Category Archives: Politik

Gang warfare with a suit and a smile

McLibel fact sheet authorship clusterfuck blows up at last: spycop chickens most definitely start coming home to roost

So the spycop story – bubbling away on a low simmer for many months, publicly at least – has boiled over once more.

With Friday’s ‘revelation’ that police infiltrator Detective Inspector Bob Lambert co-wrote the contentious ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s’ fact sheet which precipitated the libel action against London Greenpeace finally coming out into the open, The Guardian‘s Rob Evans and Paul Lewis (Lewvans? Evis?) have brought the whole sorry saga back into the public eye.

Whilst not strictly news (after all, the core London Greenpeace activists knew all along who contributed to their leaflet, and Lambert was publicly unmasked in October 2011), the story that a cop effectively set loose the whole McLibel chain of events has had a strong impact. Of course, that impact will be compounded by the Evans/Lewis book Undercover: The True Story Of Britain’s Secret Police due out in early July, and the joint investigation with Channel 4’s Dispatches that will air on Monday night.

However, for me more interesting was the more in-depth article published on Saturday, which didn’t even merit a link at the top of the front page of the Grauniad‘s website: Undercover policemen, undercover lovers.

Tucked away in the Family section, it was an extended excerpt from the book which more effectively ties together the different threads, and shows the patterns in the behaviour of the supposed cops-gone-rogue/few rotten apples/whatever label NSY senior management damage control is running this week.

By way of a flavour, committed but non-violent activist Helen Steel was:

…spied on by three undercover officers – [Boyling], Lambert and John Dines.

First by Lambert, the sexual and emotional predator, a consummate liar and a proven Janus, seasoned Special Branch provocateur turned trainer, teacher of tradecraft, mentor…

Second by Dines, committed political cop, stealing into the feelings of a committed campaigner, conniving to be privy to privileged legal information…

Third by Boyling, Lambert’s protégé, the controlling sociopath sent in to undermine links and interconnections between environmental, labour and social movements.

The cynical abuse of people – just collateral damage in some secretive, ill-defined dirty war on dissent – that is something that leaps out from the relatively brief overview that the article gives, whether we are talking about the SDS, ARNI or NPOIU.

And you know what? It’s simply not cricket. These pricks don’t fight fair. And I think that’s why the McLibel article has had such resonance – this goes beyond cracking hippy heads, or somesuch similar rationalisation. This is as bent as is possible to be.

We know – we know - this is not about ‘isolated instances’ or ‘exceptional circumstances’ or ‘the actions of an inexperienced new recruit’. This was planned, strategised, calculated. This involved malice aforethought, stepped approval processes, the involvement of lawyers both internal and external. Paper trails. Inter-service rivalries. Personality conflicts. All the petty bullshit that these muppets can never keep a lid on indefinitely. And no matter how many internal reviews they instigate, with tightly defined scopes and pre-limited evidence, the truth will out.

Because already we know what it will look like. All that’s really left is to match the shade of shit all over the walls to a colour chart.

PS After reading Friday’s article but before Saturday’s, I started to put together a brief timeline of what was going on with the few infiltrations we do know about in the 1980s and 1990s around London Greenpeace, and to put them into some kind of context. The Saturday article rather took away the need to do that, but I’ll stick it up anyway, as incomplete as it is.

Support your friendly local ex-Angry Brigader!

I haven’t posted for ages. Very busy with home and work and all that jazz.

But this is worth your time – and your money, I think.

John Barker – former Stoke Newington Eight defendant and convicted ‘Angry Brigade‘ prisoner – wrote a novel called Futures. It was about the 1987 Great Storm, the subsequent Black Monday stock market crash, criminals, corrupt cops and cocaine. It was published in French and German.

Now he and publisher PM Press (which in 2010 republished the classic Gordon Carr text The Angry Brigade with extensive new material, and has also published an impressive two-volume account of the Rot Armee Fraktion amongst many other interesting titles) wish to release it in English for the first time.

To do this they need to raise £5,000. In one lump sum, that’s a daunting task. But crowdfunded by dozens or hundreds of donors – each of whom will be rewarded in kind – it is much more easily achievable.

The pot is nearly full, but there are only 24 hours to go. So please consider throwing a fiver or a tenner or more into the pot at the Futures Kickstarter page.

When is an undercover police officer not an undercover officer? On The Guardian’s spy-cop arithmetical methodology

In many respects the reporting by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans on the spy-cop story at The Guardian over the past two years has been exemplary.

However, in some areas they can be seen to obfuscate rather than illuminate.

A case in point: in January 2013 Lewis & Evans wrote an article on the legal action brought by women activists against the Met in relation to long term intimate relationships its undercover officers entered into in the course of their operations.

As the journalists put it:

Of the nine undercover police identified by the Guardian over the past two years, eight are believed to have slept with the people they were spying on. In other words, it was the norm.

Note that this was after the January 2012 ‘Officer 10’ revelation (that an undercover who wasn’t Lambert or Boyling had fathered a child by an activist with whom he had had a brief relationship), but before the ‘Rod Richardson’ story broke in February 2013.

The legal action, started back in December 2011, names five officers: Lambert, Kennedy, Boyling, ‘Barker’ (subsequently identified – in February 2013 – as Dines) and ‘Cassidy’. Let us call that five out of five.

Both ‘Watson’ and ‘Jacobs’ had also by this point been accused of sleeping with targets. The tally moves to seven for seven.

‘Pete Black’ has said ‘it was “part of the job” for fellow agents to use “the tool of sex” to maintain their cover and glean intelligence’, though I can’t find any direct admission of having done it himself. Let’s err on the side of ‘Black’ – following in the footsteps of his predecessor libertine cops Lambert and Dines and providing a good operational example to his own mentee Boyling – using “the tool of sex’ in his work. 8/8.

At this stage the only other publicly uncovered undercover was ‘Simon Wellings’. I can find no reference to him sleeping with any targets. That gives us more or less 8 out of 9.

However, The Guardian identified neither ‘Black’ (The Observer) nor ‘Wellings’ (BBC). So let’s scrub them and take the tally back down to 7/7.

So let’s go back to the mystery ‘Officer 10’ – he definitely had sex, insofar as like Boyling and Lambert he fathered a child. We are now back at 8/8.

Now, one of the interesting things with the ‘Rod Richardson’ story that Lewis & Evans gave us in February 2013 is the assertion that “the man calling himself Rod Richardson was an exception” to the ‘rule’ of having sex with targets. If in their January story Lewis & Evans were already working the ‘Richardson’ angle, then this could give us  the magic ‘eight out of nine’.

But then what about the anonymous Special Branch officer Lewis & Evans use to corroborate their ‘Jackal Run’ stories this month (for reference purposes ‘Officer 11’)? Is ‘Officer 11’ the same person as ‘Officer 10’? Or someone who they only became aware of after the January reference to “nine undercover police identified by the Guardian”?

Given that they are journalists who have ploughed this furrow largely alone in the mainstream media, Lewis and Evans are clearly in a position where they must protect their sources. It is notable that they appear to have gained the trust of the SDS whistleblower ‘Pete Black’, who initially only featured in stories co-bylined by The Observer‘s Tony Thompson.

To this end, it is conceivable that ‘Officer 10’ is also ‘Officer 11’, or that either or both is also ‘Mark Cassidy’, or even ‘Simon Wellings’ or ‘Marco Jacobs’, and that Lewis and Evans have deliberately blurred the details in each mention of their anonymous sources.

In the case of ‘Wellings’ and ‘Jacobs’ this is unlikely without knowingly publishing false information. ‘Officer 10’ bore a child from a target relationship, and no one has come forward to indicate that either ‘Wellings’ and ‘Jacobs’ became spy-parents. ‘Officer 11’ is described as an SDS infiltrator – and the SDS was supplanted in 1999 by the NPIOU. ‘Wellings’ first appeared in 2001, and ‘Jacobs’ in 2005 – so we may reasonably discount both of them.

The are other elements which muddy the water. When ‘Watson’ was identified in the wake of the Kennedy story in January 2011 in a pair of stories by Lewis and Evans co-written with Northern Editor Martin Wainwrightfirst tangentially and then directlyThe Guardian gave her a pseudonym and sat on pictures of her. This was:

At the request of intelligence officials, the Guardian has agreed to withhold identifying details about the woman, who is still a serving officer, and will refer to her only as “Officer A”.

It was three days after the first mention of the female undercover officer on 10 January 2011 that The Guardian published a pixelated photo of ‘Watson’ (story by Lewis, Evans and Crime Correspondent Vikram Dodd). It would not be until 19 January – a full nine days on from the original story – before her cover name was used, in a story attributed to Rajeev Syal, who covers the Whitehall beat, and Wainwright. Note that her undercover name and photos of her were already circulating via IndyMedia from at least 13 January.

A similar situation came about on 15 January 2011 with the initial unmasking of ‘Marco Jacobs’ – again without naming or picturing him:

The latest officer, whose identity has been withheld amid fears for his safety in other criminal operations, worked for four years undercover with an anarchist group in Cardiff.

That story was bylined to Lewis, reporter Matthew Taylor and Syal. Again, his ‘true fake identity’ and picture were not published until 19 January 2011 (story by Syal), despite his details being published on FITwatch (14 January), IndyMedia (15 January) and elsewhere before then.

These are clearly not issues relating to the protection of sources: this was a favour extended to the Met, ostensibly to facilitate the safe exfiltration of ‘Watson’ and ‘Jacobs’ from the undercover operations they were then engaged in.

And if nurturing and protecting sources is so important, why in 2009 did Lewis give assurances to his source that the CO11 spotter card he had been shown in confidence would not be published in full if he could not deliver on that promise?

Of course we all make mistakes. But to stonewall straightforward requests to elucidate on opaque reporting is not the way to remedy them.

ETA:

Paul Lewis has clarified in a series of tweets [1, 2, 3] that the ‘eight of nine identified undercover officers slept with targets’ reference takes into consideration all those identified publicly, with ‘Simon Wellings’ the only abstinent (and not for want of trying):

Ha. Well. The nine are all those who have been identified in public, by us and others.

Doesn’t include Rod, or the others we know of/have spoken to, but not yet identified. Includes Black and Wellings.

PS: Blog post is right: Wellings is the one who didn’t have sex. (Though he often complained he wasn’t getting any)

That means the “nine undercover police identified…over the past two years” when that particular report was published in January 2013 are:

  1. ‘Pete Black’
  2. Mark Kennedy
  3. ‘Lynn Watson’
  4. ‘Marco Jacobs’
  5. Jim Boyling
  6. ‘Simon Wellings’
  7. Bob Lambert
  8. John Dines
  9. ‘Mark Cassidy’

…And that “eight are believed to have slept with the people they were spying on

  1. ‘Pete Black’
  2. Mark Kennedy
  3. ‘Lynn Watson’
  4. ‘Marco Jacobs’
  5. Jim Boyling
  6. Bob Lambert
  7. John Dines
  8. ‘Mark Cassidy’

He also confirms that ‘Officer 10’ and ‘Officer 11’ are different people:

They’re not the same person.

With the subsequent ‘Jackal Run’ articles of February which revealed ‘Rod Richardson’, and the confirmation above of the existence of ‘Officer 10’ and ‘Officer 11’ as separate individuals, this indicates that the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list I posted up yesterday is accurate.

That certainly clears up some of the confusion. Thanks Paul.

A dirty dozen, and then some more… Just how many spy-cops did Scotland Yard infiltrate into protest groups?

It’s a question that bears asking. Ever since ‘Mark Stone’ was publicly exposed within activist circles as Constable Mark Kennedy back in October 2010, there has been a drip-drip-drip of revelations, as groups around the country have identified further infiltrators.

Below is a list of twelve people. We have the real names of only four of them, and cover names for ten. Two of them we know only what the journalists Paul Lewis and Rob Evans of The Guardian choose to tell us, and we have no way of verifying whether they are any of the others named or even each other – though the scant details provided indicate they are not.

  1. ‘Pete Black AKA ‘Officer A (Observer) – infiltrated Militant’s Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) and also the M11 link road roads protest, 1993-1997 whilst working for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). ‘Black’ came forward in March 2010 in interviews with Tony Thompson of The Observer. Previously worked for two years in Special Branch.
  2. ‘Mark Stone AKA ‘Flash AKA PC Mark Kennedy – infiltrated mostly environmental groups (but then also tried anti-fascist and animal rights networks) in the UK and across Europe between 2003-2010. He joined the City of London Police in 1990 and then the Met in 1994, was recruited to an undercover training course in 1996, before being transferred to the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI) – which subsequently became the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPIOU) – in 2002. His involvement included anti-G8 actions at Gleneagles in 2005 and the abortive Ratcliffe-on-Soar protest in 2009. He was outed on IndyMedia in October 2010 and then in mainstream news media from January 2011. In December 2011 he was named as one of five officers who participated in long term intimate relationships with women targets whilst undercover, in a legal action initiated on behalf of eight such women.
  3. ‘Lynn Watson AKA ‘Officer A (Guardian) – infiltrated various political networks between 2003-2008, including Aldermaston peace camp, the UK Action Medics Collective, the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) and the Common Place social centre. She was identified as an undercover police officer in the aftermath of the Kennedy outing, something confirmed in the mainstream media in January 2011.
  4. ‘Marco/Mark Jacobs AKA ‘Officer B – attempted to infiltrate groups first in Brighton and then in Cardiff between 2005-2009, including Cardiff Anarchist Network, activist gatherings, anti-G8 Dissent! network and climate change group Rising Tide. Like Kennedy he also went on trips to Europe in the guise of an activist. Outed and identified in January 2011 in much the same way as and at the same time as ‘Watson’.
  5. ‘Jim Sutton AKA PC Andrew James Boylinginfiltrated Reclaim The Streets (RTS) and other groups between 1995-2000, before disappearing. He resurfaced a year later, and entered into a relationship with an activist, whom he married in around 2005, having eventually confessed to her that he was a cop and made her change her name by deed poll. They divorced in 2009, having had two children together. His identity and role as a police spy were publicly revealed in the mainstream media in January 2011 along with ‘Watson’ and ‘Jacobs’, in reports which claimed he was still a serving officer with SO15 (Counter Terrorism Command), the successor unit to Special Branch. He was one of five officers who participated in long term intimate relationships with women targets whilst undercover and so named in a legal action initiated on behalf of eight such women in December 2011.
  6. ‘Simon Wellingsinfiltrated the SWP’s Globalise Resistance group between 2001-2005, travelling also to Europe and the US, before inadvertently exposing himself to a member of the group by accidentally dialling their answerphone whilst being debriefed by another officer. After being confronted by the group, ‘Wellings’ disappeared. Globalise Resistance released details of the incident to the mainstream media in March 2011.
  7. ‘Bob Robinson AKA Detective Inspector Bob Lambert AKA Dr Robert Lambert MBE – infiltrated London Greenpeace as well as the wider environmental and animal liberation movement between 1984-88, engaged in long term intimate relationships with women activists, fathered a child by one of them, and arranged for a non-activist lover (who was unaware he was a police officer) to be raided by Special Branch to add to his credibility. By the late 1990s he had moved up within Special Branch to take charge of SDS operations, supervising other undercover officers within those networks, including Jim Boyling and Pete Black. Between 2002-2007 he ran the Muslim Contact Unit (MCU) for Special Branch, through which he fostered relationships with Muslim groups and individuals variously described as Salafis, Islamists or ‘radicals’. During this period he began to develop a twin career as an academic specialising in engagement with Islamists, and since leaving Special Branch he has continued this, with involvement at both the University of St Andrews and Exeter University. He was exposed as a police infiltrator by London Greenpeace in October 2011, with the mainstream media quickly picking up on the story. Lambert was one of the five undercover officers named in December 2011 in a legal action on behalf of eight women with whom they had had long term intimate relationships.
  8. ‘John Barker AKA PS John Dinesinfiltrated ‘anti-capitalist’ groups between 1987-1992 for the SDS whilst a Special Branch sergeant. He engaged in a long term intimate relationship with at least one activist woman, with whom he lived for two years. Following exfiltration he was given a desk job in Scotland Yard. Having over the years pieced together small clues, by 2010 the woman had come to realise that ‘John Barker’ was an undercover police officer who had assumed the identity of a dead child. In December 2011 Dines was named under his assumed identity as one of five officers who participated in long term intimate relationships with women targets whilst undercover, in a legal action initiated on behalf of eight such women. He was identified as Sergeant John Dines in mainstream media reports in February 2013.
  9. ‘Mark Cassidy – like John Dines (under his ‘John Barker’ identity), in December 2011 ‘Cassidy was named as one of five officers who participated in long term intimate relationships with women targets whilst undercover, in a legal action initiated on behalf of eight such women.
  10. ‘Officer 10 – an unnamed undercover officer who is referred to in a January 2012 report as having had a child with a woman activist following a brief intimate relationship.
  11. ‘Officer 11 – the anonymous second SDS source (alongside ‘Pete Black’) for the February 2013 ‘Jackal Run’ stories in The Guardian.
  12. ‘Rod Richardson’infiltrated a number of anti-capitalist groups between 2000-2003, including Movement Against the Monarchy (MA’M) and White Overall Movement Building Effective Libertarian Struggle (WOMBLES), participated in summit-hopping activism across Europe, and lived in an activist house in Nottingham where Mark Kennedy would subsequently stay. ‘Rod Richardson’ was named by Jules Carey, a lawyer representing the family of the real Rod Richardson, whose identity the undercover policeman assumed, in evidence before the Home Affairs Committee in February 2013, with The Guardian following this up in more depth in an article in the ‘Jackal Run’ series.

In Kennedy’s self-serving account to the Daily Mail, he claimed that he knew of fifteen other officers carrying out similar work throughout his time undercover, “at least four” of whom remained in place when he left.

Elsewhere (infuriatingly I have temporarily lost the reference) he mentions that there were ten officers undercover at any one time.

He also claims that he was paid £250,000 per year.

That adds up to a lot of money, and a lot of undiscovered or unidentified undercover cops roaming around.

(Thanks to Merrick for inspiring this post)

The ‘Great Communist Bank Robbery’ of 1959, the ‘Ioanid Gang’ and Jewishness in Soviet-era Romania…

Reconstruction of the 1959 'Great Communist Bank Robbery' in Bucharest

I recently caught a documentary film called Marele Jaf Comunist AKA Great Communist Bank Robbery. It was about a 1959 payroll heist in Soviet era Romania.

The gist is, a small group of armed robbers held up a van carrying wages to the Romanian National Bank – an unthinkable crime in a ‘Socialist’ state.

After a major police dragnet which saw scores of suspects arrested, interrogated and in many cases tortured, the cops drew a blank. Then eventually a lead turned them onto what became known as the ‘Ioanid Gang’ (named after two of its members) – five men and a woman. All were Jewish-Romanians, and either state functionaries or officers of the Securitate.

They were made to ‘confess’, and compelled to play themselves in a docu-drama film made to illustrate how they carried out their dastardly crime. This film, Reconstruction, was later shown to high ranking Party officials and trusted journalists. Subsequently all were found guilty at trial (their Party careers conveniently forgotten – now they were simply a ‘corrupt and rotten element’, a ‘swindler’, a ‘fake intellectual’, an ‘adventurer’, a ‘gangster’, and a ‘marginal element’…) and all but one sentenced to death.

A 2001 documentary film, also called Reconstruction (which I haven’t yet managed to watch), later covered the topic. Finally, in 2004 the aforementioned Marele Jaf Comunist was made, looking at the robbery, the police investigation, the making of the original documentary Reconstruction, and efforts by the son of one of the gang members to review the Securitate files.

One strand which could have been covered more in depth was the specific details of the suspects’ prior involvement in the Party and the apparatus of the state, and in particular the wartime resistance activities of some of them. One suggestion made during the film was that the execution of the five condemned men was a ruse so that they could be ‘disappeared’ and used as agents of espionage elsewhere. Again, this was not pursued with any real vigour.

So can anyone point me in the direction of any (English language) books which cover the story in depth? It seems entwined with the issue of Jewish emigration from Romania, anti-semitism, and purges within the Partidul Muncitoresc Român/Partidul Comunist Român as Gheorghiu-Dej steered towards an undestalinised ‘national communism’, so any suggestions on that front would also be welcome, as would pointers to good works on the Securitate.

Many thanks :)

Magic Eye Pics #003: Nick Griffin

Magic Eye Pics #003: Nick Griffin

Fish in a barrel, I know – but completeness matters.

Anyway, some handy hints in case you get chummy with the Cambridge Cod:

On cop-spies and paid betrayers (1.4): A tangled web of burglaries, shady emails, Respect, Gorgeous George, the MCU, Doctor Bob and all

The curious case of ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway and his fit of fury over a Metropolitan Police officer allegedly being in his London home without permission (over which he tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons earlier this week) intersects with our interest in the Met’s long-term spy-cop-turned-academic, Dr Bob Lambert[1].

To summarise:

Last Sunday, George Galloway MP[2] claimed that “a senior Metropolitan police counter-terrorism officer has been involved in a campaign of disinformation and ‘dirty tricks’ against George Galloway, which involved an agent in the MP’s constituency office and also setting up a series of fake email addresses in an attempt to smear him.”

On his website he elaborated on this, saying:

A very senior officer in SO15 has been feeding disinformation aimed at damaging me to a national newspaper and to others, aided by a member of staff in Bradford who has now been suspended.

This involved him using the Met email as well as creating at least two false email addresses to spread the deceit. I have incontrovertible evidence. He either did this a freelance or it was sanctioned by his superiors. I will be asking the Home Secretary tomorrow (Monday) to act on this and also bringing it to the attention of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

He noted that his house in Streatham, south London, had been broken into in June whilst his “aide Ms A” was in the property, and that a parliamentary laptop was stolen. ‘Ms A’ told Galloway that she had a friend in the Met, ‘Mr K’, who could advise on security measures. Galloway met ‘Mr K’ – from SO15, the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command – for the first time that same day.

Within 48 hours it transpired that this was not the first time the SO15 man had been in the house. He had to tell the officers investigating the break-in that his fingerprints would be found in the house as he had been sleeping there with Ms A while George was away. This is surely in breach of the police behavioural code. George pointed this out informally to the investigating officers but heard no more about this or, indeed, the result of their burglary investigation.

On Monday Galloway then wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May demanding action. He also blogged his letter, though redacted the names of both the officer and his (former) aide:

Dear Home Secretary,

I am writing to you to ask you to investigate the behaviour of a senior member of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism squad SO15 who, I believe, has been carrying out a campaign of vilification – a dirty tricks operation – against me in my constituency using police facilities and resources. I would also like to know whether this unwarranted intrusion was sanctioned by the Commissioner or other senior SO15 officers.

The officer’s name is xxxxx. It is my understanding that his role is to investigate and report on radical Muslim groups. But perhaps you can clarify his remit precisely?

My first contact with xxxxx came on the day of a burglary at my home in Streatham in June. He was introduced to me by my then parliamentary assistant xxxxx. It is my understanding that the two had had, and were having, a relationship. She brought him to the house as a ‘security adviser’ who could give advice on how to make the house more secure after the local officers investigating the break-in had left.

However, within hours of that I learned that he and xxxxx had been sleeping in my house, and without permission, while I was abroad. This came out because he had to tell the officers investigating the burglary that his fingerprints would be found in the house. I asked the local officers informally to report on this to his bosses. I heard no more and neither have I heard any more about the burglary. I should, of course, have dismissed xxxxx but foolishly I gave her a second chance.

I have now discovered that she has been leaking and distorting information from within my office and handing it on to xxxxx who, apart from using his Met police email address, has set up at least two others to pump out false information to national newspapers.

For instance, on October 1 from his address (xxxxx@met.police.uk) he sent an email to her (xxxxx@hotmail.com) which included this: ‘I think there was an election fraud. I found out the printer of the election voting cards is a member of respect. the postman for the postal votes was also a member of respect party. And finally there was a rush of new voters with the name of Ali. There were 450 voters apparently all staying at the midland. And finally the gypsies came in to support GG via the Westfield site.’

Now apart from this being utter tosh – you will recall my majority was more than 10,000 and there has, to my knowledge, been no enquiry into voting irregularities in the by-election – it is a blatant attempt to set a pernicious lie running in an attempt to blacken me in my constituency and in parliament.

Again, on October 3, he emailed her from his Met address with an extensive email on tactics she should employ and which defamed several members of staff and volunteers. I can supply a copy of both of these emails.

Going on from that he, with the encouragement of his accomplice, my employee, set up at least two false email accounts so that they could pass on rumour, disinformation and downright lies to the Guardian reporter Helen Pidd. I presume she was unaware that ‘Nabeel Raja’ was xxxxx and that he was in a conspiracy with xxxxx.

I have now suspended xxxxx pending dismissal.

I think you will agree that the behaviour of this senior officer in carrying out this dirty tricks campaign goes well beyond his role in counter-terrorism and is a direct attack on not just me but on democracy. I will be writing separately to the Metropolitan police commissioner and to the Speaker but as xxxxx is ultimately responsible to you (and parliament) I would ask you to look into this and let me know the result of your investigation.

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

That same day, Galloway tabled his EDM, which named the officer as Afiz Khan (presumably making use of his parliamentary privilege):

That this House expresses its concern at the involvement of a very senior officer in the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism branch SO15 in an apparent dirty tricks operation against the hon. Member for Bradford West; notes that the officer, Afiz Khan, entered the hon. Member’s London home without his knowledge or consent, the hon. Member never having met or heard of him, and he slept in the hon. Member’s home; further notes that Afiz Khan sent emails to an individual in the hon. Member’s officewho [sic] acted as his agent; further notes he co-ordinated this operation from his police email account and from at least two other fake email accounts, duping, amongst others, the Guardian newspaper as to his true identity; further notes that he operated under an alias against the hon. Member on Facebook and elsewhere, all the while concealing that he was a senior serving police officer at Scotland Yard; and asks the Home Secretary to make an urgent statement to Parliament on these matters.

To date Galloway’s is the only signature supporting the motion.

On Tuesday he briefly blogged about his EDM, this time referring to the officer as Afiz Khan.

By Thursday, things were hotting up. The Guardian had picked up the story, with Helen Pidd interviewing Galloway’s now-suspended secretary, Aisha Ali-Khan, for her side of the story.

In the article Ali-Khan says “that she is married to Afiz Khan, whom Galloway correctly identified as a detective inspector in the Met’s counter-terrorism unit, SO15.” The story says that she wed Khan in 2009, “and have had an on-off, hush-hush relationship ever since”.

She claims that “she has been “thrown to the wolves” because she was disliked by certain male figures in Bradford’s Respect party who wanted her out, and because Galloway wanted to deflect attention from a story about his personal life which he believed was about to hit the papers.” In addition, Ali-Khan says Galloway must have known about her marriage, because he counter-signed security clearance documents she filled in for her parliamentary pass to Westminster when she began work for him in April, which included details on her spouse. Yet Galloway affirms that Ali-Khan had introduced a different man to him in Bradford as her “estranged husband”.

The Mail also ran an article on the story earlier that day, which was subsequently amended after the Guardian‘s was published. The Mail story includes the names of both Ali-Khan and Khan, and a photograph of them together (sourced from Galloway’s office, and used above). Curiously, there is also a comment from “Mr Galloway’s spokesman and associate for the last 36 years, Ron McKay” which both adds to and then possibly contradicts the Bradford MP’s own earlier account.

First let’s look at the possible contradiction:

A short while after George came back there was a break-in at his house when he, his wife and Aisha were in, and the burglars made off with a parliamentary computer.’

Odd. Recall that Galloway’s original press release mentioned that Ali-Khan had been present in the house during the break-in, but made no mention of his or his wife’s presence.

Now let’s look at what McKay told the Mail in toto:

Aisha Ali Khan had become George’s aide after turning up at the Respect headquarters in Bradford before his election campaign. I think she used to be a teacher.

There was some concern that she had been involved with the Labour Party. She worked for George in Bradford and in London – and while he was away in Indonesia in June he gave her the keys to his house in Streatham.

A short while after George came back there was a break-in at his house when he, his wife and Aisha were in, and the burglars made off with a parliamentary computer.

Local police were investigating – but it was then that Aisha introduced Afiz Khan to George as a police officer and security expert who could help him beef up his home security.

It transpired a few hours later that Insp Khan had declared to the cops investigating the burglary that they would find his fingerprints in the house because he had been sleeping in the house with Aisha while George was away.

That was George’s rude introduction to what had been going on.

Since then George has been given incontrovertible evidence from emails that Insp Khan had been using his Met police email account and two fictitious accounts to communicate with her and use her as his agent to indulge in a dirty tricks campaign.

We also found Aisha was the instigator of a Guardian story criticising Respect. We’ve got the emails between her and the Guardian and between her and Afiz. One email from his police account claims there was electoral fraud in George’s by-election.

It’s clear he was keeping a close eye on George in his constituency.

The bit about Ali-Khan being “the instigator of a Guardian story criticising Respect” would seem to refer to Helen Pidd’s article from the previous Sunday (14 October) entitled ‘George Galloway: is Bradford losing respect for its maverick MP?

It covers a fair amount of ground, and a number of people are quoted in the piece – Galloway himself, Bradford West constituent ‘Jill Smith’, Respect party secretary Chris Chilvers, Respect council candidate Sarah Cartin, Galloway voter Sabbiyah Purvez, Ratna Lachman, director of Just West Yorkshire, a civil liberties, human rights and social justice organisation, and Respect councillors Ruqayyah Collector and Alyas Karmani.

Ah yes – Alyas Karmani. Helen Pidd interviewed him for a couple of articles on the local elections back in May – two of four she did on Respect and Galloway around that time. He was also featured in a piece by Anne Czernik, which was mentioned on this blog a while back.

Alyas Karmani, you may remember, as well as being the Respect election candidate who beat the leader of the local Labour Party to win a seat on Bradford City Council, is also a director of south London youth outreach programme STREET. STREET, or ‘Strategy To Reach Empower and Educate Teenagers’, was set up by one Dr Abdul Haqq Baker, with our old friend Dr Bob Lambert as a consultant. Baker and Lambert also worked together on the Centre for Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV). Baker and Lambert also shared at least one business address.

Let’s go back to Thursday’s Guardian article:

Ali-Khan, a trained teacher who gave up her job mentoring young Muslims in order to work for Galloway, says she was upfront about her spouse’s sensitive day job in the Muslim contact unit. “It was never an issue,” she insisted.

At first you might miss it, thanks to the irritating house style of The Guardian, which defers to lower case to the detriment of clarity on organisational nomenclature. It is saying that not only was Detective Inspector Afiz Khan working in SO15, but that he was in the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit (MCU).

That’s the same MCU which experienced undercover police officer Detective Inspector Bob Lambert (AKA militant animal activist Bob Robinson, AKA academic Dr Robert Lambert MBE) was not only a member of, but which he personally founded in 2002 (“to avoid the mistakes made during the IRA campaign of alienating the Irish community, and to work with credible Muslim figures to isolate and counter those prepared to support terror attacks”).

So just what is going on up in Yorkshire?

Notes:

[1] More posts on Bob Lambert from Bristle’s Blog From The BunKRS: Doctor Bob Lambert & bloody McLibel; Lambert’s a bottler – sex-pest cop-spook “startled” by hecklers; Doctor Bob Lambert, his academic friends and the tightening purse-strings; Lambert of the Yard and the mystery of his ‘suburban terror bunker’ trading address.

See also Yet another one bad apple; Covering up the cover-up; One bad apple gets worse; Who defends the indefensible?; Two cover ups for the price of one; Mark Kennedy’s Thatcher tears; Don’t bite the hand that beats you; Bob Lambert: Still spying?; and Bob Lambert MBE vs Sir Fred Goodwin (all on Bristling Badger).

[2] George Galloway: former Labour Party bruiser-turned-reality TV star-turned-effective leader of the Respect Party, for whom he is Member of Parliament for Bradford West.

Edited: 20 October 2012, 9:15pm to clarify the McKay/Galloway discrepancy issue.
Edited: 20 October 2012, 9:45pm to tidy up hyperlinks.