Category Archives: Policing Space

That’s not star cops, btw

Really good documentary films online for free

Recently I had a Twitter exchange with Dorian Cope on the topic of documentaries on YouTube.

She recommended some really good ones (listed below), including The Leonard Peltier Story, which I knew as Incident At Oglala.

By Michael Apted (he of The World Is Not Enough Bond fame, as well as the Up series of documentaries), Incident At Oglala is a righteous retelling of the story of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the fight for indigenous people’s rights in the United States, the siege at Pine Ridge and the case of Leonard Peltier – still banged up in Federal chokey today. Apted subsequently made a thinly-veiled fictional version of the attempts by the FBI and others to quash AIM, Thunderheart, which was in part based on an earlier standoff at Wounded Knee.

I first came across the story of AIM and Pine Ridge through the writings of Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall – Agents Of Repression, and The COINTELPRO Papers. Together the two books utilise the then-relatively novel application of Freedom of Information Act rights, and cover in depth the FBI’s decades-long (though the Bureau clings to the orthodoxy that COINTELPROs only existed from 1956-1971) ‘counter intelligence programs’ directed at civil society, involving agents provocateurs, informers, fabricated documents, planted evidence, smears and even what could be considered assassination. AIM was just one of a long list of targeted groups and individuals, the vast majority from the left of the political spectrum – others included the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Students for a Democratic Society, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Socialist Workers’ Party USA.

The formal COINTELPRO project was brought to an abrupt end in 1971, when a small group of activists, the Citizens’ Committee to Investigate the FBI, broke into a Bureau field office in Pennsylvania and stole reams of documents which exposed the existence of a massive, nationwide conspiracy to defame, disrupt and destroy political campaigners. However, empirical evidence supports the assertion that COINTELPRO in spirit if not in name continued for many years to come. Certainly there were COINTELPRO fingerprints all over the bombing of Earth First! activists Judy Bari and Darryl Cherney in 1990 (see, for example, ‘The Judi Bari Bombing: How the FBI targeted Earth First!’ by Ward Churchill in Open Eye #3, 1995).

The more recent use of agents provocateurs, informants and undercover officers in cases including but not limited to the supposed Nimbus Dam sabotage plot (with FBI plant Zoe Elizabeth Voss, AKA ‘Anna’ – see here, here and here), Brandon Darby’s entrapment of protesters at the 2008 RNC (see here, here and here), and the various stings by Saeed Torres AKA ‘Shariff’ on behalf of the FBI (see here, here and here) suggest that the principles of COINTELPRO linger long in the Bureau’s institutional memory.

Anyhow, here’s some of my free-to-view documentary selections – and I have put Dorian Cope’s at the bottom.

80 Blocks From Tiffany’s
Superb stuff from 1979, with Gary Weis interviewing members of two gangs – the Savage Skulls and the Savage Nomads – in the South Bronx.

NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell
A nearly bankrupted city, disco, punk rock, hip hop, brown outs and black outs, arson and riots, music and love.

Planet Rock The Story Of Hip Hop And The Crack Generation
Exploring the interconnectedness of two eighties phenomena.

Style Wars
Classic hip hop ‘five elements’ documentary, whose influence via its focus on grafitti and breakdancing was global – inspiring the likes of Goldie and 3D in Britain.

Bombin’
The UK Style Wars

Proper Bristol Hip Hop (part one)
Superb cultural artefact from Matt ‘Mr Monk’ Orren, with many of the original Bristol hip hop heads simply telling how it all started for them, how it developed, and how it got to here.

The Way Of The Crowd
Looking back on Northern Soul at the Wigan Casino, with stacks of people who were there, including Paul Sadot (Tuff in Shane Meadows’ Dead Man’s Shoes).

The Jeffrey Johns Story
If you’ve ever been to a gig in Bristol, you’ve been stood behind Big Jeff. HERE IS HIS STORY!

1971
Story of the activists who exposed COINTELPRO by burgling the FBI’s Media, PA office.

Reclaim The Streets – The Film (1999) (as broadcast on Channel 4, January 2000)
A from-the-movement documentary on RTS by Agustín de Quijano, from the beginning through to J18 – lots of great footage.

Reclaim The Streets – Reloaded (2012 re-edit)
As above, expanded to include references to Andrew James Boyling, the undercover Special Branch officer who posed as RTS activist ‘Jim Sutton’ for half a decade.

McLibel
Franny Armstrong’s on-a-shoestring classic about Helen Steel and Dave Morris, the two London Greenpeace anarchists who refused to be bullied by a corporation, defended themselves in court, and to all intents and purposes defeated McDonald’s after it accused them of making untrue statements in a campaign leaflet (which, lest we forget, was co-authored by a long-term police infiltrator).

Big Rattle In Seattle /Capital’s Ill Crowd Bites Wolf (all three by Si Mitchell)
Not just three of the best but also the funniest summit-hopping gonzo activist-journalist documentaries of the dawn of the 21st century, capturing not just the excitement and action on the streets, but also breaking down the issues into easily understandable chunks – which with dull stuff like the IMF is not easy.

The Coconut Revolution
Behind the lines with the low-tech independence fighters of Bougainville Island, who face the might of the Papua New Guinea army, backed by multinational corporations like RTZ, in a fight to protect their homeland and its resources. First saw this at a screening in Bristol’s fine microplex the Cube.

If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front
A very human telling of how the ELF came to become America’s Public Enemy No.1 (until Al Qaeda came to be a little more prominent), with the focus on ELF activist Daniel McGowan, one of a number who went to prison after the FBI’s major Operation Backfire dragnet.

The Panama Deception
I first saw this Oscar-winning doc by Barbara Trent about the post-Cold War, what-the-hell-do-we-do-now? US invasion of Panama at – no honestly – a Revolutionary Communist Party conference. It was the most interesting thing there.

BBS: The Documentary (in 8 parts)
Thoroughly absorbing, detailed look at the early communities which grew up around the original bulletin board systems, and how they developed as the forums themselves developed. Made in 2005, it is interesting to consider how we got from there to here, with #anonymous and /pol/ and GamerGate and manosphere idiots and whatnot.


Touching The Void
Best fell-off-a-mountain documentary ever; best use of Boney M in hallucination scene ever.

Room 237
Dissection of the meaning – hidden or otherwise – of Stanley Kubrick’s fast-and-loose adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. Beautiful (though unfortunately picture and sound quality here are deliberately degraded, presumably to get round copyright detection tools) and thought provoking.

Staircases To Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
Folk history of how The Shining got made, by the crew who made it.

Hells Angels
Hilarious early 1970s BBC documentary following the hapless London chapter of the global outlaw motorcycle club as they mooch about doing very little. The decision to go on holiday is one of history’s most fateful. Played absolutely straight in both script and voiceover.

American Movie (trailer only)
One of the loveliest docs in the world, I can’t find it free online anywhere, but this trailer gives a flavour of it.

Dorian Cope’s documentary selection:

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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.

Remembering Hillsborough: The guilty have names and faces (i) Paul Middup

Following the publication yesterday of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report on the Hillsborough Disaster of 15 April 1989, it is worth looking at some of the key figures who conspired to put together a false narrative, in which blame was shifted from incompetent policing onto – and here’s the lie – drunken, ticketless, late-arriving, violent Liverpool fans.

One of those who worked hardest and longest to defame the dead and the survivors of the Leppings Lane terrace was Constable Paul Middup, the secretary of the South Yorkshire Police Federation. The HIP report clearly show that he was one of the instrumental people behind The Sun‘s notorious 19 April front page mendacity, ‘THE TRUTH’ (see paragraph 144 on p25):

Documents disclosed to the Panel show that the allegations were filed by White’s News Agency, a Sheffield-based company. They were based on meetings over three days between agency staff and several police officers, together with interviews with Irvine Patnick MP and the South Yorkshire Police Federation Secretary, Paul Middup.

Furthermore, Middup and other SYPF members met on the morning of 19 April – the day the paper came out, with its lurid claims that fans robbed corpses, pissed on cops assisting the injured and other such fabrications – to discuss how to continue “putting our side of the story over to the press and media”. Middup claimed that the South Yorkshire Chief Constable Peter Wright had given him and the Fed a “free hand” and “support” in pushing this narrative. Wright himself later joined this ‘Special Joint Branch Board Meeting’, emphasising how he as Chief Constable would not talk to the media about fan behaviour, but that he endorsed what Middup was saying. The meeting’s minutes have Wright saying “if anybody should be blamed, it should be the drunken ticketless individuals” (see pp353-6).

What is Paul Middup doing these days? Well, Paul Middup – or more completely Paul Middup BEM MBIM – left the police and became chief executive of the South Yorkshire Police credit union serving additionally as a director for the Sheffield Credit Union Development Agency from July 2000 until its dissolution in 2006. He would appear to have spent the past six years enjoying his retirement with his wife in a former mining town between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Possibly he would not like to be remembered for his role in perpetuating lies about the Hillsborough slaughterhouse – lies he pushed from the very beginning.

Here he is talking on Yorkshire Television on Sunday 16 April 1989. That’s right, whilst the 96th victim Tony Bland was still being kept alive, Paul Middup was ranting on TV blaming fans. [ETA: ITV has now dug up this interview and are currently hosting it on their website.]

Transcript:

[Presenter in YTV studio: Well meanwhile, an official of South Yorkshire Police Federation says his members should be proud of their actions on Saturday.]

[Reporter Chris Kiddey: 800 police were on duty in and around Hillsborough; when disaster struck they were among the first to tend the injured. Most are members of the policeman’s union, the Police Federation. Their spokesman feels they’ve been unfairly singled out for criticism…]

I am sick of seeing on television and reading in the press these instant experts. Doctors and a few lawyers, who all seem to know more about our job than we do, telling us what we should’ve done, that if there had been police officers just inside those gates that day funnelling people into the outer areas, then this wouldn’t have happened.

And I’m saying to you that if police officers had’ve been in there, when this mob surged through, the police officers would’ve been trampled to death underneath it. You just can’t handle them. And the vast majority of that lot had been drinking, the ones that were arriving late, and they will not be told what to do, they won’t do anything you try to do, and what can you do?

[Chris Kiddey: So, are you saying the fans are to blame, then?]

The police certainly aren’t to blame, because if the fans do what the police are asking them to do there wouldn’t be any problem, because people would be orderly. And if people were orderly they wouldn’t have these problems. You can’t crush all those people if people were orderly. It’s just not possible, unless you know a way that I don’t.

[Chris Kiddey: It’ll be up to the public and external police enquiry to establish exactly what went wrong. The Federation’s view is simple:]

If they can’t have these matches without all this upset, both to the people who are attending it and those who’ve got the job of sorting it all out, then it shouldn’t take place. Let them watch it on television or something like that.

My people should not be asked to go into situations like that where it’s always a no-win situation for us. They shouldn’t have [inaudible], that’s not necessary.

Truth is not justice. The guilty have never been held to account.

JFT96

Remember…

96

Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel

On cop-spies and paid betrayers (1.3): Lambert of the Yard and the mystery of his ‘suburban terror bunker’ trading address

Following the recent update on the travails of Dr Robert Lambert MBE, formerly of The Yard, I have dug up a little bit more information relating to the north-west London address to which a number of companies associated with him have been registered.

Since 1985 the owner of 54 Anson Road – then described as in Willesden – has been Mohamed Ahmed Kagzi. Yet since 2005, Watford-based General Electric subsidiary GE Money Mortgages has loaned on the property.

Mr Kagzi does not have a very wide footprint across company registration; his name throws up only one directorship, Management Ventures, set up in January 2011 and giving 54 Anson Road as its address. Yet Mohammed Ahmed Kagzi only became a director of that company on February 8 – one day after the resignation of the founding director. And who was that? Well, our old friend Graham Michael Cowan – he of paperwork-filling on IMPACT’s registration.

There are at least two other companies trading from 54 Anson Road which have had Graham Michael Cowan as director: Agha Interiors (registered October 2009) and Minerva & Indigo Consultants (registered May 2012).

Anyway, let’s not make mountains out of molehills, and instead move back to Mohammed. Mr Kagzi and his Cricklewood property earned a brief moment in the sunshine in June 2006, when no less an organ of the fourth estate than the Watford Observer Hendon Times* reported that 54 Anson Road had “been labelled a sophisticated charitable front with links to Al-Qa’ida.

The article notes that the property was the registered office of Sanabel Relief Agency, “a charity which had its Manchester and Birmingham offices raided by anti-terrorist police last Wednesday” (i.e. 24 May 2006). The Al-Qa’ida connection comes via a February 2006 US Treasury Department report claiming Sanabel’s main work was fundraising for the Bin Laden-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. In addition, Sanabel found itself listed by the UN’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for its purported LIFG links. The assets of five British-based Libyans, including Sanabel volunteer Tahir Nasuf, three Sanabel-linked property companies (Ozlam and Sara in Liverpool, and Meadowbrook Investments in Bristol) and Sanabel itself, which had had charitable status since 2000, were frozen worldwide due to the claims.

Whilst, as the Observer Times* notes, Mohammed Ahmed Kagzi was not named in the US document, and nor was he arrested during the countrywide dragnet, in addition to owning 54 Anson Road, he was also reportedly the registered auditor for Sanabel Relief Agency. It certainly makes him an interesting choice of business partner, and his property an unusual location for your business premises – as the former Special Branch Chief Inspector Bob Lambert did, when he registered his consultancy there little more than two years after it was raided by anti-terrorism cops.

Oh my, Bob, what have you got yourself mixed up in?

* Amended 16/8/13 following information from newspaper reporter Lawrence Marzouk that the ‘suburban charity with Al-Qa’ida ties’ story was actually written for the Hendon Times, rather than the Watford Observer (which is an entirely separate title, but part of the same Newsquest group) as originally stated here. In his words: “No reason for it to appear on Watford Obs web.” Many thanks for the clarification, Lawrence.

On cop-spies and paid betrayers (1.2): Doctor Bob Lambert, his academic friends and the tightening purse-strings

So, let us return to Bob Lambert, AKA animal activist Bob Robinson, AKA academic Dr Robert Lambert MBE, AKA Detective Inspector Lambert of Special Branch.

We have not heard much about him since June, when Green MP Caroline Lucas used Parliamentary privilege to repeat allegations that whilst infiltrating animal activist circles in the 1980s, Lambert was personally responsible for setting off an incendiary device that partially destroyed a Debenham’s department store in Harrow, causing £340,000 worth of damage.

It is interesting to note that where formerly (certainly in January 2012 when I wrote my original piece) he was listed on the staff page of the University of Exeter’s European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC), now only his co-director Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer is named.

Could it be that the EMRC’s work with Muslims was being disrupted by the very public suggestion that Lambert had a long history as a seducer, infiltrator and provocateur?

Of course, there is nothing in the newly-censored EMRC profile page that suggests Lambert is not still wholly entwined with the project. They are simply not advertising it.

Lambert’s relationship with Githens-Mazer is worth looking at. The EMRC profile page suggests he is from Baltimore, but with familial connections to Ireland. He hints at having (Irish) republican-with-a-small-r leanings; how that sits with him working as a wingman for someone whose career was focused on detailed, long-term betrayal whilst at an organisation set up specifically to deal with Irish republicanism is not clear.

According to his LinkedIn profile, after graduating from the private liberal arts college Swarthmore near Philadelphia, Githens-Mazer then pitched up in London to work on a PhD at the LSE, which he completed in 2005. He then took up a professorship at the University of Exeter, and assumed co-directorship of the EMRC in September 2009. Whilst working on his PhD, he lectured at the University of London’s Queen Mary College (2003-4), and from 2005-6 he also lectured at Nottingham Trent.

The EMRC webpages indicate that Githens-Mazer and Lambert began collaborating in October 2007. Since then Githens-Mazer has worked closely with Lambert over a number of years, clocking up co-authorship credits on an academic article [July 2010], two website articles [(i) February 2010; (ii) June 2011], a pair of EMRU research reports [January 2010], a book chapter [2009] and seven Comment is Free pieces in The Guardian [(i) April 2009; (ii) October 2009 ; (iii) October 2009; (iv) December 2009 ; (v) January 2010; (vi) June 2010; (vii) July 2010]. Busy scribblers indeed.

Besides their work together in the EMRC, in March 2009 Lambert also recruited Dr Githens-Mazer (plus his wife Gayle) to the company which he had set up in August 2008, Lambert Consultancy And Training. That company was dissolved in March 2010, having filed no accounts.

Curiously, LC&T was registered to a large, 6 bedroom semi-detached house at 54 Anson Road in Cricklewood, north-west London (estimated value: £650,000), which subsequently appears to have been turned into a multi-occupancy dwelling (that’s developer jargon for ‘divided into bedsits and flats’). One wonders whose property it was then, and indeed whose it is now.[1]

Since December 2010, the Githens-Mazers have been living in a quarter-million pound house in Penryn, Cornwall – somewhat closer to Exeter, where they both work (him at the Uni, her at Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry), than Anson Road in leafy NW2. Lambert, in addition to his work at the EMRC in Exeter, as previously noted also puts in the hours as an online lecturer on the Terrorism Studies course run by the Centre for Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews; so it seems unlikely the ex-copper has the time (or indeed money) for a £650k pied à terre in The Smoke when he lives and works in the toes of England and spends a significant amount of his time Skyping with students up in Scotland.

To make things even more interesting, between May 2008 and November 2009, Lambert was a consultant to another company, Strategy To Reach Empower and Educate Teenagers (STREET UK). He was appointed to STREET on 18 May, twelve days after it was registered. The next day Dr Abdul Haqq Baker – a colleague of Lambert’s from the CSTPV, and according to his biography, the person who initiated STREET – was named as director. In addition, Mohammed Alyas Karmani was added as director in April 2010. The registered address of STREET is… 54 Anson Road in Cricklewood – the same as Lambert Consultancy And Training.[2]

Things now get a bit confusing. According to a paper produced by the Fourth Freedom Forum‘s Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, ‘A Case Study in Government-Community Partnership and Direct Intervention to Counter Violent Extremism‘ (written by Jack Barclay[3], December 2011), STREET “was created and is run largely by members of a Muslim community in south London” and was “[L]aunched in 2006”. The south London location is re-emphasised a number of times: “…Brixton, the immediate south London locale where STREET is based…strong connections to the south London Salafi community…youth in Lambeth and other parts of south London…” and so on. The paper does name Dr Baker as STREET’s founder and managing director, and also names ‘Alyas Karmani’ as a co-director “who joined the programme three years after its inception”.

Are you keeping up? Well, Mohammed Alyas Karmani, AKA Alyas Karmani, AKA Mohammed Karmani, is based in Bradford, where he is now a city councillor for George Galloway’s Respect Party, having beaten the incumbent Labour candidate (and previously the Leader of the council) in the May 2012 local elections. In coverage at the time of the campaign, Karmani was described as “director of Street, a national project working with at-risk young people“. He’s also co-director of a Bradford-registered company called The Diversity Project, along with Saima Butt.

Getting back to the CGCC report… So we have both current directors of STREET quoted in it. We then have a surprise guest appearance by none other than “Robert Lambert, a former head of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Muslim Contact Unit”. No mention is made of his directorship with STREET, though the author claims that he “has had more than 10 years of close contact with STREET and the south London Salafi community, both as a police officer and subsequently as a scholar at [EMRC]”. How the numbers on that are supposed to work I am not sure, but we’ll let it slide.

Of more interest within the article are two things in particular: (i) the framing of STREET as predating the government’s own Prevent – the prevention workstream of the over-arching CONTEST counterterrorism strategy – whilst also pursuing similar goals; and (ii) Lambert’s comments that “I have seen some very well-meaning Muslims who want to challenge violent extremism who give it a go and fail because they’re not equipped; they don’t have the street credibility. I’ve also seen Muslims who have that street credibility but lack the requisite religious position.”

In light of this observation perhaps it is not so odd that Lambert – a ‘former’ cop-spook of extremely long standing – would have resigned as a director of STREET.

Let’s move on. Firebug Bob – or Mr Robert Lambert MBE as he prefers to style himself for the purpose of Companies House registrations – is also director and company secretary of Siraat, set up in January 2009 and based on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. Hmmm, Brixton, you say? In south London? Why is this ringing bells? His fellow directors are Carey Anderson and Raymond Boakye. Who they? Well, I’d like to know too. The web yields not a lot about Siraat[4] or them, except for a gem of a Telegraph story from February 2011, very Telegraphically entitled ‘Counter-terrorism projects worth £1.2m face axe as part of end of multiculturalism‘:

The first to be hit is the Street project, which is associated with Brixton Mosque in South London. The project has received more than £500,000 in three years from the government.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Home Office has told the project it will have its money withdrawn this year in the first step towards switching funding away from strains of Islam with which the government disagrees.

The Street project is likely to be only the first to feel the effect of the new policy, with other organisations including Siraat, a £500,000 prison-based mentoring project across southern England and Impact[5] that has received £280,000 and is based in Hounslow, West London, both facing closure.

…[STREET] currently employs 12 staff and received £326,990 in 2009-2010 and £191,310 from 2010 until October this year.

It caters for Muslims from across South London, providing sports and social activities at the mosque youth centre and running classes on Islamic religious precepts, social responsibilities and citizenship. Over the last 18 months, it has completed 12 of the 40 cases it has managed.

The Street project was founded by Abdul Haq [sic] Baker, who is its secretary and one of its directors. Mr Baker is also a trustee of the Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre…

Companies Houses notes that there is a proposal to strike Siraat off the register, that the last accounts are ten months overdue, and that the last tax return, which should have been filed in February, hasn’t been. STREET is in similar straits.

So it seems that not everything Dr Robert Lambert MBE turns to gold. The Police Community engagement for Conflict Transformation (PCCT) hub, set up by University of Birmingham academics, seems to be taking no chances and makes no mention of Lambert or the CSTPV, with which (according to Bob) they are in partnership.

Still, there’s always the likes of the Cordoba Foundation to fall back on – you may remember that their journal Arches published a puff piece on the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit (MCU) written by Dr Robert. You know, the one linking Islamists to anarchism. Anyway, the Foundation’s chief executive is one Anas Altikriti, who just happened to be on the advisory board of the CSTPV. Given that both Bob and Cordoba – which in 2009 was accused by David Cameron of being “a front for the Muslim Brotherhood” – appear to be on the (currently) losing side in some kind of turf war between competing strategic viewpoints in Whitehall, I’m sure we can expect to see future cooperation between them.

Notes:

[1] For more on 54 Anson Road, see the next post on Bob Lambert.

[2] And here’s a bonus prize: from its establishment in February 1998 until its dissolution in 2001, a company called Al – Anssar – founding director one Dr Abdul Haqq Baker – was also registered to 54 Anson Road.

[3] ‘Jack Barclay’ appears to be a pseudonym. The CGCC paper describes him as “the Director of Scanner Associates, a counter-extremism consultancy that works with governments to help them better understand and challenge violent extremist radicalisation. He is based in the United Kingdom.” Scanner Associates is not a company name registered in the UK. A google on ‘”jack barclay” “scanner associates”‘ throws up a single result – a spreadsheet of work done hosted on New York’s City government website(!) – this lists one Richard Scanner from Scanner Associates at 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island NY 10301, telephone 718 816 4321, amongst nearly 1,500 other entries.

‘Jack Barclay’ pops up in other counterterrorism articles published by other think tanks I’ve never heard of, like ‘Challenging the Influence of Anwar Al-Awlaki‘ (International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, September 2010), and those I have, such as ‘The Language of Jihad‘ (Royal United Services Institute, December 2011).

In the former, the biography of ‘Barclay’ reads thus: “Jack Barclay is a Strategic Communication consultant specialising in the use of strategic messaging to counter violent extremism. He works with a range of organisations to improve their understanding of radical Islamist ideologies and the strategic communication activities of Salafi-Jihadi movements. He has provided support to counterterrorism strategic communication research and campaign development by a range of public sector agencies. He is based in the United Kingdom and can be contacted at jack_barclay@yahoo.co.uk.”

In the RUSI one, it says: “‘Jack Barclay’ is a strategic communication adviser specialising in the study of violent extremist radicalisation, extremist strategic communication and the use of strategic messaging to counter violent extremism. He works closely with a range of public sector organisations, both foreign and domestic, to improve their understanding of radical Islamist ideologies and the strategic communication activities of violent jihadist and other extremist movements.”

[4] It may be worth mentioning that a google on “siraat, counterterrorism” gives as a top-ranking result a link to the front page of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (second when I did it); a search on just “counterterrorism” brings up the NaCTSO in a lower placing (eleventh).

[5] Does anyone know anything about ‘Impact’? Without any firm information on it it’s rather tricky trying to trawl the usual data sources. ETA: Many thanks to Piombo for correctly identifying Impact as the Initiative For Muslim Progression & Advancement of Community Tolerance, AKA West London IMPACT.

Hey – guess who was a director of and consultant to IMPACT, from inception in December 2009 until May 2012? It’s our friend Dr Abdul Haqq Baker! Also serving through the same period was one Valerie Chung, with Graham Michael Cowan appearing to have done the paperwork. Electronics trader Najeeb Ahmed – a professional businessman, it would seem – remains a director, and unlike Siraat and STREET, IMPACT is up to date with its company filings.

Registered to an address in Southall in west London, IMPACT appears to have been established as a ‘deradicalisation’ programme for west London following “confidential discussion [between Hounslow Council’s Corporate Community Investment and Cohesion Unit and] the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office,” based on “the award winning and successfully established work streams of STREET”.

Edited: 7 September 9:30am to add bits about Al – Anssar and IMPACT.
Edited: 8 September 3:30pm to add links & sort out typo.
Edited: 9 September 4:15pm to modify internal links.
Edited: 15 October 11:15am to correct a couple of typos only just spotted.

Wikipediaphile: EUROGENDFOR

A timely wiki for you, given it’s all kicking off in Greece at the moment. Only spotted this via a mention on twitter linking to a cranky-sounding website which suggested that a “non-Greek militarized riot force may have arrived to enforce austerity” in the Hellenic Republic.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about EUROGENDFOR:

The European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR or EGF) was launched by an agreement in 2006 between five members of the European Union (EU): France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Romania subsequently joined in 2009. Its purpose is the creation of a European intervention force, designed after the French Gendarmerie and the Italian Unità Specializzate Multinazionali (M.S.U.) of the Carabinieri; that force will have militarised police functions and specialise in crisis management. Its status is enshrined in the Treaty of Velsen of 18 October 2007.

The EGF is based in Vicenza, in northeastern Italy, and has a core of 800-900 members ready to deploy within 30 days. This includes elements from the;

An additional 2,300 reinforcements will be available on standby. The Polish Military Gendarmerie are also a partner force, and on 10 October 2006, Poland indicated it would like to join the EGF.[1] More countries will be allowed to join in the future.