Two elected Green politicians spied on as “domestic extremists” joined a lawsuit yesterday against Scotland Yard’s sprawling surveillance database.
London Assembly member and peer Jenny Jones derided “pointless” snooping after she and Thanet councillor Ian Driver filed witness statements in support of 89-year-old Brighton pensioner John Catt — a fellow “domestic extremist” with a case before the supreme court later this year.
Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner Craig Mackey told Ms Jones under direct questioning at a London Assembly last November that he was “confident” their secretive National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit abided by police guidelines: “if it’s not appropriate to be kept for policing purposes, it’s weeded and it’s gone.”
But Ms Jones’s own file retrieved under data protection laws showed an 11-year campaign of surveillance as she sat on the assembly’s own watchdog dedicated to scrutinising police activities, with details of her speeches at public meetings about police brutality and the economic crisis.
Neither politician has a criminal record and both files were opened after their election to public office.
It is understood the database contains files on thousands of other political activists.
Ms Jones said she initially found it “amusing that the information held on me was so pointless.
“However, my file and this database should be seen in the wider context of police surveillance against activists.
“At one end of the spectrum is the collection of publicly available trivia about an elected representative. At the other are the undercover police being sent to spy on a grieving family and into the homes, lives and beds of women,” she said.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.