Random Reflections of a Domestic Extremist

Pain, betrayal and solidarity: A personal perspective

Posted in Uncategorized by emapple on 25/06/2013

I was lucky. I never had sex with any of the undercover cops or spies I’ve known. I’ve never fallen in love with them, never planned a future together, never thought they were “the one”. I can’t imagine the pain, the betrayal, the feeling of being “raped by the state” as one woman put it. I cannot put into words the respect I feel for all the people bringing the case against the cops, and the bravery of the women sacrificing their anonymity to fully describe the impact of what has happened to them.

However, I have loved them in different ways. I have let them into my life. I have respected, socialised and been on the streets with them. I’ve formed close friendships, shared intimate secrets. Some of them have met my family. Some held my baby and brought him presents. My therapist always asks where I feel the pain. Right now it is in my stomach, deep in my gut; utter painful sickness, vicious bile leaving a foul taste and hatred for all the bastards who have done to this to me and so many of my friends.

There is also sickness for what is yet to come. This isn’t the end, and so many of us are faced with the prospect of years of discovery or confirmation that friends and/or lovers were undercover. Not only is this is a painful thought, it’s an exhausting one as well – the thought of this never ending roller coaster of grief, of feeling as though someone close to you has died.

We all knew there were undercover cops amongst us, we all knew we were being spied on in one way or another.  However, I can’t stress how little difference this knowledge brings to finding out someone you were close to was spying on you, reporting on you, and betraying you.

I also can’t express how important it is these revelations are coming out, and the depth of the operation against so many people is being exposed. We need to know who these bastards were, and we need to get their names and faces into the public domain.  But it isn’t easy, and the psychological impact is massive.

A vast range of people have been deeply affected and traumatised by these revelations, ranging from the horrific spying and attempt to smear the Stephen Lawrence family, spying on groups exposing police brutality and corruption, animal rights groups, environmental groups, anti-war groups. The list goes on, but all were targeted because of their desire for social change.

I watched the Dispatches on undercover policing cuddling my old blue teddy bear. I won this bear in a raffle at school over thirty years ago. It was on a day when we had to watch a schools programme which always terrified me. I was so pleased to have won him, because it meant I could hide behind him during the show, he protected me, and as the Dispatches credits rolled, I knew I had to have him with me.

Admitting this, and reading it back feels weak and pathetic compared to the amazing strength of everyone who spoke out, but it’s important to get these feelings out in the open. It’s important to recognise the impact this has on people, to give these feelings credence, to own them.

Whilst I’m glad the ex police whistleblower has spoken out, it was grating to hear how easily he had accessed support for PTSD when I know how hard it’s been to get treatment as an activist. We have to take mental health issues seriously, we have to support one another, and devise our own structures to ensure this happens. Our strength is in our solidarity, and this is something they can never break.

5 Responses

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  1. […] Apple from FITwatch has written an intensely personal post on the effect of infiltrators forming close relationships with and then betraying targets like […]

  2. dropitintheocean said, on 26/06/2013 at 10:47 am

    Reblogged this on dropitintheocean.

  3. Peter Pannier said, on 26/06/2013 at 10:54 pm

    I’d read about Mark Stone, and reckoned I’d met that guy and spoken a few times to that guy who was in Brighton a bit and then Cardiff, but I somehow hadn’t heard about Helen Steel until I watched the documentary. If it wasn’t for Helen (and Dave, and the others in London Greenpeace, and of course McD’s stupid decision to do them for libel) I wouldn’t have got involved in politics/activism, most likely.

    Watching Helen talk about how hard it was to be able to trust people and make decent relationships after the crap the police put her through utterly made my heart break. I’ve never met Helen, but she is a hero. I cannot express the level of disgust I feel for the police and their masters for putting her and people like her through what they did. I will never forget, I will never forgive, I will never, ever, ever, trust a copper.

    I found your final sentence very moving too. I’ve personally been lucky (sometimes) with some activist friends who have given me good support when I have needed it. But ‘we’ are still largely failing at this. Along with working out ways to providing other basic needs of food and shelter, providing mental health and trauma support is going to be a key part of local campaigning based on mutual aid and solidarity as far as I’m concerned. It is crucial that we start the hard work around this as soon as possible.

    Thanks for your post and thanks for all your hard work on these issues (and don’t feel bad about the bear).

    With the utmost respect, and in solidarity,

    PP

  4. […] Jacqui describes the ordeal as being “raped by the state.”  There have also been powerful contributions from people who have unknowingly let undercover police officers into their personal […]

  5. Left for Dead said, on 19/10/2013 at 11:52 am

    […] [3] http://domesticextremist.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/pain-betrayal-and-solidarity-a-personal-perspectiv… […]


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