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Peace News log archive: May 2017

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

Peace News publishes the first full-face photographs of police officer Andy Coles while he was undercover as 'Andy Davey' in the early 1990s. Coles was exposed as a police infiltrator on 12 May 2017 and forced to resign as deputy police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire on 15 May

Undercover police officer Andy Coles marches in Fairford, March 1991

Today, Peace News is publishing the first full-face photographs of 'Andy Davey', the identity taken by undercover police officer Andy Coles in 1991 when he infiltrated the nonviolent direct action group ARROW. 

Coles was publicly exposed as a police infiltrator on 12 May, after investigation by the Undercover Research Group. On the same day, details emerged of an abusive sexual relationship that Coles had had with a 19-year-old animal rights activist, 'Jessica', in 1992, while he was undercover. Coles concealed his age (he was 32, but pretended to be 24) and the fact that he was married, as well as his role as an undercover police officer. As a result of these revelations, Coles was forced to resign as deputy police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire on 15 May.

Undercover police officer Andy Coles ('Andy Davey'), 16 March 1991

Jessica told Police Spies Out Of Lives: 'This has been one of the most stressful times I have ever known: my life as I knew it was a lie. One of the people that I trusted most never existed.  I can’t look back at those times in the same way now. I can’t trust my judgement, because I got things so wrong. I am now beginning to look at people I know differently. I can’t even feel that I’m being paranoid, because it’s justified.'

It's clear from the work of the Undercover Research Group that Coles focused his attention on the animal rights movement over the years 1991-1995. 

What is only being revealed today is that, early in his tour of duty if not at the very beginning of his work, 'Andy Davey' infiltrated the peace movement.

These photographs document the participation of 'Andy Davey' also known as 'Andy Van' or 'Andy the Van' in an anti-war protest on 16 March 1991 at the US air force base at Fairford, Gloucestershire. The protest was organised by a nonviolent direct action group called 'Gulf War Resisters' - it changed its name a week after the demo to ARROW ('Active Resistance to the Roots Of War').

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On 17 May 2017, Peace News and Housmans Bookshop celebrated the release of Chelsea Manning, along with dozens of her supporters.

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Chelsea Manning is a whistleblower who was working for the US military as a data analyst during the US-led coalition war in Afghanistan. She was sentences to serving 35 years in military prison for leaking classified US government documents to the Wikileaks website, and revealing to the public that the US army, the CIA and Iraqi and Afghan forces committed human rights violations. The crimes she exposed have never been investigated.

In one of his final acts before leaving office, US President Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence; the 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, was freed on the morning of 17th May 2017, instead of her scheduled 2045 release.

Ben Griffen spoke from Veterans for Peace UK and showed a short extract of the Collateral Murder footage as a reminder of the shocking war crimes, and the everyday acts of atrocity, sanctioned by warfare, that Chelsea's actions revealed when she became a whistleblower.

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