Simon Wellings (alias)
Simon C. Wellings is the alias of an undercover police officer who infiltrated anti-globalisation group 'Globalise Resistance' in the early 2000s. He was exposed when he accidentally caused a debriefing session with his police handlers to be caught in a recording on a telephone answering machine.
Much of the material on his background comes from Guy Taylor, an activist who knew Simon through Globalise Resistance.
- This page is a work in process and we welcome additions and corrections We are particularly keen to receive confirmation whether Wellings was present at various Globalise Resistance protests (see section 7). Contact us here, PGP available on request.
- 1 Background & Personality
- 2 Target: Globalise Resistance
- 3 Protest activities
- 3.1 2002: World Economic Forum, New York
- 3.2 2002: Seville EU Summit
- 3.3 2002: Ariel Sharon protest, London
- 3.4 2002: Palestine demonstration at Selfridges
- 3.5 2003: 15 February Stop the War global protest
- 3.6 2003: DSEi
- 3.7 2003: Evian G8
- 3.8 2003: George Bush protests
- 3.9 2004: Aldermaston
- 3.10 2005: G8 Summit organisation
- 4 Globalise Resistance Steering Committee
- 5 Exposure
- 6 Police oversight
- 7 Undercover Policing Inquiry
- 8 Notes
Background & Personality
Simon turned up out of nowhere in 2001 / 2002. His accent was southern English and he presented a story of having just been deported from Australia for overstaying his visa, but that he had a child there. Speaking to the press, Guy Taylor said, 'he didn't have much of a back story. We never met any of his friends of his family.' He was a practical dresser rather than going for stylish outfits. He was described by Guy Taylor as 'not the sort of bloke who would naturally stick in your mind'.
He was keen, generally available and flexible, ready to help out. The fact that he also had a car which he was willing to use, further endeared him to those he was targeting. Guy Taylor described him as a 'caring, empathic bloke. He was gentle and someone you could confide in - and people did. You could turn to him to moan or let off steam.' He soon became friendly with activists, and was very interested in gossip, including that related to the Socialist Workers Party. After Globalise Resistance steering committee meetings, it was usual for members to go for a drink afterwards and Simon would always be there. However, he did not get particularly drunk.
He was generally quiet when it came to discussions around things in his circles, shying away from political debates around Palestine or the anti-capitalist movements. He would become more lively when it came to marches or direct action; seemingly the more provocative or confrontational an idea was, the better.
Like other undercover officers, Simon had a good phone and up-to-date gadgets, such as his Discman. He rapidly became the unofficial photographer for the group, though as was noted, he had many photos of other members, but they had few of him. He was generally reluctant to be photographed.
Simon said he worked installing security systems, particularly turnstiles and swipe card set-ups. As a result he would be away on contracts for set amounts of time.
'J' who also encountered Wellings at Globalise Resistance, met him a number of times recalled him as a chummy, friendly bloke who mainly came to meetings. He did not try to push the group into carrying out radical / illegal activities, but seemed to be mainly about intelligence gathering. However, he did feel at the time there was something out of place about him. There was a bit of a joke that he was a plant of some kind and a little suspicion, mainly based on both his background story and politics being vague, but there was no evidence to back it up.
Simon is not known to have been in any relationships while undercover, though he was constantly bemoaning the fact that he could not get a girlfriend. He did on occasion mention previous relationships.
He lived at various addresses in London, including Peckham and Colliers Wood. The place in Peckham was a room in a shared house. Later, he appears in the Electoral Roll as Simon C. Wellings at Norfolk Road, Colliers Wood, SW19 2HE for the period 2003-2005. where he lived by himself. In 2004 he invited activists back to this flat after Aldermaston march (see below). It was recalled by Guy Taylor as being 'very sparse with activism related stuff everywhere, and nothing personal, such as photos; it looked like activism was the only thing in his life.'
Target: Globalise Resistance
Simon's target was Globalise Resistance, a group involved in the then strong anti-globalisation movement. According to its website (Resist.org.uk) 'Globalise Resistance brings together groups and individuals opposed to the global growth of corporate power.' He also had some interest in the Socialist Workers Party.
September 2000 saw major demonstrations at the World Bank / International Monetary Fund Summit in Prague, with protestors coming from across Europe under the anti-globalisation banner. At this and other related events, links were built between socialists and other left wing / environmental groups with the idea of creating a single organisation to co-ordinate protests.
Inspired by the Prague protests, a series of eight conferences were held across the UK in February 2001 to start the mobilisation for the July 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa. It was out of these conferences that Globalise Resistance emerged as a UK network, as it became clear that they had tapped into a growing political momentum and were capable of being a sizable organisation in its own right. Guy Taylor, one of its organisers, believes that it was at this point the state started showing interest in its activities - though by then he himself had already been subject to police surveillance for previous involvement in protests.
Taylor noted that strange activities began to happen around the group that indicated that they had been placed under surveillance by the state. Two initial attempts at having national conferences at Imperial and Goldsmith Universities in London fell through when the universities withdrew permission. However, with the support of leading green journalist George Monbiot in The Guardian (a speaker at various GR events; in 2001 he would also become a founding member of GR's steering group), the group was able to hold its first activist conference on 13 May 2001. By this stage it already had local groups established in Scotland, Birmingham, Southampton, London and Leeds. At the May 2001 conference, a steering group of 16-20 people was created.
Early on an office was established in a tiny room in a business centre in Mile End. One of the points at which they became aware they were under some kind of surveillance was when they were leaked a screenshot of an internal Shell website 'NGO Watch' which held details of the office. This was notable, as at that point only a handful of people knew where the office was.
Early on, GR attracted controversy, with the anarchist wing of the anti-capitalist / alter-globalisation movement arguing that it was a front for the Socialist Worker Party which dominated its steering group. Asked about this, Guy Taylor responded that while individuals overlapped, they tended to be considered to be among the more maverick members of the SWP and that, as it grew and developed, it broadened out with others coming in to join the steering group.
From its start, Globalise Resistance maintained informal links with various prominent NGOs such as World Development Movement, War on Want, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Green Party and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, sharing numerous platforms with them, promoting their various events or attending protests organised by or in conjunction with them. This would subsequently extend to the Campaign Against Climate Change, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition. GR's website, and its newsletter, Resist, would consistently list and encourage its members to attend their events and note that there would be GR contingents on their large marches. GR would also be strongly focused on international summit protests, Mayday marches in London and played a leading role in organising and mobilising for the European Social Forum and World Social Forums.
As part of the 2001 Genoa G8 Summit mobilisation, GR organised a French train to take British and other protestors to the Italian city. Though French authorities sought to force its cancellation, it did go ahead. In Italy, GR linked up with other leading European anti-globalisation groups such as ATTAC for protests. Following the death of protestor Carlo Giuliani, who was shot by Italian police during protests in Genoa, a demonstration was also called by GR to take place at the Italian embassy in London.
It is thought that Simon turned up on the scene soon after the Genoa protests. He therefore missed GR's first activist conference in May 2001. However, by 2002 he was active enough in the group to be accompanying them to various international mobilisations.
One individual who associated Globalise Resistance and to whom Wellings appeared to be close (see below), was Martin Hogbin. Hogbin would be exposed in 2003 as a corporate spy who was targeting the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, where he had been active since 1997 and appointed its 'National Campaigns and Events Co-ordinator' in 2000.
- For protests Globalise Resistance was involved in or supported, but where it is not known if Wellings was active or particpated, see this appendix. If you are able to confirm his role in any of these please get in contact. Likewise if anyone can shed light on his participation in the Dissent! network.
2002: World Economic Forum, New York
In February 2002, Simon was one of twelve GR campaigners to travel to Manhattan to take part in protests against the World Economic Forum there. They stayed in a flat in the Upper West Side with activists from Syracuse University.
2002: Seville EU Summit
From 21-23 June, the Spanish city of Seville hosted the European Union Summit, as part of the 2002 Spanish Presidency. The presence of the Summit was marked with large scale protests, including a General Strike on Thursday 20th. Further large protests took place on 21st and 22nd.
According to Guy Taylor, Wellings travelled to Spain with other activists from Globalise Resistance, staying with them on the camp-site provided for international protestors. However, he camped by himself, away from other GR activists.
Simon also delivered quotes for Issue 6 of Globalise Resistance's magazine 'Resist':
- Simon Wellings from Globalise Resistance said: "The situation in Seville was incredible. People jammed every street and filled several parks. Despite the heavy police presence there was a carnival atmosphere, stilt walkers mingled with the crowds. The majority of the demonstration was Spanish, mainly striking trades unionists, but people from other countries were a very significant minority."
- ...but Wellings insisted most protesters did not object to the EU per se. "We're objecting to specific policies," he said. "We're protesting against the neo-liberal agenda, the swing to the right and the erosion of asylum rights. You can support all of these causes without being anti-Europe."
- Wellings added: "Each one of these huge demonstrations helps to swell our ranks."
Guy Taylor recalled, that while they group was passing through Madrid someone attempted to pick their pockets by first causing a distraction; it was noticed that Simon immediately responded by grabbing his pockets, which stood out as an unusual on-the-ball action.
2002: Ariel Sharon protest, London
On 12 June 2002 the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign held a protest against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon who was passing through the UK while returning from a visit to George Bush. A last-minute demonstration was called at Downing Street, which saw several hundred people take part. Simon Wellings wrote a report of the protest for Issue 6 of Resist in which he said:
- It seems that the number of demonstrators took the police by surprise. As ever the entirely peaceful crowd was forced into an area behind a number of metal barricades; but the police had to call for extra barricades to be brought up twice. This was cheered by the noisy and energetic crowd.
2002: Palestine demonstration at Selfridges
Wellings attended a protest at Selfridge's flagship store on Oxford Street in London on 3rd August. The protest was called by Direct Action Against War Now, and supported by GR along with other groups such as Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Rhythms of Resistance. Jews Against Zionism, the WOMBLES, CND and various anarchist groups.
Around 200 people took part, with various small affinity groups causing disruption in the store itself. Wellings was part of one of the groups that sought entry and he was among those ejected by security.
There was a large police presence at the demonstration and two people were arrested. It was also reported that two of Selfridges' security guards had been present, undercover, at an open planning meeting a few days before (1 August at the London Action Resource Centre), where they had posed as potential participants. DAAWN itself, was a group formed in March 2002, and which actively campaigned against Selfridges due to the department store's selling of goods from illegally occupied Palestinian territories. It worked closely with the Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Rhythms of Resistance in carrying out previous actions at the Oxford Street store.
2003: 15 February Stop the War global protest
15th February 2003: Simon Wellings was on the large anti-war march as part of a Globalise Resistance contingent. GR's profile on the day was prominent as they had a 10 meter orange banner reading 'People not profit, peace not war'. Wellings was one of the many carrying it.
Wellings had previously put his name to a call out to the European left to mobilise against the forthcoming Iraq war. This call-out was presented at a preparatory meeting for the European Social Forum, that had taken place in Brussels on 7th-8th September 2002. It is not clear if Wellings was at this particular meeting, though GR helped coordinate the call-out, being a point of contact for it. 
7 - 12 September 2003 saw a wide range of protests against the DSEi arms fair in London Docklands area, mainly led by the Disarm DSEi group (to which GR formally affiliated) which encouraged autonomous actions, and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. A convergence centre was opened and saw numerous workshops around the arms trade issue, as well as advice for activists. A number of actions were planned, not just at the ExCeL exhibition centre, but at arms industry related offices around London, and included train blockades. The convergence centre itself, in nearby Bromley-in-Bow, was placed under heavy overt surveillance by police Forward Intelligence Teams.
The protests were met by a large police operation, led by DAC Andy Trotter, which cost £1 million and saw a total of 144 arrests. Civil rights group Liberty responded with a court case against Home Secretary David Blunkett and Police Commissioner John Stevens, challenging the use of draconian powers banning protests granted under the Terrorism Act and the use of stop and search powers under the same act.
Globalise Resistance focused primarily on a public protest for the opening of the arms fair on 9th September, for which they built a 15ft replica tank made of cardboard, painted orange. Around 500 people from GR and CAAT marched from the Cundy Road Recreational Ground to Victoria Dock on that day. The Daily Telegraph characterised the GR protest, again including their orange tank, as peaceful.
It is known that Simon Wellings was involved in preparations in the run up to the events of the week, including the building of the tank and that he took part in reconnaissance for other actions. It is also of note that Martin Hogbin was a spokesperson for CAAT in relation to the week of protests, appearing in the Guardian when he called the police response an over-reaction.
2003: Evian G8
The annual G8 Summit took place at Evian in France from 1st-3rd June. As with previous years, it was met with large scale international protests and a massive police presence. A sizable contingent from Globalise Resistance attended, with activists, including Simon Wellings, making their own way there. Wellings is known to have camped with others from GR at the Geneva camp, which was based at a local sports stadium. On the first night the sprinkler system went off, damaging tents and causing people to switch places. As a result Simon and Martin Hogbin camped close together. Video footage shows of him participating in a march and chanting through Geneva with others from Globalise Resistance. He also is known to have taken to a megaphone during this protest.
2003: George Bush protests
From 19-21 November, George Bush was on a state visit to the UK, which prompted calls for protest by the Campaign Opposing Climate Change and Stop the War Coalition (StWC). Globalise Resistance was involved in promoting and providing materials for various protests. News reports from the time noted that the protests, along with the general terrorist threat level, were causing the police concern so that heightened security measures were put in place. Thousands of extra police were drafted in for an operation headed by DAC Andy Trotter and which cost £5million.
Globalise Resistance activists were present at a demonstration at Buckingham Palace on 19 November, where George Bush was being formally welcomed, and at the main StWC demonstration on 20 November, which involved a march from Malet Street to Trafalgar Square.
After the main StWC protest, a tip-off was received that Bush's cavalcade would be heading from Buckingham Palace to the US Ambassador's residence in Hyde Park. Protestors who had gone to local pubs in the west end as the main demonstration of the day was over, swarmed out and gathered at Hyde Park Corner, Wellings among them. Police subsequently kettled them. Wellings avoided being caught in this, but was seen urging those trapped to fight their way out through police lines.
In the following April, 400 protestors set off on a four day march from London to Aldermaston, the headquarters of the UK's nuclear weapon research, in commemoration of two historic peace marches. The march was organised jointly by CND, the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp and Slough4Peace. Simon Wellings used his car to drive three other Globalise Resistance activists to join the final section of the march.
Thames Valley Police were quoted as having 'praised the conduct of the demonstrators and said there had been no arrests', though earlier they had complained that protestors had been irresponsible for not applying for expensive road closures.
It is of note that the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp had been infiltrated by undercover officer Lynn Watson until just before March 2004, when she moved to Leeds.
2005: G8 Summit organisation
July 2005 saw the G8 Summit return to Britain, taking place in early July at Gleneagles, Scotland. It saw a series of large protests by three separate counter-mobilisations: Make Poverty History, G8 Alternatives and Dissent! Make Poverty History was mainly NGO / civil society led, while the Dissent! network was at the other end of the spectrum, drawing from Earth First! and anarchist groups, engaging in direct action and organising the Eco-village at Stirling. Dissent! is known to have been infiltrated by numerous undercover officers, including Mark Kennedy, Lynn Watson, Marco Jacobs and 'RC'.
G8 Alternatives was the main banner for groups situated in the traditional left, and was the one Globalise Resistance associated itself with. The Scottish Socialist Party played a significant leading role in it, though the list of supporters include a wide range of left wing and trade union organisations, anti-war groups and other campaigns, many of which were based in Scotland.
Mobilisation under the G8 Alternatives banner began in summer 2004, with the participation of Globalise Resistance. In particular, Simon Wellings travelled to Scotland to organising meetings there where he acted as GR's representative, using the pretext of visiting his ex-girlfriend living there. Though he would only have a chance to attend a few early meetings before being exposed.
During the Summit itself, Globalise Resistance would take part in various protests. Events included the march through Auchterarder, a protest at Dungavel detention centre, and the G8 Alternatives Conference in Edinburgh. As he had been exposed prior to it, Wellings did not travel there with GR, though he is likely to have been involved behind the scenes with the policing of the protests.
Globalise Resistance Steering Committee
Archives of the Globalise Resistance website list the members of the group's Steering Committee from May 2001 onwards. Simon Wellings makes his first appearance on the committee in May 2003, having been elected at that year's annual conference (however, Guy Taylor recalls him as being close to the Steering Committee from 2002). He was re-elected at the April 2004 conference, though he is removed by October 2004. His affiliation is given as that of the Socialist Workers Party.
The steering committee is of wider concern because, although Socialist Worker Party members made up the largest constituent, it consisted of a wide variety of individuals who connected into other campaigns and groups. Wellings would have been in a position to learn more about them, particularly in post steering committee meeting drinks.
Groups represented by individuals on the committee include: Workers Power, Green Party, ATTAC (LSE branch), International Solidarity Movement, Communications Workers Union, Progressive Muslim Network, Workers Power, Iranian activists, Unison (Lambeth Branch), Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party.
Unless otherwise cited, all material in this section comes from the account of Guy Taylor.
The voice-mail recording
In late January 2004, Guy Taylor received a call from a fellow activist, M, who told him there was a strange message on her answer-phone, which had been left at 1.48pm on Friday, 16th January 2004. As she has only just heard it, it was about to be timed out and deleted. Taylor in turn contacted another friend who made a recording of it.
It seemed that whoever it was had accidentally caused their phone to ring M, who by chance was out so the call ended up being recorded. From the background noise, it is apparent it captured a debriefing in a police station. On it, a man is being asked to identify people on demonstrations from photographs supplied by CO11, the Metropolitan Police's public order unit. At one point he identifies a woman as a girlfriend of a campaigner, and discusses her sexuality and hair colour.
It became immediately apparent to Taylor and others there was a police spy in their circles, but initially they struggled to identify the voice on the recording. Taylor played the recording to quite a few different people, including Simon Wellings, but nobody recognised the voice.
In August 2004, Guy Taylor was working in the GR office and listening to music when Simon Wellings rang to ask about an upcoming meeting for a protest working group. Guy muted the music and spoke to Wellings. After the phone call, he put the music back on, but it had progressed to playing the recording of the voice-mail message, which Guy had put on the same device. It was at that point the realisation dawned - the person on the recording was Wellings. He re-played the message others in the group, and they agreed this time: it was Simon's voice in the recording.
The meeting that Wellings had rang about went ahead. It was a Friday evening in August, at 7pm on the 5th Floor of the Royal Festival Hall. Wellings turned up to find six people from Globalise Resistance waiting for him. He was the last to arrive and was greeted with the statement: 'Simon, you've been rumbled, fuck off.'
According to Taylor, Wellings started sweating and became panicky. He told them it was a mistake. They said he could hear the recording, but as his Discman was out of batteries, he asked if he could go and buy new ones. To their surprise he came back; he then cried and 'laid it on some more'. However, he was told the phrases used by the speaker in the recording were all ones he used and that he could no longer be trusted.
Afterwards people were shaken and emotional. Others refused to believe that he had been spying on them. As there were fears they had been mistaken, the group did not pursue it other than to tell people in other campaigns that might have been affected, such as Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Campaign Against Climate Change. They would continue to keep an eye out for him in case he turned up elsewhere, but at the time were wary of inflaming paranoia or be accused of being irresponsible.
On Sunday 22nd August 2004, not long after, Wellings sent an email to various people saying they had got it all wrong, and mentioned the importance of Globalise Resistance organisation around the upcoming European Social Forum and the following year's G8 Summit. A copy of the email is below, edited to protect people's identities. Other than the email, Wellings vanished after the confrontation, though one member of the GR steering committee did subsequently bump into him.
Exposed via Newsnight
In 2011, with the Mark Kennedy story breaking and initiating a wave of media interest, Globalise Resistance spoke to a lawyer and were told the best thing to do would be to get the story out into the public. They approached Newsnight through personal contacts; as a result, the BBC posted a page on the Newsnight website with an image of Wellings saying that they would like to speak to him as a former member of Globalise Resistance, though not saying any more. The Metropolitan Police promptly phoned Newsnight to say they should take it down (a clear breach of their Neither Confirm Nor Deny policy). This was good enough for the BBC and they exposed Wellings as an undercover officer several days later on 25 March 2011.
In the immediate aftermath, the Metropolitan Police merely stated:
- The use of undercover officers is a valuable tactic in the fight against crime and disorder to keep people and communities safe. Their use is highly regulated and governed in law through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and must be necessary, proportionate and lawful. The deployment of undercover officers is also overseen by the Surveillance Commissioner who must be satisfied by their use.
Guy Taylor has since been accepted as a core participant for the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing in his personal capacity, due to his role as the sole paid employee of Globalise Resistance in the time it was spied upon by Simon Wellings.
On 19 January 2017, the Pitchford Inquiry issued a press release confirming Simon Wellings had been an undercover police officer. It was also revealed that he was not a core participant; as with other undercovers and related officers, he had been given a n-series cypher number as N118.
Email on being exposed
(Some details redacted)
Date: Sunday, August 22, 2004 9:57 pm
From: Simon Wellings <email@example.com>
- I haven't really slept since Friday night trying to figure this out and I am completely freaked by this so I'm just going to write it as it comes up to the surface - all that I ask is that you read this message - I think that you all owe me that.
- Firstly, like I said to you at the meeting Guy, this is the recording that you discovered late last year, or early this year (whenever...) I remember that you 'phoned me about it at the time, more than once I think. We also spoke about it when I was in the office one day, helping out. I just never got to hear it - I think because it was in an mp3 format that wouldn't play or something - I remember you telling me a few bits about it - the point I'm trying to make is that if I had spoken to the police, if that was me on the recording, you would have been warning me that I had been discovered. Do you not think that I would have taken the opportunity to get away?
- Also, you must have listened to it then, again and again and presumably didn' think it was me. Why are you so willing to believe it's me now? (Like I said on Friday I concede that one of the voices on the recording does sound, in places, like me, or someone trying to sound like me, or something that has been fabricated to sound like me...)
- Guy, I can remember you telling me, that [M.] had told you, that she was seeing someone at the time that she got the message, who had told her that he was M.I.5. Surely there is a connection here! That recording just happening to turn up on her 'phone at the same time! Have you actually spoken face to face with [M.] and got to the bottom of this?
- The other thing is that you know that I know [X], that I know her boyfriend - (just about the only clear bit I could make out in the two times that I listened to that recording was her name and her being described as an 'out and out lesbian') Why on earth, if it was me , or it was genuine, and for some reason I was chatting away to the pigs, would I describe her like that?
- I want you all to know that I have wracked and wracked my brains over this and I firmly believe that this is the state fucking with our heads.
- Think about it please, we've got ESF about to happen, rolling in to G8, think of the impact and damage we can make over the next year. The state is upping the ante - the oldest trick in the book, divide and conquer. This recording is someone impersonating me - or a complete fabrication. Are you seriously telling me that you don't think the state is technically capable of such a deception or vicious enough to carry it out? (The only thing I can't work out is why get it into the open that way - on her phone - all I can think is that if they just dropped it, all crisp and shiny, on a disc in the post to the office - that you would have been a bit less quick to believe it.)
- You said to me on Friday Guy that the trust was gone and that whatever I said it could never be brought back. Well I say this to you, to all of you, that that trust should have worked both ways. I have trusted you, trusted you all and if you think that I could have been wandering around for months looking you straight in the eye - after I had sold people out - then you must be off your heads. I cannot believe that you are all so willing to believe it. I am your friend and I absolutely swear to you that I have never ever talked to the pigs. I mean, why would I? Why? It doesn't make sense - it's just totally freaking me out.
- This has absolutely broken my heart - Its not me and I am going to do everything that I can to prove it.
Continued spying on Globalise Resistance?
In 2012 Guy Taylor obtained his police file following a Data Protection Act request. This included material from the National Domestic Extremism Database, and he discovered the police had recorded him at 27 separate protests, which included anti-racism, anti-war and climate change. They even noted he had done a stall with Globalise Resistance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2009, saying 'this stall was selling political publications and merchandise of a XLW [extreme left-wing] anti-capitalist nature' - it was selling t-shirts, badges, books and DVDs; the file also recorded the name and telephone number of the person who had booked the stall. This has led to speculation that a second officer had been sent into infiltrate GR after Wellings had been exposed. Though Guy Taylor noted that it would have been strange to log the person who booked the stall rather than the people who actually did the stall at the festival. This would seemingly indicate that the information is more likely to have come from an intercepted email or someone directly involved in Glastonbury Festival.
As an undercover officer based in London, Simon Wellings would have been deployed by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) rather than the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. It is as yet unknown who his immediate handlers were, but the SDS formed part of Metropolitan Police Special Branch. During the time of his deployment, the chain of command of senior officers is as follows and at least one of these people have needed to authorise his deployment:
- Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations: David Veness
- Commissioner of the Metropolis: John Stevens
It is of note that David Veness had been instrumental in founding the sister spycop unit, National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Colin Black had been Commander of Operations for Special Branch in 1998 when the controversial meeting between spycops Bob Lambert, N81 and Richard Walton had taken place.
Wellings deployment closely overlapped with two other known Special Demonstration Squad undercovers, Carlo Neri and Jason Bishop. They are likely to have been at a number of the same large protests in London, and in particular, he and Bishop are both known to have been present at the 2003 Disarm DSEi protests.
A key piece of data from the recorded phone call is that one of the officers involved makes a reference to photographs having come from CO11, who were pressing for intelligence on individuals in the images. CO11 was the Metropolitan Police's Public Order Branch; it ran the Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) whose main job was to photograph and identify individuals at demonstrations. It shows one method by which intelligence was passed from Special Branch undercover officers to other parts of the police; it also mirrors an account from another SDS officer, whistle-blower Peter Francis, who talks of identifying demonstrators from photographs in the aftermath of the anti-BNP protests at Welling in 1993.
At the time CO11 / Public Order Branch was under Commander Michael Messinger and Superintendent Roger Gomm, as part of the Territorial Policing division who had overseen the policing of many of the protests Globalise Resistance had been involved in. While it has long been suspected that there was an intelligence flow between Special Branch and the FIT. (CO11 ran its own intelligence database) this phone call is among the first clear evidence of the exchange in practice.
Public Order Branch was based at New Scotland Yard and under the authority of the Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing, who at the time was Tim Godwin.
Undercover Policing Inquiry
That Wellings was an undercover police officer was confirmed by the Undercover Policing Inquiry on 19 January 2017, when the Inquiry issued a press release to the effect. It stated that no restriction would be sought for the cover name 'Simon Wellings' on behalf of the police officer known given the nominal 'N118' (for the purposes of Operation Herne). It also noted that N118 was not a core participant in the Inquiry.
An apparent reference to Wellings occured in the Mosaic report, produced by the Metropolitan Police, which stated (p.3/4):
- In another example following an unfortunate compromise (where the officer was overheard discussing his operation during a mistakenly dialed phone-call) an officer was re-directed to groups in a different target area.
20 February 2018, the Inquiry issued directions that any application for restriction orders to be submitted by 26 & 28 February 2018 for Metropolitan Police legal team and Designated Lawyers Team respectively, which included a reference to Wellings as HN118. This would be in relation to his real name only. On 27 March 2018, Inquiry Chair, John Mitting indicated he woudl restrict HN118's real name, stating:
- HN118 is in his 50s, married and with children. He is economically active. He was deployed successively against three groups in the last years of existence of the Special Duties Squad.... There is no reason currently known to me which would require or justify publication of his real name. He is concerned that it would attract unwelcome media attention and give rise to a risk of harassment of his family and of interference in his work. I am satisfied that these concerns are genuine and not irrational. What has already been published will permit those with whom he interacted during his deployment to provide information and to give evidence about it, if they choose to do so. Publication of his real name is not necessary to permit the terms of reference of the Inquiry to be fulfilled.
In those circumstances, the interference which it would cause with his right to respect for private and family life would not be proportionate or justified under Article 8(2) of the European Convention.
Curiously, the Inquiry website lists Wellings time in the SDS as 2001 to 2007, and his targets as Globalise Resistance, the Socialist Worker Party and the Dissent! network. Though it has been rumoured that Wellings seen at the Stirling Eco-village protest site during the G8 counter-mobilisation, this remains unconfirmed. He is not otherwise known to have participated in Dissent and his role may have included being back office staff for the later part of this period.
- Undercover Policing Inquiry, Press Notice: Update on anonymity applications – N118 (“Simon Wellings”), UCPI.org.uk, 19 January 2017 (accessed 19 January 2017).
- Undercover Research Group: interview with Guy Taylor, January 2016.
- Newsnight, Do you know this man?, BBC News Online, 17 March 2011 (accessed 2 April 2016). It was also posted on facebook: BBC Newsnight Newsnight needs your help identifying a man known as Simon Wellings, facebook.com, 17 March 2011 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- Meirion Jones & Anna Adams, Undercover police work revealed by phone blunder, BBC News Online, 25 March 2011 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- Undercover Research Group: phonecall with JS, 6 January 2016.
- Undercover Research Group: search conducted April 2016.
- Timothy Pearce, European Social Movements and Muslim Activism: Another World but with Whom?, Springer, 2015.
- Notification of the conference at Imperial University can be found here: Globalise Resistance, Globalise Resistance, Indymedia UK, 9 January 2001 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- George Monbiot, Power Hides from the People, The Guardian, 1 February 2001 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- Come Together, Resist (the newsletter for Globalise Resistance), Issue 1, 2001 (archived by the Wayback Machine).
- Undercover Research Group: email from Guy Taylor, 29 April 2016.
- See for example the comments at mango, Globalise Resistance Tour, Indymedia UK, 2 February 2001 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- Monopolise Resistance, schNEWS, September 2001 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- This has been echoed in other accounts of Globalise Resistance, e.g. Timothy Pearce vide infra.
- Barry Coates of World Development Movement (now called Global Justice Now) was a strong early supporter of Globalise Resistance appearing on its platform during the February 2001 tour. See for example: Globalise Resistance, Socialist Worker
- zuky serper, The cancellation of Globalise Resistance train to Genoa, Indymedia UK, 17 July 2001 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- Globalise Resistance, Report from Genoa, Friday 20 July, Resist.org.uk, 2001 (Wayback Machine archive of website made on 7 October 2001).
- Globalise Resistance Shocked and Outraged at Police Killing, Calls Monday Protest, Resist.org.uk, 2001 (Wayback Machine archive of website made on 7 October 2001).
- Campaign Against the Arms Trade, 2005 CAAT Steering Committee statement on spying, CAAT.org.uk, July 2005 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Image source: Twitter feed of Noel Douglas, 19 January 2017 (accessed 11 November 2017).
- Guy Taylor, Report from New York Protests against the World Economic Forum Resist.org.uk, February 2002 (accessed via the Wayback Machine archives).
- Globalise Resistance, Sevilla Libera!, Resist.org.uk, 19 March 2002 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Chris Blake, Worldwide protest on war and poverty, Resist, Issue 6, 2002 (archived by Wayback Machine).
- Globalise Resistance, Barcelona Anti-EU protests 2002, Resist.org.uk, 19 March 2002 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Simon Wellings, Ariel Sharon gets furious welcome, Resist, Issue 6, 2002 (accessed via Wayback Machine archive).
- Anna Hoyles, Selfridges under siege as protesters block doorways, Resist, Issue 7, 2002 (accessed via Wayback Machine archive).
- A couple of participants, Chaos in Selfridges, Indymedia UK, 3 August 2002 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- DAAWN, Hundreds occupy Selfridges, Indymedia UK, 7 August 2000 (accessed 2 May 2016).
- DAAWN, August 3rd: Occupy Selfridges, Indymedia UK, 17 July 2002 (accessed 2 May 2016).
- Mobilisation contre la guerre Iraq, La-Paix.org, 2002 (accessed 28 July 2017). Most of those from Globalise Resistance who supported this call-out did so in the name of that organisation, though Wellings did not.
- 'Indymedia Picturedesk, Globalize Resistance DSEI Demonstration Photos, Indymedia.org.uk, 9 September 2003 (accessed 11 November 2017).
- Globalise Resistance, [DSEi Globalise Resistance Communique], Indymedia London, 28 June 2003 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Hugo Jones, Stop the Arms Fair!, Resist.org.uk, 2003 (accessed via Wayback Machine archive).
- 'researcher', Full list of anti- DSEi arms fair events - september 5-12th, Indymedia UK, 25 August 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Campaign Against the Arms Trade, DSEI 2003 Protests, CAAT.org.uk, undated (accessed 8 September 2016).
- 'PiGWATCH', Cops @ Disarm DSEi Convergence Centre, Indymedia UK, 7 September 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Police questioned over terror act use, BBC News Online, 10 September, 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- £1m police operation guards London arms fair, The Guardian, 9 September 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- resista, Globalise Resistance DSEi Protest + Prop Making Weekend, Indymedia UK, 12 August 2003 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Thousands stage Iraq demo, BBC News Online, 27 September 2003 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Indymedia Picturedesk, Globalize Resistance DSEI Demonstration Photos, Indymedia UK, 9 September 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Arms show protests muted, 9 September 2003 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'David', a Globalise Resistance activist, August 2016.
- Rebecca Allison, police braced for violent protests at Europe's biggest arms fair, The Guardian, 6 September 2003 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Globalise Resistance, G8 Illegitime!, Resist.org.uk, 2003 (archived at Wayback Machine).
- Globalise Resistance, You are 8... We are 6 Billion!, Resist.org.uk, 2003 (archived at Wayback Machine).
- Bush sets out 'mission for freedom', BBC News Online, 19 November 2003 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- 2003: High security as Bush visits UK, BBC Home / On This Day, undated (accessed 2 May 2016).
- Bush arrives for state visit, BBC News Online, 18 November 2003 (accessed 2 May 2016).
- Guy Taylor, Bush Not Welcome & Stephane Popovic, Who can honestly say protesting is a useless form of civil participation???, both articles Resist.org.uk, 2003 (accessed via Wayback Machine archive).
- Marchers protest at nuclear base, BBC News Online, 12 April 2004 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- A full list of G8 Alternative's supporters was given on their website as: Centre for Human Ecology, Dundee Trades Union Council, Edinburgh CND, Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition, Freequal (conscious clubbers), Ethical Company Organisation, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, Globalise Resistance Scotland, GOOSHING, Iraq Occupation Focus, Justice Not Vengeance, Muslim Association of Britain, NUJ Glasgow, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, Scottish CND, Scottish Human Rights Centre, Scottish Socialist Party, Scottish Socialist Youth, Spinwatch, Stirling University Anti-War Group, TGWU 7/151 Branch, TGWU Glasgow District, WDM Scotland, YWCA Scotland, Stop the War Coalition, Glasgow City UNISON, Campaign for press and broadcasting freedom, CND. See, G8 Alternatives, Who are we?, G8Alterantives.org.uk, 2005 (archived on 14 March 2005 by Archive.org).
- Gil Hubbard, Message from the organisers of G8 Alternatives, 'Resist.org.uk, 11 July 2005 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Undercover Research Group: several leading organisers with G8 Alternatives were contacted in late 2016 but they did not recall if Welling had been at meeting with them. The first mention of G8 Alternatives meeting publicly is in late September 2004 - Modern thistle picked as G8 logo, BBC News Online, 30 September 2004 (accessed 25 October 2016).
- Globalise Resistance, Gleneagles 2005, Resist.org.uk, 2005 (accessed 8 September 2016).
- Globalise Resistance, Globalise Resistance Steering Group, Resist.org.uk, 2003 (archive of page made on 22 August 2003 by Wayback Machine).
- Globalise Resistance, Globalise Resistance Steering Group, Resist.org.uk, 2004 (archive of webpage made on 14 August 2004 by Wayback Machine).
- Undercover Research Group: the recording of the answer-machine message clearly identifies the day, date and time it was left at.
- Newsnight (25 March 2011), BBC iPlayer (currently unavailable).
- Simon Hattenstone, Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Sixth police spy in protest movement unmasked, The Guardian, 26 March 2011 (accessed 2 April 2016).
- List of Core Participants, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 15 October 2015 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Glastonbury festival: how police spied on political campaigners, The Guardian, 15 July 2012 (accessed 26 April 2016).
- Rob Evans, How did police spy on campaigners at Glastonbury Festival?, The Guardian, 18 July 2012 (accessed 26 April 2016).
- Police and Constabulary Almanacs, various years, R Hazell & Co.
- NPOIU Formation - files overview, SpecialBranchFiles.uk, 2016 (accessed 19 January 2017).
- Rob Evans, Police facing claims that senior officers knew about spying on Stephen Lawrence family, The Guardian, 2 July 2015 (accessed 19 January 2017).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013.
- Messenger in turn answered to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen House]] and Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin. Previously to Messinger, CO11 / Public Order had been headed by Ch. Supt. Stephen French & Ch. Supt. Robert Mackie during Wellings' deployment.
- Alan Lodge, On Being Watched, 1999 (accessed 12 April 2016).
- Update on anonymity applications – N118 ("Simon Wellings"), Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 19 January 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- 'Jaipur', Mosaic Report (open version), Metropolitan Police Service, 8 December 2015 (accessed 11 November 2017 via UCPI.org.uk).
- Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad - Directions, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 20 February 2018 (accessed 1 March 2018 via UCPI.org.uk).
- Sir John Mitting, In the matter of section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 Application for restriction order in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad 'Minded To' Note 6 and Ruling 5, Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 22 March 2018 (accessed 28 March 2018).
- Cover Names, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 2018 (accessed 4 March 2018).