Jan 17 2011
AN UNDERCOVER policeman who infiltrated a South Wales anarchist movement de-politicised the group by introducing a heavy drinking culture, an insider has told the Echo.
It emerged at the weekend that the 44-year-old police officer posed as a member of the Cardiff Anarchist Network between 2005 and 2009.
A member of the network, who formed a friendship with the clandestine officer, last night revealed how he turned the political campaigners into more of a “friendship group” by encouraging boozing.
The officer – identified only as “Officer B” – was unmasked by various websites at the weekend as more questions were raised about the role of undercover officers in the wake of the outing of PC Mark Kennedy.
The Cardiff Anarchist Network insider, who did not want to be named, described the officer as a “friendly and caring bloke” who never put himself on the frontline during demonstrations and protests.
“He certainly wasn’t what you’d call an agent provocateur,” he said.
“I can think of a few campaigns which would have been more successful had he not been involved in them. It wasn’t that he was preventing criminal activity, he was just preventing criminal protests.”
The Cardiff Anarchist Network is a left-wing, anti-capitalist group made up of about 60 members. The officer also had links with other local groups that included No Borders South Wales and Eat Out Vegan Wales.
While Officer B was involved in organising the group’s campaigns, he seemed to other members to be more interested in socialising than protesting.
“After a demonstration he’d always be first to the bar. He developed a culture of heavy drinking in the group and he turned us from a political group into more of a friendship group,” the source added.
“Before he came along we used to have our meetings, sit there for a couple of hours then go home. But when he started coming we’d be there until the bar closed; we were always the last ones to leave.”
The anonymous anarchist said Officer B lived in a flat in the Penylan area of Cardiff which was “surprisingly bare”.
“We were never particularly suspicious of him because we thought it would be ridiculous that the police would be interested in our boring group,” he said.
“But now I know who he really is, I’d love to have a word with him – not about the activism but about the personal relationships he betrayed.”