New evidence of the disturbing practices of private sector companies seeking ‘intelligence’ on protest organisations was revealed by documentary photographer and investigative journalist Marc Vallée at Sundays Netpol conference.
Speaking on the subject of Olympic policing, Marc Vallée told how he had been personally approached for information on protest groups by a private sector company specialising in risk analysis. The company, Exclusive Analysis, asked him to provide any information he had about direct action and protest groups, particularly the groups No Tar Sands, Rising Tide UK, Climate Camp and UKuncut.
Exclusive Analysis promotes themselves as “a specialist intelligence company that forecasts commercially relevant political and violent risks.” Their website claimed they work with a range of private sector and government clients, including intelligence and national security agencies.
Marc Vallée was approached by a Richard Bond, who stated he was an employee of Exclusive Analysis. He told Mr Vallée that Exclusive Analysis had a number of clients that ‘had interests in’ the Olympic games. Asked whether there was an Olympic context to the information they were after, Richard Bond replied, “We have followed these groups for a long time. Yes we are looking at them for the Olympics.”
Exclusive Analysis are one of a growing number of private sector organisations providing intelligence or vetting information to private sector companies on protest activity. One of the roles of Exclusive Analysis appears to be the provision of intelligence and information that enables private companies to better manage or control the ‘risks’ from political action.
The company website claimed that as well as dealing with global terrorism threats, “Our regional teams analyse data and risk indicators on other groups (from violent single-issue groups focused on animal rights, the environment and pro-life activism to politically motivated groups such as anarchists and the extreme right and extreme left.”
Find this story at 22 May 2012