The Threat Response Spy
A story about an arms manufacturer, a private intelligence company and many infiltrators
Eveline Lubbers for
Wil van der Schans for buro Jansen & Janssen
British Aerospace paid a private intelligence company to spy on CAAT, the Campaign Against Arms Trade. Last year September the Sunday Times revealed how a lady with a long term intelligence background, Evelyn le Chêne, sent daily reports on activists whereabouts to Britains largest arms dealer. The intelligence company goes by the name of Threat Response International.
The Threat Response Spy Files show in great detail how the Campaign Against the Arms Trade was subverted by infiltrators passing on information and counterworking the activists. Group 4 (dealing with resistance of the Newbury Road Protesters) was on the client list of Threat Response as well.
This SpinWatch Dossier includes: a recap of the 1998 Adrian research, a review of what the Sunday Time found out, and a Spinwatch analysis based on the Threat Response Spy Files.
Evelyn le Chêne was named as the mastermind of a vast private intelligence-gathering network that collated the identities and confidential details of nearly 150,000 left-wing activists and offered them at a price to British industrial companies. Among her clients was de defence giant British Aerospace (BAe), paying her for at least four years - from 1996 to 1999 - to spy on opponents of the arms trade. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) seemed to be her main target, six to eight agents infiltrated the group over a period of time; there is reason to believe the spying went on until the date of exposure.
However, this was not the first research into the activities of this private intelligence company, and it will not be the last.
Spinwatch editor Eveline Lubbers was involved in an earlier investigation, in 1998, that resulted in the exposure of Adrian Franks le Chêne - the son - as an infiltrator in peace groups in the Netherlands and elsewere on the Continent. Read all about that in: Part One of the Threat Response Files
Because of our earlier involvement in the case the Sunday Times granted Spinwatch insight in the spy-files. The files we got to see - about 1500 pages - basically consisted of printed reports to BAe, made by Evelyn le Chêne.
This gave us the rare opportunity to investigate a case of spying and infiltration from the inside.
Analyses of the spy-files, lessons to be learned, and history and practices of both Adrian and Evelyn le Chêne, can be read in: Part Two of the Threat Response Files
CAAT has made a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner that one of their employees passed sensitive confidential information outside the organisation. This may be a breach of the Data Protection Act. The criminal investigation into this complaint has not been finished at the time of writing (November 2004), but the decision on the possible prosecution of Martin Hogbin is expected soon...
Update, August 2005.
Following the conclusion of investigations by both the Information Commissioner and the CAAT Steering Committee, the Committee released a statement:Following the investigation, with which neither Martin nor LeChêne co-operated, the Information Commissioner has reported to CAAT. He has confirmed that Martin was forwarding information by email to a company with links to LeChêne. Ironically, the Data Protection Act 1998 prevents Information Commissioner from giving CAAT details of the company concerned.
The Commissioner has also decided not to take any action against Martin for, though confidential, the information forwarded in the emails did not meet the narrowed definition of "personal data" as set out in a recent Court of Appeal decision and so is not covered under the 1998 Act.
Read the CAAT Steering Committee statement, July 2005
and all about the CAAT investigation into the suspicious activity of Martin Hogbin (in .pdf format):
Full Steering Committee report with names removed for reasons of privacy
Summary of emails sent by Martin Hogbin Oct 2002 to Sept 2003
Letters from the Information Commissioner: First letter | CAAT's reply | Second letter
If you have any information that could help this investigation,
don't hesitate to contact SpinWatch or buro Jansen & Janssen
Eveline Lubbers and her then colleagues at Buro Jansen & Janssen were approached by people from A SEED Europe who had serious doubts about the reliability of a French activist from Equihen-Plage in 1998. An anonymous letter with severe accusations was reason enough to start an investigation. Adrian Franks was accused of selling information about activist groups to multinational corporations.
The investigation showed that since early 1997 Adrian had a company called Risk & Crisis Analysis registered under his real surname le Chêne. The mother company was based in Rochester, Kent.
Five years later, in September 2003, Sunday Times' David Connet contacted buro Jansen & Janssen. He had found the account of the Adrian investigation on the Internet and urgently needed confirmation for his suspicions that Adrian Franks/le Chêne was indeed related to Evelyn le Chêne.
When David Connet was shown our photograph of Adrian, the puzzle was solved. Adrian is the son, Evelyn le Chêne his mother. When she was first approached by BAe to carry out surveillance work in the mid-1990s, she had been running a company named R&CA Publications from an office in an industrial estate in Rochester, Kent. The mother company
Buro Jansen & Janssen is specialized in monitoring police en secret services in the Netherlands. Eveline Lubbers was one of the founders of this grassroots group, but has left the buro in 2003. She is now an editor of Spinwatch.
Part One of the Threat
How Adrian Franks le Chêne
was exposed as an infiltrator after a careful investigation.
This is a copy of the Adrian website made by buro Jansen & Janssen, containing:
Adrian Franks le Chêne, the account of the 1998-research
Adrian Franks le Chêne, verslag van het onderzoek uit 1998
- A list of groups involved and meetings Adrian attended that we knew of at that moment.
- Warning letter send out to groups Adrian was involved in.
- Why was Adrian exposed, and is he a serious risk?
Part Two of the Threat
Analyses of the spy-files and further research into Evelyn le Chêne's history and practices.
The Sunday Times, CAAT and furtherresearch
Adrian to be continuedThe Sunday TimesThe Threat Response Files
Hull against Hawks
ReportsLessons to be learned
DatabaseLobbyingHow to judge these files?
Threat Response International
Group4 and the Newbury Road Protest
Damage done: Fossey and the Liverpool Catholic Worker
In Dutch: Brits wapenbedrijf infiltreert
Update, August 2005.
Actiegroepen doelwit bedrijfsspionage - deel 1
Actiegroepen doelwit bedrijfsspionage - deel 2