Instances of espionage
In giving specific examples of spies infiltrating trade unions, Dave Smith focused on three undercover officers – Mark Jenner, Peter Francis and “Carlo Neri” (a pseudonym given after an injunction prevented his real name being used in the inquiry, although Smith did point out that Neri’s real name is a matter of public record).
Mark Jenner is perhaps most famous for his infiltration of environmental activism groups, the unveiling of which sparked the Spy Cops scandal ten years ago. But Smith named him as a key officer in the infiltration of trade unions, too.
Known as Mark Cassidy when undercover, Jenner claimed to be a joiner and joined the Hackney branch of construction union UCATT, for which special branch paid his subs. Smith said Jenner’s girlfriend at the time (who was not aware of his real identity) would bring notes home from union meetings, which he would immediately type up. Jenner also chaired trade union meetings and is remembered to have been “very disruptive” at events, which Smith perceived to be an attempt to cause division in the union.
One of Jenner’s targets was trade unionist Steve Hedley, who is now Assistant General Secretary at RMT. To get closer to him, Jenner stayed at his family home in Northern Ireland during a trade union delegation there as part of the peace process.
We accuse Mark Jenner, and through Mark Jenner the British State, of deliberately interfering with the internal democratic processes of an independent trade union.
Carlo Neri replaced Mark Jenner when the latter’s deployment came to an end. Smith claims that, on more than one occassion, he attempted to incite trade unionists to commit violent, criminal acts. In particular, Smith referred to an incident in which Neri encouraged trade unionists Frank Smith, Dan Gilman and Joe Batty to firebomb a charity shop he claimed was run by an Italian fascist. The activists refused to have anything to do with the plot.
Neri also had a long-term relationship with female activist Donna McClean and Smith believes he used the end of his relationship with McClean as an excuse to achieve closer contact with Steve Hedley. Claiming to be homeless after the split, Neri moved in with Hedley.
We accuse Carlo Neri of being an agent provocateur.
Peter Francis is another name famously linked to the Spy Cops scandal after he several times spoke publicly about his part in the espionage the State undertook of left-wing organisations. Smith noted that Francis has already admitted to spying on trade unionist Frank Smith and his then-girlfriend Lisa Teuscher, who was a leading figure in the campaign group Youth Against Racism in Europe and a migrant. Dave Smith linked Francis’ surveillance to the Home Office’s actions in removing Teuscher’s indefinite leave to remain. He noted that Teuscher, who has never worked in construction, had a blacklist file with TCA. He also pointed out that Frank Smith’s blacklist file “practically mirrors” the Special Branch file that Francis wrote.
The Cenotaph protest
in 1999, trade unionists Steve Hedley, Frank Smith and Dan Gilman attended a counter-demonstration at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday to protest the laying of a wreath by the National Front. The police has admitted to filing special branch files on the three men after their appearance at this event, Smith says, noting that this information appears on TCA’s blacklist “within days”, reported to have come from Costain, the main contacts for which Smith claimed had a relationship with special branch.