Today it has been revealed by Indymedia UK and The Guardian that corporate spies have been monitoring environmental activist groups on behalf of companies across the UK. While not surprising in the slightest, it is interesting to note that the Scottish Resource Group has been employing their services.
On the 22nd of July 2010 Rebecca Todd, CEO of Vericola Ltd and pictured right (a little shaken not stirred after one too many Martini’s perhaps?) told one of her employees to forward an email from Climate Camp to Alan Somerville, then a director of SRG. Alan Somerville is one of the many directors to leave SRG in the last year. Rebecca Todd specifically said to highlight CAS’s call-out for objection letters to SRG’s proposed Airfield Opencast when this information was sent to Alan Somerville (they could of just looked on our website, in general we try our hardest to make any call-outs as public as possible). This was discovered after a “Thunderballs-up” and emails were accidentally sent to one of the groups they were spying on.
SRG were right to be worried. A few months after they received information about our call-out from their corporate sleuth Midlothian Council refused SRG permission to opencast, in part due to the massive number of objections. It does raise serious questions about the levels SRG will stoop to in order to get what they want. Should companies like SRG be employing corporate spys to find out who’s been sending objection letters about their applications? They had already attempted to skew the results. It’s a shame that it took a corporate spy from London to forward an email from Climate Camp containing a call-out from Coal Action Scotland asking people to help the local group opposing Airfield Opencast for SRG to get an idea of the level of widespread opposition to their mine, and not simply asking the people of the area who it will affect.
Rebecca Todd and the like of Vericola are not the first corporate investigators to target and profiteer from those who stand up to large corporations, and they wont be the last. The fact that SRG are employing these services shows that they are worried. We shouldn’t be shocked, outraged or scared. We should be defiant that we will continue to fight against them no matter what they throw at us.
If you would like to keep your Goldfinger on the pulse of what Coal Action Scotland is up to without resorting to paying a corporate spy, just check our website regularly and sign up to our announcements email list on the top right of our website.