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The enemy within

Terry | 27.07.2005 11:40

UK Information Commissioner links Campaign Against Arms Trade employee to British Aerospace spymistress

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) today
publishes from the UK Information Commissioner which substantively links its former Campaigns Coordinator, Martin Hogbin, to a private investigator, Evelyn le Chene. Le Chene was employed by British Aerospace (now BAe Systems)
to collect confidential information about CAAT, according to evidence revealed by a Sunday Times investigation.

Throughout his employment at CAAT, Martin sent large quantities of information about CAAT and other campaigning organisations to an unidentified email address. The information Commissioner's investigation has now found that this email address belonged to a company linked to le Chene, which ceased trading directly after the Sunday Times allegation.
CAAT urges everyone involved in campaigning activities to read its findings, particularly if they are considering working with Martin.

A Timesonline article reported that, starting in 1995, British Aerospace (now BAe Systems) paid a company directed by one Evelyn Le Chene to infiltrate CAAT, and to collect information about its activities. The paper cited evidence that LeChene had used at least half-a-dozen agents posing as campaigners to provide detailed reports of work in the CAAT
office, meetings and preparations for protests, copies of
correspondence, and other internal documents.

CAAT staff immediately carried out Internal checks to try to
determine how the information had been obtained by Le Chene and Bae. By chance, staff found that Martin Hogbin had been sending many with similar content to that mentioned in the Sunday Times article, to an email address unknown to them - joseph at

This address received a third of all the emails Martin sent during the period of his employment covered by CAAT's records - 9 times the number he sent to any other single address. Continuing right up until the publication of the Sunday Times article, their content included details about CAAT employees and supporters, campaign actions, and details of legal action.

Martin, CAAT's Campaigns and Events Coordinator since November 2001, and before that an active volunteer since spring 1997, agreed that he had sent the emails. He said that he believed he had been sending them to Joseph Jones a former CAAT volunteer. Yet although he had known the volunteer during his time at CAAT, Martin never addressed the emails by name. The email address was also associated with a different name in the CAAT email system's electronic
address book.

On legal advice, Martin was suspended on full pay pending the detailed internal investigation. Two days later, however, before the investigation began, Martin resigned. He has refused to cooperate further. The investigation by CAAT's Steering Committee, with which the volunteer cooperated, concluded in February 2004 that the volunteer had
not been the recipient of these emails, and that Martin could not be cleared from suspicion.

Soon after the Sunday Times article appeared, CAAT was contacted by officials from the Information Commissioner's office, the UK government department set up to protect personal information. In May 2004, following a series of meetings, CAAT made a formal complaint to the
Commissioner that Martin had passed sensitive confidential information outside the organisation. Both Martin and Le Chene were approached by the Commissioner's investigator, and refused to cooperate with his
On 20 December 2004, the Commissioner reported to CAAT that the unidentified email address was indeed connected to Evelyn Le Chene. He said

"The investigation did establish that a former member of CAAT
had been forwarding information by way of e-mail, to a company with links to Evelyn Le Chene.The individual concerned was approached by my office but refused to be interviewed regarding this matter. I also
understand that the company receiving the information ceased trading shortly after publication of the newspaper article"

It is understood that Evelyn Le Chene is now residing in France and she has also refused to assist with the investigation.

And although the Sunday Times documents, seen by the Commissioner, showed that Le Chene had gathered detailed and sensitive information about CAAT, the Commissioner could not prove that she had divulged data-protected information (membership lists, bank account details).

Despite being unable to bring any legal action, CAAT is deeply concerned about the privacy and security of its supporters and other organisations. They urge everyone involved in campaigning activities to read the findings of its internal investigation and the particularly if they are considering working with Martin. They also encourage all campaigning organisations to check their email logs for the period before October 2003 to make sure that no information was being forwarded to any email of the form address at

Martin Hogbin is currently believed to be working with the STOP DSEI campaign



Hide the following 12 comments

What is known

27.07.2005 12:04

Do we know what information was passed to BAe ? Lists of those involved with CAAT ? Home addresses ?

Why is this individual still allowed to work with other anti arms trade groups ?



27.07.2005 12:52

CAAT owes and apology and an explanation to anyone who may have been affected by this. It opens up a wider discussion about security of groups like CAAT.

The Stop DSEI group is now fragmented and has largely collapsed so I doubt this individual will learn anything useful but we all need to be aware.


whats he look like

27.07.2005 16:23

got any photos?
just so if people are approached at a meeting or he does try and work with any groups


Why this now?

27.07.2005 16:34

Why is this being stirred up a month before Dsei? This all came out two years ago, and was on indymedia then... It is not proved that Martin was purposefully leaking information, and it would be incredibly easy to have set him up. What does the government / arms traders want? Do they want us fighting each other or fighting them? A government body chose to release this now... is this a conincidence? As for 'stop' ( actually disarm) Dsei being fragmented this is not true.. a wide range of anti militarist/ anti arms trade direct action groups will be opposing the arms trade this September.. come along, work out your own actions, come to the
2pm Saturday 30th July 2005
Bertrand Russell Room, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1
(nearest tube Holborn)



27.07.2005 20:15

Why is this man still working for the Disarm DSEI campaign, at the very least he should be suspended until investigations are over

Well ?

Its a big leap from

28.07.2005 08:26

"Martin Hogbin is currently believed to be working with the STOP DSEI (sic) campaign"


"Why is this man still working for the Disarm DSEI campaign, at the very least he should be suspended until investigations are over"

If "Terry" doesn't even know the name of the Disarm campaign, then one has to question on what basis that accusation is being made.

The Sunday Times notes that CAAT was infiltrated by at least half a dozen "agents" in the 1990s. Their attempt to re-ignite this matter at this time could easily lead one to think that they are being run by spooks at the moment.

CAAT received the report from the Commissioner in December 2004 - and this "news" is being made available 6 weeks before the DSEi Arms Fair sees the likes of BAE, EDO, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Rafael and many other Israeli arms companies (full list: ply their murderous wares.

For those whose primary objective is tackling an arms trade which fuels wars, kills kids and makes shareholders fat via the immiseration of billions of people, this must not serve as a distraction from the struggle to close down DSEi and to stop the manufacture and sales of weapons of death and destruction.

Whats CAATs game?

Yes timing??????

28.07.2005 15:32

I am as suspicious as the others about the timing of this. I have worked with Martin for a long time and trusted him. I still do. I was one of the people on Martin's email list and my emails were cited as ones that he had sent on in the evidence. The emails were intended to be sent on widely to publicise anti - war events as wide as poss. I saw the report and it is clear that the documents referred to in the Sunday Times article were well before Martin's time and not related to him.
What is going on - Martin continues to do great campaiging and I for one will continue to work with him.


Don't tar Disarm with this

29.07.2005 14:39


I am CAAT's Media Coordinator. I'd like to correct some misconceptions on this article, and in subsequent comments. Please read this.

1) Please let me reiterate - this release is *not* directed at Disarm DSEi. As you'll see above, our release didn't mention Disarm at all, precisely because we don't want to tar their fantastic work with Martin's activities. We're releasing this because we've been told by Disarm people that Martin has continued to be involved with DSEi activities (which is what we said - NOT "involved with Disarm activities"; nor did we say that he was suspected to be involved with 'STOP DSEi' - whoever posted this to the newswire has added this).

In short: we're aware that Martin continues to be involved with DSEi-related campaigning. He's also come to anti-arms trade events since the allegations were made and he left CAAT. We've also heard that he continues to be involved with other campaigns, both anti-arms trade and environmental. But this is no reason to steer clear of any particular organisation - particularly not now, when we need to come together to stop DSEi. In particular, we continue to be supportive of Disarm's work, and hope to continue working with them in the coming weeks running up to the DSEi mobilisation.

2) On the timing. Since Martin has contined to come to anti-arms-trade events since he left CAAT when the allegations were first made, we're seriously worried that activists' security may be at risk at DSEi. It's for precisely this reason we thought it important that this information was released before DSEi. It's at DSEi, the largest mobilisation of the anti-arms trade calendar, that activists' security and safety is likely to be at risk if they don't know about this.

I agree that ideally this release should have happened soon after February, when we received final confirmation from the UK Information Commissioner, and not so soon before DSEi. Unfortunatly, though, legal and bureaucratic consultations have held it up. We decided to release it as soon as we could so that people can see the information, deal with it as appropriate, and move on to the real work of mobilising against DSEi.

3) This is *not* simply a re-digest of old allegations aired years ago. Allegations about Martin have been aired, both here and in the mainstream media (Guardian), but the evidence which confirms them has *not* hitherto been published. The key piece of evidence comes from the UK Information Commissioner: that the email address which was by far the largest single recipient of emails Martin sent at CAAT (some public, some very confidential) between 2001 and 2003, belonged to a company connected to Evelyn Le Chene, the private security operator who the Sunday Times revealed was employed by BAe. This does not link Martin to BAe. It does link him, however, to a private security operator employed to gather information on campaigning organisations, including CAAT. We're publishing the letter from the Information Commissioner which gives this information on the CAAT website, along with other relevant documents.

Although our Steering Committee investigation concluded that the documents obtained by the Sunday Times provide circumstantial evidence pointing to Martin, these documents do indeed date from 1995 to 1997. The emails, which provide the direct evidence, only came to light after the Sunday Times investigation was published, are separate, and date from 2001 to 2003.

4) The CAAT steering committee have tried very hard to come up with alternative, innocent explanations for this. Martin provided an explanation which our Steering Committee's investigation has ruled out, as the article above detailed. He has refused to cooperate either with our Steering Committee's investigation, or with the UK Information Commissioner's staff, and has rejected all approaches from CAAT. In the absence of a credible explanation from him, we've decided that the only thing we can do to protect people's privacy and security is to publish this evidence openly. I'd urge Martin once again to get in touch, either in a public forum like this one, or to CAAT directly, to provide an explanation for the emails.
If anyone else would like to do so - particularly organisations who may have had recent contact with Martin, please do so, either to me or on this list.

5) I'd personally urge people to look at the actual documents on our website (, take appropriate action, and then get on with what's important: working with Disarm, CAAT and other organisations to stop Britain's largest arms fair.



- Homepage:

rebutting silliness

31.07.2005 16:41

Thanks Mike for your post.

In response to "active" I find it difficult to understand just how CAAT owes an explanation and an apology. The reports, articles and statements give plenty of explanation as to what happened. CAAT employed Martin in good faith, and within 48 hours of suspicions of serious misconduct being raised, he was suspended pending investigation. What more could CAAT have done? CAAT has also been proactive in informing organisations known to have been involved with him about its concerns.

"dubious" writes "it is not proved that Martin was purposefully leaking infromation and it would be incredibly easy to have him set up". The report on the CAAT website clearly shows that Martin in many cases is the only person who could have provided info in the spying reports. The reports are genuine - CAAT has (at great length) checked the veracity of the reports - they are not made up accounts - there is no "set up". I am still stunned by the suggestion that he may have "inadvertently" leaked information!! If you have actually read the report and still think this then you are pretty naive to put it mildly.

In answer to "dubious"'s question "what does the Government/the arms traders want?" Well yes dubious has one possible explanation. But let me provide another very obvious one "dubious" has seemed to overlook - to let their spies inflitrate groups like Disarm and make protest at DSeI less effective and provide them with intelligence to enable them to disrupt this and many other protests. CAAT does not want to see that happen, hence this has been published as soon as CAAT was able to.

As for "interested"'s comment that the documents referred to in the Sunday Times article were well before MArtin's time. Some of the material in the original Sunday Times article was before Martin's time yes but most of the documents CAAT has seen were after he started at CAAT, and all the ones in CAAT's report are from when Martin started.


On being patronised by the Central Committee of CAAT

31.07.2005 18:05

Well, there we go - having handed the smear job over to the newly appoionted media co-ordinator, only to have it go all pear-shaped, the central committee now steps in under the typical spook psuedonym "N" (makes a change from "Q" eh?)

"What more could CAAT have done?", asks "N"

Well lets see now:

- hows about making sure that sensitive information was safe BEFORE the Sunday Times told them they had not 1 but at least 6 agents in the 1990s?
- Understanding the Turnpike system and doing security checks on a regular basis might have been helpful.
- Not thinking that its lopsided investigation had reached conclusive evidence on anything at all seems to be another (it is all circumstantial with holes you could drive a D9 through you should realise).
- Not waiting till 5 months after the final Commisioners report and 6 weeks before DSEi to splurge out disinformation under spurious "security of activists" claims might be another.

The timing is atrocious, and if IMC really is the only way that CAAT knows to communicate with anti-arms activists then it REALLY needs to look at what the hell it is doing !!!

If that pitiful attempt at an investigation is the best that CAAT can come up with, then the arms-trade has nothing at all to worry about from CAAT does it?

To come here and declare questions and criticisms to be "silliness" is bang out of order - and is not going to earn you any friends - "N" - nor is it going to be particularly helpful to CAAT.

Now, why don't you entertain us with your plans for DSEi?

What has CAAT got planned for that? We should be told.


CAAT's DSEi 2005 events

01.08.2005 09:49

Details of what CAAT has planned for DSEi 2005 are at:

A more detailed events listing is at:



Hogbin /Boycott Coke campaign

12.12.2007 15:24

Mark wrote in his Guardian article that Hogbin had also assisted in organizing trade unionists' visits Colombia ,but didn't specify whether that was as part of the Boycott Killer Coke campaign - a campiagn that Mark himself has been invoved with. I emailed Mark last week to ask for clarification . He replied by asking why I wanted to know . My view is that people are entitled to know ,but that doesn't seem a good enough reason for Mark unfortunately. I haven't heard back from him since.

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