Both the activist world and the mainstream media have been abuzz over the last few days with further revelations about the life and work of erstwhile cop and pretend climate protester Mark “Flash” Stone/Mark Kennedy. For those of you unaware of the saga, Mark was a policeman who worked undercover as an environmental activist between 2003 and 2009, at which point he was discovered and confronted. What has thrust the story into the public eye in the last 72 hours is the apparent change of heart Mark Kennestone has had, offering his services to the defence in the ongoing trial of activists who were mass arrested before a planned action against Ratcliffe-On-Soar power station - an arrest he helped make happen.
Activists have had a range of responses to the exposure of the traitor in our midst. This is understandable. As well as the political and legal implications, the movement must also think carefully about the effect his betrayal had on those who were closest to him, and who could still be very hurt by any further developments. However, over the last few days we have learned from the media that there is another, much overlooked human interest story in play here. What about Detective Mark Stone’s feelings? Shouldn't we as a movement do everything we can to care for the man's dented emotional well being? Indeed, considering the dramatic turn of events in the last few days, should we not ultimately feel grateful to have been part of Ken Flashedy's inspiring emotional journey?
Being an undercover policeman is a stressful line of work. Admittedly, it wasn’t as stressful for Flash Markstone as it would be for a snitch working amongst East End gangsters, the IRA or drug dealers, for all of whom the threat of a swift and merciless execution would be ever-present. Nor is it as stressful as actually being an activist, lying awake at night, wondering if you really have the strength and courage to change things, and whether those in power will succeed in ruining your life for trying. Still, it was probably really stressful. Day in, day out, living a lie, learning to hide your feelings, to fake your feelings, to forget which ones were really yours. Spending days and nights partying with people, laughing and chatting with them, getting close to them, gaining their trust, knowing the whole time you are betraying them. It must have been awful. And, at some point, Mark had a change of heart. Not the kind of change of heart where you give up your Government pay cheque, stop fucking over the people whom you’ve convinced you care about and actually take a stand. More the kind of change of heart where your actual behaviour doesn’t change in any way, in fact it gets worse, but you sort of feel bad about it secretly, then eventually make a minor, whiney, non-commital gesture, that costs you nothing long after the damage is done to make up for it. Considering what a remarkable turnaround this is, I think we, as a movement, should feel grateful to have been part of Ken Marky’s epic personal journey.
Of course, now that our former comrade has become our current comrade, there are a few things he should do for the movement in order to complete his quest for atonement. As a former undercover cop, Flash Stonedy has some pretty vital information about how insidious scumbags like him operate. Now is the time for Stoney Kennash to share that information with the world. I’m sure a lucrative public speaking career amongst private security firms, intelligence agencies and international police conferences is available to the former officer but, considering how bad he feels, I’m sure they will be of no interest. I'm also sure, considering the complex emotional journey the man has been on, selling his story to Max Clifford would be the last thing on his mind. Instead, I suggest he provides exactly those services, for no charge, to the international climate and anti-capitalist movements. After all, he’s on our side now.
Of course, Stash Koneddy might argue that his security could not be guaranteed at meetings of anarchists, greens and the broad left. I cannot argue with this. For some reason, there are a lot of people who want to kick his fucking head in. Luckily for him, and us, those expertise can be shared without him ever having to be in the same room as anyone who might wish him harm. Uploading his knowledge to blogs, writing articles for activist newspapers and making Youtube videos would all be excellent ways for Stark Mennedy to begin proving that his mumbled half apology and promise of help was more than yet another cynical lie crafted to protect himself at the expense of all around him. I look forward to it.