BP paid ex-MI6 agents to snoop on peaceful climate campaigner
BP has hired a private intelligence company set up by former MI6 agents to spy on a peaceful climate activist, according to a joint investigation from The Sunday Times and OpenDemocracy.
The oil and gas giant has been using the intelligence firm to monitor a man who has highlighted its investment in fossil fuels.
Chris Garrard is a 34-year-old classical music composer and a member of Art Not Oil.
The group is aiming to end oil-industry sponsorship of the arts.
He has campaigned against BP’s long-term sponsorship of the British Museum.
BP has retained the services of Welund since 2019, an agency specialising in “identifying politically based threats to businesses”, to gather intelligence on him and other individuals.
Its file on Garrard reportedly includes photographs of him in public places, updates about his physical appearance and details of his online activity.
None of the intelligence gathered about Garrard suggests he was engaged in physical protest or disruption.
Instead, the musicologist has focused on research, requests under the Freedom of Information Act and peaceful campaigning.
The oil and gas giant has recently declared its ambition to reach net zero by 2050.
It has recently rebranded itself as an “energy company with purpose”.
The disclosures come before the release of an OpenDemocracy report, Access Denied, examining the surveillance activities of the oil company.