Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Blacklisted activists demand action from MSPs over blacklisting and undercover police in Scotland.!

We are publishing below a recent press release from the Blacklist Support Group:

"Blacklisted activists Dave Smith and Ellenor Hutson spoke at a meeting inside the Holyrood parliament calling on MSPs to take action over the issue of blacklisting and the activities of undercover police officers in Scotland. A large number of MSPs were present including Elaine Smith, deputy speaker of the Scottish parliament. 

Ellenor Hutson, an environmental activist from Glasgow who was blacklisted by the notorious Consulting Association told the MSPs that she had been spied on by a number of undercover police officers over many years. She relayed the story of those other women activists who had been deceived into having long term sexual relationships with the officers who cynically used the relationships as a way of ingratiating themselves within campaigns. Ellenor told how some of the women activists have described this as "being raped by the state". 

Ellenor explained how during the G8 Gleneagles summit in 2005, she had worked alongside the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy who while a serving officer was one of the central organisers of the anti-globalisation protests, being the Transport Coordinator, which involved hiring flatbed lorries and minibuses to transport materials and people - a key logistical role during the summit protests. 

Dave Smith, secretary of Blacklist Support Group (BSG) and co-author of the book 'Blacklisted' also spoke at the meeting and told how undercover police officers had posed as construction workers even infiltrating trade unions. Smith alongside other blacklisted workers and the Blacklist Support Group have been granted 'core participant' status in the Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing that has just opened. However, the remit for the public inquiry set up by the Home Secretary, Teresa May specifically limits the inquiry to the activities of undercover policing in "England and Wales", so the activities of the police officers who played leading roles in the protests at Gleneagles and who may have spied on trade unions in Scotland would be excluded from the investigation.  

Smith & Hutson both called for a full public inquiry into the role of undercover police operating in Scotland - either by the Scottish government writing to Lord Pitchford and asking him to extend the geographical scope of his inquiry or else by setting up a separate inquiry.   

Dave Smith also called on the Scottish government and other public authorities across not just Scotland but the whole UK to implement the proposal of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting and to ban blacklisting firms from publicly funded contracts. Smith explained how the major construction firms have now fully admitted their guilt and made a public apology in the High Court. Smith told MSPs, "Blacklisted workers don't want sympathy from politicians: we're drowning in sympathy. What we need is action, not just fine words" 

The meeting was hosted by UNITE the Union with Neil Findlay MSP for the Lothians also speaking. Neil Findlay MSP commented after the meeting:

‘This was an excellent and shocking event at the Scottish Parliament. The meeting heard from two people whose lives have been directly affected by being put on a blacklist. To hear how Dave Smith was prevented from earning a living because of his trade union activity and for questioning health and safety practices and welfare on construction sites was truly scandalous. Likewise to hear from Ellenor how she was placed on a blacklist for the ‘heinous crime’ of caring about our environment, despite having never worked on a construction site, was remarkable.’
 ‘What compounded the shocking nature of Dave and Ellenor’s testimonies was their description of the role played by undercover Police. This speakers explained the central role played by the police in compiling names and passing them on construction companies. Ellenor described how she was an activist alongside Mark Kennedy, who it is now known was an undercover policeman pretending to be an activist. This collusion needs investigating and I and others will be calling for an inquiry."    

This is the 3 minute video that was shown to the MSPs at the meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miAzmU5HuFU&feature=youtu.be
Video (5 mins) from the start of the Pitchford inquiry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8GsY7yM3F8

Information about undercover police who operated outside England and Wales: http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/2015/10/30/the-pitchford-inquirys-geographical-blinkers/

Blacklist Support Group

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