described the premises: “It looked like a social centre. We were in a room where concerts sometimes took place.” Nothing secretive about it: all the debates are advertised on posters and on the alternative Website Indymedia. “It was rather open, said our witness, nothing like a clandestine black bloc.” Among the anti-globalization crowd, there were activists from the Dissent! Network and Die Linke (the equivalent of the German Left Party) supporters, who happened to be five people from the “Tarnac group. The strategies relative to the different ways to protest against the G8 summit differed. “Since Seattle and Genoa, we always have this same debate: should we go near the red zone, block access routes to the summit, or do something else?” European police forces, who were accustomed to handling summits each year, had reinforced their security measures. It had become increasingly difficult for militants to come close to the scene, so the five French people from Tarnac came up with a plan B: burst in Hamburg or in Berlin by surprise, far from the summit, where the police have not been deployed as a precautionary measure. In the room, Mark Stone, who had come with English environmental activists, was listening.
“Our only link with Poland is this meeting.”
A year later, in June 2008, the RG administration handed in to the Minister of the Interior a confidential defence report (published in March 2012 by Mediapart) entitled “From the anti-CPE protest movement to the creation of a pre-terrorist international network: a glance on the French and European ultra-left groups”. In
this report, three people from the Tarnac group are mentioned, in black
and white, as having participated in the Warsaw meeting. The document
refers to them as the “first circle” of an “informal ultra-left group of
an autonomous type”, whose members were preparing violent actions
At the same time, the French police called for the opening of a
preliminary investigation into the Tarnac group. In their application to
the prosecutor, the policemen expressed their concern about the
“anarcho-autonomous circles’ international meetings”, and as a first
example, cited Poland.
For the indicted people from Tarnac, Mark Stone has told the French
police they would be in Warsaw, that’s for sure. One of them explained:“The
beginning of the police investigation had been based on our alleged
relations with foreign groups. Our only link with Poland is this
meeting, to which Stone attended. Other informants might have told the
police we were in Poland, but this has happened repeatedly: every time
we met Stone, pieces of information about us ended up in police files.” And he can remember the undercover cop:“You
just had to see him once to remember his face. He had a squint, he was a
little older than most participants, and spoke English amongst Germans
“He had chosen to live with us, he could not be detected!”
Joel*, a French activist from the Dissent! Network, who played an
active role in the organization of counter-summits, attended the meeting
in Warsaw, and spotted Stone there, for he had already met him during
the preparation of the Gleneagles counter-summit in 2005.
“I thought Mark was one of the people who had created Dissent! in
England. I met him in a squat that he and some of his friends had
opened up in London. I have never really talked to him ; he wasn’t easy
to approach : he was very “British”, he kept to himself.”
When he was exposed four years later, in 2010, Joel could not believe it. “To
avoid being infiltrated, it is said that one must know people quite
well. But he had chosen to live like us, had stayed with us for years,
he could not be detected! No one had raised any doubt about him.”
Undetectable and undetected; Mark Stone had made his nest in various
small circles of activists who thought they were cautious enough. In
January 2008, a year after the meeting in Warsaw, he was in the office
of a New Yorker activist woman in Manhattan, with a friend of his, an
American anarchist who lived in England. Another American guy, a
Japanese man living in the U.S. and two French people – Julien Coupat
and his partner Yldune Levy, who were on vacation in New York – joined
them. The only person they knew was Mark’s American friend, who had
invited them to hang out with he and his friends.
“They are mates of mates from different countries, who obviously
share common interests, meet in a place and discuss for a few hours,
everyone does that”, explained a close friend of Julian Coupat What memories do they all keep from Mark Stone ? “With his tattoos and piercings, he looked normal, like a fish in water”, said one of them.
According to this witness, the undercover cop had explained that he had come to New York “to see his brother”. During the meeting, Julien Coupat jot down a few notes in his notebook, and especially scribbled the name: “Mark”.
A few days later, Julien Coupat and Yldune Levy returned to France; they
crossed the United States / Canada border illegally, into the wild, far
from the customs. Why? To enter the United States, they were required
to possess a biometric passport, and therefore provide fingerprints. As
they refused to do so, they passed through Canada, where fingerprinting
was not required, by crossing the border through the woods.
During the outward trip, no problem. During the return one, some of
their American comrades drove them as close as possible to the border,
then let them cross the border on foot and picked them up on the
Canadian side. But before they could meet, they were controlled by
Canadian policemen who found Julien Coupat’s backpack, with his driver’s
license, his notebook and a few pictures of Times Square. Understanding
that the French man had probably crossed the border illegally, the
Canadian policemen seized his luggage (which he will get back later).
So who told the RG about the presence of the two French people in Manhattan ?
Four months later, in France, the Sdat (Sous-division antiterroriste /
Subdivision anti-terrorist police) requested that the prosecutor open a
preliminary investigation into the Tarnac group, whose members had not
been arrested yet. The anti-terrorist police substantiated its request
by portraying a “clandestine anarcho-autonomous structure
maintaining conspiratorial relationships with foreign activists who
share the same ideologies”.
To prove it, the police mentioned Julien Coupat’s and Yldune Levy’s
trip to the U.S, their smuggling through the border and their
participation in a “gathering of American anarchists in New York”.
They also cited an incendiary device thrown against a U.S. Army
recruitment centre in Times Square. The police never found out who was
guilty. However, the American police discarded the participation of
French people in the attack, since they had already left the United
In their letter to the prosecutor, the Sdat officers maintained that
the RG had provided them with these pieces of information. So who told
the RG about these two French people who attended an anarchist meeting
in Manhattan? The indicted people confirmed that their suspicions had
fallen on Mark. One of them added: “The Americans who attended this
meeting have been harassed by the police, so they cannot be the ones who
notified the French police. Which leaves us with the Japanese activist
and Stone. Given what we know about him now, I infer that Stone was the
At the right place and time. During the summer 2008, three months
before they were arrested, some inhabitants of Tarnac saw the arrival of
two visitors in their farm. It was Mark Stone and his American mate,
the one who was with him in New York. A friendly visit – militant
“During the summer, plenty of people visit Tarnac, explained someone
who lived in the farm “du Goutailloux”, which has been turned into a
place of rendezvous and a congregate housing, visitors come and go, stay
for two days or two weeks. They sleep in tents or at people’s places.
If there is some work to be done, some volunteers participate, others
swim, read, cook, walk, or watch movies. Stone has stayed there, just
like hundreds of people over the past few years. I don’t remember
anything about him, except that he was there. He was not a mate, and he
was never clinging on to us.”
“Once again, Stone was among us and the police received a piece of information”
In the end of July, Mark Stone was camping in Tarnac. In Paris, an anti-terrorist policeman drew up an official report:
“The present day, [we] are notified, by a source who requested
anonymity, that a key member of the anarcho-autonomous movement, of
Italian origin and active at European level, is likely to go, on the
30th of July, 2008, in mid-afternoon, from Paris to the train station in
Limoges (Haute-Vienne), and be received there in order to meet the
designated Julien Coupat.”
This Italian man, whom the police considers as a “key member of the
movement”, is called Marcello Tari. He is an independent researcher, and
the author of a book (which was published in France) about the Italian autonomous movement in the 70′s.
Our witness from Tarnac does not think this is a coincidence : “Once
again, Stone was with us and the police received a piece of
information. The other activists who stayed in the farm did not attract
the informant’s attention, but Marcello Tari did. Tari was at the same
G8 than Stone, who may have spotted him at the time: like Stone, Tari is
a little older than average.”
What were the links between Mark Stone and the DCRI (Central Directorate
of Internal Intelligence, following the merger of the RG and the DST)?
In February 2011, The French magazine L’Express published a new piece of
information about Stone’s activities in France. Throughout a short
article, the magazine argued that he had informed the French police about the case of Tarnac: “It is partly thanks to him that the DCRI was able to reconstruct Coupat’s travels abroad.” No word added.
A month earlier, Stone had given a hint to the British newspaper The Daily Mail: “I would never have been abroad without my superiors’ and the local police’s consent.”
His explanations were consistent with those from the English police inspection report released in February 2012. According to the report, “Mark
Kennedy visited or served in eleven countries, including fourteen
visits to Scotland, on more than forty occasions. The National Public
Order Intelligence Unit (accountable for Stone – editor’s note) used to
conclude agreements with host countries regarding Mark Kennedy’s travels
A few days after the report was submitted, the Home Office (equivalent of the Interior Ministry) developed: “All
of Mark Kennedy’s movements were authorized by the United Kingdom, with
the agreement of the States concerned and the support from the host
nation. (…) The travel authorization was negotiated and facilitated
by the appropriate network of liaison officers.” Host country
agreement, that is to say from France and its authorities. It will be
hard to find out more.
At Scotland Yard, in London, no one wanted to tell us anything: “We
do not share information about undercover officers, whether they are
still on a mission or not.” In Paris, the DCRI refused to answer our
questions. When we contacted Stone in September 2011, he said he was
ready to testify: He answered us by email: “I might want to meet you and talk about your article.” But ultimately, he never followed up.
“A foreign undercover cop is more trustworthy than a snitch”
A police lieutenant, who requested to remain anonymous, told us about
Mark Stone’s collaboration with the DCRI. He explained that a French
officer in charge of the anti-globalisation movements and
counter-summits, within the Dissent and Violence Unit of the RG,
processed the information Stone provided.
Our source added that in early 2007, the officer showed his
colleagues the photograph of a man posing in front of a tent, and
described him as an undercover English detective with whom he worked.
His colleagues were happy to learn about it: “A foreign undercover officer is a source of high quality“, said the lieutenant, “more
trustworthy than a snitch: he is not afraid to betray his friends, he
goes wherever he is asked to go and focuses on whatever he is asked to
focus on.” According to the police, Mark Stone had two ways to inform the French officers.
“Either he met with an officer from the Intelligence Processing
Unit, who passed off his information to the Dissent and Violence Unit,
or he sent his reports to his superiors in England, who themselves
transmitted useful pieces of information to France through the
International Relations Division of the RG.”
Some information suggest that Stone would also have informed the DST
(Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire / Directorate of Territorial
Surveillance), and this time, the man who maintained that was a senior
official of the interior ministry of the time, who closely followed the
case of Tarnac.
“A DST officer told me that Mark Stone informed them. According to
him, the British secret services warned the DST that their officer was
working on French territory. As a courtesy, they asked the DST if they
wanted to use his information. A French desk officer from the
counter-terrorism branch was assigned to him. He briefed him on a
What was Stone talking about to the French officer ?
“According to my contact at the DST, Stone was seen as a brilliant
expert in the field of European ultra-left movements. For the French
services, since 2005 or so, these movements constitute a new kind of
terrorist threat, and with regard to terrorism, there is no
At the time, any information about the Tarnac activists’ trips abroad
had the potential to strengthen the suspicion of a violent and extremist
“In 2008, the DCRI needed a founding act to prove they were
efficient in the field of counter-terrorism. Alain Bauer and Michele
Alliot-Marie had concurred with the possibility of a far-left attack on
French soil. The case of Tarnac provided them with the opportunity they
were looking for to strike a great blow.”
“A serious breach of fair trial standards”
For William Bourdon, one of the Tarnac group’s lawyers, Mark Stone’s contribution to the French investigation is problematic.
“If it turned out to be true, this would be as serious as the telephone tapping carried out in Tarnacbefore
the legal proceedings. The way the police obtains evidence should be
supervised. The notion of terrorism is misguided in order to obtain
pieces of evidence that couldn’t be used in the context of other cases.
Intelligence agencies probably have a dossier that is much thicker than
the legal file, but it was not disclosed to the defence lawyers. This is
a serious breach of fair trial standards.”
In 2010, after the indictments in the case of SNCF, Stone kept on
hanging out with the Tarnac crowd’s close friends. He spent several days
in Germany at an anti-nuclear activist’s place, who was suspected of
having committed acts of sabotage on the railway tracks in her country
several years earlier, and knew Julien Coupat. Thierry Fragnoli, the
investigating judge, was already interested in the Tarnac group’s links
with German activists.
In the end of 2010, Stone sent an email to the American anarchist who
had put him in contact with the French group. According to one of the
people indicted in the case of Tarnac, Stone questioned his friend about
the French group’s projects concerning the G8 in Deauville, which was
to take place in May 2011. The American man, who does not want to hear
about this story any more, never had the chance to reply: a few days
later, Mark Stone was unmasked.
In the other European countries where Stone worked, the affair
sparked off a scandal. In England, his role as an agent provocateur,
which had been established by the courts, caused the cancellation of two
activists’ trials. The English police underwent eight different
investigations about Stone / Kennedy, bringing about reforms which
affected the organisation of the units.
Since the policeman was accused of having been involved in sex and love
affairs with some activists, unbeknownst to his superiors, this subject
is all the more sensitive. “Something went very wrong”, said the British
Home Secretary. Not to mention that by giving rise to distrust among
activists and journalists, the case of Kennedy allowed them to expose
eight other undercover police officers in extreme left circles.
Germany, Ireland, Iceland
In Germany, a country where Stone used to live for long periods with
anti-fascist and anarchists activists, the parliamentary Left peppered
the government with questions: Did they know about it? Had Stone broken
the law? Was he backed up by the police? The government refused to
answer the MP’s questions.
On the 26th of January, 2011, the British newspaper The Guardian revealed – and was not disproved
– the contents of a camera meeting at the Bundestag. Jörg Ziercke, the
head of the Federal Police, said Stone was invited to Germany to
infiltrate the anti-fascist movement. Between 2004 and 2009, he worked
under contract for three Landers, during a total of five visits. The
English agent has committed at least two felonies, including arson, but
the charges were dropped. The head of the German police explained: “The
police can only strike at organized and conspiratorial international
networks by acting at global level in a conspiratorial way.”
In Ireland, a Senior Labour asked five times the Minister of Justice
to clarify the agent’s activities on Irish territory. Along with other
activists, Stone allegedly attacked Irish policemen during an EU summit
Finally in Iceland, the Minister of the Interior opened an inquiry.
Stone had allegedly established contacts between activists and taught
them nonviolent resistance and road-blocking techniques. The case
sparked parliamentary debates, brought into question police
investigations or led to new trials all over the world. Except in France
– though Stone had attended three preparatory meetings for the NATO
counter-summit in Strasbourg in 2009. And no one wonders if back there,
as in other European cities, the undercover British agent has encouraged
Translation: Élodie Chatelais