Category Archives: The Great Game

‘Intelligence’, ‘security’, espionage, cipherpunks, diplomacy by other means…

Operation Condor – transnational state terror

There’s a long read in the Graun today about Operation Condor, the formal (if clandestine) conspiracy which conjoined the police, intelligence and military apparatus of numerous right-wing governments across South America in the 1970s.

It is an interesting overview for the casual reader, and focuses on the positive aspects of surviving state terror, and of the importance of working to hold to account those who instigated and sustained it, no matter how many years tumble along the way.

There is, however, a curious determination to divorce Condor – founded in Chile under the approving eyes of Augusto Pinochet, bringing together the secret police of that country together with those of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, then later Brazil, Ecuador and Peru – from its sponsors up north.

Author Giles Tremlett goes so far as to claim that “Although many of the men who carried out Operation Condor were alumni of the US army’s School of the Americas – a training camp in Panama for military from allied regimes across the continent – this was not a US-led operation.”

Yet elsewhere he acknowledges that public awareness of Condor stemmed from journalistic and activist investigations following the leak of “an obscure FBI note quoted in a book [in which] an FBI officer wrote: ‘Operation Condor is the code name for the collection, exchange and storage of intelligence data concerning leftists, communists and Marxists which was recently established between the cooperating services in South America.’” *

He even refers to the recent revelation that Washington was fully aware of coordination between the Condor partners thanks to the transfer of proprietary secure communications equipment to them by Crypto AG, a CIA/BND front.

Simply saying ‘Condor was not led by the United States’ and leaving it there is not enough. In the same way the right-wing elements in the Chilean military would not have moved against Allende in the way they did without tacit approval from their patrocinadores norteamericanos, it beggars belief that with all the training programmes and intelligence-sharing and military advisor deployments throughout the Cone and – most of all – a shared world view between the US government and its counterparts in the downstairs hemisphere – the Condor conspirators were not confident (and with good reason) that they were pursuing an approved course of action.

Anyway, I’ve been trawling the drives and come up with a few juicy titbits, like this: **

…A close associate of [Dr Lothar] Bossle’s on the Board of the IfD was Prof. Dieter Blumenwitz, Professor of International and Constitutional Law at Würzburg University from 1976 on, who shared Bossle’s close links with Chile and would reportedly visit Colonia Dignidad with Bossle. In 1979, Blumenwitz was one of the co- authors with [Brian] Crozier of Pinochet’s Chilean Constitution; in 1980, Blumenwitz intervened on behalf of Colonia Dignidad in legal proceedings seeking to block Amnesty International’s German section from publishing allegations that the colony had served as a secret DINA torture centre (319).

(319) For biographies of Bossle, Blumenwitz and Rohrmoser, see IGfM, pgs 59, 63 and 65. Bossle would die in 2000, Blumenwitz in 2005, Rohrmoser in September 2008 – see Rohrmoser’s obituary in Die Welt, 18/9/08. In 1981, Rohrmoser would work with the Federal Government on a publication covering the philosophical bases of terrorism; in 1987-88, he would work several times as speaker for the German section of CAUSA. As for Blumenwitz, the legal proceedings against Amnesty International’s German section would run for more than twenty years and would trigger a Chilean court inspection in 1988, leading to a Chilean government decision to close Colonia Dignidad in February 1991 – see Guardian, 24-25/8/91. Blumenwitz’ Chile – Rückfahrt zur Demokratie (Chile – Return to Democracy) would be published by the IfD in 1987. On Colonia Dignidad and its links to DINA, see Gero Gemballa’s Colonia Dignidad, Rowohlt rororo aktuell, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1990, pgs 148-151. On DINA’s Washington assassination of Orlando Letelier, see John Dinges and Saul Landau’s Assassination on Embassy Row (Pantheon, New York 1980; McGraw-Hill, New York 1981); Taylor Branch and Eugene Propper’s Labyrinth (Penguin, London 1983). On DINA’s international cooperation within Operation Condor, see John Dinges’s excellent The Condor Years (New Press, New York 2004). On DINA’s 1975 production of nerve-gas using precursor chemicals purchased from Britain, see Observer, 23/4/89.

There’s also a chapter touching on the topic of Condor in Portrait of a Black Terrorist, the monograph on Italian neofascist and strategy of tension provocateur Stefano Delle Chiaie by the recently departed Scots anarchist Stuart Christie. Certainly worth a read. ***

 

Notes:

[*] Since that original 1980 story emerged, there has been a steady drip of evidence of official US complicity, and even politically non-aligned, academic works have acknowledged that the US government was aware of Operation Condor at the time it was running, and attempted to influence its directing minds, e.g:

U.S. diplomatic documents released in October 2002 revealed that U.S. officials had been aware that Operation Condor was being directed at leftist dissidents of those countries in exile. Although U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had ordered U.S. diplomats on 23 August 1976 to convey official “deep concern” over Operation Condor to the governments involved, this order was rescinded on 20 September 1976 by a senior State Department official in charge of Latin American affairs for fear that the message would antagonize Chilean President Augusto José Ramón Pinochet and the other heads of state. The next day, former Chilean foreign minister Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, an American associate, were both killed by a bomb rigged into the ignition system of Letelier’s car.

Historical Dictionary of Terrorism by Sean K Anderson with Stephen Sloan, Scarecrow Press, 2009 (third edition), p153.

[**] Rogue Agents: Habsburg, Pinay and the Private Cold War 1951-1991 by David Teacher (third edition, 2011), p119.

[***] Christie may be dead, but he outlived Delle Chiaie, who fucked off this mortal coil fifty-one weeks ago.

Unredacted version of Ali Soufan’s ‘war on terror’ memoir released

‘Black Banner’ comparison (excerpt)

Spotted in the New York Times that former FBI counter-terrorism agent Ali Soufan’s book about his involvement in interrogating al-Qaida suspects has been re-published minus the many redactions insisted upon by the CIA.

The original version of The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed The War On Terror After 9/11 (previously released as The Black Banners: The Inside Story Of 9/11 And The War Against Al-Qaeda) was struck through with thick black lines covering up much of the text at the insistence of US government lawyers keen to cover up details of the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture programme.

Nearly two decades’ of whistle-blowing, leaking, investigative reporting, committees and inquiries has somewhat coloured that particular obfuscation effort several shades of pointless, so here we are.

I mean, Soufan’s perspective of the Bureau-Agency turf war even got integrated into a big budget Amazon Prime series complete with romantic sub-plots and stuff (The Looming Tower, based on the book of the same name by Lawrence Wright), so this isn’t exactly a big reveal.

But it is rather interesting to see the two versions side-by-side, and instructive in a reverse-mosaic effect kind of way to see what kind of information, and particularly what kind of aggregated information, these types of state actors prefer to keep hidden in the shadows.

» ‘The Black Banners’ excerpt (side-by-side comparison) (PDF)

Rock stars and their spook dads

There’s a quite nice article in today’s Graun on Stewart Copeland and his father Miles, plugging a podcast.

For those not familiar with the Copelands, Stewart was the drummer with 70s/80s new wave band The Police, whilst Miles was a career CIA officer who began his service back when the Agency was first founded. And when we say CIA officer, we’re not talking about driving a desk in Langley analysing diplomatic reports – this was someone actively involved in infamous regime change operations like in Iran in 1953 alongside Kermit Roosevelt.

Operation Ajax on the bookshelf

Anyway, it reminded me of the Cradocks, Steve and Chris. Steve was a guitarist with dadrockers Ocean Colour Scene (and a member of the backing band used by former contemporary of The Police, The Jam co-founder Paul Weller), whilst Chris was in the group’s early years manager of OCS.

Oh, and before that he was a member of the West Midlands Police Special Branch, handling spies within political groups, most notably far right activist Peter Marriner, whom he had infiltrate a local Labour party in Birmingham.

Chris Cradock from ‘True Spies’

Anyway, it tickled me.

Bonus point: whilst watching documentary The Spy Who Went Into The Cold about Soviet mole Kim Philby, you can just about see a copy of ex-EastEnders soap star Sid Owen’s cook book in the bottom left of the screen whilst Stewart’s brother Miles Copeland III (who managed The Police in the early years) discusses his father’s failure to realise his friend Philby was a Russian plant…

Sid Owen, Miles Copeland III & Kim Philby
Sid Owen book

Mind blown.

Notes on ‘Inside The Mossad’

Former Mossad chief Zvi Zamir

Been digging around the hard drives and turning up all sorts of pointless treasures.

Here’s a chart I created summarising who the talking heads are in the documentary series Inside The Mossad about Israel’s best-known intelligence organisation:

 

The murky world of private security and its involvement in spying on ‘enemies of the state’: the road protest years

What follows is a skeleton summary of the involvement of private security firm Brays – amongst others – in monitoring anti-roads protesters on behalf of the state (at great public expense, almost entirely unaccountably, and largely in secret) during the Thatcher and Major administrations’ massive expansionist programme of building. It is mostly based on Hansard – the official Parliamentary record – and is offered here by way of rekindling interest in the topic, especially as it brings together both the issue of construction industry (and activist) blacklisting, and the use of long-term police (and private) infiltrators.

The Brays Detective Agency was hired to monitor roads protesters during the 1990s – variously by the Department of Transport, the Highways Agency (an Ibbs/Next Steps ‘Executive Agency’ under the purview of DoT) and the Treasury Solicitor.

There is no clear overall picture of exactly how much money was spent, as the various overlapping, conflicting or otherwise obfuscatory Ministerial and Agency replies to Parliamentary questions over the course of three years show:

  • 25 February 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
  • 26 February 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
  • 18 March 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
  • 11 May 1993: £35,000 (detective agency fees on M3/Twyford Down protests since February 1992)
  • 18 January 1994: £256,211 (total manpower costs of security and policing in 1993 for M11 link road)
  • 23 February 1994: £200,000+ (additional costs of police operation on 16 February at M11 link)
  • 23 February 1994: £470,075 (total manpower costs of policing and security since September 1993 at M11 link)
  • 4 March 1994: £228,000 (payments to Brays by DoT from March 1992 to end of January 1994)
  • 4 March 1994: £193,875 (£165,000 ex VAT) (total cost of legal fees to date at Twyford Down)
  • 22 April 1994: £16,163 (additional manpower costs – NI contributions and overtime but not basic pay – for policing at M11 link/Wanstead Common in January)
  • 25 April 1994: £760,000 (total spend with private detective agencies by DoT since 1991)
  • 4 May 1994: £250,829.52 (detective agency fees on M3/Twyford Down protests)
  • 1 July 1994: £253,800 (£216,000 ex VAT) (total legal fees on M3/Twyford Down protests)
  • 14 July 1994: £100,000 (sum set aside to cover HA’s solicitors’ payment to private detective agencies in relation to Batheaston/Swainswick (Solsbury Hill) bypass protests)
  • 14 July 1994: £21,000 (payment due to be made to private detective agencies by HA’s solicitors in relation to Batheaston/Swainswick (Solsbury Hill) bypass protests)
  • 14 July 1994: £71,450 (expenditure to date by HA with Bray’s relating to M11 link, A11 (Norfolk) & Batheaston bypass)
  • 12 December 1994: £1 million (approximate security cost to HA of operation the previous week at M11 link protest site)
  • 12 December 1994: £100,000 (approximate cost to HA of site clearance at Claremont Road M11 link protest)
  • 12 December 1994: £3 million (approximate cost to HA for security staff at M11 link/Claremont Road from September 1993 to date)
  • 12 December 1994: £185,000 (fees paid by HA to Brays for Claremont Road/M11 link)
  • 12 December 1994: £180,000 (approximate legal fees payable by HA for Claremont Road/M11 link)
  • 12 December 1994: £500,000 (estimated monthly cost to HA for security at Claremont Road/M11 link)
  • 12 December 1994: £25,000 (estimated monthly cost to HA for engaging Brays at Claremont Road/M11 link)
  • 12 December 1994: £4,000 (estimated monthly cost in legal fees to HA at Claremont Road/M11 link)
  • 27 February 1995: £267,377 (total sum paid to Brays by DoT up to end of contract 31 July 1994)
  • 21 March 1995: £276,000 (total legal fees payable by HA for M3 Twyford Down protests)
  • 23 March 1995: £310,930 (total expenditure by Treasury Solicitor to Brays for work sponsored by DoT)
  • 5 April 1995: £294,000 (payments to Brays by HA, M11 link)
  • 5 April 1995: £25,000 (monthly payments to Brays by HA, M11 link)
  • 5 April 1995: £150,000 (payments to Brays by HA, Batheaston bypass)
  • 5 April 1995: £259,000 (payments to Brays by HA, M3 Twyford Down)
  • 5 April 1995: £1,500 (payments to Brays by HA, M65 Blackburn)
  • 5 April 1995: £200 (payments to other detective agencies by HA, M65 Blackburn)
  • 5 April 1995: £300 (payments to Brays by HA, A34 Newbury Bypass)
  • 5 April 1995: £450 (payments to Brays by HA, A11 Besthorpe-Wymondham)
  • 5 April 1995: £705,450 (total payments to Brays & other detective agencies by HA in relation to road protests)
  • 9 January 1996: £950,588 (total expenditure by HA’s solicitors on services supplied by Brays)

John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen raised some interesting points in his adjournment debate of 2 December 1994:

Twyford down was, as far as I can establish, the first time that widespread surveillance was carried out on British people by private detective agencies acting on behalf of the Government. Secondly, the Government have played a direct role in the retention of private security guards who used violence against protestors. Thirdly, the Government are now pursuing, at taxpayers’ expense, a punitive legal action against people who allegedly took part in protests of the most innocuous and innocent form.

Brays detective agency was hired, for what turned out to be a cost of more than £250,000, to take photographs of protesters and to serve papers on them. As far as I can establish, that scale of surveillance has never been undertaken by any Department. The privatisation of surveillance and snooping should therefore have been approached with great sensitivity and care—but far from it.

There are no guidelines, either in the Department of Transport or in the Government, as to the use of private detective agencies. I asked the National Audit Office to investigate the hiring of Brays, and the Comptroller and Auditor General confirmed to me in a letter dated 18 October that expenditure on Brays was allowed to grow from an initial £836 allowed within delegated authorisation to £250,000.

Expenditure reached nearly £100,000 before a proper written contract was let—albeit then without competitive tendering. It was only after I had tabled parliamentary questions about contracts that any formal contract was let. The Comptroller and Auditor General concluded: Whilst the Department felt they had to respond quickly to the escalating protest action it is still important for them to follow authorised contract procedures … in this case, however, the Department neither established a contract when the scope of the work changed from a one-off action to an on-going surveillance operation, nor held a competitive tender exercise once they recognised the extent of the work involved. The rules of the Department were not followed.

The National Audit Office was clearly not initially convinced that expenditure on Brays was even legal. The Comptroller and Auditor General wrote to me, saying: there were no special guidelines in place on employing private detective agencies; our financial auditors have looked into whether this expenditure should have treated as novel and contentious, and therefore subject to Treasury approval. I understand that the Treasury has now ruled that the expenditure was allowable, and there I suspect that the issue will remain unless it is challenged in the courts.

I must say that I doubt whether Parliament has ever knowingly voted money to the Department of Transport for such a use of private detective agencies. I hope that we can be told what the role of Ministers was in the affair. Were all the decisions taken by junior civil servants rattling around out of control, or were Ministers involved in the decisions on the surveillance? If so, which Minister took the decision to use Brays in this role, to overrule normal contracting procedures and to spend £250,000 of public money? I hope that the Minister for Railways and Roads can tell the House the answers.

Exactly who Brays were/are is an interesting question. The company has a surprisingly light internet footprint, comprising mostly an array of corporate records (such company and director filings) which are difficult to hide, being legally required documentation and made available for free by Companies House licensees such as Duedil, or else references on listings sites derived from scraped content from same.

A moderately detailed search on Brays will tell you that it began as a detective agency in 1929, but with little or no more detail than that.

In terms of Brays’ involvement in the monitoring of roads protests, the first reference to them comes on 11 November 1992, again via John Denham MP, during a debate on the Rio Agreement:

Are there no limits on how far the Government will sink in the promotion of environmental destruction, including the hiring of a private detective agency, Bray’s detective agency of Southampton, to photograph peaceful protesters at Twyford Down? Does the Minister have any limits as to how far the Government will go in destroying the environment and suspending the basic civil liberties of Her Majesty’s subjects?

On 18 November 1992 Roads & Traffic Minister Kenneth Carlisle MP acknowledged that the Department of Transport “has employed Bray’s Detective Agency (Southampton) Ltd. to serve papers on people who have trespassed on the Department’s land and to photograph trespassers” in relation to protests against the M3 extension at Twyford Down.

Carlisle further admitted that Brays “has been employed from time to time since March this year on an hourly basis at its standard rates, plus expenses,” an arrangement he envisages “will continue to be employed on this basis for as long as necessary.” (A statement by Carlisle on 4 March 1994 confirms that Brays was engaged by the DoT in March 1992, adding that “its contract runs until the end of July 1994”.)

A week later, on 25 November, Carlisle states (whilst describing the range of work for which the DoT might use private detectives) that “the cost of tracing an individual is usually in the range of £60 to £90 per case.”

The first reference to the specific cost to the tax payer of the DoT’s arrangement with Brays in relation to roads protests is, as noted in the list above, on 25 February 1993, when Mr Carlisle states that Brays – recommended to the Department by the Twyford Down engineer (presumably WS Atkins) – has up until that point “been paid approximately £7,000.” The £7,000 figure is repeated in Carlisle’s response to Bob Cryer MP the next day (26 February 1993), and then again on 18 March in response to a question from Mike Gapes MP.

Yet in just over a month, the cost of doing business had jumped up six-fold to £35,000, according to Carlisle’s 11 May response to Denham, snowballing yet further to £228,000 by the end of January 1994 (according to a subsequent Carlisle statement on 4 March), and then £250, 829.52 a couple of months later (see written answer on 4 May 1994 by Carlisle’s successor as Minister for Roads & Traffic, Robert Key MP).

Curiously, by 25 April 1994 Key was telling Martyn Jones MP that the Department of Transport had spent a whopping £760,000 on private detective agencies since 1991. No breakdown was offered of when, where and with whom this vast amount of spy cash was doled out.

The government did not even seem to be getting value for money, regardless of the constitutional or ethical ins and outs of spying on the citizenry. In his 11 May 1994 comment, Carlisle stated that Brays had by then served papers on “an additional three individuals” to the three served at the time of his 12 March statement (serving papers being – according to Denham himself on 25 February the sole reason for engaging Brays in the first place). In other words, by its own figures the government was paying a private company nearly £6,000 to serve papers on each protester accused of committing a civil offence of trespass.

[TO BE CONTINUED]

Mark Kennedy, Stratfor & Densus Group – how the cop-spy turned private sector spook tried to beg himself a job

Mark Kennedy AKA Mark Stone

It’s been a while since last I blogged on this, but now is as good a time as any to return, seeing as someone (Jason Kirkpatrick, who currently is crowdfunding for the Spied Upon documentary on this very subject) brought to my attention a rather intriguing email.

It purports to be from unmasked cop-spy Mark Kennedy, AKA Mark Stone:

Ryan Sims
Global Intelligence
STRATFOR
T: 512-744-4087 | F: 512-744-0570
221 W. 6th Street, Suite 400
Austin, TX 78701
http://www.STRATFOR.com
Begin forwarded message:

From: stanage.consulting@yahoo.com
Date: December 12, 2011 10:56:16 AM CST
To: service@stratfor.com
Subject: [Custom Intelligence Services] Domestic extremism
Mark Kennedy sent a message using the contact form at
https://www.stratfor.com/contact.

Dear Sir, STRATFOR has in the past been a reliable research resource for me in my role as a covert officer for British Special Branch. Now that that role has finished I am looking to channel my expertise regarding domestic extremism and political activism from across Europe and the USA. I have expert knowledge in the use of social media for the purposes of intelligence gathering and have an in depth understanding of the trends and influences of activism on a domestic and international level having infiltrated many groups throughout eight years of international deployment. With your experience in the field of Strategic Forecasting are you able to advise as to how my skills and expertise may now be applied and whether your summer analysts course might be something I should consider?
Kind Regards
Mark Kennedy UK +44 7411-286652 US 216-526-1774

The message was sent to Stratfor, the now notorious American ‘global intelligence’ company five million of whose emails were obtained by Anonymous in 2011 and which have subsequently have been released through Wikileaks.

This particular email, from December 2011, seems only to have been released a fortnight ago.

Note how he skims over the details of why his “[covert officer] role has finished”. (Note also how he describes himself as having worked for “British Special Branch” when in fact he was employed by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which is separate from SB.)

In October 2009 Mark Kennedy was pulled out of his undercover deployment by his bosses. In December he attended an HR meeting where he was (apparently) told he was “only qualified to drive a panda car”.

In January 2010, three things of note happened:

Exactly what order these three things happened in is not clear, especially as the source for some of it is Kennedy himself – notably from his January 2011 interview with the Mail On Sunday. By the March 2011 Simon Hattenstone interview in the Guardian, he was denying some of the things he previously claimed – though it seems irrefutable that he was working for Global Open after he left the Met. (ETA: As Merrick has noted in the comments below, by his February 2013 appearance in front of Keith Vaz’s Home Affairs Committee, Kennedy was once again acknowledging that he had worked for Global Open.)

In February 2010 Kennedy set up his own company, Tokra Limited. This company was dissolved in August 2010. As the Guardian has noted, it was linked to Global Open via solicitor, Heather Millgate.

In March 2010 Kennedy set up a second company, Black Star High Access Limited. This remains extant.

In November 2011, Kennedy set up a third company, Stanage Consulting Limited. This was only dissolved this summer (2013). It was from an email account (stanage.consulting@yahoo.com) ostensibly connected to this company that Kennedy approached Stratfor in December 2011.

Interestingly, Kennedy conflates much of the above into a single entry on his CV to cover the years since leaving (or preparing to leave) the police:

Director

Stanage Consulting Limited

January 2010 – Present (3 years 11 months)Facilities security consultant. Assessing and managing risks amd threats to facilities, Designing and providing bespoke preventative protocols and proactive measures to mitigate future incidents and training security staff to meet the companies expectations. Current portfolio includes industrial, commercial and leisure facilities in the US and the UK.

By February/March 2012, Kennedy had apparently started work for an American security/intelligence outfit called Densus Group.

Consultant

Densus Group

March 2012 – Present (1 year 9 months)

Consultant for the Densus Group.The Densus Group provides a range of specialty consultancy and training, primarily on behalf of government institutions and private firms in respect of risk analysis and threat assessment from protest groups and domestic extremism.

As one might expect from anyone’s LinkedIn profile, let alone that of a proven dissembler such as Kennedy, his is full of bluster, hyperbole and provable nonsense:

Summary

Provides expert knowledge and skills in the fields of intelligence gathering, investigation, support for litigation and facility threat assessments and the implementation of proactive security protocols.

Facilities security consultant. Assessing and managing the risks and threats to facilities, Designing and providing bespoke, preventative protocols and proactive measures to mitigate ongoing and future incidents.
My current portfolio includes industrial, commercial and leisure facilities in the US and the UK.

I have many years experience in covert operations and deployments, intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination, statement taking, investigations and case preparation, evidential court apperances, surveillance and counter-surveillance skills and the use of technical covert, recording equipment.

I have lectured for law enforcement agencies and services regarding infiltration tactics and covert deployments and have lectured for the private sector regarding risk management, the threat from extremist and protest groups and creating preventative protocols.

My exeperience is drawn from over 20 years as a British Police officer, the last ten of which were spent deployed as a covert operative working within extreme left political and animal rights groups throughout the UK, Europe and the US providing exacting intelligence upon which risk and threat assessment analysis could be made.

That knowledge and experience is now drawn upon to provide expert consultation to the public / private sectors to provide investigative services, deliver informative lectures and training, provide risk and threat assessments to companies, corporations and their staff.

We further offer the discreet service of missing persons investigations on behalf of private, corporate and government clients.

Yet still there was something about him that tickled those boys in Stratfor.

Sean Noonan, STRATFOR

Here’s tactical analyst Sean Noonan flagging up an article in the Guardian about Mark Kennedy’s work:

Very impressive undercover work… He sure looks like a dirty hippy.

Marko Papic, STRATFOR

Here’s a response from fellow Stratfor analyst Marko Papic:

This part is most interesting to me:

The documents state that planning meetings for the protest took place at Kennedy’s house and he paid the court fees of another activist arising from a separate demonstration. “It is assumed that the finance for the accommodation, the hire of vehicles and the paying of fines came from police funds,” they state.

So the police funds were used to prepare the sabotage? That is awesomely insidious.

And those admiring emails at Stratfor? They were exchanged in October January 2011. That’s two eleven months prior to Kennedy’s begging letter.

As Eveline Lubbers, author of Secret Manoeuvres In The Dark – an examination of how state and private sector spy on political activists – notes:

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.

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.

On cop-spies and paid betrayers (1.1): Lambert’s a bottler – sex-pest cop-spook “startled” by hecklers

A little update on Special Branch spy-turned-touchy-feely ‘academic’ Bob Lambert – there’s a report on IndyMedia about a talk by him being disrupted by animal rights activists:

…Bob Lambert poses as a ‘progressive academic’ and sat on a panel at his home university, the University of St. Andrews, for a talk titled ‘Overcoming Obstacles: Counter-Terrorism Police and Community Engagement.’ Several activists leafleted the talk outside handing out leaflets that read:

Do you think it’s alright to…trick someone into a romantic relationship so that you can spy on them and their friends?…lie to them and everyone else about your identity in order to do so?…maintain this pretence of love and trust for more than a year? …have a child with your deceived ‘partner’ and then abandon the child for decades while concealing your identity from them?

Robert Lambert, the man speaking before you seems to think that this is acceptable behaviour for a public servant. He engaged in all of them during his years as an officer with the Metropolitan Police, sent to spy on peaceful environmental and animal rights campaigns. Perhaps this is Lambert’s idea of ‘community engagement.’

Is it yours?

As soon as Bob Lambert started his talk two animal rights activists stormed out after shouting and pointing at Bob Lambert phrases like, ‘shame!’, ‘where is your son, Bob?’ and ‘sex is not community engagement!.’ Audience members reported him as startled and mumbled the first section of his speech.

We were thrilled.

We challenge the State’s use of womyn’s bodies; all animals are equal regardless of gender or species.

Go vegan.

[Signed] off the pig

Meanwhile, Lambert – AKA Robert Lambert MBE, AKA Bob Robinson – has put up something of a mea culpa on his University of St. Andrews page, in which he shamelessly plugs his recent book (which, comment junkies, has yet to receive a review on Amazon

In his own words:

I always knew that if details of my earlier role as an undercover police officer became public my own credibility and integrity would come under close scrutiny.

…Understandably, that anger towards my deception intensifies when considering the cases of relationships that male undercover police officers, myself included, are alleged to have had with women. These cases are now the subject of civil litigation and therefore I should wait for the outcome of these legal proceedings before adding to the public apology I have made already. I should also wait for the outcome of several investigations and reviews of undercover policing in general before commenting more widely on the topic. I am also keen to ensure that the security and welfare of many brave and faultless undercover police officers is not compromised.

Yet when he says “covert policing – especially undercover policing – is a tactic [that is] reserved for those engaged in political violence of one kind or another” it clearly does not match his own infiltration of London Greenpeace, nor his protégé Jim Boyling’s embedding in Reclaim The Streets.

The limp apology (or rather pre-apology) Lambert proffers in relation to the sex-by-deceit aspect of these undercover spy-cop operations is not helped by his failure to even acknowledge his own child.

Lambert’s claim that he has “learned from mistakes as well as successes all my life and will probably continue to do so” is somewhat undermined by the disjointed way these sorts of wishy-washy words match with what is actually known about his actions; that is to say the words do not match the actions.

Whether this is a shameless attempt to bail out the leaky professional life raft that is his pseudo-academic niche as ‘the copper who got chummy with some Muslims’, or heartfelt but flawed candour remains to be seen.

“I’ve been to a few protests back in my day!” – shit the FBI says…

Courtesy of Will Potter at the anti-greenscare blog Green Is The New Red

On cop-spies and paid betrayers (1): Doctor Bob Lambert & bloody McLibel

I haven’t properly blogged for a long time, but I have been following the #vancop situation, in its myriad guises, for a fair while, but have not had the time to put anything down. (Others have ploughed this furrow, I know, and ploughed well.) Today I found a moment to scribble something down…

I wonder if (former) Met spook Detective Inspector Bob Lambert (AKA ‘Bob Robinson’, Special Branch 1980-2006; infiltrated London Greenpeace 1984-1988; founder and head of the Muslim Contact Unit 2002-2007) knew any of the private spooks employed by McDonald’s to infiltrate London Greenpeace (1989-1991)?

 With a revolving door policy between NSY and the security offices of big business – and also the fertile environment for sharing or trading of information which that creates – it would be interesting to see from whence the roots sprang and whereto the branches grew.

For instance, McDonald’s security during the 1980s/1990s McLibel period (when two London Greenpeace activists, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, defended themselves against a lawsuit brought by the greasy clown’s boys) was run by ex-Met copper Sid Nicholson.

Nicholson was formerly a Chief Superintendent at Brixton; his number two at the McDonald’s Security Department was Terry Carrol, also ex-Met and an oppo from Brixton, before himself making Chief Superintendent at Carter Street. In evidence, Nicholson characterised his Security Department as “all ex-policemen“, and that ‘if he ever wanted to know information about protesters he would go to his contacts in the police‘.

A memo by Carrol from 1994 read out in court during the McLibel trial noted:

I had a meeting with ARNI [Animal Rights National Index, later grew into National Public Order Intelligence Unit/NPOIU] from Scotland Yard today who gave me the enclosed literature. Some of it we have, other bits are new.

Nicholson himself noted that he had “quite a lot of experience with Special Branch officers,” and that his first contact with them in relation to London Greenpeace had taken place at a meeting at McDonald’s HQ in September 1989.

After this meeting McDonald’s decided to hire two separate private detective agencies to spy on London Greenpeace, Bishops Investigation Bureau/Westhall Services and Kings Investigation Bureau.

Eveline Lubbers claims “at least seven [private] detectives” were embedded undercover in LG, from two different firms hired separately. (Some six of the paid informant-provocateurs are named by Lubbers, based on trial evidence published by McSpotlight.)

 From Bishops Investigation Bureau, there was Brian Bishop and Allan Clare. From Kings Investigation Bureau, there was full-time investigator Roy Pocklington (‘Tony’), ex-copper-turned-freelance nark Michelle Hooker (AKA ‘Shelley’), KIB secretary-cum-spy Fran(ces) Tiller née Davidson (‘Jan Goodman’), and one ‘Jack Russell’ (not thought to be the legendary Somerset wicket-keeper).

Hooker entered into a relationship (“a six month love affair”) with actual LG activist Charlie Brooke, which ended in mid-1991, when she left the operation – eight months after Maccy D’s served libel writes on five LG members for the ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?’ leaflet.

 Clare admitted burgling London Greenpeace’s office, stealing documents, and carrying out illicit photography. Evidence he gave at the libel trial based on his claimed contemporaneous notes was found by the European Court of Human Rights to be not wholly accurate.

 The theft by McDonald’s-tasked private dicks was known to Nicholson, but he does not appeared to have been reported this criminal act to the police.

 Nicholson’s interest in London Greenpeace stretched back – on his own admission – to 1987, when first he saw the ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?’ leaflet. Between then and his hiring of BIB and KIB in 1989, Nicholson personally visited both London Greenpeace’s postal address and an anti-McDonald’s Fayre at Conway Hall to try to ascertain the identities of those behind the leaflet, as well as tasking various McDonald’s Security Department underlings with the surveillance of London Greenpeace activists.

 But in his evidence he notes that “prior to the demonstration [of 21 October 1989] I was able to learn the identity of two of the organisers, Paul Gravett and Helen Steel.”

Let’s just recap: Between 1987 and 1989 Nicholson and his corporate security goons didn’t know who was in London Greenpeace; in September 1989 Nicholson meets with Special Branch. In October 1989 he knows the identities of two LG activists (both of whom would be served with writs). He then instructed the “two firms of enquiry agents” to further investigate London Greenpeace.

 In the course of the next two years at least seven spooks infiltrated the LG group on Nicholson’s behalf. Burglary, theft and other crimes were committed during the execution of this operation, to the knowledge in part at least of Nicholson. At least one private eye entered into an intimate relationship with one of the targets.

Collusion between police and the corporate security goons was such that in 1998 the McLibel Two defendants Helen Steel and Dave Morris went on the attack, and in 2000 won a £10,000 award and an apology from the Met in an out-of-court settlement for the disclosure by the police to McDonald’s of confidential information about them.

The case helped to expose how “police (including Special Branch) officers had passed private and in some cases false information about the McLibel 2 (and other protesters), including home addresses, to McDonald’s and to their private investigators”.

In addition to the award by the Met, a named officer, Detective Sergeant David Valentine, was also made to apologise for his own specific role. Finally, the Met was made to remind all police personnel across the Greater London area “of their responsibility not to disclose information held on the Police National Computer to third parties”.

On this victory against the Met Steel and Morris released a statement that resonates just as strongly more than a decade on:

At the eleventh hour the police pulled out of facing a case which would’ve demonstrated illegal police practices. In recent years there have been a number of publicised [sic] incidents of the police passing information about campaigners to private companies. It’s clear that their claim to be impartial defenders of the public is a hollow one. This collusion reveals the political role of the police in ensuring the wheels of big business keep turning. This case has forced the Met to warn all London police officers against such practices.

Which brings us full circle back to Bob Lambert, and a whole bunch of questions…

  1. After his exit from London Greenpeace in 1988 did any other undercover police officers either remain inside the group, or replace him?
  2. Did Special Branch pass on work product derived from Lambert (and possibly other cop-spies) to Nicholson, Carrol or others at McDonald’s, its Security Department or contracted external detective agencies?
  3. What was the nature of the relationship between Nicholson, Carrol and McDonald’s on the one side, and Special Branch and ARNI on the other?
  4. Were other police, security service or private sector agencies involved?
  5. Furthermore, just what was Lambert’s role at Special Branch between his exit from undercover work in London Greenpeace in 1988 and his role in setting up the MCU in 2002?

In view of that last question, we are told that whilst at the Special Demonstration Squad Lambert was responsible for Detective Constable Andrew Jim Boyling (AKA ‘Jim Sutton’), who was infiltrated into Reclaim The Streets via anti-GM and hunt sab groups in 1995, staying behind the lines until 2000.

Both Boyling and Lambert are accused of lying to courts to preserve their cover; both Boyling and Lambert duplicitously entered into sexual relationships with activists on whom they were spying; both Boyling and Lambert sired children by these women. Is this coincidence, or an indication of the nature of the training Lambert offered his protégés?

(It is also interesting that the woman with whom Boyling became involved was someone he met in the immediate aftermath of the J18 Carnival Against Capitalism – an event that Reclaim The Streets had brought off successfully right under the noses of the Met and the City of London Police – at an RTS meeting to discuss how it had all gone. This was four years into his infiltration of the environmental movement.)

Through his time at the MCU, and in his subsequent academic (and journalistic) work, ‘Dr Robert Lambert MBE’ has striven to be seen as a moderate, a progressive, someone keen to engage with Muslim activists to, in the words of a Demos report, “service the needs of grass roots Muslim community groups tackling the adverse impact of al-Qa’ida inspired terrorist propaganda at close quarters in London”.

Yet even in an article about the MCU and its work with communities in the January/February 2007 issue of Arches, a magazine of the Cordoba Foundation, Lambert links “the strategists behind 9/11” to “the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin”. For someone with an intimate understanding of anarchist and anti-authoritarian political movements, that is an interesting parallel to draw.

An accident? A casual mistake? Or operational afterburn?

Four short years on from when he originally made that remark – and given his recent ‘little trouble’ coming out – that throwaway comment by Detective Inspector Lambert of the Yard (retd) seems better chosen, more deliberately chosen, and chosen for a reason. Our political movements aren’t infiltrated by the state for the fun of it.

Background on McLibel case

Useful resources

Articles and reports

Other notes

Edited 24/1/12 to add tags, correct typos & for style.

Edited 25/1/12 for another fucking typo.

Edited 26/1/12 to add ‘Jack Russell’ & tidy things up.

Edited 26/1/13 for typos etc.

Balkans Scrapbook – remembering the Yugoslav Civil War through news cuttings, photographs and documentaries (plus Bolivian adventurers, Hungarian fascists, Irish bouncers, British spy cops…)

See http://davecinzano.wordpress.com for more info

I’ve long been interested in the Balkans and the break up of the former Yugoslavia, so it’s good to see Balkan Scrapbook, a blog pulling together newspaper clippings, pictures and documentary film on what went down in the early 1990s.

It’s not been up long, but there’s already some interesting content, with new stuff being uploaded all the time. The focus at the moment seems to be on foreign fighters taking part in the conflict, and the death of journalist Paul Jenks near Osijek in east Slavonia, Croatia. Jenks was investigating the earlier death of Swiss reporter Chritian Würtenberg, who himself had joined the International Platoon (PIV) fighting with the Croatian HOS militia whilst looking into links between it and a pan-European fascist network. John Sweeney (he of shouting-at-Scientologists fame) was a colleague and a friend, and he returned to Osijek nearly three years after Jenks’ death to try and uncover what had happened – which made for a riveting documentary film, Dying For The Truth, which opened the Travels With My Camera strand on Channel 4.

The whole torrid tale brought together damaged ex-servicemen in search of excitement, wannabe warriors, and some seriously scary political soldiers – not least Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, a Bolivian-born Hungarian-Spanish Catholic fascist (try saying that in a hurry) who came to lead the PIV. Flores had turned up in Croatia ostensibly to work as a journalist, but soon set up the PIV under the patronage of Branimir Glavaš, a regional powerbroker subsequently convicted of war crimes.

After the deaths of Würtenberg and Jenks, and a third PIV volunteer, Anthony Mann Grant – all blamed on Serbs, but with many unanswered questions hanging in the air – Flores did a runner to Zagreb, before melting away from the Balkans. Ultimately he was involved in a right-wing secessionist movement in Bolivia, and he was shot dead by security forces there in 2009, alongside fellow mercenaries Mario Tadic, a Croatian, and Előd Tóásó, variously described as a Romanian and a Hungarian, plus Irishman Michael Dwyer.

Dwyer had been a security thug working at Shell’s Corrib gas pipeline project in County Mayo, where Integrated Risk Management Services had accrued a reputation for violence against environmental protesters, before he was apparently recruited for the Bolivian adventure by other IRMS goons with a background in Magyar autonomist politics. As if to demonstrate how the world is getting smaller, the Metropolitan Police’s “vancop” agent provocateur PC Mark Kennedy, AKA Mark ‘Flash’ Stone, had previously infiltrated the anti-Corrib activist groups, which were of great interest to Irish and British police as well as business interests and private security groups.

But I digress – if you’re interested in the former Yugoslavia and all that happened there in recent history, then keep an eye on Balkan Scrapbook.

Edited 9 September 2012 to reflect move of blog.

Yahoo attempts to keep its snitching secret!

Spotted this on Saoirse32, an Irish republican* website:

Those of you who host or visit republican groups on Yahoo might want to read a leaked copy of Yahoo’s law enforcement compliance guidelines found currently on cryptome.org. The level to which Yahoo is willingly ready to turn over any and all information concerning personal information, group moderator info, files uploaded, friends lists etc is a bit chilling, and it does not appear that it takes much of a request for them to do so.

The offending PDF is still available on the Cryptome website, as are copies of the correspondence into the matter between Yahoo and Cryptome. The matter does not yet seemed to have surfaced on Wikileaks, but all in good time, I’m sure.

Yahoo seems not to like the idea of its service users finding out exactly how unprivate their private messages are, something outlined on page six of the document:

This compliance guide is designed to assist law enforcement in understanding Yahoo!’s policies and practices with regard to retention and disclosure of electronic information and to provide answers to frequently asked questions related to subpoenas and other legal process. The policies and procedures in this guide are subject to change without notice, and this document is not meant to be distributed to individuals or organizations that are not law enforcement entities, including Yahoo! customers, consumers, or civil litigants.

It is rather interesting to see Yahoo’s sliding scale of charges levied for passing on users’ information and data on to ‘law enforcement’ (page twelve), though heartwarmingly it is at pains to point out that it “maintains an exception to this policy for cases involving the abduction or exploitation of children”.

As ever, it is good to be reminded that the internet is not necessarily the secure place for free and frank discussion that some might suggest that it was.

* No, I’m not Irish or a republican (in that sense); Saoirse32 is, however, a good paywall-avoiding source of Irish and Northern Irish news.

When Craig met Tim

When on my second day in my new office I received a friendly phone call from Lt.-Col Tim Spicer saying he wished to come and see me, it rang no alarm bells with me. The defence industry is full of newly retired military personnel, and we provide military training to governments all around the world. I should confess that I didn’t yet on 6 January 1998 mentally attach the word “mercenary” to Sandline, and I did not connect Sandline with Executive Outcomes during that initial telephone conversation with Spicer.

As Spicer briefly explained it, Sandline were involved in providing security to expatriate companies in Sierra Leone and training to forces loyal to the legitimate government of Sierra Leone. Spicer asked if he could come to see me and brief me on what his company was doing, and I readily agreed. I felt I could do with all the briefing I could get.

The next day I mentioned Spicer’s call to John Everard, my predecessor as Deputy Head, who was engaged in a week’s handover with me. John asked if I was sure I wanted to meet Spicer. He said that as our policy was to avoid further military conflict in Sierra Leone, he had thought it best to avoid direct contact with Spicer, and to have only telephone contact with him.

It had not occurred to me that there could be a problem, and I was a bit taken aback by what John had said. But it would be difficult now for me to cancel the appointment I had agreed.

I thought it through, and decided that I really couldn’t see the moral difference between having a conversation on the telephone, as John Everard did, and having it face to face. Indeed you could sum someone up much better if you could see their body language rather than just hear their voice. I spoke to Tim Andrews, head of the section which included Sierra Leone, who told me that it was indeed very sensitive, but that Spicer had been chasing a contract to train forces loyal to President Kabbah. Tim agreed with my suggestion that we should see Spicer, as we needed to know what was happening. But Tim did mention he believed Sandline were connected to Executive Outcomes. That put me on my guard.

Perhaps I should have researched further. But I was in just my second
day in a big new job. I had 21 new countries to update myself on, involving thousands of pages of material to read through. I worked over a hundred hours that first week. I decided Spicer could wait until I met him. I didn’t particularly see him as a danger to me.

I underestimated Spicer. That was a bad error of judgement. 19 January, the day that Tim Spicer arrived, was extremely busy. We had ministerial briefings and parliamentary questions on Sierra Leone and a consular crisis in Nigeria. So when I was informed that Colonel Spicer was here to see me, it took me a few seconds to recall who he was.

As he was shown up, I asked Tim Andrews to come and sit in with me and take a note of the conversation. You would normally only do this for important visitors – otherwise you would just make a brief note yourself after the meeting – but given John Everard’s words of caution, I thought it was probably wise to have Tim Andrews present. Besides, he knew the subject much better than I yet did.

Tim Spicer was short for a soldier, but well built and exceedingly well manicured and coiffured. His conventional good looks were marred by a slight hooding of the eyes or squint. He wore the thin, inch apart pinstripes that seem to be universally favoured by the British military out of uniform. He smelt of expensive after-shave.

Spicer told us that Sandline now had a contract to provide training to the Kamajors, a militia force loyal to Sam Hinga Norman and currently prepared to fight for President Kabbah. He said that the aim was to prepare the Kamajors for a quick campaign, in support of the Nigerian-led ECOMOG forces, to retake Sierra Leone from the RUF and military junta. The contract covered training and “non-lethal” equipment. Spicer used the phrase “non-lethal” several times, and I took it as his intention to stress that he was not providing weapons and was therefore acting legally.

I told him that we did not favour a military solution and that any armed intervention by ECOMOG would require prior agreement from the UN Security Council; it was essential that any such military action be as quick and limited as possible. The laws of armed conflict and the human rights of civilians must be respected.

I asked Spicer, who was funding the Sandline contract, and why? He replied that he was not free to tell me who was funding it, but that it related to the securing of some mineral assets within the country. I asked him who Sandline were? I had heard that they were related to Executive Outcomes, whose reputation in Africa was not good. Were Sandline related to Executive Outcomes, and was Mr Tony Buckingham involved in Sandline?

Spicer replied that he did not have authority to discuss Sandline’s corporate structure or confidential business matters. He was here to brief me on the wider situation with regard to their strategy on Sierra Leone.

Spicer then said that he had intelligence that the junta may be attempting to acquire Eastern European weapons, shipped via Nigeria. I said that we could ask the Nigerian government to intercept any such weapons shipments under UN Security Council Resolution 1132. I asked Tim Andrews to show him the relevant passage.

Tim Andrews did not have a copy of the resolution on him, so he went back to his own office to get one. He took it down from where it was pinned, on the cork board behind the desk officer Linda St Cook’s desk. He returned to my room and read aloud the appropriate clause:

Decides that all States shall prevent the sale or supply to Sierra Leone, by their nationals or from their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of petroleum and petroleum products and arms and related matériel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territory;

Spicer responded to this by saying that he had understood that the UNSCR applied only to the RUF, and not to the government. I said that this was wrong, and that it was a geographic prohibition covering the whole country.

Spicer then asked whether the prohibition applied to ”dual-use” items, which could have either a military or a civilian application. He gave the example of night vision equipment, which he said could be used by the military or in mining. I said that such “dual-use” items would be subject to export control licensing by the Department of Trade and Industry, who would consult other departments including the FCO and MOD.

Spicer then asked if military items could be exported to a neighbouring country such as Guinea, and then on to Sierra Leone. I said no, they couldn’t.

While it was now obvious to me that Spicer was really considering the potential for himself to export arms to the government of Sierra Leone, I felt that Tim Andrews and I had made it plain that this was not allowed. The language of the Resolution which Tim Andrews read out to Spicer is admirably plain. I was surprised that a former British Army Lieutenant Colonel, who must by training have been familiar with UN Security Council Resolutions in conflict situations and how to interpret them, appeared to be quite so ignorant of the basic rules governing his operations in a theatre in which he was already involved. But I took it that this was because his existing contract covered only training and non-lethal equipment, as he had stated, and he was just making preliminary enquiries about the possibility of expanding this to include arms.

I am quite certain that, when Tim Andrews read Spicer the Security Council Resolution, he did not say anything like “Well, that’s awkward, because the contract we expect to sign does include the sale of weapons”.

It was not only to Tim Andrews and I that Spicer went out of his way to stress that his contract was for “non-lethal” equipment. My first day in the Department had been 5 January, but as is FCO practice I had a few days “handover” from my predecessor who was still doing the job for the first few days. On 5 January John Everard had sent a minute to Ann Grant to say that Spicer had told Everard that his contract would include medical and communications equipment “and nothing higher profile”.

It has been put to me, not least at the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, that I must have realised that a £10 million contract included arms. But in fact such contracts, not including arms, were an established feature of the region. In particular, the Nigerian-led ECOMOG forces which were occupying Liberia, and which we believed might be going on to invade Sierra Leone, received their supplies, training, transportation and logistic support from the United States government via a company called Pacific and Atlantic Engineering. Their role specifically excluded the provision of weapons. Their funding, totalling some US$40 million a year, included contributions from the German and Dutch governments.

I presumed that Spicer was indicating a prospective contract with Kabbah that would be similar in scope to the Pacific and Atlantic contract, and took that to be what he meant when he kept emphasising the term “non-lethal”. [Spicer gives a quite different account of this meeting. See Tim Spicer, ‘An Unorthodox Soldier’, pp198-200]

Nonetheless, I felt worried by my meeting with Spicer. He had refused to clarify Sandline’s ownership, and his repeated questioning on the possibility of sending arms to Sierra Leone led me to think that he was looking to add arms to training in the future. All in all, I had found him not straight. I therefore nipped three doors along the corridor to see Ann Grant, and told her that, having met Spicer, I was worried about his intentions and didn’t trust him, and that I proposed to tell the Department to break contact with him. Ann agreed with my proposal, and I went immediately to let Tim Andrews and Linda St Cook know of my decision.

Spicer later claimed that he informed the FCO at our meeting that he was exporting arms, and that the FCO (i.e. I) gave approval. But both Tim Andrews and I were to make formal, independent statements to Customs and Excise in which we both stated that Spicer had emphasised that he was exporting non-lethal equipment. We both also independently stated that, when Spicer raised questions over arms exports, Tim Andrews read him the Resolution to show that any arms exports would be illegal. John Everard had minuted that Spicer had told him that he was supplying medical and communications equipment “and nothing higher profile”.

Yet much of the media and most of the political establishment preferred to take the unsupported word of a mercenary – that he had told us about supplying arms – against all three of us.

Why would that be?

Well, the Conservative Party saw the “Arms to Africa affair” as their first real chance to hit the Blair government – still only seven months old – with a scandal. They desperately wanted Spicer to be telling the truth and the FCO to have connived at breaking the law, preferably with ministerial knowledge. Conservatives were comforted in this view by the fact that Tim Spicer was a public schoolboy and a former Lt Colonel of a Guards regiment. He was a gentleman, and socially very well connected, with friends in the royal family. Such people never tell lies, while John Everard, Tim Andrews and I were all irredeemably middle class.

This struck me forcibly when I was talking to a friend of mine, an officer in the Ministry of Defence. I told him that Spicer was not telling the truth when he said that I had approved of the shipment of arms. My friend (I believe it was Colonel Andrew Jocelyn, but it may have been another) winced and said “But he’s godfather to one of my children.” To many influential people in Britain, the idea that a senior Guards officer might lie was unthinkable – it struck at the root of their entire belief system.

Support for Spicer from Conservatives was predictable. But I had not realised that influence would be exerted on behalf of Spicer from 10 Downing Street. Our policy on Sierra Leone was to seek a solution by peaceful means. I am sure that was what Robin Cook favoured; I discussed it with him several times. But in No. 10 and in parts of the FCO, particularly the United Nations Department, they were starting to formulate the Blair doctrine of radical military interventionism that was to lead Tony Blair to launch more wars than any other British Prime Minister. [See John Kampfner; ‘Blair’s Wars’]

A fundamental part of this new Blair doctrine was to be the ultimate privatisation – the privatisation of killing. Mercenary troops were seen as having many advantages for quick aggressive campaigns in third world countries. Regular government forces had been configured to fight huge battles against other regular forces. Mercenaries were more flexible and less constrained by regulation.

If you consider what “less constrained” really means in terms of shooting up civilians, it is remarkable that this was viewed as an advantage. Still more remarkably, this policy of military intervention in the developing world had many adherents in DFID, where it was being promoted under the slogan that “Security is a precondition of development”.

The “Sandline” or “Arms to Africa” affair has been presented by its proponents as a noble attempt to restore democratic government to Sierra Leone, hampered by pettifogging bureaucrats. In fact, it was nothing of the kind, but a deeply squalid plot to corner the market in Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds.

pp19-25 of Craig Murray’s new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, the full text of which he has just posted on the internet. You may download a 226 page PDF of it here, or, indeed, here. (It’s only 1.1Mb big.)

It is a book which libel lawyers Schillings managed to persuade original publishers Mainstream to drop after flexing its muscles on behalf of client Tim Spicer, the freebooting mercenary boss. Murray insists the book is not libellous and has stood firm, offering both the free PDF and a privately printed physical version in defiance of the lawyerly intimidation.

I look forward to reading the whole thing.