Mark Stone/Kennedy – A personal statement from Mark Barnsley
Despite previously being a good friend of the now unmasked undercover cop Mark Stone/Kennedy, like most who genuinely knew him well I have until now maintained a stoic silence on the affair, in print at least. I regret having to make this statement and do so only in view of the fact that I have been named in the national press at least twice in relation to the matter, and to clarify the facts regarding the issue in as much as they pertain to myself.
Bearing in mind that I knew him longer than practically anyone else in the movement, and was certainly the first person to be targeted by the ‘Mark Stone’ operation, I regard the publication of my name as the inevitable consequence of some activists talking to the corporate media and dealing with them in a way that has allowed ex-PC Kennedy to further profit from his infiltration of our movement while partially rehabilitating himself in the eyes of a few. It is also the consequence of certain elements divisively trying to present the parts of the movement they infest as liberal to the point of being unworthy of police attention, compared to militant political movements which are implicitly fair game.
I first met the man I knew as Mark Stone in the summer of 2003 and we quickly became good friends. He has stayed at my home many times, but as we lived in different cities, we did not see each other frequently and in fact only rarely engaged in any form of political activity together. When I first knew him PC Kennedy drove a small Escort van and appeared to have a modest lifestyle. He may have had access to large amounts of cash, but he certainly did not ‘flash’ it around me and I gained no financial advantage whatsoever from our friendship. As for his supposed cover story or “legend” as a former drugs courier, I only learned about this when I read about it in the newspapers.
Since PC Kennedy and I moved in slightly different circles, both politically and socially, I’m unsure how useful my friendship would have been to him in terms of meeting other activists. While a few people, for the most part non-political, may have met him when we socialised together where I live, we never travelled abroad together and I never supplied him with any personal contacts. In fact the only time I can recall travelling anywhere with PC Kennedy was on a trip to the English Lake District, when he drove the Skoda he then owned and I paid for the petrol. The only time I attended a demonstration at the same time as PC Kennedy was some years ago when we both turned up to a peaceful protest in support of asylum seekers at Lindholme prison in South Yorkshire.
If there were any rumours about ‘Mark Stone’s lack of trustworthiness prior to his unmasking I am certainly unaware of them, and consider them to be a convenient revisionist fiction. I was neither involved in nor informed of the investigation into his true identity, and only learned about the matter one or two hours before the news was published on Indymedia. It obviously came as a considerable shock to discover that someone I had known for seven years, and considered a very close personal friend, had lied to me throughout that period and that he had actually been an undercover police officer.
I do not own a camera and do not possess any photographs of ex-PC Kennedy, nor have I at any time had any contact with him or knowledge of his whereabouts since his exposure.
While it may be convenient for me now to be painted as “a powerful figure within the global underground protest movement” it is also a fiction. I am an ordinary, and unfortunately ageing, activist, no more “powerful” than anyone else. I know many people in the movement because I have been in it a long time, and because they are sometimes willing to excuse my “cantankerous” nature. In fact, I have not been abroad for nearly 3 years now and have not had a home internet connection for over a year. If ‘Anarchy International’ could have a whip round for me I would be grateful!
My sympathy goes out to all those personally affected by this affair, of which I’m sure there are many, both here and abroad. Police attention is an inevitable consequence of radical struggle and the lengths, and depths, our enemies will go to in defence of their masters should come as no surprise. The answer to State repression is resistance not liberalism.
Always in struggle
20th January 2011
(Posted exclusively to Northern Indymedia)