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Mark Kennedy: The Spy Who Turned Eco-Activist

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

It’s kind of funny to think that an activist group has to be infiltrated and spied on, but after news broke about a British police officer-turned-fake-environmentalist-turned-real-environmentalist, it seems that all of us green folks better watch our backs!

Mark Kennedy spent 7 years undercover using the fake name “Mark Stone” in order to infiltrate the protest movement. He had participated in activist groups in 22 countries, formed sexual relationships with some of the women he worked with, and revealed the identity of an undercover officer to his activist friends.

And if that isn’t horrifying enough, it seems that the longer Kennedy led his double life as “Mark Stone” the more compassion he felt for the activists he was gathering information on, and it all came to a head earlier this week as a trial was under way that involved six men and women who tried to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in 2009. Documents began to surface that suggested Kennedy actually began to encourage and help the environmentalists to plan and carry out their break in… Yikes!

Kennedy went undercover in 2003, and by the time of the Ratcliffe incident he’d become an established member of the activist community; with long hair and stubble, his old self was barely recognizable.

And while he may have joined with the intention of staying loyal to the force, he eventually switched sides and offered to speak on behalf of his activist allies during their trial, and in a recorded phone call he criticized the police force and claimed to hate himself for what he had done to his former friends.

If this sounds like something out of a movie, you’re not alone! People have really rallied around this case, perhaps because of its bizarre nature, and now filmmakers have been contacting Kennedy, interested in turning his story into a screenplay. Not only that, but he’s also been contacted by publishers who’d like him to pen a tell-all book.

It’s an interesting issue, on the one hand Mark’s story and eventual turn to the green side may serve to shed light on the effectiveness of these activist movements. Turning your back on the police force is no easy maneuver, and that must have taken quite a lot of courage! But on the other hand, this man exploited people and spied on them, gave up valuable information on these groups, and carried on physical relationships with women using his fake alias…

Should we really reward someone for behaving so badly?

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  • romantic

    No matter what he has done or where he stands now, his story is a human one. Making him the bad guy, is exactly the mistake he made. Coming from a much more conservative background, he signed up to spy on the ‘bad guys’, those evil leftist environmentalist. But as it turned out, they were human and loveable, and his own daredevil non conformist side could literally be ‘acted’ out and was appreciated.

    His values where challanged and the line between us and them started to fade. His identity wasn’t as fixed as he thought it to be. The women, or as a understood it, mainly the one woman who was his longtime girlfriend, as betrayed as she surely feels, loved someone who lived in two worlds that really form one, in every human. We are all full of contradictions, it s just not usually that visable. We choose our grounds, our territory, our people, and hang on to them, because its seems scary and lonely not to choose. But place ourself in different shoes, born in a different family, a different country, under different circumstances, your identity would be completely different. And it might feel like we have so much control over our choices, but how does our character really form itself, how do we become aggressive or submissive, underconfident or overconfident, gentle or mean? Its such a complicated mixture of circumstances, and hardly forms the rocksolid identity wed like to think we have. Recognizing ourselves in the ugly parts of another person is perhaps the most important step towards a world where his story would never occur.
    I guess im choosing sides here too; the romantic one. Everything we know is made out of contradictions and opposites, thats what makes life. It would make a great screenplay, wish I could write it myself. But is tend to be more on the underconfident side right now. Maybe one day ill start my own double life.

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