Tag Archives: MCU

Mayday! Mayday! Help needed to fill in the blanks on spycop Bob Lambert’s timeline…

So Bob, how big a lie was it? “About this big...”

Hey Dr Bob, on average how big were the lies you told? “About this big…”

Cross-posted on the URG blog

So just what did former spycop, SDS manager and – to borrow a hackneyed media cliché oft wheeled out for Mayday – so-called academic Bob Lambert get up to in the late 1990s?

After spending rather a lot of time working on a series of articles about our old friend Dr Bob for the Undercover Research Group‘s wiki project, it struck me that it’s just not clear what Lambert did between leaving SDS sometime after August 1998, and the establishment of the Muslim Contact Unit in January 2002.

Biographies – which no doubt he himself supplied – indicate that Lambert remained with Metropolitan Police Special Branch since joining it in 1980. For example, the blurb on Lambert following his article ‘Reflections on Counter-Terrorism Partnerships in Britain’  for the Cordoba Foundation magazine Arches issue number 5 (January-February 2007)  notes that “Bob worked continuously as a Special Branch specialist counter-terrorist/counter-extremist intelligence officer from 1980” until the setting up of MCU at the beginning of 2002).

Certainly, no evidence has so far come up to suggest he was involved in, for example, Territorial Policing; that he was transferred to other Special Branch-equivalent units such as the Anti-Terrorist Branch; or that he transferred to a police force other than the Metropolitan Police Service.

By implication, Lambert seems likely to have been working in a different unit or units within MPSB during this time period. The Arches biography mentioned above notes that from beginning in MPSB in 1980 until 2006 or 2007, Lambert had dealt “with all forms of violent political threats to the UK, from Irish republican to the many strands of International terrorism.” Whilst his work on international terrorism at E Squad has already been noted, an involvement in Irish republican matters would suggest time served in B Squad (though it is by no means clear whether that would have occurred at this point of his career or in Lambert’s pre-SDS years).

One further hint at what Lambert got up to in the interregnum between his times at SDS and MCU is in his colourful description of watching the September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center:

As the first twin tower shrunk to the ground, anti-military and anti-globalisation campaigners abandoned a picket of an international arms fair in London’s docklands. Inside New Scotland Yard’s public order control room attention switched from screens with departing protesters to the televised attack on the World Trade Center. No one could quite comprehend the enormity of what was happening in New York and Washington.*

Whilst the passage is written opaquely, it implies that Lambert was himself “inside New Scotland Yard’s public order control room”, surveilling the September 2001 Disarm DSEi protest against a biennial arms fair. Activist groups participating included Campaign Against Arms Trade, the WOMBLES, Earth First!, Reclaim The Streets and others. If Lambert was in the control room watching over the demonstrations, then it would further imply that he may have been working in C Squad, the MPSB body interested in what would now be termed ‘domestic extremism’, or S Squad, the parent unit of SDS which specialised in surveillance and intelligence gathering.

(As an aside, at least two undercover police officers were involved on the ground at the 2001 DSEi protests: ‘Jason Bishop’, believed to be working for Lambert’s old unit SDS, and ‘Rod Richardson’, thought to be one of the first infiltrators to be deployed by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). According to Rob Branbury, an activist targeted by Bishop, the undercover officer called him that day when news of 9/11 broke to sound him out, “as if he wanted to know what people thought about the attack to the Twin Towers.”)

But anyway, what about Dr Bob?

Come on, hivemind – let’s fill in those missing years 1998-2001!

* Lambert’s claim that “campaigners abandoned a picket” of DSEi in this way is simply not true. American 11 hit 1 WTC at 0846, New York time – around a quarter to two in the afternoon in London. United 175 hit 2 WTC at 0903. 2 WTC collapsed at 0958, and 1 WTC a half-hour later at 1028. Many protesters at DSEi were aware of all this – the news having been broadcast around the site on a soundsystem – and some watched a live feed of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center on a screen in a media organisation’s outside broadcast van.
Whilst many reporters swiftly left the site, the anti-arms fair actions continued at the West Gate until at least half past four (more than an hour after the second tower collapsed), when a large group moved off en masse. A smaller group, with a large ‘POLICE AGAINST THE ARMS TRADE’ banner, remained at West Gate until at least 6pm. See, for example, IMC-UK, ‘Fiesta for Life in the Docklands 2001’, Indymedia UK, 11 September 2001; or Andy Robertson, ‘DSEI Arms Fair. September 11 2001’, Squall, September 2001 (accessed via Archive.org).

A brief, incomplete but hopefully somewhat illustrative contextual timeline of spycop infiltrations around London Greenpeace and beyond throughout the 1980s and 1990s

Put together purely from information in the public domain. Broadly chronological. A ‘rough cut’.

  • The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) infiltration/provocation programme began in 1968
  • London Greenpeace – an avowedly anarchist environmentalist group – is set up in 1971 in opposition to French nuclear testing
  • Dave Morris began regularly attending London Greenpeace meetings in 1979
  • In the early/mid 1980s, animal rights and environmental activist groups were a high priority target for Special Branch, the SDS and other similar police units
  • In 1983 local activists, including Dave Morris, set up the North London anarchist group Haringey Community Action (Steel later joins)
  • Special Branch officer Bob Lambert AKA ‘Bob Robinson’ was infiltrated into the London activist scene in 1983 – and almost immediately entered into his first on-deployment long-term sexual relationship, with an activist woman ‘Charlotte’ (she was 22 and he 10 years her senior, and secretly married to another woman)
  • Lambert infiltrated London Greenpeace in 1984
  • In 1985 ‘Charlotte’ gave birth to a son by Bob Lambert
  • In 1985 London Greenpeace begins a non-violent campaign highlighting issues such as animal abuse, advertising, nutrition and labour conditions at McDonald’s.
  • In 1986 the initial Animal Rights National Index (ARNI) was set up by Special Branch in Essex – a database tracking animal rights activists and actions
  • Activists from London Greenpeace – including Bob Lambert, but not Dave Morris or Helen Steel – wrote the ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s’ factsheet in 1986
  • In 1987 Bob Lambert knowingly instigated a long-term sexual relationship with a non-activist woman, Karen/’Sarah’/’Jenny’, to further build up his cover
  • In 1987 three incendiary devices are set at department stores around south-eastern England as part of an ALF campaign – two men are arrested, prosecuted and convicted based on Bob Lambert’s inside intelligence; subsequently he is accused of having set the third device
  • In 1987 Special Branch sergeant John Dines (AKA ‘John Barker’) is sent in to Hackney to infiltrate political groups including London Greenpeace
  • Activists from the now winding-down HCA in 1988 set up Tottenham Against The Poll Tax, one of the first English AntiPoll Tax Unions; it is followed by the Hornsey & Wood Green and Green Lanes APTUs, and subsequently all three come together as the Haringey APTU
  • By the end of 1988 Lambert comes to the end of his deployment and disengages from his relationship with ‘Sarah’/’Jenny’ – who despite not being an activist had had her home raided by Special Branch purportedly looking for Lambert as part of the ALF firebombing dragnet
  • ARNI was further established at Scotland Yard in 1989
    McDonald’s security bosses Sid Nicholson and Terry Carrol – both former senior Met borough officers from Brixton police station – attend meetings with Special Branch in relation to London Greenpeace and anti-McDonald’s protests from 1989, and possibly earlier
  • From 1989, McDonald’s contract at least two separate private investigation agencies (Bishops Investigation Bureau/Westhall Services and Kings Investigation Bureau) to infiltrate and spy on the London Greenpeace to ascertain who wrote the ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s’ fact sheet; the infiltration continues until at least 1991
  • In 1990 McDonald’s issues libel writs against five named London Greenpeace activists, including Morris and Steel, for distributing the fact sheet; three offer apologies and give an undertaking not to further distribute the leaflet but Morris and Steel decide to defend the case
  • In 1990 John Dines begins a relationship with ‘Clare’ AKA Helen Steel which will last the rest of his deployment
  • In 1991 the remit of ARNI was extended so that it could now act operationally (i.e. it is no longer simply running a database)
  • The Earth First!-aligned road protest group Reclaim The Streets emerges in 1991 through the Claremont Road resistance to the M11 Link Road in East London
  • Following the success of the anti-Poll Tax campaign, in 1991 the three local groups which comprise HAPTU first use the joint banner ‘Haringey Solidarity Campaign’ and look towards wider community organising; in 1994 the three groups formally come together as HSG, with Dave Morris one of the driving forces
  • After a five year period spent infiltrating not just London Greenpeace but also squatter groups, anti-Poll Tax unions and other anti-capitalist groups in Haringey, Hackney, Stoke Newington and elsewhere, in 1992 John Dines is exfiltrated suddenly, to the distress of Helen Steel, who at the time is embarking on the start of the pre-trial period of the McLibel defence campaign
  • Stephen Lawrence is murdered in 1993; police infiltrate Peter Francis AKA ‘Peter Daley’ AKA ‘Pete Black’ into anti-racist groups, police watch-style campaigns and leftist politics in the lead up to the October ‘Unity’ demonstration, as well as the M11 anti-roads campaign; he leaves his undercover posting in 1997
  • Following several years of legal arguments – which see the defendants denied legal aid or a jury trial – the McLibel trial proper begins in 1994
  • Special Branch’s remit is extended to include environmental activists
  • In 1995 police officer Mark Jenner AKA ‘Mark Cassidy’ is infiltrated into the north London activist scene; he targets the Colin Roach Centre in an attempt to get close to Red Action/Anti-Fascist Action, as well as the anti-blacklisting Building Workers Group, and the Hackney Community Defence Association – he has a relationship with an unwitting local woman ‘Alison’ from 1996-2000, when he disappears
  • RTS starts down a very different road to its previous actions and hosts the first of its street parties in Camden High Street in May 1995, followed swiftly by other ones in Islington and elsewhere
  • Special Branch officer Andrew James Boyling AKA Jim Sutton is deployed into the London activist scene in 1995, and starts by working his way into hunt sabotage before finding himself in RTS
  • By 1996 the RTS ‘Street Party’ tactic has found itself replicated autonomously across the UK and abroad; the London RTS group reaches out beyond the environmental movement and forges links with the striking Liverpool dockers, militant RMT unionists on the London Underground, and elsewhere – culminating in a two-day long period of solidarity actions in and around the Merseyside Docks where jobs and safety are at stake as the private employer enforces casualisation
  • The final submissions to the court in the McLibel case are heard in December 1996 after 313 trial days, leaving the Judge unable to estimate when he will have a ruling
  • In early 1997 the repercussions of the McLibel trial are felt elsewhere, with arms fair company COPEX backing down from a libel case threatened against Peace News and Campaign Against Arms Trade, who decide to follow the example of Morris and Steel and not back down; COPEX pay out over £30k in costs
  • Similarly by Summer 1997 John Lewis plc backs down from a libel action against the National Anti-Hunt Campaign, who sought advice from the McLibel defence campaign
  • The Liverpool dockers and RTS come together again in 1997 for the ‘Reclaim The Ballots’ event in central London where despite police efforts thousands hold an open air party-cum-protest (though not at the planned location and minus much of the propaganda materials)
  • The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) is set up at Scotland Yard in 1998, bringing together ARNI and other similar police intelligence units into a single unit focused on animal rights activists
  • In 1998 RTS and the rest of the PGA network coordinate a ‘Global Street Party’ to mark the G7 summit taking place in Birmingham with international protest
  • The remit of the NPOIU is extended to include the wider environmental movement in 1999
  • 1999 sees more RTS/RMT actions on the London Underground, before the second ‘Global Street Party’, marking the G8 summit in Cologne; in the UK this means the J18 Carnival Against Capitalism – Andrew James Boyling is a driver of an RTS blockade vehicle, which he deliberately fails to secure
  • Later in 1999 members of RTS and other groups, including Class War and London Greenpeace, organise the UK end of the third Global Street Party, ‘N30’, marking the World Trade Organisation summit in Seattle; the UK events are more diffuse than previously, with lower numbers, more locations and a more proactive police presence that culminates in the first proper British kettle outside Euston train station
  • A longer series of events, actions, meetings and bookfair in London for Mayday 2000 are coordinated by a group including RTS, ending in the ‘Guerilla Gardening’ event on Parliament Square and an attempted kettling; under extreme pressure from police and with the media pursuing ‘organisers’, some from RTS issue a televised statement
  • In 2000 Andrew James Boyling leaves his infiltration of RTS, as does Mark Jenner; meanwhile ‘Rod Richardson’ goes in, followed by ‘Simon Wellings’, Mark Kennedy AKA ‘Mark Stone’, ‘Lynn Watson’, ‘Marco Jacobs’ etc…

Edited 24/6/13 to tidy up, add in Peter Francis’ real name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge rules that ‘spy cops’ hearing should be held in secret, cites James Bond

Mr Justice Tugenhadt has found in favour of the Metropolitan Police’s application to have the case relating to its undercover cops sleeping with their political activist targets heard in secret.

The High Court has today granted an application by the Metropolitan Police for a secret hearing over the claims brought against them under the Human Rights Act, arising from undercover officers engaging in intimate long term relationships with women whilst undercover. The Claimants, who were involved in protest movements, were deceived into intimate sexual relationships by officers, including Mark Kennedy. One relationship lasted six years and all the Claimants suffered significant psychological damage as a consequence of those officers intruding deeply into their private lives. Lawyers for the women said that their clients are “outraged” at the High Court’s decision today that the claims should be heard in the secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

The Judge even used the fictional character James Bond to back up his ruling…

James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women… fictional accounts (and there are others) lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature (whether or not they were physical relationships) in order to obtain information or access.

That James Bond also routinely and summarily kills people would perhaps be a future ‘out’ for any actions brought against intelligence or security officers embroiled in torture or murder claims.

More details at the Police Spies Out Of Lives campaign website.

Judge to rule whether spy cop sex-by-deception case is held in secret

See blogs passim for more on this topic – for now, here’s today’s Guardian story:

A high court judge is due to announce on Thursday morning whether police chiefs have won a controversial case involving undercover spies they infiltrated into political campaigns.

The police are being sued by 10 women who say they were duped into forming long-term, intimate relationships of up to six years with the spies.

In the first round of the legal action, lawyers for the police have been attempting to have the main lawsuit heard in a secretive tribunal rather than in the open at the high court.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Tugendhat is due to reveal whether he has granted the police’s application.

…Also part of the legal action is a man who says he had a close friendship with a police spy who had a sexual relationship with his girlfriend.

The women and man have accused the police of trying to hide away the potentially embarrassing lawsuit in the obscure investigatory powers tribunal “when they have been guilty of one of the most intrusive and complete invasions of privacy that can be imagined”.

…At the preliminary hearing in November, Phillippa Kaufmann and Heather Williams, QCs for the women and man, told Tugendhat that the spies had used the relationships to collect intelligence or for their own “personal gratification”, while pretending to support them emotionally.

Monica Carss-Frisk, the QC for the police, argued that their application was merely to determine the most appropriate forum to hear the main part of the lawsuit.

Three of the women taking legal action had intimate relationships with Mark Kennedy, the police officer who infiltrated the environmental movement for seven years. Two other women had sexual relationships with one of Kennedy’s colleagues, who used the alias Mark Jacobs.

He claimed to be a truck driver when he spied on a small anarchist group in Cardiff.

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.

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.