They did this with the use of a spy-cam and recordings from a mobile phone. In 2009, Strathclyde Police confirmed on multiple occasions that the names of the two police officers did not feature on any of their databases. To get any answers as to who the 2 spooks were, they've been locked into a bureaucratic ping-pong ever since.
On the 3rd March, Plane Stupid Scotland shut down Aberdeen airport, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and drawing attention to the social and environmental impacts of their expansion plans. Afterwards, two men attempted to spy on Plane Stupid's activities, by offering one activist, Tilly Gifford, cash for information. The conversations were recorded and then exposed to the mainstream media. We still don't know who they are!
There is a range of unpleasant options as to who might have been harassing and monitoring Plane Stupid in 2009: The National Public Unit Intelligence Order, Confidential Intelligence Unit - both reporting back to the private company Association of Chief Police Officers. Or corporate espionage a la C2i?
Strathclyde Police have remained uncooperative, so it went all the way to the Scottish Information Commissioner. A request simply for the officer's date of commission within Strathclyde Police force was refused. Tilly was told to take her case to the Court of Session (the Scottish version of the Supreme Court), or drop it. She would have been liable for up to £20,000 in court costs - an epic financial risk for an apprentice farmer, researcher and a ceramicist.
The police need to start talking. We need answers. Silence is not acceptable.
Should we want to know what information Mark Kennedy was gathering and for whom, to know who appoints such considerable Police resources to monitor the always peaceful environmental movement, to know who decided to pull the plug on an entire prosecution case, to know who the men slinking around with brown envelopes and dark glasses claiming to be Strathclyde Police actually are, and we find all processes prohibitively expensive or opaque, where do we turn to?
Towards a demand for a full inquiry, not lead politically, nor carried out by the police, but in front of a judge. Towards the awareness of links between big financial interests and policing, the businesses we target have social and environmental consequences as massive only as the money they have behind them.
We can turn to the knowledge that, in the environmental justice movement, we're onto something - the reason we're being so heavily targeted is that our impact is real and effective.
London City Airport (LCA) is a small airport with big ideas. It submitted an application to expand flights by 50%; another application (due in June) will take flights to 176,000 by 2010. LCA claims to have brought prosperity to Newham but walking from North Woolwich to Silvertown shows no sign of it: roaring jets over head, no open spaces for recreation, a poor bus service, streets full of derelict buildings and a constant stream of taxis and chauffeur driven cars bound for the airport. The 'prosperity' LCA is so proud of arrives and departs in a car, leaving nothing for Newham residents - apart from the fumes and noise and inconvenience.
London City Airport and Newham Council claim to have carried out "extensive consultations", but many residents who live in the Royal Docks and surrounding areas have no idea about the expansion plans. They claim that the 50% increase in flights would only affect a very small area - wishful thinking, as the expansion will extend the noise contours over 26,000 residents in east and south-east London. Newham already has the worst housing shortage in the country and the highest asthma mortality levels in under 30s in the whole of the country - how much more suffering can the Council heap on it's constituents?