Assange & Manning Solidarity Activist had Emails Hacked by Special Branch

It has been confirmed by London lawyers that Assange & Manning solidarity activist and organiser Ciaron O’Reilly of the Catholic Worker and Ploughshares movements is one of ten people named by an anonymous whistleblower as having their email accounts illegally hacked by a secretive Scotland Yard unit working with Indian police and hackers.

Guardian: by Joshua Robertson – 
Australian anti-war activist ‘among victims of alleged UK police hacking’

The whistleblower’s letter sent to Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones stated: For a number of years the unit had been illegally accessing the email accounts of activists. This has largely been accomplished because of the contact that one of the officers had developed with counterparts in India who in turn were using hackers to obtain email passwords.

Guardian: by Rob Evans –  Watchdog investigates claim that secretive unit worked with Indian police to obtain campaigners’ passwords
Met police accused of using hackers to access protesters’ emails

The whistleblower’s letter lists ten individuals including O’Reilly, alongside specific passwords that they used to access their email accounts. Jones said: There is more than enough to justify a full-scale criminal investigation into the activities of these police officers and referral to a public inquiry. I have urged the Independent Police Complaints Commission to act quickly to secure further evidence and to find out how many people were victims of this nasty practice.

This revelation comes at a time when the national domestic extremism and disorder intelligence unit is already being investigated by the IPCC.  It is alleged that the unit shredded numerous documents during May 2014 despite an explicit instruction that files should be preserved for examination by the judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing.  It has been claimed that “the main reason for destroying these documents is that they reveal that officers were engaged in illegal activities to obtain intelligence on protest groups.

Inquiry into Met Police file shredding claims – BBC News
IPCC investigating claims documents were destroyed after a probe into undercover policing began

In 1996, Ciaron O’Reilly founded a Catholic Worker community in Liverpool, offering hospitality to East Timorese refugees in the wake of the acquittal of the defendants in the Seeds of Hope Ploughshares trial. These activists had disabled a British Aerospace war plane bound for Indonesia where it would have been used by the Suharto regime against the people of East Timor.  O’Reilly states: “There was an immediate attempt to infiltrate the Liverpool Catholic Worker by the Lancashire Special Branch who attempted to recruit a retired police officer Janet Lovelace to attend our meetings and activities and report back. Janet had the integrity to expose this move.”

True Spies Episode 3BBC 10 November 2002:  It could happen to you

O’Reilly continues: “Over the next few years we were successfully infiltrated by a former soldier operating under the pseudonym of ‘Alan Fossey’, who we now understand to have previously served with the notorious 14 Company in Northern Ireland.”

Background: WikiSpooks

The Liverpool Catholic Worker house was a dynamic hub for sustained nonviolent action against British Aerospace and its arms sales to dictatorships. This development was perceived as a major threat by British Aerospace, whose agent Fossey went on to play a significant role in closing the community down. The same group was running six agents in the Campaign Against the Arms Trade at the time.

Background: Spinwatch

In 2000, O’Reilly co-founded the London Catholic Worker which formed in support of the then imprisoned Jubilee Ploughshares activists. In 2010, he returned to London to co-found Giuseppe Conlon House, offering hospitality to destitute refugees from war zones around the world and seeking asylum in the capital.  This also became became a significant hub organising support for the persecuted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the imprisoned U.S. military whistleblower Chelsea Manning. 

ciaron speakers corner

O’Reilly stated, “It is my belief we were infiltrated from the outset at Giuseppe Conlon House, not this time by a professional from the security forces but rather by a former activist who had been compromised and turned by the authorities. I don’t think it is coincidental that we were the only dynamic hub in London providing street solidarity for Julian Assange. We engaged in this work from 2010 until 2013 and were once again neutralised. I am hopeful that the broader ongoing ‘Undercover Policing Inquiry’ will reveal the specifics of how our efforts to offer solidarity to these most heroic people of our time was undermined.”

Background: Undercover Policing Inquiry

“Does it surprise me that Special Branch hacked my email account and compromised my privacy? We named our house after the innocent Giuseppe Conlon who was tortured, framed and died in prison due to the deliberate actions of Special Branch. I knew the late Gerry Conlon personally and had some sense of what he went through at the hands of a corrupt Special Branch.

Background: RIP Gerard Conlon

“I’ve met members of the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the Maguire family – all of whom had their lives blighted and in many cases destroyed by these unaccountable undercover officers and a complicit British Government.  The Special Branch exists to protect the rich and powerful from those who are seeking an end to oppression and injustice. They have no respect for the privacy of the individual and fear transparency for the state and its agents, including themselves. 

“Surprised ? N
o!  Outraged? Constantly!”

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