Undercover UK cops infiltrated environmental groups, seduced women in the groups, fathered children with them, abandoned them

Undercover police agents in the UK infiltrated environmental groups, had sex with their members, struck up long-term relationships with women in these groups, fathered children with these women, and then abandoned the children.

Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring, the Guardian can reveal.

In both cases, the children have grown up not knowing that their biological fathers – whom they have not seen in decades – were police officers who had adopted fake identities to infiltrate activist groups. Both men have concealed their true identities from the children's mothers for many years.

Good thing the police were there, though. Who knows what kind of unethical behaviour an environmentalist might be getting up to.

Undercover police had children with activists


    1. No only if your pretending to be someone your not i.e. the husband or even the wife of someone else and your trick the other partner into sex that way.If you lie about yourself that’s not rape.What they can be charged with is having inappropriate behaviour i.e. sex while on duty as they are working while investigating the group also if they disappeared before the kids tuned sixteen they can be sued for back child maintenance i think, not sure about it here in the uk.Still as they where on an official case they should be punished for there behaviour while working for the public as undercover police officers.

      1. It’s a general principle of law that bad faith on the part of one party nullifies consent. 

        1. In principle I agree with you, but as a general rule that doesn’t make any sense. If a man pretends he is richer than he truly is before having sex with someone, should that count as “rape?” If a man claims he’s friends with a famous rockstar before having sex with someone, should that count as “rape?” If a man uses rogaine to hide his bald spot before having sex with someone, should that count as “rape?”

          I think making the hyperbolic claim that this is “rape” just gets us into these kinds of discussions, and ignores the true grossness of what they did.

      1. Yep – darkjaysom is right, generally. There isn’t a whole lot of caselaw on it, but generally if the person consents to the act itself *as intercourse* it’s not rape, regardless of the lies that may have been told up to that point. The most memorable cases (that I think every law student covers) are ones where a man pretends to be a doctor, and falsely diagnoses the victim with a disease the only treatment for which is intercourse with him. This has been found not to be rape, only “fraud in the inducement”. Now if a man pretends to be a doctor (or is a doctor, for that matter) and prescribes a treatment of something that is not intercourse but he has intercourse with the patient without her consent (e.g. saying he will insert a tool in the woman’s vagina to cure the disease, but neglects to mention that the tool is his penis) that would be considered rape.

        It’s a pretty messed up law, and I personally think that this level of egregious misrepresentation should qualify as rape, but obviously there are a number of problems with trying to define what exactly “rape by fraud” is – if a person lies about their age, where they went to school or their income, is that rape by fraud? What about if they lie about their marital status? In this case, it could be said the officers were only lying about what their job was, and perhaps whether they were really interested in having sex or a longer term relationship at all. Which is not any different than what happens a thousand times a night in pubs across London.

        1. There was a strange case in Scotland recently of a woman being remanded into custody accused of obtaining sex by fraud because she tricked two women into thinking she was a man. (They don’t go into details of methods, but in one case the sex occurred over many years.)

          I was actually shocked that this would be considered a crime, and that she wouldn’t even be granted bail. I mean, if this was a woman choosing to live as a man, should she be obliged to tell anyone that? The charges were later dropped. [I’m basing my comments solely on these two articles, so for all I know there may be a lot more to this story than I understand.]

        2. With all respect, your explanation or analysis above is one of the very reasons most people shut down when it comes to trying to understand issues…after attorneys get through with it, nobody can comprehend it. As Bill Clinton said, “It all depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

  1. While not seeking to diminish the worrying nature of this particular story, does anyone else find that BoingBoing has an anti-police slant to its editorial?

    I realise that reporting on abuses of power is a big and important part of BoingBoing, and long may it remain so, but you would think from this site that all police officers were:

    Given to abusing their own authority
    Clueless about the laws they enforce
    Opposed to personal freedom

    They can’t ALL be like that, surely? There must be some BB-worthy stories out there about police that cast them in a slightly more positive light?

    1. Their job is to be seen in a positive light… ‘Serve and Protect’, right? When they deviate from that societal mandate, shine the harsh light of public opinion on them.

    2. When the police do their jobs, that’s what they’re paid for. When they do stuff like this, it’s what they’re paid to stop. The first isn’t a story. The second is.

    3. Do you ever find that police all too often has an anti-people position? 
      If so, shouldn’t that be talked about? 
      But few others do, so bOINGbOING shouldn’t? 

      1. I can recall one other widely reported incident of a cop stopping a guy on a motorcycle who was openly carrying a sidearm, who was the epitome of professionalism despite the biker being a wee bit snooty. But there aren’t too many examples.
        As others have said they are paid to protect the public and if they do their job well it generally isn’t media worthy but when they act like the tool of oppressors it is well deserving of derision.

    4. The police in aggregate can stop breaking the law and/or behaving unethically (if not actually illegally) and stop mistreating the citizens they are paid to serve any time now, and BoingBoing and the rest of the media won’t have any negative reporting to do about police.

      Yes, there are good cops doing good things; BB has made mention where Occupy actions were actually supported by police. When the police joined the union side during the Wisconsin union/Walker debacle last year, BB featured this fact very prominently.

      However, when the day’s news is that police pepper sprayed a bunch of unarmed peaceful protesting students on a college campus, or they shot a black guy in the back for no apparent reason, or they decided to beat the shit out of unarmed nonviolent people at Occupy Wall Street, or they covered their identification while on duty at an Occupy protest (with or without beating up unarmed nonviolent citizens — noticing a pattern?), well… you work with what you have.

    5.  Agreed. The snotty “Good thing the police were there, though. Who knows what kind of unethical behaviour an environmentalist might be getting up to” is typical armchair commentary without knowing how some militant activist groups may be.

      1. Except that they weren’t. IIRC this lot shut down a few industrial plants for a few days, nothing exciting by any stretch of the imagination. 

        It’s not just a low-down dirty bit of policing, it’s a low-down dirty bit of rubbish policing.  Ineffective, prejudicial, expensive.  Less of this please, cops. 

        1. Yes, not all protest groups are bad. Some are blowing up cars and the like – so I guess the police needs to investigate.

          Making women pregnant – well, that’s not defensible!

          Also I mostly objected to the snotiness at the end of the article, like the police are all scum balls – and replied to 5onthe5’s comment regarding that.

          Because everything is great in hindsight. If things had been different the Americans could have been posting a decade ago: “Good thing the police were there, though. Who knows what kind of unethical behaviour people learning to fly a plane might be getting up to.”

          1.  Police fathering then abandoning children during an undercover investigation?

             Unfit to serve.

             Police who cover for such heinous malfeasance by their bros in blue?

             Yeah, they’re unfit to serve too.

            Good job bringing 9-11 into the discussion though… next time can you work in child porn and illegal downloading?

          2. What’s that saying?

            “The guy who suggests the plan and offers the explosives is the cop.”

            Most protest groups have ethical objections to violence. After all, our ethical objections to violence lead us to object to the ruling system.

            But even those which might not have ethical objections will have practical ones, such as trying to avoid being set up.

            Look at the history of Cointelpro and its successors.

      2. They have to lump all sorts of disparate groups together to create an amorphous threat justifying random legislation and acts of suppression.

          1. There is no conscious plot but all security services have the problem of both attempting to prevent real threats and justifying their own existence. Plenty of room for paranoia there I think.

          2. Well. There’s pre-emptive work and reactionary work.

            The key thing is in that pre-emptive work acting responsibly. Impregnating women not responsible.

    6. Yeah! Like offbeat cute enforcement stuff.  New Girl meets Cops for OccupyThursdays on FOX.  It’s Jess!  

    7. The more I read and watch about police on Boingboing, the more convinced I am by anarchist arguments. That said, I don’t think BB is misrepresenting or overemphasizing the crimes and abuses of police.

    8. The police get to enforce States’ abuse of others’ authority too, practicing medicine often enough. bOING^2 has fewer hero police stories than FARK, but that helps that cause; you are not impressed into thinking the police will look heroic at every first-blush account.

      Likewise stories about sex with environmentalists who turn around hung up on St. Thomas Aquinas’s ‘pro-life’ recidivism are rare here. If the agents were women, this would be 3 stories and their units KO’d by liability claims.

    9. Tell you what, you get your students to find all the good cop stories they can find, submit it to BB, and maybe we’ll see what stacks up. Fair?

    10.  I recommend that you open your own successful and widely read blog, and then distract people from discussing abuses of power over there. Give ’em some competition, amirite?

  2. Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring

    Thats the worst part for me.

  3. The coppers got away with it because they were granted secret identities. 

    Now I’m wondering if say, they had truly been in love with their targets, maybe even turned eco-friendly themselves from exposure to information, would they have been allowed to raise their love-children?  Would their superiors permit them to blow the undercover operation? 

  4. Actually, I think the story end up just fine for the kids and their mothers.

    Consider this. A person has to be stone-cold, emotionally dead inside to father children and then just walk away from it as if it never happened. I mean sub-zero, emotionally shut-off. No feelings whatsoever.

    Is that the sort of person who would make a good father? I don’t think so.

    1. Psychopaths, is what my wife immediately identified them as. Their behaviour is sick, and they definitely shouldn’t be allowed contact with their kids, but I’m all for having them pay child support.

    2. Okay, to a degree, but surely the point is instead that the mothers never should have been subjected to such scumbaggy power-abuse in the first place.

    3. I hate how correct you are. And you really are. This would have been better handled if the gov’t had somehow managed to let these families each win a lottery of some sort and just be handed the kind of compensation they deserve, without ever learning how HAD they were.

    1.  Another comment by someone who’s not read 1984 clearly.

      Next you’ll be talking about a “nanny state”.

      1. 1984 is hyperbole, sure, but have you checked out a children’s playground recently? It’s the same in North America too.

  5. I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been police who have done that in other countries as well.  Personally I cannot imagine not being in my children’s lives, but perhaps in some cases it would be for the best.

    I hope there is a lawsuit in the making with this story.

    1. It brings to (my) mind white slaveowners who fathered “black” children and then sold them. You have to really dehumanize an Other for that to happen, and it seems to have happened again in this case.

      1. Except of course, the fathers in this case work for the crown, which just adds a whole other level… and in a way explains a lot. 

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was unofficially a strategy to further disrupt the group.  I mean, they’re already lying to infiltrate it… how disruptive would it be for these women to be active while singlehandedly raising fatherless children?

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if you denied your misogynistic reasoning had anything to do with your own views on women.

      1. suggesting that having the father of your child disappear on you might disrupt the rest of your life is misogynistic?  parenting a newborn is hard enough when both parents are involved, I can’t imagine single parenthood leaves time for much else regardless of the gender of the parent.

      2. I think you’re barking up the wrong tree here, bro. A single woman has far more free time and resources than a single mother; flip the genders and this sentence is still true.

        autark is speculating that this might’ve been an intentional move of disruption. Kind of the long tail version of being an undercover instigator/agitator. I’m not sure how this is mysoginistic. Pessimistic, perhaps.

        1. this story seems to be hitting close to home for a few people in this thread. Surprisingly illogical distractions for a BB thread. I think that’s what we see above?

  7. Is this the same case where police claimed these environmentalist have so much sex with each other, promiscuity is part of the cover, so they just HAD to have sex with these women? I wonder how they might try to excuse fathering children? “All the cool kids were making babies… I HAD to make a baby so they’d think I was cool too!”

    If people would just elect the green party to power like responsible earthlings, the police could take over for the environmentalist activists and start surveillance on the people who deserve it. And these problems wouldn’t come up? I dunno, maybe industrialists are sex freaks too.

    1. I don’t know if it’s the same case, but I first read about that scenario here http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/sex-in-the-environmental-movement-is-everywhere-according-to-undercover-cops.html

      Apparantly, they claim not having sex would be suspicious. And moreover, it’s an easy way to get information out of people. You know, because getting information out of environmentalist groups at all costs is clearly the highest priority for police operations.

  8. You know what those radical liberals say: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Apparently a fatherless village.

    I wish there was some term we could use for these babies, created as a sort of sacrifice in the war against ecoterrorists. Something as short and pithy as “anchor babies.”

  9. Regarding anti-police bias…

    Certainly there are “good cops” and “bad cops.” There is truth to almost all the boilerplate responses trundled out when someone disparages the police. What seldom is acknowledged is that jobs like policing carry a great deal of power, and such jobs appeal strongly to people who like being in power and enjoy misusing it. I recall when a cousin, working his way up through the sheriff’s department, told me how eager he was to start his assignment at the county jail so he could “get in a few good fights.”

    Media here in the US still project the homey fantasy of cops from the early 20th century: good old Officer Clancy, who lives just up the block, giving the boisterous lads the benefit of the doubt but ready to dispense a little nightstick medicine should someone step too far out of line.

    Today police forces in our cities have become huge armies with the firepower of a small country and little if any accountability to their subjects. Officers seldom live anywhere near the areas they police. They rarely share the daily lives of the communities over whom they hold the power of life and death. This ignorance combined with a disposition toward pushing people around gives a cop the idea that he has the right to do whatever he pleases because he’s the cop.

  10. This fiasco started in the 1980s, meaning that it was put into effect under Thatcher. 

    While no less reprehensible, it does fit better with the mentality of the times of the Iron Lady in a country struggling with economic and social decay, as well as a constant fear of waking up to a nuclear apocalypse. When every problem looks like a nail, all you want to use is a hammer. Hence environmentalists are just as big a threat as communist soldiers, and there is nothing that is too terrible an act to undertake so long as it protects the country.

    History catches up with us. When we are dispicable, the world eventually learns of it.

  11. Thought I’d throw something into the mix. I had a client who was an undercover cop in his early 20s for one year, it was his first assignment. He was big time into drugs and alcohol as part of the work, and it really fucked him up. It cost him his first marriage and led to a few decades of alcohol abuse. I saw him in his 60s and the scars remained. It was a combination of poor training, poor supervision, and no support when his assignment ended. He certainly looked like a victim of the police service, rather than a perpetrator.

      1. I’m going to disagree with you on the basis that if his job required him to get heavily into drugs and alcohol, and the result was decades of alcoholism that ruined a significant portion of his life, his employer has a responsibility to at least try to help him recover (assuming he actually informed them that because of his assignment he’d gotten hooked on the bottle). However, we don’t know enough of the details about if he tried to get help from work or if he kept it a secret and just suffered, or what.

        1. Yeah, except he took the job. He chose to fuck and impregnate women who believed he was someone else.

          AT SOME POINT responsibility belongs to the person agreeing to do the inhuman thing, right?

          evil is the rounding error, between right and best, if you see my meaning.

          1. Uhhh…  mdhatter03, apoxia is relating an anecdote about a man who was put in an undercover position for a year and as part of his cover had to go deep into alcohol and drug abuse… and once the assignment ended, he remained an alcoholic for decades without support from his employer. We’re not talking about the subject of the original BB news post (the UK officers who fathered children while working undercover and then disappeared from their lives) here.

            I’m not defending those festering pustules one bit, but we’re not talking about them.

      2. I disagree. His choice was based upon trust that he was both helping society and that the service would give him the support he needed. It is much more plausible that his choice was ill-informed, that his supers actually lied to him, tricked him into taking the undercover assignment. Remember, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that we began to hear about how stressful undercover work is and the long term damage it causes to those that do it, and training still is woefully inadequate.

        Remember, a lot of undercover cops end up having to do the same drugs as those they have infiltrated, or else their cover is at risk of being blown. So he took choices that saved his immediate life, but he is still paying for it forty years later.

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