my mother remarried.
‘He is in my mother’s wedding photograph, because that is her wedding photograph, and I have to see him and my current partner has to see him in that.
‘My grandma became ill and my nephew and nieces grew, and all of these things are recorded on video. A very, very close friend of mine died, and he saw me through that bereavement.
‘We went to Vietnam on holiday; we travelled to Israel; we went to Crete and Holland. We spent summer holidays together and Christmases and New Year; not every Christmas.
‘I met him when I was 29, and he disappeared about three months before I was 35.
‘It was the time when I wanted to have children, and for the last 18 months of our relationship he went to relationship counselling with me about the fact that I wanted children and he did not. We had a domestic lifestyle …
‘The discovery point is not, I don’t think, the key point, in that I discovered he made an error with a credit card about a year and a half into our relationship, which he told me was in another name.
‘It was in the name Jenner, and I asked him what it was and he told me he bought it off a man in a pub and he had never used it. He asked me to promise to never tell anyone, which is what I did.
‘I never told anyone until after he disappeared, and then when I suspected and I remembered the name, since then it has been confirmed. I would add, just about damage.’
Chair: ‘Yes, please.’
Alison: ‘I have had recurring dreams. I do not have them any more, but I did for several years.
‘I knew he was operating for the state. I did not know where, and my recurring dream was that I saw him and I would ask him, “Are you MI5 or Special Branch? MI5 or Special Branch?” and I would wake up before he answered.
‘I was stuck. I had no grieving process. It was like someone was lost at sea. I had no answers.
‘You have that if you are betrayed and you are bereft anyway by a partner, but the added dimension was the paranoia.
‘There were episodes that I do not have time to tell you about, which to this day I do not know whether that was my judgment and my mind off the rails – whether I imagined being followed and I imagined the things that happened – or whether I was being followed.
‘Linked into that paranoia is that I do not know what is recorded on me.
‘The police are taking a “neither confirm nor deny” position, so not only are they not giving further information, but they are not confirming or denying that Mark Jenner is a police officer or ever was a police officer.’
Chair: ‘This is very helpful, and if you would come to the –’
Alison: ‘Can I just say one last sentence?’
Chair: ‘Yes. Thank you.’
Alison: I recently submitted a DPA (Data Protection Act) request and was told the Commissioner has no information on me that he is required to supply.
‘Finally, I would just make the point about the institutionalised sexism, and the fact that these were married officers and the exploitative relationships were either allowed or authorised by those in command.’
Chair: ‘This is extremely helpful, and I am sorry to cut you short. It is just that we are keen to ask you a number of questions, and of course some of this has been in the public domain. What we would like you to do is if you could put down your statements in writing, we will then all read them very carefully before we publish our report.’
Alison: ‘Our thoughts?’
Chair: ‘Of course. That would be very helpful if you could do that. I want to ask some quick questions and colleagues are going to come in and ask some quick questions as well. All colleagues will be able to participate. In terms of the length of your relationship, how long was it before you discovered that this was an undercover police officer?’
Alison: ‘Before I discovered?’
Alison: ‘He disappeared in May.’
Chair: ‘How many years were you in a relationship?’
Alison: ‘Five years.’
Lisa: ‘Six years.’
Chair: ‘Six years. Clare?’
Clare: ‘Two years.’
Chair: ‘So it was quite some time before you actually realised?’
Alison: ‘I did not realise when I was with him. It was only after he had gone.’
Chair: ‘After he had gone.’ …
Alison: ‘The Christmas before something happened. He got called away. We were supposed to be spending Christmas 1999, around the Millennium, together, and he got called away on Christmas Eve up north.
‘I said I would go with him, and he said, “No, no, I’ve got to do it myself,” and he was very odd.
When he came back he was a very different man, and I don’t know what happened. There are a lot of things we know, and there are a lot of things we still do not know …
‘My stepfather went to his grave believing that Mark was a bigamist and nothing else. So my family believe that, and for probably about a month I believed that …
‘I would say within the month I received a phone call from another political activist who phoned on the home phone to speak to him.
‘I said, “He’s left me,” and he said, “Where is he?” I said, “I don’t know. I’ve got no trace for him,” and he said, “I think we should probably have a chat.”
‘After that chat, when I met with him, he said, “We just need to run through a few.” He asked me lots of questions about bank accounts and lots of details, and after that he said, “We need to run through to check he wasn’t a spy,” and I came out of that meeting thinking, “You think he might have been,” and then I thought …
‘At that point I came away and I thought, “Okay, if he was, it would make sense of why I have never met his family. That would make sense. That would make sense.”
‘Then, about a year in, I paid a private investigator and that was when I got it confirmed that he was living under a false identity. But for about a year when you go back to saying –
‘Somebody asked, “Is it okay to sanction any undercover policing?” I think the point about this was that when I suspected it impacted on some of my very close relationships with people because they thought I was going mad.
‘They said, “It would never happen. They would not put someone in your life for five years.” …
‘One of your questions was what our attitude was to the state, the security forces and the press, and I think personally I feel very angry and very frustrated. I can’t quite believe it.
‘To me, in colloquial language, from my point of view we have got the police totally bang to rights, and instead of them putting their hands up and saying, “Yes, we did this. It was years ago” – or not even years ago – “and it was really wrong, and we shouldn’t have done it,” they are saying, “We didn’t do it, and we can’t even confirm or deny that you have got proof of this man being a police officer.” So, it is that frustration, and it is totally obstructive.’
The parliamentary records show that Jenner was/is a career police spy targeting on behalf of the state principally the trade union and protest movements.
There is no doubt that he was/is part of a massive police state apparatus.
Karl Marx has again been proven to be correct when he advised the working class that you couldn’t get to socialism by taking over the capitalist state.
In fact it has to be smashed and broken up completely if the working class is to go forward to socialism and change the world.