Mark Kennedy: The Spy Who Turned Eco-Activist
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?