Tuesday, January 03, 2012

State rape

From The Guardian:

Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.
The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.
Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.
The one stipulation, according to the officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, was that falling in love was considered highly unprofessional because it might compromise an investigation. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job".
"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."
If true, and I think likely it is, then rape is the only word that fits.


Rev.Paperboy said...

I'm pretty sure this not what demonstrators mean when they say "Fuck the Police!"
It is difficult to overstate just how completely appalling this is. I hope some, if not all, of these officers end up with a major dose of the clap, paternity suits out the wazoo and end up in jail for rape.

Anonymous said...

Rape? If you are going to accuse folk of committing that particular crime then you need to define it.
According to the many legal definitions that I have come across it's a bit of a stretch labeling the actions in this case rape, from what is readily available.
Certainly many an undercover agent has slept with their targets in the past and that charge has never been leveled at them. In fact in order to protect cover it has been sometimes necessary to let the target believe that you actually are in love with them.
Yes the normal law of the land applies to them vis a vis paternity etc But making a charge of rape stick will take a bit more than the distaste felt that senior officers were okaying the formation of sexual relations for cover's sake.

kootcoot said...

This reminds me of the long ago "Singing Mountie" scam back in 1969-1971 in Winnipeg. The RCMP sent a graduate of Regina training who could sing passably to infiltrate the Winnipeg music scene (after a vacation long enough to grow some hair).

It was awhile ago, so the details are sketchy, but in the end he led to the bust of about fifty people, including his own live-in girl friend who was the sister of the drummer of the band he had "infiltrated" or joined.

The judge, or the crown refused to charge his now ex-girlfriend and to the best of my memory most the cases were eventually thrown out due to various violations of due process like entrapment. If I remember correctly only one person in the end had to go spend time at Stoney Mountain, and he wasn't even a weed smoker, much less a dealer, but a devoted beer and wine juicer who after continued harassment from the Singer/Agent broke down and asked somebody where he could find some weed for the jerk just to shut him up and get him off his back.

Oh yeah, the last I remember the "Singing Mountie" himself was living under 24/7 armed guard - mind you that was 1971 or 1972.

Boris said...

Indeed harebell. In Canada section 265 of the CC lists fraud as possible condition of sexual assault.

Consider the long-term implications of fraudulent sex upon the victim. Someone enters your life, develops a sexual relationship with you based on trust. You have committed no crime and you and your friends are merely being investigated. Later, you find out that you were lied to and seduced by an agent of the state so the state could extract information about you and your associates. Had you known the truth, you would likely not have consented to sexual relations. I cannot imagine how someone would feel.

Consider also that they now charge people for failing to disclose things like HIV positive status to sexual partners.

Many undercover agents have slept with their targets, and many uniformed police have slept with prostitutes. Neither are particularly ethical. This is not wartime occupied France, or spygames between superpowers. And anti-racists or environmentalists are not Hells Angels or the mob. These are young people, citizens charged with nothing, who think the world should be a little fairer and greener but actions like these on the part of the state might lead people to believe the state is at war with them.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Boris
Be careful how detailed you want top be with the idea of fraudulent sex. Any lie or any omission prior to coitus could be then brought into the argument. I would wager that there have been very few instances of sex occurring where a degree of deception deliberate or accidental, by omission or otherwise has not been involved.
Make up, dressing smart, flashing around a bit of cash, hairpieces, whitened teeth, facelifts etc are all very deliberate attempts to confuse and mislead.
How many cuckolds exist out there raising someone else's kids, how many folk have tied the knot for security and position but proclaimed true love. Heck for that matter how many folk have declared their undying love just to have sex. All lies and all deceit.
All sex after these actions then becomes rape because some aspect of fraud was involved. This renders the term meaningless.
Rape is truly a despicable crime, humans lieing to one another for personal gain is bad, but if we criminalised everyone who committed such an act, then not many of us would be walking free.

I'm not going to argument motivations and intent, that is an operational decision and you live and die on your justifications there; but I will say being young and having good intentions doesn't preclude wishing to do real harm.

Renter said...

harebell: "Everyone does it" isn't a defense of speeding either.

I think there are two important points here:
1. This is not just fraud by an individual, this is fraudulent behaviour by an agent of the state who is representing the state.

Compare it to US freedom of speech laws. Despite much misunderstanding, private spaces can censor people (forums, blogs, and churches are good examples). It's the US government that must not censor. I think we can argue that representatives of the state who are acting on behalf of the state should not enter into a sexual relationship using fraudulent means.

2. The definition of rape includes sexual intercourse without freely given consent. Consent can't be freely given to someone who provides a fake identity anymore than consent can be freely given to someone who threatens to hurt you or a loved one.

For example, if a woman consents to sex with a man who she thinks is her husband, she is not actually consenting to have sex with his identical twin brother. If she consents to have sex with Rory Talbot, an enthusiastic young environmentalist, she is not actually consenting to have sex with Ed Copps, an undercover RCMP officer.

When you place the focus on free consent between individuals, the issue seems to become much clearer and avoids the strawman (strawwoman?) case of "padded bras and makeup".

Let this be a warning to folks who pretend to be millionaires when they pick up 1 night stands.

Anonymous said...

You try and compare an incident where two distinct people perpetrate a fraud on a woman with an instance where one person might have two roles in their life; and then waffle about others using strawmen. Really?
Hiding that birthmark, concealing your true age is fine with you and isn't deceitful or intended to hurt; but working undercover and engaging in normal social interactions, because you are undercover becomes rape.
I understand you don't like undercover work (in some cases), but intelligence gathering is an important weapon in the arsenal of any free society. Lieing about who you are if you are gathering intell is pretty much the only way of staying in position. If the culture of those you are observing requires certain behaviour, then to not indulge in that behaviour is kind of negating the whole idea. If I were observing radical xians, then I would expect to have to go to church. This would undoubtedly be offensive to them.

I object to how folk denigrate the word rape for their own political means. It is used by some the same way anti-Semite is being used by islamophobes and that is in effect rendering important terms meaningless.