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All quotes are taken directly from the court transcripts.
During this time there were new revelations about:
As Head of Security, Mr Carroll said he regularly sent out instructions to all McDonald's branches on what steps to take when the stores were picketed. This included advice that wherever possible photographs should be taken of protestors and these should be sent to regional headquarters along with copies of any leaflets obtained. Mr Carroll stated that prior to the company's regionalisation in 1990/91 all reports and photographs of demonstrations had been sent to him. The purpose of this was to try to identify if there was a "hard core" of people carrying out protests all around the country. The company discovered that, in fact, protests were generally local people picketing their local branch. He said "literally hundreds" of leaflets had been sent to him and that so many came in that the files became "unwieldy". He stated that no legal action stemming from these files had ever been taken against protestors.
A report written by Mr Carroll about a protest outside McDonald's HQ on 16th October 1989 (World Day of Action against McDonald's), and sent to Paul Preston (McDonald's UK President) stated "I obtained photographs of all of the demonstrators and I will have them identified in due course". Quizzed about this, Mr Carroll said he had intended to have them identified "through whatever sources I could". He admitted that personal information about protestors had been relayed to him by a Special Branch Officer who was present at the demonstration.
Sid Nicholson (McDonald's UK Vice President) formerly in charge of Personnel and Security, testified for the second time in the trial (see Trial News 2 for his evidence on employment conditions). Mr Nicholson joined McDonald's in 1983 as Head of Security. Prior to this he had spent 31 years in the police force, firstly in South Africa, and then in the Metropolitan Police, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent.
Mr Nicholson admitted that a month prior to the October '89 picket, he had a secret meeting at McDonald's Head Office with two members of Special Branch where he obtained information about people involved with London Greenpeace. He confirmed that during the picket of McDonald's HQ on October 16th 1989, two Special Branch agents were in attendance, one of whom stood with him passing on information about protestors. Company documents revealed that McDonald's continued to receive information from Special Branch until at least 1994.
Mr Nicholson stated that all McDonald's security department were ex-policemen, and had a great many contacts in the police from whom they may get information about protestors. He also admitted that the company had subscribed to the Economic League which he described as an organisation which existed "to defend multinationals and the interests of multinationals". He said that McDonald's had received information from the Economic League about London Greenpeace and the Transnationals Information Centre, who published Working for Big Mac, and said that "we may very well have got reports on union activity". [N.B. The Economic League kept a 'blacklist' of 'subversives' - political or trade union activists - gleaned from various sources, which subscribers could use to vet prospective employees. It was the subject of great controversy in the late 80's/early 90's and has since closed down.]
Mr Nicholson further accepted that the company's agents had stolen letters sent to the group from the UK and around the world, and that approximately four of the spies remained in the group after writs were served on the Defendants in order to monitor the response.
One of the 'enquiry agents', Mr Brian Bishop, gave evidence about twelve of the meetings and events he had attended on behalf of McDonald's, between mid May and the end of September 1990. He confirmed he had "manned" a stall, some of the time on his own, at a "well attended" public event, where, he said, "to the best of my knowledge" the anti-McDonald's Factsheet was available for the public to take away.
At the first meeting he had attended, Mr Bishop had noted that the windows in the then London Greenpeace office "had no security locks" and that "I imagine [the next door office] is occupied 24 hours a day". Questioned as to the relevance of such information Mr Bishop denied that it was there to give advice to anybody interested in getting into London Greenpeace's office to burgle them. He did however admit to taking a letter about McDonald's which had been sent to London Greenpeace, and said he had passed it on to the detective agency. He said it would not be an unusual occurrence for an enquiry agent to take letters from the organisation being investigated, and he had not been told not to take any letters or anything else belonging to the group, and said that after handing in the letter no-one had instructed him not to do it again.
A second 'enquiry agent', Mr Roy Pocklington, who had been employed by McDonald's to infiltrate London Greenpeace said he had attended at least 26 meetings and events of LGP between October 1989 and June 1990. Questioned by Mr Rampton QC as to the group's attitude to McDonald's, Mr Pocklington said "The group felt that McDonald's were somewhat sinister, somewhat exploitative, and their attitude was one of disgust and dislike for McDonald's". He said that people in the group appeared sincere in their beliefs. He said that the group was friendly and open but that in order to continue attending meetings he felt "it would be beneficial to show willing and help out where I could in the office". He had therefore volunteered to help answer letters sent to the group, including on one occasion spending 8 hours in the Greenpeace office writing replies, and enclosing anti-McDonald's leaflets, including the anti-McDonald's Factsheet.
Mr Pocklington agreed that he had prearranged to leave meetings talking to certain individuals in order that they could be followed home, and that he had provided a parcel of baby clothes for Mr Morris' son, in "an attempt to discover Mr Morris' address".
Further, Ms Brandford had visited areas in Goias where McDonald's have admitted only very recently (in a statement from Roberto Morganti, the Director of McDonald's local hamburger manufacturers, Braslo Ltd) that they STILL obtain their beef - especially along the River Araguaia and its tributaries. She had travelled extensively in this region (including towns named by Mr Morganti such as Jucara, Aruana, Britania, S. Miguel do Araguaia, Porangatu, Novo Mundo and Crixas etc) and testified that in the early 1970s it was an area of Amazonian tropical rainforest. Ms Brandford had witnessed it being cleared and burned for cattle ranching from the mid-1970s up to the mid-1980s (with indigenous people being forced out). She said forest clearances continue, but at a slower pace.
This evidence, based on McDonald's own information which the Defendants finally forced the company to disclose after 3 years of legal applications, completely nails once and for all the Corporation's lies distributed to the public worldwide about never using any beef raised on ex-rainforest or recently-cleared ex-rainforest land.
In April, the Judge handed down his ruling in which McDonald's were allowed to amend their Statement of Claim (their original case against Helen Steel and Dave Morris). Previously, McDonald's case regarding the distribution of the London Greenpeace Factsheet had always been that the two Defendants were responsible for the handing out of the leaflet on a handful of specific occasions in 1989/90.
The supposed evidence for this rests entirely on company security representatives and the testimony of four of the infiltrators sent into London Greenpeace by McDonald's. Now, the Judge has allowed McDonald's to amend their case to claim that the Defendants, by virtue of their involvement in London Greenpeace, were responsible for the production and distribution of the Factsheet 'wheresoever and whensoever' it had taken place! The Defendants are appealing against this ruling and are awaiting a date to appear before the Court of Appeal. This is the Defendants' sixth application to the Court of Appeal.
The Judge also ruled that the Defendants could amend THEIR Defence to claim that, because McDonald's infiltrators had been actively involved in the group and had helped to circulate the Factsheet, McDonald's had consented to its distribution.
However, the Judge disallowed the Defendants' amendment that McDonald's had consented to publication of the Factsheet by virtue of their failure to take any action to stop its distribution until over three and a half years after the company first became aware of it. (Contrary to their frequent claims in the media, McDonald's never wrote to London Greenpeace, nor to anybody involved with the group, about the Factsheet until they served writs on the Defendants in September 1990.)
The McLibel Support Campaign was set up to generate solidarity and financial backing for the McLibel Defendants, who are not themselves responsible for Campaign publicity. The Campaign is also supportive of, but independent from, general, worldwide, grassroots anti-McDonald's activities and protests.