The secret transcripts of Britain’s most notorious ‘spycop’ that could affect a current French trial

Retired undercover police officer Mark Kennedy

Eight environmental and anti-capitalist activists are on trial in France, thanks partly to the interventions of a discredited British ‘spycop’ (undercover police officer). But a secret ‘dossier’ that reveals his precise role in the ‘Tarnac Affair’ has never been published in full.

Until now.

The raid

In November 2008, around 150 police officers (most in paramilitary gear and supported by a helicopter) raided the French village of Tarnac.

Initially, nine people were arrested and charged with terrorism-related ‘conspiracy’. It was alleged that they were members of an anarchist cell, led by Julien Coupat, that sought to overthrow the state. But the authorities backed down and later ruled that terrorism would no longer apply to the charges.

The prosecution resumed on 13 March 2018. Coupat and Yildune Levy (see image below), together with Elsa Hauck and Bertrand Devaud, are facing conspiracy charges, which carry up to 10 years [French] of imprisonment. That charge relates to the alleged disruption of a high-speed railway line, which neither caused damage nor resulted in risk to the public. Four other defendants face lesser charges.

Julien Coupat and Yildune Levy

The UK dimension

Undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, aka Mark Stone (see featured image), was an officer working with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). But not all of his deployments were in the UK. Detective Chief Inspector Richard May, of the National Domestic Extremism Unit, provided intelligence obtained by Kennedy to the French authorities about an alleged meeting that Coupat and Levy attended in New York in January 2008.

Read on...

But that’s not all. In a 2016 France 3 documentary, Levy is quoted as saying [French] “There is no doubt our problems began with Kennedy’s intelligence”. Also, extracts from Operation Pegasus (a secret NPIOU file) were produced, naming [French] Coupat as a target. However, the narrator added that information Kennedy had on Coupat and others in Tarnac would [French] “remain largely mysterious”.

Moreover, Richard May told French prosecutors that the “source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided”.

William Bourdon, a lawyer representing the Tarnac defendants, said:

Intelligence agencies probably have a dossier that is much thicker than the legal file, but it was not disclosed to the defence lawyers. This is a serious breach of fair trial standards.

And Levy’s lawyers have demanded [French] disclosure of the Kennedy dossier:

The very existence of such an intelligence service file… reveals clearly a misuse of procedure and a violation of the principle of fairness and legality in obtaining the evidence.

The spycop and Tarnac

The Canary has a copy of the aforementioned ‘Pegasus file’, and has decided to publish it in its entirety in the interests of justice. In the file, the black redactions were made by the British police. The grey redactions have been made to protect the names of those activists, targeted by Kennedy in one of his UK operations, who wish to remain anonymous.

The dossier [pdf] mainly concerns a protest by environmental activists aimed at the coal-fired Drax power station in North Yorkshire. But it also includes crucial information regarding Kennedy’s role in the Tarnac Affair:

  • On page 7, dated 24 August 2008, is what appears to be a further update to Kennedy’s original 2007 authorisation to spy on Tarnac. This specifically names Coupat. Authorising officers include ACC Sampson and Acting ACC John Parkinson.
  • On page 27, dated 13 June 2008, Kennedy is instructed to: “put 5×5 on re Halpin visiting Julien at his Farm”. This refers to the 5x5x5 intelligence reports on page 20. ‘Halpin’ is Harry Halpin, a US citizen and now a core participant of the Undercover Policing Inquiry. It appears Kennedy reported on Halpin for some time and across borders.
  • On page 29, dated 4 June 2008, Kennedy confirms he received “concise instructions” regarding Julien (Coupat), Halpin, and others.

And here’s what happened next:

During the summer, 2008, three months before they [the Tarnac 9] were arrested, some inhabitants of Tarnac saw the arrival of two visitors in their farm. It was Mark Stone [aka Kennedy] and his American mate [Halpin], the one who was with him in New York. A friendly visit – militant tourism….

In other words, Kennedy acted on his instructions by British supervisors Sampson and Parkinson.

A political trial

Once Kennedy’s role in the Drax protest was fully revealed, the convictions of activists were overturned (and the same with activists in the Ratcliffe case). Kennedy was further discredited after it was shown he had formed intimate relationships with women activists in order to obtain intelligence. He subsequently sought [pdf] immunity from misconduct proceedings.

Given the extent of Kennedy’s role in the ‘Tarnac Affair’ as a whole, the prosecution is now left with no choice but to acknowledge his involvement:

William Bourdon has accused Kennedy of exaggeration and dramatisation, implying his evidence is unreliable. And Coupat argues that the entire prosecution case is politically motivated, with the aim of stifling dissent.

The trial is scheduled to end on 30 March.

Featured image via screenshot

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed