The Age of Spies

The 1970s:

Infiltrating community groups has a long history
Marika Dobbin
The Age
October 16, 2008

“…The groups included Friends of the Earth and Radio 3CR, where two clandestine officers became regular presenters…”

Police spying on activists revealed
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie
The Age
October 16, 2008

“VICTORIA Police’s secret intelligence unit has infiltrated Melbourne’s activist and community groups for two years to gather information on protests against the Iraq War, Japanese whaling and a weapons exhibition…”

The spying game
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie
The Age
October 16, 2008

IT WAS a simple mistake. The quiet, polite young activist who had been working every Tuesday as a volunteer in Animal Liberation Victoria’s Melbourne office did not shut down his computer properly before leaving.

Andrew* had left his personal email account open. For those in the group who had nagging doubts about the bona fides of the eager young man who had turned up out of nowhere in February 2007, it was an opportunity too good to resist.

But the scan of Andrew’s email account raised more questions than answers. He had very few email contacts; no friends, family or work colleagues. It appeared the only email addresses he had belonged to the people sneaking a look at his email account – the animal rights folk – plus maybe a few others in Melbourne’s activist community.

Who was this guy who wanted the crappy job of taking notes at meetings? Why was he always so keen to know when the next animal rescue or protest was on? How come this vegan appeared to have no knowledge of Melbourne’s vegetarian restaurants?

“In Europe their ranks have been riddled by police agents and fascists.”

…Mick Armstrong from Socialist Alternative – believed to be the first group Andrew targeted in 2006 – says it is disappointing to discover the style of policing many thought had died with the demise of special branch is still being used.

“On the one hand you’ve got police saying ‘we will be open and co-operate with you’ if you tell them what you are doing ahead of a rally or some sort of action, but then you learn they are still spying on you. It’s completely unjustified,” he says.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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3 Responses to The Age of Spies

  1. Red says:

    Ironic of Mick Armstrong whose historical guru the Bolshevik Party authoritarian Trotsky justified not just spying on Opponents but jailing and executing them… Best left out of interviews with media about the rosy future under State Socialism?

    “Civil liberties” for some & not all is of course hypocritical, or as George Orwell put it in his satire on Stalinism the novel Animal Farm: “Some are more equal than others”.

    Such “liberals” were summed up & denounced as “useful idiots” by Lenin the guru of Stalinists and Trotskyists alike.

  2. @ndy says:

    In addition to claiming that ‘anarchist’ ranks are “riddled by police agents and fascists”, Mick also claimed that his comrade from Aotearoa/New Zealand was able to identify 40 ‘anarchist’ protesters at the G20 protests in Melbourne in November 2006 — 20 of them by name.

    I wonder if this helpful individual has any relation to the undercover police officer who infiltrated SAlt in the same period?

  3. Pingback: Mark Kennedy and ‘Officer A’ // “Karen Sullivan” and Officer XX | slackbastard

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