A British undercover police officer who infiltrated environmental groups was moonlighting as a corporate spy. And his semi-legal espionage companies were full of science fiction references.
The story of Mark Kennedy, which has grown into an enormous scandal over the past few weeks, is a tangle that reveals strange links between covert police work and corporate spying. Kennedy had spent the last several years working undercover as "Mark Stone," infiltrating environmental activist groups and reporting back to the police on their activities. But he had also begun a side business selling information about these same groups to business security groups.
Reports the Guardian:
Details of how Mark Kennedy went from police officer to businessman reveal the extent to which shadowy corporate firms appear to have developed links with the police. It also reveals something about Kennedy himself: with an apparent view to making money out of his access, the undercover officer used cryptic names derived from a science fiction television series, Stargate.
From 2003 until around March last year, Kennedy lived in the midst of the protest movement with the fake identity Mark Stone. Remarkably, he appears to have used that same undercover identity – which according to him cost the taxpayer £1.75m – to venture into private practice . . . In February 2010 – a month before resigning – he set up Tokra Limited, at an address in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
The fanciful name could have derived from a science fiction television series, Stargate. Kennedy might well have seen parallels between his company's mission and the plot, which features the Tok'ra as an alien race symbiotically inhabiting human hosts. In their human guise, the Tok'ra fight a powerful, evil race who seek to control and destroy the planet.
Calling himself a logistics officer, Kennedy registered himself as sole director of the company.
It seems that Kennedy - whose intel on environmental groups was used to arrest over a hundred activists before a 2009 Nottingham protest - was trying to parlay his undercover cop job into an undercover job selling information on protest groups to companies.
And the weirdness just didn't stop. The Guardian continues:
Last spring, Kennedy set up a second firm – Black Star High Access Limited – in east London. That company name also appears to have been taken from a television science fiction programme: Black Star is the name of a spaceship in Babylon 5.
Given his work infiltrating activist groups, I'm surprised he didn't take names from Blake's 7. Too close to home?
You've got to read the whole story at the Guardian - it's fascinating stuff.
(Thanks for the tip, Darren John Maughan!)